By Mary Federle | August 17, 2020
We’ve all heard that old saying, “when life gives you lemons, make lemonade.” Well, I believe there’s no better time than now to put that advice to good use. Throughout my life, I’ve often referenced this idea to get through some of life’s most challenging events and I must say, it does help to look at the positives of a situation and not dwell on all the negatives. You know, see the silver-lining in something or believe that everything happens for a reason. I know this is much easier said than done in some cases but we’re making lemonade out of Covid-19 lemons and it tastes pretty darn good, metaphorically speaking of course.
Life before Covid-19 as an SEDC Territory Manager (TM) was great. The opportunity to travel and visit face-to-face with our members; shaking hands, friendly hugs, having those good conversations —without a mask I might add, about what’s new with the family and what’s new at work. For me, this was the highlight of my job, meeting everyone in person, getting to know our members and providing more than customer service by striving to build a relationship. Showing them in person how much we care about them and their success in achieving their goals.
Life as a TM since Covid-19, well, it’s a little different. No travel, no face-to-face meetings, no handshakes and no friendly hugs. That’s ok, we’re about to make some lemonade out of this situation. So, we’ve found ourselves working from home every day. Sounds great right? but all day, every day can be quite an adjustment. I know my family has asked me repeatedly when I am going back on the road. Like I’m not fun to be around all day, every day. Ok. I too would love for me to get back on the road but I’m finding ways to better serve our members until that day is here. However, for fun I do sometimes like to torture my teenagers with my answer of “never” just to see their reaction. Anyway, with less time in the airports and on the road, that means more time to focus on our clients and how to make their jobs easier, especially amid a pandemic.
SEDC has identified a unique opportunity to make some lemonade by enhancing our communication efforts with our members and the results and feedback have been excellent. We’ve collaborated with other departments internally to use this time to focus directly on our clients in a new role…. as a Client Manager (CM). As a CM, we reach out proactively on a bi-weekly basis to provide verbal and written updates on all active support cases. We are utilizing the extra time we have, to make their jobs easier by doing the research and consulting with support teams to find resolutions all while tracking the progress of the case until it’s resolved. Many days there just aren’t enough hours in the day within the utility industry. We understand the day-to-day challenges our members face, and this is one way we feel we can make it a little easier for them. Some of the comments I’ve received are “I don’t know whose idea this was but it’s great.” and, “I love getting these updates, it’s so helpful to me.”
This is exactly what we strive for, a way to make something, at least one thing, better, easier, helpful, convenient, timesaving, all the things that describe their feedback about our efforts to elevate our communication with them. I can say with confidence that this role has pushed us to do more, to learn more, to reach out more, and to communicate more. More importantly, our members love it and that, my friends, is the “lemonade” in all this.
Until we see your smiling faces again, hoping you all stay well and stay healthy.