14 Who Deliver World-Class Customer Service

 

“If we don’t take care of our customers, someone else will.”
The reality of that statement hits most businesspeople right in the gut.


The fact is that customers have plenty of choices on where to buy, and if their current source isn’t stepping up in every way to deliver an exceptional customer experience, they will move on.

In an article on his website, Shark Tank millionaire entrepreneur Daymond John explains why he thinks customer service is the most important part of any business. He says there are only two ways to improve a business’s operations—increase sales or decrease costs. Reducing costs can be nearly impossible in some cases, but if you can over-deliver on customer service, the sky is the limit on how high you can increase sales. From a customer point of view, he believes they value great service even more than a low price.

This fall, PPB received nearly 50 nominations in its annual search to find the top customer service pros within the industry. Fourteen of those nominated were selected as the 2018 Service Superheroes based on what nominators said about their commitment to do whatever it takes to solve problems, correct mistakes and make the customer—both internal and external—truly happy with the results.

This year’s Service Superheroes come from various departments within industry companies, including inside sales and finance and operations, reinforcing the point that good service is everybody’s job.

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Gloria Alvarez
Customer Service Specialist
RiteLine, LLC
Years At The Company: 1

Fresh out of high school, Gloria Alvarez worked a screen-printing machine for a distributor before moving into the company’s customer service department. Three years later she joined Dallas-based RiteLine LLC in the production department and within months her diligence, care for the customer’s satisfaction and keen eye for details earned a promotion to customer service. She’s been known to step in to help assemble clips on imprinted pens, so customers receive them in time, and to stay late to correct details on orders and make sure they are printed correctly, say her nominators and coworkers Steven Meyer, MAS and Kim Paine. It’s her commitment to these all-important details that keep her customers—and her teammates at Riteline—so satisfied.

Best Part Of The Job:
Talking with the customers and meeting new people working in the same industry. I really enjoy working with co-workers as team.

Biggest Challenge:
Customer P.O.s can be challenging because they are all different. I always want to make sure that I relay my customer’s order correctly to our production department.

Motivation To Deliver World-Class Service:
I really care about my work and always want to make sure that my customer is satisfied.

No. 1 Tip For Great Customer Service:
Take notes and be well informed of your product and strive to give the best customer service, same as you would like to receive.

Best Personal Customer Service Experience:
I had purchased a stove top and it arrived broken. They went out of their way to give me a faster turnaround on the delivery of the replacement and they installed it for free. Usually, for a big product, it is harder for the company to satisfy their customer. Due to my experience, I will purchase from them again.

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Colleen Bibby
Customer Service Representative
Hub Pen
Years At The Company: 5

Sam Wells, owner of distributor RMP Forms and Specialties and Colleen Bibby’s nominator, calls her prompt, efficient and trustworthy and says her attitude is always to go above and beyond her responsibilities. She’s saved an order in danger of cancellation by coming up with an alternative solution, stepped up for other reps who were on vacation to handle every step from pricing through shipment and gives every order her personal attention—even small orders get her white-glove treatment.

Best Part Of The Job:
I love providing the best service I can to our customers to find the products they need either for themselves or for their customers. No two days are ever the same in this fast-paced industry.

Biggest Challenge:
Trying to provide the best customer service with a tight turnaround time.

Motivation To Deliver World-Class Service:
I live by the quote, “Treat others the way you wish to be treated.” I have been in situations where I have received poor customer service with a product or issue, so I know you’re not likely to be happy. I want my customers to be pleased with their experience with Hub Pen and have them remember that time Hub Pen helped them with that rush order or that tight deadline.

No. 1 Tip For Great Customer Service:
One tip I can offer is not everything is black and white, and sometimes we have to explore the gray area to find a mutually beneficial resolution.

Best Personal Customer Service Experience:
My best customer service experience was a personal one with [the personal products retailer] Bath and Body Works. I had ordered a couple of different lotions online. When I received the box, my order was two bottles short. I called their customer service line and they overnighted the two bottles that I was shorted and also threw in two travel sizes of the lotions. They also credited me back for the two bottles for my inconvenience. It’s this kind of customer service that has kept me a loyal customer and I still tell my friends about this experience. They didn’t need to overnight the lotions or credit me for them, or add in travel sizes—that was just extra service they provided to keep their customer happy. And yes, it worked!

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Chris Bice
Senior Online Merchandiser
HALO Branded Solutions
Years At The Company: 5

Chris Bice previously ran her own business providing administrative support, desktop publishing, billing and bulk mailing services to approximately 30 different organizations. Now, on the HALO e-commerce team, she works daily with the distributor’s preferred suppliers to maintain the company’s online listings for more than 6,000 products. She also supports the corporate merchandising programs in addition to many other responsibilities. Her nominator and boss, Jamon Heller, says she treats the suppliers with respect and works diligently to make sure their products are well represented on the site. She’s also known as an extraordinary team player who is quick to assist with calls, online chats and emails from HALO.com visitors, patiently solves problems and helps the account executives find solutions and often mentors new teammates in learning about the company and the industry.

Best Part Of The Job:
Working with my colleagues. We have a great team.

Biggest Challenge:
We have a small team, so everyone has to be cross-trained to help out in different pods [small teams that work on projects related to a specific aspect of the department—such as marketing, sales/customer service and merchandising.] There are a lot of details to remember for each pod. Remembering details for pods outside of your own can be challenging.

Motivation To Deliver World-Class Service:
I get great personal satisfaction in making people happy, and in meeting or exceeding their expectations. This, in turn, reflects well on my superiors as well as the overall company.

No. 1 Tip For Great Customer Service:
Treat others the way you would want them to treat you.

Best Personal Customer Service Experience:
Last Christmas I wanted to purchase a hoodie and legging set as a gift for a family member. I went to a store in our local mall and found a pair of leggings that were perfect, and even on sale. However, they didn’t have a matching hoodie in the correct size. The sales associate worked with me to try to complete the set, but I finally told her I would check another store in the mall. I went to another store and found a hoodie that went perfectly with the leggings I had picked out at the first store. Upon returning to the first store, the sales attendant informed me that they were doing free gift-wrapping and offered to wrap not only the leggings that I was purchasing, but also the hoodie that I had purchased at a different store. That sales associate made me a loyal customer for life. She went above and beyond my expectations.

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Stephanie Conklin
Customer Service Supervisor
The Vernon Company
Years At The Company: 41

For over four decades Stephanie Conklin has worked at the Newton, Iowa-based distributor, first as a switchboard operator, then as an order auditor and as a customer service representative before being promoted to supervisor. Over the years she’s learned how to support the company’s salespeople so they can focus on selling, says nominator and sales rep Michael Propst. When he’s out of the office, she reaches out to customers if questions arise so the orders keep moving forward and she handles most of the issues before they ever get to Propst and the other salespeople. For example, on one order, the supplier had indicated significant deviations from what the customer requested. Before the problem ever reached the salesperson, she jumped in, straightened it out and sent a resolution to the customer, then updated the salesperson. By taking personal responsibility to correct the errors, she made a potentially big problem a non-issue for the salesperson.

Best Part Of The Job:
Working with our account executives.

Biggest Challenge:
The business has become fast paced so [it’s challenging] getting accurate responses in a timely manner.

Motivation To Deliver World-Class Service:
Work ethic was instilled in me by my family, so I do my best to provide great service to all.


No. 1 Tip For Great Customer Service:
Friendliness. Work with people to provide the best results.

Best Personal Customer Service Experience:
What stands out in my mind did not happen to me, but to someone else. I was shopping at a retail store and noticed a woman who appeared to be of meager financial means. As I shopped, I watched her untangle a necklace which took her a long time. She finally got in line to pay for the necklace and the customer service gal said, “For all your work, you can just have the necklace at no charge.” That has stuck with me for over 20 years. Really being able to see the person you are working with, and making them appreciate you and the company is important.

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Mary Crosetto
Program Manager
1338Tryon
Years At The Company: 2

As a former manager for a national drugstore chain, Mary Crosetto has handled her share of customer service problems and knows how important it is to come through for the customer—even when that “customer” is her supplier rep. “Mary manages five million things at once and keeps it all together—I’ve never seen anything like it,” says one of her two nominators, Jill Rogers, who is field sales manager for supplier PCNA/Trimark. “She is patient, detail-oriented, knowledgeable about the products, knows her clients extremely well and makes sure they are always taken care of—no matter what.”

Best Part Of The Job:
I enjoy that every day is something new and I am challenged to come up with creative solutions for our clients. We strive to make the impossible possible and the excitement/gratitude that our clients show when we come through for them is the best reward for all our hard work.

Biggest Challenge:
Sometimes I feel like I don’t have enough time in the day.

Motivation To Deliver World-Class Service:
I want our clients to know we care and value them. Even if it is small, I like to think I’m making a difference to that client and maybe making their day a bit brighter. I’m also building a level of trust with our clients that can’t be matched.

No. 1 Tip For Great Customer Service:
Listen to your clients—not just the words they are speaking, but listen to their tone of voice and inflections. You can pick up a lot of information that way and adjust your response so the client feels confident about your interaction. We rely on email/texting so heavily these days that you can’t be afraid to pick up the phone, because so many things can be missed when you don’t have that connection. Speaking directly to clients and truly listening to them will show that you understand, care and, most importantly, want to build trust.

Best Personal Customer Service Experience:
I had a client who wanted about 200 of a specific retail shirt. The clerk who helped me not only took the time to call all local stores for me to find out what stock they had, she even had them all brought to one location so I didn’t have to drive around to pick them up. She then organized them by size so when I picked them up they were easy to count to make sure I had everything. The fact that she took the time to do this one small thing to make my day easier was incredible to me at the time. It reduced my stress level and made me feel important. She’s always remembered me when I’ve stopped in again and made sure I’ve received the same level of service whether I’m spending $10 or $100 (and no, she wasn’t commission-based).

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Tommy Grizzaffi
Inside Sales Partner
Hit Promotional Products
Years At The Company: 5

Tommy Grizzaffi, better known in the industry as “TommyG,” developed his first taste for customer service early in his career by working in restaurants and retail sales before landing at Hit. Once in the promotional products industry, he began as an inbound call rep and inside account manager before taking on his current job supporting six outside sales reps representing the West Coast territory. With 13 nominations for Service Superhero from clients and teammates, it seems Grizzaffi has found his calling. Known as someone who always goes above and beyond what his customers are expecting, he’s quick and responsive, takes time to explain and answer questions, provides exceptional service and makes every customer feel they are special. “He’s kind and respectful and you get the feeling he genuinely cares about you, your order, your project and even your problem if you’re not satisfied. He’s always willing to go the extra mile,” says nominator and coworker Amanda Baughman. Nominator and customer Hanna Pooler of Sutter’s Mill Specialties says, “You have to love what you do to provide the best service and TommyG fits the bill.”

Best Part Of The Job:
I enjoy the feeling that I get when clients reach out to me when they can go to any rep in any company in this industry, yet they choose me. It’s truly inspiring and that is what makes the job enjoyable. No day is like the previous; every day brings new projects, new challenges, new clients and new experiences.

Biggest Challenge:
You would not be able to recognize the person I was five years ago. Thanks to Hit, I have grown and learned how to manage my ability to evolve, change and adapt to the various challenges and circumstances we meet each day in the promotional products industry.

Motivation To Deliver World-Class Service:
Hit has given me purpose and challenges me to leave no stone unturned. Overall, I get the most joy out of making my distributor partners happy. It’s a connection. A feeling. A relationship.

No. 1 Tip For Great Customer Service:
I feel that being genuine and nice benefits any customer service rep. Paying attention, being patient and multitasking are all excellent tools as well, but if you’re not genuine and nice, how far will it get you? You have to be genuine and nice. You have to be real.

Best Personal Customer Service Experience:
As a dedicated professional wrestling fan, I’ve followed the WWE since I was a child, but there is a revolution for alternative independent wrestling taking place. There is a two-brother tag team named the Young Bucks and I have followed them for quite a while. Recently they came to perform in Philadelphia, about 15 minutes from Hit’s New Jersey office. As I walked in the door that evening, the gentleman taking my ticket saw the shirt I was wearing said “Young Bucks” and told me I should go over to their table and meet them. My heart began racing in anticipation and I headed their way. Unfortunately, they were already heading into the locker rooms to begin preparation for the evening’s fights. I had missed my two favorite wrestlers. Low and behold, without me realizing what was happening, the same man who took my ticket apparently watched all of this happen. He went into the back and convinced the Young Bucks to come out and meet my friend and me. It was one of the most surreal experiences of my life and reminded me what it feels like to receive customer service that is above and beyond anything one would ever expect. I will never forget meeting them, and that this one person who went out of his way ended up making me happier in that moment than I could recall in years. If I could ever make someone—my incredible teammates, my CSR partners, my outside sales reps or especially my distributor partners—as happy as I was on that day, in that moment, then I will truly feel that I have become successful in customer service. Until then, I will continue to strive to improve and get better so that I may, one day, make one of our clients feel the same way that I did on that night.

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Heather Heidrich
Customer Service Representative
Stouse
Years At The Company: 2

When a customer service rep handles deadlines and problems so smoothly that the customer almost forgets the rep is a vendor, that’s a Service Superhero—that’s Heather Heidrich. “She has repeatedly shown the initiative and professionalism to see an order completed and shipped on time and has gotten art or technical answers for a project with the clock ticking,” says her nominator, Tom Hall, owner of Southern Sales and Marketing. “She treats our company as if she works for us. She is just the best.” Heidrich, who has been in customer service most of her career, formerly held an even more challenging role—as an account manager dealing with customers who were affected by phone, internet and security system outages caused by natural disasters.

Best Part Of The Job:
I enjoy being able to provide a product that my customers’ end-user clients need, want and love once they receive it. I want my customer to be the superhero with their end user.

Biggest Challenge:
Being so new to this industry, my biggest challenge is helping the customer identify what they need—even when they don’t necessarily know what their end user wants. This challenge is something that I look forward to every day.

Motivation To Deliver World-Class Service:
I enjoy working with our customers to help them grow and increase their revenue. Identifying what they need to fulfill their end-user requests helps them understand our product line better so they can use that information with other clients. I also like offering additional complementary product ideas our customers can mention the next time they speak to their end-user client. The team of people I work with every day also motivates me. From the managers in the office to the employees shipping our orders, I have a dedicated team backing me up. This gives me the confidence to provide customers with the world-class service they deserve.

No. 1 Tip For Great Customer Service:
Listen to your customers. Without the ability to listen carefully to what a customer is saying, a message could be easily misunderstood and misinterpreted. Listening isn’t just about hearing.

Best Personal Customer Service Experience:
While planning my wedding, I attended many weekend wedding expos. I remember walking around looking at everything and feeling so overwhelmed. What did I need? What did I want? Could I afford that? I seriously must have had the “deer caught in the headlights” look. In one booth, a woman with a wonderful smile greeted me as if I was an old friend. She listened to me and was able to make what I felt were the most unmanageable tasks easy to deal with. She provided me with many answers to my questions and took the time to find what I needed. She made me feel like I was important to her and she was there to help me with whatever I needed. It’s that feeling the customer gets that makes the difference between good and great customer service.

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Tina Kusal
Customer Service Representative
International Merchandise Concepts
Years At The Company: 2

The ability to anticipate customers’ needs and communicate quickly and clearly are two things that set the standard for exceptional customer service. Tina Kusal exhibits those qualities every day, along with attention to detail and handling very complicated orders, says her nominator and boss, Karen Proano. Kusal is also extremely knowledgeable about the company’s product line and regularly looks for opportunities to educate her customers. Her quick thinking recently saved an order—the customer wanted to cancel after seeing a proof because they felt the logo was too small. Kusal convinced the distributor to change to a larger and more expensive product with a larger imprint area and gave them an additional discount as well. The order was saved and the customer and distributor were happy with the outcome.

Best Part Of The Job:
I enjoy problem-solving and finding unique products to match the needs of our customers. When they look to us for ideas on what will best suit their logo and needs, I enjoy researching and presenting options to help them.

Biggest Challenge:
It is most challenging when customers are upset with an order. Whether it is a decorator, shipping or processing error, the end result of a dissatisfied customer is disappointing. I like to do my best to get their issues resolved and fix any problems to partner with our clients.

Motivation To Deliver World-Class Service:
I pride myself on attention to detail and, as a consumer, I know what I would like to receive in terms of customer service. It helps to imagine how I wish to be treated in certain situations. I always challenge myself to do better, and I feel this drives me to give my best with every project.

No. 1 Tip For Great Customer Service:
Put yourself in their position. Whether they have a tight deadline, or the items were damaged or decorated incorrectly, you want to empathize with them. The success of the company depends on the business relationships you generate, and it goes a long way when you are understanding of their needs and concerns and can address them accordingly.

Best Personal Customer Service Experience:
I always have felt that T-Mobile’s customer service was outstanding because they seem to always go above-and-beyond whenever I had to contact them with a question or a service problem. You can tell they are trained to engage the customer and they come across as very helpful.

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Brandy Laster
Elite Distributor Services Supervisor
Ariel Premium Supply
Years At The Company: 4

Brandy Laster honed her customer service skills as a hotel front desk clerk and maid, making sure guests had clean, comfortable rooms and a pleasant stay. But she knew she could do more. Four years ago, she was ready for a change. She says Ariel Premium Supply took a chance on her and, in return, she goes above and beyond every day to give back to the company. “Brandy never stops working, never stops smiling and is committed to doing much more than her job description would ever suggest,” says one of her nominators and customers, Laura Martin, president of Red Rover Promotions. “She takes true ownership of everything that happens both under her umbrella of responsibility and everything else that crosses her line of vision. Who would ever expect to hear from an inside rep outside of business hours, let alone on a Saturday morning? Ariel is lucky to have her.” Another nominator and coworker, Martin Guthrie, says, “I am very, very lucky to have Brandy Laster on my team. Because of her, our territory has been up $1 million in new business three of the past four years.”

Best Part Of The Job:
I enjoy being able to use my creativity and ability to think outside of the box when it comes to helping with ideas for projects.

Biggest Challenge:
Fulfilling our rush production requests during busy season. When a customer needs the order tomorrow, we want to make that happen. We want to not only make them happy but make their customer happy as well. Making this happen can sometimes be challenging due to production capacity and time constraints. However, finding a resolution and being able to make it happen is also very rewarding.

Motivation To Deliver World-Class Service:
Our motto here at Ariel Premium Supply is “Taking Care of You.” This applies to our internal and external customers. I want to make sure that I am treating our customers and associates with the same respect and service I expect to get from anyone. Knowing that I am dependable, reliable and helpful in every way I can be is a big motivator for me.

No. 1 Tip For Great Customer Service:
Treat every customer like they are your biggest customer. Build a relationship, be honest and always treat the customer how you would want to be treated.

Best Personal Customer Service Experience:
On a recent trip out of the country, I stayed for two weeks at a hotel with amazing customer service. The desk clerk was very attentive and remembered our names from the minute we checked in until the day we left. The doorman took it upon himself to be a personal security guard for me as I am a wanderer and he would not let me out of his sight when I was outside alone. Being away from home in a foreign place, it felt great to come “home” and be greeted by name with a smile. All the staff we encountered made sure we felt welcomed and taken care of. I will always suggest this hotel to anyone traveling to this destination.

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Adam Peffer
Customer Service Lead
Hit Promotional Products
Years At The Company: 7

Adam Peffer is one of those customer-centric people who just gets it. If he doesn’t have an answer, he finds it. If a package gets lost, he ensures it’s found and delivered. If a customer is looking for a product, Peffer will locate it—and get the order fulfilled. And his follow-up and attention to detail are legendary according to his seven nominators. “I call him Aspirin Adam because he is always fixing my headaches,” says nominator and customer Jackson Conrad, sales rep at CC Creations. In every nomination was at least one story that started with “We had a large, complicated order…” or “We had a rush-minute order …” and every one ended with how Peffer saved the day.

Best Part Of The Job:
I enjoy that each day brings new challenges and tests one’s knowledge and skills to handle a variety of different situations.

Biggest Challenge:
That may also be the biggest challenge of customer service in a promo products environment.

Motivation To Deliver World-Class Service:
Taking pride in a job well done and receiving responses from customers that my efforts have affected them and their customers in a positive way. It motivates me to always work hard to ensure that I provide the best service possible to my customers and I am proud to do so.

No. 1 Tip For Great Customer Service:
Treat each interaction with a customer as though they were a guest in your home. Essentially, they are.

Best Personal Customer Service Experience:
My best personal experience was with UPS when handling a particularly tricky international shipment. The rep’s confidence in understanding the situation and my needs, and her ability to make me feel at ease with an understanding that she could and would take care of my needs made all the difference. Pair that with her outstanding follow-through and communication along the way, and this stands out still as a fantastic customer service experience.

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Mikhael Reed
Senior Internal Branding Consultant & Marketing Manager
Eskimo Joe’s Promotional Products Group
Years At The Company: 10

Mikhael Reed is known as the Queen of Kindness according to her nominator, Stan Clark, founder and CEO of the Stillwater, Oklahoma-based distributor. She started at the company as public relations director in 2001, then left the state for a year and when she returned, she championed a new role that includes planning several annual end-users’ shows. “Her energy, attitude and passion to do whatever it takes to delight our clients in every way imaginable is unwavering. Our suppliers rave about what a great job she does in organizing the events, making our shows some of their favorites that they work all year,” Clark says. “She genuinely loves to serve others, so she naturally creates raving fans.”

Best Part Of The Job:
Creating relationships with my clients. I want to be their “go-to” contact for all things, and I love getting to know them personally and professionally. I also love the challenge of finding that perfect item for their marketing efforts or next big event.

Biggest Challenge:
Time. There never seems to be enough and I always want more time to work on projects for each of my clients. I also strive to do everything as quickly as possible and there are only so many hours in the day to get things done.

Motivation To Deliver World-Class Service:
I want to make people smile. And I want them to be happy that they contacted me for assistance with their marketing needs. I love hearing that whatever item we ordered for them exceeded their expectations. My No.1 goal each day is to blow our clients away with the best service.

No. 1 Tip For Great Customer Service:
Be responsive. Let your clients know that you saw their e-mail or got their voicemail and get back in touch with them as quickly as possible. Ordering promotional products and/or apparel is usually a very small part of your client’s job. Everyone is busy, and it is important to let them know you will get started on whatever they might need right away. Also, do what you can to make others feel special. Remember their birthday or anniversary, celebrate when they have a baby or get married, maybe even keep up with their travel plans or big work events they have coming up. Celebrate your clients and what is going on in their lives. And do everything you can to exceed their expectations. Go above and beyond to provide them with the best service they have ever received. At EJPPG, we like to say that we’ll treat you so well, you won’t believe it.

Best Personal Customer Service Experience:
I love the service I always receive from our friends at SanMar. Our outside rep, Tyler Thompson, and inside reps, Alena Yuhl and Connie Johnson, always go out of their way to exceed our expectations. I love how much they value our partnership and how they support our company and our team members. They set the bar for service in our industry.

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Liz Thill
Solutions Specialist
Crystal D
Years At The Company: 4

Liz Thill’s title sets a high expectation for her clients and she lives up to it every day. “Liz makes the entire process of getting virtuals and quotes so easy,” says her nominator and coworker, Jen Jezierski. “She’s always looking for new ways to make her customers look like rock stars. And she does it all with the most positive and upbeat attitude.” Customer service is an area Thill is well-versed in. Before she joined the Crystal D team, she spent six years at a collection agency collecting on pre-charge off accounts. “These were the hardest accounts to collect on,” she says, “and it’s where I learned and mastered the bulk of my customer service skills.”

Best Part Of The Job:
My favorite part of working at Crystal D is making sure my customers are always happy. Having a bubbly personality helps a lot. It’s my job to make sure my customers always look good. I keep things simple, easy and fast. It’s a great way to build trust, and I know my customers can rely on me.

Biggest Challenge:
I think the most challenging part is keeping my response time low while juggling all of my customers’ projects and keeping them all straight. I want to make sure I don’t leave my customers hanging while I work on their various projects. I’ve learned to take really good notes.

Motivation To Deliver World-Class Service:
My biggest motivation is being my customers’ first choice in awards. It’s not about the money or the hours; it’s about the personal connections. My customers think of me first because I make sure the service they get is the best service I can give. You can’t change your product line, pricing or things like that. But you can change how you treat your customers. Providing an incredible customer experience is 100 percent in my control.

No. 1 Tip For Great Customer Service:
I live by the motto, “It’s not the big that eat the small, it’s the fast that eat the slow.” I always over-communicate exactly where we are in the process. Speed of delivery and keeping my customers in the loop is always something that makes a difference. Also, never say “no.” Always provide a solution to their problem. We may not be able to do XYZ for you, but we can do ABC instead. Sometimes the solution is referring them to a competitor who has a specific product that only they can provide. Your customer will remember that you went the extra mile, even if it meant you lost that order.

Best Personal Customer Service Experience:
My personal banker at Wells Fargo is amazing. This gentleman continuously goes above and beyond, and he always blows my expectations out of the water. He knows all of his regulars by name, and he remembers previous conversations he’s had with every one of them. He caters to my style of doing business which is a true talent. Not everyone can change their way of doing things to cater to each of their customers. What impresses me the most is that I always feel important to him, and he genuinely cares about my day and appreciates my business. I was so impressed with my first interaction that I emailed his manager directly to compliment him on his amazing customer service. It’s the little things that go a long way, and those are the things people remember.

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Sheryl Williams
VP, Finance & Operations
Image Source, Inc.
Years At The Company: 10

Sheryl Williams is affectionately known as the office mom, Wonder Woman, the Queen Keener, captain of the ship, the smartest person on the team and one of the company’s hardest workers. “There’s constantly a line at her door—which is always open—and she can tackle any type of question or issue that comes up,” says co-worker Jeff Holt, one of 18 nominators. Williams is appreciated across the organization for the long hours she puts in on a regular basis to streamline processes and make things easier and more efficient for the entire team. She’s also genuinely admired for the energy and enthusiasm she brings to the workplace, as well as her ability to listen to employees and turn the spotlight of appreciation on others. Employees describe her as compassionate, selfless, inspiring and a leader with a servant’s heart. “She’s the engine that keeps the company rolling,” adds nominator Tricia Thompson. “She will drop everything when people need her support,” says company president and nominator Tom Goos, MAS.

Best Part Of The Job:
I really enjoy working with such amazing team members every day. Every team member at Image Source brings a unique perspective to our culture, cares about providing good service and cares about each other. At the end of the day, that’s what matters.  

Biggest Challenge:
Workload balance is the biggest challenge for me and the entire team. We are faced daily with variable order volume and unexpected challenges. We continue to find ways to work through these—it always comes back to having great team members who can help with balancing the load.

Motivation To Deliver World-Class Service:
I think it has to be collaborating with teammates to find efficient solutions to daily challenges.

No. 1 Tip For Great Customer Service:
Listen. Look at the situation from the customer’s perspective. Go beyond what is expected.

Best Personal Customer Service Experience:
Recently we were traveling out of town and checked into a hotel room late at night that smelled horrible—there were no rooms left. Frustrated, we moved to another hotel where the front desk person greeted us with a smile, tips about the area, bottles of water and an upgraded room which was a real treat. They were little things really, but we instantly felt better, had a great sleep and have been back for another stay (the service was still stellar).

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Amy Wooldridge
Customer Service & Operations Manager
Crystal Images
Years At The Company: 10

“Amy Wooldridge feels she is an extension of the distributor and a true business partner,” says nominator Greg Boyes, a multi-line rep. “Distributors consistently relay to me that the reason we have their business is because of Amy. Her decision-making abilities and quick response to resolving issues are the best I’ve seen in this industry.” Wooldridge was formerly an administrative assistant to the VP of sales for a company that provided medical record and document scanning. “This was not a direct customer service position, but I catered to every need of our sales staff,” she says. “That is when I knew that helping and taking care of people is something that I truly enjoy doing.”

Best Part Of The Job:
Building relationships and exceeding a customer’s expectations are two things I enjoy most. Leaving someone with a lasting impression is a very rewarding feeling.

Biggest Challenge:
My biggest challenge is when something doesn’t go as planned and I end up with a disappointed customer. It can be very stressful, but this challenge is where I excel. Finding a solution to turn the situation around to have a pleased and very thankful customer is one of the reasons I love my job.

Motivation To Deliver World-Class Service:
Making our customers’ lives easier by delivering quality products and services is what motivates me. In doing this, I am also helping to build our business and make us stand out above the rest.

No. 1 Tip For Great Customer Service:
Always strive to deliver or exceed the level of service you would expect to receive.

Best Personal Customer Service Experience:
A few years ago, I had to order some items for a cancer fundraiser. This fundraiser was near and dear to me as it was for one of my friends. The company I ordered from made the entire process stress-free which was much appreciated at such a scary time. They also went above and beyond when they found out that this was a personal order for me. They discounted the order and rushed it out free of charge. This simple act of kindness meant the world to me. 

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Tina Berres Filipski is editor of PPB.

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