Spotlight Awards

Honoring frontline reps who provide exceptional service


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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Spotlight Award Winner

Melissa Corra
Web.com

Corra doesn’t let the fact that she is communicating mostly through live chat get in the way of building rapport with customers. There is always a cheery tone to her words and her openings and closings are always personalized so that the customer knows there is a caring person at the other end of the keyboard.

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Spotlight Award Winner

Karen Boyle
Purple Language Services

Boyle says she deals with the pressures of the job by mentally breaking away when she gets a chance. “I may take a walk or talk to somebody in the office for a bit, just to get my mind someplace else,” she says. And to others, she advises, “Be patient, and take advantage of the incredible support that you have around you.”

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Spotlight Award Winner

Karen Austin
SPX Hydraulic Technologies

When asked what advice she would offer to someone just starting in customer service, Austin says, “Put the customer first. And always treat the customer like they are the most important thing at that moment, because as far as they are concerned, they are. They need your undivided attention.”

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