She wasn’t supposed to help the old woman get new clothes. So going out of her way with the fur coat was definitely out of bounds.
But Cheri Johnson cared. She was just doing what she felt was right as a volunteer for the Red Cross, helping people victimized by the 2013 tornado in Norman, Oklahoma. As a volunteer for the Red Cross for a decade, being able to care for people was the thing she loved most. And it was her ability to care for people that first attracted Cheri to SYKES in November of 2015. Since joining SYKES she has quickly advanced from agent to Team Manager. And caring for people continues to be her hallmark.
“I really enjoy being able to help someone. If I can take someone and make their day better, that’s what I enjoy.”
Cheri’s commitment to helping people is what led her to go out of her way in the aftermath of the Norman tornado. “We went up to a lady’s house and the tornado had flipped it. It was completely upside down. The lady was 89 years old, and she was inside when it happened. She lost everything. She didn’t know what to do, or where to turn.”
Cheri helped her get to a shelter, and normally that would be the end of her involvement. But Cheri was moved by the old woman’s predicament, and wanted to do more. For the next two days she went to other aid organizations and found new clothes and new shoes for her.
And then there was the fur coat.
“She had told me that one of the things she lost in the tornado was a fur coat her husband had given her. He had died 10 years before, and that coat was precious to her.
“I was back at her home with FEMA, and I found the fur coat. I took it to get it cleaned and then took it to her. She cried. I cried. And it was worth it. It’s the things like that, helping people, spending that few minutes of extra time, that makes it matter.”
Cheri continues to help people through caring interactions at SYKES.
“When people call in and they have a problem I love being able to take that person and renew their confidence in our client. I love it when I can make that person happy again.”
Cheri remembers one instance where she didn’t just make the caller happy – she helped her put food on the table.
“This lady called in, screaming and yelling about her bill. She was desperate. She was ready to cancel everything. But I was able to spend time with her, break everything down and found ways to actually lower her bill. And then she was crying and said, ‘You don’t understand what you’ve just done for me. You were able to help me keep my services, calm me down, and save me money.’”
Cheri found out why that was so important. “And because of you,” the woman told Cheri, “I’m able to take that money and feed my kids, and get them clothes for school.”
Recalls Cheri, “Being able to help that woman, and the customers who call every day, is why I came to SYKES.”
Prior to SYKES, Cheri worked in fast food. She was looking to make a change because she knew she wanted more for her career. “I wasn’t looking for a job, I was looking for a life-long career. And so I researched SYKES, and found that people talked about how supported they felt there, how appreciated they are, and the opportunities for advancement. And I thought that if I went to SYKES and worked hard, that those opportunities might come to me.”
And they have. Cheri’s promotion to team manager means she is responsible for leading a team of agents. She is excited about the chance to help them grow with SYKES like she has done, to mentor them and help them succeed. “If I can take someone who maybe thinks this is ‘just a job’ and turn that around, and I can help them find a career here, and have them love SYKES as much as I do, then that’s great.”
Cheri is busy making that happen. She tells her team her door is always open, even if they need to call her at 3 a.m. “I’m here to support you 110 percent,” she tells them. “I tell them ‘We will work together to get your numbers together, to get you the tools you need to succeed, and go wherever you want with the company.’ Because I truly do believe the sky’s the limit.”
Cheri is a personal testament to that. She came to SYKES with high expectations, but feels even those have been exceeded. “I tell everybody new coming in, that you have to love helping people, that has to be part of your heart, and it is for me, part of my heart, part of my soul. And everyone here at SYKES, from the site director all the way to our agents, everyone is supportive of everybody.
It’s why I love it.”
SYKES is hiring. Want a job you’ll love helping other people? Check out career opportunities at www.SYKES.com/Vansant.