Woods’ switchboard is the hub of communication and connectivity for the organization’s 1,900 employees, 690 clients, and anyone outside Woods who is trying to connect with a person or department inside the organization. In times of emergencies, the switchboard coordinates help needed and is the conduit for keeping critical parties updated.
Many staff, residents, families, and members of the community know our switchboard operators by voice. There are only five of them and one supervisor working 24/7, 365 days a year. Most callers have brief interactions with our operators and may not realize how much is going on behind the scenes.
Meet the Switchboard Team Who Take Your Calls
The switchboard is always there to help handle emergencies on campus, connect clients and families, link supervisors and staff, as well as anything else that comes up. The operators, Mike, Nanda, Chuck, Cat, Ms. Roberta, and Linda, emphasize that each call is different and must be handled with the utmost professionalism, top-notch customer service, and complete confidentiality. The operators all keep notes of what is going on around campus, and, at the start of every shift, each operator will read the notes written by the previous operator to make sure they are caught up.
Multitasking is a vital part of the operators’ job, and it is incredible to witness firsthand how much they can do at one time. In one instance, Mike was alternating between two phone calls, while also handling a third issue – and other communications were coming over the radio. There was also a call waiting. Calmly, he was able to handle everything without missing a beat.
Our Operators Coordinate Not Only Communication But Care
With all of this going on, the operators still give each caller their complete attention. They take the time to speak with each caller and develop relationships with the regular callers, especially with our clients. Clients often call the switchboard to be forwarded to either family members or their caseworkers. Many clients call the switchboard so often that the operators have their family’s phone numbers memorized, so they are able to quickly forward their calls.
Clients will even call them sometimes just to talk about their day or express concerns they have. They trust the operators and know that someone will always pick up. Operators are sometimes even able to prevent behavioral episodes when clients call them upset, just by talking and listening to them. Former clients will sometimes call from their new placements, wanting to hear a comforting, familiar voice.
Each operator shows an incredible amount of compassion and patience in how they handle every phone call. They emphasize that customer service is an essential part of their job. The switchboard operators are some of the people who know Woods best because the switchboard is the heart of the campus’ communications.