Q&A with Stephanie Scott, Manager of Member Services
Stephanie Scott recently celebrated her 15-year service anniversary at Kosciusko REMC. In honor of this milestone, enjoy this Q&A with our manager of member services.
Q: How has KREMC changed and grown since you started?
SS: I remember shuffling through a ton of papers. When I first started, things seemed slower. They didn’t move at the pace they do now. Technology makes a difference.
It’s cool how it’s grown over the years as new people have come in. I love when we get new blood because so many of us do things the same way and don’t really think about it. When you get someone from the outside, you get fresh eyes, and they help us find simpler and easier ways to do things.”
Q: What has been the most impactful part of your career in member services here?
SS: The most impactful part for me is when someone is struggling, and we get to help them. Sometimes, it’s as if someone is down and keeps getting kicked. It’s cool to have an impact on someone’s life, even if it’s just temporary. It makes you realize that you’re making a difference, even though paying an electric bill is such a tiny thing to most people. It’s not the same for everyone. Not everyone in this economy is in that situation.
Q: What makes your department unique in KREMC?
SS: We’re unique because of how we’ve grown people in this department and seen them blossom. It’s always cool when someone comes into the department, and I can see their strengths and let them use them. I like to figure out a future path for them based on what they enjoy and their strengths. I marry the two together: what you want to do and what you’re great at.
I want people to come to work and be satisfied and happy and thrilled to do whatever it is we’re doing every day. Certain positions in our department are starter positions. It’s a good place to start because you learn so much.
This group has so much knowledge that no one else does. There are hardly any other departments that know about accounting, AP, collections, engineering, and operations – they know so much! We have to know a little about everything to be able to answer questions and make service orders.
As employees here, we can spot things that aren’t safe as we’re driving down the road or see an accident. We’re not first responders, but we’re the next level. Our linemen know to spot that stuff, and they can save lives.
Q: How does the member services team communicate with the lineworkers? What does that relationship between departments look like?
SS: Outage situations can be meaningful. I’ve never seen any other team come together so collectively to get a job done, even though we feel worlds apart because they’re out in the field and we’re in the office. I remember the ice storm of 2008, and it was awful. Power was out for days, and our phones were swamped. It was almost as though, no matter what was going on in the world, all of it was forgotten, and our focus was on getting our members’ power back on.
Our job is obviously much easier than the linemen’s in one aspect because they’re out in the brutal cold, but our job is important, too, because we need to get them the information they need to make the right decisions and take the right equipment and materials with them. When we take an order, the linemen need to know that when they get to the location, they’re not going to have to make a trip back and waste time. That makes a difference in getting people’s power back on. When we take orders and information from a member, we’re the liaison between the members and the operations department.
The teamwork of how that comes together every time is phenomenal. From the CEO to the MSR team, it takes everybody coming together to take care of business.
Q: What advice would you give to someone starting out in your field?
SS: Learn as much as possible about the industry. One of the things that have been most helpful for me is learning the engineering side of things. I always tell my team that the engineers are such a great resource for us because they have so much knowledge. The members speak a language, the engineers and the operations department have a language, and we’re in the middle, translating what the members are saying to give the correct information to operations. It helps to quickly become a productive member of the team that can contribute.
Q: How is the member services team growing and planning for the future?
SS: Because we’ve started Kosciusko Connect, we have to play two roles, thinking the cooperative way but also being in a competitive environment. People can choose to have fiber installed or choose not to. One thing that’s important to me is that we treat people the same way. There’s a high standard for customer service on the electric side, and it’s important to me that it stays that way and that we treat them the same way on the fiber side. We want to treat them with the same respect.
No matter what, we’re not degrading to people. I always want to learn more about how to get better at what we do – not only more efficient, so we can help more people, but also raising our standards even higher. We want to help people and give them options to make their lives better.
I think so many people are drawn to us for internet service because they know and trust REMC. They know they can trust Kosciusko Connect as well. People will want to do business with you if they know you care. And if your team knows that you care, they’re going to want to come to work, work with you, and do a good job for you.
Q: How do you handle difficult situations within your department or team?
SS: If there’s someone on my team that doesn’t seem to care, I think there must be something motivating it. I like to dig away at the layers and figure out what’s going on behind the scenes to make them feel like they’re not doing a good job. Typically, there’s something at the core. I’ll give people chance after chance because I want to retain talent.