We recently received a message from a former trainee (way back when we were known as PhonePRO) that we knew we had to share. Darilynn Godfrey has given us permission to share her touching story with you.
We were inspired and humbled to hear that our teachings stuck with Darilynn throughout her career and even through a personal tragedy. We can only hope that our training has this much of an impact on all of our trainees.
Read through the ups and downs of Darilynn’s journey and how Bonfire Training inspired her.
I just wanted to share with you how much I appreciate and use the training I got from PhonePRO all the way back in 1994 or 1995 when I worked as a customer service representative at a Sacramento Bank. It was my first “real” job, and I had been hired because I want to help people and because I had a very good set of skills to build on.
I was one of the people selected to be observed when your team came in. I have a heart and skill for service; all I want to do is help people! When the training started, I was held up as an example of someone with a wonderful phone manner and someone to emulate, but even so, there were tweaks and things I could be doing differently (or better).
After the training was over, I was moved onto the supervisor takeover line where I was very successful handling the irate callers or complicated questions, and was frequently tasked to sit side-by-side and evaluate other representatives. I was asked to help those who were struggling-some with irate customers or confidence issues, others with basic phone manners or customer service skills.
Undoubtedly, the training I received and internalized from you was a major factor in my advancement. My stats were proof: I averaged 171 calls in 6.5 hours, and received 98% “Very Satisfied” in post-contact surveys. “Quickly and kindly” became my motto.
Undoubtedly, the training I received and internalized from you was a major factor in my advancement.
Everywhere I went and every job I had, I brought that PhonePRO training with me. My position as an executive assistant and legislative analyst position working with California legislators was the culmination of all my years of experience and the best place for me. I was the community liaison for a freight railroad as well as dealing with elected officials.
I took all the calls and handled all of the letters from people complaining about the noise and exhaust (and there were a lot). I also evaluated building plans and made recommendations to abate some of the hazards that occur when houses are built next to a heavy industrial zone. Many an angry person was satisfied after talking to me or receiving a letter.
Every job I’ve had has involved customer service of some sort. I’m proud to say I’m a customer service professional and PhonePRO played a tremendous role in my success. I worked as a temp for many years and I frequently found myself falling back on the techniques I learned to deal with angry people. I always make sure to put “PhonePRO Trained” on my resume.
Almost always, I was asked what that was all about and I’ve shared your techniques with many people at all levels of an organization. It’s made me a better consumer and person as well. I’ve even used many of your techniques when dealing with family members.
I’m always on the lookout for other people with similar skills; they’re a joy to deal with and make their company really stand out. I try to reward them with a positive comment to their supervisor or a note. I try to spread that service attitude as I look for ways to help others.
Sadly, a near-fatal car accident in 2009 resulted in a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) that left me permanently disabled. I could no longer perform the tasks I once had taken for granted. The TBI affected my language and speech centers and I had to learn to read and speak again. I lost some of my filters, especially the one for anger. This is a very common side effect and is untreatable.
In a heartbeat, I would become that demented, angry customer over the smallest thing. I still wanted to help people and thought about going back to work in customer service of some sort, but was afraid of what would happen with my first angry customer. Would I just snap back? I often thought about the training I received from PhonePRO, trusting that the skills I had learned and practiced for so long would still be there.
I often thought about the training I received from [Bonfire Training], trusting that the skills I had learned and practiced for so long would still be there.
I was one of the people prescribed opioids and received many benefits from the pain relief but also lived (well, slept) in a “fentanyl fog.” In 2018, when the crisis developed, I was forced from the fentanyl and onto a synthetic opiate. I had been on opioids for 13 years by that point. When that patch came off, the sun came out. I began to recover much of what I had thought was gone for good. Even though that service attitude was still there, I realized that I needed to go back to school to train for a new job.
In the course of those years, customer service had become a hot topic. We’d been told that customer service was going to be a respected profession, and that we would be taken seriously and properly rewarded. As we change to a more service-based economy, the need for well-trained service professionals has become acute.
To brush up my skills, I enrolled at my local junior college in a business program. I thought that the required customer service class would be a breeze for me. After all, I had been training people in customer service (and PhonePRO) skills for years. I felt I could really add something to the class and maybe see what was new. I was hoping some of the techniques I learned from you had been incorporated in the curriculum. That’s how strongly I believe in the principles I learned all those years ago.
I wish they had hired an instructor who had a solid grounding in customer service. I ended up dropping the class and changing my program. I was disgusted by what was being taught as “service.” Apparently, as the service kick took off, the powers-that-be took something so simple as a conversation between a representative and a customer and added multiple layers of gobbledygook and unnecessary jargon.
I was also appalled that the teacher (and textbook author) thought people needed to be taught to make eye contact or to put their phones away when dealing with a customer. I recalled the training your company had provided and wished they would have hired someone who had been through your program. There’s no need to add multiple layers of technical speak, and I was depressed that the golden rule-do unto others-had been turned into an 18-week course. All they need to do is bring in you!
This is a little longer that I anticipated but I have, for years, been wanting to contact you and tell you just how valuable I think your training program is. It’s been a staple for me, something I value and try to pass on to others, maybe making my little part of the world a kinder place.
I’m working on establishing my own business and you’d better believe that anyone I hire is going to need a good grounding in customer service. I wish I had kept the exercises and hints I had gotten back in 1994, but I’ll just make do with what I’ve internalized and taught to others. What I learned from you has become part of my life, part of my skill set, and something I can put into practice and show others how it’s really done.
What I learned from you has become part of my life, part of my skill set, and something I can put into practice and show others how it’s really done.
Thank you so much. We need accomplished, polished customer service professionals at the front of our companies, the kind that come out of your training. I’m excited to see that companies are now beginning to pay attention to these front line people. After all, they can make or break your image and, therefore, your company’s success (or lack of).
Power on! And, remember to smile; your customer may not see it, but they can sure hear it!
Do you have a story about how training has impacted your life? We would love to hear it. Email us or share in the comments below!
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