How did it feel winning the ‘Brian Potter MBE Customer Care Award’?
I was shocked. I have been at Potters for three years and have received an award every year, but this is the big award to win and the last award announced on the night. I won two other awards for customer service and a WOW award that evening and I thought that was me done! Never did I think I would win this award and it just feels very special to win it and be recognised, and I am thrilled.
Why do you think you won this customer care award?
Because of some of the difficult situations I have dealt with, but to me that is just what anyone would do and being there for others and supporting them in their toughest moments has also led to me having lasting friendships with guests.
These include a guest and her husband who came to Norfolk on holiday while he was on dialysis. I drove her to hospital to visit her husband, where he was being cared for, but sadly he deteriorated and died later that week in hospital. I sat and talked to her and we still talk once a week on the phone. She calls me her angel. My mum passed away and I like to think that people would have looked after her in the same way and treated her well.
Another time a guest passed away from a heart attack and I comforted his wife while the funeral directors were there. I just talked to her and asked her to tell me about the day she got married. The policeman even said that he didn’t know how I did it, but to me it is natural to comfort others and talk to them.
There are other examples too but I find it easy to just be kind, compassionate and caring to others. I can deal with all sorts of people too, whether they are moody, shy, angry or friendly. Luckily at Potters most people are really nice and happy as they are on holiday and we have a real laugh together.
What is it that you love about working at Potters?
I love the guests as I am a people person so like speaking to them. I was a florist for 16 years and also owned an office licence so I have always been in customer service. I came to Potters as I used the gym and liked Potters because it is always clean and tidy, and I am a bit obsessive when it comes to cleaning!
It is also a really nice team and I always feel like the rooms reflect on me so I do the best job I can and it is a really physical workout! I also train new starters too.
Guests have left notes saying that I made them feel welcome and helped make their holiday special and that is lovely that they take the time to do that.
What do you think is good customer service?
Looking, recognising and spotting, so knowing if someone wants to speak to you or not and whether they are someone that you can have a joke with.
Well done Shirley on your well deserved win.