Mebrahetu Beyene (Meb) is a Growth Intern who joined Talk360 in February of this year. Ever since his start at Talk360, Mebrahetu has been involved in the marketing and growth activities in South Africa. In his day to day, Mebrahetu is involved in market research as well as assisting in performance marketing and data analysis tasks.
Vimbai Mahove (Vee) is also a Growth Intern who became a Talketeer in January 2022. In her role, Vimbai coordinates campaign creation in South Africa, talks to customers through telemarketing calls as well as participates in offline activations with customers.
Internships at Talk360 are a valuable opportunity for new graduates to learn about what it takes to build a tech product for developing markets. Are you curious about an intern’s experience as a Talketeer? We asked Meb and Vee some burning questions...
How were your first 3 months at Talk360?
Meb: When I was offered the opportunity to become an intern at Talk360, I was excited to learn and grow through experience. In my first 3 months, I have worked as a Growth Intern, which includes telemarketing and translating messages to local language. Even though I did not have any experience in marketing, I learnt a lot from my colleagues first hand, and I have grown exponentially as an individual. The first three months have been a great learning curve. Talk360 has taught me a lot about the professional space.
Vee: If I were to sum it up into a few words, I would say that it was exciting and intimidating. I had to adjust to the new work environment and learn to achieve a balance between working and studying. I spent my first month at Talk360 getting acquainted with everyone, both in South Africa and the Netherlands offices. One of my first tasks as interns was telemarketing calls as part of market research and helping to explain the app to inexperienced users. This work was out of my comfort zone, but when I embraced it, it proved to provide valuable knowledge that has been particularly useful for the business. I was also able to personally improve my communication skills, both from having to connect with customers from various cultures and backgrounds as well as interacting and collaborating with new colleagues remotely.
During your experience in telemarketing, what did you learn about Talk360 users?
Meb: Telemarketing is imperative because it teaches a lot about the user base. In my experience with telemarketing, I was able to understand the users’ interests and issues primarily. That allows us to improve the areas where the users had questions or concerns. We learned from the customers that they were not able to use our Talk360 app because of language barriers and some instructions were not clear to them. This was taken to the team who subsequently worked on how to improve and assist the users with limited understanding of languages. In practice, this project initiated new efforts in translating messages and instructions to their native language, to improve the usability of our international calling app, by furthering our app localization.
Vee: Getting the opportunity to speak to our app users directly gave me valuable insights into the different problems they faced on the daily while trying to stay in touch with loved ones, such as poor connectivity. This helped me understand the importance of our international calling app and see first-hand how it was solving these dire issues for them. I have also found that many of our users had long been looking for affordable international calling solutions to help them stay in touch with their loved ones, especially those who live in underserviced areas, where internet connection is not available.
What was the most valuable lesson you learned so far at Talk360?
Meb: I have primarily learnt how to better manage my time. Initially, that was my weakness, but through Talk360, I have been equipped with tools to better learn how to manage my time, submit my work ahead of time and be efficient. Because I am a student, I have learned how to manage both work and university aspects in a way that trained my mind to work efficiently. Additionally, I have gained tremendous teamwork skills, I have learnt how to work with my peers; to communicate adequately with my peers and be able to get my ideas across clearly, and objectively accept feedback when my colleagues have conflicting solutions or opinions to mine. Essentially, fluid communication adepts to great teamwork, and now I relish teamwork.
Vee: As I am currently pursuing my postgraduate studies in Brand Building, I have been able to see some of the theory I had previously learnt come to life in the workplace. I have learnt that teamwork can be difficult, and that good and open communication are the key to great collaboration. I have also learnt that being attentive is especially important. Being a Talketeer has afforded me the opportunity to understand how each department is interrelated and how important it is to try and be knowledgeable and involved in all aspects of the business so that you can produce the best results. This has also helped me to understand how my role is contributing to the success of the company and keeps me motivated.
How do you feel connected to your colleagues around the globe?
Meb: I feel extremely connected to my colleagues; we have established great relationships that function effectively. Despite the geographical barriers, we continuously communicate and understand each other, we can motivate and root for each other whether near or afar. I believe we have a healthy relationship since we can educate each other on our diverse backgrounds, share our differences, celebrate them, and learn from each other. We constantly improve each other and insistently grow each other as individuals. I absolutely love the connection we have developed.
Vee: Thanks to the brilliance of technology, we regularly meet up online via platforms such as Microsoft Teams, Slack, and of course, Talk360. I have never met some of the team members in person, but because of the regular meetings and activities that are set up by the company, I feel well connected to them and I know for sure I can reach out to them whenever I need assistance or guidance in my day to day. The Talk360 team in South Africa has also been really welcoming and helped me gain my bearings at the company. It is great to be part of a team where I feel valued, and my opinions and insights are heard. I am grateful for what I have learned so far at Talk360. I hope to continue to grow in my knowledge, skills, and me being an asset to the Growth Team. I hope to continue helping Talk360 in its mission to grow across Africa and beyond.