Spotlight Awards

Honoring frontline reps who provide exceptional service


Spotlight Award Winner

Alicia Ross 
City of Durham, NC

If you think you get difficult calls, meet Alicia Ross. She handles 911 calls for the city of Durham, NC. Despite what you might think, her job is similar to that of other customer service reps. She says that active listening, remaining calm and level-headed, and reassuring the caller that help is on the way are all critical aspects of the job.

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Spotlight Award Winner

Audria Perkins
Association for Child Development

One of the things that Perkins likes most about her job is that she can inject a little bit of herself and her personality into each customer conversation. That personal touch helps build rapport with customers and makes work feel a little bit “less like work,” she says.

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Spotlight Award Winner

Rachel Dillon
ACT Technology Services

Dillon is always improving her skills, but admits that she does jump ahead to solutions sometimes. To counter that, she’s working on “trying not to be so trigger happy,” she says. “I want the customer to finish telling me about what they see going on. Because even though it may be the same thing I have seen repeatedly, there may also be a slight difference.”

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Spotlight Award Winner

Evan Parana
UPMC Health Plan

The goal of UPMC Health Plan’s is to resolve every issue or problem in one call. “If you call us once with a specific issue, that should be the only time you have to call us,” Evan Parana says. “Now that might mean we have to call 10 other people and send 20 emails to get the issue resolved, but ultimately, the point is you only have to call in once.”

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Spotlight Award Winner

Kelly Moran
BuildASign.com

For Kelly Moran, follow-up is an important part of the service job. “If I set a deadline, I always make sure I get back on or before that time,” she says. “And I always offer customers my contact information, as well. So even if I say I will get back to them the next day, they can always reach out to me if they have any questions in the meantime.”

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Spotlight Award Winner

Kate Frazier
Ball Seed Company

“We’re dealing with live plants, so things can and do go wrong,” says Kate Frazier. And when they do, the result can be the loss of thousands of dollars worth of young plants. Excellent service recovery skills and a strong, supportive team can help in these situations, “We have a good team here that works well together and is very supportive — and that makes it a fun place to work — and makes it less stressful too.”

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Spotlight Award Winner

Ana Agud
Virginia Tech University

Ana Agund, always keeps her organization’s service motto in mind — In Latin it is “Ut prosim,” which means “That I may serve.” With this motto in mind, positive interactions are sure to follow. And as Agund says, “It really is a good feeling to know that you are doing something productive and that you can have a positive impact on people.”

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Spotlight Award Winner

Angela Twohig
The Chronicle-Herald

The first rule of customer service, says Angela Twohig, is effective listening. That involves, “the ability to hear what people are actually saying, and what they are perhaps not saying, so that you are better able to reach a conclusion that will be reasonable for both the customer and the company … even if it is to find a polite way of saying ‘no,’” Twohig says.

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Spotlight Award Winner

Teresa Sheppard
St. John Insurance

Helping people makes the service job worthwhile for Teresa Sheppard. She recently had clients who lost everything they owned, including their home, to a devastating fire. Sheppard went out personally to view the damage and offer moral support. “Sometimes people just need to feel that you are there for them, that you hear them ….” she says.

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Spotlight Award Winner

Dorris Mitchell
Defense Military Pay Office

When a customer is in trouble, Mitchell is there with technical and emotional support. In one case, a soldier was in the process of having her father named as her dependent. During the process, the father passed away. While her work was done, Mitchell kept in touch. “I just knew how hard it would be for her,” Mitchell says.

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