Q&A with Badou, Customer Support Associate
Autonomy and freedom was one of the main reasons why I joined and why I stay here. I’m a basketball player so being able to have flexibility and a life outside of work is important to me.
Last year I was recruited to play basketball in Australia. It was amazing to be allowed to work remotely from there for 3 months. After my assignment, I stayed in Australia for 4 months, and TransferWise allowed me to come back to my job once I returned to the States. I’m grateful for the flexibility I’ve had here – I don’t know any other company that would’ve given me this opportunity.
Why did you join TransferWise?
I was looking for a job and came across TransferWise. Reading about the culture got me excited about the opportunity. I’m a basketball player, so for me, it’s important to have a strong team atmosphere at work.
Also, as I’m originally from Senegal, I’ve experienced the struggle of sending money back home and getting ripped off by bank fees. So I could relate to the product and felt strongly about the mission.
In a nutshell, what do you do at TransferWise?
In the Transfer Status team, we help customers with any questions and issues about the progress of their transfer. I support our customers on the phone and by email in both English and French.
I’m also a champion for Transfer Status, meaning I work with Product Managers and Engineers to make sure we can present our platform to our customers in the best possible way. To make sure our communication with them is seamless.
What’s the biggest challenge working here?
Things change very quickly here. Every day when you come in, you have to go through product updates – there might be 10 different things that have changed every day. In the beginning, it was very challenging to keep up with all the new information. I’m always reminded of this when I mentor our newbies. You get used to it, but you have to be adaptable and open to change.
What’s the most interesting project you’ve worked on?
Helping our Product team to launch West African Currency XOF, the currency of my home country Senegal. I helped the team to understand the culture and how people use their bank accounts and details in Senegal. Having sent money home before using another company, I knew how much people were getting ripped off, and it was frustrating. So it was really interesting and rewarding to help out the people in my home country. When we launched, TransferWise was doing test transfers to my mom’s account!
Most interesting place you’ve used your TransferWise card?
I’ll be going back home to Senegal in December, so I’ll use it there. I’m so excited about it!
What’s the biggest mistake you’ve made at TransferWise and what did you do to fix it?
One case that sticks in my mind was when a customer emailed about an issue and was threatening to use our competitor. As we couldn’t resolve their issue, I replied and said that in this case, it makes sense for them to use the competitor. I was trying to be transparent and customer-focused. However, it backfired as the customer posted a screenshot of my email response on Twitter, framing the message like I was saying they shouldn’t use our service. This case taught me to really think through how I communicate and leave no space for misinterpretation.
What’s the most unusual job you’ve ever done?
In college, I worked as a librarian. I really needed the money, and I was on a scholarship, but during the summer I was only allowed to work on-campus. It was a very quiet, boring job, and I had to stand up all day every day, which was awkward as I’m 6’7. Everyone could always see me and came to ask questions about basketball. My coworkers called me the tallest librarian in the world!
Tell us about something extraordinary you’ve done
I’m a professional basketball player. I started playing back home in Senegal and was asked to come to the States to do a summer camp in 2011, followed by playing in Vegas and Chicago. I went back home to Senegal and the next thing I knew my coach messaged me to ask if I want to finish high school in the States while playing. So I moved here permanently and later got recruited to play in college, where we won two championships, while I completed my studies in Economics. It’s been quite a journey – my career has taken me all around the world. I even played in Australia and Switzerland.
What’s your side hustle?
I have a business that I’ve been working on for the past 1.5 years. It’s still under construction, but will be sort of like LinkedIn for athletes. It will help them showcase their basketball resume and accomplishments as well as their interests outside of this. From there, athletes can use the platform to find internships and roles they can do alongside their basketball schedule. Since less than 2% of all basketball players make it to the big league, it’s important for athletes to prepare for their future outside of basketball.
Tell us about a time you went out of your way to help a customer
Once this elderly couple called me at the end of my night shift. At the start of the call, I knew it was going to be a long one. They even needed me to help them explain how to log into their computer.
I helped them to log in, install Google Chrome, create an account, access their email and finally verify themselves with the selfie. I even helped them to take their photo with a web camera. Once it came to making their first transfer, they didn’t know how to use a cheque. So I Googled the type of check their bank gave out and explained which numbers to enter in. The call took almost 2 hours, and I left the office at 1.30 am, even though I was supposed to finish my shift at midnight. But as I left, I felt really good for sticking around and helping them sign up and complete their transfer.
Favourite slack group?
#tampa-team – people share random facts, photos and memes. It really brings our whole office together.