Meet the Finalists: Agents
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Meet the Finalists: Agents

The scores have been tallied and the votes are in! Our dedicated judges have narrowed the 2012 Agent of the Year nominees down to five finalists.

The nominees for Agent of the Year were scored based on the team-leading qualities they have demonstrated in the call center over the last year, including: A clear understanding of their role within the organization, motivation to progress within the industry and within their own teams, demonstrable impact on customer service and efficiency and glowing testimonials from colleagues, customers and managers.

I had the opportunity to chat with each of our finalists: Ann Miller of Cigna Healthcare, Ryan Miles of MassMutual, Tanya Blatherwick of Sitel, Tricia Calkins of MassMutual Financial Group and Wendi States of Department of Veterans Affairs, Health Resource Center.

Meet Ann Miller

 Ann Miller is Customer Service Analyst for Cigna Healthcare.

How does it feel to know that you were nominated for Agent of the Year?
Ann:
I was shocked and thrilled when my manager told me about the nomination. I'm very excited to say the least.

Can you tell us a bit about your role at Cigna Healthcare?
Ann:
My primary role is to handle our Facebook and Twitter sites. Our other social media accounts are also handled within the company, but my focus is on those two. I work the customer e-mails to address any questions or concerns they may have. I also take care of the tracking sheets that keep everything together so that all problems are addressed and taken care of. You name it, I handle it!

What do you like best about working in the contact center there?
Ann:
The best part is the satisfaction I get when I help our customers. At times, I can be the "last resort" for some of these people, and it may be a life or death situation because obviously we are dealing with their health. We do everything in our power to get them what they need. I am there to hear their concerns, and I do show them that we truly do care about them here at Cigna.

If you had one piece of advice to give to a fellow contact center Agent, what would it be?
Ann:
For someone who shares my role of doing social media and handling issues, I would say, number one: Be patient! We often have to wait on the customer to get information we need, and sometimes getting that information is …a bit like pulling teeth. You have to dig in and really get your hands dirty, so to speak, in trying to figure out what we need in order for the customer’s concerns to be taken care of. And, always keep in mind that we are often the last resort for our customers.

What are you planning for Customer Service Week this Year?
Ann:
I am planning on just enjoying myself! Customer Service Week around here is really fun. We get to do different things in here in the office and it’s a nice, light-hearted week.

Meet Ryan Miles - Winner, 2012 Agent of the Year

 Ryan Miles is CUstomer Service Representative for MassMutual

How does it feel to know that you were nominated for Agent of the Year?
Ryan:
It was very gratifying, especially when I found out my manager, chose me and nominated me.

Can you tell us a bit about your role at MassMutual?
Ryan:
I’ve been here for about 6 years. Primarily, I am on the phones assisting clients and agents, and I am on the Internet team doing the same. I enjoy that because it breaks up the day. I assist others who haven’t been here as long as I have, and I am heavily involved with our on-the-job training program, showing the ropes to new people.

What do you like best about working in the contact center there?
Ryan:
I would say, the people I work with. I enjoy working with them and I appreciate them.

If you had one piece of advice to give to a fellow contact center Agent, what would it be?
Ryan:
Don’t panic! Don’t get overwhelmed. Be confident, take your time, don’t guess. And don’t second guess yourself.

What is your favorite Customer Service Week memory?
Ryan:
In the past, we've had prize drawings and one year, I won a tool set. I still use it to this day!

Meet Tanya Blatherwick

 Tanya Blatherwick is Tier 1 Agent/Call Monitoring Specialist for Sitel.

How does it feel to know that you were nominated for Agent of the Year?
Tanya:
It’s quite an honor! Not only has ICMI nominated me, but so has Sitel. Sitel has given me an opportunity to grow as an agent.

Can you tell us a bit about your role at Sitel?
Tanya:
My job has grown a lot. I started out as a front-line agent and have been leveraged into a lot of other projects. Now I am a Universal Agent, trained in every single product. Other agents come to me with questions and I am more than likely to know the answers.

What do you like best about working in the contact center there?
Tanya:
The interaction with the consumers, and the opportunity to learn new aspects of the call center business. For example, I worked on developing an email support solution for a client. It was really awesome that I was involved from the beginning and was able to advise the client how their support should be handled. On top of that, I developed about 200 email templates and guidelines on how to address the emails, which increased feedback 20%.

If you had one piece of advice to give to a fellow contact center Agent, what would it be?
Tanya:
The biggest secret is to put yourself in the shoes of the consumer and have genuine empathy for them. When your client knows you are doing that, they know that you are astute for their business and are going to advocate for them.

What are you planning for Customer Service Week this Year?
Tanya:
To have a holiday for customer service is so awesome! This year we’re really getting into it, and our theme for the week is “Be the One.” So, each day this week we’re going to have something relating to that theme. There’s going to be a lot of food, a lot of prizes. At the end of the week, our management is going to award someone on our team a grand prize. We’re not really sure what that grand prize will be, but prizes are always awesome. Outside the center team, our clients also tend to do something for the members of their campaign. My particular client is giving out a bunch of their lanyards, tee-shirts and mugs.

Meet Tricia Calkins

 Tricia Calkins is Customer Service Specialist for MassMutual Financial Group.

How does it feel to know that you were nominated for Agent of the Year?
Tricia:
I was shocked and completely humbled because among all of the folks I work with here every day, we just have so many amazing representatives.

Can you tell us a bit about your role at MassMutual?
Tricia:
 Currently, I'm serving as an interim team specialist for an annuity call center and the team, so I am dealing with both internal callers as well as external callers from the 800-resolution hotline. In addition to taking calls from clients, producer, Internet ETs and my own reps, I also provide coaching and mentoring. I love it. For me, I thrive when things get a little crazy. When we push through those peak times, the whole team just pulls together and gets things done for the customer.

What do you like best about working in the contact center there?
Tricia:
I like the people that I work with. My team, our managers… everybody! We are working together, striving hard to meet the changes that are made to focus on the customer. The people here make the whole difference. We can't get it done without each other. There's no way. It’s good to know that there is always somebody here who you can lean on, just a little bit, to help you get through the day and those stressful times.

If you had one piece of advice to give to a fellow contact center Agent, what would it be?
Tricia:
Never give up when things get crazy. It is so easy to get frustrated, and you can't be the type that takes things personally. Have confidence in what you know, and do not be afraid to ask for help on the things that you don't know. Every call is an opportunity to make an impact on another person.

What is your favorite Customer Service Week memory?
Tricia:
We've done a lot of fun stuff during Customer Service Week. One of my favorite memories is a cubicle-decorating contest we had a few years back where we decorated our manager's cubicles. That was a lot of fun. We have a lot of great stuff planned for this year, as well. We haven't even told everyone about it yet and I'm really excited to have them see what we're doing. So, kudos to the managers and command centers who have done some very creative planning.

Meet Wendi States

 Wendi States is Health Benefits Contact Representative for Department of Veterans Affairs, Health Resource Center.

How does it feel to know that you were nominated for Agent of the Year?
Wendi:
It really made me feel good, it made me smile from ear to ear! I was very proud that my supervisor, Dan Carson, nominated me because I really respect his work ethic, his professionalism, and how good he is at his job.

Can you tell us a bit about your role at the Department of Veterans Affairs, Health Resource Center?
Wendi:
I am an Incoming Call Representative at the Department of Veterans Affairs Help Resource Center in Topeka Kansas. We are located on the same site as where the VA Medical Center-the health care, emergency room, specialty care, and nursing home care facilities are. We interact with the veterans every day, and we are highly trained to be their first contact point when they call in. We handle about a dozen items ourselves, and if it is not our specialty, our job is to find out who can assist the veteran and connect them.

What do you like best about working in the contact center there?
Wendi:
I feel that what I do everyday makes a difference. I enjoy helping our veterans.

If you had one piece of advice to give to a fellow contact center Agent, what would it be?
Wendi:
I think it is important to remain focused on who our customers are, both internal and external. It’s easy to get sidetracked by details of day-to-day living or things that are not working well, but those things are not as important as who is asking us for assistance.

What are you planning for Customer Service Week this Year?
Wendi:
I don't know if I've ever celebrated Customer Service Week! To my knowledge, we aren’t planning anything for next week, but the executive team does have a tendency to get a little crafty sometimes. So, I would not be shocked if we ended up with something special for us.

See this year’s winners announced live during the From One Rock Star to Another: How to Build and Be a Rockin' Customer Service Team webinar, now available on demand.



Topics: People Management, Culture & Morale

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