LIRR Employee Triumphs at APTA ‘Call Center Challenge'

Gabrielle Rodriguez, Manager of Long Island Rail Road's Travel Information Center is winner of the national Call Center Challenge competition sponsored by the American Public Transportation Association (APTA).

Photo of Gabrielle Rodriguez

The Wantagh, L.I. resident was crowned public transportation's best telephone customer information agent at APTA's 2012 Marketing and Communications Workshop in Miami on February 28.

"We couldn't be more proud of her accomplishment," said LIRR President Helena Williams.

"She reflects the best tradition of customer service at the LIRR so I am delighted but not surprised that she has won this prestigious national award. Every day, she helps foster an atmosphere of putting customers first at the LIRR's Travel Information Center and she is a key part of our team that is looking at how we can improve customer service even more."

Following her victory, Rodriguez said: "I was truly impressed by the communication talents displayed by other contestants who attended from across the country. I hope this can only lead to additional opportunities for the LIRR to showcase how we value our customers and strive for outstanding customer service each and every day."

At the LIRR's Travel Information Center (TIC), located at the Railroad's Hillside Facility in Queens, Rodriguez supervises a staff of 17 and an operation that handled 1.7 million calls in 2011, an average of about 5,000 a day.

Rodriguez joined the LIRR in 2006. Under her direction the TIC's average customer call wait time dropped from 42 seconds that year to 25 seconds in 2011.

Photo of APTA Awards Ceremony

APTA's Call Center Challenge recognizes the outstanding efforts of APTA member transit system call center personnel. The competition is open to all public transportation call center personnel in North America.

An initial group of 31 hopefuls was whittled down to seven finalists during a pre-selection phone interview in which contestants were required to resolve two common customer call center inquiries. Rodriguez made the cut. The finals took place at the Miami workshop in front of a live audience. Finalists were presented with three randomly selected customer service scenarios and judged on their ability to handle each inquiry.