When Selkirk Mobility picks up a client, it’s like they’re picking up family. That’s the way everyone who works at the company feels, said administrator Bonnie Turenne, who was thrilled to learn they’d won two awards at Selkirk Biz’s 2017 Business Awards – New Business of the Year and the Customer Service Award.
“We’re all so honoured, we think it’s fabulous. It’s really awesome,” Turenne said. “And we have wonderful customers here.”
Charlene Dunning, Manager of Transportation Services for Selkirk Transit Authority (STA), which operates Selkirk Mobility, was equally pleased with the recognition.
“This is exciting,” Dunning said, “it’s nice to have positive things happening.”
The awards were presented Oct. 19 at the sixth annual Biz Awards held at the Selkirk Golf and Country Club.
Customer service is what Selkirk Mobility is all about, Turenne said. All personnel, from office staff to drivers, have a relationship with their clients and she said to be recognized for that is very welcome.
Little Things Make Big Difference
“It’s just so huge to me,” Turenne said. “Not to be negative, but I think we’re in a world where there’s a lack of customer service. We do try to do those little things just to make the day brighter.”
The little things Turenne refers to include sending clients birthday cards or get well cards after a stay in the hospital. Most recently, the drivers were busy putting together treat bags for their clients for Halloween. Mobility clients rely on the drivers and other staff for their outings, Turenne said, and without the service, many would be housebound.
“We know our clients and we know their disabilities,” Turenne said, noting she’ll often send little gifts that can help individual clients, like magnifying glasses for those with poor vision.
Selkirk Mobility provides transportation to people over the age of 65, and anyone with permanent or temporary disabilities. Dunning said that means if someone under the age of 65 were to injure themselves, they’d qualify to use the service, even if the injury is temporary.
Turenne said they have regular clients from the age of 19 to 99, and the drivers have close relationships with all of them. Clients often send letters of thanks to Turenne to let her know just how impressed they were with Selkirk Mobility’s service. One woman posted to Facebook to thank them for the treatment afforded her mom when Selkirk Mobility took her to her brother’s interment, and allowed her extra time to visit with family at a restaurant afterwards.
“It’s amazing to have a company like this in Selkirk. So caring,” the woman wrote.
Another offered a simple hand-written note: “Thank you very much. You are good people.”
Stepping In To Help
Selkirk Mobility also provides transportation services for Interlake Eastern Regional Health Authority programs, as well as Community Living Selkirk.
Selkirk Mobility stepped in on short notice to transport IERHA clients in 2016 when a previous service provided suddenly ceased operations. A letter from the IERHA expressed management’s thanks for getting clients home from a day program after another company “summarily quit.”
Dunning said providing transportation to programs that offer socialization to their clients is important.
“These are significant programs. They help with mental health and socialization.” Dunning said. “Providing assistance for in-place aging is really important, and we’re able to provide that now.”
The Biz awards are the latest in a list of achievements for the STA who captured similar honours in 2012 and 2013. And, in a bid toward becoming a more inclusive, regional service, Selkirk Mobility is now available for residents in St. Andrews and St. Clements. It offers transportation locally and chartered trips to Winnipeg and other destinations. Service is available seven days a week, including Christmas Day.
Dunning noted that the STA model, which is supported through provincial and city funding, is a prime example of how a not–for–profit entity can offer superior service and a strong business model.
Photo above: The Winning Team – Selkirk Mobility picked up a pair of Biz Awards last month. Members of the team include (front, l – r) Shelly Simard, David Cobb, Bonnie Turenne, John Cuthbert, Guy Shelemy (back) Jaimie Kazuk, Charlene Dunning, Pat Pruden, Lois Wales, Kelly Cook, Denis Fitzpatrick, Kevin Thorvaldson, Darren Barilski, Lawrence Senga, Lorne Morrisseau.