A Lifetime of Learning, Experiences and Service
Aug. 30, 2017
During a planned outage that affected power at a senior care home, Hawaiian Electric’s Bill Carreira was there to help elderly residents climb a few stairs to gain entrance into the facility.
“I went over and started helping them up, one by one. It was just the right thing to do,” said Bill, director of Customer Business Management Services (CBMS).
Bill’s commitment to customer service has never waned over the nearly 20 years he has worked at Hawaiian Electric. And it has led him to his current role in CBMS, a division that serves the tens of thousands of business customers on the island of Oahu.
Bill’s team provides a range of services to a diverse clientele, from the neighborhood mom and pop store to the newly opened restaurant franchise. And as there are many different types of personalities that Bill and his team interact with on a daily basis, he knows firsthand there are equally as many ways to serve them.
“There’s fundamental principles of good service,” Bill says, “but no cookie-cutter way to apply them. There’s just too many cookies — every customer is different and has their own style and needs. The key is in treating them all with the same level of respect, and ensuring you’re giving them the help they need. You can’t do that with a script or process; you have to talk to people, and really get to know them.”
A local boy born and raised in the Kalihi neighborhood of Honolulu, Bill explains, “I love learning. I think it’s important in life to always learn something new and gain new experiences. It helps you better understand people.”
Before joining Hawaiian Electric in 1999, Bill worked in various positions where he gained experience in different fields and met a lot of different individuals. His first job was at the Del Monte Cannery in Iwilei. Bill worked in federal law enforcement, served as an emergency medical technician, and was part of the planning and engineering team at Hawaiian Tel. He started the foodservice division of Hawaiian Flour Mills (now known as HFM), was a bank manager and loan officer for Honolulu Federal Savings and Loan, and was last at the Gas Company servicing the military sector, South Pacific and working on special projects.
Bill believes that knowing how to interact with people and properly communicate with them comes with experience. It’s a skill that’s critically important to those on his team.
“It’s a feeling you have inside, when you know you and your customer are speaking the same proverbial language, and you’ve made a connection,” Bill says. “And that connection is important to providing good service. You understand them, and you know how best to help them.”
The CBMS team helps business customers with their accounts and find ways to make their businesses more energy efficient. Team members also ensure that customers are receiving reliable electric service. But CBMS’s level of care often goes beyond what the customer may be expecting.
“It’s about care — truly caring about these people and the success of their businesses,” Bill states with a smile on his face.
As an example, Bill explains that a CBMS team member is assigned to a scheduled planned outage from the very beginning and works to provide business customers with updates throughout the process until the job is completed.
“We ensure we have a physical presence at the site, so our customers know they can come to us if they have any questions or need help,” Bill says. “Whether it’s during the day or through the night, we’re there.”
Bill follows seven basic philosophies in providing quality customer service:
· “Let us always strive to be at our best standing in our resolve to serve others unconditionally”
· Safety — always. If you can’t do it safely, you can’t do it
· Treat customers the way you would like to be treated
· Fun: Enjoy what you’re doing
· Respect, trust, and integrity
· Listen, listen, listen — and educate, educate, educate
· Customer service = Above expectations
When he’s not working — which is often a rare occasion, given the level of service he provides to his customers — Bill’s interests are as varied as his past work experiences.
“I like music — I try to play the piano and ukulele to relax. I also play some golf, or attempt to, anyway, and I actually like yardwork. I sing in a Samoan choir — even though I’m not Samoan myself. And on Sundays, I volunteer as a hospital visitor at a local medical facility and try to help patients,” Bill says.
“It’s really all about people. I like meeting them, getting to know them, and finding ways I can help. It not only helps me understand folks better, it helps me to connect with them. I think that’s the greatest reward.”
Bill cares about the people he services and wants to make a difference in their lives. Without a doubt, you can say that Bill delivers service to his clients from his heart.
“Here in Hawaii, the local style is to share and help. It comes from many areas, every day. It’s just the way we live.”