In high school, Henry Zhu logged the mandatory volunteer hours needed for graduation. Unlike many classmates, however, Henry stayed on at the bilingual pre-school where he translated classwork into Cantonese and Mandarin long after meeting his school’s minimum service requirement. This ‘extra mile’ attitude has shaped the trilingual Customer Service Representative’s (CSR) approach to life and to the clients and patients he serves.
Henry is one of seven Mobile Health CSRs, a team that speaks English, Spanish, Cantonese and Mandarin, collectively. (An operations staffer assists Russian callers.) Callers select their preferred language via an automated menu, Henry explained.
A Mobile Health employee for nearly four years, Henry emigrated with his family from China in 2008, at age 15. He first began speaking English in first grade, he said. Henry’s initial impressions of America: “I will need to get used to this new life as quickly as I can. Also, there’s a lot that I don’t know, such as the culture, communication, school life, and making new friends.”
Translator on Call
In providing trilingual customer service, Henry generally fields one to two requests daily to translate from Cantonese, his first language, and Mandarin, his second. Most often, those requests originate from a Mobile Health clinic wanting to assist a non-English-speaking patient. Occasionally, his skills are needed when these patients call Mobile Health directly.
For the rest of the day, he fields the typical calls handled by CSRs: appointment scheduling, exam status inquiries and requests for medical records. Though call volume has temporarily dropped due to the pandemic, on a record day he responded to 110 calls.
Selling Service and Services
A veteran CSR now, Henry no longer requires the customer service script he worked from initially. In fact, he’s been known to up-sell clients on additional services after impressing them with his customer service skills. However, he constantly learns on the job. “Every day, there are new clients on board and new protocols to learn,” he said.
No matter who’s on the line, Henry approaches the call the same way. “I treat each client and patient with honesty, passion, and most of all, patience.”
Henry’s translation efforts don’t end when he hangs up his Mobile Health headset. For the last eight years, he has worked as a Chinese interpreter for the New York Board of Elections. Initially, he resisted his mother’s suggestion to check out the opportunity she spotted in a Chinese newspaper, he said. However, he found he enjoyed translating ballots and educating Chinese voters as they arrived at the poll site on Election Day. He’ll be there again this year.
For fun, the Brooklynite enjoys exploring new cuisines with friends — Japanese Sushi is a current favorite — and hiking in New York and New Jersey.
Mobile Health thanks Henry Zhu for helping us serve our diverse base of clients and patients, and for going that extra mile for every caller.