Three members from IBEW 1245 traveled to Seattle, Washington for the 13th annual Customer Service Summit, hosted by IBEW Local 77. This summit presents a unique opportunity for IBEW members working in the customer service field all across the US and Canada to connect with and learn from one another.
“Having the opportunity to meet with other union members from around the country was inspiring and exhilarating,” said nine-year IBEW 1245 member Rhianna Thomas, who works at the contact center in Sacramento. “The experience has opened my eyes to how important the role is as a union member to not only be engaged, but to motivate others to be more active as well.”
PG&E Customer Service Rep Spencer Lee, who joined Local 1245 in 2017, was blown away when he learned about the struggles that customer service reps in other parts of the country are going through.
“I haven’t been involved with any union before, so I simply thought the things we have here were universal,” he said. “But learning about [other union members’] battles for some of the things we already have was almost enraging. It really taught me the importance of fighting — not just for us at Local 1245, but for any union that calls for our aid.”
The summit included a wide range of activities and presentations on topics ranging from pathways to leadership, to building union strength, to excelling in the field of customer service and more.
Local 1245 member Anthony Corales, who works at PG&E’s Fresno contact center, found one of the conference presentations to be particularly impactful. Betsy Haas, MA, provided a unique and engaging look at the different personality types that customer service workers may encounter, and Corales left that session with a newfound perspective on interpersonal communication.
“The main thing I obtained from this [presentation] was the importance of understanding WHICH type of person you’re interacting with and adjusting your response, demeanor, and actions accordingly,” he said. “[Haas] left an everlasting impression, and takeaways that will guide me in dealing with both internal and external ‘customers.’”
Overall, the Local 1245 delegation left the summit feeling powerful, energized and inspired.
“This experience has only brought fuel to my fire to fight for all of us,” said Lee.
“I can’t wait to get more involved with the union and motivate others to come along for what’s going to be an exciting ride!” added Thomas.