Rare is the person who sees an opportunity for satisfaction in a customer service job.
But Monica Hamilton’s attitude is so positive that she might be an endangered species.
“Being able to give people the opportunity to express how they’re feeling is important,” said Hamilton, director of the city of Tulsa Customer Care Center.
The idea is to keep residents from being given the runaround when they have a complaint or question.
Hamilton became the center’s director in July, but her customer service background was largely forged in Tulsa.
She led the Mayor’s Action Center — a precursor to the Customer Care Center — and the Department of Neighborhoods and was a mayoral aide before leaving for Fort Worth, where she was that city’s deputy chief of staff and then its executive general manager.
She returned to Tulsa in the depths of a global pandemic that saw a large part of her staff working remotely and on the heels of a furlough program for most city employees.
But Hamilton said she and her staff are undeterred.
About those angry calls, “there’s just kind of an ebb and flow, and people with customer service skills understand that,” she said. “One of the main things is empathy. You have to be able to feel and not become immune to the things people are going through.”
Hamilton extends that care to her employees.
“They’re dealing with some of the same challenges that every other parent or citizen is dealing with in their own lives,” she said. “And they’re really doing it with grace and tenacity.
“At my heart, I’m kind of a coach and a cheerleader, so this is kind of the perfect situation to marry those two,” Hamilton said.
“It was under Mayor (Kathy) Taylor that I began with the Action Center … when I had that aha moment where I realized that this was what I was supposed to be doing.”
But customer service isn’t necessarily the end of it.
Hamilton said she’s always thought about becoming a truck driver, or maybe she will become a kindergarten teacher.
“I have several careers still left in my life.”
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