Hessa Alarifi | Community Happiness | Operations Internship Experience

8 months ago, I was looking for a co-op training opportunity. Although the university offers a few opportunities to practice our co-op, I decided to explore more and look for an opportunity that suits me better. I wanted to work with small teams, have exposure over all aspects of the company, and communicate with multiple departments to learn how companies work. 

After extensive research, I’ve stumbled upon Sabbar. I truly believed that it will help me grow especially after checking the company’s website and social media (I promise I’m not a stalker) 😂. I was very interested and loved the concept and value of what Sabbar offers. As a curious person, I was wondering why they are called Sabbar? What’s the relationship between hourly work and cactus…? and it’s something I wanted to go through to understand. 👀

Being an Economics graduate, I applied for a Business Development role, but I was surprised to be offered an internship as a Community Happiness Hero. I’m sure you’re wondering how is this related to the original role? But I’ll tell you one quote that I constantly remind myself of, which is to “just keep swimming 🐠” -Dory from Finding Nemo. I decided to keep swimming and accepted the offer because I loved Sabbar’s culture and it seems like I could learn something from this role!

On my first day as a community happiness hero, Sabbar team welcomed me, and they were so lovely. In that moment, I really felt like I am a valuable addition to the incredible team! I remember the first company meeting I attended. I was surprised and so happy! I loved how everyone encouraged and listened to each other. I also loved how everyone is so diverse but yet the same. There could be 4 people from 4 different backgrounds but they love the same hilarious episode from a canceled TV show that aired 6 years ago. 👯‍♂️

Shoutout to Raida, the best marketing person ever 🤍

Community happiness ✊

I started as a Community Service agent, or as Sabbar calls it, “Community Happiness Hero,” where we communicate and help our hourly workers (we call them “giggers ” from the word gig). At the time, Sabbar was in its growing phases; we had thousands of tickets unresponded to, and the department wasn’t established yet. I was the first member in it! The role was new, very intense, and demanding, which needed someone urgently to basically wing it.

I had a brief on-boarding and had to dive deep in my work within my first week. I was taught how to use Zendesk (a cloud-based help desk management solution) and the company brand tone by the fantastic marketing manager. She was handling part of the tickets temporarily. She was so patient and calm, and then I was told to take-off! 🛫 I had to teach myself by interacting with all departments to get the knowledge required to help me do my tasks efficiently. 

At first, I was excited. And I liked watching the number of tickets go down. The thing about customer service is that it’s hard to feel a sense of achievement easily. I solve 200 tickets a day, and the next day I find the same number, and here it goes again 🐠. I found a way that helped me feel accomplished which is to write the daily target number of solved tickets. Then, I would butcher my notebook by starting to check ✔ check ✔ check ✔ until I achieve my goal, which made me feel really proud of my work.

I learned a valuable lesson in my first month, which is to continuously observe and ask many questions 🐠. It is such a fun experience to discover everything on your own!

Community Chatbot 🤖

As I responded to tickets, I did some side projects, which included weekly reports of the most common problems and my suggested solutions. After 2 months, we wanted to create a chatbot that will enhance the community experience. I was asked to prepare a mind map that includes all of the common issues and their responses. I enjoyed creating it because it included everything I faced and dealt with to make the process more efficient. It felt really satisfying to sum up everything in one mind map and It made me believe in the power of technology to solve our problems! 💪

Coming up: Roller-Coaster Ride – Part 2

After spending 3 wild months in community happiness, my manager asked me If I wanted to move to the operations department. I was frightened but excited. An operation officer manages a lot of accounts and ensures that their experience is smooth and perfect. They contact the partner, understand their requirements, assign suitable giggers to the gigs, and keep an eye on everything that happens for giggers during their work. They also handle last-minute cancellations 🐠 and work to solve the issues with the partner.

One of the first partners I handled had a difficult case. There was a miscommunication between us and the partner, which required me to bridge the gap and contact each gigger to explain the issue to. It was really challenging for me because I found myself suddenly caught up in a lot of responsibilities 🐠. I learned how to solve problems quickly and how to report issues and I gained the title “most active” in our 911-tech-issues Slack channel. 😎

Regardless, I enjoyed helping giggers and being part of their learning experience. That’s why I did not mind working on weekends 🐠 for the purpose of creating a fun and valuable learning experience. I was handed a big responsibility but seeing the impact of my work and how giggers enjoy their time during the shifts made me proud. It was really rewarding to help those partners and find their matching giggers! 

Working with the operations team was so exceptionally weird and amazing. Starting with the Operation Director, Ahmad Abuazza, who always used to say “أحب المشاكل” 😳. He taught me how to enjoy approaching problems and challenge myself to solve them. Then, I worked with Joud, the Operations Officer, who I look up to. She always has 99 problems yet she maintains a positive vibe. I learned from her how to take it easy and deal with issues calmly. 

I am grateful to always have had the support of my teammates. With their help, I discovered my capabilities and learned how to ask for help. Working with Sabbar taught me how to discover my strengths and weaknesses, explore myself, and find passion in my work. 🧡

After my 6-month internship, I am honored to be offered a full-time job as Operations Officer. I am happy to keep creating memorable experiences for giggers and helping them discover themselves!

Hessa Alarifi
Economics Graduate
Princess Nourah University