If you are a member of South Africa’s largest online market research panel
, you have probably been contacted by “Frontdesk” (email@example.com
) at one point or another. Contrary to popular belief, this mailbox isn’t some unmanned, spam box lying in a deserted storage room. It’s actually the busiest mailbox at ConsultaPanel, receiving thousands of e-mails, requests, suggestions and queries every day.
The person behind all these super polite and helpful mail and replies is Sharine! She’s the Panel Administrator here at ConsultaPanel and she’s probably the kindest, most patient person you will ever meet. She also smells like flowers.
We decided to put Sharine through our 7 Deadly Questions Interview (you will be seeing this more often over the next few months) so that you can get to know her better. Next time you send a query about your vouchers or online surveys to firstname.lastname@example.org, say “whazzup, Sharine?” or use a little emoticon in your mail (she likes that kind of thing).
Here's the Q&A session we had with Sharine.
7 deadly questions with Sharine:
1. What’s your career history and how did you become involved in ConsultaPanel?
I have been working for quite a few years. I started out at Spur of all places - working under aged and dressed like an Indian (I still laugh about this). Then I moved on to retail. I worked at Look&Listen for a while, then Dischem and finally Jenni Button.
One of my very talented and gracious lecturers at Varsity College (Ingrid Olivier) mentioned that a company she did consulting work for needed a panel administrator and I took a chance and submitted my CV. The rest is history.
2. As the panel administrator, you often have to deal with difficult people.
Tell us about the top two most difficult calls you’ve ever received while working here?
Hmmm... I have to admit that while I do have to deal with angry panel members at times; the nice and polite panel members outweigh them. So let us rather focus on the nice, gracious people.
(Note from editor: I hassled Sharine for over 20 minutes to get a good story out of her – she has many – but she refused. You will have to take her out for coffee to get the real horror stories)
3. You’re the community member activist – always fighting for community members’ rights, making sure they get the awards they deserve. What are some of the compliments you’ve received from these community members that you stick up for?
Well, we had a scenario were some of the panel members were mistreated by an external company who conducted some of Consulta’s focus groups. I this case, the panel members took a lot of time out of their busy day to actually drive to the venue, just to be shown away. When I heard this, I was very upset. Therefore, I sprung into action and they all received their well-deserved incentives. I received the nicest
e-mails from these panel members and one of them donated their incentive to the SPCA (which made my day)!
4. You seem to be on a lot of medication – list your illnesses and malfunctions (in order of most severe to most manageable)?
(Note from editor: Sharine's desk was raided after this evasive answer, it seems she has severe hay fever and pollen allergies. Sorry no story here)
5. Everyone in the company thinks you’re smoking hot.
How do you deal with all the inappropriate advances? Would you like to give some information about your love life?
(Laughing uncontrollably) You must be imagining things! However, on a serious note, I am in a committed relationship of almost nine years with the most wonderful man alive!
6. Your boss is one of those “big picture” type of guys who likes to make up his own words – but you two seem to understand each other well (this can be assumed from all the head-nodding that happens during meetings). What’s cool about working with Stephan (ConsultaPanel’s executive)?
Well, Stephan is a free spirit and he isn’t one of those nosy bosses peeking over your shoulder all the time. He gives us room to express our creativity and help take the panel to the next level. Stephan is also a people’s person and has genuine empathy for others.
7. This question has been divided into five True / False questions. Please simply answer True / False
7.a. Driving a Prius offsets famine? True
7.b. Selena Gomez is the star of Modern Family? False - I love Mitchell and Cameron
7.c. Centurion is a great place to live? True
7.d. The world we be a better place without politics? True
7.e. I understand – and can explain – what quantum theory is? False