For Customer Service Week 2021, we are celebrating Customer Service champions worldwide in the form of our very own Pole Star Customer Support team. Based in our London, Panama, USA, Singapore, and Hong Kong offices, our CS team play a vital role in the success of our company and our strong customer relationships, so now we’d like to give them the recognition they deserve.
The following statements provide insight into the people behind the phone voices, with details of our CS Representatives, their roles, responsibilities, and some fun facts and stories about their time at Pole Star.
“In Customer Support, when we try to make a user’s life easier when using our service, we really mean it” - Lorenzo
Andrea Morales (Panama)
Andrea has been part of the Pole Star team since 2017, initially beginning as an intern, but now as a CS Representative reporting from Central America in the Panama office, while also completing her MBA in specialised project management. Her main tasks revolve around the Panama flag project, including SSAS management, LRIT certifications, and additional investigations for the registry, making use of her expertise as one of the original team members involved in the creation of the Panama SSAS Platform.
What is your favourite memory as part of the CS team?
When the whole CS team gathered together to watch the first Panama game in the 2018 Football World Cup. Even though I'm from El Salvador, I have found a home in Panama and its welcoming people, and I felt like a true Panamanian watching that game with my Pole Star friends.
I am the youngest in the Panama office!
“Working in CS is having power over how the customer feels about the company you work for. It is a huge responsibility, but when you receive grateful notes it is all worth it” - Soanny
Patrick Sheppard (USA)
Patrick joined Pole Star in August 2020 as a Service Desk Analyst and watch team lead in the Tampa office. His key responsibilities include supporting the United States Coast Guard and operators of US-flagged vessels with LRIT compliance testing and troubleshooting. To accomplish this, the team uses MDA and other Pole Star solutions and data resources. They send out daily over-reporting vessel reports and manage the USCG’s MDA accounts, while assisting TET with monitoring LRIT and AIS data feeds.
What is your favourite thing about working at Pole Star?
One of my favorite things is how Pole Star invests in the development of their people and encourages them to learn and grow professionally. I changed career paths in 2020 to go into IT (which is how I came to be at Pole Star) and, since then, I have gained four new certifications: CompTIA A+, Network+, Security+, and AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner. I've also learned things from the Technical Engineering Team by assisting with specific tasks of a more technical nature.
What is your favourite memory at Pole Star?
Watching the Tampa Bay Lightning’s during the playoffs with my watch team - it was a big crowd, very high energy, and a lot of fun! As well as the office Christmas gift exchange and ugly sweater contest. Fun times!
“Communication makes success” - Ray
“Teamwork always wins, a new day in Customer Support is a new story to tell!” - Luis
Teresa Lau (Hong Kong)
Teresa has been part of the Pole Star team since 2006. She was the first Customer Support Representative in the Hong Kong office and now manages both the Hong Kong and Singapore CS teams by coordinating the APAC CS shifts, communicating with customers to provide efficient assistance and resolutions, managing escalated issues, conducting periodic reviews and team evaluations to improve department performance, and providing training. With almost 15 years of experience in the company, Teresa’s areas of expertise are far-reaching, from team leadership and problem solving, to technical satellite communications, SSAS, LRIT, and vessel tracking.
Can you recall a special moment in your role?
Two years ago I received a call from a Captain whose voice I quickly recognised as the CSO of a Ship Management Company who I had previously worked with to integrate their fleet into the Pole Star SSAS platform. We lost contact for a while, but when he called back he said “Hey Teresa, your name sprang to my mind and I have something I’m sure you can help with?”. He needed to urgently track a vessel that had some technical issues with onboard communication devices, so I found a solution for him and was glad to reconnect again.
I am currently preparing for my first half marathon!
“Being part of a customer service team is a unique experience, bringing the opportunity to help others, to learn more from them as a person, and to finish every day with a new story to tell” - Alfonso.
Jose da Costa (London)
Jose is one of the newest members of the Customer Support team, having joined the London office in July 2021. His primary tasks include handling customer calls, issuing LRIT CTRs, assisting with report-related queries, database administration, and customer training on Pole Star solutions, with his expertise centering around non-reporting vessels. One of Jose’s favourite things about the CS Representative role, other than the great international teams, is the variety of different cases and platforms that he works with, providing constant challenges and new opportunities for learning.
What is your favourite memory at Pole Star?
Finally being back in the office and meeting the team in person after lockdown!
Tell us something interesting about yourself?
I’m from Johannesburg, South Africa and, fun fact, I share the same birthday as my son.
"People will forget what you did, but will never forget how you made them feel" - Jose
“A good family helps each other, they do not let the other fall, they always give you a hand when you need it most. For me, the CS team is a family” - Amilcar
Ann Lozano (Singapore)
Ann began at Pole Star as a Senior Client Liaison Officer in July 2019 to join the growing Singapore team and provide strong customer service in the APAC region. Her daily tasks range from handling customer cases and client reporting, to her expertise: managing the Data Centre for the Singapore flag. Ann’s favourite elements of the role are providing customers with solutions by investigating, troubleshooting, and performing root cause analysis on various issues, as well as the quality time spent with the rest of the team, including meals out and training days in Hong Kong and London.
Tell us a bit about yourself?
I was born and raised in the Philippines, but have been living in Singapore for 15 years now, 12 of which I have been working in the maritime industry. I love hanging out with my friends and family, swimming and riding my bike, and I’m also a huge musical theatre fan (especially Hamilton, Les Miserables, and Miss Saigon!) Another thing about me… I cannot live without coffee!
“At the end of my shift, it is amazing to see how many people I have helped with my support” - Eliecer
Michaelle Rios (Panama)
Based in the Latin American time zone in the Panama office, Michaelle joined the company in September 2020. She makes a point of starting her day by saying hello to all of her colleagues and then begins by reading and replying to the handover email from the London CS team on the previous shift, before working through customer cases. One of Michaelle’s favourite things about working at Pole Star is the team, which corresponds to her favourite memory of her first birthday within the company when, even though she hadn’t met many people personally due to the pandemic, she received so many more messages and well wishes than she was expecting.
Tell us a funny story about yourself?
There was a day I fell from a bus in Panama, which we call “diablos rojos”, in front of a lot of people who were worried about me, but I was so embarrassed that I just ran away!
What are your interests outside of work?
I love baking cookies, cakes, cupcakes, etc, and I’m all about decorations - Christmas, birthdays, anniversaries, you name it!
"Having a common purpose, teamwork, and good interpersonal relationships are the key elements for the success that we have in our performance. Our common purpose: Offer quality, expertise, dependability, and reputation. In other words, excellent customer support experience" - Yamileth
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