Tuesday Transformation - Charmaine Walters-Burke
Who is Charmaine Walters-Burke? I am a pursuer of excellence with a love for making people feel comfortable and appreciated.
What does a typical day for you entail? My day starts at 8:00 am sharp, sometimes before depending on the tasks I have set out for myself for the day. A typical day involves communicating with customers via phone or email, fielding queries and requests as necessary.
Some of my duties also fall into the category of General Insurance Underwriter which involves entering new business policies into our system and making policy changes as required by our customers. I am seen as my department's "unofficial" proof reader, also referred to as the "grammar police." As such, I vett emails and other correspondence for some of my colleagues before they are sent to the relevant destinations.
Tell us, was Customer Service your first career choice? Actually, it was not but it would appear that destiny was guiding me in that direction. As a teenager I worked in a number of part-time positions in Customer Service for various companies while continuing my studies.
Having graduated from The University of the West Indies, Cave Hill with a Bachelor of Arts degree in French and Spanish, I aspired to be a Foreign Language Interpreter or Translator. This would have required additional studies in Scotland or Switzerland, which was not feasible at the time. I then set my sights on teaching and sent several applications. Unfortunately, however, I was unsuccessful in attaining any of those posts. Some time later I saw an advertisement for Front Office personnel at a soon to be opened new residential marina in St. Peter, Port St. Charles Marina. I applied, was interviewed and became one of the first employees there. This was my entrance into the world of full time Customer Service. Almost 21 years later I'm still enjoying it immensely although I've changed organizations along the way.
As a veteran in the field, please share 5 qualities of a good Customer Service professional. A good Customer Service professional must : 1. Be Empathetic - Sometimes a customer may be going through a personal struggle. Know how to read these signs and handle the situation as necessary.
2. Be Fair - Know when to own up to an error that was made. Never make it into the customer's error. 3. Be Attentive - Don't assume that you know what the customer wants or needs. Listen carefully and advise based on what you have been told. 4. Be Good at Problem Solving - Your job is to keep customers happy and that may sometimes mean finding solutions for complex issues. 5. Know the Products or Services your company offers - Nothing is more frustrating to a customer than having to interact with a representative who is clueless about how their products or services work and therefore does not understand the problem. What does success mean to you? Success for me is the smile on my customers' faces and their gratitude as they leave after completing their transactions with me. I don't need the public accolades to let me know that I've performed my duties well. I am a customer too and the way I want to feel when I leave an establishment is the same way I want my customers to feel. What might our readers be most surprised to learn about you? You may be most surprised to learn that I am a Sunday School teacher at my church. I engage with the teenage group of children mostly and enjoy helping to shape their young minds.