Feature Article

A customer service rep rides along with a utility foreman

Firsthand experience helped in handling customer calls.

Trading Places: An Hour on Their Headsets, a Mile in Their Shoes  - Logo - https://www.ragan.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/Feature-Article.jpg

“If I had this experience when I started 21 years ago,” says Bonita Hadley, “I think it would have helped me in dealing with customers.” Hadley’s experience riding along with utility foreman Lyle Butler allowed her to enlighten other staff members who deal with customers of Ameren, an electric services company in Illinois and Missouri. The article about the ride-along has won first place in the “Feature Article” category of Ragan’s 2018 Employee Communications Awards.

The article was inspired by the company’s goal of better serving its customers through an empowered-high-performance team. The customer service and external affairs departments, in an effort to develop their staffs, implemented a job-shadowing program that allowed employees to gain a more comprehensive and firsthand understanding of the business.

The staff of the quarterly Ameren Journal saw an opportunity to get the message across via the highly personal tales of employees like Hadley and Butler. The article was titled “Trading Places,” with the subtitle “An Hour on Their Headsets, a Mile in Their Shoes.”

Readers learned about people like Hadley, a customer service rep who gets calls from customers produces work orders and hands them off to co-workers in the field. After 21 years of playing her part in the process, the ride-along gave Hadley a clearer view of the end-to-end process.

The three-page feature included 10 sources, providing readers with a variety of voices from throughout the company’s Illinois work centers. The article featured high-quality photography capturing job shadows in the field as well as the call center. The strongly-written article raised awareness of and interest in the job shadow program.

Congratulations to Ameren’s Keith Anderson and Mike Montandon.

View More Employee Communications Awards 2018 Winners.

Visit Ragan.com/Awards to learn more about awards opportunities.