The Rapid worker honored for her ‘gold standard of customer service’

If you’ve ever called The Rapid for help figuring out how to get somewhere by bus, or even to complain, chances are you’ve spoken to Kristie Azzoli. 

As a customer experience specialist for nearly eight years, Azzoli has built a reputation among her colleagues and The Rapid customers for going above and beyond. 

“Kristie serves as one of the prominent faces of our organization, overseeing the Information Center and taking the lead in direct customer interactions,” explains Cassi Cooper, in The Rapids’ communications department. 

Kristie Azzoli reviews The Rapid routes.

Each morning, Azzoli initiates the center's operations, meticulously tracking and preparing all transactions from the previous day for the finance department. 

Juggling a substantial workload, she manages over 50 phone calls daily, while simultaneously addressing a diverse range of in-person transactions, from route inquiries to facilitating the opening of Wave accounts.

Azzoli is among 10 West Michigan frontline workers who last month were given the 2023 Beverly A. Drake Essential Service Awards from West Michigan Works!

Helps customers, coworkers

“During my tenure as her manager, I heavily relied on her to train new staff members, including myself,” says Jason Prescott, her former manager and current director of paratransit, ADA and mobility services. “She consistently exhibited patience and a willingness to assist her colleagues. Her expertise in route planning and her ability to anticipate and solve issues make her an invaluable asset to the team.” 

For Azzoli, her work with The Rapid is meaningful.

“I love meeting different people and having conversations with them,” she says.

She’s adept at helping customers map out how to use the public transit system to get from Point A to Point B in the quickest time frame.

“We help them figure it out so they can arrive at their destination on time,” Azzoli says. “We just help them figure out where to find the closest bus stops. They might not be familiar with the bus service, or they are taking the bus because their car broke down or they've never used the bus and they don't know where to find the closest bus stop. We give them all the information that they need so they are set up to ride the bus.”

Kristie Azzoli at work at The Rapids' Information Center.

Despite not being bilingual, Azzoli skillfully assists non-English-speaking families, according to Cooper. 

“She goes above and beyond, taking whatever steps necessary to ensure that all customers receive equal and effective assistance,” she says. “Kristie's commitment to maintaining a gold standard of customer service knows no barriers.”

The Transit Information Center is open Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.

When Azzoli joined The Rapid, the former office manager was looking for a position that gave her work-life balance so could spend time with her large family. Years earlier, she had left the workforce because she wasn’t able to spend enough time with her young son. 

“Some days are extremely busy, and then there's days that are a little bit laid back,” says Azzoli. “I like that not every day is the same.”

She has developed friendships with people who stop by the office regularly to put money on their Wave cards. Word spread quickly after she won her award, and she received emails and calls of congratulations.

“It is very cool because sometimes people who do these customer service-type jobs can get overlooked,” says Azzoli. 

Photos courtesy of West Michigan Works!

Voices for Transit is a series highlighting public transportation in Greater Grand Rapids by exploring the issues that diverse communities face, lifting up the voices of residents, employers and stakeholders.

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