“I want to make them feel comfortable and show that person dignity.”
Working as a contact center specialist can have trying moments. But Marla works hard to turn upsetting calls into positive ones.
“There are moments when I've had patients who weren't too happy on the line, and they were kind of upset and short,” she says. “I want to make them feel comfortable and show that person dignity regardless.
They’re going through a lot and not really directing this at me. Some have been angry, and by the end of the call, they were able to schedule, and they apologize for being like that. And I tell them, ‘I understand. It's OK.’
“It makes me feel great because you appreciate how that patience pays off when the call ends in such a positive way. You really see what patience does.”
Since joining UPMC in 2018 as a contact center specialist, Marla has worked her way up to a senior position. She schedules for various specialties.
Sometimes, she’ll make an appointment and cancel a separate appointment for the same department on the same day. That means she can reach out to the previous caller and potentially get them in sooner.
“It’s great because they're really appreciative,” she says.
Her job involves talking to many different people, including many who are in pain or who are scared.
“It makes you scared, too, because you put yourself in their shoes,” she says. So, I just try to do whatever I can as a scheduler to get them in as soon as possible to ease their mind and help them to start treatment for whatever is ailing them. After all that happens, then I feel that I've done my job well.”
Marla knows her step is one of many in a patient’s path to getting better, and she’s happy to be a part of that process.
“To help them get to that provider so that they can start their journey back to getting well is special,” she says. “Sometimes you don't know the impact you have on people, and I’m just happy to make their experience on the line the best it can be.”
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