New York Life was built on great customer service. In the words of Pedram Afshar, SVP of Service, it was, “founded to serve others.” Afshar says New York Life has a “long-standing tradition to put our customers at the center of everything that we do” and this holds as true today as for every one of New York Life’s 174 years.
Now it’s official: Newsweek recognised New York Life as an industry leader, coming joint first in the Life Insurance category on its America’s Best Customer Service list.
And to celebrate Customer Service Week 2019, we meet just a few of the many customer service champions who are creating ‘raving experiences’ for their customers, whether these customers are clients, beneficiaries, business partners, or agents.
Growing a One New York Life mindset
Kirk Thomas is a member of the Specialty Services team, which works to ensure that New York Life provides accurate and efficient service to its agents – so they can focus on serving their clients. Kirk is a big fan of the “I’m Insightful” program, which supports the company’s goal to have a One New York Life mindset. It enables participants to learn about different areas and how, as Service professionals, their work may be connected to the work others do across the organization.
“Hold yourself accountable for excellence and quality from beginning to end. Be laser-focused on finding solutions for our customers, from the moment they connect with us until all their service needs are met.” - Rafael Vazquez, Service Leader.
Taking it to the next level
To Service professional and leader Rafael Vazquez, part of New York Life’s Tampa team, what matters most is to, “show our clients how much we care by going above and beyond to provide the highest level of service possible.” Rafael championed the “We love our customers” contest to find call center professionals taking customer service to the next level and creating raving fans all around.
He says that the initiative, with its intentional focus on exceeding expectations and doing the right thing, helped bring out the best in his people. Rafael is a leader and role model. He loves spending time helping people to develop and grow and witnessing their progress and success. He says that knowing he is impacting someone’s life in a positive way truly brings him joy.
Rafael’s advice is to:
“Hold yourself accountable for excellence and quality from beginning to end. Be laser-focused on finding solutions for our customers, from the moment they connect with us until all their service needs are met.”
Bring me Sunshine
Role models are found across New York Life. Like Sunshine Figlio from the Investment Solutions team in Cleveland. The Service Insights team recently identified Sunshine as a ‘role model for providing exemplary service.’
“Sunshine shows great empathy for every person, on every call, no matter how simple or complex. They create an effortless caller experience that is efficient and effective, with a positive and consistent approach where every call is treated as the most important call of the day.”
Sunshine’s team leader, Rob Weeks, also holds them in high regard: “Sunshine has a unique and genuine personality that comes through in every interaction. They are a constant source of positivity and energy and have a real desire to connect with people and hear their stories.”
Sunshine's service creates raving fans, but along with Sunshine, other stars shine across the New York Life constellation. One team full of stars who create raving experiences every day is the small team of service professionals who support the General Office in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. The team takes great pride in being there for agents, clients, and business partners across Service and New York Life.
"The team is always thinking, How can we help you achieve your goals and aspirations?” - Doug Gotsch, Service Leader.
Going the extra miles
Service Leader Doug Gotsch, who moved with his family from their hometown in Pennsylvania to Cedar Rapids, loves his adopted town, and his leadership role. Doug focuses on helping agents and clients with new business, licensing, and “whatever else might come their way,” even if that means going 150 miles out of his way, to meet an agent at the World’s Largest Truck Stop in Walcott, Iowa, to hand over an urgent critical printed policy.
According to the agent: “Because of Doug and the team, I was able to deliver seven policies to my clients that afternoon. This would not have been possible without their diligence and dedication. This is simply another example proving that the Service professionals supporting our General Offices are the best in the business – thank you!”
Doug says he is most proud of his team’s ability to work together and learn from each experience. Regional Service Leader Bernadette German couldn’t be prouder of the team and members like Deb Weller. Deb previously worked for another life insurance company but says that nothing compares to her New York Life family.
Another member of the team, Bridget Donahue is dedicated to self-improvement at every level and shares what she learns with her team. While Sheri Warren brings an extensive knowledge of the industry from working at a local paramedical company, and always shares her insights to help make the new business process easier for agents.
One characteristic that the team all shares is empathy, whether that’s for the agents, clients, or other teams across the company. This helps them to find solutions and feel connected to what they do and the team of people that they support. Their reward is watching the success of their agents. According to Doug, the team is always thinking, “How can we help you achieve your goals and aspirations?”
How can we help you? This question sums up what New York Life’s customer service champions have been doing for 174 years and counting.
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