What do you think can unite, at any time of day or night, the patience, readiness and politeness of a girl who lives in Kombinat (district of Tirana ed), with the obstinacy, the incessant questions and the apprehension of a sir who lives in Naples ?! No, no, this is not a virtual game of Poker on Facebook. You are not even employed by a business of the gentleman who speaks from Italy.
Of course they don't know each other and he doesn't even know that she's a 20-year-old Albanian student. Because she was told never to say it. It is one of the first things taught to her during the 5 weeks training for the 50 mila Lek (about 400 euro) that she has been doing for over a year now.
The girl and, on average, the Italian 100 with whom she communicates during her 8 working hours, are bound to each other only by telephone and the mobile telephone company to which the latter are regular subscribers. Thus, while the lord from Naples, Rome, Florence, Milan or elsewhere, his message center gets stuck, he wants to know how much the last phone call cost him or how much credit he has, the operator who answers him from the other side of the phone with a perfect Italian he has a great chance of being an Albanian girl or boy who speaks from one of the environments located in Tirana.
For no reason in the world does he have to know that telephone assistance has come to him from the Albanian capital, this would greatly reduce the credibility of the company on the market and could raise many questions and questions, not to mention the probability of losing a customer. And in the event that the local operator, despite his correct and certified Italian, would betray his accent, putting him in front of the question "but you are a foreigner ...?", The answer must be "yes, I am an Albanian who has lived and worked in Italy for years ”. This is among the first axioms that candidates learn to become telephone operators during the training that is done before they are hired.
There are two Italian companies operating in Tirana, in contrast to Italian mobile telephony in inbound services (customer services): “Data-contact” based in one of the buildings in “Via George W.
Bush "and" Albacall ", part of the" Abramo Group ", located in the" Globus "shopping center in" Kavaja ". Both have the license, carry out their activity according to the rules established by the Albanian government and are administered by Albanian citizens, who deal with human resources, work management and customer relations. We are surprised by their skepticism in providing us with information, even if superficial, for the activity they manage.
"She's sick and won't be at work for a few days," they told us when we knocked on the doors of the "Data-contact" offices to talk to Mrs. Irin Kulla, general manager. When we asked for his telephone number, they told us that he would not have responded anyway, given that, in addition to health problems, he also had a family accident. Instead, the administrator of "Albacall", Ms. Ines Muçostepa, was courteous, but told us that she could not have spoken on the phone nor on the number of employees hired for the customer service, nor on behalf of which telephone company Italian offer inbound service.
At the request of a meeting, Muçostepa replied that until the following week it was not possible since he was not in Tirana. "Data-contact" was the first company to introduce the inbound service on behalf of mobile phone companies in September of the 2009 Italian. Today it has around 50 operators, all young Albanians, more precisely girls whose ages range from 18 to 30 years.
In April, the company "Albacall" started operating in the same sector. "I am really pleased that in a time when Albania's neighbors are experiencing a difficult economic situation, economic stability continues to grow in Albania, so the economy is growing.
We as a government give extreme importance to the absorption of foreign investments on the spot and we support a considerable part of the economic development based on the new investments in Albania ", expressed itself during the presentation ceremony of" Albacall ", the then Minister of Economy Albanian Dritan Prifti. From that moment, many young people, especially students, can find a comfortable work solution. Because shift work, or even part-time work, as well as good pay, gives them the opportunity to combine study with work.
Ervina is simply one of hundreds of young Albanians who work for the Italian mobile telephone companies as a telephone operator in the inbound service. From September 2009, from the second floor of the building where the "Data-contact" offices are located, you respond to the concerns of thousands and thousands of subscribers to Italian mobile telephony. "Welcome to customer service, I'm Ervina, operator code" X ". How can I help you? " This is the "salutation" that you say on average 100 times during your 8 working hours.
"It's definitely tiring, but at least it's a stable job with very good revenue. For the directors, it is enough to be correct with the time and respect the clear rules of communication. Unlike many other jobs there are no precise rules on clothing and for me this is a facilitation, since I can always dress with jeans and a pair of comfortable shoes, "says 22-enne.
Ervina recently graduated in "social sciences" and gradually took over Italian during her university days, not knowing one day that good knowledge of this language would have been more useful than her diploma.
"It would have been difficult to find a job immediately in my profession and after finishing university, I absolutely needed a job to stay in Tirana. In my hometown the possibilities are minor.
From the announcement I read, I saw that the only requirement for being able to access this job was an excellent knowledge of Italian, both spoken and written, and not necessarily certified. Indeed, it was not at all necessary to have a university degree. For me it was great. I started. My pay is on the net 50 thousand (about 400 euro) and this is a monthly salary above the Albanian average, "says Ervina.
After 5 weeks of training (period in which it was also paid) in the "Data-contact" offices the future operators become aware of the system and its method of functioning as well as of the main offers they have to explain. The preliminary test concerns only the Italian language and then you start working.
Ervina and her colleagues receive the pay envelope in the bank and their contributions are also paid. The "Data-contact" girls are paid 2 € per hour, even if they know very well that their counterpart in Italy is paid with a minimum of 10 € per hour. "On Sundays as well as the last three hours of the night shift we are paid 125% more than this rate. Moreover, they stimulate us with the bonuses we receive during the periods in which we have to launch the various offers of the company ", says the girl.
Although it is a tiring job, for the moment he does not think of looking for another more akin to his profession, at least as long as he earns more than the older sister who does his job and working in a bank is paid 22 thousand Lek (about 200 euros ) per month. "Every two hours we have a quarter of an hour break, then again" cerrrrrrrrr "...., earphones again ... There are also times when you get surprised or you get nervous, but this does not interest anyone, you have to be patient all the way. Italians often get annoyed and are very miserly. You often have to give him an account of 50 cent ”.
Unlike the operators in the customer services of the Albanian mobile telephony companies, the operators of the Italian ones, at the time of presentation to the customer must communicate not only the personal code of the operator but also their name. After they have answered all the doubts of the subscriber, they are informed of them: "in a short time he will be able to receive a call for a quality survey. You can rate my work in this survey with a grade ranging from 1 to 5. Thank you". Every two hours, a report extracted from this quality survey is published for the operators, referring to their personal code and name.
This is the measure to evaluate their work performance in relation to the customer. After correctness with arrival times at work, this is another point to keep in mind. “Once a lady of a certain age called us terrified in the heart of the notes and complained that for more than a week her cell phone was ringing at midnight with a strange sound different from the usual one. I was certainly laughing, but I had to explain to the lady that she, without wanting to, had activated the alarm at midnight ", the girl tells us with a smile.
In addition to the inbound service in Tirana, many other mainly Italian foreign companies also operate from almost XUMX years, offering outbound service, ie sales and advertising through telephone and call centers. One of the largest of this type is "Teleperformanza", known in many countries of the world as an outbound call center service company, part of the Italian fixed telephone network. He also deals with sales and advertising of "Sky - cinema".
With offices located in the center of Tirana, the rooms of this company occupy 4 floors of the building opposite the University Library. "Only in the plan in which I worked, there were about 100 operators who had to convince the hundreds of Italian subscribers, who were doing" the right choice "", says a former employee of this company. Another outbound service company that operates in Tirana since 3 years, it is an English firm of fixed telephony in Italy. The work of 40 its operators consists in convincing the subscribers of other companies to switch to them. In other words, the opposite of the work of the aforementioned companies.
Article by Gladiola Bendaj. Published in the Albanian weekly "Mapo" nr. 202 of 31 October 2010. Original title "Alo! Ju flasim nga Tirana! ". Translated by AlbaniaNews by Belina Sinani.
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