2020 Top Supervisor Success Stories
A Stand-out Leader Elevating Others to Greatness
“True leaders aren’t created, they are born. TeRance Golden has proven to be a natural born leader.”
I would like to nominate TeRance Golden for Supervisor of the Year. TeRance supervises our new hires and is responsible for getting them prepared to start their journey with Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City. TeRance was highly effective in leading improvements to the new hire process, with great results from the 2020 classes.
TeRance provided constant support across the entire call center through call immersions, CRDM, and frequent one-on-one coaching to those who needed it most in the call center. TeRance's call immersion and CRDM sessions helped position the call center to continue to improve and maintain positive attitudes in a year of uncertainty.
Here is a testimony from his current Lead:
- “I have had the privilege and the honor of working with TeRance and seeing the impact that he has on everyone he comes in contact with. Even from being in training as a rep, he has always exemplified what it really means to be a servant leader. I remember back years ago in training, when I was struggling with dental benefits, TeRance would meet with me at 7 a.m. just to go over the dental materials. We met for a week straight, and he made sure that I understood the dental benefits. He didn’t have to come in early to do that. He didn’t have to sacrifice his time just for one rep to really grasp the material. Over the years, I have watched and observed his willingness to go above and beyond and display his ‘whatever it takes’ attitude. Even to this day, he still goes above and beyond for his team. If it’s a goal that you want, then that is the goal he is going to help you reach. The team never feels left alone and can always count on TeRance as a reliable ‘pick-me-up’ when needed. As a supervisor, TeRance has put his heart on display in every call collaboration. His desire to see every rep in the call center certified is felt in every coaching opportunity. He is the epitome of customer experience. I was once told that, ‘a good shepherd should always smell like sheep’, meaning that he is always in the trenches, and doesn’t mind getting dirty when his team needs him. From his sense of humor, his drive, and his passion for World Class results, we can truly say that he is a phenomenal gift here at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City. We have all been infected and affected by his positivity and driven spirit. I can only hope and pray to be as great of a teacher, leader, brother, and supervisor.”
This is the first year TeRance has met the qualifications to become a Certified Supervisor. Even more impressive, this is the first year in which every Supervisor has met the qualifications. Honestly, if it was not for TeRance keeping us motivated throughout the year, we may not have accomplished this.
Every Tuesday, TeRance holds a call immersion/calibration session with all Supervisors, Leads, Quality Assurance, and other members of upper management. Prior to the session he sends everyone two or three random calls to listen to and we are required to score them using our call flow. During this session we start by reviewing our mission statement, which he helped us create. He puts together a chart that shows our scoring variances. We talk through each one of the variances, and, together, we come up with the same score and our sticky note recommendation. This not only helps our scoring process become more consistent, but it also encourages us to think differently. These sessions are about two hours long, and when we leave, we all feel reenergized.
Here is some feedback from some who regularly attend:
- “I absolutely enjoy them and love the energy that TeRance brings to the table to get us engaged and involved with SQM and being a World Class center, as well as all the other pertinent information that is shared to keep us up to date. These sessions are very informative and very much needed, especially with my still being somewhat new to the Lead position. TeRance is the absolute perfect advocate to lead the group to success.” (Glenda - Lead)
- “It breaks down that not everyone’s perception is the same about a call. A member may feel it is world class, while we see opportunity for improvement in different areas. It helps me understand where I need to improve on my coaching. I see that once representatives are released from training, they will fall into bad habits that we need to bring to their attention before it becomes an issue. It also educates me to see things from a different perspective.” (Tina - Lead)
- “I get to hear how other Leads/Supervisors are handling coaching within their team and what works, giving ideas to better our team. The platform is very comfortable to be able to join in and give suggestions, allowing us to have an open discussion. It’s amazing!” (Casandra - Lead)
- “True leaders aren’t created, they are born. TeRance Golden has proven to be a natural born leader. From my first interaction with TeRance, I knew that he was definitely a man passionate about his job, his counterparts, and especially our members. I am a newly appointed Lead in Membership, and during my time as a Lead, I have witnessed TeRance in several Leadership meetings display a strong desire for the Leadership team to rally together with similar goals and techniques that would best benefit us to become great leaders, as well as directing our units to do the same. I remember speaking with TeRance when I first accepted my position, and he shared the qualities and strengths that he saw in me. It encouraged me to embrace my journey as a Lead; to take in the good, the bad, and the ugly; and to adapt to my new changes to elevate myself to greatness. I have also witnessed others progress into wonderful leaders because of the examples, knowledge, and encouragement provided by TeRance. Today, I am a better Lead and person because of the sound advice given, and the example he has so effortlessly displayed before me. I will forever be thankful to Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City for bringing on a man of his caliber. TeRance is truly a cut above the rest.” (Kalila - Lead)
- “I always appreciate his energy. He motivates me to want to be better, even after having been in my position for many years. I appreciate the open discussion with the leaders to ensure we are all on the same page with coaching.” (Trish - Supervisor)
TeRance was a catalyst in the call center to help Operations meet and exceed all expectations. His attention to CX metrics helped Operations achieve its best year ever across most CX metrics, including FCR and CSAT, and helped Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City score among the best of all Blue Cross Blue Shield Association plans.
These tremendous results would not have been possible without TeRance’s leadership. He gets people motivated and makes their work helping members feel exciting. That is why I believe TeRance should be Supervisor of the Year.
TeRance Golden – Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City
Meeting the Challenge of Leadership During the Pandemic
“He truly believes in our potential and encourages us to continually strive to be better than we were yesterday.”
I would like to nominate my Team Manager Karandeep Singh for Supervisor of the Year.
I joined Karandeep’s team in September 2020, and I soon discovered his amazing Leaderships skills.
As a Team Leader, he is consistent in his role, leads with integrity, and is supportive of his employees both professionally and personally.
He understands that productivity and quality of work can only be achieved by a positive and engaged workforce. For example, once we transitioned to a work-from-home model, due to the pandemic, Karandeep personally checked-in on my comfort level with this new way of operating. He did this by assessing and ensuring that all systems and applications were functioning as required, and that I was comfortable using the new applications, which were installed to support the work-from-home model. Karandeep also addressed my questions with regard to the new business processes which were put in place to support our customers during the pandemic. He made sure that every team member was set up for success.
Karandeep understands and demonstrates the work/life balance, and treats all employees with dignity, respect, and integrity. For example, my family and I had a COVID-19 scare through my child’s school. He listened while I was in panic-mode, and offered his support and reassurance, which immediately calmed me down and helped me focus. His care and support did not stop there; he continued to check on the wellbeing of my family and myself right until test results were received.
Karandeep promotes teamwork, while supporting our wellbeing. He empowers us to make decisions and take risks by supporting us, regardless of the outcome. He holds people accountable, and helps us learn through our mistakes, by creating an environment built on mutual respect and appreciation for one another’s uniqueness. He truly believes in our potential and encourages us to continually strive to be better than we were yesterday. Our team results have consistently been stellar and continue on a positive trend. Karandeep never fails to celebrate individual and team successes during our team huddles or via email, as well as letting the team know how proud he is of our efforts. In doing so, he brings the team closer together while promoting a win-win culture.
In closing, I firmly believe that the team’s dedication to always being the best in anything that we set out to accomplish is a direct result of the balanced leadership style, positive attitude, responsiveness, and sense of humor of our supervisor, Karandeep.
Karandeep Singh – 407 ETR
A Tailored Approach to Coaching Leads to World Class Results
“She truly shoots for the stars when she wants to accomplish something and deserves accolades beyond any one recognition.”
We are honored to nominate Lauren Gould as a candidate for the Supervisor of the Year award. Lauren’s excellence in coaching and developing her team has resulted in high performance and in optimizing the customer experience. Lauren’s commitment to equipping staff with the skills, knowledge, and resources to be successful, has translated into positive results at individual, team, and organizational levels.
Lauren has been an exceptional performer since starting at HealthNow in 2015. She has been in the Supervisor position for just over 2 years. During her time in leadership, she has successfully influenced a diverse team to obtain a common vision and goal. Lauren’s team in 2020 consisted of a variety of staff, ranging in tenure from new hire to over 20 years of experience. Her focus on unique individual needs, combined with her tailored approach to coaching, has brought out the best in her team. She encourages and supports all her team members, and is willing to do whatever it takes to get them to be World Class, as the following comments highlight:
- “This is awesome, and Lauren is so deserving of this award. When I think of all the help and guidance Lauren has provided me over the last few months, these moments stand out and feel very personal to me. She will notice that my specific stats were getting low, or too high, before I even did, and without me being aware, she would already take action by offering a suggestion, or by asking me to work a small project. It would not be until maybe a day later when I would say to myself, “Wait a minute! Did Lauren ask me to do that because she knew I could use the extra intakes this week?”, and the answer is always, Yes. She is so aware of her teams needs that she takes steps to resolve an issue before you even know you had one. She will be talking with you and will give you great advice and tips that have worked for her in the past, but hours or days later, you realize she knew you had a pain point with your average handle time, or hold time, and was able to address it without any blame or aggression about your failings. She treats us as equals, and never once makes us feel like we are beneath her. I always get melancholy around the Christmas holiday and my birthday due to family drama, and she could see I was feeling down, and offered her own stories from her life to let me know I was not alone. I am getting a little teary-eyed now as I type this because, in my past, the bosses I’ve had were always quick to let you know how replaceable you were. She is truly the first Supervisor I’ve had who not only let me know it was ok to have a bad day, but also that, when I did, she is there to help me through it, and ensure I learned from it, and became stronger in the process. She does not treat weaknesses as your own personal failure, but as opportunities to grow; and that is truly a blessing.”
- “She truly is wonderful, and an incredible asset to HealthNow, and the BlueCross BlueShield family. I look forward to learning from her for years to come.“
- “I am so happy you are nominating Lauren! Here is one of my coaching stories where Lauren gave me skills to help resolve a specific type of call. Towards the beginning of my time on the concierge team, I asked Lauren for advice on how to satisfy the members desire for a first call resolution for situations that require a call to a provider’s office, without making them stay on the line for 5 minutes. Because of the nature of the concierge team, this type of call was occurring more often than I had encountered before. I wondered which should I prioritize: not keeping the member on hold, or getting a resolution within that phone call. Lauren recommended that if a call out to a provider is going to result in an extended hold, offer the member the option to either remain on hold or have me call them back. I started utilizing this option for calls to providers which I knew may result in extended holds and have universally more positive responses from members! They are always happy to have the choice presented, and very happy when they know they are going to get a call back from me not within a few days. but within 10 minutes!”
- “I learned a lot from Lauren while listening to how she handles escalated calls with members. She always kept her composure, had a consistent tone, and thought outside of the box to the best of her abilities to resolve the issue at hand. I got to learn her techniques and implemented them when I became a senior. I have found them practical and helpful in everyday use.”
- “Lauren truly has a passion for SQM and what it is about, and she spreads this amongst her team and others in the call center. She is consistently encouraging not only her CSR’s, but all of her peers on SQM. Her fellow Supervisors often consult with her on surveys and how to help them coach their own staff.”
- “In my role as Master Coach, working with Lauren is always a pleasure and an honor. She truly dedicates herself in every way to making sure her team is successful in their roles. In her time as a supervisor, Lauren has taken on many different tasks and passion projects to ensure her team's success. In early 2020, I had the privilege of observing a coaching session with Lauren and one of her senior representatives. She listened attentively and guided that senior representative to where his strengths and opportunities were. Anytime Lauren feels like she is not coaching at 100%, she reaches out to me to discuss best practice ideas and how to get creative in making sure she can push the dial with her team. Lauren genuinely cares about each of her team members, and it is apparent through the testimonials from her team members. My team internally at HealthNow will be honoring Lauren with a Coach of The Year award this month. This award is based on her strong commitment to her team’s success, combined with the nominations from her team members, and my individual interactions with her. She truly shoots for the stars when she wants to accomplish something and deserves accolades beyond any one recognition. When I speak with Lauren about her new ideas, I am always impressed. The overwhelming focus is always her team being at the forefront of her vision. Lauren truly feels successful as a supervisor when her team thrives. I look forward to seeing her be honored as an SQM supervisor of the year, as I cannot think of anyone more deserving.”
Universally, Lauren’s demonstration of SQM excellence is applauded. Her passion and commitment to bringing out the best in her team is exemplary, and is undoubtedly inspiring positive change in our customer experience.
Lauren Gould – HealthNow New York Inc.
Transformative Leadership Style Driving Team Positivity and Success
“She is a really great boss – one of the best I've ever had!”
As a leader, Mary Calissie understands the value of coaching and the importance of doing it consistently with her team. She continually looks for ways to engage her team, from scheduled performance updates to impromptu mini quizzes, which ensures they retain information and helps drive their success.
One of Highmark’s core values is “Customer First”, and Mary is someone who exemplifies this value both as an employee and as a team leader. She is committed to valuing Highmark’s customers, but also the team of customer advocates (CA) who work tirelessly and provide the highest level of service. She encourages her team to always position Highmark in the best possible light by encouraging Customer First tenets such as placing the customer at the center of everything we do, putting ourselves in the customers’ shoes. and simplifying the customer experience.
Mary is also passionate about the success of her team and challenges them to raise the bar even after a goal has been met. As someone who champions shared learning experiences, Mary implemented an Experts Program with her team. The program allows her CAs to share expertise with one another, complete peer monitoring, and promote best practices and development opportunities. This resulted in an increased level of confidence, engagement, and performance by her team members. Mary’s results are measured in various ways, including improved key performance indicators, improved customer experience scores, and elevated employee engagement results. In addition, the success of the program has caught the eye of senior leadership, who are keen to duplicate this model for success and achieve improved results across other teams within the organization.
Another of Mary’s innovative ideas is to allow CAs who have received an error to present that item to their peers during a team meeting. The team member shares his or her knowledge about the situation and how the error was corrected, along with documentation, job aids, and reference materials. By removing any shame associated with the error and providing a positive way for team members to share their learned experience, Mary has fostered an environment that sees mistakes as a learning opportunity, and as a way to prevent others from making the same errors. This exchange of information has been positively received by Mary’s team, so much so, that the practice has been widely adopted across all Highmark Call Center teams.
Mary’s transformative leadership style has greatly impacted her team’s positivity, culture, and approach to customer service, as demonstrated by some of the following shared sentiments:
- “Mary always makes sure there is a plan implemented in order for her to get the best out of you as a person and an employee. She takes the time to find out where you could improve and coaches to the specifics of each category to make sure you are exceling. Mary is on top of every change that comes through and issues multiple communications to make sure we are kept up to date on any changes we need to be made aware of.”
- “Mary not only recognizes our strengths and helps us apply that to our calls, but also provides support for any areas where we may struggle. She tailors coaching to our individual needs. I benefit greatly from examples when I need coaching, and she coaches with examples. Mary is consistent when she speaks, which I really appreciate. She loves our feedback and is very engaging with the team on ways to not only make the member’s experience the best it can be, but also on ways to make our job in assisting the member efficient and accurate.”
- “I feel comfortable approaching May and asking for help, and I know that if I need assistance, she is a great source of knowledge and resources. Overall, she is a really great boss – one of the best I've ever had!”
Mary Calissie – Highmark Health
An Unexpected Hero Through Challenging Times
“Fred has been the unwavering support and hero his team needed in these unprecedented times.”
No one could have predicted the far-reaching impacts the COVID-19 pandemic would have: altering businesses, and upending our way of life. As we have learned to navigate these challenges and new ways of doing business, Fred has stepped up and has been a true leader, a friend, and a hero for his team.
At the beginning of 2020, Fred and his team were contently working from VSP’s headquarters in Rancho Cordova, California. With the onset of the pandemic in March, working from home became an unexpected reality for Fred and his team. He found himself in unchartered waters, with unfamiliar challenges that ranged from technical, to procedural, and emotional. As processes and procedures transformed to meet the changing customer and business needs, he provided constant support by keeping the team informed, giving technical support, and checking-in often for understanding. He validated the team’s overall wellness and provided encouragement to his team collectively and on a one-on-one basis. Heroes aren’t born, but they are created in times of crisis and struggle. Fred has been the unwavering support and hero his team needed in these unprecedented times.
Fred’s team shared this unprompted feedback about him and his leadership style:
- “I have had Fred Jackson as a Supervisor for over 6 years. I feel blessed! Fred is always there to help when he can. He loves to promote teamwork, which makes for a nice, supporting atmosphere, especially when we are all working from home now. He mixes in just enough fun to make us really enjoy our job, and to stay upbeat even in this strange year, when we are all missing our co-workers, and Fred. He has also provided great tech support for all of us on Team Jackson, and that is appreciated by all of us this year. Fred is always positive, even when his job has him taking on new challenges, like taking calls himself. Fred Jackson is a great asset to VSP!” - Melissa Mayes
- “Fred Jackson is kind, funny and charismatic, he is a stern leader when he needs to be, and he is always encouraging. My first year with VSP was a very strange year for me, I left a career in multi-unit management and began a job answering phones in a call center. That was a dramatic change for me, one that I was struggling with. The only person who noticed I was struggling was Fred. He was aware of that because he took the time to get to know me. He did that in very subtle ways while we waited in line for breakfast or lunch, and in more deliberate ways when he would come sit next to me and listen to calls. He held one-on-one meetings, he provided feedback when I needed to correct things, and, more importantly, he provided feedback when I did well. When he noticed that I was struggling with my AHT after learning claims, he helped me to troubleshoot my calls and find ways to keep them efficient and concise. When It was time to go home because of COVID-19, Fred checked in early and often. He acknowledged the very unique situation we were in, and he kept a group chat going every single day. Even when we were busy and it was just a quick "good morning" or "I believe in you", it went such a long way toward returning normalcy to our lives. During my first three months, I was convinced I was going to leave VSP - it was not a right fit for me. I even looked for other jobs, but each time an opportunity came up, I thought of Fred. He cares, genuinely cares, about me, about my family, about the job I do for VSP, and about what my future looks like here. I haven't thought about leaving in over a year. Thank you Fred, for your kindness, your compassion, your leadership, and your positive attitude no matter what!” - Michelle Wilcox
- “I am working towards improving my AHT to provide an efficient World Class experience for my callers. Fred broke it all down for me with some good tips and encouragement. I tend to be a bit of an overthinker, but Fred helped me put all those thoughts and explanations into more efficient conversations with our members. He helped me come up with a plan, and I was able to assist my members at a more efficient rate, and to help more members daily. With more calls, I was able to get more SQMs before the year end! Fred is a very bubbly, optimistic, and knowledge supervisor. He knows when he needs to address an issue, and if he doesn't know the answer, he'll get it to you. That's something, honestly, that I am super grateful for, personally.” - Piero Pereda
- “Mr. Fred Jackson, to whom I've been reporting to for a little over a year has probably been the best supervisor I've ever reported to in all my years of employment. My numbers have always been solid, since I started my career here at VSP. Fred was able to keep me motivated during these hard, difficult times. This year was unique and I needed more than just a supervisor. This year has been mentally exhausting for many. While most won't admit or speak to it, I feel it's necessary in these unprecedented times. Fred has been a life coach, getting us all through the year, and ensuring we stay positive and see the light at the end of the tunnel. His willingness to openly listen and provide un-biased feedback has been more than appreciated. He understands the need for flexibility, and has always pushed us to be the best version of ourselves, regardless of what may be going on in the world or what we may be dealing with personally. Long story short, Mr. Jackson has helped me significantly to improve my performance, enjoy coming to work (literally singing at my desk at 8 am every morning), and has made my job less stressful. His thoughtful approach delivers positive results for all. He brings our team together to produce consistent quality service for our customers. I am confident that he is a positive influence on our entire leadership team. His ethical leadership demonstrates a high regard for values. I truly enjoy working with him and my team members.” - Satinder Samra
Fred shares his own account of the year:
- “I would say that 2020 was a very unique year. Even though our working world was turned upside down, it was my job to ensure all were comfortable with doing their job remotely while continuing to deliver World Class service to our clients, members, and providers. That was my first priority. I encouraged my team to listen to their callers’ concerns, as they may be frustrated with not being able to find an open office, and to not take it personally. We are here to help them find a provider that is open and an environment where the patient would feel safe. I asked them, more than ever, to treat their caller as they would want to be treated, or how they would want someone to treat a loved one. Well, that paid off for my team. The positive CSAT comments poured in on surveys; agents were also sending customers to my voicemail, and the comments and kudos were outstanding. I knew that my role was to make my team feel secure and confident in the job that they were doing, and in the service they were providing in these uncharted waters of dealing with a pandemic. It paid off ten-fold! As they continued to receive surveys, and the year ended, we reviewed year-end numbers. Some could not believe their achievement, and their VOC results were some of the best that they had. This is simply a result of the old adage, “treat others as you would want to be treated” and keeping a smile in their voice. In 2020, I had 94.47% of my team’s surveys certify as World Class, an increase over last year’s results.
- “My goal, as a leader, is to be authentic with my team and to develop, encourage, and remember that they are people too.”
Sharing some feedback from Fred’s manager:
- “Fred is very engaged with his team and makes a point of interacting with each of them daily on a personal and professional level. He knows them better than they know themselves, and he has a knack for being candid and humorous, yet respectful, which his team appreciates. He is always available to his team, making sure they feel supported and aware of deadlines, performance targets, trainings, and the latest Company happenings. Fred is consistent in holding his team accountable to all performance metrics. He gives clear and valuable feedback on where they need to improve and what they need to do to get there; his team respects him for this level of engagement and accountability. Employees from other teams know they too can reach out to him for assistance, and if he does not have the answer to their question, he will find someone who does. Fred also goes out of his way to acknowledge a job well done, and special days, such as Anniversaries and Birthdays. Fred is also a fantastic support to his peers. He will help any of them out in learning something new or helping to cover a shift. Each day, he brings positivity and humor to all he interacts with.”
Fred Jackson – VSP Vision Care