Taking her career to new heights

Ellen Yan, Business Development Manager, Stuff

At Tech Futures Lab, we often talk about finding purpose or your ‘why?’ For Ellen Yan, it was to reach new heights in her role as Business Development Manager for leading media giant Stuff.


“My why, was to elevate myself within my workplace.”

 

And elevate she did.

Having seen first-hand how quickly the customer service landscape was changing, she decided to develop a chatbot to improve and future-proof Stuff’s customer experience.

Stuff currently employs a team of nine customer service staff.  On a pro-rata basis, the business would need to have a team of 47 customer service staff to service 50,000 customers.  For business operations, the use of a chatbot would help optimize customer service efficiencies to manage customer needs as well as mitigate the potential need for significant added headcount.
 

Essentially, this is about preparing for the future in order to continue customer support as the company scales up. In addition, adding value to the customer experience to increase customer loyalty.

“Strategically it can be treated as a testing ground for a potential rollout to other Stuff business entities, ultimately adding substantial value to the entire Stuff portfolio.”

The iteration, testing and development of a chatbot has not only provided untold benefits for Stuff; for Ellen The Master of Technological Futures has instilled a new sense of purpose. "It’s given me confidence and open-mindedness in emergent, disruptive technology space, but also enabled me to explore an area outside my skill set and allowed me to move within the chatbot space. It’s given me a boost in confidence and work have seen that, and I have been given a promotion!”


Ellen had been contemplating a MBA, but was  converted by  the practicality of the Master of Technological Futures: one year study as opposed to three and the applied elements versus 100% theory. 

She was also drawn to  Tech Futures’ unique learning environment.

“I was impressed from the very first time I walked into the Lab. I resonated with both current students and advisors, engaging in very easy, intelligent conversations.” 


Other highlights  included exposure to industry experts at the forefront of new and emergent global trends and the opportunity to apply a real-life business project within her company that extended beyond her normal scope of work.

“I was very fortunate to be supported by Stuff, not only for the time off during the initial immersion phase. They continued their support by allowing me to perform my current role over four days, and spend the fifth day on my project. It was a no brainer.”

And Ellen’s message to others is to urge their employers to support them too. “You have to be brave. Talk to your current employer. A lot of employers don't have time to explore the emerging and disruptive space, so it's a win win for the employer, to have someone to dive into that space so they’re not left behind.

“I look forward to my project going live. I can proudly say I played a significant part in bringing the project to life for Stuff Fibre. It’s a great feeling of achievement.

“I’ve carved another option in terms of my career.”
 

Related video: Welcome to Tech Futures Lab

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Tech Futures Lab is an education facility of The Mind Lab, a NZQA registered Tertiary Education Organisation under the provisions of the Education Act 1989. 

Candidates studying the Master of Technological Futures are enrolled with The Mind Lab which is approved by NZQA to award this qualification.