People in Our Neighborhood: Member Services

You almost never hear the phone ring at this call center.  

That might sound strange, since the team at Neighborhood Health Plan of Rhode Island’s call center answers anywhere from 1,200 to 2,000 phone calls every day. The reason? The 52 Member Services Representatives on duty wear headsets; a gentle beep in their ears alerts them to a waiting call. 

On the other end of the line?  That’s where the fun starts.

“I really do love my job,” says Client Services Coordinator Adriana Alvayero. “It’s fun; it’s full of excitement and mystery. You just never know what you will get throughout the day. You never know what type of personalities you’ll deal with or what issues you will deal with.”

Alvayero is trained to take calls from prospective members who might be calling to inquire about what services Neighborhood offers or how much the plans cost. But she is also able to take calls from current members and from providers or pharmacists.

“The services that we provide leave a lasting impression,” she says.

Working in Member Services is rewarding, but also demanding. 

“At times, I’ll be honest with you, it is a difficult job because you put a lot of emotion into it, because I’m passionate about what I do,” explains Lizzy Lima, a supervisor here, adding: “I love what I do.  I don’t see myself doing anything else.”

“As the first line to our members, the staff recognizes and realizes the importance of their role,” says manager Kathye Riquinha of her team. “They’re very passionate to make sure they take that ‘above and beyond’ step.”

Adds Lima: “We are the first contact that our members have with the organization, so I always look at us like the heart of the organization. We keep the blood flowing.”

Riquinha says she feels lucky to have a staff full of people who make emotional connections to the people on the other end of the line. She says that, to her team, “it’s not a phone call.  It’s somebody that needs our help. And that’s the way they look at it.”

Supervisor Amanda Graziosi agrees: “When I walk in, in the start of my day I might have a plan to have meetings and to meet with my team on certain things, but it really is the member that drives my day as a whole.”

Member Services representatives are also closely scrutinized; every moment of their day is accounted for.

“They have a ten minute break in the morning, a ten minute break in the afternoon and 30 minutes for lunch,” explains Riquinha. “It’s very structured, everyone has a schedule.”

She says it has to work that way if Neighborhood wants to continue providing the excellent customer service for which it has become known. 

“We are unique to any other department in Neighborhood: Our phones are turned on a certain time whether I have two reps on the phones or 52 reps on the phones,” Riquinha adds.

When you call Neighborhood, not only will you get to speak to a compassionate person, your call will get answered in a hurry. The team strives to answer 80% of all calls within 30 seconds; it’s a goal they routinely surpass.

The staff loves the challenge.

Member Services Specialist Julissa Chevalier puts it simply: “We just go above and beyond.”