2012 CSR of the Year Great Customer Service Story
Member did not Have to Reschedule Surgery
“Liza began to work across several departments to identify the delay and rectify the situation.”
Liza received a call from a member who was part of a newly contracted employer group. The member had been preparing for months to have a total hip replacement in a few days and was concerned that he had not yet received any materials for his new benefit plan. In addition, the surgery was going to require precertification by our medical services staff.
The precertification process cannot be initiated until the member’s benefit plan is active. During the member’s initial phone call, Liza was not able to locate an active benefit plan for the member or the employer group as there was a delay in the enrollment process. Liza was, however, able to discover through her research that all the necessary information had been received from the employer group including the member’s application but everything was still in the process of being set up in our systems. The member became increasingly concerned that he may have to postpone his surgery and was quite frustrated with the delay in the enrollment process.
Liza took immediate action and ownership of the member’s concerns. Liza was able to reassure the member that she cared about the situation and would work on this right away. She comforted the member and told him that she would be back in touch with him as soon as possible. As a customer service professional, Liza’s responsibilities did not include sales, the application process and enrollment, benefit set up, system configuration or medical precertification. However, Liza took it upon herself to become the member’s voice and began to work across several departments to identify the delay and rectify the situation. Leaving the member hanging was not an option for Liza and she was going to do her best to make sure the employer group’s enrollment was completed and the member loaded into our systems.
One of the joys of being a small company meant that Liza could work closely with other departments. She contacted the group sales representative, the account manager and the group enrollment department to request this paperwork be pushed through as a high priority. She then walked over to the configuration department that was handling the benefit set up for this new group. She explained the urgency of the situation and the configuration representative agreed to expedite the benefit set up process. The system configuration and set up were completed the next morning and Liza then worked with the membership department to load the member’s application as a priority. All the while keeping contact with the member so that he was aware of every step being taken. The next day Liza was able to initiate the precertification process with our medical services staff and make sure that any necessary approvals were in place including the member’s prescription medications.
What normally takes weeks, Liza accomplished in two days due to her commitment to provide World Class Service to our members. The member was extremely pleased and expressed to Liza if he would have had to reschedule the surgery it would have taken an emotional and physical toll on him and his family. Through proactively working across several departments Liza was able to expedite the enrollment and precertification process so that there was no negative impact on the member. This type of above and beyond service really sets Liza apart as a World Class Call Center representative. It also reflects how the culture of World Class Service is spreading its way through our company, from customer service representatives to other departments for a total World Class member experience.
Liza Mountford – BlueCross BlueShield of Vermont
2012 Top Ten CSR Finalists Great Customer Service Stories
Distraught Husband Whose Wife had Only Days to live
“He took ownership of this situation and refused to quit until he was able to help.”
Aaron got a call late on a Friday afternoon, from a very distraught husband whose wife was in the hospital with only days to live. Her primary insurer had been cancelled for some reason and she was not able to get her medication from the pharmacy for pain. Aaron went to his manager for assistance with this call. He took ownership of this situation and refused to quit until he was able to help.
In the employee’s file he was able to see the benefits were active at the primary insurer end and the disconnect was with the secondary insurer. Aaron took it upon himself to call the secondary insurer directly, and working in partnership with them, he was able to get the benefits reinstated immediately. Aaron asked the secondary insurer to call the pharmacy immediately to get the prescription filled for the ill wife. The prescription was filled and the patient was able to finally have some relief from her pain. Her husband was extremely grateful that Aaron took charge of this and that it only took one call to have this resolved. Aaron was so very relieved to have been able to help and ease the gentleman’s anxiety, and the wife’s pain; Aaron commented, “That call made my day today.”
After Aaron ensured the most pressing issue was covered, he then followed up to ensure her coverage was updated with the pharmacy to prevent further stress to the family at that critical time.
Aaron McCulloch – TELUS Sourcing Solutions Inc.
Staying on the Line with the Member Until the EMT Arrived
“Allan kept her calm by talking to her and reassured her that he was there with her and would not end the call until he knew she was safe in the care of the EMTs.”
Allan Bondi received a call from a member of Detroit, Michigan. The member explained to Allan that she had an emergency. She needed medical transportation. She had called her health care doctor but had been told to call back when the doctor’s office was open. Allan could have easily explained that she called the wrong number and that we are her vision insurance carrier.
However, Allan quickly recognized that this was not a normal benefit call and his caller needed assistance. As he was looking through the member’s vision benefit screen he noticed that this group had a comment regarding transportation for members and provided a listed number to call. Allan placed the member on hold and called the number. He was placed on hold. After a minute, he checked in with the member. In a shaky voice, the member told Allan that she was having trouble breathing and her chest hurt. Allan immediately hung up with the transportation line and called 911. Allan is located in Sacramento, so he explained the situation to the Sacramento dispatcher who then provided him the number to the Detroit Police Department. After another transfer with Detroit Police Department, Allan was connected with the Detroit 911 dispatcher.
When I listened to the call I was amazed at how calm, clear and concise Allan was as he jumped these hoops and explained the situation. The Detroit dispatcher told Allan to tell the member that assistance was on the way and to loosen her clothing and provide any medication to the EMTs that arrive. Allan agreed with the dispatcher and let them know that he was once an EMT. I believe this made the dispatcher feel good about letting Allan stay on the line with the member. Allan swapped the line back to the member. While on the line it was very clear that she was under duress and scared. She even let Allan know that she was scared to have an ambulance come. Allan kept her calm by talking to her. They talked about family. The member shared with him that she is proud of her children and that her son is a wonderful high school student and her daughter is about to graduate from college. After 30 minutes the EMTs finally arrived. She was scared to open the door. Allan reassured her that he was there with her and would not end the call until he knew she was safe in the care of the EMTs. The member was then in the hands of the EMTs. CSRs are heroes to our many callers every day. This time Allan was a Super Hero.
Allan Bondi – VSP Vision Care
Urgent Need for Money to Avoid Eviction
“She started crying again and thanked me repeatedly for getting this completed for her.”
Working in a call centre you never know the situation of the customer or what you will need to do to resolve an issue. On this particular day, a customer called our call centre and reached me. This customer was extremely upset that her pension had not been unlocked and a withdrawal that she requested had not been processed. She was dissatisfied with the service of Sun Life Financial and felt that we were not living up to our brand promise. She was requesting the total amount in her Locked-In Retirement Account (LIRA) to be unlocked and transferred into a Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP) along with a cash withdrawal. She was quoted from a previous call centre representative (CCR) that the turnaround time was 1-3 business days. When I got the call we were on day 5 of when she originally faxed in her request.
She was desperate to get this money as she could not make ends meet and may even be evicted from her apartment. She was in tears. I listened to her frustration, felt her pain and told her I would investigate and get back to her the following business day. I immediately went into action by emailing the administration team on an urgent priority in hopes to get an answer the same day. That unfortunately did not happen. The following day when I still did not hear from the administration team, I pulled a colleague over to help me review the legislation rules regarding her pension and we looked over the transfer request to make sure it would not be rejected. After we both decided that the request should be good to go, I called the admin team directly and walked them through our customer’s situation. This is not something we normally do in the call centre, but I felt this issue needed to be dealt with as soon as possible. The administration team stepped up, agreeing to backdate the inter-product transfer to pull it from a LIRA and into an RRSP. The administration team then current dated the withdrawal even though we were already past the cut-off time to process. They were impressed that I went out of my way to call them as they do not usually hear from us. I felt it was nice to put a voice to the name that I always see in emails.
I then looked over the service request and saw that that the member had called in again earlier that day and had the call escalated. She felt we were holding her money for no reason. She was tempted to even call the Ombudsman’s Office to complain about our services. When I called her, I reassured her that Sun Life Financial would never hold her money intentionally if that was not her request. I told her we processed the withdrawal that day and it would process that evening. The maximum would be 3 business days before she sees it in her account. The plan member was thrilled. She started crying again and thanked me repeatedly for getting this completed for her. She stated that I restored her faith in Sun Life Financial. She would keep her business with us, because she knew that we cared and took her request seriously. It all came together in the end. While I was on the front line helping the plan member, this was a team effort. The plan member’s urgent needs were met and we ultimately delivered on our brand promise.
Angela Proulx – Sun Life Financial
Delivering Exceptional Service to a Threatening Customer
“She had to demonstrate all the essential customer service skills to satisfy this understandably irate customer’s needs.”
Cherisse Wallace truly demonstrates a passion for serving all her customers. She continuously receives customer commendations (both verbal and written) for her dedication to satisfying customer needs.
One story in particular is most significant this year as the customer was threatening to end all relationships with Scotiabank Trinidad and Tobago, based on the poor customer service received to date from the organization. Cherisse was not at all disheartened by the customer’s threats and simply focused on delivering the very best solution to resolve her concern within the shortest possible time frame.
The customer had previously provided Scotiabank with instructions to issue a cheque payment to a competitor credit card. The customer however, received a call from the competitor bank advising late fees and additional interest charges will accrue on the credit card account due to non-payment of account. Of course, once Cherisse answered the phone she had to demonstrate all the essential customer service skills to satisfy this understandably irate customer’s needs.
Cherisse did not just deliver exceptional service; she far exceeded the customer’s expectations. She first contacted the mid office at Scotiabank and checked on the status of the cheque. She kept the customer informed of any significant development in the process. Consequently, she was able to obtain full resolution of the issue on the same day she received the call. Cherisse created a positive, memorable customer experience and she successfully changed the customer’s perception of the service provided by the organization. The customer took the time to write to the centre following her interaction with Cherisse to ensure management were made aware of the service provided by this outstanding employee. Cherisse was promoted in May 2012 due to her consistent delivery of superior customer service as confirmed by her World Class certification for the second consecutive year!!!!
Cherisse Wallace – Scotiabank International Trinidad and Tobago
Empathy for a Family Brings Them Financial Relief
“Her interaction with me completely changed her thoughts on the integrity of insurance companies.”
Last year I was a CCR struggling with my Voice of the Customer (VoC) results. This year, I far exceeded the score required to be world class certified. It was in that evolution that I grew to understand both the impact I can have on my callers, and the fierce sense of pride that comes with doing right by them.
One day I received what seemed, at first, to be a clear cut request from a member for the balance of a particular spending account. That’s how simply it had started but certainly wasn’t how it ended. She mentioned she had incurred some very costly expenses and was hoping to have most of it covered by her spending account. When I asked who the expenses were for, she matter-of-factly explained that they were for her son but because of his age he was no longer a dependent on her plan. With that, I hoped I would find a healthy balance in her account. Unfortunately, it was quite low. Before I relayed this information however, I probed for the nature of the expenses that had been incurred. Based on the expenses she named, I started to wonder if perhaps her son might actually qualify as an over-age dependent on her plan if he met the criteria required to be considered disabled. If that happened, at least a portion of these expenses could be reimbursed.
I was eager at the possibility but also a little nervous about prying into such a sensitive matter. I knew that this possibility could potentially relieve a huge financial burden for the family. That potential was definitely worth my relatively inconsequential moment of discomfort. So, with care, I asked. She easily offered the fact that yes her son had special needs for his ongoing care, at which point I explained why I was compelled to ask. Her reaction was one of cautious excitement and gratitude to me for taking such an interest on their behalf. I assured her that I was only too happy to help. On the inside, I just felt such empathy for this family and a growing pride in the role I was playing as this issue unfolded.
I explained the next steps and upon realizing that we didn’t have her employer phone number on file, I asked my customer to give me a moment as I searched Google, where I was able to find the phone number we needed. I then conferenced the employer into the call and explained my reason for calling. Rather than waiting for the mail, I also suggested that the required forms be faxed directly to us so that we could expedite reprocessing of the claim. Even at that point I don’t think I really appreciated the impact of the actions I had taken in this call. Then, I heard it from my caller. She told me what this meant to her family and that her interaction with me and my company completely changed her thoughts on the integrity of insurance companies. She couldn’t believe that we would actually look for a way to pay towards her son’s expenses. I guess I had never looked at it that way before but I came to understand the powerful message that was sent through my actions. That call stuck with me and will always serve as a reminder of the difference I can make in the lives of my callers.
Craig Shantz – Sun Life Financial
Customer Preparing for Retirement Provides Suggestions for FCR
“Due to this, the TELUS Sourcing Solutions’ client will be making some changes to improve call resolution for all their customers who phone in for this same reason.”
Jordon received a call from a customer preparing for retirement. This customer had called in 3 times previously but still needed guidance with the retirement forms. Jordon was very patient and calm throughout the call; she took the time to give step by step instructions to the caller and ensured that the instructions were clearly understood by the caller. Jordon followed up via email with the customer. She also engaged the client Benefits team to make sure the forms were correct and confirmed that they had been received. The caller was very appreciative of Jordon for taking the time to help address all of the caller’s concerns. The caller had some suggestions on how to make the process easier for retirees and Jordon in turn sent those suggestions to her manager who passed them on as well. Due to this, the TELUS Sourcing Solutions’ client will be making some changes to improve call resolution for all their customers who phone in for this same reason. The customer was very happy to have finally received the answers she needed and that she will no longer have to call us back to follow up.
Jordon Lowe – TELUS Sourcing Solutions Inc.
Working Through the Night to Complete an Urgent Request
“Much team work, communication and outside the box thinking was required in order to successfully complete this urgent request.”
On July 22, 2012 at 9pm, Richard Cloutier received a call from the Director of Business Care for Rogers regarding an ongoing issue which required support for one of our corporate clients. Their incoming call centre had lost all service and was unable to receive calls from their customers.
Working closely with other departments, Richard determined the new types of plans the client required and quickly created a new account. He then manually activated all 65 wireless phone numbers, SIM cards and devices enabling the client to resume business using our wireless network. This work ended nearly 5 hours later and Richard worked through the night until 4:00am. Here is the client feedback on Richard’s efforts:
As a member of the (Client) team, I want to thank you very, very much for turning 65 cell phones and activations around in under 5 hours! This is greatly appreciated by us and we are thrilled with the can do attitude of everyone at Rogers. Your ability to step up and get us everything we asked for during this time of urgency is truly above and beyond! Warmest thanks.
Richard, ever so humble, has said that much team work, communication and outside the box thinking was required in order to successfully complete this urgent request. Richard’s hard work and commitment to his clients is second to none which is why he is often regularly called into these critical client situations where his expertise, experience and customer focus are most needed. On behalf of all the clients that you have supported, especially when we are faced with emergencies and need your help, thank you, Richard!
Richard Cloutier – Rogers Enterprise Service Delivery
Restoring the Business / Client Relationship
“You truly exemplified the kind of service that one should expect when paying for services.”
This nomination for Rokhaya came directly from one of her customers:
The reason why I am submitting this letter is because I would like to commend you for your outstanding customer service. You demonstrated the utmost professionalism, care and diligence when trouble shooting issues that I was experiencing with my mobile account. During the months of May through July, I had an ongoing issue with the voicemail service, which I subscribe to from Rogers Tele-communications. I contacted Rogers on several occasions regarding this matter and each time I spoke with a different customer service representative. Even though I was told that the problem was rectified, my voicemail was still was not working. Unfortunately, this went on for several days until ultimately, my file had been transferred to you.
Despite the fact that it took several weeks for my phone problems to be resolved, Rokhaya, you did continuous follow-ups with me, as well as, you provided me with a direct line to you, in case I had any concerns in the process. You were always very apologetic for the delay in resolving the problems with my phone service, unlike some of the other staff I dealt with during this issue. You truly exemplified the kind of service that one should expect when paying for services. As a business owner myself and as a patron of Rogers, I see the importance of quality customer service whether it is being provided or being received; it is something that makes for a rich and valuable experience between businesses and clients.
Once again, I would like to sincerely thank you for your excellent customer service. I am certain you hear many complaints about the service provided by Rogers and it is equally important to hear positive feedback from customers. Please feel free to contact me if you have further questions.
Rokhaya Gueye – Rogers Enterprise Service Assurance
Family of 6 Stranded After Hitting a Deer
“She was proactive in finding out what would be easiest for the customer, but also not cost the corporation a lot of money.”
Last year Tracy did not achieve World Class Certification, but because of her dedication to be more customer service oriented and more focused on resolving customer issues, she has achieved World Class this year. One particularly dramatic customer service story is indicative of her enthusiasm for doing as much for a customer as she possibly can.
Working on a Sunday afternoon, Tracy got a call from a customer who had been on his way home from vacation with his wife and four children in their minivan. The night before, they hit a deer on a highway and caused so much damage that their vehicle was no longer drivable. With no available credit and only $50 in his pocket, the customer couldn’t afford to get a motel for the night and had to sleep, all six of them, in the van in the tow yard. They called to make their insurance claim the next morning and got Tracy.
She found out that the family lived about 280 km from where they had their accident and the town that they were in had only one car rental agency. She knew right away that it wasn’t going to be a straightforward call and would take a little leg work. Without any money in their pocket, Tracy started to research how to get all six family members home. She was proactive in finding out what would be easiest for the customer, but also not cost the corporation a lot of money.
She tried the towing company first. If they could tow the vehicle and bring the whole family, that would be the best option, but the tow truck could only take four passengers in the cab of the tow truck. Next she tried the rental agency: they had only one vehicle left in their lot which could hold only five people. She thought if they took the rental car, the last person could take the bus home, and therefore she looked up the bus fare on the internet (thinking that the customer still had some money in his pocket and could use that and get reimbursed). However, the bus fare was just over $50 and there was no way to directly bill. And even if that had been an option, the vehicle towing was still an issue. The customer was insistent that his vehicle was not a write-off.
Tracy knew that she would have to get manager approval for any plan she put forward to the customer, but instead of simply transferring this call to a manager to deal with, she took on the challenge. She decided to call the towing company and rental agency to get some dollar figures so they could make the best decision. During their conversation, the tow driver explained that while he could take some family members in the tow truck, his wife would be willing drive the rest of the family in her car. Tracy negotiated how much they would be paid for this service and then called the rental company to find out how much they would charge for the rental and the out-of-town drop-off fee. While she did all of her research, she called the customer back to make sure he knew that she was still working on it and that she had not forgotten about him.
By the time she presented the options to the manager for approval, Tracy had done all of the research and care so that it was easy for the manager to make a sound decision for the corporation, but more importantly, for the customer and his family. Tracy took extraordinary steps to ensure that this was a positive customer experience for this family. This call started out as a dramatic no-win situation for this family, but luckily for them, Tracy took the extra time and attention to help this family get back on track and feel like their insurance company had their best interests in mind. Way to go, Tracy!
Tracy Hall – Insurance Corporation of BC (Claims)
Emergency Credit Limit Increase Calms a Frantic Mother
“I plead the customer’s worthy cause of an emergency limit increase.”
Ever since I was young, I was taught that you either do things right, or you do not do them at all because the things we do define us and our success. I am always willing to help those around me because they are integral to my own development. This is why I am committed to finding solutions to the problems that I am faced with and I make the effort to make each interaction a memorable one.
One day I had the opportunity to help a customer with a problem that she did not know how to solve. She said, “I hope you can help me because I do not know what to do. My son, who is living in Spain, is relying on you to help him so he can eat dinner and is not kicked out of the place he is staying.” I told her that I was eager to help and proceeded to verify her information. As I was verifying her information she told me that the card her son was using to try and buy a book with was not working and that this card was the only means he had to buy his necessities. After carefully listening to her needs and looking into what was happening, I was able to see that there were no funds available on the card. Upon hearing this, she became even more anxious and asked desperately, “Now what am I and my son supposed to do? I can go and put money on his card; however, it will not be available for him today and it will be the middle of the night for him when the money is available to him where he is.” I asked her if she could hold and notified her that I would do my best to resolve her issue so that her son would be alright and able to sleep in his bed.
I plead the customer’s worthy cause for an emergency limit increase. It was authorized and I returned to the phone with the news that the card could now be used. The customer was overjoyed because Scotiabank and its CSRs cared about her situation and placed so much trust in her. She concluded that:
Nobody in my 56 years has looked after me and helped me the way you have, Alesandro. Goodbye and bless you. I am very proud to be a part of Scotiabank, I am proud to be a customer and proud to know that people like you are the ones looking after my interests. Words are not enough to describe you, but I do know that you are genuine and someone who tries to excel at what they do. You deserve the best. Now I know I will always have somebody to go to if I have problem, your service is incomparable.
In cases like this, I feel like a doctor and that the solutions to the financial problems of my patients (clients) are in my hands. They can only achieve the definitive solutions to their financial needs by offering efficient, truthful and timely service. I know I have achieved what the customers expect by listening to how satisfied they are after I have looked after them.
Alesandro Valenzuela – Scotiabank International (Dominican Republic)