Did you know that our call agent colleagues man the General Enquiries line round the clock? That they field external calls and internal ones such as activating Code Blue, or mundane ones such as looking for doctors’ on roster? The public and our staff expect them to be effective in meeting their needs right away, so they have to be knowledgeable about a wide variety of the hospital’s operations. And there is no buffer when the caller is irate - they have to keep calm and be empathetic. It’s a job that requires grit and commitment.
For helping the team cope and meet the demands of the work with a positive attitude, Maslindah Binte Abdul Rahim nominated her Call Centre supervisor, Marianah Bte Mustafa, for the 2022 Genuine Care Award.
Marianah, a Senior Patient Service Associate Executive, supervises a team of 18 call agents who man the 24-hour General Enquiry line. They have to deal with a wide scope of issues, ranging from appointments to billing and even emergency activation such as Code Blue. The job is fast paced and demanding. During the COVID-19 pandemic, they also have to be up to date with MOH guidelines as callers turn to them for the latest information. At times, when faced with high call volumes, they can’t even take a 5-minute break. So where does Marianah find the energy to care for her staff?
"I started out as a call agent at the Call Centre, I know how tough it can be," says Marianah who has been with Call Centre for 29 years and counting. "We face the irate caller when some of our departments are slow to respond to them, or have sent a wrong bill or a wrong SMS, for example."
"Whenever my staff get a challenging caller, I will listen in and guide the staff how to answer. If the caller insists on speaking to someone else, I will take over," says Marianah. "At times, my staff doing the night shift may call me at 2 or 3am if there are major issues, and I will answer the calls."
During our visit to the Call Centre to surprise Marianah with the award, it was obvious that the team cared deeply for one another. Most of them said that despite the challenges, they stayed on because of the second family at the Call Centre, who always have their back. They attributed that to Marianah.
"Marianah helped me through the darkest moments of my life. I was the sole caregiver for my father who passed away this year after many years of poor health," says Maslindah. "Marianah was always there for me, taking my calls even on weekends when I needed someone to confide in."
"She even rallied my colleagues to raise funds when my father needed surgery, and did the same when another of my colleagues had to undergo a procedure. She does these little things to ease our burden a bit. These activities bring us closer, really like a family, to also care about one another’s families."
Marianah herself credits Head of Department Estee Chan as her inspiration. Says Marianah, "Estee is really my pillar - she would text, call or email me to ask how the ‘kids’ are doing - she refers to our staff as her ‘kids'. Whenever the ‘kids’ face any challenges, Estee will guide me accordingly. She would also often ask me if I am managing well. When Estee first joined Call Centre, she would sit with the call agents and listen in to understand the nature of calls and difficulties faced by the agents. So she understands how demanding the callers can be. Like Estee, I try to be a pillar for my staff."
"I believe that you must always be on the ground working together with your team. Then you will better understand them. This will enable you to build a good rapport between your team and yourself."
Do you have a colleague who genuinely cares for others all the time? Look out for our next Genuine Care Award Nominations in 2023!
We love mail! Drop us a note at firstname.lastname@example.org to tell us what you like or didn’t like about this story, and what you would like to see more of in LighterNotes.