Phil Castle, The Business Times
April Magdaleno believes the secret to good customer service is no secret at all. “I think it’s just having that positive attitude and listening to and understanding people.”
Magdaleno strives to maintain a good attitude, respond promptly to inquiries and make connections with clients. It’s an effort she said has served her well as an account manager at Colorado West Insurance in Grand Junction over the past 12 years.
It’s also an effort that’s earned Magdaleno statewide recognition.
The National Alliance for Insurance Education & Research named Magdaleno the Outstanding Customer Service Representative of the Year for Colorado. As a state winner, Magdaleno also is in contention for the national award bestowed by the alliance, a Texas-based organization that offers professional designations and educational programs for the insurance industry.
Magdaleno was among eight customer service representatives at Colorado West Insurance nominated for the award. The others were Amy Allen, Jessica Barkoczy, Cinda Godsey, Bev Jackson, Jessica McDowell, Michele McDowell and Diane West.
Vikki Bell, a producer at Colorado West Insurance, said it was impressive so many members of the staff were nominated for what’s considered a prestigious award in the insurance industry — and, of course, that Magdaleno won the state award. “It’s a huge deal,” Bell said.
The award recognizes the work of those who serve clients in the insurance industry. Winners are selected on the basis of their service to their agencies, industry and community as well as letters of recommendation and essays.
Those vying for awards this year wrote essays on the importance of new and renewal business to the profitability of an agency.
“April was chosen as a state winner for exemplifying the characteristics and qualifications required to be eligible for the prestigious National Outstanding CSR of the Year Award,” said William Hold, president of the National Alliance for Insurance Education and Research. “She represents the backbone of the insurance community, those customer service representatives distinguished for providing exceptional service on a daily basis.”
As a state winner, Magdaleno received a framed certificate embossed with a bronze medallion symbol. The national winner receives a $2,000 cash award, a gold and diamond lapel pin and a scholarship for the recipient’s employer to any educational program offered by the alliance.
Magdaleno said she initially didn’t want to compete for the award, but changed her mind. “I decided to go for it, and I’m happy that I did.”
In her role as an account executive, Magdaleno said she provides clients with quotes and other information about coverage and policies. She said she tries hard to get back with clients as quickly as she can. “We’re really big about making sure we have a fast turnaround time.”
“She is extremely prompt and really thorough in everything she does,” Bell said. “It’s a whole attitude of ‘How can I help?’ It’s a way of life, a way she does business.”
At the same time, Colorado West Insurance promotes a culture of good customer service, Bell said, as having eight nominees for a customer service award indicates. “That just kind of tells you something.”
The agency maintains strict standards for customer service and also offers ongoing education to employees to help them make customers happy, Bell said.
While she won the award, Magdaleno said she’s hardly alone in her efforts to provide good customer service. “Everyone here has that good, positive attitude.”