Richelle is the Account Manager in Manitoba and Saskatchewan. She shares her experiences from the past few weeks, the five things she focuses on when dealing with brokers and why consistent touch points are so important.
What have the past few weeks been like for you?
RM: Life changed really quickly. I returned from vacation on March 9 before there was any concept of required quarantine for travellers. Not even a week later, we were mandated to stay at home. And I found out that I was taking over Saskatchewan. It was a crazy three weeks. I really empathized with brokers, especially in Saskatchewan. It was a new relationship for all of us, but we were able to bond over how we felt about the uncertainty. In that first week especially, I was constantly on the phone. I would hang up from one call and have three new messages.
What are you hearing most from brokers? How are they feeling?
RM: At the beginning, the level of stress was unreal. Things were changing so quickly. I had one broker in particular that I heard from almost every day. She felt such pressure to get her business done because she wasn’t sure what was going to happen next. We spent a lot of time talking through it, and she calmed down a lot.
How have you been responding to brokers?
RM: I have friendships with a lot of my brokers, so we are talking or texting often. In my interactions with them, I’m staying calm, being kind and letting them lead the conversation, whether they want to vent or just catch up. I think it’s important to reach out, but it’s equally as important to understand how people want to connect, especially during this time. Professionally, I am resending all of the information materials that we are getting and emphasizing the importance of reading everything.
What are you doing personally, in your role, to help brokers stay relevant and resonate during this crisis?
RM: Having the consistent touch points is really important. I’m also aware that my relationships with brokers in Saskatchewan and Manitoba are different. For Saskatchewan, I am solidifying the relationships and figuring out how to approach people proactively. In Manitoba, because we have been working together for more than six years, I feel really comfortable reaching out. In any case, I think human connection is important. I’m asking a lot of questions. How are you? What’s going on in your world? How can I help you? Do you need me to resend you anything? We are all trying to cope and dealing with the personal side of this. It’s natural that we have all become closer because of the common experience.
Any final thoughts?
RM: My focus is to remain calm, show kindness, stay patient, let brokers lead and be there for them no matter what. At the beginning, many of my brokers started conversations frustrated and stressed out. So it was important for me not get caught up in that level of anxiety. I let them express themselves, tell their stories and then together, we identified what they needed from me and how I could help.