Twelve-hour shifts weren’t cutting it; Zach needed to spend more time with his 4-year-old daughter. So in October 2021, he followed his friend Gunner from 13 years in the food service industry to customer service at America’s Preferred Home Warranty (APHW)—knowing that his past might be an issue.
“I’m almost six years clean and sober, but there’s a lot of social stigma for people in recovery,” Zach explained. “The first thing most people want to know is what you used, which starts a predisposition of judgement. But at the end of the day, it’s not about the drug; it’s a personal issue, and somebody’s struggling.”
Several years of sobriety meant the drug test was no problem, but the new community could be an issue—so Zach decided to just approach people honestly. “I’m not bashful about it at all,” he shared, noting how being up front about his needs in recovery has only helped him bond with his APHW family.
“My supervisor is completely aware and supportive, understanding that I have appointments I have to attend. And from all the other people I’ve mentioned it to, there have been no negative comments or prejudice toward me at all; they always just say they are proud of me.”
Zach’s openness is about more than just smoothing the road, though. “I’ve learned in life that the more open I am, the more open my team members will be with me,” he explained.
“There’s actually an under-riding camaraderie—APHW is someplace you can feel comfortable being who you are as a human, and if I see you upset or distressed, I can ask what’s going on. It makes time at work less about ‘work’ and more about ‘I’m with family.’”
A will to grow
Exchanging a varied schedule for a steady 8 hours a day was a healthy change for Zach, both at home and at work. “The food service industry really wasn’t conducive to me in my personal life,” he said. “This was a complete 180o for me, and I’ve got substantially more energy at the end of my shift to enjoy time with my family.”
Zach soon found himself looking for more to do. “I think I asked to be tasked with emails less than a month after training. I wanted to make sure I was being a valuable asset during the slow times,” he recalled. “After that they asked if I wanted to get Real-Pro® skilled, and I was like, ‘Yes, give me more to do!’”
Quickly promoted to a Level 2 customer service representative (CSR), his eagerness earned him a spot in floor support, which is typically reserved for Level 3 CSRs. “The company was receptive to my hunger to do more,” Zach shared. “There was no ‘Let’s hold off’—because of what I was showing during coaching, they knew I could take on the challenges I was looking for. That’s one of the things I love about working here; if I ask for more responsibility, there’s an appropriate conversation higher up.”
Team member recognition
As a CSR, Zach spends most of his day on the phone speaking with homeowners, agents, and technicians about claims. One agent actually mailed the company a letter about his professionalism on the phone—and APHW recognized Zach as their Employee of the Month a week later on January 1 (a little over a year after joining the team).
Initially thinking the recognition was just because of the letter, Zach went to his supervisor. After all, he’d been with his former employer for nine and a half years and only received that recognition once; how could he have gotten it already at APHW? But his supervisor, Jo, was quick to set him straight.
“She reminded me how, prior to that, I had already been doing really well; I received five certificates of appreciation, one of my A+ quality rated tech calls is now being used as a training device for new team members, and other supervisors had noticed that I was someone who could be relied on, too,” Zach recalled. “Employee of the Month was a culmination of these things, along with input from other managers. She even reminded me of when I first started on the 2-11 shift, how there were instances when I had helped without being asked.”
He must have achieved his ideal of ‘valuable asset’: APHW promoted Zach to CSR Level 3 just 8 days later.
Join the team
America’s Preferred Home Warranty is currently hiring for CSRs and other positions, and Zach says he recommends this company as a place to work and grow. “If you’re looking for that kind of challenge, fill out an application and see what happens,” he said. “I would recommend APHW for someone looking for a job.”
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