By NICHOLAS SAKELARIS | CoServ
Many things have changed for CoServ’s Customer Care Team since they began working from home in the spring due to COVID-19. One thing that hasn’t is serving CoServ Members and Customers.
Customer Care Specialist Jeff Hull said he misses the camaraderie that makes CoServ such a great place to work – including being able to turn to colleagues and ask for help and hearing them laugh at his bad jokes.
“I do miss everybody and sometimes I get a little antsy,” he said. “But I’m a little bit torn, because I enjoy having a short commute.”
Vic Lee, Contact Center Manager, said Customer Care began transitioning from the office March 17 with two Employees; 10 days later, thanks to CoServ’s IT team, the entire department was working remotely.
“It’s one less thing that our customers have to worry about during a very difficult time,” Vic said. “Our specialists can relate to our Members because they live in the same communities and many are Members themselves.”
You read this correctly: If the friendly representatives who answer calls, emails and online chat requests every day sound like your neighbors, it’s because they probably are. Many are CoServ Members and Customers like you and, for the last two decades, their work home has been the main CoServ campus in Corinth.
So what happens when your home becomes your work home?
For Leepora Thomas, a Customer Correspondence Specialist and CoServ Member, there’s initial anxiety followed by complete acceptance.
Leepora is an 18-year CoServ veteran who initially resisted the idea of working from home because she loves interacting with her CoServ team.
Now, she fully embraces the work-from home approach.
“It has worked out quite well because now I enjoy working from home,” she said. “I don’t have children. I don’t have pets. I have no obstacles, no interruptions, really. I find myself being more productive than when I’m in the office.”
Customer Care’s role has never been more critical because of the delicate conversations required because of income or jobs lost to COVID.
“We’ve seen a lot of folks who are in a bad way – it’s just been devastating,” Jeff said. “The whole gamut of the human experience. I listen, put on a kind, happy face and help out where I can.”
Leepora hears from many businesses that are struggling and have had to shut down or had their business scaled back dramatically. For example, daycare centers were hit hard in March and April when parents started working from home.
She said she’s proud to work for a company that offers to help in so many ways, including suspending disconnections for nonpayment for six months, offering payment-arrangement plans, applying Capital Credit retirements to bills and providing financial assistance through the CCF COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund.
“CoServ has definitely stepped up to the plate, especially because this has been so traumatic,” Leepora said. “A lot of people ended up with no job – they weren’t as fortunate as we were being able to move from the office to home.
“It’s a good feeling when you can answer someone’s question and help someone out. There’s nothing like the co-op way of life.