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Positivity, Empathy, Authenticity: Becoming a Team Leader

Name: Vanessa W.
Job Title: Team Leader, Payments

Building agents

As a team leader in Customer Care for Payments, our goal is to engage, develop and influence agents to build essential skills and behaviors. We coach agents to provide an exceptional customer service experience and achieve job enrichment.

Shake it off

I’m a firm believer in the power of positivity. I carry positivity with me everywhere I go and in every aspect of my life. I have a playlist that I named “Power of Positivity” and it’s filled with inspirational and upbeat music. I listen to this playlist regularly to pump up my positivity. I encourage my agents in a similar way by quoting songs when they’re feeling discouraged from a rough call. I’ll tell them “shake it off” or “you live, you learn.” I feel encouraged knowing that when agents are promoted from my team, they carry a little bit of that positivity with them.

Ingrained learning

My greatest achievements have come from the learning opportunities I’ve taken here. Discover’s professional development classes are valuable because the content is thorough, engaging and practical for my career. But it doesn’t stop there. The content is ingrained in almost every aspect of the job, so we get to practice what we learn and ultimately progress. All those opportunities have shaped me into the leader that I am today.

Delivering feedback

One of the many things that sets Discover apart from other employers is the investment in our employees. Everyone that I’ve encountered at Discover has offered me feedback in a way that has helped me grow, not just as an employee, but as a person. The way feedback is delivered is so positive and encouraging that it motivates and challenges me to think outside of the box.

Don’t check your baggage at the door

The engagement and the culture here is beyond measure. Any leader or trainer that I’ve had, has always invested their time in getting to know me as a person. Discover understands that we’re human and we can’t always “check our baggage at the door.” Because I’ve been supported to build a wonderful work-life balance, my dedication to this company is also beyond measure.

Seeing my potential even when I couldn’t

Once when I was an agent, I was feeling really discouraged. I’d just transferred from another state and was very out of my element on a new call channel, a new call center and a new state. My Team Leader noticed that I was disengaged, so she set up a meeting with our Department Manager. Meeting with your boss’s boss in any other context or company is an intimidating experience. But not at Discover. My Department Manager knew me by name and took the steps that he felt were necessary to put me in an area where I would learn and grow best. That moment in time has helped sky rocket my confidence in my leaders and in myself because Discover saw my potential when I couldn’t.

Coaching through the mental blocks

I’ve had many great days at Discover. But of all the amazing experiences that I’ve had here, I would have to say that the absolute best is when agents who’ve been promoted off my team come back and tell me about their successes. It makes my heart happy to see them grow with the company. I had one agent who wouldn’t let their guard down when they first came to my team. They were negative during coachings and overall it seemed like they didn’t want to be here. Rather than dismiss them, I took the time to get to know them and fought to bring down those walls because I saw their potential. By the end of their time on my team, they were one of the most positive and brightest shining lights. It was hard to believe where they’d started. A year later, that same agent came back to me to let me know that they were applying to be a coach because they wanted to help others grow the way that I helped them grow. And that right there, is why I do what I do.

Going back to school

My husband was in the Air Force for a long time. That meant a lot of moving and a lot of employers for me. Because we moved around so much, we were never in one spot long enough for me to finish school, let alone pay for it. When Discover presented the College Commitment program, the program that fully funds Bachelor’s degrees, it was the opportunity that I had been waiting for.  I was able to go back to school and further my education.

Always choosing compassion and empathy

During the flooding in Texas a couple of years ago, I spoke with a woman who lost everything in the floods. She was calling in to make a payment and she told me how she didn’t want to stop paying Discover because it has been one of the best cards she’d ever had. This customer was late and had incurred a late fee. She politely asked if there was any way that we could remove it. After reviewing the account to ensure that I could, I let her know that we would be able to remove the late fee and that she would have the credit on her next statement. She cried. She cried because that $39 meant that she would be able to buy her necessities while she was homeless. She also thanked me for talking to her like a human being, with compassion and empathy. Then she proceeded to say “people like you are the reason why I will never stop using Discover.” That encounter touched me to the core and I carry that with me to this day.

Thinking of joining?

I’d tell anyone considering Discover to be themselves. What I believe helps Discover be successful is that our employees are free to be themselves. We are such a diverse group from all different walks of life that we help each other be better every day. We need what you have to bring to the table!