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Behind the Curtain of Customer Experience

Friday, October 2, 2020

Categories: Blog, Employees

You may know our customer experience representatives –⁠ or CRXs, for short –⁠ as voices on the phone or faces in the information booth at CATA facilities.

At a glance, these employees sell passes, administer fare tokens and provide rider information. But their role goes far beyond what meets the eye.

CXR Nick Zickefoose cites around a dozen online programs he has to use quickly and efficiently to give customers the best information.

“I do feel like a lot of the people in the City of Lansing tend to view us as a very reliable source of information, not just for CATA,” Zickefoose said. “Oftentimes we’ll end up answering questions just about the city in general, for people that have just moved here.”

The customer experience department receives hundreds of phone calls a day. Sometimes these come from parents asking for information for their students. Other times, calls come from those looking for a ride to a nearby homeless shelter for their next meal. The team knows many of these customers by name, and remains when to lend a helping hand or listening ear.

“Just being able to help somebody is one of my most enjoyable parts about this job,” said Schuyler Brown, another member of the CXR team.

Customer Experience Representative Schuyler Brown poses in front of the CATA Transportation Center

Zickefoose recounts the times he’s stayed on the phone with new riders until they reach their nearest bus stop and feel comfortable. He’s also provided words of encouragement to customers going through tough times.

 “There are a lot of moments where there’s a deeper interaction with our customers and the people who live in Lansing,” Zickefoose said.

Customer Experience Supervisor Sam Soliz notes there are many unpredictable factors in public transportation –⁠ weather, traffic, red lights, accidents, medical emergencies and detours to name a few.

“If our department can use our tools and our empathy to eliminate any or all of that stress, we’ve made the customers day just a little bit better,” Soliz said. “That’s what it’s all about –⁠ removing just one pain point from their day in the hopes of making it better.”

Thank you to this team for making days at CATA better for our employees, riders and the public. The community is incredibly fortunate to have such empathetic, resourceful and talented representatives getting people where they need to go.

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Leading with Love

Thursday, October 1, 2020

Categories: Blog, Employees

CATA Customer Experience Manager.

That may be Margaret Stephen’s job title, but others call her the heart of the customer experience department.

“Her understanding, her love … she goes beyond what a supervisor is supposed to even care about,” said Schuyler Brown, a member of the customer experience team. “In any situation where we need her, she’s right there. She’s got our backs.”

Margaret describes herself as one of those people who really loves her job. That love shines through to her team, other CATA employees and the public as she works hard to keep the CATA Transportation Center running smoothly.

Customer Experience Manager Margaret Stephens stands in front of the CATA Transportation Center

“I couldn’t have asked for a better boss for my first job out of college,” said Nick Zickefoose, another customer service representative. “Margaret is so attentive. She’s on the ball. She’s so friendly. She knows everything that we need to know about customer service, and she’s so enthusiastic about it.”

But according to Zickefoose, his boss doesn't just focus on doing her job well. She also empowers others to improve.

"She works so hard to make sure that everyone in our department is happy, healthy, doing our best, and also improving,” Zickefoose said. “She has a very vested interest in making sure that as individuals and as professionals, we’re becoming better people. And I appreciate it beyond anything else.”

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A family brought closer through Tae Kwon Do

Monday, September 14, 2020

Categories: Blog, Employees

Dan pictured with his wife and two daughters

Dan pictured with his wife and two daughtersA family that does Tae Kwon Do together stays together. That’s how the saying goes, right?

For CATA IT Director Dan Goodemoot, this has been exactly right. When his two daughters were young, he and his wife began looking for an activity they could all do together.

With his daughters in dance at the time, Goodemoot knew he would need to find an activity that appealed to the grace and strength found in dance, but with the comradery and family atmosphere that he was seeking. This is when he and his family discovered Tae Kwon Do.  “We found this small group that was training a few miles away from us and went, it was a small class at the time [...] so our whole family joined!” Goodemoot said.

Little did they know at the time of the their first class, this would be a sport they would enjoy and excel at for years to come. Goodemoot and his wife have recently been awarded their third-degree black belts, with his daughters following their parent's lead closely, both obtaining second degree black belts. In his advanced training, Goodemoot has studied the history of Tae Kwon Do, spent countless hours learning forms and even learning to break through both pine and concrete boards! Photo of Dan breaking concrete blocks

“Concrete is usually saved for just before black belt, we have someone break one, as you get further on in training, you break more and more. My last testing, I had 10 lined up and I broke 9 of them,” Goodemoot said.

Since the onset of COVID-19, many gyms have had to close their doors. The Goodemoot’s Tae Kwan Do gym made the innovative decision to take things outside, utilizing a small lawn next to their building to allow athletes to practice.

“We worked out outside and made sure we socially distanced away from each other, it was nice that we could still work together as families because we had been in contact with each other already” Goodemoot explained.

The Goodemoot family has come a long way since day one of class, and they have no plans on ending their training any time soon. Goodemoot currently instructs younger classes teaching basic forms and self-defense skills while also continuing his work toward a third-degree black belt. 

“I have been responsible for a lot of the final stage training for the colored belts — non-black belt students — so watching them, and specifically my daughters go through and get their black belts, has been a very proud moment for me,” he concluded.

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