Martin Chetty’s career journey began far from the bustling Startek® offices. An unexpected shift redirected his path away from the open road to the call center floor, beginning a successful career in customer experience (CX). Today he proudly wears the mantle of Senior Manager, Operations at Startek South Africa.
In this blog, Martin recounts his unconventional career development, the exciting opportunities that came his way and the twists and turns that have brought him where he is today.
“As I stand here overlooking the busy and vibrant operations within Startek, I can't help but reflect on the winding path that brought me to this point. It's an unconventional journey, to say the least. Long before I was making strategic decisions and leading teams, I was driving trucks navigating the vast highways and byways of the country. My career took an unexpected turn when I joined Startek as a call center agent. The experience of transitioning from a trucker to a Senior Manager in Operations has been remarkable and I want to share my story with you.
While my journey began on the open road, the desire for something more was always there. Switching careers from trucking to a call center role was a crucial decision in my career. As a trucking contractor, I faced numerous challenges.
My salary was low and trucking doesn’t offer many growth opportunities. Spending hours on the road each day, I encountered risks and dangers that made me reassess my priorities. It was a deeply personal choice, one driven by the desire for a brighter future. The turning point came when a friend recommended me for an agent role at Startek. I decided to give it a shot unsure of what to expect. The transition was undoubtedly challenging, but it was a challenge I eagerly embraced.
What sets Startek apart is its commitment to nurturing talent. I seized every opportunity for growth. I undertook training and leadership programs and was fortunate to have managers who saw potential in me. As I honed my skills, I moved from one role to another gradually climbing the ranks. The experience I gained as a call center agent formed the bedrock of my understanding of the business.
From the very beginning, I realized the importance of delivering top-notch customer service. My dedication and attention to detail ultimately led to a promotion to team lead and then to assistant manager. As an assistant manager, I continued to evolve, developing leadership skills and a deeper understanding of the clients' requirements. Startek fosters a culture of continuous learning, offering a wide range of training and development programs that allowed me to upskill. I took advantage of these opportunities and soon found myself promoted to manager. It was in this position that I learned to analyze data and leverage that insight to make well-informed decisions. It also gave me the opportunity to develop the people skills I needed to communicate effectively with both team members and managers. This phase was instrumental in preparing me for broader responsibilities ahead.
The focus on Work Together - one of the Startek values resonates deeply with me and is one of the key aspects that has made this journey extraordinary. At Startek it's not just about individuals excelling in isolation, it's about teamwork and collaboration because working together is a fundamental part of our company values and culture. In my role, working together goes beyond just achieving common objectives - it's about fostering a culture of innovation, open communication and a sense of unity that's essential in our dynamic industry. I've seen firsthand how collaboration not only improves individual performance but also elevates the collective potential of our teams.
My journey so far has by no means been a solo endeavor. It was made possible by the guidance of my mentors and leaders, the encouragement and support of my colleagues and the opportunities provided by Startek. I've been fortunate to have incredible managers who have played an instrumental role in shaping my career growth. Their invaluable guidance and mentorship gave me with the direction I needed to grow and succeed. They not only shared their knowledge and expertise but also encouraged me to step out of my comfort zone and take on new challenges. Their feedback whether constructive or complimentary, has been a driving force behind my professional development.
Fast forward to today, I now hold the position of Senior Manager in Operations. I'm responsible for leading a talented team and overseeing the successful management of our operations. It's a role that I cherish as it allows me to use my experiences and skills to make a real impact within the company.
My journey is a testament to the belief that career success isn't bound by where you start but by your commitment to improve and grow continually. For me it has always been about seizing opportunities, embracing change and constant learning. The leadership and interpersonal abilities I've developed working as an agent have been invaluable in managing complex operations. This brings me to why I recommend starting your career as a call center agent. It is not just a job, it's a chance to grow, to evolve and to become a better version of yourself. Don't hesitate, take that first step and you may be amazed by where it leads you.”
To learn more about open roles at Startek, visit our careers page.