I did a full-time internship at a multinational consulting company when I was in college that required an 80 kilometer commute every day. While employed, I started working on an outsourcing project that provided customer service support to employees of a multinational company who were users of SAP enterprise software. I had not been formally trained to use the SAP system myself, yet I was getting at least 15 customer service tickets per day from users reporting all sorts of issues, from simple queries to very complex system errors.
In my first week there I was informed that knowing how to speak Spanish and English would be useful, as the customer’s locations were not limited to Brazilian cities. So, in the same weekend I signed up for language classes, even though I already had a full schedule. This turned out to be a good decision because after only six months I began to receive tickets from Argentina, Colombia, Mexico and other countries.
At first it was difficult to communicate on the phone with Spanish and English speakers, as my vocabulary was quite limited. But with patience on both sides, I was able to understand the issues and was able to provide an immediate solution whenever possible or to get more details for further analysis. I learned a great deal from this… not only about communicating in other languages but also about the system. This made me a better Systems Analyst.
At the end of the day, I was able to close more tickets with better solutions in a shorter period of time and for this reason I was hired by the company, once my internship ended. In short, I believe expanding one’s knowledge requires a lot of additional effort but it paid off, in my case.