The importance of a friendly face

At the City of Nedlands in Western Australia, Customer Services Officer Judy Denton has long provided a friendly and trusted presence for residents.

In her 20 years spent at the council, Ms Denton has become a familiar face for many people. So appreciated by local residents, she is often inundated with thank you chocolates.

Ms Denton’s gentle manner and long tenure have made her a trusted figure and brings a sense of stability to the council.

In her time, she has seen people grow up, grow old, move out of Nedlands and move back again.

She’s also got plenty of stories to tell: of possums crashing through the ceiling onto staff members’ desks and of a ghost that may or may not wander the corridors of the administration building after dark.

Her in-depth knowledge about the workings of the council means she can often sort out most queries – or she knows where to direct people if she can’t.

An elderly resident regularly brings her chocolates. His vision is not what it used to be these days, so sometimes he also brings in a letter or a bill and asks Ms Denton to read it for him and let him know what he needs to do.

“It gives me a good feeling to be able to help people,” said Ms Denton.

She said people are often relieved to see her: “They’ll say, ‘Oh I’m so glad you’re still here, I know you’ll be able to help me.’”

There are sadder sides to the job as well, she said, such as watching people grow older and become forgetful, coming into council and asking questions, then returning the next day and asking the same thing.

Luckily, she has a good memory. “I know their history and background so they don’t have to go through the story again of what happened last year or the year before because I know.”

She has had a few different roles within the council but always came back to customer service – she loves the contact with people.
With retirement on the horizon and as grandmother to twins, she will have plenty to keep her busy while remaining one of the best-known faces of Nedlands.