As a mutual society founded over 190 years ago, making sure the needs of our members are met is our top priority. We sat down with our Member Services Team Leader, Val Brookes, to talk about how her role has developed during her 27 years with Shepherds Friendly!
- Hi Val, we hear you are approaching 27 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 – so I’ve done my fair share. My current role is Team Leader of the Member Services Team!
- Your current role of Member Services Team Leader 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 appreciate 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. For members to tell 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’s 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 to see 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 Investors in People award 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 is the main reason I have stayed for 28 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 put members at the heart of everything we do!