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Jun 07

Manager's Message: Celebrating and Recognizing the Everyday Extraordinary

Posted on June 7, 2016 at 4:07 PM by Mary Bunting

5/9/2016 - First, I want to take a moment to belatedly wish all of our mothers a Happy Mother’s Day! I hope everyone had a nice day with their families and friends and look forward to hearing stories you might want to share with me about the special time you had yesterday. I also realize many of our mothers were working since we are a 24/7 operation so I want to give an extra special thank you for missing time with your families to service our community. I sincerely hope that those of you who had to work will get to celebrate with your families at another time.

As most of you know, I am passionate about customer service. Our organizational culture in the City of Hampton has long recognized the strategic importance of great customer service; but, sometimes, we are all so accustomed to going above and beyond for our residents that we don’t stop to recognize and appreciate the outstanding things our team does. We need to change that and take time to report and recognize those efforts. 

Our employees do extraordinary things every day. Many are seemingly small things but they have a big impact on the customers they serve or their fellow employees. That’s why we are reinvigorating our Customer Delight recognition program. We want to know — and share the stories — of the above-and-beyond actions of our amazing team.  In addition to the regular Customer Delight awards that are still in place, we are adding a new form of recognition with a special City Manager’s coin for excellent customer service. The coin will be given to employees who demonstrate the philosophy of going above and beyond with small but powerful acts that make a big difference and impression in our customers’ minds. 

Last week, I was able to roll out the new coin and personally thank these members of our Hampton team:

  • Being in a bomb threat situation is scary for anyone, but most of all children and their parents. Roma Johns, Site Leader for Healthy Families Partnership- School Age Program, demonstrated compassion and decisiveness when she brought together two siblings who were being held in different parts of the school during the emergency. The mother reported that she was extremely pleased and relieved all at once, to know that someone cared enough for her children to keep them together in an emergency. 
  • Police Cpl. Torrey Graham was conducting a Community Policing activity off Pembroke Avenue when he was flagged by a woman who asked for help starting her lawn mower.  Cpl. Graham got the mower started; however, while walking away the lawn mower cut off.  Cpl. Graham determined there was a throttle problem but thought the workaround of tying a cord to the throttle to keep the mower running wasn’t very safe.  Instead, he went ahead and cut the lawn himself. Cpl. Graham’s kind and selfless act was out of a solemn respect for others and recognition that everyone needs a little help sometimes.    
  • Lisa Weare Murphy sent police a photograph of Police Sgt. Curtis Crouch assisting a stranded motorist. Ms. Murphy wrote that two officers pushed the motorist to a safe spot off King Street. Another officer followed them in a K9 truck to make sure they all stayed safe. She congratulated all the officers and noted that Sgt. Crouch stayed with the unknown motorist and changed her tire so she could continue on her way. The photograph that was subsequently placed on the division’s Facebook page as well as other social media has received praise from the community and shows our commitment to building partnerships with the citizens. 
  • Hampton residents Jim and Mary McAnally e-mailed Mayor George Wallace and me to share the story of a public works employee who made a special connection with a 2-year-old named Nathan, who is fascinated with the large claw truck and often walks door-to-door to observe the operation, prancing and clapping while waving at equipment operator Richard Golladay as he makes collections. One day, Richard went beyond waving, and brought several gifts to the child, including a toy claw truck. Nathan and his parents were extremely impressed and wanted to express gratitude for the outstanding customer service and connection.  
  • While assisting one of our citizens with her repeated calls about her solid waste and water bills, Public Works Operations Manager Jason Mitchell recognized that the issue was much deeper. Jason reached out to 311 to see what we could do to help, and 311 contacted Human Services.  Adult Protective Services has been able to assist this resident, include helping with her utilities, budget plans and medical needs, so she can enjoy her continued independence and remain in her home. 

While these employees likely did not think they were doing anything out of the ordinary for these citizens, they did. All of acts are great examples of extraordinary customer service — well beyond anyone’s job descriptions. None of these employees were motivated by recognition, and some were even a little uncomfortable with the attention they received. However, I feel compelled to recognize them because they are examples of our staff’s commitment to our citizens. That is how we build partnerships and trusted relationships with the citizens we serve. 

I know that these are only a few examples. There are many, many more that happen every day. I hope that all of you will help us tell the stories of your co-workers’ everyday extraordinary actions so they too can be recognized for the impact they are making on their external and/or internal customers. If you see an act of everyday excellence, please share it with me - or feel free to call or email 311 - so that we can recognize the employee(s) who did so. 

I hope everyone has a wonderful week! We are aiming to roll out the details of the compression adjustments later this week, so please be on the lookout for another email from me mid-week.

Mary

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