25 September 2019

The Voice on the Other End of the Line

For anyone who’s called in or logged a support call directly through FOUNDATION, or our website, you’ve likely discovered a friendly voice at the other end of the line — or maybe quite a few of them. These are the members of one of our most invaluable departments: client services. They’re the frontline of client interactions, FOUNDATION and gurus, guides and, for many of our clients, familiar friends.

Client services is also one of the largest departments at Foundation, with nearly 60 members, who — on average — receive around 670 support calls a day and 3,353 a week.

“The purpose of client services is to assist clients; however, we may not go about it the same way as most places,” director of client services Janice Yetmar explains. “Our founder, Fred Ode, has always made it a point to go the extra mile for clients. We aren’t able to be a CPA for them, but we do try to do almost everything else — technology issues, user errors, etc.”

After all, not every call is as simple as telling a client where to look for a specific report or how to change worker information for different jobs. Oftentimes, the issues clients call in with require far more attention.

“Generally, when we take a call, we log in with a client and look at things for or with them,” client services team lead Sherry L. Dolowy says. “Then we can spot errors in their systems, get to the root cause and help guide clients through the process of fixing issues.”

And with nearly 5,000 clients, there are plenty of issues and a wide variety of solutions to be found — which is why employee continuing education is another keystone of the department.

When a new member of client services starts, they’re then assigned to a client services group, each with their own team lead to offer further support and guidance. They also go through six weeks of training before they’re ever put on a phone call.

Currently, there are six groups of client services representatives.

“New client services representatives have a lot to learn,” says Dolowy. “Because of this they may not be able to answer client questions right away but will work to get a correct answer either by testing or consulting with a team lead. She adds that the department is also following the rapid growth of the company. “We’re all in a constant state of learning.”

To help with this, each client services group has a set “study time” during the week, where they’re able to improve their understanding of the software or go over a new update or feature they may be less familiar with.

They also hold department-wide meetings Tuesday through Friday to go over the number and types of calls throughout the week as well as the response times, areas of improvement, etc. These meetings can also include other Foundation departments like marketing, sales, training, etc. so that client services is aware of what’s happening throughout the company that may affect clients.

All in all, it makes for a busy schedule — no two days are the same.

However, the real satisfaction comes from solving a seemingly impossible puzzle for clients or “saving the day” when it really matters. “The best part is helping people,” states Yetmar.

Which, at the end of the day, is the everyday for client services.