Mbira Technologies Reviews | Glassdoor

Mbira Technologies Reviews

Updated June 19, 2017
13 reviews

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2.4
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Mark Schoenhals
4 Ratings

13 Employee Reviews

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  1. "This place has changed quite a bit since 2014"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Customer Service Representative in Chicago, IL
    Current Employee - Customer Service Representative in Chicago, IL
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Mbira Technologies full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Call center management has improved significantly. It's clear that executives have made it a priority to make the call center a good work environment and not the toxic hell it used to be. When I started it was pretty bad but not as bad as it used to be before that.

    There is a lot of stuff to learn but they have improved the training substantially since I started. Every day you are shadowing/talking to someone who is working there so you get a better idea of how things actually work in practice. After about three days on the job it's about as easy as it will ever be.

    Consistent good work seems to be recognized and appreciated more than it used to. Advancement is slow unless you want to go to the accounts department. The sales team is cool to be on because you get access to extra bonuses and essentially just get paid more. More on that below, though.

    Very flexible time off. You can pretty much get whatever you want off with decent notice (I've never been told no) and you can even get time off during the holiday season if you ask early enough. You get a decent amount of PTO each year as well.

    The building is cool too. I wish they would finish the studio that's like 80% built in there. It just needs a ceiling and monitors in the live room. There's also free beer last friday of every month and it's good beer too.

    Cons

    There are still a few holdovers in call center management from the dark times who still have cold or abrasive styles. They have chilled out considerably, though. There is still kind of a "boys club" vibe among management since they all sit together now. I think a lot of the CSR pool ( especially newcomers) would feel more welcome if leaders were dispersed.

    A few people on the sales team get paid way more than everybody else. They do a lot of sales, sure, but it's ridiculous what their base pay is, since on top of that there are 2-3 team bonuses and other individual bonuses that these dudes make almost all the time if not every week. They cut a lot of corners to ensure they get that stuff every week too, which leads to bad customer service outcomes. I would rather work in an environment that prioritizes customer service rather than meeting metrics. It's not like the phones are the only way, or even the main way we make money. A lot of times you end up picking up these guy's pieces while at the same moment they are stealing sales you set up.

    They used to be very strict about showing up on time, and would nix your bonus if you were even one minute late. I think they still do that but that's some straight garbage- if you made the company enough money to earn a bonus then you should get it. This is not the sort of place where if you are 5-10 minutes late it would make a difference. Supervisors and members of other departments do not have penalties like this, and routinely show up even later with regularity.

    Some of the training still needs work. We need to know *why* something is done the way it is. We need to see what the customer is seeing. We need to know what the options are if certain situations arise. Some management is great about explaining details like this, others not so much.

    About 5 other people in the building besides you will help keep the common areas clean. The rest trash it, leave dishes in the sink (there are two god damn dishwashers), empty coffee pots / water jugs and not re-fill them, and leave their garbage in the fridges and dry storage, to where the guy who's job it is to go through that every month fills up several huge garbage bags full of these people's rotten food. There also aren't quite enough toilets (if you're male).

    Advice to Management

    Hire more. Every department seems understaffed. If you pay more, more people will apply and they are usually better. If you pay low wages, you get low wage work. Pay here is not great and really needs to be $1-2 more all around for it to start coming close to what is appropriate. I don't expect that to change any time soon. Encourage more verbal communication among call center employees. People should get up from their desks and talk to each other.


  2. Helpful (2)

    "Don't Work Here"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Customer Service Representative in Chicago, IL
    Former Employee - Customer Service Representative in Chicago, IL
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at Mbira Technologies full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    Coffee, cheap gear, good location

    Cons

    Bad management, bad communication, bad system, no sense of management caring about the employees

    Advice to Management

    Train folks well if you want them to do well. Get off your instant messenger and actually talk to people.


  3. Helpful (1)

    "Good exposure, terrible pay"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Reporting Specialist in Chicago, IL
    Former Employee - Reporting Specialist in Chicago, IL
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at Mbira Technologies full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    - got to wear a lot of different hats, good exposure for new grads or career transitioners
    - small shop, not much pressure
    - relaxed culture

    Cons

    - below average pay
    - thoughts and opinions were not respected unless you were one of the direct reports to the Director
    - A/B testing died the death of a thousand analyses

    Advice to Management

    Listen to your employees and don't stick so strictly to hierarchies.


  4. Helpful (5)

    "It's ok"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Call Center in Chicago, IL
    Former Employee - Call Center in Chicago, IL

    I worked at Mbira Technologies full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    It's a great place to be to network with local musicians, and the gear discounts are a plus.

    Cons

    The environment is toxic and training is shotty. It's like if you have talented people - develop them.

    Advice to Management

    Develop the team you have and make changes to the environment.


  5. Helpful (1)

    "This employer respects my skills -- unlike the recording studios that fired me in the past"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Marketing/Content/Merchandising in Chicago, IL
    Current Employee - Marketing/Content/Merchandising in Chicago, IL
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Mbira Technologies full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    I'm part of the Merchandising/Content/Marketing team.
    - Huge discounts on instruments and audio gear (everyone's favorite perk)
    - Majority of employees are musicians/engineers -- I've found some musical collaborators as well as fans
    - Gear vendors come to the office to train us on the latest and greatest gear -- interesting and useful info
    - We have access to check out instruments and gear from the lending library and even some access to the on-site recording studio
    - Opportunity to go to the NAMM show
    - Management encourages us to bring our own ideas to the table and work independently
    - Hours are pretty flexible and not insanely long (as they were in my recording studio days)

    Cons

    - Between-department communication can be pretty bad. If you're on the marketing team, and you need something done by a web developer on the IT team, expect it to take months or years.
    - The company grows, but slowly. So advancements up through the ranks will happen slowly as well.

    Advice to Management

    This company is doing well financially, yet they are understaffed. Mbira always seems to have a huge backlog of projects to do, and not enough people to properly implement them. Why not reinvest profits by hiring more people?


  6. Helpful (4)

    "abysmal work environment"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Chicago, IL
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Chicago, IL
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Mbira Technologies full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    Hefty discounts on merchandise. That's about it, but I didn't last long enough to take advantage. It seemed like someone thought I wasn't worthy of this "honor".

    Cons

    Staff was very moody

    Training was intensive, but not effective

    previous knowledge of products not appreciated/recognized

    knee-jerk firings are commonplace

    Management was mean, rude, standoffish, and generally terrible

    Hipsters with awful bands (the gear is more important than the music, or even knowing anything about making music)

    minutiae is the name of the game

    questions about the job were often not answered or met with a groan. Often referred to an out-of-date and confusing "wiki", which didn't fully answer specific questions.

    upbeat personalities unwelcome

    boys club

    computer/phone system is confusing and ineffective. This leads to questions, which lead to nothing. I was fired for making tiny mistakes, easily rectified by verbal communication, which is unwelcome. Management's need to not be bothered overshadowed the job I was doing, and the needs of the customers.

    After I was "trained" enough to be on the phones, and had worked long enough to be included on the metrics board, in one week, I made #12 in the room, passing many workers who had been there for much longer. I suspect that this was part of the reason for my firing, as it happened the next day.

    When being disciplined for clerical errors, questions I had were dismissed, and it ultimately led someone to be annoyed with me, and I was fired.

    When I asked what I could do to be better, and asked exactly why I was being let go, the main supervisor asked me 'Are you arguing for your job back?' I said no, just asking what I could learn about myself for the future. He did not seem to know or care why I was being let go, someone had just told him that I was, and he stated that the decision had been made. I was then ushered out by security.

     After being treated so terribly, I wrote a letter to the CEO stating some of these issues, and indicating that I was not pleading for my job, but letting him know how I was treated. I received an unprofessional, one-line email back that simply stated, "I'm sorry it didn't work out."

    After thinking all of this over, I realized that the place is a credit scam. They get the customers on a high-interest payment plan for very expensive items (which they do not manufacture), pocket the exorbitant over-payments, and can repossess the items. Most of the customers were poor, from what I could tell over the phone. Churches seem to buy into the scam the most.

    Advice to Management

    Get over yourselves


  7. Helpful (2)

    "Great place to work as an active Chicago musician."

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Customer Service Representative in Chicago, IL
    Current Employee - Customer Service Representative in Chicago, IL
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Mbira Technologies full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    -Friendly and Like-Minded co-workers
    -Room for growth in the company
    -Incredible employee discount
    -Insurance Benefits
    -Good/ flexible hours
    -If you have a show and need someone to cover a shift its not a problem.
    -Well organized day-to-day objectives/ expectations
    -Build your knowledge of gear
    -Extremely nice supervisors (contrary to previous reviews)
    -I had some heath issues right when I started, I was a new employee and ended up missing about 1 month at first and then 3-4 months later that year. During my first stay in the hospital I got a card personally signed with little messages from every single employee and a prepaid gift card. I barely knew anyone there and this made me feel like I was part of a team, and that despite my lack of time with the company, I was highly valued.

    Cons

    -I honestly cant think of a fair con against working here. I get the impression that some of the other review were written by former employees who were upset. They make what seem to be some valid points, however, in my experience such issues have never presented themselves.

    Advice to Management

    Keep it up, you know what your doing and do it well.


  8. Helpful (4)

    "Mbira does not care about its employees"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Chicago, IL
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Chicago, IL
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at Mbira Technologies full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Great coworkers, sweet discount, decent work/life balance.

    Cons

    The call center manager will actively block you from advancing to another department if he'd rather you stay in the call center. There's definitely favoritism going on- only people who are disliked get disciplined. Pay is abysmal. They only care about sales numbers and hours worked, rather than the quality service you're giving.

    Advice to Management

    Try treating your call center employees like human beings if you want to fix your turnover rate.


  9. Helpful (4)

    "Nit Picking Pseudo Professionals"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Customer Service Representative in Chicago, IL
    Former Employee - Customer Service Representative in Chicago, IL
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook

    I worked at Mbira Technologies part-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    -Gear at Cost
    -Somewhat flexible hours if you willing to endure threats of getting your hours cut

    Cons

    -Passive aggressive management style. The company is basically run by a bunch of overgrown children who are pissed they are managing a call center and make up for it by taking the job too seriously.
    -Imagine a write up which can be for literally anything Management doesn't like with no sort of documentation as to what will get you a write up in the future, then after the write up management just pretends like it never happened and you're just all cool, until you get another write up.
    -What is 'unprofessional' for one person is okay for another person provided they are in with management
    -Multiple times in the write up process I was written up for things I didn't actually do.
    -Bonus structure creates and adverse incentive to take as many calls as possible as quickly as possible leading to errors which can lead to write ups.
    -Write ups are the only form of discipline and or correction on the job. After or before being written up expect little to no feedback on job performance.
    -Be prepared for cliquey environment where there is no process for applying for openings in high positions people are just chosen. At least in the call center.
    -Management in the call center seems very insecure in their authority. If you you get said write up, there is no opportunity for you to contest it. Managements favorite phrase is "Why are you arguing with me," Ideally in professional environments you can speak your mind to management while being respectful and they will listen to you. These kids are too worried about perceived insubordination that they immediately become defensive.

    Advice to Management

    -Act and treat your employees like adults.
    -Learn to take criticism
    -Document what will get some one written up
    -Overly scrutinizing the way your employees work is not professional.
    -Accept that your a call center manager and quit with the toxic attitude - you know who I'm talking about.


  10. Helpful (2)

    "Best customer service job for fake musicians in Chicago"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Customer Service Representative Online Sales in Chicago, IL
    Former Employee - Customer Service Representative Online Sales in Chicago, IL
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook

    I worked at Mbira Technologies full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    If I would've lasted about 60 more days I could have bought a deluxe tele for $700 off. But ebay does exist so I guess that's not much of a pro. There's coffee all the time and a toaster oven in the kitchen which I appreciate. Toaster oven doesn't work very well though. The girls who have classes below the office are very pretty and the view from the windows is very nice. I enjoyed talking to the customers. The work is fine and enjoyable, it's the system and the culture of the office that is way messed up.

    Cons

    It's an incredibly confusing and frustrating place to work. Supervisors are passive-aggressive. Exact quote- 'Do you have any more questions? (No I think that covers it) Ok, good. Let us know if you have any questions.' Communication with supervisors goes through instant messengers on your computer meaning about 75% of what you're trying to say gets lost in translation, its very very difficult to communicate effectively. They will get irritated if you do try to talk to them face-to-face. You can get questions answered, you will not, however, get a reason for the issue or an explanation of the policy to help you remember why it is so. I signed a paper saying I was a very poor employee after making mistakes in their system. That's the solution. No explanations , just discipline and being cold so you don't talk to them.

    HR does not answer their phone and won't return your calls if you have questions or need anything pertaining to your pay or other information.

    There are two or three women who work here out of 70-80 employees. Very testosterone-fueled and anti-social environment. If you see someone you don't know in the kitchen and you say hi to them they're going to give you a confused and scared look and respond if you're lucky. I talked to one of the lead supervisors exactly twice in two months. Once for my interview and once when he fired me.

    Billed as non-commission (wink wink) but it is. When you're a new employee you can't train with a real person because that would interrupt the commission system. Instead you're trained in a classroom for a week and a half and then expected to remember every minute detail after its over or be disciplined.

    A lot of strange stuff happens on the computers with orders while you are talking to customers. The system they use is outdated and when something goes weird and you have to ask a supervisor their usual response is to get angry, blame you for the issue, and not give a clear explanation as to why the problem is happening. There are several departments in the office and due to the culture when you ask someone in another dept a question they take it as if you're insulting them and wasting their time. Supervisors will also direct you to the company FAQ wiki which is very poorly organized, hasn't been updated since 2010 or 2011, and more often than not will only answer half of your question.

    Nothing I listed here occurred as an isolated incident, I'm putting everything in this reoccurring tense because these are every day happenings within the company.

    Advice to Management

    Don't hire ten people if you're only going to keep five.

    If you're going to train new employees, do it in a way that actually works.

    If you hire a bright, alert, driven, punctual, knowledgeable person, and they don't have a complete sparkling knowledge of your system after two weeks working, maybe, just maybe, its not entirely their fault, and there's a bigger systemic issue.

    Look people in the eyes while you fire them instead of staring at the ground.


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