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A Great Leader – Showing CSRs how to Truly Enjoy Their Jobs
“It is clear that he values every single team member.“
Marc is the Best! Last year was our first full year with the Voice of the Customer program in the Individual call center. At the call center, we provide excellent customer service to both our clients and advisors. I can assure you that Marc, my team leader, has a very strong work ethic and coaches his team to be the best at what we do.
Last year our team focused on placing quality in every single customer interaction. Marc was really excited about the opportunity to improve the way my team spoke with clients. He spoke with us as a group about how important it is to genuinely care about who we were speaking to, and that we had a responsibility to each of our clients to give them the help they need. This really resonated with me. I thought of the times that I had been frustrated with processes in my company or with client’s expectations. Marc stepped up to be our go-to person for any client who we felt was not getting the service they needed. There have been dozens of times that Marc has followed up on cases, to check with different departments, to make sure cases are resolved and that customers are happy. He has really made the customer experience better and has shown by example how to truly listen to clients and empathize.
Even though it seems to come naturally to Marc to be this caring individual, he works really hard with each of us to drive us to succeed. Whenever a team member is struggling Marc gives examples of good calls, role plays and listens to calls to find the issues. He showed me how to set short and long term goals. He celebrated with me when I achieved those goals, and encouraged me with goals I did not meet. Marc helped me understand that the key to being successful at my job, and in fact in life, is balance. Marc has shown me how to truly enjoy my job.
Through the years, Marc has received numerous awards for being the best team lead, and I now clearly understand why. In early 2013, I was sick and needed to go on short term disability. Marc checked back with me while I was away and let me know what was going on at work. He made it clear to me that I was a part of a team and I would be welcome back as soon as I was ready. His words of encouragement during my time of need made a big difference. It is clear that he values every single team member. Most of my team works from home. Marc has the challenging job of managing all of us offsite. He has a knack for making us feel connected with him, our teammates and with upper management. All my teammates agree that Marc has done an outstanding job of being an inspiring leader. We believe that Marc lives up to the true definition of ‘Supervisor of the Year’ and deserves to be recognized for his commitment to customer satisfaction.
Marc Albert – Sun Life Financial
Leading by Example – A Clear Understanding of Expectations and a Willingness to Meet the FCR Goal
“I’m proud of the example that Karen sets for her staff of placing the members and their needs first.“
Karen Lyons is someone that truly believes in ‘leading by example’. During her eight years of management in Senior Markets, she not only expects a lot from her staff, but also demands a lot of herself in service to her staff. During my conversations with Karen on her team’s success with FCR, I truly see the skill of leading by example. “If I want my team to have a clear understanding and to believe in FCR, I must demonstrate my willingness to meet FCR by being positive in my communication with the team, both during one-on-one discussions and during group team meetings. I must ensure that they all have a clear understanding and expectation of what it takes to achieve FCR on each and every call.” Along with coaching calls that do not meet FCR guidelines, Karen states it is important to also share the positive comments shared by members on World Class Calls, as well as the success of the team in meeting the FCR goal. Karen is an active participant in call calibrations of non-FCR calls. She continually provides constructive criticism, and is very quick to recommend and help to develop tools that will assist the staff in developing their FCR skills.
I recently had the pleasure of witnessing Karen’s commitment to a member during an escalated Supervisor call. This member had not received resolution to her initial call, and Karen was quick to identify the issue and involve other units within Senior Markets to provide the resolution that the member needed and deserved. Although this situation was very difficult and the resolution was not an easy fix, Karen was diligent in making hard decisions, and to hold not only herself to the task of resolution, but also management from other units. Karen made multiple calls to the member, keeping her fully updated on the steps she was taking and how these steps were going to bring a resolution. I’m proud of the example that Karen sets for her staff of placing the members and their needs first. For these reasons, I’m proud to nominate Karen Lyons for Supervisor of the Year.
Karen Lyons – Highmark
A Natural Motivator – Expanding Individual Skill Sets and Helping Team Members take Ownership of their Personal Contributions
“She offered regular feedback, allowing them room to make mistakes so they could learn from them, and would schedule coaching time to build their confidence and skills.“
Wendy Chevrette, a Supervisor in our Roadside Assistance division, enables success in her team through various ways. She provides an amazing amount of support to her team’s trainer/coach to set the trainer up for success, not just so the individual can benefit from the learning, but to ensure the whole team does. She is a natural motivator, always trying to find ways to offer recognition or commendation. She is very perceptive and skilled at drawing out the individual talents and strengths on her team.
An example that stands out was when her team was encouraged to focus on customer retention, which was a challenge. Instead of seeing it as a negative, she sought to understand why the team was struggling with this initiative and showed the trainer/coach how to anticipate any problems or challenges they might have prior to training. This type of approach allowed the individual to focus on the real obstacles and concentrate on the quality of the material. What made the team successful was not the training, but rather, how Wendy showed exceptional leadership skills to maintain the learning. She regularly checked in and asked how the team felt about their learning and took action based on what they shared. It was always tailored to the individual representative; they all have a different story to share on how Wendy supported them. The common theme was that she expanded their individual skill sets and helped them take more ownership of their personal contribution. She offered regular feedback, allowing them room to make mistakes so they could learn from them, and would schedule coaching time to build their confidence and skills. Wendy also set up a reward program to encourage the team members individually and to celebrate as a team. When giving praise, she was not generic but rather, offered specific details when identifying their strengths. She recognized and cheered them on, both publicly and privately. Sharing success stories with the group made individuals feel appreciated and valued; reading others’ success stories motivated others to push themselves and encouraged them to be more productive. A year later, Wendy’s team has maintained an increased retention rate, and despite this success, Wendy has never taken the credit; she has allowed the team to embrace its own achievements and gives full credit to the team. This is just one of many examples that illustrates how Wendy motivates them to perform at a world class customer satisfaction level.
Wendy Chevrette – Canadian Tire Financial Services
De-Escalating Calls – Calming even the most Frustrated Callers
“Callers may have been frustrated, angry or even upset to begin with, but they were always different and much calmer after speaking with Patti. “
As a World Class certified and seasoned representative, I felt extremely confident in handling difficult calls and maintaining call control, always defusing difficult situations before they became escalated.In 2013, I was promoted to a Customer Service Team Leader where coaching other representatives became my primary assignment. As a newly appointed Team Leader, I felt a responsibility to always be involved with our representatives and to diffuse those difficult situations before they escalated.
During my first week as a new team leader, I overheard a representative on a very difficult call. I stepped in to help, but the situation quickly escalated and I found myself on my very first supervisor call as a leader. I had handled supervisor scenarios at previous employment, but never in regards to anything as important as a person’s healthcare. As a CSR, I rarely found myself in a situation where things were escalated from the very beginning, leaving me feeling as if I already had two strikes against me. Regardless of this, I took the call and asked the member several confirmation questions to let him know that I understood his concerns, but was quickly cut off before being able to finish. Hearing me on one of my first supervisor calls, Patti began to listen in from her desk close by, and coached me through the call as she was a subject matter expert on prescriptions and escalation. Afterwards, I explained how I had difficulty with the call since it was already escalated before getting to me. Patti took the time to explain that there are different skills needed for taking a difficult call as a CSR and taking a difficult call as a supervisor. In the following weeks, Patti continued to help me, coaching me before and after each callback to this particular member and each call got progressively easier. Over the next couple of months, my desk remained close to Patti’s and I overheard her on several supervisor calls during this time. I noticed that on her calls she always remained calm; her tone was always great, she was always confident even if she had to research an issue further, and that she consistently acknowledged her caller’s concerns. While these callers may have been frustrated, angry or even upset to begin with, they were always different and much calmer after speaking with Patti. I could gradually hear the calls de-escalate.
Today, I am still a Team Leader on Patricia Nieusma’s team and while she has taught me a great deal about handling escalated calls in the short time I have been a leader, she continues to be consistently available to answer my questions or coach me through difficult situations. She does not have a door to close or open, but she has a great office chair to sit in whenever I have a question or concern and I know that it is always available.
Patricia Nieusma – BlueCross BlueShield of Vermont
Promoting Employee Satisfaction – Understanding that High Esat Drives Positive Customer Experiences
“Amyn took it upon himself to drive employee satisfaction, not just on his team, but across our organization.“
Amyn Sumar is a team lead who clearly understands the importance of customer satisfaction, but also understands how high employee satisfaction drives positive customer experiences. In 2013, Amyn took it upon himself to drive employee satisfaction, not just on his team, but across our organization through a committee he led called Culturenet. This committee was focused on creating employee engagement activities on a number of levels that truly drove satisfaction in the workplace. Amyn’s leadership was crucial in driving the high improvement we saw in employee satisfaction. Amyn did this while still focusing heavily on First Call Resolution within his direct team. He did this with a focus in team meetings, coaching sessions and email communications. His employees learned to position their calls where the customer felt as though their concerns were being dealt with from start to finish consistently. Additionally, Amyn was given the task of identifying World Class agents in our organization through the ‘SQM Wall of Fame’. This board was updated quarterly with agents’ photos and monthly SQM call center stats, and they were given recognition for a 100% of World Class Calls with reward points. Amyn has had a very busy year, and has driven positive focus on employee and customer engagement through a number of channels. We could not be more proud of his success!
Amyn Sumar – ENMAX
Perseverance, Leadership and Practicality Equals Success – Coaching to Help Grow both CSRs and the Team
“Shelly would often share positive calls with our team showing us what other team members did well, especially with the simple turn of a phrase.“
Shelly has been an excellent supervisor, I was on her team for approximately five years. I was one of the original CSR & Claim Processors under her leadership. It was a challenge early on to get training and time to process claims, but Shelly persevered and kept her team members in the loop all along. On the CSR side of business, Shelly was constantly listening to calls and giving me feedback from the member’s point of view. It helped me grow, not only to tell the member the business information needed, but also how to apply it in a practical way that would make sense to the caller. I have been a World Class Certified CSR since the inception of the program and I’m on track again for the 7th year. Shelly would often share positive calls with our team showing us what other team members did well, especially with the simple turn of a phrase. Shelly also instituted an open enrollment certification process during September and October of 2013. The goal was to make sure we were providing potential new members with the necessary information about their client-specific VSP plan in a way that positively influenced them to join VSP. I am happy to report I earned that certification with guidance from Shelly. Sometimes I dreaded going into a one-on-one session but always came away energized and ready to start anew. Over the year, I did meet my goals for Calls Resolved and CSR Csat. I’ve had trouble with cost per call and wrap-up stats, but Shelly helped me focus on these areas to meet the overall standards. Shelly has helped me grow and become a better CSR.
Shelly Limpach – VSP Vision Care