From Customer Service Agent to Head of Mobile

Ian Hallam-Day

March 14, 2019


Hi Ian, you’re our face of Delightfully Surprising but more of that later…. For now tell us about your career journey to becoming Head of Mobile.

I started working as a Customer Service Agent at 18, answering phones. At the time I thought it would be a temporary 6-month thing. Long term I didn’t see my career developing in a call centre. But due to the wide amount of opportunities available, I worked my way up to Academy Manager within a couple of years. I was responsible for new recruits; teaching them, training them and generally preparing them to join their new team.

This led to me becoming a Team Manager, which I did for just under 4 years. I gained a lot of experience in this time, and when it was advertised that we were setting up a customer service centre in the Philippines, I applied to run the academy and I got the job! I went over there, got them set up and it all went really successfully. After that, I was asked to join the Partnership Team and after 2 years I was promoted to Partnership Operations Manager.

In this role, I really delved into the cable-care side of the business, but once I’d got the hang of that, I was able to branch out and explore other areas. I took on some extra responsibilities, spent some time in Complaints, spent some time with Reporting, and then eventually became the Head of Mobile.

That’s a really interesting route to take and gives you a great breadth of experience. So, what’s the best thing about being Head of Mobile

As cliché as it sounds, it’s the people I work and interact with every day. The people you work with are what makes Virgin Media different, that’s why I’ve stayed so long. Passionate people who want to do a good job and have a strong work ethic. No matter what area of the business I’m in, I’ve always found these like-minded people.

Virgin Media’s purpose is Building Connections that Really Matter, how do you bring this to life in the work that you do?

It’s super important regardless of the role you have. I couldn’t do my current job if it wasn’t for the connections that I have. It makes conversations easier and generates quicker results when everyone has an aligned vision and are working towards the same goal. Without these connections it would be chaotic, our goals wouldn’t align, and we wouldn’t deliver the quality of work needed.

The connections I’ve built are integral to me day-to-day, I can share any problems I might have with my connections and together we can brainstorm solutions. But the most important connection is with our customers. It’s been said before, but I truly believe our Customer Service colleagues are our most important people. If it wasn’t for them making meaningful connections with our customers, we’d never be able to improve and keep delivering a great service.

So tell us a about being the face of our value ‘Delightfully Surprising’ and what this means to you.

Most people naturally display 1 or 2 of the values, but it’s making the conscious effort to deliver all of them which makes the difference. I always ask myself, “Could that have been better? Am I being innovative, or am I just doing the quickest or easiest way?”

I was recently featured as the face of our value ‘Delightfully Surprising’ in our relaunch of the values!

When I’m given tasks to complete, I can choose the way that I complete them, I think about how I can deliver something a little bit extra in a surprising, original way.

For example, when I was setting up the team in the Philippines, I found they responded best to big personalities and a bold, in-your-face style of communication. I decided to deliver my business updates in that style so that they really responded to it. I found a way to make it delightfully surprising.

It’s all about making a conscious effort to challenge yourself. Asking yourself, “Have I displayed those values?” You may not embody all the values right away, but by learning and analysing your own performance as you develop, you soon will.

And any final thoughts on Virgin Media as an employer?

You really can build a career here if you want to. You could get a role in Customer Service, do your job well, be stretched in that role, take on extra responsibility and move on from there. But you don’t have to – you can just do that one role brilliantly if that’s what you want. However, if you do want to branch out – the opportunity is there.

It’s so diverse, you could even choose to make a move to something completely different. For example, one Customer Service Representative changed jobs completely and is now a female Field Engineer in our Field Tech team. Or, you could take one of the many opportunities for personal development; there’s online training, classroom-based training, time back offered for self-development and courses, potential for funding toward official qualifications. There’re so many routes you could go down.

I’m living proof that if you apply yourself, you can go from answering phones to be the head of a centre. It’s all possible within Virgin Media, it doesn’t have to be a stop-gap. I think the amount of people I’ve seen celebrate their 25-year anniversary is proof of that.

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