Customer Service Week 2018: Exceeding Expectations


Message from Vilma Huertas, Executive Vice President for Compliance and Chief Compliance Officer

We hope this week has provided moments of motivation and collaboration for you and your colleagues as you’ve reviewed customer service best practices, brainstormed new solutions to challenging problems, and focused on how you can better serve NYCHA residents every day.

As we close out Customer Service Week 2018, I want to reiterate NYCHA’s commitment to creating a culture of integrity, compliance, and transparency – all key in our efforts to provide the best customer service.

As you may be aware, we have created NYCHA’s first-ever Compliance Department, which will launch by the end of the year, to strengthen our compliance with all laws and regulations. In the meantime, we’re conducting a top-to-bottom organizational assessment to identify areas of improvement, which includes meeting with staff Authority-wide. In addition, we have formed a Compliance Working Group comprised of employee volunteers, including front-line staff, who have been instrumental in sharing on how everyone can do their part to help NYCHA meet our compliance goals. I would like to take this opportunity to thank this group for contributing great ideas.

Although Customer Service Week is celebrated one week a year, every week is a chance to exceed expectations. Employees at all levels of the agency can help foster a culture of compliance by holding themselves accountable for their individual work and responsibilities, which will strengthen the agency’s collective efforts to better serve residents. Please continue to share ideas for areas of improvement with your colleagues and let’s keep working together to protect and improve resident safety and quality of life.

Self-care Thursday Message from Sideya Sherman, EVP for Community Engagement & Partnerships

NYCHA is home to one in 14 New Yorkers. We serve thousands of residents daily, who rely on the essential services we provide. Through challenging times, we’ve worked to keep NYCHA running. But what do we do to keep our own engines running?

As we balance the demands of the workplace with our personal lives, today I invite you to think about self-care – that is, anything you can do to take care of your emotional, mental, and physical health. When we are healthy, engaged, and performing at our best, it’s easier to provide residents with the great customer service they deserve.

Here are a few ways to practice self-care in the workplace:

• Create a schedule: Having a daily schedule and keeping track of your responsibilities can help you stay on top of your tasks.

• Prioritize your responsibilities: Work with your supervisor on identifying tasks in order of importance.

• Connect with others: Sharing your thoughts with friends, coworkers, or your supervisor can help alleviate stressors. If you need more one-on-one support, contact our Employee Assistance Program at (212) 306-7660 or via email at The EAP offers free and confidential assistance to employees and family members.

• Practice healthy habits: Getting enough sleep to feel rested, eating healthy foods, and engaging in moderate physical exercise several times a week will help keep your body strong and healthy and minimize the impact of stress. Little things such as packing a healthy lunch, walking during your lunch break, or stretching at your desk will go a long way.

• Take advantage of your health insurance wellness benefits: Most plans offer preventative health services including screening tests, check-ups, and vaccinations at no additional cost. In addition, WorkWell NYC, the City of New York’s workplace health initiative, provides tools and resources to help you be your best self.

Great customer service stems from great self-care and treating others the way we deserve to be treated.

Wisdom Wednesday Message

One way to exceed expectations in customer service is by reviewing best practices and learning new techniques to help you do a great job. On Wisdom Wednesday, we offer you a few tips on accountability and encourage you to share lessons you’ve learned about customer service with your coworkers.

At NYCHA, we serve external and internal customers, from residents and coworkers to vendors and partners. It’s important for us to ensure that everyone is working toward the goal of strengthening our relationships with our customers. Every interaction is an opportunity to make a difference.

In the book, The Oz Principle, Roger Connors, Tom Smith, and Craig Hickman, reference The Wizard of Oz as a guide for discussing accountability in individual and organizational performance to achieve success. The four steps to the Oz Principle are:

1. See It: Be aware of the situation.
2. Own It: Own up to your role in the situation.
3. Solve It: Come up with a plan.
4. Means to Do It: Put your plan in motion.

Exceptional customer service begins with you and requires that you:

• Have the courage, wisdom, and heart to provide service;
• Demonstrate professionalism with integrity, composure under pressure, competency and personal accountability;
• Exceed customer expectations; and
• Build long-term relationships that evolve as customers’ needs change.

We’ve also created a reference card outlining five essential steps to a positive and productive customer service experience. You can keep the card at your desk or carry it with you to use as a guide.

Teamwork Tuesday Message from General Manager Vito Mustaciuolo

I hope you and your teams are off to an enthusiastic start to Customer Service Week 2018. Exceptional customer service is the foundation of our efforts to better serve the 1 in 14 New Yorkers who call NYCHA home. During this week, please take advantage of the resources in the Customer Service Week Guide to help you build and maintain trust with residents, community partners, vendors, and other customers.

Every employee at NYCHA—regardless of title—is working toward our mission to provide safe, affordable housing to New Yorkers. As we discuss strengthening our relationships with residents, it’s also important to talk about how we work together. You’re all valuable members of the NYCHA team. As teammates, everyone deserves respectful communication; opportunities for growth, sharing ideas and information; and recognition of good work. I’ve seen firsthand how staff from different departments have united in times of crisis and routine in service to our residents.

Being a strong team will help us be a better landlord. Let’s continue our work to improve customer service and build safe, clean, and connected communities for now and the future. With your partnership and support, we’ll move the Authority forward.

Welcome Message from Interim Chair and CEO Stanley Brezenoff

Welcome to Customer Service Week 2018. Every year, NYCHA observes this event to reaffirm our commitment to provide excellent customer service. This year’s theme is “Exceeding Expectations,” which recognizes the importance of professionalism with integrity for every customer, every time.

NYCHA staff at all levels of our organization—from employees at 90 Church and 250 Broadway to LIC, Borough offices and developments—are important representatives of the agency. I applaud the work you do and encourage you to help the agency achieve more. Being New York City’s largest landlord isn’t an easy undertaking, especially as we operate with reduced funding and resources, and threats to public housing nationwide. We’ve faced many challenges over the last several months, but our commitment to providing safe, clean, and affordable housing for New Yorkers never wavers.

Customer Service Week is the perfect time to recommit to excellence and strive for improvement in everything we do. It is also an opportunity to acknowledge every person’s hard work, each team’s contributions, and continue to strengthen relationships with our customers, whether they be residents, colleagues, community partners, or other key stakeholders. Thank you for your commitment to serving our residents and let’s exceed expectations as we move forward.




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