A career in customer service isn’t for everyone, but Alba Young can’t imagine doing anything else. She joined CHOC Children’s as a temp in 2007. Three years later, she was hired as a full-time employee in the customer service department at the healthcare system’s Orange campus. In this Q & A, Alba shares what inspired her to devote her career to helping others.
What drew you to customer service? I love working with people and doing whatever it takes to make a positive difference in their lives.
What has kept you at CHOC for more than a decade? Every day at CHOC I have the unique opportunity to help make it easier for our patients and parents who are probably going through the most stressful periods of their lives.
What do you love most about CHOC? That’s easy: my colleagues, including everyone at CHOC and our patients and their families. Without them, CHOC Children’s Hospital would just be a building, though a very beautiful one.
What about your job would people find surprising? I walk, on average, seven miles a day, visiting patients, parents, nurses and physicians.
What makes you well-suited to working in customer service? I am very outgoing and welcome opportunities to find solutions to challenges. I think my strongest quality is empathy for our patients and families. My daughter was very sick as an infant and almost died twice. She was cared for in a neonatal intensive care unit in a different country, so I had to learn to navigate a different healthcare system. In 2000, I was treated for cancer. Ten years later, my husband was in a very serious accident that occurred 100 miles from home. He spent 12 weeks in intensive care. The hospital had little resources, so I had to find accommodations for dining and lodging. My personal experience has provided me with valuable insight that I rely on every day.
What advice do you have for others interested in a customer service career? You really need to be a “people person,” and truly want to help them. This isn’t an easy job, but it can be very rewarding if you are willing to go the extra mile every day.
What are some customer service changes you’ve seen during your time at CHOC? We are truly dedicated to providing the best care and best possible experience for our patients and their families. Personally, given my own experience as a misplaced family member, I love how hard we work to assist families who are from out of the area. We have a ton of resources, including local hotels willing to work with our families, and a great team of social workers who provide invaluable support.