Customer Service | Advice & Action

Living the Golden Rule

What is the true meaning of excellent customer service? Words of advice from some of Ottawa County’s Customer Service Award nominees:

  • “Listen to what people are saying to you.”
  • “Always, treat people like they are humans, and handle each interaction with compassion and respect.”
  • “Always be willing to think outside the box for solutions. There is always an answer.”
  • “Be empathetic. Think to yourself, ‘what if I were in their shoes?’ Regard the feelings of others as more important than your own.”

Outstanding Customer Service in Action

Each quarter the Customer Service Team receives numerous nominations for the Customer Service Award. The stories are redacted and submitted to each team member to read. The Customer Service Team members then vote on the ones they found most inspiring. This is an extremely challenging task because the stories are heartfelt, inspiring and depict the true spirit of the Ottawa Way. Many stories are too good to not share.

Sandra Shafer

“Sandy provides an endless selection of food available to the staff at the Grand Haven courthouse. She spends a lot of her spare time preparing meals for those of us who work here and I am sure many of us would starve without her. It is so nice to be able to pick up a quick snack or meal to keep me going all day, as I usually don’t have time to think about that when I am rushing out of my house in the morning. I have a hard enough time making sure my kids get fed, and Sandy helps feed the entire courthouse! So grateful for what she does for her coworkers.”

Karla Snodgrass

“Going above and beyond for a customer who was recording a warranty deed. When Karla compared the legal description on the deed with the Ottawa County Property Search description, she noticed that there was a 7-foot exception included in the warranty deed which was not in the county’s description. Because this property is a part of a plat, she reviewed 10 resolutions that were made for the plat. She also reviewed the amendment to the master deed, the master deed and the adjoining properties – none of which included the 7-foot exception in their descriptions. Karla also contacted the Assessor for Holland City to see if he could figure out why the exception was not included and he was unable to figure it out. Not only did she do all of this work, she also made sure to keep in contact with Ben (who was recording the deed) to let him know that she was still working on trying to figure out the difference in the descriptions. After she completed all of the research, Karla and her supervisor decided to let the deed be recorded as is. Because Karla did all of this extra work, it is evident that she cares about the customers who visit the Treasurer’s Office and also about doing the best job that she can. Therefore, I would like to nominate Karla Snodgrass for an Outstanding Customer Service Award.”

Adam Zantello

“Every time Adam Z. has entered my establishment he not only takes a professional but a personal interest in making sure all staff is informed of the nature of his visit as well as a complete and proper inspection. He does not cut corners and always shows a positive attitude during his routine. Adam is very willing to answer all questions from any team members before, during, and after the inspection. I look forward to his visits knowing I will always learn something new. One thing I can add is that he is the only routine inspector that has ever made the effort to contact us with any answers he did not have at the time of inspection, usually within 24 hours.”

Deputy Josh Barton

“My son was involved in a bad car accident on his way home from work. When I arrived on the scene I was I was very concerned about the well-being of everybody, especially my son. Deputy Barton took the time to calm me down and explain that everybody was ok and explain what had happened to the best of his knowledge. Deputy Barton’s demeanor during a stressful time was exemplary. I  would like to thank Deputy Barton for his professionalism during this incident.”

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Getting to Know the Prosecutor’s Office

What is the role of the Ottawa County Prosecutor’s Office? As the elected Prosecutor, Ronald Frantz serves as the chief administrator of criminal justice for Ottawa County. More specifically, his office makes criminal charging decisions based on investigative reports provided by law enforcement agencies. In addition, the Prosecutor’s Office assists with investigations by providing legal advice to law enforcement agencies and aids with the drafting and review of search warrants. The Office also handles court proceedings in Adult, Juvenile, and Abuse/Neglect Courts and is assigned to handle Mental Commitment Proceedings in Probate Court as well. Appeals are researched and argued by the attorney staff members of the Prosecutor’s Office before the State and Federal Appellate Courts. In addition to these key responsibilities, the Prosecutor’s Office team also facilitates training for law enforcement and the community and serves on various committees such as West Michigan Enforcement Team, Lakeshore Alliance Against Domestic and Sexual Violence, and the Child Death Review Team. Some of the attorneys on staff are also assigned to the Mental Health and Sobriety Courts.

The Prosecutor’s Office additionally provides victim advocacy and domestic assault intervention through a team of three Victim Advocates and one Violence Intervention Officer (VIO). In addition to the Victim Advocates and VIO, the thirteen attorneys of the office (including the Prosecutor) are supported by one Legal Clerk, eight Legal Assistants, and an Office Administrator. There are two offices for the Prosecutor:  one in the Grand Haven Courthouse and the other in the Holland Courthouse. A satellite office for the Abuse/Neglect Prosecutor is located at the Fillmore Complex.

Customer Service | Advice & Action

Living the Golden Rule; what is the true meaning of excellent customer service?

A word of advice from some of Ottawa County’s Customer Service Award nominees:

“Be there .. really listen to the person you are helping, empathize with them.”

“As you take a call for service, act like your the one calling and provide the service that you would expect.”

“Most people aren’t aware of the inner workings of County government (with which we are very familiar). Remember this, and help them navigate a system/process/service that to them may be very puzzling or frustrating.”

“Make eye contact with the customer.”

Outstanding Customer Service in Action:

Each quarter the Customer Service Team receives numerous nominations for the Customer Service Award. The stories are redacted and submitted to each team member to read. The Customer Service Team members then vote on the ones they found most inspiring. This is an extremely challenging task because the stories are heartfelt, inspiring and depict the true spirit of the Ottawa Way. These stories are too good to not share…

David Cook

“Dave has assisted and supported Juvenile Services on a number of projects crucial to our department being effective and efficient. Dave’s help comes with no conditions, a great attitude, and creative resolution. Dave does not have “no” or “problem” in his vocabulary. Dave is friendly, approachable, and good spirited. He provides great customer care and concern!”

Becky Ashcroft

“Becky went way out of her way to help me obtain a copy of a police report. I had thought that if I came in I could obtain a copy then and there. I had submitted a request on line so I did not fill out the paper copy on Thursday when I was there. The police officer had not provided me with any contact information and Becky looked it up for me. She watched for my online request and when she didn’t receive it on Friday, she had to go back to the officer to get my contact info and she called me to let me know she did not receive it so that I could come in again and do the paperwork. I really appreciate all she did. To some it may not seem like a big deal, but to me, it was. I needed a copy of that report ASAP. Thanks you so much Becky!”

Are you in the loop?

If you are not in the loop, you should consider joining it: GovLoop. GovLoop’s mission is simple: connect government to improve government. They provide articles, resources and training for public sector employees, plus forums for connecting and collaborating with colleagues across the nation. It is also worth mentioning that they recently published this article about Ottawa County’s customer service initiative. Check it out!

Outstanding Customer Service Award

Join us in congratulating Shane Ryke from the Sheriff’s Office, who has been recognized as Ottawa County’s Outstanding Customer Service Award recipient for the third quarter of 2016. The individuals who nominated Shane wrote:

Yesterday was my daughter’s 4th birthday we went to Catch Air to celebrate. On the way home to Muskegon, we had a tire blowout. We were on the side of the highway for about two hours while my dad came to help and go get a new tire for us. While we were waiting, Deputy Shane Ryke stopped to help and stayed to make sure we were safe because it was the driver side tire. While talking he learned it was my daughter’s birthday he had a stuffed animal in his cruiser and gave it to her. I just wanted to share because it helped turn a bad situation into a pleasant one. Thank you, Deputy Ryke!

After learning my son was the boy who waves to him from across the street at home, and that he wants to become an officer someday, Shane took the time to find junior deputy badges and brought them over to my son all on his own time. To my 5-year-old, this was huge. With a lot of negative things in the world, this is reassuring to my son that cops are not bad people. He’s still set on becoming an officer someday “just like the one across the road.”

 

Read more about Shane at miOttawa.org

Outstanding Customer Service Award

Ottawa County is delighted to announce its eleventh recipient of the Outstanding Customer Service Award.

Congratulations to Deputy Shane Ryke from the Sheriff’s Office!

For the 3rd Quarter of 2016, 20 employees were nominated for an Outstanding Customer Service Award. Some were nominated multiple times. Nominees for the Outstanding Customer Service Award were:

  • Jill Bannink, Department of Public Health
  • Connie Barker, County Clerk/Register of Deeds
  • Chris Bartaway, Innovation and Technology
  • Karen Billings, Department of Public Health
  • Kristin Conrad, Department of Public Health
  • Dave Cook, Innovation and Technology
  • Kimberly Wolters, Department of Public Health
  • Hannah Hoeksema, Department of Public Health
  • Kevin Hoxsey, Department of Public Health
  • Scott Ippel, Sheriff’s Office
  • Carla Lieffers, County Clerk/Register of Deeds
  • Robb MacGregor, Department of Public Health
  • Melanie Manion, Parks and Recreation
  • Jonathan Marin, Treasurer’s Office
  • Jennifer Myers, Community Mental Health
  • Steve Namenye, Innovation and Technology
  • Andrea Olson, Friend of the Court
  • Mary Beth, Rokisky, County Clerk/Register of Deeds
  • Terry Sands, County Clerk/Register of Deeds
  • Drew Shaw, Department of Public Health

Congratulations to all of the nominees and keep-up the spectacular service! If you wish to nominate a co-worker or promote the program to residents, details are available at miOttawa.org. Nominations can come from both inside and outside the organization. Each quarter, the Customer Service Team will review all of the nominations and select the recipient of the Outstanding Customer Service Award.

More information about Shane Ryke will be posted in a future article.

Congratulations again, Shane!

Outstanding Customer Service Award

Ottawa County is delighted to announce its tenth recipient of the Outstanding Customer Service Award.

Congratulations to Rachell Genesky from the County Clerk’s Office!

For the 2nd Quarter of 2016, 15 employees were nominated for an Outstanding Customer Service Award, some were nominated multiple times. Nominees for the Outstanding Customer Service Award were:

  • Esther Arizola, Ottawa County Department of Public Health
  • Macy Barcheski, Fiscal Services
  • Anna Bednarek, Community Mental Health
  • Brad Bordewyk, Ottawa County Department of Public Health
  • Laura Deal, Friend of the Court
  • Richard DeWitt, Facilities Maintenance
  • Jocelyn Garris, Human Resources
  • Elizabeth Lange, County Clerk/Register of Deeds Office
  • Jonathan Marin, Treasurer’s Office
  • David Miller, Ottawa County Department of Public Health
  • Terry Sands, County Clerk/Register of Deeds Office
  • Doug Sherman, Sheriff’s Office
  • Chris Todd, Sheriff’s Office
  • Jessica Voglewede, Ottawa County Department of Public Health

Congratulations to all of the nominees and keep-up the spectacular service! If you wish to nominate a co-worker or promote the program to residents, details are available at miOttawa.org. Nominations can come from both inside and outside the organization. Each quarter, the Customer Service Team will review all of the nominations and select the recipient of the Outstanding Customer Service Award.

More information about Rachell Genesky will be posted in a future article.

Congratulations again, Rachell!

Meet Ottawa County’s most recent customer service award winner

Join us in congratulating Greg Rappleye from Corporation Counsel, who has been recognized as Ottawa County’s Outstanding Customer Service Award recipient for the first quarter of 2016. “If time doesn’t fly, it certainly hustles along.” said Greg who has been an employee for 25 years. He began is tenure in 1991 in the Ottawa County Prosecutors Office, doing the County’s civil work under the direction of Prosecutor Ronald J. Frantz. Later, Rappleye’s duties evolved into the Office of Corporation Counsel, which serves under the direction of the County Administrator.

The individual who nominated Greg wrote: I came in the main entrance at the Fillmore building and found Greg assisting an elderly woman who needed to go to the treasurer’s office. She was walking with a walker and Greg had her sit on the walker and pushed her down the hall and then down the elevator to the treasurer’s office. She finished her business at the treasurer’s office and he assisted her in the same way back to her car in the parking lot and made sure she was back in her car. He showed what customer service at Ottawa County is all about.

In order to better get to know Greg, we asked him the following questions:

The thing I like most about working for Ottawa County is:

I like my fellow employees, and the variety of work they bring to me on a daily basis.  In the course of my work, I’ve had the opportunity to consider everything from the daily price of exotic birds in the wholesale farm market to the constitutionality of legislatively imposed restrictions on political speech. I can’t think of another attorney whose practice is so varied.

The hardest thing I have ever done:

Oh, my! Too much heartbreak and bathos to get into that here.  For the truly curious, I could recommend a couple books of poems.

You would be surprised to learn that:

You might be surprised to learn that I am a writer. I have a Masters in Fine Arts degree in Creative Writing, was a Bread Loaf Fellow, and have published three full-length collections of poetry, three chapbooks, and have another full-length collection in search of a publisher.  My poems and essays have appeared in many places, both online and in print.   I’m currently  working on a manuscript of poems about my Irish family, who came to America in the 1850’s and worked in the cotton mills of Biddeford, Maine.  I am also reworking the draft of a first novel, set in Guatemala during the 1954 revolution.

If you could have dinner with anyone dead or alive, who would you pick and why?

At the moment, I’d like to have dinner with Frank O’Connor (1903-1966), who wrote so well in his short stories about Irish family life.  I’d love to kick back with Frank on a rainy night in West Sligo and compare notes.

If you had to spend all of your vacations for the rest of your life in the same place, where would you go and why?

The requirements are good seafood, good bookstores, a lonely windswept beach and a quiet place to work.  Let’s say the Northwest corner of Oregon, off-season, from Portland to the Coast.

If you could travel back in time to any certain era or event, when/where would you pick and why?

I’d go back to the evening of January 30, 1962, at the Michigan State Fair Coliseum, just in time to stop the Flying Wallendas from attempting “The Great Pyramid” without a net, before a crowd of 7,000 curious circus-goers, thirty-five feet above the Coliseum floor. Why? No one needs to live half a century onward with that rolling around in their head.

Getting to know Public Health

What exactly is public health? Edward Winslow, a leader of American public health from the first half of the 20th century defined it this way:

“The science and the art of preventing disease, prolonging life, and promoting physical health and efficiency through organized community efforts for sanitation of the environment, the control of community infections, the education of the individual in principles of personal hygiene, the organization of medical and nursing services for the early diagnosis and preventative treatment of disease, and the development of the social machinery which will ensure to every individual in the community a standard of living adequate for the maintenance of health.”

Medical care focuses on individual patients and healing those that are ill, public health regards the community as the patient and focuses on preventing illness.

The Ottawa County Department of Public Health is a complex group of professionals with diverse backgrounds and specializations working together to assure conditions that promote and protect public health in Ottawa County. With this in mind, the following is directory describing some of the services provided by your department of public health:

Directory_ofServices_lettersize_2016_page1 Directory_ofServices_lettersize_2016_page2 Directory_ofServices_lettersize_2016_page3 Directory_ofServices_lettersize_2016_page4

Customer Service | Advice & Action

Living the Golden Rule; what is the true meaning of excellent customer service?

A word of advice from some of Ottawa County’s Customer Service Award nominees:

“I always try to approach a customer with a smile.”

“I know sometimes dealing with the public can be frustrating at times, but usually if you speak to the customer in a soothing tone, and helpful manner, some that can be hostile will calm down and appreciate that you are there to help them. Many are confused how the process works, but I find once you take the time to explain, they have a better understanding.”

“Take time to listen to the customer’s needs.”

“Treat others how you wish to be treated.”

Outstanding Customer Service in Action:

Each quarter the Customer Service Team receives numerous nominations for the Customer Service Award. The stories are redacted and submitted to each team member to read. The Customer Service Team members then vote on the ones they found most inspiring. This is an extremely challenging task because the stories are heartfelt, inspiring and depict the true spirit of the Ottawa Way. These stories are too good to not share…

Deputy Eric Smith

“An iPod Touch was turned into Deputy Smith. After making a few inquiries as to who the owner might be nothing turned up. He sensed that the owner was probably a young child that was very upset about losing their item. He continued to keep checking. Even after placing the item in storage he would send an email, or make a phone call, if he thought of some other avenue he could take to find the owner. The owner was a 9 year old girl who was devastated about losing her iPod. Her, and her family, made many different attempts to see if anyone had found, or turned in her iPod that fell out of her bag at the soccer field, but their efforts never crossed the path of Deputy Smith’s efforts. On the tenth day of the iPod missing Deputy Smith found the connection that linked the iPod to my daughter. He made a 9 year old’s year by taking the time to find us. We realize how busy our law enforcement officials are. The fact that Deputy Smith took the extra time and effort to find the owner of essentially a toy because he felt it was important speaks highly to his character and dedication to public service. We are very grateful for his efforts.”

Jennell Challa

My husband recently lost his job. This loss was unexpected and something neither my husband nor I were prepared to deal with. Thankfully, Jennell has been an extremely supportive supervisor. She reminded me about resources like the EAC and has shown a genuine interest in my personal well-being. These actions make her a great boss. She went above and beyond, however, by reaching out and offering support to my husband as well. My husband is preparing to enter into a completely different line of work and didn’t know where to begin in the job hunt. Jennell provided valuable insight into the interview process and even conducted a mock interview to help him practice his interview skills. When I went to Jennell to let her know about our situation, she could have adopted a “that’s not my problem attitude” and moved on. However, she exemplified outstanding customer service when she not only listened but said how can I help you AND how can I help him. I am extremely appreciative for this helpful and compassionate attitude. Thank you Jennell!