2011 CSR of the Year Great Customer Service Story
Going the Extra Distance for Surgeons’ Cell Phone Needs
“It isn’t often that one comes across a person who simply shines at their job.”
I would like to take this opportunity to tell Rogers what a fabulous employee they have in Danny Sipchand. Working for the Department of Surgery at a university as a Finance Assistant, it falls to me to order surgeons’ cell phones, deal with billing issues, have travel packages put on for their trips, and make certain they are getting good value. Cell phones are a vital part of a surgeon’s practice, as they serve as pagers, schedulers and phones. Situations truly can be life or death, especially if a surgeon is on call. They rely on their phones more than most professionals do. This makes them very demanding customers, as dependability is crucial for them. I regularly deal with cell phone carriers on behalf of almost ninety surgeons. They have iPhones, Blackberrys, and Androids. This doesn’t make it easy to service their needs as no two are alike.
Since I have had Danny Sipchand as my dedicated Rogers rep, I have found that the stress of handling all these accounts has gone. He constantly surprises me by going the extra distance, whether it is to review an account’s history to see if the most cost efficient package is in place, give recommendations on the most appropriate travel package based on usage for that account, or handle any issues that might arise, Danny consistently, eagerly, and most pleasantly, meets and exceeds my expectations. I have yet to have Danny disappoint. This in itself is incredible, as I’ve had many, many issues with Rogers’ representatives over the past three years. It is only since I’ve worked with Danny that I have become a huge Rogers’ fan and I can honestly say that the credit for this goes directly to him. It isn’t often that one comes across a person who simply shines at their job. His enthusiasm for his job shows each and every time I contact him. I actually do boast to people who have corporate accounts with various cell phone carriers that no one could be luckier than I am with my rep. I’m not easy to please, as I am expected to provide excellent service to my many demanding surgeons. If they aren’t happy, I’m not happy! And we are all extremely happy with Danny Sipchand.
Recently I asked Danny about an account that was corporate, but not one of the university’s accounts. One of my surgeons was moving from one corporate account over to another corporate account. Although I knew I was asking something of him that was out of his area, he not only assisted, he orchestrated the move so that the account was moved with no hassle, no problems, no glitches and no worries. This is so typical of what I have come to expect from Danny. He thinks outside the box and genuinely tries to help with any situation. I told my own manager that we could use more people like Danny in our department! I might add that I have recently switched my personal cell phone from another carrier to Rogers. This is something I wouldn’t have considered in the past. However, dealing with Danny has convinced me that this is a company I can trust, with employees who care. I no longer dread having to contact Rogers regarding a problem or a change I need made. I look forward to Danny’s cheerful reply and I know that I am in good hands!
Danny Sipchand – Rogers Enterprise Service Delivery
2011 Top Ten CSR Finalists Great Customer Service Stories
Persistence Restores Needy Member’s Health Coverage
“It was the right thing to do.”
As Bob Salisbury’s supervisor, I am honored to share a story about Bob’s dedication to exceptional customer experience. This experience touched many customers; a plan member, medical providers and government agencies. Most of those involved are completely unaware of the special customer care Bob provided.
A plan member called with a simple question about her medical insurance. Initially, there was nothing unusual about the call. Bob reviewed the member’s account and realized, due to a change in eligibility, she no longer had health insurance coverage. Since this customer did not request any additional information, Bob’s only duty was to inform her that she was no longer covered by our plan. Instead, Bob went one-step further; he reviewed the customer’s information and realized that because of the loss in coverage, she was liable for thousands of dollars in pending, unpaid medical bills. Bob’s continued persistence revealed several communication challenges with this particular special needs plan member. This member is blind, suffers from short-term memory loss due to a fall and has very limited financial resources. Most importantly, she had recently lost her support system due to a family death. Bob understood this member needed assistance due to her fragile state. He placed calls and shared important information with local senior and government resources. As a result, the member met at her home with local agencies that could help. An error that was discovered during the meeting, resulted in two government agencies working together to reinstate the member’s insurance coverage. In the meantime, Bob diligently monitored the member’s account to make sure her medical bills and claims were reprocessed and to eliminate her financial liability. He attempted to contact her several times during this period but, unfortunately, she lost her telephone service and could not be reached. To this day, the member is completely unaware of the exceptional customer service Bob provided. Nevertheless, his efforts behind the scenes to coordinate assistance resources ensured proper claims processing, resolved her coverage eligibility and saved her a significant amount of money. His efforts also ensured she had much needed health coverage.
Bob doesn’t feel what he did was extraordinary, he feels he just did his job. His efforts weren’t for recognition or appreciation. He simply provided outstanding customer service because as he said, "it was the right thing to do."
Robert Salisbury – Blue Cross of Idaho
Getting Urgent Antibiotics to Member in Peru
“I did not give up.”
I recently had the opportunity to assist one of our members who had travelled to Peru and needed urgent care services. The member needed antibiotics, which under normal situations wouldn’t be covered when provided by an out-of-country pharmacy, but due to the urgent need, we were able to review for reimbursement. Unfortunately, the member’s pharmacy receipts were not legible, which would normally result in their claim form being returned. In an effort to prevent this delay in reimbursement and additional work on the member’s behalf, I offered to call the pharmacy in Peru to obtain the required information. To complicate matters more, the telephone number on the receipt was invalid but I did not give up. I called the Peruvian Embassy in the United States in an effort to obtain a valid telephone number for this pharmacy. After obtaining the valid phone number, and as a bilingual representative, I was able to communicate with this pharmacy via phone and email. It took several phone call conversations and email communications via their website requesting the necessary information from the pharmacist in Peru. With hard work and determination, I was finally able to get the required documentation and have the member’s reimbursement processed. The member was very surprised that the Plan would put that much effort into resolving his issue and I was happy to exceed his expectations. It’s cases like this that make me proud to be a customer service representative.
Barnney Sandoval – Blue Cross Blue Shield of Vermont
Helping Visually-Impaired Person set up Printer Over the Phone
“I also like to believe that I helped to build her confidence.”
I’ve been a customer service agent at Brother for three years and helping a customer over the phone can sometimes be a challenge. The main challenge is in regards to the fact that we can’t see each other and the main method of communicating is through a common language. At Brother Canada, we offer support in both English and French. Occasionally, if the customer needs support in another language, and if we have an agent that can speak that specific language, we’ll go that extra step and support them in their preferred language, because we believe in going ‘over and above’ for our customers
One of the experiences I had was helping a customer that had vision problems. She needed to set up her Brother wireless printer over her home network but it was near impossible for her to do this since she needed to see the keys on the machine to set it up properly. This was quite the challenge because the customer had no way of seeing the keys that I needed to refer to or the characters she needed to enter to complete the process. So I proceeded to spend the first several minutes just getting her used to the keypad and going over the control panel with her from a tactile perspective. Within a few tries, she was able to memorize the location of certain keys and with my guidance she was able to remember some of the sequence. However, since the sequence of steps required accessing several functions, I immediately considered using shortcut keys so that she could get to the right submenu in fewer steps. It became a little tricky when we got to the network security function of the process. All customers looking to set up a wireless machine need to enter security information in regards to their wireless network. Luckily for us, the printer makes a beeping sound with every entry. So I guided her along the process by listening to the beeps required at each step. The difficulty was in trying to figure out the right number of beeps with the right function that needed to be selected. With quite a bit of perseverance we managed to figure out the right number of beeps per step. I really felt proud to have helped out our customer in such a unique situation.
I had always assumed (up until that point) that language was the main barrier to phone support, but other limitations can also be a barrier too. I didn’t want that to get in the way of helping out our customer though! I also like to believe that I helped to build her confidence by showing that there are no limitations to what someone can do if they just persevere and have a little support along the way!
Sam Wong – Brother Canada
Finding the Perfect Gift for Husband’s 50th Birthday
“I always want the collector to have a positive experience.”
Building a good relationship with Collectors has always been a practice of mine, as I always want the Collector to have a positive experience during their interaction with me until the Collector hangs up their phone.
I had a Collector who did not have access to a computer or any relative to assist her in seeing what Air Miles has to offer online. She desperately wanted to order a birthday gift for her husband who was going to celebrate his 50th birthday. I advised her we have more than 1,000 different rewards online. She said he always kept eyeing a laptop or computer, which they could not afford. She said he also loves to read books which are, again, expensive to buy. I suggested an Apple iPad so he can browse the web, send email and even read books with portability. She loved the idea but there was a slight problem. She was just short of a couple of Air Miles. She was willing to pay for the difference which I advised her that she cannot do. As a goodwill gesture I talked to a supervisor to see if I could do something for her. I had to put her on hold, spoke to the Lead Representative who was kind enough to put the needed Air Miles into the account and book it. The Collector was ecstatic! She could not stop thanking me for this extraordinary gesture. Moreover, she did not have to pay a penny. I was glad to help her find the perfect gift for her husband.
Blaise D’Mello – LoyaltyOne
Arranging to Bring Man with Broken Hip Home
“I’m 62 and I can barely move because of the pain.”
One busy Monday morning, I received a call and heard a man’s sniffle. "Thanks for calling Air Miles, Samina speaking, how may I help you?" I asked.
"Yes," he cleared his throat, covering up that he was crying. "I’ve been trying to get help for the past few days, but nothing has happened so far."
"What seems to be the problem?"
"I’m on vacation and I’ve broken my hip. I can’t get treatment here, so I want to come home. I’m sixty-two and I can barely move because of the pain," his voice trembled. "Every time I’ve called, no one would help. Please, do something! I want to come home."
"Certainly. I can book you a flight right away."
"No!" he cried. "Someone tried to book me a flight, and it was over $2000 because no Air Miles seats were available. I can’t afford that. Listen, I’m in a foreign country and I can’t help myself because of my hip. Is there anything you can do?" he asked, his voice cracking as he began to sob.
"Okay," I said soothingly. "Let me put you on hold and call your airline." I dialed the airline’s number. After twenty minutes of negotiating, I had lowered the ticket’s price to $200. I went back to the other line and gave the man the good news.
"Oh, thank you, thank you!" he exclaimed, crying again. The happiness and relief in his voice was so genuine, it made me smile myself. "Of course, no problem."
"You’re an angel," he said gratefully. "You may have saved my life!"
I had a warm fuzzy feeling in my stomach, like I’d really made a difference in his life. That part wasn’t in the job description, but that I could make a difference, meant the world to me.
Samina Rifat – LoyaltyOne
Reuniting Client with Purse Revives Happy Vacation
“A woman’s purse is her life, I’d rather lose my husband.”
While every day is an adventure, this is doubly true when you work in customer service. I received a call from a national retail store employee asking for my assistance. A purse had been found containing a Scotiabank client card and they hoped I could help my client reconnect with their belongings. After recording the employee’s contact information, I assured them I would do whatever was needed to help solve the problem and follow up with them when resolved.
I immediately left a voice mail for the client at home, but right before disconnecting, it came to my attention the real gravity of the problem: the client and store’s area codes were three provinces apart. Realizing my customer was now far from home, and without a purse, I immediately doubled my efforts. I was concerned for their well-being and knew that I would have to get creative in order to speak with them. Much to my chagrin, trying a secondary office number only confirmed my suspicions that they were, in fact, away on vacation. After pleading with the receptionist about the urgent need to get in touch with my client, they reluctantly provided me with an unlisted cell phone number. Then, as if out of a Three Stooges movie, I heard the line ring twice and my new friend, the employee at the store, answered my client’s phone which was, of course, resting comfortably in the found purse. I relayed to the receptionist my fruitless efforts in calling the cell, and asked if they knew more about where my client was vacationing and who they might be staying with.
As luck would have it, the office was small and they knew that the trip was to visit with a sister in Toronto. Unfortunately, the only information they had about the sister was a name.
My first real break appeared when I discovered that the sister’s phone number was listed on phone directory website. My client’s in-law actually answered the phone and knew about the situation intimately. A search party was out as we spoke, on the hunt for this missing purse. Gratefully, I was provided a reliable cell number. The sister answered the phone within one ring, and immediately handed the phone over to my client. I remembered overhearing a hesitant and confused voice ask, “How is Scotiabank calling you on my phone?” Understandably, my client was crying and audibly upset, so much that before I could even introduce myself my client exclaimed, “Someone stole my purse! Any charges on my cards aren’t mine! Stop them! Catch them!” Once I had a chance to reply, I calmly explained, “Your purse has been found at a store today.” After about 5 seconds of dead silence, they said, “Oh my Lord how could we have forgotten about that last store – is it still there?” So I conveyed that everything was safe and sound, in fact waiting for pick-up at the store’s service desk. I could tangibly feel the sense of relief on the other end of the line, followed by a torrent of appreciation, “A woman’s purse is her life, I’d rather lose my husband than my purse!” This was the comic relief I think we both needed, and we both shared a heartfelt laugh. My client reassured me that they were only a few minutes away from the store and were headed there now. Before I was let go they had to ask me, “Exactly how did you know to call my sister? How on earth do you even know her number?” So I proceeded to explain the comedy of errors surrounding how I managed to find where they were. My client was beyond impressed that I obviously put myself in their shoes, because as the client put it, I simply could have left a voice mail and moved on with my day. The client told me that I “completely floored them” with going further to make it right.
This type of customer experience is not entirely an everyday occurrence. It certainly left a lasting impression for the customer, and provided me the satisfaction in truly making a difference for them. Hours later I followed up with the customer on their cell phone to make sure they had reached the eye of the storm, and if there was the need to report anything lost. Wonderfully, nothing was missing and the customer could continue with their visit. After thanking them for their business, I knew that the vacation was repaired, and I would probably be an anecdote to a great story for them to tell when they returned home.
Gordon Ryan – Scotiabank
Giving Battered Mother Hope for a Better Tomorrow
“She left with her daughter with only some pocket change and a ScotiaCard.”
My goal as a Customer Service Officer is to be committed to providing World Class Care, Every Customer, Every time. I have a passion for service excellence and always do my utmost in creating memorable customer experiences.
I received a call late on a Friday night from a woman sounding panicked and out of breath. The woman was calling from a payphone in a rural area of Saskatchewan with her 2 year old daughter crying in the background. My immediate response was to reassure her that I was here to help. I learned the woman was recently new to the area and needed help but did not know where to go. She explained that she had a domestic dispute with her husband and left. I could empathize with the customer as life sometimes brings us a lot of challenges and obstacles that we need to overcome. Abused and battered, she left with her daughter with only some pocket change and a Scotiacard. I learned that the woman was married to a man who was physically abusive to the extent she could take no more. I tried not to let the situation affect me as I needed to focus on the customer and situation at hand. I comforted her and gave her reassurance that everything will be okay. I stressed that I was there for her and would remain on the line until a solution was found. They had no one. No family or loved ones that could help them in their time of need.
I searched Google and immediately looked up a local women’s shelter. I found a location only 30 minutes away. One of the customer’s immediate concerns was how she was going to get to the shelter as she feared that her husband may have emptied their joint bank account. I pulled up her account information and it was clear that her suspicions were correct. I took immediate action and recommended to my manager that we provide emergency cash due to the customer’s circumstance so she could take a taxi to the women’s shelter. I searched on Google again to see if there was a cab company that accepted Interac. Luckily, I found one and called them for an estimate of what the cost of cab fare would be from the customer’s current location to the shelter. I provided the cab company the customer’s location. The emergency cash was granted. I stayed on the line with the customer until the taxi arrived.
I proceeded to contact the women’s shelter to advise them that a woman and her 2 year old daughter would be arriving shortly. I asked the woman at the shelter if she could be so kind as to give me a quick call to confirm that they arrived safely. Forty-five minutes later, I received a call from the women’s shelter confirming that the young lady and her daughter arrived. The social worker went on to say that she wanted to express her gratitude to me for my assistance and that I had helped the woman and her daughter hope for a better future. It is times like these I realize how important my role is and the positive impact we can all make as Customer Service Officers at Scotiabank.
Mally Metlege – Scotiabank
Retrieving Passport, Cards for Distraught Traveller
“She was so relieved she started crying.”
I have rushed cards all across the world, had customers going from panic and tears to laughter and joy. I have felt the personal connections so deep that I felt like I was part of their families. I make connections and impact customer lives on a daily basis, that’s what I do and love. I would like to share with you a call that I took recently that stands out to me.
As the call came through, I barely introduced myself before I heard a panicked and frantic voice, “It’s gone! I can’t find the cards anywhere. I can’t even find my passport! I feel like I can’t even breathe right now.” I empathized with her right away and I told her that I was going to take care of it and not to worry. She then told me that she was out of the country, traveling. I empathized with her again and knew this was going to be a unique situation.
After getting some more information, I was able to find her accounts and go over transactions with her. She told me she was on this trip alone and just separated from her husband. I could hear her sobbing. She said her mind really wasn’t where it should be. I couldn’t imagine what she was going through. I comforted her and talked to her about the separation. I then asked her if she remembered where she was last. She told me that she was in a taxi and went to pull out cash and suspects that when she was pulling out the cash her pocketbook, which had her cards in it, might have fallen out of the purse.
She then said, “I’ll never get it back. It’s gone!” Automatically I was on the computer searching for taxi contact numbers within that city. I asked the customer where the taxi dropped her off and got the exact address from her. I could still hear the panic in her voice. I comforted her and reassured her that I was going to take care of this. I asked if I could place her on hold.
The very first taxi company I called said that they just received notification that a woman’s passport and cards were left behind in a taxi. They would need the lady to describe it and come in person to get it. I asked if I could conference the customer in. I went back to the customer and told her. She said, “Oh my God! Are you serious?” It was the customer’s pocketbook! The customer was ecstatic! The place where they were holding her cards was not far from the customer. She had enough cash on her to get there. I gave her my number and told her to call me back once she got there and had her passport and cards. I wanted to make sure she was getting back what she needed. She called me back about 20 minutes later, which felt like hours to me. I couldn’t handle the anticipation of waiting to make sure she received her belongings.
When she called back she asked, “What was your name again? I can’t believe you did all that for me. Where are you from?”. She was so relieved she started crying. She told me she would never forget, not only getting her passport and cards back but the conversation we had in regards to her separation. She told me it meant a lot to her. I felt like I was talking to one of my friends at this point. She said it surprised her that I cared so much about her. I told her not to worry and that we appreciated her business and it’s helping customers like her that makes me feel proud to be a CSR. I knew from that point on she was going to be a Scotiabank customer for life.
A typical day for me is going the extra mile and delivering exceptional customer service. It’s something I strive to achieve each and every day; it’s second nature to me. This is why every day, every customer, every call, I truly feel empowered with my title as a CSR. I help my customers become financially better off by finding unique solutions to suit their everyday financial needs. As a CSR we have the power to care and create positive memorable experiences for our customers. It’s all about the experience whether it’s a basic balance inquiry, a complicated situation or an upset customer I’m up for the challenge and can’t wait to make that memorable experience for my customers.
Tricia Hann – Scotiabank
Following an Issue to its Resolution
“My customer was extremely frustrated and was trying hard to remain calm.”
When I think about my retirement I imagine a stress free time when you can enjoy yourself and take advantage of the savings you have built up during your years of working. Unfortunately, for one customer, their retirement was permanently put on hold until his funds could be released from his account.
During my first conversation with this customer I learned that he had made multiple calls to our call centre for an update on the status of his retirement package and the transfer of his funds to his personal retirement plan. My customer was extremely frustrated and was trying hard to remain calm. I could hear in his voice that he was struggling to keep everything professional. He had been pro-active ensuring that all the necessary paperwork had been forwarded so there was no delay in receiving his retirement installments. Although I do my best with every call to find resolution I knew right from the beginning it was up to me to resolve this issue to ease the burden of follow up for my customer.
My customer was previously told that we had all the necessary information to ensure that he would be receiving his monthly retirement payments. A few days later, a representative in another department called to advise him that we could not continue with the request as certain plan stipulations were not met. This delay was going to stop him from receiving his retirement installment, posing severe financial stress on him. I knew further investigation would be required before his issues could be resolved. I assured him that I would be taking ownership of his account and that there would be no more back and forth. Being an inbound call centre we typically do not provide our personal extensions however, I made an exception. I explained I would be in contact in the next couple of days with the next steps to take. There was no way I was going to transfer this man to another line or tell him someone would be in touch.
Once the call had finished, I contacted the necessary teams to find the cause for the delay and a solution for the customer. In a very short time I received a response advising that nothing could be done as the plan rules had to be followed and the member would have to wait until a specific date for us to be able to transfer his funds. I promptly called the customer to provide this update and promised him I would to monitor his account to ensure that once this date arrived, the transfer would go through. Although he was no closer to receiving his retirement income, he was pleased that I had called him back the same day and was comforted that we were aware of his situation. I was pleased to hear that he had faith in me and was feeling hopeful that resolution was getting closer.
Regrettably, for my customer, the date came and passed, and no funds were transferred. I started the necessary follow and was told that there was yet another delay which was out our control. I was dismayed that my customer was no closer to getting his money and concerned as I knew he was relying on this money to survive. With apprehension, I immediately contacted my customer with this update. Suffice to say he was not at all pleased with the latest update. He was at a loss and could not understand how this could be happening. Once again I assured him I was on top of it and would continue to find resolution.
I started making phones calls and emails on my breaks/lunches (as the queue was too busy to get time off to do it) to other areas, ensuring that I had covered every possible contact. After a great deal of persistence, I was able to get assistance from a colleague in another department and they expedited the issue by working with the customer’s former employer to facilitate the transfer.
When I think back, I know that it would have been easier for me to have provided the initial response that there was nothing we could do and leave it at that. At the time I tried to imagine myself in the customer’s shoes and if I were him I would want to know that there was someone on my side who understood and honestly wanted to help me. Following up on an issue to its resolution and building trust with the customer is something I strive to do every day. For this particular situation it was truly rewarding to find out a few days later that the member had called back to let me know how thankful he was that I helped him right to the end. He had an income again, one that he had saved all his life for. It was very rewarding to have taken the time to make the extra phone calls and different contacts to find the resolution.
Valerie Dibowski – Sun Life Financial
This Marine will Never Forget Daughter’s Eye Exam Help
“Just the act of caring enough to go that extra mile made a big difference for me today.”
Kim spoke with a member who was experiencing problems with a doctor when confirming eligibility for his daughter. During their conversation the member began to cry. While they talked, Kim learned the birth date of his twins which is often an issue with insurance claims. The member was tired and frustrated with insurance companies and doctors’ offices. Upon reviewing the account Kim determined why the doctor was having trouble confirming the daughter’s eligibility. Kim placed the caller on hold and contacted the office to give them an authorization so the member’s daughter would get her eye exam. Kim returned to the member’s call to let him know everything was resolved.
The caller felt so strongly about the service Kim provided he called back and through sobbing tears left this message:
Kim just helped me. I spent 14 years in the Marine Corps and have completed two trips to Iraq. After coming home I got in a very bad motorcycle accident and spent four months in the hospital. My twin girls were born three months premature. My wife had numerous medical conditions, from depression to chronic fatigue, blood disorder, and a few surgeries. My whole family has been in and out of hospitals and doctors’ offices for the past 12 years. In my entire existence dealing with insurance companies, I never had one representative call on my behalf to a doctor’s office to fix a problem I was having. And I just wanted to say, thank you, because she did something for me that I will never forget for as long as I live. Just the act of caring enough to go that extra mile made a big difference for me today. Every day counts for me because of this debilitating pain. Today was a good day just because of that one phone call and I wanted to make sure you were aware her work ethic.
Kim Ostry – VSP Vision Care