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On the Other End of The Line: Katie Quiñonez

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Faces of VTA is a Headways series that shares a behind-the-scenes look at VTA employees and the work they do to provide solutions that move you.

This article was written by Nicolette Nigos-Loredo and Nia Stewart in VTA's Recruitment and Selection group.

 
Ever wonder about the helpful people on the other end of the line when you call VTA?
 
Meet Katie Quiñonez.
 
Katie is an Information Services Representative and has been providing customer service at VTA for nearly two years. She has proven herself to be one of the most talented members of our contact center team, which helps customers over the phone, through email and on social media.
 
Part of the secret to her success is literally putting herself in customers’ shoes.
 
“When I first started, I dedicated a couple of weekends to just ride public transit,” Katie says, “and during the week I started taking the light rail so I could understand my callers better.”
 
It's paid off. Katie recently placed in the top five finalists at the American Public Transportation Association’s Call Center Challenge, representing VTA in a competition between 54 talented peers from agencies throughout North America.
 
“She demonstrated the great customer service skills that make her an outstanding member of the Customer Service Department,” said Lorraina Alvarez, Customer Service Supervisor. “It was a tough competition, reflecting how tough it is to help customers with complex trip planning, urgent schedules, and often stressful or upsetting situations.”
 
“Katie is very personable and friendly. She’s able to level with people. She consistently comes across as very caring and helpful, and that is the core of what makes a good customer service representative,” said Tony Hung, Customer Service Supervisor. “You have to find how to interact with each individual person and identify how to solve each individual problem.”

How did you start at VTA?

I was looking for a job that was more career-oriented, something long term with good benefits and retirement plans. My cousin works for VTA, so he would send me job postings from time to time and encourage me to apply.

What’s your proudest moment at VTA?

My proudest moment was placing in the top five in the Call Center Challenge out of a field of talented customer service representatives from throughout the country. There were three rounds of competition over nearly three months, and I was honored to represent VTA at the finals in Florida in February.

What advice do you have for future VTA employees?

Never give up. If you want something just try for it. Be the best that you can be. For future customer service employees, just try and be empathetic and sympathetic.

What three words describe your work at VTA?

Career, Opportunity, Great people. [That’s four, but we’ll count it.]

What is an interesting fact about you that your co-workers don’t know?

I was a tattoo artist for five years. I still do it on weekends with my family and friends.

How has VTA helped you in your career development?  

VTA has broadened my horizons and made me open up my eyes to opportunities to develop and better myself. VTA encourages you to grow. They push you to want to do better and be better. I’ve learned that whatever you want to do, VTA can help you transition through classes or home supervisory study.

Are you interested in joining VTA and providing solutions that move Silicon Valley?

To find out about our open positions or submit a Job Interest Card so we can notify you if something opens up, please visit www.vta.org/employment.

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