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Customer service from start to finish

Customer service from start to finish

WendyEnglishClient Service Manager helps clients through their Hospital experience.

Pet paraphernalia from grateful clients decks the walls of the Client Service Manager’s office at the Cornell University Hospital for Animals. Surrounded by personalized thank you cards and photographs of former patients, Wendy English works around the clock to serve our clients’ needs. As the Hospital’s Client Services Manager, she provides clear communication, counseling for critical financial decisions, and a positive working environment for all around her.

“Good customer service gets clients in the door, keeps them happy, and keeps them coming back,” said English, who began working in the Hospital’s phone room 22 years ago. There she learned the inner workings of the Hospital, the value of excellent customer service, and the need for teamwork.

“Customer service is not just being nice on the phone,” said English. “It involves everyone you work with, from students to coworkers to clients. Every interaction counts. One person alone can’t run a hospital. I like the sports team analogy: it doesn’t matter who’s the owner and who’s the coach and who’s playing what position: everyone needs to work together to win.”

Grounded by firm philosophies and a natural talent for customer service, English rose through the ranks and now oversees 19 employees across the Hospital’s key operational units. From admissions and scheduling to discharge and billing, and all the issues that arise in between, English is there to help, ensuring a positive client experience.

“From start to finish we’re here to serve the clients,” said English. “I work to keep them informed about the status of their animals and to understand their options in choosing and financing care. I speak to every clinician every day about what’s happening with their cases. This helps us keep every case within its estimated cost, update the estimate if the situation changes, and make sure the client remains informed.”

Pet owners often face tough choices and have to weigh conflicting responsibilities. If a client can’t afford care for a pet, English gets involved. “Say you’re a working mother with debt, a husband on disability, and three kids to feed, and then the dog breaks its leg. Do you pay a couple thousand for surgery or do you choose to amputate for lesser cost? Do you pay upfront or apply for care credit? Often people need someone to sit down and talk them through their options. I do a lot of client counseling, I listen to their situations, help list pros and cons, and outline their options.”

Cash-strapped clients seeking financial assistance for pet care can apply to the Hospital’s Patient Assistance Fund. English handles a steady influx of applications and determines, with Hospital Director and Financial Director, who is eligible for support.

English is on call 24-7, every day of the year, and regularly fields calls at hours most people would balk at. “I don’t have free time,” she laughs. “I’ve always been the type of person needing something to do. I can’t sit still for long and hate being bored. I thrive under pressure, I like it. I like the responsibility of knowing that clients and staff clinicians can think ‘I’ll call Wendy; she’ll know what to do.’ I love helping clients and getting them to leave thinking ‘those people are so nice; they really care.’”

Weekends find English in the mud of WNYOA race tracks, where her college-aged son races quads. “I work in his pit crew, down in the trenches, gassing him up, changing his splattered goggles. Some Sundays I’m out there from 5am to 8pm.”

Even mired in muddy trenches on a long Sunday, English will faithfully answer the phone, always happy to help a client in need.

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