Yin and Yang: A Recipe for an “Enlightened” Call Center Culture

Combined, Alphonse “Al” Oliveri and Stacey Sanchez have 35 years of call center experience, yet their paths and leadership styles to call center management at Piedmont Advantage Credit Union in Winston-Salem couldn’t be more different.

Oliveri was raised in a community not far from New York City. He’s a graduate of the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in Manhattan, acted professionally and managed restaurants for several years; while Sanchez was born in Florida and raised in Forsyth County when her father joined Piedmont Airlines. Sanchez also worked in the airline industry in passenger services and with the Winston-Salem Police Department as a prisoner processor and crime scene technician for five years.

Oliveri is driven to break the traditional call center business model. Sanchez lives to problem-solve and uses facts to advance performance. As a management team, they balance each other out, which has led to an enlightened call center culture at Piedmont Advantage.

In this context, enlightened means individuals are inspired to do their best in everything they do.

“In general, call center metrics, like average handle time, are designed to demonstrate cost-efficiency and a quick customer journey. At Piedmont Advantage, I want our call center team to connect with our members,” said Oliveri, Piedmont Advantage’s Member Relationship Team (MRT) Manager.

“As my job title reflects, customer service is about building trusting and authentic relationships. I view myself as a relationship leader, so I’m more concerned with how well we are strengthening connections with our members and not so much about the length of time it takes to do this well,” he said.

Sanchez complements Oliveri’s leadership style with her role at Piedmont Advantage as the MRT Workforce Operations Manager. She is primarily tasked with holding team members accountable in their efforts to meet service level standards, which drives the member efficient experience in how quickly calls are answered.

“I try to do my best to set clear expectations and equip our team with the skills and resources to do their jobs well,” she said.

“Al is the ‘Yin’ of our center with his ability to provide opportunities for our team members to apply their skills in new and greater ways; and I’m the ‘Yang’ with my desire to problem-solve and measure progress individually and as a team,” Sanchez added.

This Yin and Yang collaboration between Oliveri and Sanchez has led to many promotions among their team members. “Call centers are the best place to learn everything about the organization, so if representatives want to use the call center experience and vast knowledge to advance their careers, we’ll do our part to put them in a successful position to do so,” Oliveri said.

Inspired by Disney’s exceptional customer service, Oliveri coaches his team members to take pride in their call center work. “We’re doing hero’s work each and every day,” he said, which is similar to what Walt Disney is known to have said. When Disneyland was under construction, Disney asked a construction crew member what he was doing. The reply was “I’m laying bricks.” Disney responded, “No. You’re building a castle.”

Oliveri and Sanchez instill pride in the workplace. When filling vacancies, they look for individuals who are compassionate and caring and have a knack for being able to see things from the perspective of others. Together, they empower others and assume responsibility for managing outcomes.

For opportunities to work with Oliveri and Sanchez as a Member Relationship Team Representative or within other areas of Piedmont Advantage, visit PACU.com/Careers.


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