From receptionist to recruiter, and now a VP of Sales, Melissa Fullerton shares why she’s stayed with Delta Dental for 20+ years — and why you might want to stay with us too.

Q: What positions have you held at Delta Dental?
A: I have been employed by Delta Dental for 20 years, and during that time I have had the opportunity to fill many different roles here. Working in the dental field for many years while in college, it was a natural transition to begin working at Delta Dental as a receptionist while finishing my degree. After college, I quickly moved into account management followed by provider recruitment, Director of Account Service and now a Vice President of Sales. What began as a temporary assignment quickly became much more than that for me.

Q: How do you think playing all of these different roles helps you serve the client today?
As different as all those roles seem, every position here is equally important and serves the client. The fact that I started out in service was an advantage. I saw firsthand that the entire company has a stake in providing excellent customer service, whether you are client-facing or not. I appreciate the roles other departments play in obtaining and maintaining our client relationships at every level — in the end we’re all about reaching our sales goals by building relationships and providing world-class service.

Q: What three words would you use to describe the company?
A: Unified. Ethical. Growing.

  • While we have offices from coast to coast, we’re one unified team. No matter what region we’re from, we celebrate one another’s successes and help each other out.
  • We’re ethical because we’re transparent with clients and conduct ourselves in a manner that is approachable and collaborative. When challenges arise, we turn those into opportunities making our clients longtime fans.
  • In an ever-changing marketplace it is necessary to accept change as an opportunity for growth. We aren’t waiting to react to market changes, we’re setting the pace and thinking of new ways to serve our customers.

Q: Speaking of the ever-changing marketplace, what are some ways we’re staying competitive?
The needs of the customer are always changing. And, the customer is not just one person — it’s the benefits administrator, the enrollee, the broker, the provider — everyone. Delta maintains its competitive edge in a number of ways, including an even greater focus on wellness initiatives and customer experience. In fact we have entire department focused on the customer experience, creating new ways to make our plans even easier for people to purchase and manage.

Q: What’s a challenge you overcame for a client that you’re especially proud of?
We had a new group join us recently right before open enrollment. At their request, we duplicated their current coverage. However, because they requested a non-standard plan, we needed to get it filed with the state in record time. Normally, it takes about eight weeks just for the state to respond, but we had just two weeks to have the plan approved and up and running. This is unheard of in our world. All of our people came together, and with the help of the state and the client, we were actually able to implement the group on time.

Q: Is there a particular interaction you’ve had with a customer that stands out? A: On a personal level, I’ve shared a lot of life experiences with clients. I’ve comforted them when they’ve lost loved ones and celebrated milestones they’ve reached — attending both funerals and weddings. In fact, a few years ago, a client and I were going through a similar personal challenge. We started sharing our ups and downs, and before I knew it, we had a standing meeting outside of work.

Q: What’s the longest standing client relationship in your area? What do they say about Delta Dental?
A: We have a client who’s been with us for more than 25 years. The thing is, you can’t stay complacent — you have to consistently deliver outstanding service. They’ve gone out to bid a couple times, and we’ve had to adapt to not just what they want now, but what they’re going to want five years down the road. In addition to the high level of service we’ve provided over the years, they’ve also told us that how we’ve handled roadblocks — both theirs and ours — has been the key to our enduring relationship. There is always a solution.

Keep reading Word of Mouth to learn more about your support team.