Margaret Emery On 10 Years with Winns
Can you remember your first impression of Winns? How did you feel when you first arrived?
We did my interview in one of the little offices out the front of the Brinkburn Street office so my first impression was that it was really big with loads of people, and it’s even bigger now! And yet all of the people I met made me feel so welcome and happy. Walking in was a big step though!
How many people worked here then?
I think about 150 to 200 people and now there are 250 in the Brinkburn Street office.
Where did you work before here?
The Metro Centre; I headed up the reception for the management there. We got a lot of phone calls there, but nothing compared to the amount of calls we get here!
Did you need to have training when you first started at Winns then?
Yes, I had some great training which taught me lots and got me off to a good start. I found everyone very helpful until I found my feet, so felt well supported with relevant training and assistance.
Have you always worked on the customer service team?
We used to be a Reception team of 10, but found the skills we had overlapped so much with the needs of customer service that we became part of that team. The majority of the team that I started with on reception have moved on to lots of other different areas of the business. It was a great place for all of us to start!
What is it like being front of house, the first person people meet when they visit Winns?
I just love it; meeting and greeting new people and over the years recognising visitors so that they feel part of the great group of people we have here too is so much fun.
Over the years, we have had a great reputation for making people feel welcome and being so good at being friendly and accommodating. That makes me very proud.
We also get some less positive people through the door, so I’m used to dealing with them too; it is all part of the fun! My technique with them is just to try to calm them down, let them get things off their chest and then politely ask them to take a seat while I contact the relevant person for them.
What’s the most interesting situation you’ve had to deal with?
Every day is interesting because every day is different and that’s really what I love about my job. You don’t know what you are coming in to; what situations, manners, moods. No two days have ever been the same.
What has been the highlight of your time at Winns?
The highlight has been getting to my 10-year service and realising the great times I’ve had in that time. It’s the longest I’ve ever been in a job and I’m very proud of that achievement.
What are the main reasons you have stayed for 10 years; what has kept you here?
The staff throughout my time have always been friendly and helpful, the directors have always treated me as an equal, so I’ve never felt looked down upon; they’ve always been so approachable. I know that in other jobs it is really not like that.
Apart from your initial training, are there any other specific skills that you have learnt since you’ve been here?
Yes, the reception team have all been able to do NVQ’s relevant to the job, something I didn’t have when I started so I was really pleased to have the chance to do that. And now if we would like to do another course that is related to the job or career development, all we have to do is ask.
Has the company changed much in terms of the feel of the place?
It has changed massively as it has got bigger and to cater for the need to focus on different business aims. It hasn’t made a difference to my enjoyment, though. It’s all about improvements and it is important that we continue to change to improve and to get people on board.
It's much busier now which is obviously a good sign for the business and big changes in the staff that are here, but after 10 years it’s to be expected that a lot of people will have moved on to further their career in other ways.
Have there been any funny situations you’ve had to deal with over the years?
Yes; a few years ago, when I wasn’t feeling too well, I fainted on the front desk. I woke up to find my colleague Tracy, and two ambulance men, one particularly handsome one, leaning over me. Another colleague, Lynne, managed to jump between looking after me and answering the calls, so she was given vouchers as a huge thank you. A while after that, Lynne said that the vouchers were starting run out, so would I mind fainting again please?!
We always have a laugh on reception even though we are busy. That is really important to me.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
The company has supported me so well, not just at work, but through personal issues they have been absolutely fantastic too. And I know that doesn’t just apply to me. I can’t really fault the company at all from my time here and am very grateful for the support everybody has always given me.
Lucy Donnelly, Customer Service Team Manager commented, “Margaret is an asset to the Customer Service Team bringing her extensive experience and knowledge of Reception into the role while setting a wonderful example for new employees and visitors alike.”
Michael Warmington added Winns appreciation for Margaret’s commitment to the company saying, “Bringing Margaret into the business has been a huge positive for Winns, as front of house and the first port of call for clients Margaret has provided fabulous service and we have received many client testimonials as to how helpful and professional she is. Always a joy to work with and a great asset to the company, I hope Margaret will remain with us for many years to come.”
Congratulations from us all at Winn Group Margaret!