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FXhome has been growing rapidly for the last few years, both in terms of the number of staff and the number of products that we’re developing and selling. Long gone are the simple, innocent days of selling a single product (hello, AlamDV!) as we now have distinct video and photo lines plus a range of accessory products. Given that having a close and two-way relationship with our users has always been a priority we knew we needed more staff with responsibility for customer interaction, which is how Angie Symonds joined the FXhome team.
If you’ve purchased a boxed product from us or submitted a sales support ticket at any point since last October you will have probably encountered Angie. Angie’s role is every bit as important to the overall FXhome experience as the guys coding the software, so we thought it was time we put her in the spotlight.
1. How did you find out about the FXhome job?
Early one morning I saw the position advertised on the local newspaper’s website. I submitted my C.V. [those of you across the pond call them ‘resumes’ –Tarn] and got a call from the recruitment agent about half an hour later. We had a chat and then he put me forward for the interview.
2. Did you know anything about FXhome before you started working here?
Not specifically, however I do recall seeing a feature on TV, on the local news programme featuring Josh and Simon showcasing some special effects which was quite random. [this would probably have been way back in 2002, so Angie’s got a good memory! –Tarn]
3. What were you doing before starting at FXhome?
I was a full time mum and a part time swimming teacher. My youngest son started school only two weeks before I joined FXhome. Before I had my children I lived in San Francisco and Seattle with my husband who was working out there and before that I was an air hostess for a while.
4. Being on the front line means you have to be friendly and helpful to customers at all times, even if you're having a bad day. How do you keep a calm head?
Customers always want to feel valued, and I try to treat each customer's questions as individually as possible, so when you come across 'challenging tickets' it’s normally because they are frustrated and not achieving what they want to. Just questioning them further and trying to understand their situation usually gets a positive result in the end.
6. You joined FXhome at the start of our major growth period. What's it been like seeing the company double in size in such a short time? Have there been many changes to the office atmosphere?
The office atmosphere is great, lots of fun people with different interests and personalities. Sometimes I forget how many people we now employ as it changes so often. [It’s 18 if you include the new guy starting in September! Yes, another one... – Tarn]
7. You also regularly teach swimming classes. How long have you been doing that and what attracted you to teaching?
I have been teaching for around 4 years now. My mum was a swimming teacher for around 30 years and it wasn't until she retired that I took it up. I was always a keen swimmer and only started teaching as the hours fitted in with the children!
8. Do you see swimming as something to enjoy, or an important survival skill?
I always try to promote the safety aspect of being able to swim whether I am teaching a child or adult. When you are able to keep yourself and others safe you are then able to move on to enjoy water for fun and fitness.
9. You've also got a family at home to look after. How do you juggle everything and still find time to relax?
I really enjoy being a working mum. I normally work during school hours only which is brilliant, and I only now teach on a Saturday mornings so they get to go and do 'boy' stuff like bug hunting and climbing trees with their Dad. Sometimes the children can be exhausting but they also like to settle down on a Saturday afternoon and watch a good film with me which we all enjoy.
10. Kids growing up in the 2010s have all kinds of creative outlets that simply didn't exist 10-20 years ago. As a parent, what do you think of affordable and accessible technologies like video editing and visual effects?
My boys are now 5 and 7. Ed, the oldest, has a good knowledge of technology. He has his own laptop and TV in his bedroom and he also has an MP4 player and digital camera. He understands technology more than me and hopefully by the time he is ten or so he will have knowledge of our FXhome products too. I think as long as they are interested enough and committed then I should do my best to encourage that skill and interest. I think the support that FXhome can give young users of our software is invaluable to parents and their children alike.
As always, a big thank you to our spotlight subject! Next week we’re going to be talking to Geraint Abbott, known as ‘Geggs’ to his friends and ‘Arktic’ on the FXhome.com forums, about the trials and tribulations of working in the UK TV industry.