2008 CSR of the Year Great Customer Service Story
Making a Difference
“More than just a phone call”
“There is one specific call that makes me proud of being a Customer Service Representative and this call will forever be in my heart as I knew I made a difference in someone else’s life.
The caller was the daughter of a member who recently passed away. She was very distraught and she sounded fragile when speaking of her father. Upon hearing of his passing I first gave my condolences and then heard her start to cry. I kindly asked her how I could help and she explained how she had mailed in her father’s claims over the last three months and was having difficulty getting the claims approved even after making three previous calls. She mentioned that if she ‘reached a dead end’ she would have to absorb the very costly hospital and equipment bills that her father incurred while terminally ill. I immediately told her that I would try my best to find a resolution to her issue.
While pulling up the claims I noticed that the previous service requests indicated the policy had ended and because 90 days had passed, the claims would not be approved. With previous experience and knowledge of our policies and procedures, I knew that when someone passes away, there is no 90 day limit required once the plan has ended and all medical expenses would still be eligible. I then obtained approval for rush request to process the claims. When getting back to the caller, I told her that I was sorry that she had not received the closure and resolution that she deserved and that I would have the situation resolved within 24 to 48 hours. She immediately sounded relieved and I knew that I changed her perception of this company. She then asked to speak to my supervisor and said that I was kind and empathetic and that I had helped her more than most.
Through compassion, heart and knowledge, I was able to make a member’s daughter feel welcomed and valued by the company. By providing a world class experience that made her life easier, she was able to get back to what’s most important, family and the memory of her father.”
Derek Tutton – Sun Life Group Benefits
2008 Top Ten CSR Finalists of Great Customer Stories
Booking a First Flight
“About two weeks ago, I helped a customer who wanted to book her first flight. I explained to her that the only way to arrange for travel is through a Travel Specialist, and that flights are based on availability at time of booking. She let me know her intended dates and route.
A few questions were asked about extra costs and I was happy to explain these details to her. As we were chatting, I pulled up the availability. She was very pleased with the options I provided her with. We proceeded to book the flight with lots of laughter and conversation in between. At the end of the call, I asked the standard resolution question and she took the opportunity to tell me that she appreciated my patience. She went as far as to say that my customer service skills were excellent and that she was very pleased with my efficiency. I thanked her ‘times 10′ with a big smile on my face.
I love calls like this! They keep me going through my day. It also helps me to realize that I am doing my job the best way I know how. As customers learn from me, I also learn a great deal from them. Once you get talking to a customer, they provide you with many travel tips and give you an insight into their lives. All in all, a great customer experience makes for an efficient and happy work environment.”
LaToya Simpson – Air Miles Reward Program
An Elderly Couple Call
“They couldn’t thank me enough”
“I was speaking with an elderly couple who had me on a speaker phone so that I could communicate with both of them at once. They had called to book a flight from Comox to Toronto so that they could visit their first great grandchild.
I proceeded to ask them relevant questions so that I could understand and meet all of their needs. I couldn’t find availability out of Comox, so I suggested Nanaimo as an alternate departure point since it is very close to Comox. The couple was not aware that commercial airlines flew out of this airport!
After finding availability, I asked them if they were ready to book. With the change in itinerary and departure point, the couple was hesitant to book without speaking with their family. I offered to hold while they called their family, but they didn’t have a cell phone. So that they would feel comfortable prior to committing to a booking, I offered to contact the family myself and go over the details. I contacted the family and completed the booking after finding that everything was satisfactory. The couple couldn’t thank me enough for my patience and the extra effort I put into making sure that their trip would turn out perfectly.”
Lorraine Tomaino – Air Miles Reward Program
Overcoming Travel Fears
“She appreciated my empathy”
“An elderly woman called to book a non-stop flight from Vancouver to Puerto Vallarata and a car rental in Victoria. All of the available options involved changing plans and terminals. During our conversation, I learned that her husband had passed away, and that her children didn’t think that their mum could travel alone since she found walking distances a challenge. She was very hesitant to book.
I assured her that by requesting wheel chair assistance, she would have peace of mind knowing that she would not be alone in a foreign airport. She didn’t realize that the service was free of charge. This information made her feel more confident about traveling. She wanted to prove to her children that she COULD DO IT!
There was a car rental company that had a phenomenal cash rate. I seized the opportunity to make the cash reservation for her, and ordered gift certificates to cover the cost rather than making a car rental redemption which would have been more costly. She was grateful that I saved her almost 50%. She said that she felt as if I was looking out for her best interests.
She really appreciated that I empathized with her regarding her travel anxiety and that I went out of the way to save on her costs.”
Tahira Shahab – Air Miles Reward Program
Building Lifetime Customers
“Time and personalized service work”
“As an example of the customer representative’s commitment to building customers for life, the following story will illustrate how the customer representative does what it takes to deepen relationships with customers.
The customer representative, from our Customer Relationship Contact Center, received a call from a customer inquiring about her account. However, the account was in the customer’s husband’s name who died in 2001. The customer representative politely explained to the customer that she would have to transfer the account into her own name before conducting any other activity on the account.
At this point, our customer explained that she was unable to drive and that she had no one to take her to the store to fill out the necessary applications. The customer needed the account transferred as soon as possible, as she had automatic transactions being posted to the account on a regular basis that she needed to take care of. Recognizing a valuable opportunity to help our customer out, the customer representative went above and beyond the call of duty, driving to the nearby city on her own time and hand delivering the required application form to the customer. The customer representative even took the time to help the customer fill out the form properly.
When an employee from our Credit Services Group called this customer to confirm that the spousal transfer has been completed on her account, the customer expressed how appreciative she was for the time and personal service that the customer representative had offered to her.”
Suzanne Laurin – Canadian Tire Financial Services
A Medical Marvel
“Recognition for above and beyond”
“The customer representative is known for his warm and caring attitude towards the members he services. He goes above and beyond to resolve a member’s issue. He’s a member advocate and he has compassion and a special concern for senior citizens and members who speak very little English. I receive numerous compliments from members stating that he is the first rep to take their time to listen to them and resolve their issue.
The customer representative serviced a call from a member who had to have a catheter removed the next day. The member only spoke Spanish and the hospital that inserted the catheter would not remove it. The customer representative made several calls conferencing the member, and acting as their interpreter to locate a provider who would remove the catheter. There was only one medical center that would remove it. This was 1.5 hours away from the member’s home. The member did not drive, she was not registered with our transport services and she could not afford to take a cab. The customer representative helped to facilitate transportation for this member. Afterwards, the member called to say what a fantastic rep he was and she wanted me to give him recognition for going above and beyond and providing excellent service. The member stated ‘this was the best customer service experience I ever had!’ The customer representative received an award for providing excellent customer service.”
Pedro Garcia – AmeriHealth Mercy Family of Companies
Turning Anger into Thanks
“Gaining trust to resolve their concerns”
“Among leading Telecommunication Services companies, our company provides the best customer service. Our 24/7 call center offers flexibility for our customers for reaching us at any time and from anywhere. Our customer service policy is designed with our customers and business in mind. Although we strive to do our best and help out each and every customer, some customers feel as if they have not been taken care of properly and are dissatisfied. The company’s support policy concerning overdue accounts is that the customer cannot receive our services until we receive the payment in full. Last year, I received a call in the evening from a lady. She was a mother of three and was going to school part time to complete her PhD. Because of her tight budget and busy schedule she was not able to make her payments for our services. As a result, her cable, internet and home phone services had been disconnected. The customer called using a payphone across the street from her house and had one of her children waiting outside with her.
The customer was furious because she had a project to hand in the next day which required internet access. She was frustrated since she had been transferred several times before she had reached me. In order to provide the best customer service possible we sometimes need to bend our rules in order to retain a long time loyal customer. The customer was willing to pay the bill in full, but needed to make payment arrangements with the credit operations department first. She had previously had a terrible experience speaking to an AR agent so I warm-transferred her and made a request with the agent to remove the pending non-payment. This was a huge exception they made for the customer based on her circumstances. Once this was completed, in order to activate her services I needed to speak to the technical support. When I warm-transferred the customer she did not want me to go and she asked if I could stay on the phone with her until the issue was resolved. I was more than willing to stay on the phone with her and after one hour, her services were up and running and she was very happy.
As an employee I am able to provide every customer calling into the call center with similar service. Customers trust us to be their providers for cable, internet, home phone and wireless. They call into the center, and speak to a stranger over the phone, about their problems with the services or their financial instabilities. As a customer service representative I am able to use my empowerment to make things right for the customers and the company. The company provides me with the responsibility to satisfy our customers. Our customers trust me to resolve their concerns and this makes me very proud to be a Customer Service Representative.”
Arpitha D’Souza – Rogers Communications
Dealing with Frustration
“Understanding needs and solutions”
The story begins when our customer decided to change his price plan on his existing wireless account. A simple request! After waiting on the phone for over 15 minutes a customer service agent answered his call. Sadly the customer was obliged to repeat his request multiple times due to the fact that the agent did not seem to understand his request. Finally the customer service agent decided to transfer the customer. Thankfully he got to speak to the customer representative right away! The customer wanted to reduce his monthly invoices as he could no longer afford to pay $175 per month. The customer representative understood the customer’s request and was quickly able to turn the situation around. She was able to diffuse the situation and calm the customer down. She took the time to effectively analyze his invoice and offered the customer the best option based on his needs. She was so professional and caring in her approach that the customer took the time to write a letter of appreciation:
I would like to commend your professionalism during our difficult telephone conversation; you have managed to keep me on the phone and avoided my departure to a competitor. I hope the president realizes you have saved the day for your company!
The customer representative is consistent in her approach with our customers. She practices and preaches great customer service philosophies daily. She always listens to understand the root cause of her customer’s concerns. This enables the customer representative to discover and guide the conversation to a mutually satisfactory resolution. The customer representative lets her customers know that she understands their point of view! She truly values the customer experience!
Silvana Padulo – Rogers Communications
Mix up Becomes Fix up
“When money is needed now”
A member of a group insurance plan was in an extremely difficult financial situation due to her illness and the recent passing of a close family member. The member had submitted a number of drug claims that totaled a very large amount, along with a void cheque to set up direct deposit so the money could be received right away. When the member called in to follow up on the claim the representative informed her that the request for direct deposit had been missed and that a cheque had been sent instead.
The member then broke down into tears because she was no longer at the address the cheque was being sent to and she would not receive the money she needed. The representative assured the member that she would do everything she could to get the money into her bank account and promised to follow up before the end of the day. On her next break the representative made a number of phone calls to different parts of the company and was able to have the cheque cancelled and the direct deposit done.
The representative called the member back and was able to tell her that the money would be in her bank account by the end of the next business day. The member was overwhelmed that a large company would care enough to try and help her. The member also said she appreciated the fact that the representative didn’t hide the fact that the company made an error and when the representative said that her situation would be acted upon as a training opportunity, she regained confidence in the company. A few weeks later the representative received a card from the member that read “You deserve a big bouquet for your kind and caring ways” which included a personal note from the member.
Debbie Bender – Sun Life Group Benefits
Seeing the Solution Clearly
“A bright spot in a time of need”
I recently had a gentleman call me about the need for replacement glasses. His family had suffered losses resulting from a very bad house fire. His wife was hospitalized with burns on her body. And, in the mix of it all, he had also lost his glasses in the fire and needed a replacement pair. He wasn’t eligible for new glasses based on his insurance coverage but I was able to make an exception and provide him with early services. I knew he needed the glasses quickly, so I helped him find a doctor’s office that had an on-site lab that was willing and able to give him an exam and make his new glasses for him right away. It was at least a ray of light in his life, which seemed to be very grim for him at the time. It felt good to be able to get him new glasses so he could travel safely to visit his wife in the hospital. That was the least I could do for all the loss and pain he’d already suffered. It was a bright spot in his life at a time of need.
Karina Fleming – VSP
Fighting Through a Hurricane
“Personal care in a crisis”
“By September 12, with winds over 100 mph, Hurricane Ike had landed near Galveston, Texas. Cutting a path 900 miles wide, it began to move across the state creating havoc in Houston. At this same time the customer, who lives near Houston, called because her lenses were cracking. Her doctor’s office was closed due to a lack of power and phones. Though the doctor had three satellite offices, they too were also out of commission because of the hurricane. Gas was rationed so driving around to find open offices was not an option. This member needed glasses and needed them badly.
The customer representative sprung into action. He understood that this unique circumstance required a special solution. He started by contacting the lab that made the original glasses and asked for help. He spoke to the lab for special handling. The lab rep walked the glasses through the lens fabrication process to get them re-made quickly and then sent them directly back to the member, overnight. While we don’t normally work with our labs without the doctor involved, the closure of the offices made this option the most viable in the interest of the customer. The member was extremely happy and grateful that this representative went the extra mile, working directly with the lab to get her glasses back quickly. The customer representative followed up with the member to ensure she received her glasses and they fully met her eyewear needs. Even Hurricane Ike could not stop this Customer Service Rep!”
Mike Jones – VSP