A year ago, I graduated from New York University and passionately joined Bloomberg Customer Support in Singapore. Like many college graduates, I came in with minimal real-world experience except for a few internships, which helped equip me for the job market but I still didn’t have a complete picture of work life.
As I reflect on my past 12 months at Bloomberg, I now have a better sense of this work life and even more – what Bloomberg is like as a company, what Bloomberg customer service means, how it is done and what makes it exciting.
Customer support: Platinum is an understatement
I’ve always been interested in working with the media, but I never thought I would stumble upon customer service as a career. It is so integrated in our everyday lives that we usually don’t remember the service we receive, except for the terrible ones, unfortunately. Moreover, it is often not a popular career choice among college graduates for reasons such as (stereotypically) unsatisfactory compensation, low career ceiling, cultural biases and so on. I was aware of these viewpoints but still took this chance at Bloomberg – for reasons which I will discuss later – and frankly, I was mind-blown.
My new hire training was about 6 weeks; it included classroom training and call “shadowing” with trainers and a team of high-performing representatives. After the training, I began taking client calls independently and was evaluated on the quality of service I provided.
So, why does it take so long to train people to “answer phone calls”? Two critical aspects. The first is that Bloomberg has a fascinating business model – especially for those with limited prior exposure to the financial industry. As the frontlines of Bloomberg, the customer support team must be equipped to understand (or at least be aware of) almost everything about the company, which means all the financial product lines and services, including the Bloomberg Terminal.
Secondly, the company really cares about its clients. Therefore, the company offers many hands-on training sessions to ensure new hires are ready to deliver helpful and professional assistance to find the best, fastest solutions while providing the best client experiences. Interestingly enough, new hire class may find something different in their curriculum, because clients’ needs are constantly changing and so are our solutions. That’s how far the company is willing to go in providing platinum service and a job that is way beyond “just taking calls.”
Smart global operations and effective analytics
I often found it difficult to describe what I do and how customer support works differently at Bloomberg. Let me share a few fun facts I’ve learned, in hopes of challenging your preconceptions about this field.
The Global Customer Support team operates out of the Bloomberg New York, London, Tokyo, Hong Kong and Singapore offices. All phone calls are routed randomly to any available representative globally based on the language. All representatives are at least bilingual, some are even trilingual.
Because the team covers three global regions and four time zones, we rotate shifts so I don’t work at 2 am. Instead, a colleague in the New York would pick up that call.
It usually takes about 4 seconds for you to reach a real, personable voice after you dial through the Bloomberg line. We also have a project team that collects and analyzes call data every day to monitor trends in client needs.
Client queries range from “How do I set up the watchlist on my Bloomberg new app” to “How do I install my Bloomberg terminal license?” In brief, it can be anything and everything.
The team works with and serves internal employees too. For certain language groups, representatives end up knowing almost everyone who speaks that language in Bloomberg globally.
Vertical, horizontal and mobile career development
Going back to why I chose Bloomberg Customer Support despite all the potential challenges. I attribute that to the career mobility and opportunities here. Career development is such a hot topic nowadays, and a lot of young people aren’t sure how to best navigate it. An important lesson that Bloomberg and my team taught me was that career development is neither just linear, nor just vertical. It’s about discovering your interests, identifying your key strengths and pursuing your career accordingly.
In my 12 months at Bloomberg, I’ve known people who moved to completely different departments, different global locations, different positions within the same team and even just different responsibilities at the same position. But that’s Bloomberg. To testify to the career mobility, I recently moved to Corporate Communications for a 6-month assignment, a valuable opportunity and an unconventional arrangement.
The work life: culture is everything
I truly believe that company culture is one of the most important aspects that anyone should consider in their work life. While there are many things I want to share about Bloomberg’s culture, the ones I find most unique are its openness, action-driven practices and philanthropic efforts.
Transparency in the office is literally visible from the open desk layout, glass-walled conference rooms to the zero offices; this physical space creates an environment for “openness” that I felt every day.
The company also encourages employees to take action. The advantage of working like this is that it promotes innovation and efficiency. For example, I mentioned to a team leader casually that I would like to be trained for Cantonese, and a few days later I was already in shadowing sessions listening to calls. Of course, it wouldn’t have happened without supportive managers who also embody the corporate culture.
The last aspect is philanthropy, not just in terms of our leader, Mike Bloomberg’s public presence in climate change summits and various other initiatives; it’s the individual actions that employees execute. Every employee is entitled to a company donation of $2,500 to any Bloomberg supported non-profit, once he or she completes 25 hours of service in a calendar year. In addition, I’m excited for my day trip of service to Batam, Indonesia this November to help build shelters and homes.
This past year of being an adult in the working world has been a fantastic, wild – but fulfilling ride. I am still not perfect in handling difficult situations; still not sophisticated in building my career network; and still feel fearful about all the uncertainties in the future. But at the end of the day, all of these are parts of the most precious experience, and I am as passionate and eager like I was on day one.
Interested in joining the Bloomberg Customer Support team? Explore our open roles across the globe here.