Today, (Friday the 27th of November), marks National Mentoring Day! At the Wise Group mentoring, and our colleagues that work as mentors, are a core part of our enterprise, providing support across the UK to customers who need it. To mark the occasion, we asked Chancy Simpson, some questions about his role as a mentor in our HEAT service. Chancy marks one year at the Wise Group this week and is an amazing example of how our mentoring approach can change the lives of people struggling. See more below!
My name is Chancy Simpson. My role for the Wise Group is in the HEAT team as an Energy Mentor and I have been working as a mentor for a year!
How have you found the last year?
Initially I was slightly anxious, especially as I was definitely no expert on Energy Issues. However, the training and shadowing other experienced colleagues really helped on the Practical side (and Google!!!) – I realised the role is really mainly about making connections with people and allowing them to open up, offload on me and then I just look for a solution. Once I realised I could utilise my previous role of 20 years’ experience of working with Adults with Learning and Mental Health Issues I quickly settled and was comfortable in my role – I actually really enjoy it and see this as a long term career.
Do you have any favourite moments/funny stories?
A particular customer really stands out for me, an elderly lady who I formed a great relationship with. She has slight learning difficulties and only needed support due to broken smart meter. However, it was hard for her to read so I had to WhatsApp Video Call.. This obviously made the call more personal, and the customer became that comfortable with me she told me all about the ‘Elvis Impersonator Concert she was going to – went and got changed into her nice 50’s Style dress she was going in so I could show me, and sang me her favourite Elvis songs on Video Chat. She still contacts me to this day..
What’s your favourite part about your role?
Obviously if I have helped clear someone’s debt by applying for eligible funding – however I have come to realise over the last year, that even the smallest advice can really help someone. I had an elderly gentleman, who was only struggling with controls of Storage Heater – he was so grateful for the help and chat and he had really stressed himself about not knowing how to control it.
Therefore, my favourite part of the role became about, just talking to people and listening to their life experiences. It has even gone as far as customer sending me their holiday pictures!!
What is your least favourite part about your role?
Being on hold to energy companies – however I can spin it into a positive because this is usually done via 3 way call with customer so whilst we are waiting, we can have a good talk about our lives and experiences.
Do any customer stories stick out in your mind?
I suppose my main one would be clearing a big debt for some one who was agoraphobic living in a very remote location in the Scottish Isles. I developed a really nice relationship with her, we actually had a lot of common interests, and I loved talking with her…she was in so much shock and cried when she found out her large debt had been cleared thanks to the HHF application I applied for. She told me it would change her life – it also proved to me that, even though you can live hundreds of miles from each other – the impact you can have on someone’s life providing our support can be amazing – this particular customer even wanted me to come and visit her and her family.
If someone new was starting with the Wise Group today, what advice would you give them?
I was nervous once I knew I would be making calls on my own and not being shadowed by an experienced member of staff – but I would tell them you learn very quickly, and you will quickly get into your own style.
There are always colleagues just a quick message on TEAMS away if you have a question and you will get an answer very fast – even whilst your still on the call.
My practical advice would be to be Old School – and keep a pen and paper next to you for notes – if your anything like me and have memory of a fish.