“I might touch a soul today.”
That’s the thought that motivates customer service representative Chris Sammons to get up at 4 a.m. every morning and drive to her job at SYKES Boise.
“I like helping people. I like being there for people,” she says.
She routinely gets that opportunity, handling collections for a financial client. And even though her goal on the call is to collect money, she says it’s important to show she cares. “You have to realize that there are people on the other end of that line with actual problems, and actual struggles, some of which I’ve been through myself. I empathize with that.”
A recent example of the care she uses in working with her customers is the story of “Mr. A.” He was facing unfortunate financial circumstances, and called in and ended up speaking to Chris. She could tell right away he was in bad shape.
“He was a broken man, at his wits end. I’m sure it was embarrassing for him, so I took the opportunity to listen and give support, because I’m not there to just take money, I’m there to take care of the customer.”
Chris was so moved by her customer’s plight that, using a program offered by the client, she followed up with Mr. A. by sending him a letter. Mr. A. was so moved he wrote back. As he tells it:
“You asked me what was going on, and I broke down. You asked me not like a person who is just doing her job, but like a person who cared. That made a difference. You gave me the strength to move on. I have kept your letter with me, to remind me that there are still genuine and kind people in the world…you have touched my soul and I am forever grateful.”
Mr. A.’s letter touched Chris, too, and she keeps a copy in her cubical at work and at home to help remind her why she gets up each day.
“It’s really humbling to know that just a couple of words actually affect somebody’s life. So, stories like this give me the little extra gumption that I need, knowing that I need to be there because someone may need me.”
Chris attributes her positive outlook to advice she received from her mother, which has helped her get through tough times herself. “Something my mom always said was ‘this too shall pass,’ and that ‘hard times just make you stronger…You can come out better on the other side.’ This gives me the tools to deal with struggles, and have a sense of clarity.”
With more than 14 years in customer service working for a retail chain, and work as a certified nurse’s assistant and a preschool teacher before that, Chris was looking to make a change when a friend told her about SYKES.
“She told me SYKES really cares about their people, and I wanted to work for a company like that.”
Chris applied, and began working at SYKES a short time later. She hasn’t been disappointed. “I really like the people here, and that you’re treated with respect. And there is a festive atmosphere here, with barbeques, and different incentives and prizes, and just an attitude that shows they care.”
Part of what makes SYKES fun for Chris is also the great people she works with. “I love the diversity here, that you have someone fresh out of high school or someone who’s 80 working next to you, all with different cultures or experiences. You see someone with a mohawk or dreadlocks sitting next to someone who looks like she could be your grandma. I love that. Everyone gets along. There’s a family atmosphere here.”
That sense of fun and camaraderie helps Chris do her job, caring for customers.
“When you are in an atmosphere where people are smiling, it makes it much easier for you to be festive and smile in trying to help other people, your customers. Because if you’re having fun at your job, you’re going to do great at your job.”
Doing great, touching souls, caring for people. It’s what keeps Chris motivated at SYKES. And it is what puts smiles on the faces of the customers in her care.