2017 Top Six Supervisor Finalists Great Supervisor Stories
She Makes Coming to Work Enjoyable
“I was about to lose control”
What I like and appreciate from Charleen is that she has an open-door policy, even if she doesn’t have a door at her workstation. Charleen is always available for us, and always stops what she is doing to make sure that our needs and questions are met.
One example of how she helps is a time when an individual called in, and I was having a very challenging time dealing with them. I guess Charleen could hear me all the way at her workstation and she noticed that I was about to lose control. She ran to my rescue and the next thing I knew, Charleen was kneeling next to me and telling me to put the customer on hold, which I did so immediately. To avoid a customer from leaving angry, Charleen told me to take a deep breath explain to her the customer’s concern. The customer stated that he had made a payment; however, what he had not known was that his payment went to another bill. He didn’t want to listen to me explain what had occurred and wouldn’t let me speak.
Charleen was able to calm me down and at the same time provided me with pointers in order to calm the customer down. If she had not been there to come to my rescue, the customer would probably have hung up angry, but instead when I returned from a brief hold to help him, I provided him calmly with clarity as to what took place. The customer in turn apologized as he was angry. The customer paid his bill and we both ended the call with calm voices and smiling, wished each other a nice weekend.
Charleen makes coaching and coming to work enjoyable. She coaches in a way which is easy to understand. I had once lost the love to come to work at the beginning of the year, but in April when I went back to reporting to Charleen, she gave me the boost and the love that I needed to come to work every morning. If am sick, I don’t want to be absent from work and I don’t want to let my team down. Charleen makes everyone on the team feel like we are a big family.
Charleen never puts anyone down, especially not in front of peers or customers. She always has a smile on her face and will always comfort you if you are down. In my eyes, she is the best supervisor.
Charleen Berryman – 407 ETR
She Shows Her Team that Their Work is Meaningful
“Employee morale has grown by leaps and bounds”
Alissa has been with us for 7 years. She was approached by the Senior Director of Customer Service 5 years ago when she was a participant in the company’s “Accelerated Development Program” to move from her role as an accountant in the finance department to become a supervisor in one of the call centers. She was approached because already at that time she showed the qualities of an outstanding supervisor. Alissa accepted the offer and transitioned into her new role. In the next few years, Alissa transitioned to our BlueCard department and eventually into her current role as FEP Supervisor.
When Alissa moved to FEP, the department was at a critical low in many aspects. The employee morale was extremely low, their work was suffering, and they were drastically understaffed. Alissa accepted the challenge to improve the department and ended up making a lasting impact on everyone in the department.
Since she transitioned to the department, the employee morale has grown by leaps and bounds due to Alissa’s positive and infectious personality. Her team comes to work each and every day with a positive attitude and continually works to show their heartfelt dedication to Alissa and the department. Alissa has shown them that being a supervisor is more than assigning work and scheduling time off. She has made the process transparent. She accepts employee feedback and input. She continues to show her team that their work is meaningful not only to the company, but to the customers they serve day in and day out. She shows her employees that they are a team and to be successful, they need to work together – starting with her. She is here when they walk in each and every morning, greeting them with a smile on her face. Her staff has begun to realize their true potential and assets.
She coaches each member of her 17-person team daily to understand the importance of all key metrics, something that the reps had never had the drive to improve, or the knowledge of their organizational importance. Her team, month after month, shows the highest CSR Csat scores and Call Center Csat scores in the company. She is willing to handle an escalated call right at a CSR’s desk in order to resolve the call and show the reps her many techniques to turn a customer’s experience around. Her employee satisfaction scores continue to be some of the highest in the company because she has shown the respect and dedication her team members needed at the most critical time.
When asking the CSRs how Alissa has helped them improve, one story in particular jumped out. Pat Donnelly, a long time CSR with the company, had just moved to the FEP Department after 17 years in our commercial accounts customer service department when Alissa moved to FEP. Pat talked about how positive Alissa was with her to help her learn her new position. She would often sit side by side with Pat listening to her calls and giving her signals to help her remember where to navigate in the new systems, or when to place a member on hold. Each time, Alissa would give advice and valuable feedback to help Pat achieve first call resolution. Pat to this day praises Alissa on her great coaching techniques and her ability to never give up on her.
Alissa Debo – HealthNow
My Fearless Leader
“I honestly don’t think I would be where I am today”
Throughout the latter part of 2016 and early into 2017, Charlene was my fearless leader. She was always available to me emotionally and to help with anything work related that I needed. She provided me with ongoing support and assistance and pushed me to always provide a World Class Customer Service experience to our clients. We created a goal to take my 2016 SQM results of 83% and turn it into at least 90% for 2017 and I was able to achieve that goal!
Charlene takes the time to show me that she is interested in my career development and most importantly, that she believes in my abilities. In times of struggle, Charlene has always been there to offer help and support, and I can’t tell you how comforting it is knowing that I can rely on her. She does her job very well, and she’s always that bright smiling face that comes and greets me every day and welcomes me into work so that I feel good about the day before it even starts. She works hard for her team of CCRs and she won’t stop until we are 100% satisfied with her efforts.
Charlene takes a personal interest in the importance of World Class Calls and First Call Resolution and makes sure that her whole team takes an interest in it as well. She has shown me the importance of SQM and how much it means to the overall success of our call centre. First Call Resolution is something that she wants us to master as well, and she has shown me so many ways in which to resolve member inquiries faster and on point with the member’s needs.
Charlene was a CCR at one point too, and when you have a manager who has truly been in the thick of the front lines, it really makes you appreciate that person. Charlene can relate to my challenges as a CCR and she can suggest solutions to help me address and overcome those challenges. I honestly don’t think I would be where I am today without the exceptional efforts she has made. I couldn’t ask for a better team lead than Charlene.
Charlene Toth – Sun Life Financial
I Started to Love what I Was Doing
“I have grown into the young professional I have always wanted to be”
I have been working in the Client Care Centre for Group Retirement Services with Sun Life Financial for two years now, and my supervisor, Kendra Gillgrass, has been my team leader the entire time. With her support and guidance, I have grown into the young professional I have always wanted to be. As the saying goes though, before you can run, you must learn how to walk. When I started my path with Sun Life, I felt as though I could barely even crawl. Kendra and I worked on slowly building my skills. We worked on removing non-value-added content from my conversations. We worked on active listening and probing. We worked on everything until I could finally say that I had a balanced handle on all my key performance indicators. The skills I gained while under her guidance helped me get SQM certified two years in a row! Her work with me was patient, understanding, and motivational. Any good team leader would have done the same, except Kendra’s coaching with me had an extra, unexpected effect. I started to love what I was doing. I saw beyond the questions my clients were asking and began to understand what they really needed. I was providing members with peace of mind and creating clients for life every day. I started to believe in myself. I was no longer simply a Client Care Representative, I was now a client advocate. I really love what I do, and Kendra is a big part of that. Her positive mentality, her passion, her excitement and joy for client care, has rubbed off on me. She showed me that my role wasn’t just a “job”, it was now a successful career.
Kendra has not only had an impact on myself but our entire team. This year our whole team was SQM World Class Certified! Below are some comments regularly said about Kendra.
Kendra, I want to thank you for being so supportive and encouraging. You balance me out as we think differently, often filling in the gaps when I am struggling. I appreciate your patience, guidance, and leadership.
Kendra, there are not enough words to express how lucky I feel to have had you as a supervisor. You truly care about the success and well-being of your team. I have learned so much from you, and your support and motivation have been invaluable. Your passion and positive attitude is infectious and drives people to be their best every day. I am so grateful to have met you, worked with you, and to be a part of TL2Q :) Thank you for everything!
I wanted to take the time to thank you for simply being you. You’re the best manager I have ever had the pleasure of working with. You are consistently a sounding board for any questions, concerns, or comments and I know it doesn’t end with you. I know that you take everything away and genuinely work towards a solution. You always have a smile on your face, and you are always welcoming. I sincerely enjoy coming by your desk and chatting with you about anything and everything. I always feel more peaceful after meeting with you as well. There is a confidence with which you provide solutions and explanations, and you never fail to show me the bright side in every situation. You’ve been here, you’ve done this, and you’re proof that if we work hard we can achieve whatever we set our minds to. Thank you for everything you do!
You’re an outstanding team leader and I feel so lucky to have the opportunity to work with you every day.
Kendra Gillgrass – Sun Life Financial
She Made It Her Goal to Build a Relationship
“I have never felt this strongly about a manager before”
I have been with Sun Life now for almost 7 years and have had my fair share of supervisors and managers. They all have their own strengths and flaws just like everyone else. What made me come out and write my first nomination is the fact that I have never felt this strongly about a manager before. Feeling appreciated is something hard to come by when you work in a call centre. We often feel like a number and feel like we can easily be replaced which is why it is so important to have a supervisor that respects you and makes you feel needed.
Sonia Lauzon brought her 28 years of experience at Sun Life to our team towards the end of 2016 and she had an immediate impact on our performances and our mentality. From the moment she joined our department it was as if we all became her children. She made it her goal to build a relationship with every single one of us, so much so that many employees at Sun Life have been calling her ’mom’ for a very long time.
For me, as a single mother, some days are harder than others and to have a person like Sonia, who made an effort to support me on a daily basis, really made a difference in my life. She helped me not only become a better employee but also a better person. I would like to share with you a story that has stayed with me.
Last summer, a personal incident happened in Sonia’s life where she had to be away from work to be with her family. What struck me the most about Sonia was that even she was going through some difficult times, her first instinct during those times was to think about us and how we were doing at work. She kept messaging us to make sure that we were fine and to know if we needed anything from her. To have a supervisor care about her employees the way that she cared about us, speaks miles about the type of person she is. I can count on one hand the amount of times she has missed work since she has been here because she has always put others ahead of herself. In the world we live in, that is truly a rare thing. When you have a manager that cares about you daily the way she does, you cannot help but want to give back as much as she has given you. I worked hard to increase my results, so the numbers could reflect how I felt. I continue to work hard so I can make a lasting impact on our member’s lives, but also because I picture Sonia and her devotion in every single person I have the chance to talk to. Since she took over, the numbers speak for themselves as it is the first time that our team has been SQM certified.
We could not be happier to have her with us. She has had a lasting impression on every team she has managed. So much so, that when we organized a birthday celebration for her, the entire call centre came together to celebrate her birthday for an entire week, so we could show our appreciation for everything that she has done.
I will always look at Sonia Lauzon as my inspiration and role model.
Sonia Lauzon – Sun Life Financial
Think Outside the Box, You May be Surprised by the Results!
“His excitement is contagious”
My name is Lahna Bronston and I have been on Derrick’s team for almost 2 ½ years. When I started receiving my SQM surveys, I couldn’t figure out why my CSR Csat results were so low, why my callers were indicating their call was not resolved, and why I was needing to go to my supervisor’s office for a meeting regarding Action Alerts? After all, I love customer service and I’m nice as pie to my callers.
My callers would say nice things about me, but I wasn’t hitting it out of the ballpark to where they would say the service I provided them was consistently at a “Very Satisfied” level. As my surveys were coming in and I was receiving coaching, I wasn’t seeing the results I had expected. Derrick eventually placed me on a PIP which is short for Performance Improvement Plan. All I could think of was, I’m in trouble. Derrick took the time to talk me through my fears, he partnered with me to take this journey.
As I indicated, I wasn’t sure about this PIP thing, but we started out by meeting each Friday. We would listen to a call and then he would ask me to coach back the call. I had never been coached in this format, so it was uncomfortable and to be frank, it really annoyed me, but thinking outside the box, what could it hurt? It was a long journey but eventually I was able to identify ways to improve my customer’s experience by taking the time to ask the appropriate probing questions, so I could fully understand what they required. My answers used to be short and the customer would need to call back to gain clarification. Now, depending on the caller and their needs, my answers are more detailed. As well, I check for understanding prior to disconnecting the call. Derrick and I would talk about the effort the customer had to put into resolving their issue. Derrick would stress “Low Effort”, “Make the Call”, “Don’t Leave the Customer with a To Do List”. In addition, we have done side by side coaching while I was taking live calls so our quality audit coaching sessions could align with the Voice of the Customer.
No matter the situation, Derrick always has a positive attitude. He loves coaching, and even gets excited while coaching, which in turn makes me excited. His excitement is contagious! For example, if I am on a difficult call Derrick will write a quick note, bring it over, and lay it on my desk. The note will say something encouraging, such as, “You’ve got this!” He encourages me and our team to think outside of the box, as well as to never be afraid to ask questions or ask why a procedure is handled a certain way. Gain understanding first and feel empowered to challenge the status quo is what he is all about.
By being coached in this manner, I started seeing great results. This approach also helped build my confidence and gave me the attitude that “I can figure this out!” In the end, the results were fantastic. I ended 2016 with 83 attributable surveys. My CSR Csat score was 89%, Call Resolution of 92%, and 4% Action Alert surveys. In 2017, I improved on those scores, and ended with 62 attributable surveys that had a CSR Csat score of 97%, Call Resolution of 97%, and only 2% Action Alert surveys.
Derrick Huwer – VSP Vision Care
2016 Top Six Supervisor Finalists Great Supervisor Stories
Simple but Effective
“You can do it, believe it and reach for it…”
This story is so simple and effective yet shows how simple words of encouragement and improvement can make all the difference.
In 2016, all of my performance results were falling significantly. I was flabbergasted and devastated because I was falling short of key performance indicator targets for world class, CSR customer satisfaction and call quality. In addition, my health was also failing and the combination of stress between my health and my work performance had taken a toll. I started reporting to a new Supervisor Antonietta Perez, who took me under her wing and provided instructions on what to do to see positive gains.
Antonietta encouraged me by telling me to focus on my health and take one day at a time. We started working on all the areas one at time. I was reminded about simple processes I had forgotten and was provided guidance on how to help each customer one call at a time, remaining focused on the task at hand in providing them with world class service.
Every customer survey following my transition to Antonietta’s team was rated as World Class. As you can imagine, I was pleasantly pleased; happy that all of my results changed in front of my eyes. I earned World Class certification based on 2016 customer surveys achieving an 83% World Class rating. This seemed at one point unachievable in my eyes; totally out of my reach having only achieved a 74% World Class rating the year prior. Although I believed at first there was no way I could have made such a remarkable improvement, I forged ahead with the coaching and guidance I received from my Supervisor.
Words are simply powerful. Antonietta told me “You can do it, believe it and reach for it…” Antonietta praised me publicly and provided constructive feedback privately. Antonietta documented and tracked my improvements, asked me about my goals and held me accountable for my results.
It was with this simple formula that I achieved and succeeded and, my confidence level returned while doing my job to the best of my ability each and every day.
I’m writing this story to publicly compliment my Supervisor, Antonietta Perez, for a job well done! She’s definitely my Supervisor of the Year.
Antonietta Perez – 407 ETR
Coaching Done Right
“She has been my mentor, my support, and my cheerleader”
BCBSVT is one of the smaller Blue plans so we tend to wear many hats to get the job done. I have the pleasure of supervising a team of twenty. Fourteen team members are call center representatives and six are the department’s team leads. I help to manage the daily operations of the call center and I am our Ulysses master coach. My true passion is focusing on the growth and development of my team members. Whether it be giving guidance to a CSR to help them through a difficult call, or working with my team leads to ensure they have the tools needed to effectively coach their team members to success, it is very rewarding.
One day I was working at my desk, and I could hear one of my team member’s voices elevating from a couple of rows away. She was noticeably frustrated and it sounded as though she was losing control. I immediately got up and went over to her desk. I sat next to her and she placed her caller on hold. She looked at me and said “I’m done, I’m done, I can’t help her”. I let her know that she was not done, she could see this through. I asked her to take a couple of deep breaths and explain to me what was happening. She let me know that the member had a couple of complex issues she was trying to figure out, and was confused and frustrated. The CSR said she had repeated herself multiple times but the information wasn’t getting through. We created a game plan. I asked the CSR to first acknowledge to the customer that health insurance can be complex and confusing. This member had a lot going on and it’s important to acknowledge that their feelings are justified, we understand and are here to help. I asked her to let the customer know that we are happy to walk her through her questions and we’d like to break the issues down into two separate parts if that is okay. Once the two topics are reviewed, probe to ensure they understand, and then review the customer’s options and next steps. I gave her a quick run through on what that conversation would sound like. She took another deep breath, and got back on the line. I stayed with her while she walked the customer through what we had discussed. Nearing the end she gave me a thumbs-up and I went back to my desk. At the end of the call she came over and gave me a big hug. She thanked me for my advice and let me know she couldn’t have gotten through it without me as she had decided she was done and couldn’t help the member. This was an incredibly rewarding experience.
The CSR shared her observation on this call, “I was on a difficult call. The member was very upset. The more I tried to explain the situation the more frustrated she became. The member’s voice was rising and unfortunately so was mine. My supervisor, Janalee Willett, came over to sit next to me. I put my member on hold. She asked me to take a few deep breaths then wanted to know what was going on. I went over the scenario. She sat there with me, helped me break the problem into smaller, manageable pieces. I got back on the phone with the member. I asked if I could break each issue down separately. She agreed. Once I went over each issue separately the member understood the situation as a whole. At the end of the call the member thanked me for my patience and understanding. She understood the outcome and was so satisfied that she asks for me every time she calls in. This call was quickly turning into an unresolved call. With the help of my supervisor I turned it around. The member was completely satisfied. I could not have done it without her guidance. When I got off the phone I went over and gave Jana a great big hug – team work is a beautiful thing.”
As a Master Coach, I make it a priority to sit in on my coaches’ one-on-ones with their team members so that I can observe their interactions and offer insights on how to strengthen the coaching experience through clear communication and probing. I observed an occasion once where I heard a lead say, “Don’t worry, you did everything you could, it was just the member’s perception…” while walking a CSR through their SQM survey results. After the session concluded, I expressed my concern with hearing this type of feedback being shared with our CSRs. It is extremely important for us to resist the temptation of simply saying there is nothing we could have done. We must challenge ourselves to understand the customer perspective and think about ways to manage that expectation through our communication and process. Simply stating that there is nothing we can do leaves a CSR feeling powerless. I would much rather empower our team by thinking about how we can take our service to the next level and exceed customer expectations. Put the CSR in the driver’s seat of their learning, growth and development. Give them control of consciously thinking about how we communicate and can remove obstacles to resolution. One of my team leads shared, “There are a lot of attributes and skills a supervisor must have to be successful. They include being disciplined, constructive, considerate, and approachable, along with many others. I have been working with Jana for a little over a year and a half, and have never had a supervisor who is more supportive, available, and passionate than Jana.”
CSR Comments 1: As my supervisor, she makes me feel as though no question is dumb, and no idea is small. I feel as though a lot of my success over the past year has been learned from observing Jana as a Supervisor. Our mentor-protégé relationship has a strong impact on why I love my job so much, and I strive to be a leader as amazing as Jana Willet.
CSR Comments 2: I have never had a supervisor as dedicated, positive, and inspiring as Jana. She is always looking out for everyone’s best interest. She is constantly giving feedback to improve performance and increase self-confidence and does not end the conversation until you fully understand the feedback and have no more questions.
CSR Comments 3: Jana has impacted me as a coach; she has been my mentor, my support, and my cheerleader. Her passion and enthusiasm for what she does as a coach is very apparent and she shows it with a positive attitude and bright smile. The people around you have a huge impact on how you view your job. I feel extremely encouraged about what I do as an employee and as a coach because of the values and attributes that Jana as taught me.
2016 Team performance: Total Surveys: 1103
Calls Resolved: 94%
CSR CSAT: 93%
World Class: 86%
Janalee Willett – BlueCross BlueShield of Vermont
Gearing up to do my Best
"A good leader is one who can tell another how to reach his or her potential; a great leader is one who can help another discover this potential for him or herself."
- Bo Bennett
Even before Chris stepped into the role of TL and knowing his expectations and skills as a high performing CCR, I was gearing up to do my best. Gearing up to do better than my best. From our very first meeting, the questions he asked me and what he shared about the leader he wanted to be, I knew I would be able to tell this guy where it was I wanted to go. All I had to do was trust that he would get me there. Of course, I knew I had to work hard myself and put myself out there to be available for whatever he might throw my way. I took on every opportunity he could give me, along with many others, on his team.
Chris happens to have been my third leader since I started here at Sun Life and he was the first one I had so far who delegated tasks and engaged his team with encouraging and empowering words.
Chris took me out of my comfort zone and challenged me to do bigger and better things for myself, for Sun Life, and for our clients. He allowed me free rein and encouraged my ideas to take over advising the leads and SQM results for everyone, as well as entrusted me as a functional leader within our own team. He gave me the opportunity to be a mentor in the training room with new hires, and let other leaders utilize and build my skills as a coach, and in being a visual board organizer.
Under his leadership, I had the opportunity to really stretch my skills and become a leader myself in a classroom environment where I trained all GRS Waterloo representatives in a new program that had just come into the call center (Digital Benefits Assistant). Because of the actions Chris took as a leader, I am on my way to being a leader myself and I will be a better one because of the examples he set forth.
Chris was an advocate for me and I quickly realized I was not the only one on the team he did this for. I was very impressed with how everyone appreciated his encouragement and how everyone was engaged the same way I was. We were a better team because of his leadership; we worked as a unit and communicated with each other in a way I had not seen before. I feel more prepared for what my future holds here at Sun Life. I am grateful for this experience and have been lucky enough to land in with another great leader, Lisa Parker, who before I was even under her leadership entrusted me with our new hires during a transition for the current trainer. Again, under an encouraging, open leadership style I know I will reach new career limits.
"A good leader is one who can tell another how to reach his or her potential; a great leader is one who can help another discover this potential for him or herself." - Bo Bennett
Christopher Longshaw – Sun Life Financial
Caring Doesn’t Start and End with a Coaching Session
“Muriel is my teacher, team leader, and the compass to my achievements”
Muriel has been a Team Leader with Millennium1 Solutions for the last 7.5 years and is a key contributor to our achievements. Muriel has a passion to see each of her direct reports succeed and has proven her ability to develop her team members. She’s talented at partnering with agents to create individual development plans that outline the road they’ll take together to achieve their mutual goals.
Muriel builds and develops an alliance with her direct reports that create a strong foundation for her coaching conversations. Her direct reports genuinely trust her with their development. In fact, several people from Muriel’s team have been promoted to new roles within the organization in 2016, evidence of her success in developing her team and positioning them for career pathing success. This is the second year in a row that M1S has elected to nominate Muriel for the Supervisor of the Year award - we’re proud to celebrate all of her achievements again this year.
When asked to talk a bit about her approach towards coaching her direct reports, here is a summary of what Muriel shared:
I can summarize my coaching style as a blend of four special ingredients: 1) Doing the right thing the first time – and meeting the commitments I’ve made to my agents. There are times when it’s necessary to stay late or arrive early to meet with an agent. Agents who see me arrive early often arrive early for their own shift just to take the time to catch up on things they might have missed or to meet with me about something on their mind. Leading by example demonstrates my commitment to my team. 2) Confirming I understand – By confirming my understanding and acknowledging the concerns of my customers (my agents), I’m able to demonstrate my commitment to them. By making sure I understand an agent’s opportunities and learning styles I’m able to develop a coaching plan that will achieve the success we are both hungry for. 3) Confirming they understand – I provide my team with EVERY tool I have at my disposal. When I get a new tool for my toolkit I share it with every agent. Sharing best practices is key to our global success. An agent never walks away from a coaching session until we are both confident we know the path for success. 4) Finally, simply caring – Caring doesn’t start and end during a coaching session. Caring for people shows your appreciation for their efforts. I love to show I care with FOOD, and agents love the treats I prepare in my own kitchen. I’ve had agents switch shifts just so they could enjoy some of my cooking. By showing professionally and personally that I care about them, our coaching alliance is strengthened and we can achieve anything.
Out of the many team leaders on this particular program, just two achieved World Class certification. Not only was Muriel one of these two, but she was the TOP achiever. Muriel’s focus on the success of her team members is supported by the nominations from her direct reports for this award. Please see below for the nominations from some of her team members.
CSR Comments 1: I can’t express enough gratitude for the encouragement and support provided by Muriel Rafuse in my time as a CSR. I felt confident in her feedback and felt she was approachable if I needed her assistance whether it be in a call or about my schedule or indeed, any matter that came up. I feel lucky to have had her as my manager and don’t believe I would be as successful as I’ve been without her guidance. I believe she is the best possible choice for the 2016 Supervisor of the Year.
CSR Comments 2: From the start, I knew I could count on Muriel. Why? Muriel helped me adapt to a job position and call types that were new to me. We can all adapt. Yet it takes a person willing to use patience in helping us adjust to truly make us successful. Muriel was that person for me and I have no doubt for others, I am sure. Muriel is there for the needed support and will go all the way to ensure, if necessary, that any needed updates are made to published documentation. She is committed to ensuring that each agent benefits from the learnings of others. She also shares new information and feedback in a way that is balanced, making it a comfortable discussion, keeping with each agent’s personal style. In 2014 I was honored with recognition as a CSR of the Year finalist and was honored to attend the SQM CSR Appreciation Day and gala events in Idaho. I can truly thank Muriel for her support in getting me there. Muriel gives her own time to help us succeed. I have seen her start before her shift and stay later. She gives her own personal time when the work-day presents challenges that prevent her from engaging in the 1:1 activities she had planned.
“Muriel is my teacher, team leader, and the compass to my achievements.”
Muriel Rafuse – Millennium1 Solutions
A Distinguished Leader
“Focuses on ways to build up her teams strengths”
Dede has been World Class certified every year since Regence joined SQM (2014). For 2016, Dede Tobin was World Class Certified at 85%. In 2016, of her 14 eligible direct reports, 8 were also certified World Class. On her team in 2016 she had 3 winners for our prestigious Service Hero Award out of a total of 12 winners from across all 4 locations and approximately 350 CSPs from all lines of business.
Dede plays an active leadership role in supporting our frequent SQM and non-resolved discussions and maintains the focus to drive relevant coaching conversations with her peers. She has also implemented processes for her direct team to sustain or improve performance goals in both CSat and call resolution.
Dede also partners with her peers to analyze trends of calls and look at ways to prevent ongoing issues, not only for coaching but also process related issues. One example was looking at our Medigap calls that had become a larger number of our unresolved/action alerts. The trend was noticed that since Regence pays if Medicare pays members. This is what our CSPs were communicating and our members were not leaving those calls satisfied with this response. As a result, Dede led the efforts from the discussion to share ways to rephrase the information to our members that instilled more confidence in our responses as well as coaching CSPs to use the Medicare website to look at coverage options and, if necessary, conference in with Medicare for a better member experience. A phone call was also shared of a CSP who was most effective with these members and helped others in the call center get better results with SQM.
Dede always focuses on ways to build up her teams strengths. She is known for her Best Call program that has continued to grow within other leadership teams. She shared this best practice and her Tada’s (kudos emails) that encourage performance by showcasing strengths and successful interactions. At times she included an edited call to highlight the story. One particular Tada Dede shared went to our CEO and was shared at a leadership summit conference and has since gone viral across the organization. Dede focuses on ways to recognize her team daily so that they not only feel valued, but also recognize the significance and importance of their work and its impact on the organization. This focus on strengths also shows a model of behavior and example for others who are striving for that excellence.
Examples of Dede’s SQM leadership focus:
- Provides internal focus on SQM and Member Experience to peers through the Best Call program – those recorded calls turn into tools to use for teaching other CSRs how to handle situations, achieve the same successes, and receive service hero nominations.
- Monitor and ensure follow-up process including all teams’ action alerts, emails and aging are handled in a timely manner. Provide feedback to peers and reach out directly to any CSR that has missed aging to have it worked promptly.
- Positive reinforcement and showcasing successes to inspire what to do rather than focus on what to avoid.
- Weekly sharing of SQM member comments and successes.
- Supply lunch and poker cards for individual and team challenges.
- Created a self-sufficient team; set up an atmosphere of team strengths.
Dede is driven to support her team’s success and is dedicated to putting in the time and effort to make sure it happens. She recognizes that their Tada’s, and shared successful moments drives fulfillment and value and her team members are always ready to share their examples on how much they appreciate her leadership. If you were to ask anyone on Dede’s team why they believe they are successful at their job, each and every one would say it’s because of Dede’s leadership and support.
Dede Tobin – Regence BlueCross BlueShield
Walk the Talk
“She believes in the fact that you can’t get buy-in from your team if they don’t see you living your own principles”
I would like to nominate my manager, Prabhjot Bedi for the Supervisor of the Year award. She deserves this nomination as her team is the first team in Rogers Business Care Service to meet and achieve World Class certification. What really made the difference for her achieving certification was the dedication and passion that she brings to her role and by making a positive difference every day. The two quotes she swears by is “Walk the Talk” & Love what you do” She believes in the fact that you can’t get buy-in from your team if they don’t see you living your own principles.
Unlike previous years, this year the majority of the team contributed to the certification effort by making considerable improvements in their overall individual experience results. She ensured that her team understood not only when customers were speaking about their negative experience, but also when an experience fell short and the customer considered it just average or the employee just doing the bare minimum. It is these calls and interactions where we started down a journey of improvement.
Prabhjot always ensures that the team members feel empowered and are driving meaningful behaviors. Her team members understand that every interaction is an opportunity to build a strong relationship and is not simply just a transaction. Her side by side and group coaching examples are always real customer examples from her team members that allow for honest feedback about how that customer left the call. Often her consultants would self-discover what they missed or struggled with, and think did they really put their best foot forward? If not, what could they do differently next time, as well as to contact that customer back to make sure they know Rogers values them as a customer.
Every employee within Premium Support is encouraged to be accountable, and work as independent business owners keeping the balance in what is right for the customer and right for the business. This customer first approach has not only driven excellent FCR and resolution rates but has allowed this team to cultivate relationships and build trust that has allowed them to achieve a + 69 Net Promoter Score and to drive approximately 30% of the Small Business revenue numbers into the Business Care Wireline space. They are consistently recognized as a top performing team and Prabhjot is asked to be a role model and teach other teams on how to be successful.
CSR Comments: She has many strong points and it is difficult to choose a few, but what really hit home for me was what I observed and learnt from her: she is an excellent motivator, highly energetic, punctual, open-minded, and a smart, hard worker. She is always available when I need her and that drives me to do my best.
Prabhjot Bedi – Rogers
2015 Top Six Supervisor Finalists Great Supervisor Stories
Putting the Needs of Others First
“She helped me achieve something no amount of schooling could”
I would like to nominate my team manager, Shantell Edwards, for Supervisor of the year. Shantell is a dedicated manager who will often put the needs of her team above her own. She was recently involved in a car accident that caused her great pain and made it difficult for her to sit or stand for long periods of time. Through this pain, Shantell made every effort to come in even on a modified basis and support her team, intent on seeing us succeed in becoming a world class certified team.
Her hard work and dedication paid off and this year, for the first time, her team was world class certified. It’s not just her dedication which makes her the ideal candidate to be Supervisor of the year, but also her unique ability to find even the smallest bits of good in all situations; zero in and magnify these to help encourage those in her team. She has an innate ability to work with her CSRs and infuse her coaching sessions with humour and personal anecdotes that alleviate any awkwardness or discomfort sometimes caused when getting negative feedback or needs improvement reports.
I was able to experience one such case when, for the very first time in all my years working with the company, my results were slipping. I’ve never been very good at getting bad news or negative feedback so knowing this was coming caused my anxiety level to soar, but Shantell took this in stride. She opened up the session with my performance over the years, emphasizing all of the great things I have accomplished, and then redirected me to the situation at hand. She was able to refocus me, not on the bad, but on how to take the negative and use it to fuel my want to excel. She told me that this was a turning point and I could choose to give up, which before the coaching session I was more than ready to do, or I could use this as a stepping stone to make me stronger not only as a CSR but as a person. She told me about similar experiences that she had, how she managed to turn her own results around and gave me concrete examples and tips to help me succeed. Low and behold a month later for our follow up I had been able to not only succeed and blow past my previous acceptable results but also find and point out other potential factors which could hinder me. I accepted her feedback and worked with her to find the right route to take to improve. She helped me achieve something no amount of schooling could: coping and accepting feedback for what it is, a means to improvement.
Through this coaching session I was able to draw from her experiences and I was able bring my results back up. We had several coaching sessions afterwards where she would listen to calls with me, analyze and point out all the places of improvement I had made and pinpoint where I was implementing her recommendations, which really helped to solidify my understanding and increase my performance results to exceptional levels.
Her passion and drive to be the best, and to help her team achieve this goal as well, helped me, and I’m sure all of her other CSRs, see great success and improvement. No other manager out there that I’ve had has been willing to take the time, foster the change, or dedicate themselves to their team’s improvement like Shantell has, and it is for these reasons and a billion more that I’d like to see her achieve recognition and success in receiving the Supervisor of the Year award.
Shantell Edwards – 407 ETR
Going the Extra Mile
“The team is only as strong as the weakest link”
2015 was full of challenges for Lindsey's team. They had some ups and downs all year long and pushed through some tough times both individually and as a team. Lindsey approaches her coaching with compassion and dedication. She really feels this is a team effort and that is the message she delivers to her team. She makes sure they know they are in it together and their team is only as strong as the weakest link.
She adapted Team SQM Sessions in 2015. In these sessions, she breaks her team up into small groups and they discuss their calls. This allows a handful of reps to bounce ideas off each other; talk about what they think went well, what worked in the call, and what might not have worked. They can also listen to their peers explain what they did during a similar call. This peer to peer guidance is so very important and these sessions have proven to be valuable both in SQM results and building rapport within her team. They have created stronger relationships which help to drive individual progress as they begin to trust and look to each other for guidance.
In addition to group sessions, she always has a challenge going on for her team. Lindsey's competitive nature helps spark motivation on her team and she drives each of them to want to succeed. Fun and challenging incentive programs keep her team moving and shaking! She implemented the "Going the Extra Mile for Our Customers" challenge. The rep with the highest percentage (at least 80%) for the month, and also at a commendable level or above in all other metrics, receives a small tennis shoe key chain and a gift card for our cafeteria. She also has a quarterly challenge and the winner is treated to an extended lunch with their leadership team.
Throughout the day, week, month, and year, the reps are given the support they need. Lindsey is constantly listening to calls, plugging in with her team and giving suggestions, helping them overcome obstacles, and letting them know she is there to help them provide our customers with the service they have come to expect from us. She checks in with them, gets their ideas and feedback, and truly cares about her team.
We are so very lucky to have her driving such an amazing experience for our customers, and for developing a strong, successful team!
Lindsey Abbott – Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas
The Impact of a Positive Experience
“Never settle for anything less than World Class”
“For the third time in his years with ENMAX, Shawn Nichols will be recognized in 2015 as a world class certified Supervisor for our Customer Care team. Shawn utilizes unique, innovative strategies with his team that drive a truly self-sufficient team dynamic. He is the first to challenge his team to always be better, and to never settle for anything less than world class service for our customers. Shawn finished 2015 as the highest ranked Supervisor in ENMAX Customer Care in terms of world class service, achieving a whopping 91% CSAT and 95% FCR rating for all of 2015 with over 1000 surveys completed. This is a remarkable achievement and Shawn has every reason to be proud of his success this year.
Shawn regularly promotes the approach that “no one knows what they need to be better more than themselves”. With that in mind, Shawn regularly encourages each of his team members to regularly access their own SQM feedback, putting accountability in their hands to review and assess their individual performances. When coaching is requested, Shawn is always readily available and willing to review any of his team’s customer interactions.
The approach that Shawn takes with his team when providing coaching is all about empowerment. When reviewing specific feedback from non-world class calls, Shawn challenges his team members to come up with their own realistic solutions that would create a more positive customer experience. This approach allows his team members to find their own solutions and implement new concepts quicker and with greater success, knowing that they have learned from their own experiences and discovered the solution themselves instead of simply being told what to do differently.
Shawn has also managed to integrate the Customer Retention business into his role for our Customer Care team this year, making a seamless transition to juggle these responsibilities along with his regular duties. This is a result of developing and fostering a culture of high performance, independence, ownership, and accountability for world class results with his customer service team, leaving him to focus on implementing strategies with other departments to help ENMAX retain its competitive customer base.
In an industry that is becoming more competitive every day, Shawn truly understands how vital each customer interaction is to the ENMAX brand and the impact of every positive experience our customers have with us. He brings tremendous value to our organization as a leader in promoting world class service for our customers every day, and it shows in his results.
Shawn Nichols – ENMAX, Inc.
Leadership Through Service
“Muriel helped me strive to do my best no matter how hard things were”
Muriel has been a Team Leader on one of our largest credit card accounts for the past 6.5 years, and has been a considerable asset to the team. She demonstrates a quick ability to identify when we need to make an exception on a Cardholder’s account and ensures her agents understand the thought-process that leads to those decisions and outcomes. She helps her team learn from each experience and ensures they can then apply that thinking appropriately on future calls. Knowing the importance of one contact resolution, she is focused on helping her team avoid potential repeat contacts and also avoiding unnecessary escalations and transfers. She is skilled at helping her team members learn new skills quickly and challenging them to become self-sufficient for times when she may not be close by. She encourages all her agents to think outside the box when the resolution cannot be found in our processing guides and Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) and inspires her CSRs to do the same. Muriel is also skilled at probing and helping her CSRs learn how to quickly uncover the root cause of the caller’s reason for contacting us, as well as details of any issues they may be facing. She reinforces this skill with her team members on a regular basis, stating, “When we ask probing questions we leave little room for miscommunication and assumptions. This shows the Cardholders that we are listening to what they are telling us and understanding their concerns.”
Beyond the results, Muriel also exhibits our corporate employee values on a consistent, daily basis. She ensures she is reliable, following-up on and delivering on commitments made to her CSRs, her clients, and her callers. She makes every effort to be as available as possible to her team and communicates both one-on-one and in a group setting. She takes personal pride in helping each of her team members be successful at Millennium1 Solutions.
Muriel’s success is evidenced by the multiple internal nominations that the Millennium1 Solutions team received encouraging her nomination for Supervisor of the Year. Please see below for comments directly from four of her team members:
CSR #1: “As a member of her team, I was delighted to hear that Muriel was world class certified for 2015 and I would like to nominate her for SQM Supervisor of the Year.”
Leadership through service; to me this best describes Muriel Rafuse. I joined Muriel's team after I relocated halfway across the country to M1S's East Coast Office. I was completely new to the area and knew no one, but Muriel gave me a welcome I will never forget. Not only did she take the time to personally introduce me to every member of our centre and offer me help to settle in, she shared a powerful customer service vision that still inspires me to this day: "Think of each call as your chance to make a difference in a person’s life."
Muriel is passionate about first call resolution and teaches every member of the team to focus on the voice of the customer. Whether during coaching or helping us on the floor, she constantly challenges us to find ways of making each call we take better than the last.
What I most admire about Muriel is that she leads by example. A lifelong volunteer, she makes service a way of life and encourages us to do the same both on the phone and in our wider world, too. Last Christmas she encouraged us to reorganize our team's Secret Santa into a fundraiser that saw us raise enough to purchase an entire farm's worth of animals to help a family in need. While this may not be a story of her coaching success, it certainly inspired team-work, and helped us support others which is an important part of the M1S values.
Muriel's guidance enabled me to excel as an agent and attain world class certification. She is one of those very special people that makes you happy to come into work each day. I feel lucky to have her as my Supervisor. I am very proud to be a member of her team.
CSR #2: “I can always count on you to provide prompt assistance when I have been in need with a Cardholder calling for a situation resolution.”
I have had the pleasure of many learning experiences with my Supervisor. Her prompt assistance is one item that really stands out. One such instance was in August when a Cardholder had notations on her file that she required special assistance setting up pre-authorized transactions. The notations indicated that the situation required escalation to be completed. I completed what I could, then engaged Muriel for the escalated components of the request. A prompt response was received much sooner than anticipated, stating the issue had been taken care of. When I followed-up on the account, all was successfully completed which would not have been possible if Muriel had not completed the escalated components so efficiently. This helped me in my endeavours to help the customer, and contributed to a pleased client. This is just one example; Muriel is always here to support her team and ensures that she does her part to help us be successful in our customer interactions.
CSR #3: “I find your approach to answering questions respectable!”
We have all observed occasions where a question is asked and a Supervisor quickly answers. While this might sometimes be the fastest way to get an answer, I appreciate that Muriel challenges us. She asks first if the answer is in the SOP. If the answer is not resolved in the SOP she asks what we think we should do and she’ll either give us the go ahead or help us find the correct steps to follow. I like this approach much more than just being provided with an answer, as we have seen, this can lead to agents asking questions that can be answered within a SOP. It ignites self-sufficiency but in a supportive and learning-focused way.
CSR #4: “I know I probably would have given up a long time ago if you hadn't kept pushing me to keep a positive attitude.”
Muriel helped me strive to do my best no matter how hard things were at the beginning. She worked with me and had excellent communication skills that helped keep me up to date at all times on current events and procedural changes. This was critical – especially in the early days when I was still learning. In addition to these nominations from her team members, Muriel’s success is further evidenced by the multiple members of her team who achieved material improvement in their SQM KPI results this year, many of which were world class certified in 2015 and several achieving impressive year-over-year improvement compared to 2014.
Muriel Rafuse – Millennium1 Solutions
Most Improved CSR to Supervisor of Year Finalist
“It’s not about selling a product, but rather educating our members”
When it comes to Lucie, some of the first words I think of are hardworking, dedicated, and amazing. When I first became a part of Lucie’s team I was excited to be able to pick her brain for all its Group Retirement Services knowledge. What I got out of her leadership was far more than that!
I started off in the CCC as someone who struggled with confidence and Service to Sales; I didn’t want to be one of those ‘sales people’. Lucie soon made me realize that it was not about selling a product but rather educating our members about their plans so that they get the most from their retirement savings. Coming from a teaching career background, this statement of hers suddenly made it all click! Lucie has this amazing ability to make someone view something in a different light with an incredible understanding of how to adjust to one’s personality and to alter her advice or wording to drive people to work for her.
Under the wing of Lucie, I personally have grown immensely even just in the past six months! I have achieved two milestones under her leadership and attribute a lot of that success to her guidance. I personally find that Lucie’s openness as a Leader to welcome questions without repercussions and her ‘gentle bribery’ as I call it, are her best qualities that I mimic. A system of ‘if you complete X, I can give you Y’ and when Y means a new skill and mixing up the day, that was all the drive I needed! She constantly checked in and helped set new goals with me, which were smaller, attainable steps to a larger and bigger picture. Lucie was also the team leader who always seemed up to date on how I was performing and welcomed exciting high fives for a job well done. It might sound silly to someone else, but having a manager who is just as excited as you are about your growth is an amazing feeling. Her support transitioned to all of my calls with members and I offered up that same guidance to be a success with the SQM program.
Lucie Novotny – Sun Life Financial
Never Give Up
“Her hard work and ability to help others reach their goals never ends”
Who says a supervisor can’t be nominated twice in a row? She’s an outstanding, wondrous, phenomenal woman. Phenomenal woman, that’s Jennifer Riggle.
Jennifer has by far become, to so many people, one of the best motivators. She is dependable, insightful, and a meticulous individual. Her hard work and ability to help others reach their goals never ends. I’m a witness. Jennifer has been my immediate supervisor since my journey began with VSP in 2013. Since then, she has been working non-stop to help me advance and make a name for myself within the company.
Jennifer takes her time when putting a plan together to meet our company’s SQM goals. She does this by meeting with each of us to discuss our shortcomings, individually and as a team; she praises us for our effort and devotion.
Within the first year, Jennifer has shown great support and gratitude. So great, that I have continued in my second year, to exceed the Divisional goal for Calls Resolved at 95%. She has pushed me to help and inspire other CSRs meet their goals, by recognizing me as a Universal Mentor and Coach. Jennifer’s inspirational push has allowed me to maintain and also exceed the goal for CSR Satisfaction at 95%.
I’ve helped other CSRs meet their goals because of her tremendous spirit and motivational guidance, which in turn helped me transition into a new role with VSP. Thank you Jennifer! Knowing that I no longer report directly to her in this new year creates a bittersweet moment for me.
I’ve made it my extended goal to not ‘give up’ on her because she never gave up on me. So here is my nomination for Jennifer Riggle again, for this year. She deserves this recognition because just like VSP’s motto, “We Help People See”, her motto is helping us “SEE our future”.
Jennifer Riggle – VSP Vision Care
2014 Top Six Supervisor Finalists Great CSR Csat Coaching Stories
“BCBSVT saw improvement in literally every metric”
In the world of health care, 2014 was a year of change and trepidation. With a mandated overhaul in the way consumers purchase insurance through state and federal exchanges, there was certainly a lot of unknown territory to venture. For a call center at a health insurance company, the representatives would need extra support, additional tools and confident, bold leadership to keep their eyes on what was important and see customers through to a resolution. Janalee Willett is a supervisor that provided just those things when they were needed most, and she exceeded beyond necessity and expectation. With the implementation of Vermont’s health insurance exchange, came a host of unforeseen and sometimes incomprehensible problems. Not only was the start riddled with errors and glitches in initial enrollment of customers onto health plans, but our customers experienced frustrations due to their system limitations that were unable to make major or even minor changes to a person’s plan and each could take weeks or even months to update. Our customers, many of whom were rightly irate at the aggravations they experienced, turned to our call center for help. Due to our company’s culture for putting member experience first, we had been able to create strategies and backup plans to help see our members through this painful transition. But strategies and backup plans could only get us so far. We needed a team to execute those plans in a professional and empathetic manner. We needed to give that team the tools to succeed and the training bring members to resolution. Janalee Willett was a shining star of giving our representatives what they needed and being a champion for resolving every issue. Janalee took the lead on being a liaison between BCBSVT and the Exchange during all of the troubles that we faced. She was able to provide us with training and keep us up to date with changes that we were facing while this new system of individuals buying insurance off of the health care exchange took place. She was able to create troubleshooting procedures to help us navigate through tough situations; especially when you are talking about health care and money, two very important factors to consumers, there are often escalated conversations that we were able to navigate often due to the guidance she provided. She took many calls from upset members whose policies had been terminated or we had not received enrollment information. In many cases these members were being asked to pay high dollars for prescriptions or were being denied for medical care, but she handled every call with care and professionalism. In preparation for the tumultuous transition to the state exchange and a drive for continual improvement, our call center also partnered with a training company to bring consistency and polish to our reps’ call flow. Janalee became our master coach and ensured the facilitation of the department-wide training for both our CSR’s and coaches. She collaborated with the rest of the management team to add the new strategies to our quality assurance standards; this solidified the partnership as a permanent change to our call center’s culture to promote timely feedback and consistent performance. Her role as master coach has not ended as she continues to provide coaching and advice to CSR’s and coaches alike. Not only did Janalee take on the responsibilities of a liaison and master coach in addition to her normal tasks, she did so with an ever-present smile on her face. She is known throughout the department as cheerful, pleasant and well-humored while also continuing to communicate in a straightforward, honest manner. She works very hard and puts others before herself. Did all of this effort work? You bet. Although already a top-performing call center in 2013, BCBSVT saw improvement in literally every metric and to obtain such numbers in a year of change and uncertainty demonstrates effective leadership by those such as Janalee. I am confident when I say our call center would not have had the successful year we did without the effort, drive and charm of Janalee Willett. She is an awesome role model, a great boss and a kind friend. I couldn’t be more honored to say that she is my supervisor and someone that I look up to every day.
Janalee Willett – BlueCross BlueShield of Vermont
Dedication to Serve, Inspire, Coach and Recognize
“She had ideas that could help me hurdle those areas of opportunity”
Dede Tobin is a World Class Certified Supervisor in our Commercial Customer Service team at Regence BlueCross BlueShield. Dede has had outstanding success on her team with our department Member Experience goals. This can easily be attributed to her dedication to serve, inspire, coach and recognize those on her team. At Regence we have a CSR Recognition program called “Service Hero”. From a list of multiple nominations, this program rewards the top 3 CSR’s per quarter. Dede has had a winner from her team in each quarter with a total of 6 winners of the possible 12 awards in 2014. When asking a few of Dede’s team for examples of how she has inspired them to improve their Call Resolution or Csat performance, here is what they shared:
Dede allows and encourages me to take risks to get a resolution. She is always available to help and will always provide positive feedback to get the best result. She thinks outside the box and focuses on doing the right thing for us and for our members SHE ROCKS! Leah W
I truly believe that through her compassion, Dede is able to identify not only how our callers are feeling but how we are feeling as well. She has made me aware of my triggers and my struggles but not before she had ideas that could help me hurdle those areas of opportunity. Without passing judgment, she provides examples that fit with your personality type on how to overcome your weaknesses and become a better you. I can honestly say that Dede doesn’t break down your calls just to get your satisfaction or resolution scores higher. She breaks them down to help us become better individuals, to be better human beings. There is no formula she uses, she is just an amazing individual that believes everyone has the ability to be just as amazing and she leads by example. Because of the culture she has created we know we have countless team members at our disposal that can help us not only meet but exceed our goals and create an amazing member experience. Annette J
Dede has helped me out so much to push me to be world class certified. She has showed and taught me things to engage in conversation before getting that ID number. She has helped me identify what my triggers are and what I can do NOT to have these and what I can do to improve. She helps me through my struggles and holds me accountable. She checks on each and every one of us more than once a day and asks what she can do to help us if we need it. She invites us to share experiences throughout our group chats. Best calls and SQM stats are sent to her weekly. I don’t know what more I can say about Dede she has just made the work place and work experience enjoyable and not so scary. Mary W
Dede is very strong at making sure awareness of what should be a focus is constant. By weekly emails, checking in on a personal basis, constant feedback on our SQM results, etc. She also encourages us to share our tips/tricks with the rest of the team. I have no idea how she can juggle that much to be honest. It is pretty amazing. Patrick A
Dede not only assists her staff by coaching; she steps in to help when needed. In a situation where our member didn’t receive resolution for a check reimbursement timely Dede partnered with one of her representatives to work with our finance team by sharing the need for urgency and was able to escalate this to resolution. When a follow up call was needed to update our member, Dede didn’t hesitate to take ownership for the call back, understanding that the member needed reassurance and was very concerned.
Dede has also supported in 2014 as an “FCR Champion Supervisor” working across location with peers to instill focus and drive on our member experience goals. Dede has also generated innovative ideas and practices that have increased Call Resolution and Csat, with her team and others within our department. Two specific programs she implemented and shared was a “Follow up work Process” and “Best Call Practice”.
What has been amazing to see is Dede’s consistency with her success that has continued from 2013 to 2014. From all of this it is apparent that Dede can easily be recognized for her service directly to our members, her team, her peers and our entire department.
We are very fortunate and grateful to have Dede on our customer service leadership team.
Dede Tobin – Regence BlueCross BlueShield
Coaching for Success
“She is present, but believes that people learn from their mistakes”
Sue Fordyce is not only a valued tenured employee of Rogers and has been for 28 Years. She is also an influential, motivational, passionate leader who demonstrates her abilities and focus through leading great teams and attaining consistent quality and customer satisfaction. Sue has been ranked as the number one team manager for all of her customer satisfaction and FCR kpi’s in our dedicated Enterprise Customer Service team throughout 2014. She has been able to work with her team to ensure they deliver reliable and high value service to their customers. She has a team of 12 individuals and works out of our Burnaby office. She is totally self -sufficient and has been able to build outstanding relationships with her peers, her sales partners and most importantly, her customers. Sue has coached and empowered her team to take ownership and handle each customer interaction the first time right. This is evident in all of Sue’s results. Her teams FCR for 2014 came in at 89%. Fantastic results!!! Her overall CSAT for her centre was 92%!!
Sue takes the time to meet with her employees on a regular basis. She coaches them individually and as a team to share the feedback from our customers. She works individually with her team when escalations arise, she lets them take ownership of the situation and deal directly with the customers and the sales team. She is present, but believes that people learn from their mistakes, so she lets them resolve and ensures to coach and provide feedback to avoid replication of the same issues. She regularly attends customer meetings with sales and she listens to the voice of the customer and translates that into action. She stepped up to the challenge in 2014 to lead her team as well as integrate a new team to Rogers without letting any balls drop. She maintained focus, but because she has built such a strong independent team who own their accounts like it’s their own business, she felt confident to be able to support the implementation project while her dedicated team continued to deliver excellent service. Sue is looked upon as a mentor for many of our newer managers. She is open and honest, and excited to help people develop and learn. She is a leader amongst the team and that is recognized by her peers when they reach out to her for guidance and insight.
The feedback from our VP in BC Enterprise Sales-Western Region prime is that he would like all of our teams to work as efficiently and effectively as Sue’s team does. The feedback from his Director team has always been positive and the direct feedback from our customers for Sue’s team is something to celebrate. Sue is a role model for her peers and other leaders throughout the organization. She works hard for her team and the customer. Sue has been around a lot of change in her years with Rogers, but she continuously finds ways to evolve and keep her team moving forward. She is influential and is able to get people on board. She speaks her mind and is always first to think about impacts to our customers. She has brainstorming sessions with her team and has delivered an open culture so that her team feels comfortable in giving feedback and owning the experience, which is evident in all of Sue’s results. I believe Sue exemplifies what it means to be “Manager of the Year.” She is one of my strongest managers and one of the strongest managers we have in the Enterprise Customer Service Team at Rogers. The feedback you would receive for Sue for this nomination would be supportive and positive. Her style of management, her coaching and her passion for the customer not only make her an amazing leader, but also make her an ambassador for Rogers. I know Sue wears glasses, and I often think those glasses belong to our customers because she is always able to see things from the customer’s point of view-that’s what makes her successful.
Sue Fordyce – Rogers
“Walk the Talk” – Supervisor Handles Tough Call and Shows her CSRs how it’s Done.
“It literally changed the way we handled internet banking calls at the Centre.”
A big struggle we had in the Contact Centre for a long time was getting Customer Service Representatives (CSRs) to improve their handling of internet banking calls. This was quite urgent as “internet banking calls” represented the number one source of repeat calls, as well as the major source of “Non-WCC” calls. In September 2014, a CSR recognized that the customer he was assisting with registering for internet banking sounded as though she would be a “repeat caller” as she was not technically savvy and was moving at a very slow pace. Having already spent approximately 15 minutes with the customer, he decided to escalate to his supervisor, Jefferian for a resolution. Jefferian accepted the call and what a model conversation it was! She patiently listened to this customer, understood exactly what she wanted to do on internet banking and more importantly, she correctly assessed the level of guidance the customer needed.
At the beginning of the conversation, Jefferian put the customer at ease by advising that she would stay with her until she had successfully registered online. Throughout the call, Jefferian picked up that the customer was doubtful about her technical abilities and sought to support the customer by asking who was at home with her and if she would be comfortable with having her grandson join the conversation to better assist her navigating the screen. The customer agreed and after several minutes on the call, the customer announced that she had successfully registered on internet banking and was able to complete her transaction. At the end of the call, she asked to speak with me (Jefferian’s Manager). Her feedback is noted below: “I want to commend Mrs. Jefferian Thompson-Pratt for assisting me with on-line banking today. I had a mental block, a break down, I started to grow two horns and two tails, I was frustrated! She had no under tone, no attitude, I could feel her smile. You could not pay me to do her job. I can’t thank her enough for how kind and patient she was. I offered to bring her some cookies for being so sweet, only for her to tell me she is not in the Bahamas. I am the owner of a limousine service, let her know if ever she visits the Bahamas I will personally pick her up in a town car and take her to Atlantis, for being so sweet. I bless her for being so patient, I tell you she did not grit her teeth, She is an Angel! Please give her an incentive for me.”
Jefferian was featured in Scotiabank’s Service Heroes Bulletin and received the CEO’s Service Hero Award as well as a certificate from our President & CEO. In her response, our President commented: “The customers’ feedback inspired and motivated the entire team.” After I shared the customer’s experience with the entire team, both CSRs and Team Leaders expressed that they felt motivated and encouraged to make every customer feel the way this customer described her experience. It literally changed the way we handled internet banking calls at the Centre. Team members felt empowered and as such, were guided by Team Leaders and the Quality Assurance Team to change the way they managed internet banking calls and prevent the customers from calling back by implementing suggested steps during the conversation. Steps that were evident in the conversation Jefferian had with the customer. The feedback from the team members was positive and it reinforced what we strive to achieve on a daily basis and demonstrated to the CSR who escalated the call and others that it can be done well. A call that typically resurfaces as a repeat call, when managed well was a sterling example of a “wow” experience. Team members were reminded that by achieving First Call Resolution and truly connecting with customers every call, including internet banking calls, could result in a World Class experience. It is my delight to also share that for the month of September 2014 100% of the calls surveyed for Jefferian’s team were World Class Certified!
Jefferian Thompson-Pratt – Scotia International (Jamaica)
A Change from the Ordinary
“The inspiration behind that change is Alexandrea Roopram.”
Every day I set my alarm and wake up at the same time. I eat the same thing for breakfast and I drive the same route to work. I park my car in the same parking space, take the same elevator to the second floor and I sit at the same desk. That’s when things change. That’s when I change. The inspiration behind that change is my supervisors, Alexandrea Roopram.
There is nothing easy about being a customer care representative. It is however, our job to make things easy for the customers that we care for. As a supervisor, Alexandrea has taken me and her team to new heights in order for us to accomplish the latter. She has inspired us all to exceed our own expectations and she leads by example, day in and day out. From a business standpoint, Alexandrea has her finger on the pulse of the call center. She is in tune with every target and metric and she keeps her team informed on where we are at, where we need to be, and most importantly, how to get there. With relevant daily communications, Alexandrea informs and inspires us all to monitor our progress. During one-on-one meetings and call shadowing sessions, Alexandrea tailors her supervisory style to each one of her representatives, whose personalities, character traits, strengths and weaknesses she knows so well. Even as a seasoned customer care representative, I made extreme gains in terms of my own personal metrics; drastically increasing efficiencies month over month, while making sure quality remained at the forefront as well. The result could be heard in the voice of the customer, both literally on every call, as well as the positive comments noted during member surveys.
From a personal standpoint, I can’t begin to count the ways in which Alexandrea has demonstrated all of the core qualities of customer care, which in turn has helped me to put into practice the same traits in dealing with customers. Effective communication and active listening combined with showing empathy, care and concern are just a few of the traits which Alexandrea has exhibited on numerous occasions. She has celebrated my successes, and helped me through my hardships in ways that I will never forget.
A lot of things in my everyday life are the same but being a customer care representative elicits change. Being a customer care representative on Alexandrea’s team has brought about positive changes on so many levels. Looking back, I can already see how far I’ve come and the inspiration which Alexandrea has imparted will continue to brighten my path at Sun Life in the future.
Alexandrea Roopram – Sun Life Financial
Positive Reinforcement – The Driving Force Behind Improvement
“Jennifer praises when we do a good job, and positively corrects us when we make mistakes.”
I am a new CSR with VSP. Jennifer makes sure I understand everything; she is very active with the entire team. Always willing to assist and help with resolving calls. A plan worksheet was provided to record what areas I needed to improve and how I was going to meet the goals. During every monthly meeting with Jennifer, we would go over calls that were not resolved and she would help me focus on the main aspect of the call and ask me “what is it that you could have done in addition to the service you provided to resolve this call?” We’ve mocked calls that were unresolved to get to a resolution. She would provide me with tips on certain calls that showed similar trends. She provided tips on how to improve my CSAT. Ex. Asking the customer if all of their questions and concerns were answered on that call.
I am proud to say, I met all of my goals set for the year. My Calls Resolved ended at 95%, and my CSR CSAT at 97%. Also this is my first year of being World Class certified. Jennifer praises when we (our team) do a good job, and positively corrects us when we make mistakes. She is quick to listen if we have personal issues, frustrations, or even comical occurrences that happen within our daily lives. She has taught me the important aspects of the work environment: responsibility, motivation, and respect. She handles our team very well and is stern but fair when jobs are not done correctly. She shows a genuine interest in what we are doing. She shows that she trusts my judgment and ability to do the job. Because of her, I feel that my job here is very important and that my employment in this office is worthwhile.
Jennifer Riggle – VSP Vision Care
2013 Top Six Supervisor Finalists Great CSR Csat Coaching Stories
A Great Leader – Showing CSRs how to Truly Enjoy Their Jobs
“It is clear that he values every single team member.”
Marc is the Best! Last year was our first full year with the Voice of the Customer program in the Individual call center. At the call center, we provide excellent customer service to both our clients and advisors. I can assure you that Marc, my team leader, has a very strong work ethic and coaches his team to be the best at what we do.
Last year our team focused on placing quality in every single customer interaction. Marc was really excited about the opportunity to improve the way my team spoke with clients. He spoke with us as a group about how important it is to genuinely care about who we were speaking to, and that we had a responsibility to each of our clients to give them the help they need. This really resonated with me. I thought of the times that I had been frustrated with processes in my company or with client’s expectations. Marc stepped up to be our go-to person for any client who we felt was not getting the service they needed. There have been dozens of times that Marc has followed up on cases, to check with different departments, to make sure cases are resolved and that customers are happy. He has really made the customer experience better and has shown by example how to truly listen to clients and empathize.
Even though it seems to come naturally to Marc to be this caring individual, he works really hard with each of us to drive us to succeed. Whenever a team member is struggling Marc gives examples of good calls, role plays and listens to calls to find the issues. He showed me how to set short and long term goals. He celebrated with me when I achieved those goals, and encouraged me with goals I did not meet. Marc helped me understand that the key to being successful at my job, and in fact in life, is balance. Marc has shown me how to truly enjoy my job.
Through the years, Marc has received numerous awards for being the best team lead, and I now clearly understand why. In early 2013, I was sick and needed to go on short term disability. Marc checked back with me while I was away and let me know what was going on at work. He made it clear to me that I was a part of a team and I would be welcome back as soon as I was ready. His words of encouragement during my time of need made a big difference. It is clear that he values every single team member. Most of my team works from home. Marc has the challenging job of managing all of us offsite. He has a knack for making us feel connected with him, our teammates and with upper management. All my teammates agree that Marc has done an outstanding job of being an inspiring leader. We believe that Marc lives up to the true definition of ‘Supervisor of the Year’ and deserves to be recognized for his commitment to customer satisfaction.
Marc Albert – Sun Life Financial
Leading by Example – A Clear Understanding of Expectations and a Willingness to Meet the FCR Goal
“I’m proud of the example that Karen sets for her staff of placing the members and their needs first.”
Karen Lyons is someone that truly believes in ‘leading by example’. During her eight years of management in Senior Markets, she not only expects a lot from her staff, but also demands a lot of herself in service to her staff. During my conversations with Karen on her team’s success with FCR, I truly see the skill of leading by example. “If I want my team to have a clear understanding and to believe in FCR, I must demonstrate my willingness to meet FCR by being positive in my communication with the team, both during one-on-one discussions and during group team meetings. I must ensure that they all have a clear understanding and expectation of what it takes to achieve FCR on each and every call.” Along with coaching calls that do not meet FCR guidelines, Karen states it is important to also share the positive comments shared by members on World Class Calls, as well as the success of the team in meeting the FCR goal. Karen is an active participant in call calibrations of non-FCR calls. She continually provides constructive criticism, and is very quick to recommend and help to develop tools that will assist the staff in developing their FCR skills.
I recently had the pleasure of witnessing Karen’s commitment to a member during an escalated Supervisor call. This member had not received resolution to her initial call, and Karen was quick to identify the issue and involve other units within Senior Markets to provide the resolution that the member needed and deserved. Although this situation was very difficult and the resolution was not an easy fix, Karen was diligent in making hard decisions, and to hold not only herself to the task of resolution, but also management from other units. Karen made multiple calls to the member, keeping her fully updated on the steps she was taking and how these steps were going to bring a resolution. I’m proud of the example that Karen sets for her staff of placing the members and their needs first. For these reasons, I’m proud to nominate Karen Lyons for Supervisor of the Year.
Karen Lyons – Highmark
A Natural Motivator – Expanding Individual Skill Sets and Helping Team Members take Ownership of their Personal Contributions
“She offered regular feedback, allowing them room to make mistakes so they could learn from them, and would schedule coaching time to build their confidence and skills.”
Wendy Chevrette, a Supervisor in our Roadside Assistance division, enables success in her team through various ways. She provides an amazing amount of support to her team’s trainer/coach to set the trainer up for success, not just so the individual can benefit from the learning, but to ensure the whole team does. She is a natural motivator, always trying to find ways to offer recognition or commendation. She is very perceptive and skilled at drawing out the individual talents and strengths on her team.
An example that stands out was when her team was encouraged to focus on customer retention, which was a challenge. Instead of seeing it as a negative, she sought to understand why the team was struggling with this initiative and showed the trainer/coach how to anticipate any problems or challenges they might have prior to training. This type of approach allowed the individual to focus on the real obstacles and concentrate on the quality of the material. What made the team successful was not the training, but rather, how Wendy showed exceptional leadership skills to maintain the learning. She regularly checked in and asked how the team felt about their learning and took action based on what they shared. It was always tailored to the individual representative; they all have a different story to share on how Wendy supported them. The common theme was that she expanded their individual skill sets and helped them take more ownership of their personal contribution. She offered regular feedback, allowing them room to make mistakes so they could learn from them, and would schedule coaching time to build their confidence and skills. Wendy also set up a reward program to encourage the team members individually and to celebrate as a team. When giving praise, she was not generic but rather, offered specific details when identifying their strengths. She recognized and cheered them on, both publicly and privately. Sharing success stories with the group made individuals feel appreciated and valued; reading others’ success stories motivated others to push themselves and encouraged them to be more productive. A year later, Wendy’s team has maintained an increased retention rate, and despite this success, Wendy has never taken the credit; she has allowed the team to embrace its own achievements and gives full credit to the team. This is just one of many examples that illustrates how Wendy motivates them to perform at a world class customer satisfaction level.
Wendy Chevrette – Canadian Tire Financial Services
De-Escalating Calls – Calming even the most Frustrated Callers
“Callers may have been frustrated, angry or even upset to begin with, but they were always different and much calmer after speaking with Patti. “
As a World Class certified and seasoned representative, I felt extremely confident in handling difficult calls and maintaining call control, always defusing difficult situations before they became escalated.In 2013, I was promoted to a Customer Service Team Leader where coaching other representatives became my primary assignment. As a newly appointed Team Leader, I felt a responsibility to always be involved with our representatives and to diffuse those difficult situations before they escalated.
During my first week as a new team leader, I overheard a representative on a very difficult call. I stepped in to help, but the situation quickly escalated and I found myself on my very first supervisor call as a leader. I had handled supervisor scenarios at previous employment, but never in regards to anything as important as a person’s healthcare. As a CSR, I rarely found myself in a situation where things were escalated from the very beginning, leaving me feeling as if I already had two strikes against me. Regardless of this, I took the call and asked the member several confirmation questions to let him know that I understood his concerns, but was quickly cut off before being able to finish. Hearing me on one of my first supervisor calls, Patti began to listen in from her desk close by, and coached me through the call as she was a subject matter expert on prescriptions and escalation. Afterwards, I explained how I had difficulty with the call since it was already escalated before getting to me. Patti took the time to explain that there are different skills needed for taking a difficult call as a CSR and taking a difficult call as a supervisor. In the following weeks, Patti continued to help me, coaching me before and after each callback to this particular member and each call got progressively easier. Over the next couple of months, my desk remained close to Patti’s and I overheard her on several supervisor calls during this time. I noticed that on her calls she always remained calm; her tone was always great, she was always confident even if she had to research an issue further, and that she consistently acknowledged her caller’s concerns. While these callers may have been frustrated, angry or even upset to begin with, they were always different and much calmer after speaking with Patti. I could gradually hear the calls de-escalate.
Today, I am still a Team Leader on Patricia Nieusma’s team and while she has taught me a great deal about handling escalated calls in the short time I have been a leader, she continues to be consistently available to answer my questions or coach me through difficult situations. She does not have a door to close or open, but she has a great office chair to sit in whenever I have a question or concern and I know that it is always available.
Patricia Nieusma – BlueCross BlueShield of Vermont
Promoting Employee Satisfaction – Understanding that High Esat Drives Positive Customer Experiences
“Amyn took it upon himself to drive employee satisfaction, not just on his team, but across our organization”
Amyn Sumar is a team lead who clearly understands the importance of customer satisfaction, but also understands how high employee satisfaction drives positive customer experiences. In 2013, Amyn took it upon himself to drive employee satisfaction, not just on his team, but across our organization through a committee he led called Culturenet. This committee was focused on creating employee engagement activities on a number of levels that truly drove satisfaction in the workplace. Amyn’s leadership was crucial in driving the high improvement we saw in employee satisfaction. Amyn did this while still focusing heavily on First Call Resolution within his direct team. He did this with a focus in team meetings, coaching sessions and email communications. His employees learned to position their calls where the customer felt as though their concerns were being dealt with from start to finish consistently. Additionally, Amyn was given the task of identifying World Class agents in our organization through the ‘SQM Wall of Fame’. This board was updated quarterly with agents’ photos and monthly SQM call center stats, and they were given recognition for a 100% of World Class Calls with reward points. Amyn has had a very busy year, and has driven positive focus on employee and customer engagement through a number of channels. We could not be more proud of his success!
Amyn Sumar – ENMAX
Perseverance, Leadership and Practicality Equals Success – Coaching to Help Grow both CSRs and the Team
“Shelly would often share positive calls with our team showing us what other team members did well, especially with the simple turn of a phrase.”
Shelly has been an excellent supervisor, I was on her team for approximately five years. I was one of the original CSR & Claim Processors under her leadership. It was a challenge early on to get training and time to process claims, but Shelly persevered and kept her team members in the loop all along. On the CSR side of business, Shelly was constantly listening to calls and giving me feedback from the member’s point of view. It helped me grow, not only to tell the member the business information needed, but also how to apply it in a practical way that would make sense to the caller. I have been a World Class Certified CSR since the inception of the program and I’m on track again for the 7th year. Shelly would often share positive calls with our team showing us what other team members did well, especially with the simple turn of a phrase. Shelly also instituted an open enrollment certification process during September and October of 2013. The goal was to make sure we were providing potential new members with the necessary information about their client-specific VSP plan in a way that positively influenced them to join VSP. I am happy to report I earned that certification with guidance from Shelly. Sometimes I dreaded going into a one-on-one session but always came away energized and ready to start anew. Over the year, I did meet my goals for Calls Resolved and CSR Csat. I’ve had trouble with cost per call and wrap-up stats, but Shelly helped me focus on these areas to meet the overall standards. Shelly has helped me grow and become a better CSR.
Shelly Limpach – VSP Vision Care
2012 Supervisor of the Year Great CSR Csat Coaching Story
Turning a Negative Situation into a Positive Customer Experience
“She helped me understand this significance from resolving the call to the customer’s satisfaction.”
My name is Kimberly Kennedy and I’ve been on Kimi Miller’s team since May of 2012. I have been in the work force since I was 16 years old, from fast food, to call centers and different administrative/customer service positions including California State service. My experience at VSP has been a very positive and unique experience of which, in my over 20 years of work experience, I have never encountered at any other company.
Kimi has made it a pleasure to work at VSP. She has a unique and positive approach to each team member and to her team as a whole. Kimi is very approachable and open to providing additional training and coaching as needed. I joined her team after I finished training, asking for additional assistance and a better understanding of my job functions and how our whole Customer Service department works. She set up side-by-sides for me right away with many of our support teams and other more tenured team members so that I would be more successful in my job performance. As a result of this training and continual coaching and encouragement, I’ve been able to improve my overall SQM scores.
There were a couple of situations when I needed coaching. It was truly a learning experience. Kimi is very diligent in reviewing my SQM scores with me and explaining how the voice of the customer response affects my results as a whole. She helped me understand this significance from resolving the call to the customer’s satisfaction to positioning negative situations in a way that the customer is more satisfied with their experience. I did not start having SQM audits until June of 2012 when I completed my training, so I am confident with her advice and coaching and continual encouragement and feedback I will certainly reach the goal of World Class CSR in the next qualification period.
I am now a team coach for new employees during different stages of their training. That is one step towards reaching my goals here at VSP. It is truly an honor and pleasure to give back and provide the same feedback as I was given during my training here at VSP: to help others succeed in their goals at VSP. Kimi is an encouraging team leader. She is very talented and skilled at drawing out the talents and strengths of each individual on our team. She makes every one of us feel appreciated and valued for our efforts and hard work on a daily basis. Kimi is fair, kind hearted and also handles private information with the utmost dignity and respect and professional manner. She is supportive and fair to the whole team. She is a clear example of our VSP core values.
Kimi Miller – VSP Vision Care
2012 Top Five Supervisor Finalists Great Csat Coaching Stories
Brainstorm Ideas for an Action Plan to Improve World Class Scores
“Using more inflection to her voice and adding a ‘smile’ to her tone made a world of difference.”
As a supervisor, Chantal exudes confidence, encourages her staff, is empathetic, an excellent problem solver and a daily role model for her staff. The performance of her team is a reflection of Chantal’s dedication. Chantal is a positive presence in the call center and is always approachable and receptive. During her day, Chantal can be found answering both staff and customer questions, taking calls during times of high volume, working to resolve departmental and customer inquiries, all on top of her usual supervisor duties.
In early 2011, Chantal and her team leads began to notice a slow but steady drop in one of the team member’s SQM scores. There was no immediate concern as scores can fluctuate month to month. This representative, Liza, maintains excellent internally measured quality and is a dedicated member of the team. Despite the best efforts Liza’s world class score was not showing sustained improvement. As a team, we met to discuss her performance, brainstorm ideas of why there was a slow but steady decline and try to come up with an action plan. Chantal approached the situation with a strong desire to help Liza improve her performance; increase her SQM world class scores. Chantal was open to feedback and was willing to work closely with Liza and her team leads to identify the heart of the issue and make the necessary adjustments to her workflow.
Chantal encouraged and supported that Liza and her team leads begin to meet on a weekly basis to evaluate what was happening with her scores, to identify areas of possible improvement, find where immediate changes could be made and build a long-term plan. During the weekly meetings, we listened to her previous calls to identify areas of improvement. We focused on quality over quantity, taking a member-centered approach, having Liza own each issue a member presented and strive to resolve that issue in one interaction. Controlling her call flow and taking her time during the call ensured that callers felt heard, cared for, and helped. Chantal identified that in addition to Liza’s overall call flow and member-centered approach, there was an area of potential improvement with Liza’s vocal tone during her calls. Using more inflection to her voice and adding a ‘smile’ to her tone made a world of difference. Chantal also worked with Liza on techniques that would improve her rapport with her callers. Chantal made this a team effort utilizing her team leads for extra resources. These efforts combined with a strong desire on Liza’s part to be successful and to service her customers to the highest level, resulted in a highly engaged team focused on making the improvements necessary to increase Liza’s world class scores.
With Chantal’s encouragement, excellent problem solving and by being a top notch role model, Liza felt comfortable and was open to feedback. She was not afraid to reflect on herself and accept the areas that she needed to change. Chantal’s hard work paid off; Liza is now in the first quartile for world class and is a Certified World Class Representative based on SQM’s criteria. This recognition is a reflection of Chantal’s dedication to supporting her staff and commitment to ‘Always Putting the Member Experience First’.
Chantal Parent – BlueCross BlueShield of Vermont
Leads by Example – ‘Walks the Walk and Talks the Talk’
“Sits on the floor among her team and handles all call types right alongside the agents.”
Diana deserves the Supervisor of the Year Award because she ‘walks the walk’ and ‘talks the talk’ of First Call Resolution (FCR). Diana sits on the floor among her team and handles all call types right alongside the agents. She holds her team to a high standard and helps them understand how to resolve their calls. In October, Diana took an escalated call from a very irate member. She went above and beyond and fixed the problem.
Beyond that, however, this member asked to speak with Diana’s boss to give feedback. The member stated that Diana was “one in a million and showed true character. She was honest, reliable and trustworthy and did an excellent job. She always called back as she promised and represented the company beautifully. She gave exceptional service!” For one of our members to speak this highly of Diana only confirms what we already know – she truly is one in a million and motivates us every day to go the extra mile.
Diana is consistently reviewing SQM surveys and quality scorecards for her team. She gives feedback constantly of opportunities for improvement and jobs well done. I’ve seen her multiple times at an agent’s desk with training materials out, stepping the agent through the workflows and teaching them how to really take ownership of their calls. She is a joy to be around and the call center always feels happier when she walks in. Diana is an exceptional supervisor.
Diana Bechtel – Allegra Direct Communications
Enhanced Coaching Strategy Provides Outstanding Member Experiences
“The member wants to be heard and understood. It is very important to build a good rapport with your caller.”
‘We are committed to the health of Vermonters, outstanding member experiences and responsible cost management for all of the people whose lives we touch.’
When I first started at BlueCross BlueShield of Vermont a couple of years ago, I never thought this would be our mission statement. Today, we could not be more proud of servicing our members while resolving their call and providing the best member experience we can. Our customer service team has come a long way. We strive to provide the best member experience possible and have spent countless hours running reports, comparing and contrasting world class calls with calls that were not resolved, providing feedback, completing individual coaching sessions and team staff meetings, and implementing several enhancements to process within our company to achieve resolution and member satisfaction. We realized that coaching was the most important part of this process.
Being fairly new to the role of Team Lead, I had a lot of learning to do myself. It was through trial and error that I found out which coaching strategies work best for different representatives. I took coaching and mentoring classes to improve my skills, which in turn helped my representatives increase FCR and member satisfaction. It can be very difficult to change a habit or a way of doing something. Starting with the more seasoned representatives, I worked with them daily to change their mind set from what they were used to (numbers, such as how many calls you can take in a day), to focusing on the member experience. I consistently sent the message that it no longer matters how long you spend on the phone with that one member as long as they walk away with a very positive member experience and their call is resolved.
But how do we get our representatives to understand this and act upon it? I provide coaching, mentoring and feedback on a daily basis. We also enhanced our coaching strategy. We meet monthly with our representatives on a one-on-one basis. This is a structured meeting focusing on member satisfaction and how we can ensure resolution. We focus strictly on that one representative’s personal statistics. Before we meet, I listen to and transcribe all calls that were surveyed, noting what the representative did well and if there were any opportunities for improvement. In our meeting, we review all surveys in depth. If there was a coaching opportunity, we reviewed what the representative could have done to enhance the member experience and ensure resolution. We review different techniques, phrasing, and options that they can try to achieve a more favorable result in the future, such as their peers’ best practices. I then document the opportunities that were identified so we can see if they continue to struggle or have seen improvement. I also document what the representative did well and encourage them to continue as it is having a positive impact.
The member wants to be heard and understood. It is very important to build a good rapport with your caller. I coach my team to take ownership of the call, don’t lay blame; apologize, empathize and congratulate the member when appropriate. Give responses such as ‘I can’ and ‘I will’ so the member is confident we resolved their issue; we are here to help, and ensure understanding by asking clarifying questions and reiterating what the member said. I have found that consistent feedback and mentoring are key to achieving member satisfaction and call resolution. By enhancing my monthly coaching meeting, focusing on call flow and the member’s feedback, we are able to ensure member satisfaction and first call resolution.
Jessica Pinkans – BlueCross BlueShield of Vermont
Building a World Class Team
“I attribute these honours to her guidance and leadership.”
I began working with Carla Principato in the fall of 2010. When I joined the Customer Service Centre I had only been working in a CSR role for just 9 months. Of the two years I have reported to Carla, I earned World Class Certification both years. I attribute these honours to her guidance and leadership. In 2011, I was awarded Top 10 Most Improved CSR by SQM and continued to remain at the top of our World Class Ranking list within our company. The coaching Carla has provided me has given me the confidence, knowledge and tools to become a World Class employee. Carla is a very intelligent, patient, and approachable manager. She is well liked not only by those who report to her, but companywide. The biggest compliment I can give to Carla is that she had 5 World Class employees on her team in 2011 and 9 World Class Certified employees in 2012. This speaks volumes of Carla’s ability, passion, professionalism, and capability as a supervisor. She is the best and I know I speak for everyone on her team when I say she truly deserves this honour.
Carla Principato – 407 ETR
Charismatic Leadership Empowers Team to Achieve World Class Certification
“She always encouraged us to leverage each other’s strengths and to share best practices so together as one team we are all winners.”
I am proud to be a part of the team that achieved organization World Class Certification. I would like to attribute our success to our Manager, Samantha’s charismatic leadership. It’s an honor to vouch for her to be the Supervisor of the Year.
It’s her dedication and commitment to lead us for certification that reaped us this reward. It’s an outstanding achievement given that Samantha and our whole team were in Business Service Delivery for Small Business and became a Commercial team at the end of January 2012. She is a role model for service orientation and ‘can do’ demeanor for internal and external customers. Members from her previous teams and Business support teams would always approach Samantha because she is known to care and do her best to help resolve customer issues.
She is passionate about every aspect of customer service and is a very empathetic person. She set goals for us and gave us regular updates on our achievement of world class calls and she always stressed the importance of FCR. She regularly listened to our calls and provided positive and constructive feedback on coaching opportunities. In our weekly team meetings, she always shared our results as a team, saw opportunities for improvement and recognized and rewarded the achievements of our peers. This motivated everyone to do their best. She would always empower us and give us the necessary time and support. She was always there and always acted on our feedback to review processes to ensure they were working well and challenged and made recommendations to change those that did not, in order to improve her team’s FCR and Csat scores. She always encouraged us to leverage each other’s strengths and to share best practices so together as one team we are all winners.
Samantha Mahabir – Rogers Commercial Service Delivery
2011 Supervisor of the Year Great CSR Csat Coaching Story
Working Together Reignites Customer Service Passion
“By listening to calls together, we discussed what could have gone better.”
When entering the 2011 SQM year, I decided to make it my year of change. I had set my goals and once I communicated them to my Supervisor, Lisa Jones, she jumped right on board. Her passion in making this commitment thrilled me. As the year progressed I began to understand that, even though the support has always been there, nothing would happen until I had made the decision to change and that was why she became so excited.
I always thought I had what it took to do my job but this year Lisa has taught me the true meaning of great customer service and so much more. I had no idea that with her faith in me I would have a whole new outlook on the meaning of Customer Service! Lisa taught me the importance of being patient, understanding and caring with every one of our customers. Through one-on-one coaching sessions, we developed the plan to facilitate the changes. By listening to calls together, we discussed what could have gone better, and with active shadowing, we were able to identify areas where improvements could be made; improvements that would impact and change a customer’s response from somewhat satisfied to very satisfied. We noticed trends in my tone of voice, habits and mannerisms that may have been contributing to my poor SQM results. What I thought as helping was sometimes not helpful at all because it seemed like I was rushing to beat the clock instead of providing quality service. Step by step, she showed me how to apply what I had learned to each and every call. We would discuss which tips I was able to incorporate and which ones I still struggled with.
At one point during the year I remember thinking “I am being picked on” and I started to take it personally. Little did I know that was not the case at all; instead I was given the opportunity to take what would be the best mentoring ever. I was being given the vital information I needed in order to see where I was improving and what areas still needed improvement. I realized that Lisa was showing me how to be patient and understanding with my members by using the same technique with me. She was teaching by doing. As I mentioned earlier, my technical skills were good however, I was rushing in order to meet my average handle time (AHT) target. At the beginning of the year I was struggling with my meeting my AHT, call monitoring and SQM targets. Lisa’s encouragement and support as I worked on these changes helped me see the bigger picture. It was quite an eye opener that, as I worked on changing my habits to ensure I was providing quality customer service, it helped with my efficiency (AHT) and overall call monitoring scores. Without even realizing it at the time, these metrics also started to improve. By listening to and focusing on the customer (and not just the business requirements as I had in the past) I was able to help them more efficiently while still making sure all their questions were answered. Not only did my SQM results improve (yes, I am World Class Certified this year), my AHT decreased and my call monitoring score improved. Lisa knew what my goals were. What really made a difference was how she approached this.
Lisa helped me to see how I could help myself. Instead of just giving me the information and walking away, she showed me how I could find ways to change and made sure I was comfortable with any new information. By doing this, I gained confidence in myself which helped me achieve the success I have had this year. I found not only did I call upon Lisa’s assistance and expertise but I depended on her as well. Not once was I let down as she was always there no matter how big or small the concern happened to be. Lisa has re-ignited my passion for customer service. Due to her time and dedication I am once again capable of providing the world class service she always believed I could.
Lisa Jones – Sun Life Financial
2011 Top Five Supervisor Finalists Great Csat Coaching Stories
Never Mistake Activity for Achievement
“I have had three people on my team who recently outperformed even my expectations.”
Donald Wynant has been a Supervisor in Customer Service for just over a year. In this short amount of time he has truly lived the principle of working smarter and not just harder. In his leadership role he has proven to be an asset and inspiration to those around him by constantly finding new ways to improve our member experiences, increasing effectiveness in coaching team members and, all the while, having a little fun while doing it! He believes an engaged team is an effective team. Donald continuously challenges himself to exceed expectations and rallies his team to join him in the effort – and it shows!
A Senior Customer Service Representative said of Donald’s coaching sessions:
I always looked forward to our 45 minute bi-monthly coaching sessions as I knew it was my time to go over my performance for the week. We would review all aspects of my performance, either outstanding or areas of opportunity. Donald would always focus on the positive moments, while finding ways to improve on other areas.
In EVERY coaching, Donald would ask “What do you want to achieve here?” OR “where do you see yourself in 5 years?” My answer was always the same: I aspire to work in BSC’s Pharmacy Services area as a Pharmacy Technician. Donald would always see what he could do that would help me achieve this goal, which I loved. It made me feel like I had someone that is there and is willing to help get me to where I would like to be. Donald even scheduled a chair siding in our Pharmacy Services department; which gave me a great understanding of how that department works, and might I add, I loved it!
When asked what his proudest moment as a Supervisor has been, he was quick to share the following: “One of the things that I am most proud of is working with my direct reports to have them excel at a higher level of performance and for them to constantly be in a state of challenge. I have had 3 people on my team that recently outperformed even my expectations. One of my team members went from a level 4 performer to a level 1 performer in the course of 3 months. This was done with additional coaching sessions, chair sides and constant positive reinforcement. She has sustained at this level of performance for the last 6 months. Two other team members were recently promoted to leadership positions. Nothing brings greater satisfaction than seeing hard work come to fruition. They all earned their current recognition and I couldn’t be more pleased with their efforts.”
Adding to Donald’s success is his recent recognition for becoming a World Class Certified Supervisor. What is the secret to his success? Well, Donald makes it a priority to conduct his 1:1 coach sessions himself, with limited assistance from his Team Lead. He believes that Supervisors should adhere to their own level for FCR – as it relates to coaching. This entails making the coaching message pertinent, have impact and be challenging, the FIRST time around. He has proven to be successful in his effort.
The more genuine the interaction, the more impact the message has! At the end of the day Donald measures his success not only by his team numbers but by the perception of his team and the feedback they give him. He emulates the motto, “Be more concerned with your character than your reputation, because your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what others think you are.”
Donald Wynant – Blue Shield of California
Daily Hands-On Approach Fosters FCR Excellence
“Her higher achieving agents are partnered with the lower achievers to share best practices.”
As a Call Center Supervisor, Sandra Wilson promotes and fosters FCR ‘excellence’ daily with her staff by taking a hands-on approach to her day-to-day activities. Her goal, as well as her team’s, is to resolve the Member’s issue the first time they call. Sandra routinely reviews processes to ensure they are working well and will challenge and make recommendations to change those that do not, in order to improve her FCR and Csat scores.
Sandy has changed the team’s production mindset to an FCR mindset. She stresses the importance of resolving Members’ issues, by meeting the promises made to our Members and stressing consistent follow up. While the team is still held to the production standard, the team finds the critical balance between FCR and production. Sandy effectively assists the business teams in understanding key FCR activities by modeling what is successfully applied in her department.
Sandra regularly coaches her lower achievers in an effort to drive their scores upward. She makes it practice to share every survey comment, both good and bad, to allow staff to see issues from the Member’s perspective. She explains the why and asks staff for their participation in changing behavior to increase their scores. Her higher achieving agents are partnered with the lower achievers to share best practices.
Sandra willingly shares best practices with her peers. Sandra is a participant in First Contact Communication workgroup which facilitates sharing and driving the message of FCR to Service and the call center agents. She constantly seeks ways to improve the FCR process and uses the SQM portal as a resource to gain information and drive efficiencies. Sandy participates in a weekly departmental FCR workgroup to identify gaps and opportunities at the individual level or team level. Sandy works with the group to drill down and improve upon our top callers. As a result of her participation in this work group, Sandra was responsible for the creation of our department’s escalation/repeat caller phone queue. Additionally she was a guest speaker at the Horizon Enterprise Best Practice Workgroup where she shared day-to-day tasks that need to be accomplished in order to have a full understanding of the impact of being ‘in the data’ of SQM portal.
Sandy regularly documents her tasks, her team goals and next steps. She is the department’s lead for the FCR Communication workgroup. She also is the co-lead on maintaining the SQM master list monthly. She takes an active role in all departmental FCR activities and effectively communicates with her peers, managers, and co-workers. She prioritizes and responds timely to ensure FCR goals are met. She actively participates in meetings interjecting and offering valuable insight. She continues to be driven to meet and exceed the goals of the department and enterprise. She understands here at Horizon BCBSNJ we are looking to change the culture of customer service in order to gain the Members trust that we will resolve their issue with one contact. She drives this message home to her staff daily and coaches her staff on both the positive and negative surveys so as individuals the team continues to improve.
Sandra Wilson – Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey
Finding Something to Better Aid Customers
“It was sometimes hard for me to know why the call wasn’t world class.”
I would like to nominate my supervisor, Nancy Chia, for the hard work she has done, and is still doing, coaching me in every single aspect of my job. Nancy provided encouragement, support and tips on how to provide excellent customer service, tips on dealing with customers, tips on files, walk-ins, great tips on how to improve my AHT, and also how to work efficiently (time management when working on files).
Every month we go through all the SQM calls. Based on the tips I get from Nancy, I was able to improve my performance and to become a world class performer. In my one-on-one sessions, Nancy and I listen to my calls that were not world class. It was sometimes hard for me to know why the call wasn’t world class, but Nancy would always find something that I could do just that much better for my customer.
One time she noticed that the tone of my voice was very monotone, no expression at all, so she gave me a tip on how to change that. The next month, when we got together, we listened to another call and she gave me kudos for using the suggestion she had given me the prior month. When she noticed I was using the tip, she got all excited and went, “Yes, yes, yes!!” This made me feel great. Nancy always gets so excited when she is talking about our calls and how our customers feel about us. She is always coaching us, her team, so we can all excel to be world class certified reps.
Nancy is always available to me, even when she has not started work for the day. When she is here, she is here for all of us. This week I was stuck on a call (the claims history letter was giving me a company’s name) and Nancy took over the call for me. It was in the morning before the beginning of her shift! She spoke to the customer, and later she called me and explained how she had resolved the issue. Another time I had taken down some information from a customer incorrectly and I was going to have to call the customer back to get the correct information. Nancy, thinking of our customer’s experience, said that she would review the call to see if I had noted the number incorrectly, or if the customer had given me an incorrect number. She took the time to listen to the call and found that I had incorrectly written the number down. We were able to make a correction, without the customer being involved. She then coached me on the call and how to listen better for the next time.
Nancy Chia – Insurance Corporation of BC
Boiling a Complicated Process Down to a Couple of Simple Steps
“What you really can’t teach is passion.”
There are so many individual stories in which Deborah worked effectively with a specific CSR, or in a team environment, to improve our overall standing as world class call centre. Similar to the well established customer service strategy of winning over customers one at a time, the thing that stands out for me is how Deborah works with our CSRs one at a time to improve their overall performance.
Specifically, Deborah worked hard to have a positive influence on one of our young CSRs. This young man was struggling with various aspects of his job, both in terms of customer results and overall attitude. True to Deborah’s character, she addressed his issues in an honest and transparent manner. She explained to him that his performance spoke negatively to the impression he was creating both with our customers and with our leadership team. Instead of making this all about the negative, Deborah focused on specific strategies he could undertake to improve, both in terms of individual accountability and in terms of customer perception.
Using our voice of the customer metrics, Deborah was able to demonstrate how taking ownership of the reason for the customer’s call, combined with a focus on becoming an advocate for the customer within our process, was the way to improve first call resolution. Once this was taken care of, she assured him that the overall CSR CSAT measures would follow. Of course she was right.
Change doesn’t happen overnight, but Deborah was able to take a complicated process and boil it down to a couple of simple steps for him; Understand the reason for the customer’s call; Do all you can to resolve the reason for that call on the first call; When you run into obstacles, understand that your job is to be an advocate for the customer, so act accordingly. This adjuster was able to turn things around. He is performing at a high level and is now in a position where he can look at promotional opportunities. Not surprisingly, once he started performing at the world class level, he also began to take more pride in his personal accountability and his metrics improved dramatically in terms of attendance and compliance.
Although it wasn’t a surprise that Deborah was able to turn our adjuster around, what was a surprise, was her reaction when congratulated on the results of her hard work. As she talked about the work that she did with him and the results that she’d seen, there were tears in her eyes. She was so proud of him that she became very emotional. We can teach people to understand metrics, and there are many good coaches, but what you really can’t teach is passion. For Deborah to be so passionate about her job and her results with one of her staff that she was moved to tears, speaks volumes of this passion and of her character. She is truly a standout in our operation and one of the reasons why we perform at the world class level.
Deborah Aiple – Insurance Corporation of BC
Educating Callers to Other Options
“I found this helped to diffuse their disappointment.”
I would like to congratulate my Customer Care Leader, Albany Gamero, on her World Class Supervisor designation from SQM. This is a great accomplishment, one that comes with hard work and dedication as a leader and I am very happy for her.
I’ve had a very brief working relationship with Albany, as I joined on her team in July 2011 and that month I was not at World Class certification levels. On my first coaching session, I didn’t know what to expect from her. We didn’t get too far into the session for me to realize how passionate she is about her job as a Customer Care Leader. We went over all the numbers and she also looked at my previous track record for World Class and told me if I want to be nominated again I would have to step it up.
Albany asked me what I found challenging that was causing me not to maintain the average that I used to have, so I shared a few examples with her. They were all examples of when I could not get the availability of the flights that the caller needed. Albany asked if I was willing to focus on what we could do for the caller in the future, even if we could not fulfill the specific need. I told her it was worth a try.
Going forward, as soon as I had a call and I realized that I wouldn’t be able to fulfill the caller’s request, I immediately started to educate them on some of the other great options that we had available. I found that this helped to diffuse their disappointment and gave them hope for future use.
I would have to say the main thing that resonated with me during those coaching sessions was the confidence that Albany had in me; that I was capable of overcoming those challenges and that she was looking for great results. Albany said, “I have listened to a few of your calls and I am more than confident that you can do this.” So walking away from those sessions, it was no surprise when my World Class numbers increased in August and then again in September. I would like to thank Albany for the confidence she has placed in me and I wish her the very best. Congratulations Albany! Your hard work and dedication has paid off.
Albany Gamero – LoyaltyOne
2010 Supervisor of the Year Great CSR Csat Coaching Story
Focusing on the Desired Outcome
“She constantly reinforced that I possessed good judgement.”
I tend to be rigid in my approach to resolving customer problems and rarely stray from set procedures even when the situation warrants more creativity. While I have strong audits and SQM results, I felt I could better assist customers if I could only feel more confident thinking ‘outside the box’. Wanting to increase my percentage of World Class Calls, which in turn would positively impact customer satisfaction with our company, I went to my supervisor, Amy, for help.
Through our discussions and coaching sessions, Amy helped me feel more confident about my skills. She constantly reinforced that I possessed good judgment and always had the customer’s best interest at heart. Her support helped me think ‘outside the box’ and feel more comfortable making decisions that didn’t necessarily follow our exact procedures, but were still supported by VSP.
Amy and I listened to calls together. She had me focus more on the desired outcome instead of the method to get there. She also let me sit with other CSRs with strong skills so I could learn different techniques and see that our company supported creativity in the pursuit of resolution.
Last year I had my calls rated World Class. This year my World Class percentage increased. I’m certain I could not have improved my score without Amy’s guidance and continued support. Amy makes me feel good about the job I’m doing as a CSR. I think she is a quality supervisor deserving of recognition as Supervisor of the Year.
Amy Kelly – VSP Vision Care
2010 Top Five Supervisor Finalists Great Csat Coaching Stories
Dealing with Upset Customer
“She assured me I did the best I could with the situation.”
I had a very difficult call from a customer today who became extremely upset and I had to transfer the call to Patricia to handle. I ended up having to file an incident report due to some of the comments that he had made throughout the call, but Patricia managed to calm him down and help him the best she could. She always has a different way of explaining things and is always more than willing to help me if I have a difficult situation. Afterwards, she explained to me how she handled the call and how he probably just wanted someone with the authority of a supervisor to handle his concern. She assured me that I did the best I could with the situation.
Patricia is always helping me develop my call center skills as I am really new to handling customers over the phone and she is a great person to talk to when I need help professionally and personally. She’s always more than willing to discuss career options and paths I can take within the company. Patricia is the best!
Patricia Burnett – Insurance Corporation of BC (DTVI)
Looking Outside the Box
“It’s his commitment that pulls the team forward during trying times.”
I nominate my manager, Jason Taylor. He is an excellent manager who taps into talents and resources in order to support and bring out the best in each of us. An outstanding manager who makes us think and helps us look outside the box. He is always committed to the success of the project and of all team members. He holds the vision for the collective team and moves the team closer to the end result. It’s his commitment that pulls the team forward during trying times. When Jason shares my CSAT results, he provides me with tips to get every applicable call rated as a World class call. He always emphasizes, before I finish the call, to always review at least one week of previous notes. This is to ensure that all the concerns have been addressed and resolved in a professional and timely manner. Also, this lets the customer know that there is no pending request and the account is up to date. It helps the customer feel special and have confidence that they are in professional and safe hands instead of feeling rushed. Since I have implemented this strategy, my CSAT results have consistently increased.
Jason Taylor – Rogers Business Customer Care
An Inspiring Role Model
“She consistently reviews the feedback with me from the customer surveys.”
I would like to nominate Vivianne for the Supervisor of the Year. She is an inspiring role model and regularly provides feedback and coaching, helping me to achieve my monthly and quarterly targets for SQM. She consistently reviews the feedback with me from the customer surveys, coaching me to recognize areas of opportunity to improve my Csat results. Typically, I would receive 15-20 surveys from our Rogers Business-Corporate customers. She reviews their feedback and helps me to focus on areas of opportunity providing honest feedback on improvement opportunities.
I would like to take this opportunity to provide my feedback as a small token of appreciation. Vivianne empowers my teammates and I to reach our full potential in personal and career goals. During my time on Viv’s team, I have come to rely on her leadership skills and guidance to reach my full potential with regards to my personal and career goals. Viv is very committed to helping her team achieve success in both personal and career objectives. I feel that I can speak on behalf of my team when I say that she has provided us with the support and tools needed to empower everyone to reach their full potential and be successful. An example that comes to mind is when she worked with me to coordinate the ‘Rogers Walk-A-Mile’ program. From the start, this was a bit of a challenge as the IT department here at Rogers is very big and finding out exactly who to contact was a problem. She went above and beyond to actively contact multiple managers to get me in contact with the right group. With her help and support, I was able to book a day at the Rogers Brampton campus and experience what it was like to sit side-by-side with several IT representatives which I found very informative. Thanks Viv for helping our team to transcend boundaries, allowing us to think creatively and strive for success.
Vivianne Karaoghlanian – Rogers Business Customer Care
Helping Reach a Lofty Goal
“Lisa and I spent a lot of time listening to calls together.”
I went to Lisa because I wanted to obtain a 100% world class call rating on every customer survey. It’s very important to me that every member is very satisfied with their resolution because I know this reflects positively on their view and loyalty to VSP. In turn, this helps VSP win more business. I also enjoy a personal challenge. Plus, only one CSR achieved this recognition for VSP last year. I thought accomplishing this goal would boost my confidence and inspire my peers to stretch their goals.
Lisa let me know she believed I could accomplish any goal I set for myself and she regularly told me that she had the utmost confidence in my call handling skills. This gave me the conviction to tackle such a difficult task. Lisa and I spent a lot of time listening to calls together. We analyzed them by components to identify specifically what I could do to positively impact resolution and satisfaction on every call. For example, one key area we identified was to carefully listen to what the customer needed. By focusing on this element and giving the customer what they truly wanted, I was able to increase my performance.
We often went to the SQM website to review qualifications and read what other CSRs had done to dazzle their customers. We used these ideas to modify my approach. I have increased the number of World Class surveys I have in 2010 compared to 2009. I couldn’t have done it without Lisa’s encouragement and coaching. This is why I am nominating her for Supervisor of the Year.
Lisa Elliott – VSP Vision Care
Getting a Second Chance
“Michelle immediately made me feel welcome just with the warmth of her personality.”
I began my career at Sun Life Financial on a temporary 8 month contract. During that period, I was learning the skills necessary to be a Customer Care Representative, but my lack of confidence on the phones was holding me back from truly succeeding. Coming out of training, my test scores were fantastic. However, without any previous call center experience I was having trouble believing in myself. My nerves truly got the best of me and it affected all of my metrics including the most important one, Voice of the Customer. I struggled to come close to even the minimum requirement for World Class certification. Unfortunately, at the time, there was no room in the budget for me to earn a permanent position with the GRS Call Center and I was let go at the end of my contract. To my surprise, later that year, I received a call from Sun Life Financial asking me to return to my original position on a permanent basis. I was very excited for the opportunity and glad I was able to obtain a second chance.
As my new supervisor, Michelle immediately made me feel welcome just with the warmth of her personality. She made a point of letting me know how confident she was in my abilities as a Customer Care Representative, despite my struggle in the past. Michelle recognized this and went out of her way through coaching and positive reinforcement to help me believe in my abilities. Michelle’s belief in me really inspired me as a CCR. I most certainly did not want to let her down.
While continuing to help build my confidence, Michelle has also helped me develop superb customer service skills. She took the time to guide me on some of the finer skills of customer service. Michelle would pull my calls that were not World Class and took the time to listen to them with me. She could have just sent me the calls to figure it out on my own, but she didn’t. My customer service skills and efficiency were improving and I could actually see my results improve!
Through coaching sessions, Michelle expressed the significance of first call resolution by helping me understand and see situations through my customer’s eyes. She provided me with helpful tips, such as how to phrase explanations to sound more positive. She always stressed that I am the expert. I control the call. It is my responsibility to do everything in my power to resolve that call, no matter how complicated or stressful the situation. Whenever I feel a call or situation is on the verge of falling out of my control those words of wisdom are remembered and help me through the call.
Today is my one year anniversary with Sun Life Financial. Thanks to Michelle’s great leadership and coaching I am confident I can resolve any call or any situation that comes my way.
Michelle Geisel – Sun Life Financial
2009 Supervisor of the Year Great CSR Csat Coaching Story
Learning Voice Tone has Impact
“Reviewing calls together helped me with my confidence.”
I would like to nominate Lisa Jones for Supervisor of the Year. As I reflect on this past SQM year it is difficult to come up with one specific example of a call that Lisa assisted me with but she definitely took the time to help me get my SQM percentage up. It was clear to me right from the start that she wanted me to succeed. She cared if I succeeded and could see the potential in me. I was one of the CCRs with the lowest SQM score in the call centre in 2008 with a rating of 30%. You can only imagine how discouraged this made me feel. She understood some of the barriers I had already overcome and what lay ahead.
Lisa was able to sit with me and determine what I could improve on. In reviewing calls, I learned that the tone of my voice has an impact on the member’s impression. I was not using the word ‘resolve’ and there were opportunities for me to take more ownership of the call. It was also noted that I was very thorough with my answers and efficient in handling the member’s request. So together we found ways to bring the calls together to ensure the members were very satisfied.
We did a lot of role playing with various scenarios, especially when a member indicated that they were unhappy with Sun Life. Lisa shared her own personal skills in handling escalated calls as she herself continues to take these types of calls if needed. This was accomplished by giving me different suggestions on how to adjust my tone and have a calming effect on the member in order to de-escalate the call. The different role plays helped me recognize what was the most appropriate way to handle a particular member situation. I learned how to find the answers myself, rather than just being told what to do, while knowing she was there to support me if I was taking the wrong path.
Reviewing calls together helped me with my confidence on the phones as well. By knowing that she was confident in my future success, the successes started to happen. Lisa was extremely encouraging and put a lot of effort into motivating my spirit which helped me to achieve certification this year. Yes, I am proud to say – I am certified in 2009 with a WCC rating of 82%. It was through her coaching and passion to see me succeed that helped me with this achievement. My call monitoring scores also improved this year, especially in the category of phone etiquette. Lisa was really able to help me understand what I needed to change in order to turn a somewhat satisfied member to a very satisfied member. I could not have achieved this without her help. I really appreciate the time she took out of her schedule to help me. Lisa is a great supervisor and really deserves this recognition.
Lisa Jones – Sun Life Financial
2009 Top Five Supervisor Finalists Great Csat Coaching Stories
Reducing AHT Improves CSAT
“My fcr csat rating jumped from 65 to 86 percent”
I would like to share with you just a few of the many reasons I think Jeff should be Supervisor of the Year. I’ve been with Sun Life Financial for a while now and I’ve worked with a few different Supervisors, each with their own approach to coaching. Jeff tailors his approach to coaching to meet each individual’s needs and ensures that we’re getting what we need to succeed.
Jeff provides me with positive feedback in every coaching session, but he helps me to realize that I can do better and that I can continue to improve my performance. When we identify problem areas or goals we work together to come up with a plan of action and then it’s up to me to choose which path to take to achieve my goal, one step at a time. I know that my Supervisor is there to support me and assist me but at the same time, I’m the one who is in control of my success. He makes sure that I don’t forget that. After I’ve decided which plan of action I’m going to follow, Jeff makes sure to follow up with me, to check in on my progress. I feel like I have the power and control to improve my performance at my job, because I’m given the option to choose how to go about it.
An example of this is my Average Handle Time. Reducing my AHT has a direct impact on my CSAT score – when I’m managing the length of time I’m on a call, I can speak to more members and resolve more issues over the course of the day. When I’m more efficient on a call, it leads to members having their inquiries or issues resolved much more quickly than they anticipated – the member is more satisfied with me, and with the company as a whole. When I was struggling to meet the AHT target, I would stress about this metric and that can be evident in conversations with members. During our coaching sessions, Jeff offered tips and reviewed some call monitoring notes that could help me to reduce my AHT, to help alleviate my stress and to improve the member’s experience. Some of the tips he offered were writing down each call’s AHT and then thinking what contributed to the length of the call, thinking about how to phrase questions to get to the heart of a member’s issue, making a list of comments that members make to be sure that I addressed every one of them, and reflective, or active listening, to be sure that I am focused on the call at hand. Jeff always made sure that any tips he gave me didn’t affect other performance areas where I was currently excelling, such as accuracy or ensuring a positive member experience.
Here’s the proof: My AHT dropped from 440 to 400, which has a big impact on my calls, and on the CCC as a whole. My FCR CSAT rating jumped from 65% to 86% and my WCC soared from 50% to 84%.
I’ve had an opportunity to take some courses offered by the company to improve my communication and writing skills and I think those, coupled with the tips and tricks I’ve received from Jeff in our coaching sessions, have made a significant contribution to the success I’ve experienced this year. At the end of my coaching sessions I feel good about my job and the impact that I have to our members and to the company and that’s the way a front line representative should feel about their job in order to provide the best possible service to the customer. When I feel good about what I do and how I do it, it’s reflected in the conversation and I know that the member can feel the pride I have for my work.
Jeff Weber – Sun Life Financial
Finding out why Grades Weren’t High
“I would occasionally interrupt the client”
I owe my world class call success to my manager, Lucy Isherwood, and here is why:
I was doing well with my qualities but not exceptional and it was bothering me. I could not figure out why I was getting excellent but not exceptional. It was not an obvious reason and so it was hard to discover the precise reason.
Lucy asked me if I felt I would benefit from her listening to some of my previous calls to find out what it was that may be holding the client back from giving me the exceptional grade.
A couple of days passed before Lucy asked to speak with me. She said it was a tough one to pinpoint because I am usually very thorough in my calls. Lucy felt it wasn’t because of technical reasons that the client did not score the call high.
But, Lucy persevered and she discovered that I would occasionally interrupt the client. It was usually a minor, little interruption, but Lucy felt that maybe this was it. I was doubtful but agreed to work on this.
Lucy worked with me over a two month period. We focused our coaching sessions on determining whether I was still interrupting clients and if I was, Lucy counseled me on how else I could have handled the call. Since I respect Lucy’s opinion and appreciate her managing skills, I chose to follow her advice, doubtful though I still was. Lucy was right! Over the two months of coaching sessions with Lucy my qualities steadily increased to a level of typically 100 to 125.
If Lucy had not taken the initiative and worked so hard identifying the issue and then working with me (patiently) for so long I might still be getting lower scores. But, most important of all, my clients now feel they are getting world class service from me and Lucy shares in that success.
Lucy Isherwood – Rogers
Speaking in Understandable Terms
“I was able to explain how the sim card worked in everyday terms”
Let me start by saying that I am lucky to have had Sue as my Team Manager for several years now and with her guidance and coaching I was an SQM Certified Consultant for the year of 2008 with an average of 76% for world class calls. For the year of 2009 I have again met the parameters to again become certified with my world class calls at 90% – a definite increase over the past year!!
Sue does not accept nor does she allow you to accept standards that are preset but encourages you and the team to strive above this and to never accept complacency. During one of our coaching sessions I brought up a situation as to a customer not being able to understand how a SIM card worked. Sue encouraged me to see through the eyes of the customer and understand their perception. I needed to perceive what the customer was asking and be able to relate and connect with the customer. Sue advised me not to be technical and to speak in terms that the customer would understand. Once this idea was presented I was able to explain how the SIM card worked in everyday terms rather than technical terms. From this one coaching session I have been able to implement the same ideas into many different situations.
Sue will never encourage complacency as there is no growth there. She is about all of us reaching for the top, then seeing that top was just another step toward excellence!
In my 14 years with Rogers I have never had a manager like Sue. Anyone can manage a team but it takes a very special coach with strong leadership skills to guide you to new heights! I could not think of anyone more deserving the role of Supervisor of the Year, as she is a visionary!
Susan Fordyce – Rogers
Slowing Down to Perfection
“I reached my goal of 100 percent world class calls for a single month”
Earlier this year my results were suffering like never before and I was at a loss to explain why. I felt that I was trying and doing everything possible but failing. Specifically, I was suffering in PCS, CQA and sales. I remember emailing Michelle on a Friday saying that I am worried. Before I even signed out she replied with, “don’t worry about it we will fix it, have a good weekend.” On Monday, like she promised, we came up with a plan. We would work in small steps and tackle one issue at a time.
We started with World Class scores. Michelle sat with me and listened to more than a few calls in a row to get a good idea on what I was doing well and what I could build on. The most important thing she noticed was that I was very process oriented and tried to take too many calls too fast. The first suggestion by Michelle was to take it easy, take a deep breath and slow down! She said this is not a race and the slower I go, the easier it will be to remember everything that needs to be said and say little things to improve collector experience (like addressing them by name, find out why they are going, make them feel like they are creating a great trip instead of ordering a pizza). Well, the proof was in the pudding. My world class started to climb steadily until September when I reached my goal of 100% World Class calls for a single month. At the same time because I was taking my time, my CQA steadily improved as well, to near perfect. I am now part of the top 25% who are exempt from CQA for this quarter.
With her approach and dedication to coaching and making us successful I have no doubt in my mind that I will continue to be successful in this role and use the experience I gained from her coaching to be successful in future roles as well. Michelle defines the very standard that all other supervisors should be judged on and there is nobody better that her to be given the honour of Supervisor of the Year. She deserves it.
Michelle Medeiros – LoyaltyOne – The Airmiles Group
Forming Plan to Double CSAT Score
“We worked on three ‘take aways’ I found easy to implement”
Maria has been my CCL for the last 4 months and I think she is incredible. My work and development since we have worked together has been on World Class Scores. I have had difficulty this year in improving this number from around 45%. Maria was understanding with me and we built an action plan to make sure we could double this number by the end of the year.
The first step was to make this goal our goal not just my problem. Second, she took time to do side-by-sides and show me that I am already doing some awesome work. Third, we worked on 3 “take aways” that I found easy to implement (smile on the phone, promote website and ask if they were satisfied). These are easy facts, but when you take a million phone calls like I have, having someone as caring as Maria to remind you is great. The fourth step that we implemented is me taking ownership of the call. I thank Maria for listening to all my ideas and getting enthusiastic about all of them. I have come up with (1) taking my mind off AHT, (2) never assume the collector knows what you are talking about and (3) putting myself in the collector’s shoes. I just want to thank Maria for helping me grow in my position (my current score is 70%) and I really hope she wins this award because she deserves it.
Maria Heighington – LoyaltyOne – The Airmiles Group