The members of the Montgomery County, MD customer service team are part of ensuring smooth operations behind the scenes at THS. They work on customer service matters regarding deliveries, checking in with seniors, and parlaying feedback, among other duties. “The main goal of the Customer Service Team is to ensure that our service is delivered as best as it can be, as well as to maintain good relationships with our customers,” team member Lulu August said. “Each time a senior is delivered to, we email them to fill out a feedback survey, as well as update them on any THS news.” The survey allows customers to decide how THS should contact them in the future, whether by phone, email, both or neither option.
The team itself meets virtually weekly to “discuss responses to the surveys, assign roles, think of ways to build better relationships with seniors, and ensure the efficiency of the system,” according to August.
The team also “takes in calls from seniors who just want to chat every now and then,” explained team member Titi Nguyen.
Nguyen said it has been rewarding to learn about the seniors’ perspectives in doing this work. “I only have one grandparent who I seldom visit due to our locations, so hearing the feedback seniors give [is] super sweet. Their feedback is extremely beneficial to the project [and almost] reinvigorates the pride that our small actions leave an impact that may remain past the quarantine.”
August feels similarly, stating that the most rewarding part about being on [the customer service team] is “hearing the seniors’ appreciation for THS. It’s heart-warming to know that you are contributing to an organization that helps so many people. I feel a lot of pride in THS because as a part of this team, I help to improve the service and watch it grow.”
Being part of the customer service team also allows teens to volunteer and get involved remotely without leaving their own homes. The work the team does is important to continue to better the services THS offers and has led to some surprising discussions.
“I called one senior a few weeks ago who did not know that THS was a student-led organization [and was] very surprised that a student had done the deliveries,” August said. “That’s what I [find] really empowering about THS: the idea that a group of teens can make [such] a big difference.”
Nguyen has been surprised by the internal processes at THS and the ability to implement suggestions gained from feedback quickly. “In other volunteer projects I’ve been a part of, suggestions tend to take [longer] to come into fruition,” Nguyen explained.
The majority of the feedback is highly positive. “Many seniors have emphasized that they are grateful for the service THS [provides], especially [as the providers come] from such a young population. Seniors have praised how quick, organized, efficient, simple, and responsive THS is, as well as the kindness, thoughtfulness, and care [by] the volunteers,” August said.
As supporting and building strong relationships with seniors in one’s community is a tenet of the THS mission, the Montgomery County, MD customer service team has found this work to inform their view of an elder generation, emphasizing how important it is to celebrate those they serve.
“For some isolated older adults, I cannot imagine the pain of having to stay alone, or having to rely on someone else for some of your basic necessities because it is too dangerous to get [them] by yourself,” August said. “It’s really important to be aware of the ‘senior’ population because aging is a privilege. Hopefully when I’m older, I’ll be able to view my entering the ‘senior’ population as a celebration of life, and will have organizations like THS to help me out if/when I need it.”