Surrounded by a Caring Team, Suzanne Chuey is Going Strong
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Surrounded by a Caring Team, Suzanne Chuey is Going Strong

Suzanne Chuey is busy, working the phones as a customer service representative at SYKES’ call center in Eugene, Oregon.   Many people might not expect she’d still be working.  She is 72.

But Suzanne is not slowing down.  She not only helps the 20-25 customers who talk with her every day, she’s a source of inspiration for the younger people who work with her.
“I have a great group of people around me,” she says.   “We help each other out. I think a lot of older people wouldn’t like it, but I do.  They bring a lot of energy and it’s sort of like working with my kids.  And they all call me ‘mom.’”

Suzanne has a lot of experience caring for other people – she volunteered for the Red Cross when she was 16 – and 15 years of experience working retail in a computer store.  She shares her perspective with her team when things sometimes get tough or when dealing with a difficult call or an occasional angry customer.

“I always tell the younger agents, just be that rock in the water and let it flow around you.”

The key to customer service, Suzanne thinks, is listening closely to customers.  “I’m very good at listening, and try to find common ground to talk to customers and make them feel more comfortable.   And you just listen and figure out what it is that they really need.  Then they can see that you do care and you did listen, and they thank you.”

While Suzanne is the one usually supporting her team members, one call had Suzanne herself needing help.

Suzanne remembers: “A grandmother called me to cancel her 17-year old grandchild’s phone line, because the child had been murdered.  The family held onto the line because they wanted to keep hearing the voice on voicemail, but the grandmother didn’t want to pay for the line anymore.  That was a hard one.

“When I got off that call, I sat there and cried.  I have a 17-year-old grandchild.  Yes…that one was hard.”

Suzanne’s team rallied to her. “Everybody took care of me.  They told me to take a break, and they all hugged me, and it helped.  And I was able to come back and get on the phones.  And I was able to have a good rest of the day.”

She got her start early caring for people, with her volunteer work with Red Cross.  She went on to work as a medical lab technician.  “I worked in hematology and drew blood, running a blood bank in a small hospital.”  She left that career to raise her family.   A native of Rochester, her husband’s work as a radio and then TV meteorologist took her to cities across the country.  Her husband still works in weather forecasting.

With her children raised, Suzanne decided to get back in the workforce.  She wanted to get back in hematology but found that degreed medical technicians were no longer required in that line of work.  She went into marketing and then retail management.

Two years ago, she was looking for a new job and had heard good things about SYKES.

She immediately appreciated the training opportunities.  “Most places I worked for before they’d say, ‘well, here’s our spiel, now go sit on the phones.’  At SYKES, they invest several weeks in training. That’s unheard of.  And I think that shows they care about their people.  And I thought that was a really good aspect of SYKES.

Suzanne feels fortunate to work for a company that cares about its people and where people care for each other, like Suzanne and her team do. “I love working at SYKES!”  And judging by the people working  with her who call her “mom,” SYKES loves having the unstoppable Suzanne Chuey as one of the team.