Presbyterian Center customer service ministry remains fully functional during pandemic

Working from home, ‘PresbyTel’ consultants serve the ‘people in the pew’

by Gail Strange | Presbyterian News Service

Photo by Glenn Carstens-Peters via Unsplash

LOUISVILLE — It’s been almost a year since most of the employees of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) packed up their offices and left the building because of COVID-19. While the building is open only on a limited basis, customer service employees who work at the Presbyterian Center are actively engaged and continue to be available to assist Presbyterians from across the country.

On March 24, 2020, Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear announced he would sign an executive order closing all non-life-sustaining businesses to in-person traffic by Thursday, March 26, 2020.

In response to Beshear’s order, Kathy Lueckert, president of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), A Corporation, said, “As members of this community, we will honor this request. Effective Friday, March 27, 2020, the Presbyterian Center will no longer be open.”

By that time of most of the PC(USA) staff were already working from home.

While most employees are no longer in the building, the gift of technology has allowed employees to continue the important work of the Church. With laptops, desktop computers, hotspot devices and mobile phones, the safety needs and well-being of employees are being met and the work continues.

One ministry that’s on the frontline of service is the Customer Service department. Initially there was concern that this vital service might not be able to be performed from employees’ homes. However, the PC(USA)’s Information Technology (IT) department has risen to the challenge to ensure that national staff have all of the technical support they need to work from home. The Customer Service department is among those that are up and fully functioning from their homes.

Customer Service is available from 8 a.m. through 5 p.m. Eastern Time Monday through Friday by dialing 800-728-7228. Individuals who call the Center during these hours will get the same quality of professional service as if the building were open. Anyone calling after hours can leave a voicemail; the call will be returned the next business day. Callers may dial an employee’s extension and be connected directly to that employee or simply email any employee.

“This pandemic has caused us to rethink the way we do our work, but it has not stopped us from doing our job”, said Melody Medley, Customer Service’s lead consultant. “We are here to serve. It is very important to be able to answer questions when the callers call in.”

Medley says that PresbyTel, as the operation is known by some in the organization, strives to provide great customer service to anyone who calls in or reaches out through email.

“Whether we are finding information that callers need or transferring the caller to another staff member that is able to assist them, we are here to serve the people in the pew,” Medley said.

Customer Service Representative Ricky Blade said, “The pandemic has forced us to look at the way we operate. We have looked at processes and procedures and have become more efficient in our operation.”

“It is a blessing for me working at the Church. I enjoy serving the people of God,” Blade added. “There is no doubt that this is where God wants me to be. I call it divine; I believe that God prepared me for this job at this season of my life.  A lot of the people who call bless me, and I pray that I bless them.

“Sometimes it’s challenging,” Blade said, “but it’s still a blessing.”

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