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Here for our community: Karen Wilkinson

October 26, 2020

Every day hundreds of people work behind the scenes to keep Prince Edward County running. Over the next several months, we will profile a few of the people that are ‘here for our community.’

We continue the series by talking with Karen Wilkinson, the Corporate Customer Service Coordinator.

Can you start by giving a brief overview of your job?

Customer Service is the first point of contact for visitors, residents, and co-workers who don’t know where else to go. We try to provide as much assistance as possible and try to answer their question or connect them to the proper department. We also track inquiries so we can follow up on issues or inquiries.

The Clerk’s Office created this position in 2012 to give people a central place they could go to get answers and assistance. I see this job as a way to assist people as a first point of contact and if we are not able to assist then to direct them to the proper person so they are not transferred from department to department.

Providing customer service is multi-faceted and includes assisting my co-workers when requested so they are better able to assist the general public.

How long have you worked with the County?

I started working with the County in 1998. I was an administrative assistant in the planning and building department. It was a frontline position so provided a lot of experience towards this position. It included some of the same work as my current role but with more focus on planning and building inquiries. In 2012 I took over my current position.

What do you like most about the job and working for the County?

I really enjoy helping people. I like going home at the end of the day knowing that I was able to assist someone. It’s very rewarding when I am able to go above and beyond what is required and help with an inquiry, even if it is not County related.

Even though we have a website and so much is online, there are times when people still want to talk with someone on the phone or in person. It’s helpful if we can have a conversation. It gives me a chance to follow up and ask different questions so that I can figure out exactly what they are looking for. We can make sure they get the information they are looking for as quickly as possible.

How has COVID-19 impacted your work?

When I originally took this job, I didn’t want to be behind a barrier. I wanted to be accessible. I wanted to be out in the open and able to meet with people face to face.  I had to adjust to being behind a barrier. I understand why we are doing it, though. It’s important for the health and safety of everyone.  Also, when the office is closed due to Provincial regulations, it is different only being accessible by phone.

I would also say that the types of questions changed during COVID-19. We had to become mini-experts on where people could go to get services, where they could get help, and where they could get tested.

What do you enjoy most about the County?

I like living in a small town. When you’re a resident, you’re more apt to know the local cashier at the store, or run into someone you know, and you can have a chat or share a joke.  It’s nice knowing my neighbours and that they are there if we need them and also being there for them.  I lived in Kingston before moving to the County over 30 years ago and I never even knew my neighbours. I also like having the space of living in a more rural area.

Click to read all of the Here for our Community Profiles.

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