Helping young work-seekers change their lives for the better is all in a day’s work for Harambee contact centre agent Thapelo Kwenane, but his dedication and amazing results have seen him awarded international recognition and the title of CX Hero at the Genesys G-Summit Europe in Amsterdam.
Kwenane, a call centre agent at the not-for-profit Harambee Youth Employment Accelerator, is tasked with helping young work-seekers find suitable jobs and work experiences. “We make calls to candidates all day long, sometimes not realising the impact we make in the candidate’s lives,” he says.
But finding a job – particularly the right job – is life-changing for the successful candidates. For example, one of Kwenane’s assignments saw him matching a 27-year-old man in rural Bizana with an international job opportunity.
Kwenane explains: “The candidate had been looking for a job for 10 years – since he finished his schooling. Anyone can imagine how frustrating that can be, especially to a 27-year-old whose faith and hope had faded. Living in a rural area can hinder a person from getting information about jobs, so he heard about Harambee from a friend and decided to apply.
“People told him it was a scam and that it was too good to be true, but he believed and trusted me on the call and allowed me to help him. As a result, he got a life-changing job opportunity in Turkey that would allow him to earn a living for the first time.”
Genesys CX Heroes is an international award programme highlighting the importance of the human touch in customer service. The accolade CX Hero is bestowed on Genesys customer agents who go beyond the norm to deliver excellence in customer service.
Kwenane’s CX Hero award is the first to a South African, but it is not the first Genesys award for Harambee. In 2018, Harambee was awarded the Genesys Customer Innovation Award for ‘CX Game Changer: Best Story of Making a Difference with CX Technology’ at the Genesys conference, CX18.
Jacques Jonker, contact centre manager at Harambee, says: “We all notice and appreciate great customer service. And being on the frontline of a customer-centric business, like Harambee, can be a difficult task at times. Thapelo, and every agent like him in our contact centre, work every day to change the lives of young work-seekers.
“Genesys, the technology provider that we use in our Contact Centre, runs a programme to recognise and reward contact centre agents all over the world that use their technology in order to help their customers — in our case, our young work-seeking candidates. Earlier this year, Genesys via our partner Pivotal Data, invited all Harambee Contact Centre agents to enter into their CX Heroes competition. We are humbled that our very own Thapelo Kwenane has been awarded the Genesys CX Hero award.”
Kwenane adds: “Any call we make may potentially change the course of a life. It can impact more than only the candidate’s life, but also that of their families and the greater community. To me, it’s not just a call to a candidate, it is a life line, a game changer and the light at the end of a potentially dark tunnel.”