‘Every conversation with a customer matters’

The SVP Group Director, Contact Centre Escalation and Specialised Teams at Citizens Bank talks about the importance of listening and focusing on every customer conversation, to drive success.

Seth Adler


Cheryl China is the SVP Group Director, Contact Centre Escalation and Specialised Teams at Citizens Bank. She returns to the CX Network podcast hot seat with host Seth Adler today to discuss building your personal brand, which begins with listening. Whether it's your boss, your direct reports or your colleagues you need to always be present.

Chines takes us from starting at the bank 19 years ago through to building her career over that time. As she didn't go to university, her bosses were her professors. She showed that she was a valuable asset to the team and eventually she was promoted to run the priority response department. Now that she's a senior executive, she urges her managers to listen to recorded conversations specifically when agents are not expecting it. This fosters the concept that every call matters.

But she doesn't leave it up to her managers exclusively. At the SVP level, China ensures that she walks the floor, listens and is available for her agents.

Every single conversation I had with a customer, I knew that it mattered.”



1. Build your brand and reputation

“When I got my foot in the door at Citizens Bank, I thought it was the best job in the world that I ever had. I can talk to people, I can make people happy, not everybody but I tried, and I thought this was the best job in the world. And that showed.

“Every single conversation I had with a customer, I knew that it mattered. And the bosses started noticing me and back then you didn't have to post for jobs like you do today, but I started working my way through the company.

“I did not end up getting a degree, because I was the single mom who worked all the time. But I became a senior vice president of Citizens Bank and that's not something easy to do within that bank. It's a very old institution old New England bank, but I truly believe my brand and my reputation drove me to where I am today.”

2. Develop your people

“You want to pay attention to peoples' details in life. For all my direct reports, this is our jobs, but life is what's really important so they work here their forty hours a week but they need to go on too. They go home, and their life outside of work matters.

“I know all of my directs, I know their children's name and I know their spouse's name, and I think that's really important. So, listening and what they want to do. Developing people, where they want to go next.

“Now I have people that don't want to do anything else. They want to just be where they are and as long as they are doing a good job, I'm okay with that. But develop those people that want to move on. I think that authentically listening is what's really important.”

3. Listen to leaders

“It's every conversation you have matters, no matter who it's with. All of our calls are recorded. So, I tell them, if you want to get to the next level, the first thing I'm gonna tell one of my managers to go do, is to listen to their calls. Go see how they're doing when it's completely unexpected.

“And I tell them not to buy in to gossip; contact centers are ripe for gossip, so don't buy in to gossip. Listen to what your leaders tell you. This is a learning opportunity for all of them and that's what the expectation is.”