Customer connectivity and service at SMCT: recognising Ben Lewis

17 November 2023
Ben Lewis standing in front of a background of greenery.
Ben Lewis in front of greenery at Springvale Botanical Cemetery

Receptionist Ben Lewis has been honoured with the award for customer connectivity at the annual Southern Metropolitan Cemeteries Trust (SMCT) Awards Night. The recognition came as a surprise to Ben, who had been referred to apply for the customer facing role at Springvale Botanical Cemetery over a year ago. This was after he was made redundant in the automotive industry professional during the COVID-19 pandemic.

"I never expected to find myself working in a cemetery. I had no idea that I had been nominated and I was quite surprised,” says Ben.

The award for customer connectivity recognises a team member’s remarkable ability to serve the nuanced needs of community members —especially when they are navigating one of the most vulnerable times of their lives.

Listening, learning and genuine conversations

At SMCT, customer connectivity is a core capability that measures how team members can empathise and build trust with the families and communities they serve.

According to Ben, customer service at the front desk of a cemetery is about truly listening.

"The customer is always going to give you the answer that you are looking for. You just need to engage them in conversation," says Ben.

His approach focuses on genuine conversations and rapport-building. He explains that by helping customers feel comfortable and ensuring the best for them, our team members can understand and best serve their needs.

With 15 years of experience in customer service, Ben is no stranger to connecting with people. His role at SMCT extends beyond the initial greeting and encompasses a wide range of responsibilities from sales appointments to paperwork.

“You learn so much in the receptionist role given that you need to know what goes on in the different areas of the business to get the right answer for the customer,” says Ben.

Connecting across the organisation

Even though cemetery work might seem worlds apart from the automotive industry, Ben explains that the core principles of connecting with customers remain the same.

“As ground-level colleagues, we are here to help the customer and do everything that is best for them. So obviously the more we can connect with the customer, the better the outcomes,” says Ben.

With touchpoints across various teams, Ben truly sees the bigger picture at SMCT. He finds his customer-facing role fulfilling and enjoys working with and learning from all the different teams.

He shares that teamwork is central to his role at SMCT and often speaks about the cohesiveness of his front-of-house team. Ben says the team also frequently receives compliments, especially regarding the immaculate maintenance of the beautiful gardens at Springvale Botanical Cemetery.

Finding balance in and beyond work

Ben is a huge believer in having a personal life beyond your professional work. On the weekends, he has a passion for blacksmithing. From forging wall hooks to serving customers daily, Ben can channel his creativity into a craft that also requires a high level of care and patience — a rewarding counterbalance to his work at the cemetery.

In recognising Ben with the award for customer connectivity, SMCT not only celebrates his individual contributions but also embraces the importance of having a person-centered approach in an industry that deals with the universal experiences of loss, grief, and honouring life.

Ben's approach is a reminder that the true measure of customer connectivity and service lies in the genuine care and dedication a person can bring to every interaction—values that are the heartbeat of SMCT.

At SMCT, we take pride in recognising and celebrating the exceptional individuals who play a vital role in our organisation's success. Our annual SMCT Awards honour the remarkable achievements of our team members who consistently go the extra mile, positively impacting our organisation and the communities we serve.

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