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ICMI's 2011 Contact Center Agent of the Year: Loni Sawtelle

Meet Loni Sawtelle, Customer Service Representative for MassMutual's Financial Group at the USIG Service Center.

If Loni's warm smile seems familiar, you probably recall that she was awarded ICMI's 2011 Agent of the Year for best representing the Spirit of Service in her center.

Loni joined MassMutual as a Customer Service Representative in 2008. She became a Team Lead earlier this year and currently supports 20 CSRs. As a Team Lead, Loni assists with Supervisor Takeover calls and escalated cases and guides her team with coaching and efficiency assistance.

Loni has also received MassMutual’s Leader of the PACT award for her involvement in MassMutual’s SET (Skill Enhancement Team), a team that assists CSRs in improving efficiency and best practices in phone interactions.

Neil Altieri, Interim Manager, MassMutual Financial Group, nominated Loni for her willingness to "step up" to challenges within the contact center, maintaining a courteous and respectful demeanor with all of MassMutual’s customers and for continually exceeding her quality and service goals.

Neil wrote, “Loni Sawtelle is an amazing agent because she meets and exceeds all of the necessary criteria and then takes her service to a higher level. Her Quality is impeccable through July of 2011 she has had amazing quality with an average of 95.26 and 21/22 scores above our rigorous quality assurance goal of 92. Loni is a Subject Matter Expert (SME) for our business area and the rest of the company. She is the team supervisor’s liaison for daily workflow questions from the team and she acts as SME for other areas of the company when they need to understand Service Center Workflow.”

Now that the 2012 Spirit of Service Nominations are underway, Loni has agreed to add her expertise help us find our next Agent of the Year by serving as a judge on this year's panel.

I had the opportunity to ask Loni a few questions about what it was like to receive this Spirit of Service award.

ICMI: So, how did it feel to be "crowned" ICMI’s 2011 Agent of the Year?
Loni Sawtelle:
It was an amazing feeling of accomplishment to know that all of the hard work and dedication I put into my role at the call center had finally paid off, and that I was being recognized. It was also very humbling to know that it was not my co-workers or peers, but members of ICMI that picked me to be the winner. Hands down, it was one of the most rewarding moments in my career as a Customer Service Rep.

ICMI: What’s your secret for maintaining your service level goals – and keep a positive attitude?
I guess my secret would be utilizing all of the resources that I have available, trying to think outside the box as well as trying to remember what the 'big picture' is, and how my role and attitude can affect that 'big picture.' If I come across a goal that I may not agree with, or feel is difficult to achieve, I always try to determine the "Why?" behind it. Sometimes when you understand the "Why?" it makes it easier to explain to a client and easier to understand the big picture for yourself. I remember to be cordial to the customers, as well as my fellow employees, and what a long way it can go. I often hear how nice it is to speak to a pleasant person on the phone, and nine times out of ten, it definitely helps to defuse an irate caller.

ICMI: What would you recommend for other agents aspiring to excellence in their center?
Always put yourself in the customer's shoes and provide the level of service and dedication that YOU would expect. Relay good business practices to your team members too, so that everyone can benefit from them and always bounce ideas off your peers, collaborative work practices is beneficial for everyone involved both customers and employees.

Have a question for Loni? Ask away in the comments below!

Christina Hammarberg is the former associate editor at ICMI.