For the first installments of our ‘Meet the Team’ series, we’ll be focusing on the Shepherds Friendly employees that most of our members will speak to at some point in their journey with us: our Member Services Team. We’re kicking things off with long-standing team member, Val Brookes.
Our Member Services Team is usually your first point of contact and they play a crucial role in helping us to achieve our mission of always putting members first. If you are or become a member of the Society, this is the team you’re likely to speak to most often. So, we thought it would be a great idea for you to get to know them a little better.
To get things started, we would like to introduce you to our longest-serving employee, Val Brookes. We sat down with Val to have a chat about all things Member Services and find out more about her role after nearly 30 years with Shepherds Friendly!
- Hi Val, we hear you are approaching 30 years working for Shepherds Friendly! Could you tell us a little bit about the roles you’ve had during that time?
Shepherds Friendly has certainly changed since I started in 1990! I worked for the North West District of Shepherds Friendly in Stockport when I first joined, and we had offices all over the country. I’ve worked in a few departments, including new business, payroll, pensions and also on the investment side of the Society. I’ve also been a Team Leader for the Member Services Team. So… I’ve definitely done my fair share and I know the company inside and out, which really helps me to assist our members. My current role is Senior Member Services Representative.
- Your current role of Senior Member Services Representative really helps us provide the high level of service that our members expect from us. What is a typical day like for you?
My day revolves around the needs of the members. A large part of my job involves contacting members who have recently taken plans out with the Society to check that they are happy with their plan, and to see if they have any queries regarding their plan or the society. We also help members update personal details, and deal with other member requests.
The Member Services Team does a great job of talking to our members and finding out what matters the most to them. Members regularly tell us that they really like the fact that when they phone us, they will always speak to a real member of our team and are not welcomed by an automated message. Members telling us they appreciate our work is fantastic to hear!
- You must have some interesting stories from your time here. What is your favourite memory of working at Shepherds Friendly?
There are lots of happy memories to choose from during my time here! I’d have to say one that sticks in my mind was when we celebrated the Society’s 180th birthday in 2006. We ran a competition to try and find Shepherds Friendly’s longest-serving member – and we were successful!
Myself, Ann-Marie (our current Chief Executive), and Geoff, (our former Chief Executive) took the member out for a meal, and seeing how delighted the member was when they found out they had won the competition was something I will never forget. It summed up our ethos perfectly – we will always go the extra mile for our members, and that will never change.
- What are the main reasons why you have stayed with the Society for so long?
The main reason I have stayed so long is working with such lovely staff and members! All the staff here truly care about our members and making sure that they have positive experiences with us – so to be a part of a team like this is so rewarding! The Society really looks after its staff, and our recent inclusion in the Sunday Times’ 100 Best Companies to Work For list shows this perfectly. The hard work we put in is definitely appreciated.
I find talking to our members every day the most fulfilling part of my role and this is the main reason I have stayed for nearly 30 years. Knowing that you are improving the experience a member has with us is a great feeling, and something that makes me look forward to coming into the office every morning.
- Looking forward, how do you think we can continue to ensure the best possible outcomes for our members as the Society continues to go from strength-to-strength?
Going forward I think the Society needs to focus on the same things that it always has, and that is to continue being there for our members. While technology evolves all the time, members tell us they still appreciate the personal touch that we pride ourselves on. I think that using the benefits that improved technology brings, combined with the support for our members that we have always had, Shepherds Friendly will continue to grow and continue to put members at the heart of everything we do!