Cultivating that friendly, inviting first impression for customers is a must-have for any business. The first interaction a customer has when they pick up the phone or walk through the front door goes a long way towards setting the tone for future experiences with the company. For Kankakee Valley (KV) REMC, these team members are Member Service Representatives. While their job carries much importance, it also includes ensuring each customer has a welcoming experience, leaving with nothing less than a smile and confidence that their questions have been handled with care.
“The MSRs are extremely valuable to the success of KV REMC,” said Office Manager Angie Swanson. “They are the first person a member speaks to when they call in or stop by the office. The MSRs spend most of their time ensuring that the member’s questions get answered and preparing our billing and other various tasks to keep this company moving forward. They work diligently daily to ensure things run smoothly in the billing and member department.”
A team of five completes the MSR crew at KV REMC: Denise Cultice, Kristi Fricke, Sondra Michiaels, Jeri Brewer, and Courtney Venekamp. While the day-to-day mechanics vary each day slightly, customer interaction is a huge part of the job description for the group. In turn, working directly with the membership and developing those professional relationships is one of their favorite parts.
“I enjoy ending a call on a happy note. When I know someone has called frustrated or needing help, and I can turn that call into something positive, just knowing I was able to help someone and make their day better,” said Fricke.
Venekamp is the friendly new face at the co-op. In her role, she is at the front desk to greet members as they visit the co-op.
“I enjoy the people I work with and talking to our members,” added Venekamp.
Working to help others also goes well beyond the walls of the cooperative. With a mission to exceed the expectations of the community through service, trust, and innovation, KV REMC additionally prioritizes giving back to those around them. The MSRs, in particular, are strong advocates for community work and are heavily involved in serving the local areas in which they live.
“Kankakee Valley REMC as an organization is heavily involved in the community,” said Director of Marketing and Communications Amanda Steeb. “Our employees are residents of the great communities we serve and make it a point to give back whenever possible.”
Working with local nonprofits is one of the team’s favorite ways to go about this. In the past few years, KV REMC has joined forces with United Way of Northwest Indiana, another local organization that works to lend a hand to nonprofits throughout the Region.
“We also do a great deal of clean up and building projects,” said Fricke. “I would say my favorite was the Humane Society because who doesn’t love animals? Although, it is hard to work when surrounded by such cuteness.”
Michiaels has particularly enjoyed working with Jacob’s Ladder Pediatric Rehabilitation Center in Chesterton.
”My coworkers and I worked as a team cleaning and organizing the center for the children,” Michiaels said. ”I felt blessed to be a part of something that does such amazing things for children in our community.”
Cultice has been with KV REMC for 22 years and has participated in many community projects. However, she has found her work with Reins of Life, a nonprofit based out of Michigan City offering equestrian therapy to children, was the most impactful of them all.
“I loved helping at the ranch because I’m a horse lover and love being outside,” Cultice said. “I think Reins of Life offers amazing programs.”
For Brewer, this community-centered aspect makes her the proudest to be a part of the KV REMC team.
“This was extremely important for me, as I am very involved in my community,” said Brewer. “For me, that was the appeal of being employed at Kankakee Valley REMC. It’s great to work for a company that gives back.”
The MSRs have started to gear up for the holiday season, where they’ll be an active part of a Toys for Tots toy drive and an Angel Tree program.
For more information on Kankakee Valley REMC and the ways its member service representatives are proud to give back to their communities, visit its website at kvremc.com.