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