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