These are not your average sales or customer service jobs. At EF Education First, they’re all about helping teachers and students discover the world through travel.
That’s the reason John Abbott College Publication Design and Hypermedia Technology graduate Chelsea Quinn joined EF in August 2010 as a Sales Associate. “Having travelled on an EF trip in high school, I know what a difference our products make in the lives of young people,” she says.
“Working at EF is like experiencing all the great things about travel on a daily basis while at the same time building a career at a company that encourages creativity, independence, change and personal growth.”
—Ani Novshadian, Customer Service Representative, EF Education First
“It’s not like selling life insurance because I know that, at the end of the day, the trip I’m selling to a teacher is going to change a young person’s life in amazing ways.” She’s now a Tour Manager in the company’s Western Canada Sales department.
Meanwhile, Ani Novshadian, a York University – Glendon Campus French studies graduate (pictured above attending EF’s Season Kick-Off party at Woodbine Racetrack), was attracted to EF when she found out that they actively promote the ongoing development of all of their employees.
“Working at EF is like experiencing all the great things about travel on a daily basis while at the same time building a career at a company that encourages creativity, independence, change and personal growth,” she says. “It was very important to me to find a company where I know my opinions and suggestions are acknowledged and seriously considered. I know I am making a difference.”
She joined the company as a Customer Service Representative in August 2010 after studying in France for a year and volunteering to promote exchange programs.
Both Ani and Chelsea work at EF’s downtown Toronto headquarters. Keep reading to find out what a day in the life of a new grad Tour Manager and Customer Service Representative at EF Education First is like:
Starting the day
Chelsea: I’m usually up around 7 a.m. and out of the house by 8:30 to get to work for 9 a.m. My morning routine at work is to let my computer boot up while I make tea in the staff kitchen.
Ani: I wake up and have a big breakfast before commuting to the office on the subway. I like to make myself a hot cup of tea in the kitchen before settling at my desk to begin the workday.
Mornings at EF
Chelsea: My mornings are dedicated to answering emails that have come in overnight, calling established clients to provide or ask for information, and calling new clients to guide them through the enrollment process for their tour. Given that I work with teachers from Western Canada, I need to utilize “peak call times” to reach a maximum number of clients. For example, from 9-10 a.m. I call teachers from Manitoba and Saskatchewan; from 10-11, teachers from Alberta; and from 11-12, teachers from British Columbia.
Ani: In the morning I reply to emails and voicemails that were left the night before by the students who travel with us and their parents. I also follow up on specific accounts that I have been working on.
Chelsea: In the spring and summer I may head out with colleagues for lunch, or simply walk around Yorkville for an hour. Alternatively, during the busy season, I often take a quick walk over to the grocery store to pick up a salad before heading back to the office to get some administrative work done. Because of those “peak calling times,” the dead time between the end of morning prep in B.C. and lunch hours starting in Manitoba is downtime that I can use to catch up on more emails and paperwork that have been requested during my morning calls.
Ani: During my lunch hour, I eat in the office lunch room because it gives me a chance to socialize with my colleagues who work in different departments at EF. It’s also a great opportunity to run errands because our downtown Toronto office is surrounded by banks, grocery stores, shopping centres, restaurants and book stores.
All about afternoons
Chelsea: The afternoon is much like the morning. I make calls during peak call times. Specific tasks might include sending forms, collecting or confirming information, and organizing and sending recruitment materials to teachers.
Meetings or training activities are usually scheduled for the afternoon as well. There are dozens of training sessions that take place over a given sales season to keep us all up-to-date on new products or methods of operating. Generally, one afternoon each week we will have a team meeting to ensure that we’re all on the same page with our goals for the week and that everyone is contributing to said goals. It’s also a chance to discuss ideas, frustrations and successes with the team.
Ani: In the afternoon, I work with parents and students by telephone and email. I talk to them about travel and help them get ready for their tours, answering any questions they have. I also attend team meetings, special training activities and presentations on new products that EF offers.
Calling it a day
Chelsea: I generally wrap up my day by taking note of what I didn’t have time to finish so I can get to it first thing the next morning. The nature of my job is to make sure all the tiny details of a tour are taken care of – there is a never-ending list of things to do. The key to success is to prioritize what needs to be done today versus what can wait until tomorrow.
Ani: I review any accounts that require special attention and make sure all pending issues for the day have been resolved. I also review my schedule for the following day and take some time to chat with my co-workers before leaving the office.
The best part of their jobs at EF
Chelsea: My favourite part of my job is when I hang up the phone knowing I’ve made a really good call. I get a lot of satisfaction from knowing that I’ve helped meet a client’s needs and answered their questions.
Ani: My favourite part of my job is speaking with students who are enrolled in tours with EF. I love hearing their excitement about getting to travel, and sharing my personal travel experiences with them. I find it very rewarding when I help students overcome their fear and anxiety to start looking forward to the unforgettable experiences they will have when they travel with EF.