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SMCT Chairperson’s Award winner: Julie Miller

26 September 2022
SMCT 2022 Chairperson's Award winner Julie Miller poses for a photograph with SMCT Trust Chair, Dr Vanda Fortunato
SMCT 2022 Chairperson's Award winner Julie Miller and SMCT Trust Chair, Dr Vanda Fortunato

What is your role at SMCT?

My official title is Customer Experience (CX) – Business Support Specialist and I support the Customer Experience leadership team and the wider business as required. I work alongside many talented peers and frontline employees that lead the way in a unique and diverse industry. I started at SMCT as the Customer Support Team Leader in the Contact Centre back in April 2015, and from there I transitioned into a temporary role to implement our telephony system. I then moved into the role of CX Business Support Specialist after returning from maternity leave in mid-2017, a role that was developed to not only support leaders but also to oversee customer feedback, workforce planning, lead our improvement workshops, and much more. My role has naturally evolved and morphed over time to cater for business needs and I’m excited to see what is around the corner!

You were the recipient of the Chairperson’s Award, recognising your ability to demonstrate all SMCT values when working with other teams and supporting customers. What is the most important skill, in your opinion, when working collaboratively?

I don’t think I can narrow it down to ‘one important skill'. I believe it takes many skills and traits; being open, honest, and helpful whilst treating others the way you want to be treated is always a good start. For me, it is about being genuinely available, allowing others to voice their concerns, and always keeping people (the customer and our staff) at the forefront of my mind in everything I do.

What is one project / team activity that you have enjoyed being a part of over the last 12 months?

This one is hard to answer as my role is so diverse. Being the lead driver of a large process change over the last 12 months has been a challenging yet rewarding experience. Not to give away too much (watch this space!), but I am at the pointy end of completing a project designed to simplify a process for Customer Experience teams, while ensuring it supports the delivery of the task by our Operations teams, to provide our customers with a smooth and memorable experience. This is definitely an all-rounder project! Being able to sink my teeth into something that has impacted a customer and turn it around to mitigate future risk, while keeping it simple for our employees, is a win/win situation for me and makes for an enjoyable task to drive.

A photograph of SMCT Trust Chair Dr Vanda Fortunato as she presents the SMCT Chairperson's Award to 2022 recipient Julie Miller
Dr Vanda Fortunato presents the award to Julie

Your wish for the next 12 months is...

My wish is to continue to provide our customers with genuine support through the development of internal systems to streamline and simplify our current work processes. I also wish to provide as much support as possible for our dedicated and talented Customer Experience teams who are faced with assisting grieving customers each day, a task which can present a unique and difficult set of circumstances and can sometimes take an emotional toll. I am looking forward to seeing more targeted wellbeing initiatives, such as our Stop for Safety session with The Resilience Project, that can help our teams deal with these unique circumstances. We have so many opportunities to embrace and support our people as much as we support our client families.

What's something you wish everyone knew about working at SMCT or within the cemeteries industry?

I think the cemeteries industry is misunderstood. It is not the doom and gloom that society may think a cemetery is. To be honest, when I applied for the role as team leader, I wasn’t aware that I was applying for a role at a cemetery. I only came to know about the industry through the first phone screening and my first thought was ‘what have I gotten myself into?’. However, accepting the offer to work at SMCT was the best career decision I’ve made. It is a very special and rewarding role, as strange as it may seem to those outside the industry looking in. Being a part of someone’s grief journey and being able to help them in a small way at one of the worst times of their life is an honour. They (the customer) may never know who you are, may not even know what you did as part of the process, but our people know what we do makes a difference and that is what matters.

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