This article was originally published on 10/24/19.

As part of acknowledging our service employees that go above and beyond in serving our customers, meet call center champion Sunshine Figlio.

‘Embodies New York Life's core values’… ‘Proof that we can make an impact at any stage in our career’… ‘Creates raving experiences by providing expert guidance and trusted solutions.’

These are just three of the reasons why New York Life’s Service organization recognized Sunshine Figlio of the Investment Solutions team in Cleveland as a role model for providing exemplary service. Good going for someone who only started as a call center professional with New York Life just over a year ago.

I can support the customer with what they need and make their day better."

Great going for someone who never imagined they'd be working in customer service. “When I was younger, I had anxiety and was afraid of talking on the phone. I couldn't even call to order a pizza,” Sunshine reveals. But, Sunshine, who identifies as transgender and prefers the pronoun “they” to describe themselves, faced their fears and got a job at a college philanthropy call center, asking for gifts from alumni. Three months later they were promoted to supervisor!

“I actually really liked it because I found that I like talking to people, even people who are upset or confused. It’s really rewarding and meaningful when you can make their day better.”

Sunshine on a rainy day

This was obviously great training for working in New York Life's Investment Solutions call center, where Sunshine always looks forward to “talking with someone incredible, with customers who are inspiring, kind, and thoughtful.” That is what puts a smile on their face on a rainy day.

“It's not hard for me to stay really cheerful even when it gets busy here. Every single day, I connect with a customer who rejuvenates me. Even though some calls can be challenging, most of the time I can turn the calls around to support the customer with what they need and make their day better.”

Being there for our customers

The most difficult calls can be the most rewarding, for example, speaking to a customer who has recently lost a loved one. “Sometimes you might be the only person they've talked to that day and even though they may be going through difficult times, you're able to bring them a little bit of light and comfort.” A little ray of Sunshine, you might say.

“I love people and I’d like to help others at New York Life be better at what they do."   

Sunshine shares the story of speaking to a gentleman whose wife had passed away a year before and was calling to ask about some options for his policy.

“He started telling me about how his wife had been suffering from Alzheimer's and how he would spend every day with her, brushing and curling her hair. At the end of the call, he told me he was going to visit her grave, which he does at the same time every day. It was sad to hear his story, but the love this man had for his wife was very beautiful. He also told me how grateful he was to share his story and his love for her. I was grateful to be on the other end of the line.”

Committed to great customer service

Sunshine may have learned how to provide great customer service early in their career, but they always aspire to be better. Sunshine says call center professionals are lucky to have so many tools and resources available to help them be their best at providing expert guidance to callers. But Sunshine strives for more, whether that’s leaning on these available resources or self-teaching. Sunshine goes out of their way to become a subject matter expert on some of our more complex products, so that they can speak confidently with callers about these products and answer the callers’ questions accurately.

Not only are customers impressed with Sunshine’s service, but Sunshine’s coworkers are too. Coworker Shanae Taylor says, “Sunshine is a joy to work with. You can tell from every interaction that Sunshine shows a genuine interest in the caller and is committed to providing a great customer experience. Sunshine makes sure that the anwers to the callers’ questions are clear and understood, ensuring each client knows they’re in great hands with New York Life.”

 “One day, I’d like to be on our training team,” admits Sunshine. “I love people and I’d like to help others at New York Life be better at what they do.”

Manager Rob Weeks points to Sunshine’s “unique and genuine personality that comes through in every interaction.” Rob says, “Sunshine is a constant source of positivity and energy and has a real desire to connect with people and hear their stories.”

Full self, best self

Sunshine says they’re inspired everyday by the people they work with at New York Life and the customers they interact with, but feels it goes beyond that. “Not only do I receive great training and have managers who are true role models, but for me it's about diversity and inclusion.” As a transgender person starting out at the company, Sunshine was apprehensive about “whether or not I was going to be accepted or respected.”

“But New York Life embraces and celebrates diversity and inclusion, which has made me feel safe and comfortable about bringing my full self to work each day,” Sunshine says.

Sunshine’s full self certainly shines through in their service every day, creating raving fans all around.  

Go back to our newsroom to read more stories.

: Customer service star Sunshine Figlio, New York Life Investment Solutions.

Media contact
Kevin Maher
New York Life Insurance Company
(212) 576-6955

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