Whatever It Takes


Most people would agree that technology has streamlined our lives. Take ordering promotional products, for example. By accessing a well-designed and efficient ecommerce site, one can select an item, upload the logo, choose the decorating method and ink colors, specify delivery, pay, and review and approve a proof all online without any human interaction and largely without a shred of customer service.

But how comfortable is that experience? And what happens when there’s a problem? If you’ve ever bought from a site (or from any business, for that matter) sans someone who can answer questions and resolve problems, the importance of customer service becomes crystal clear.

When it comes down to it, personal service is what humans crave and the pendulum about service is swinging away from self-service and back to high-quality attention tailored to customers’ needs. And customers are noticing.

Companies achieving the highest scores in the 2018 American Customer Satisfaction Index (ASCI), a national measure of customer satisfaction based on customer evaluations, didn’t make the list on luck but by following a precise philosophy. These top 10 companies—Chick-fil-A, Trader Joe’s, Aldi, Amazon, Lexus, Costco, HEB Grocery, Toyota, Publix and Wegmans Food Markets—need no explanation on why they made the list. Service is their mantra. 

Likewise, exceptional customer service is not lost on promo professionals—it’s lauded. Since 2012 PPB has conducted an annual search to identify, select and recognize the best customer service pros in the industry in its annual list of PPB Service Superheroes. From 74 individuals nominated this year, the accolades and service reputations of these 15 individuals exemplify best-in-class service.

Michelle Aberdein’s service-centered approach to her relationships with internal staff, suppliers and customers is at the core of her success. “Michelle is a positive influence on the staff at TPS, and is always polite, professional, warm and friendly,” says her nominator and manager Jacqueline Paul, director of finance and operations. “There is no task too big or too small, be it handling a million-dollar order with hundreds of shipping locations and dozens of purchase orders and split-billing or packing an order that has to get out the door when our warehouse staff is too busy to assist.”

Michelle also mentors others in the department and is their go-to person for advice on the industry, suppliers, customer service and shipping problems. “But where she really shines is her dedication to getting the job done,” says Paul. “Sometimes that means just doing regular order processing, but sometimes it means coordinating multiple suppliers and customers on a weekend to ensure we meet the customer’s event requirements.”


I enjoy the variety; no two days are the same and no two projects alike. The unique ideas and creative branding opportunities are a constant reminder of how diverse and interesting our industry can be. Working on orders across a variety of industries and fields presents an exciting chance to not only gain greater exposure to what’s out there, but to actually see your stuff out in the world and receive that recognition.


The challenges lie in the thoroughly detailed and time-sensitive projects. The coordination and attention to detail required to ensure everything goes according to plan can be quite hectic. At the same time, the successful completion of a challenging order provides a great feeling of accomplishment.


I am inspired by the integral role I play as part of the TPS team. Every member has their strengths and defining traits, and success requires a healthy mix of collaboration and specialization to ensure positive outcomes and customer satisfaction. The account managers with whom I work are passionate about what they do, and care greatly about the relationships they have nurtured and maintained. Their appreciation and trust in me to always execute and deliver, regardless of the complexity of the order, motivates me to provide optimal care and consideration for every order I facilitate.


The most important thing to remember is to approach every situation with empathy. Each customer and project has its own unique requirements and taking an empathetic approach each day allows me to keep everything in perspective—to fully understand where the client is coming from, and help them achieve their vision.



The best service I have ever received was from our very own team here at TPS. There are certain times and situations where additional help is required—especially for urgent matters that need to be resolved quickly. From the president/CEO, to the Accounting department, and throughout the organization—no one on our team is above lending a hand. In my 14 years with TPS, the sense of family and our support for each other, as well as our customers, reinforces the teamwork, all-hands approach that continues to make us successful. I have never been prouder to work with such amazing people who have become like family to me.

 

Multi-line reps have one of the toughest jobs in the industry but for one pair of reps, Hillary Andrus makes all the difference. “Hillary treats her field team and our customers with a positive, friendly and super enthusiastic attitude,” say her nominators Chris and Karen Stauffer with Cascade Marketing Group. “She wears her superhero cape and responds to requests with lightning speed. And, every single time she lets us all know how excited she is to have the opportunity to work on the project at hand. Whatever the “ask,” she always makes time to go above and beyond by adding value and ideas. In nearly 18 months, we have had zero clients contact us with issues/challenges—this is because Hillary understands the big picture in cultivating relationships and doing the right thing to help our distributors secure the sale and deliver.” 


I love coming up with creative suggestions for the specific projects the distributor is working on.


My biggest challenge is working behind the computer screen and not working with the distributor face to face. That is why I love attending shows.


We have an awesome job where we get to be in a partnership with the distributors. I love it because we get to help each other and rely on each other to be successful. I find joy in the distributor’s successes as I truly believe we are a partnership.


Each day find an opportunity to serve and make someone’s day brighter.



The best service I have ever received was at a company that sells vitamins. I was thanked profusely for my order and I truly felt as if the owner recognized that my purchase was a big contribution to her and her company. She then followed up to see how I liked it. I felt important and I learned from that experience that each person should feel valued.

 

Last year, during the company’s busiest season, many of its factory workers came down with an illness causing the company to risk falling behind on production. Silas Barker, a new employee, jumped in to help. “He was very new, but just said, ‘Show me what I can do!’ says his nominator Priscilla Zietlow, who works in business development/sales. “He came in hours before the offices opened to help the factory. This enabled us to keep on track with all orders. We never fell behind or missed an event date; Silas was a key reason why. He was helping every department that he could, and we were all so grateful.” Since then, she has continued to have confidence that Barker can handle anything—even when she’s out of the office. “My customers always get the best of care from Silas. He gives them the same great customer service that he gives his own customers, fills me in on everything when I get back and lets me know exactly what I need to follow up on. Nothing has fallen through the cracks—there are no cracks working with Silas.”


I love seeing what new custom item is going to cross my desk next; something that my client and I can create from the ground up for their customer is super rewarding.


Absolutely nothing. I love my job and have found my home; this is the field I was meant to be in, and I love every day of it.


Well, to me it is natural. I know how I like to be treated when I am shopping or spending my money. I have a choice on where to shop, just as my customers do, and I want them to choose me when they need a service such as ours. If you can build that relationship with them and take care of their needs by doing whatever it takes with a smile, there is no reason they should go anywhere else. I am a firm believer that people stay loyal to great service.


Stay positive every day. We, as reps or just as people, can affect the people around us with a smile or a positive gesture. Remember that you chose your profession and there will be tough times, but as long as you wake up every day to brighten one person’s day or 100 people’s days, you will wake up every day loving what you do. Every day is another opportunity.


Just recently I was shopping for some car parts for a car I am restoring with my son. Finding parts for this car is not easy. I contacted a particular company after hours of searching and found a rep named Tony. Tony not only searched and found the part I was looking for using his contacts, he still contacts me personally once a month to see if I am in need. I have now bought every part I need from Tony; I don’t even think about looking anywhere else for anything for my cars. When I need something, Tony has my business. I have spoken with other reps from that company, and they are just as helpful as Tony. That company is doing something right in its hiring and training.

Putting on a smile and delivering over-the-top service is a tall order on some days, but Chrissy Cosner’s clients had no idea the personal situation she was dealing with as her son, David, underwent almost 400 lung surgeries in his 10-year battle with Wegener’s Granulomatosis. He passed away in June at age 28. “Through it all Chrissy was by his side for every one of those surgeries, sometimes leaving work mid-day to run up to the hospital, get the OK that he was in recovery and then come back in the afternoon to get back to her customers, without them ever even knowing she was gone,” says her nominator Jamie Dickens, vice president of sales. “Oftentimes David would spend weeks in the ICU, and all the while Chrissy would split her time between the hospital and work, barely missing a beat.” As her manager, Dickens says what she was most impressed with was not only that she managed to set new records in customer retention through some of the darkest and scariest months of David's illness, but that she always found a way to put herself together, put on a smile and carry herself with unbelievable grace for her customers. "When she was literally dealing with life and death to find the compassion to worry about someone’s trade-show lip balms being on time and done right—that simply blows me away.”


I enjoy getting to know the clients, to share some of my life with them, to become human as opposed to someone just “answering” the phone.


Upset customers are the biggest challenge, and I do try to do my best to understand where they are coming from and what I can do to alleviate their distress.



I can’t say it’s inspiration as much as it is the fact that they deserve someone to do their best with the needs they have. I enjoy making people happy.



Be human.


Actually, it was an order with HandStands here at work. They were very professional, very fast and extremely giving when it came to pricing/swap outs/shipping. This order was a drawn-out thing and they remained helpful and attentive until the issue was resolved—and they shipped overnight on their account. I would use them again in a heartbeat.

 

Christina Hernandez was initially hired as a temp to answer the phones for a week while the receptionist was on vacation. Then she was asked to stay for two more weeks and take on additional responsibilities. Then she was asked to stay two more weeks. The weeks turned into months and she was hired permanently as administrative assistant. That was 19 years ago, and she’s kept moving up to increasing responsibility. What made her a keeper in the beginning hasn’t gone unnoticed by the company’s president, David Messe, who nominated her for this honor, or by her clients Barbara Dowden, senior account executive, and Elizabeth Hensley, senior account rep, both at Sunrise Identity Powered by HALO. Hernandez handles the company’s two top clients and the demands are enormous, says Messe. “She handles it all from standard orders to custom imports for these two top clients plus about 15 other clients in our top 50. She is level-headed and has a total grasp of distributor client needs and expectations. Her ability to juggle projects and produce more in terms of dollars and number of orders every year make her the superstar that she is,” he says. 


The part of my job that I enjoy the most is finding creative solutions for customers' needs. Also, because our products are custom, I love to work on different items every day.


The part of my job that challenges me the most are the tight deadlines, and those that challenge me in a good way are projects that spark creative thinking and finding solutions for distributors and their clients.


I love working at Pinnacle because we have great owners (Brad Hartstein and David Messe). They are well respected in our industry and inspire me to want to give my all because I see how they treat not only our customers, but also their employees. When you work somewhere like this, you can’t help but want to give your all. Not only do I want to help maintain our reputation, but also to care for the clients the way our owners care for us and our clients. I also love being able to deliver great products for distributors on time and helping them accomplish their promotional goals for their clientele.


First ask the right questions and then listen carefully. 


The best customer service that I experienced personally was at Dodger Stadium. I was about eight months pregnant and went to a concert there. My husband and I drove up to the gate to pay for parking, and the attendant politely and gently asked me if I was pregnant. I was in the passenger’s seat, and thought it was a somewhat odd question as I had not interacted with the attendant during the transaction. I confirmed that I was pregnant. She kindly informed me of a service where I could call a phone number and arrange for a golf cart to pick us up at the car and drive us to the entrance. I was ecstatic! They drove my husband and me to the exact area where our seats were located. The driver then told me to call again when I was ready to leave, and they would give us a ride back to our car. It was impressive because I found it so incredibly thoughtful for them to offer this service to expectant mothers. It made me feel very special and appreciated. This experience further enhanced my affection for the Los Angeles Dodgers.

 

If you want to learn a new job, you go where you’ll get the most experience—right? Erin Hill cut her teeth in customer service in one of the toughest customer service industries—telecommunications—as an executive escalations analyst. She helped resolve new and recurring issues with customers’ phone and internet service and handled billing and invoice issues. This background helped her dive in at Raining Rose as leader of the sales support team and made an impression on her nominator, Heather Mangold, national sales rep. “She has high integrity and is always doing what is best for our customers to make sure they are getting what they want when they need it.” She adds that Hill has recently partnered with the purchasing team to help make sure they are getting out-of-stock issues taken care of, and make sure they are proactively communicating with customers. “This has not only helped our customer experience, but we are also developing internal SOPs to help navigate through forecasting to better serve our customers,” says Mangold.


I most enjoy working with all my fellow co-workers to solve customer issues. Meeting critical deadlines and solving complex problems really gets me excited to do it all again the next day.


The things that I really enjoy about my job are also the parts that challenge me the most, which is also why I love it and come in every day to do it all again.


When a customer says that I saved the day or made them look like a hero with their customer, it inspires me to keep doing what I am doing. I love working magic and doing what seems impossible.


Be yourself and put yourself in their shoes. That sort of genuine care and concern creates superb customer service.


I was recently at a local furniture store looking for a new couch and the salesperson I worked with was amazing. I explained what I was looking for and she showed me several examples. While I sat on each one to try it out, she explained the differences between them, along with the costs and even how they were made. I couldn’t make a decision so she gave me her business card along with the phone number at each store where she was going to be over the next week so I could call her if I had any other questions and when I was ready to make a purchase. She even provided me with detailed spec sheets on my top two choices so I could measure at home and be sure they would fit well in the space. She clearly cared about me getting just the right couch. I will buy all my future furniture from this store.

Before joining INM Marketing Group three years ago, Kaelyn Hunter built her career in customer service and program management largely in the semiconductor industry. Maybe that’s how she developed the analytical side of her brain that helps her stand out in a world of creative types. “Kaelyn’s a superhero because she takes the time to think through every situation,” says LeighAnne Allen, director, key accounts, and one of five nominators. “She’s like your computer’s firewall—she analyzes everything but only lets the good things through.” And while Hunter’s job is in client services, she doesn’t stop there. “Kaelyn is not on the sales team, but don’t tell her that,” Allen adds. “While she’s not actively hunting for new business, she’s invested in the success and growth of this company.” Another nominator, President Zac Fowler, says, “I hear from clients (and vendors) literally every week about how amazing she is to deal with. They trust her approach, appreciate her respect towards them and know that she is going to move mountains to make them happy. She is, without a doubt, the best client services person we have ever had. Now I need to figure out how to clone her.”


First and foremost, it’s 100 percent the people that I work with. This group at INM is truly a special group of people and I couldn’t do what I do without them. I love engaging with our clients and watching their vision of growing their brand come to life through product. It’s so fun to hear our team brainstorm these great ideas and then help it become a reality through production.


The quick turnaround and constant flow of new projects for our clients is most challenging but it offers me an opportunity to continue to grow.


I genuinely love helping people. I want to find solutions to each customer’s needs which means taking the time to understand them.


Remember that there is a real person on the other end of the phone or email. Your clients are trying to get something accomplished and it’s your goal to help them shine. And your vendors are working hard for you. Treat everyone with respect and work towards the goal at hand.


I had an experience with one of our vendors where an order felt like it was completely falling apart. The customer service rep I was working with took the time to understand our issue and find a way to come to a solution that met our needs. That person went above and beyond their responsibilities to make sure we were satisfied.

Diane is the voice—and the heart—behind every call, chat and email to our firm’s online story.” These were the opening lines of a customer's note sent to nominator Maria Ebel, director of ecommerce solutions, about Diane Joy. Ebel frequently receives notes like this about Joy as well as praise from customers in the company’s surveys. “Diane fields phone calls, live chats and emails related to over 400 orders per day,” says Ebel. “Many of those orders require last-minute changes or special requests such as same-day shipments. Diane works with our warehouse and embroidery teams to pull off miracles.”



Working with the customers whom I enjoy very much. I like the problem-solving aspect as well.


I truly like my customers and Concord is a great company to work for with more customers coming online all the time.



I believe customers can hear a smile over the phone. Put yourself on the other end of the call; what would you want to hear? Also, everyone makes mistakes. It is how you fix them that matters the most.


The best customer service I receive is internal. It comes from the rock-star production team who says ‘yes’ to every rush, the sales support team that is always there with answers and the purchasing team that has the huge job of keeping products on our shelves. Also, the support of the super management team who always has my back.

 

While we have a very talented sales/customer service team at Quality Logo Products, Kat stands out primarily because of all the good will her actions have generated for the company,” says President Bret Bonnet, one of three nominators. “She frequently receives the highest scores on customer surveys and most of the positive accolades we receive online, for example customer reviews, are from satisfied customers that Kat serviced.” She is well-known for putting her customers’ happiness first, even if it requires a road trip. And she’s gone that far for a customer, too. When a supplier couldn’t make the delivery deadline, through no fault of Dlugolecki's, she and her mother tag-teamed to drive the order from the supplier in Tennessee to the client in New Orleans. “In short, there is nothing Kat won’t do for her customers,” says Bonnet.


Customer service comes naturally for me. I think the part I enjoy the most in this position is helping customers with their artwork—always suggesting different layouts to get them the best imprint possible and something they’ll be 100-percent happy with. 


The biggest challenge is claims and dealing with unhappy customers. I empathize with my customers, so I do whatever I can to make them happy in the end.


My inspiration is my customers. Almost daily I receive emails telling me what a great job I did or how wonderful it was to work with me. I’ve even had a customer email me to simply say “Kat for President!” It’s feedback like this that makes me push forward and try to be better than I was the day before.


Be nice and empathize; put yourself in their shoes. At the end of the day, our position is to sell promotional products, but you could be talking to someone who is spending their last dollar to help promote their on-the-verge-of-bankruptcy business.


While out of town, I went to breakfast with about 20 other people at a mom-and-pop restaurant. Guests sporadically showed up and we had just one server, so by the time one person was finished eating another guest would walk in and sit at our table. The server was amazing. She was happy, patient and kind and kept a smile on her face the entire time, even though you could see the beads of sweat forming on her forehead. Before we left, I told her she did an excellent job knowing this was not a normal situation for her. She was able to keep everything organized and everyone happy, and I will for sure return if I’m ever in the area again.

There isn’t a day at distributor Think It Then Ink It that someone on the team doesn’t hear Garrett Lee ask, “Need any help with that?” Since Lee joined the company two years ago, his first full-time job since graduating from college, he has impressed not only owner Tim Bruner, one of two nominators, but is a welcome addition to the rest of the team as well. “Garrett has taken on more responsibility in our company and backs up several employees,” says his other nominator Kelly Williams, corporate brand consultant. “He does everything without a hitch, even with his regular schedule being jam-packed. Garrett is in his early 20s and is one of the best CSRs I have ever worked with.”


The part I enjoy the most is that every day is something different. Each day I have different tasks, different customers and a different experience. This makes the job entertaining because it is always changing.


The most challenging part for me is sending options for items a customer would like. The reason why it is challenging is because there are so many options out there for apparel and different promotional products that I can’t show the customer every potential item. I have to choose a couple options for them and hope they like them. Since each customer is different and likes different materials, etc., I can’t send the same options to each person. Although it is challenging, it helps me learn more about our industry because I find some options that I never thought of before.


I know this is probably what a lot of people say but I just live by the motto, “treat others the way you want to be treated.” If I were the customer, I would expect quick, positive and knowledgeable replies. That is what I try to do with every customer. I try to answer most emails within an hour of receiving it, and no more than a half a day. This not only creates great customer service, but also keeps things moving. One of my favorite things about this job is working with customers who are getting shirts for children. I know they really enjoy getting items, so I pride myself in getting the order to them quickly and correctly.

 
My No. 1 tip is to always be positive no matter if you using email or the phone. Having an upbeat, positive tone will make you not only seem like a great individual, it will likely make that customer come back because of the great interaction you had.


The best service I have received was when I was buying running shoes at Performance Running Outfitters. I was having issues with my feet when I was getting ready for a half marathon. The pain was so bad that I would have to stop and walk in the middle of my run so my feet could stop hurting. When I first arrived at Performance Running Outfitters, I was greeted at the door and asked questions to find out exactly what I was looking for. They also performed an analysis on my feet to get me the right shoe. They brought out maybe five different pairs of shoes that would fit my needs and asked me to run a little bit in them to see how they felt. Once I got my new pair of shoes, I no longer had the pain in my feet.

The service was impressive because I felt like the individual helping me cared about what I was looking for. He asked me many questions and didn’t try to just get me in one pair of shoes and then out the door. He spent time telling about the shoe and how it can improve my stability. I have since gone back to that company for running shoes and running essentials and recommend it to anyone who is looking for a good pair of running shoes.

 

Paola Edith Morales Mulato was nominated for this honor by four distributor clients who praised her unwavering ability to handle multi-faceted, complex projects without missing a beat. “We recently had a very complicated order that was produced by The Sourcing Solution in China,” says Jeff Sampson, president of Elevate Brand Marketing. “We provided extensive drawings and renderings to the factory so that they could provide pre-production samples. We were on our fourth iteration of the samples and the factory was still missing the mark. Paola traveled to the factory by planes, trains and automobiles and stayed there for three days to ensure we got a correct sample in time for our client presentation.”

Originally from Mexico, she previously worked for a spare parts sourcing company as a buyer dealing with suppliers in the UK, China and Brazil. Now she lives in Mainland, China, and manages a team of employees there. “Paola’s Western education and her business acumen are critical to her ability to support our business,” adds Sampson. “And her work ethic is unmatched.”


My favorite part is when our clients share pictures of the events where they used the product that we helped them to develop. It is always very satisfying to see the result of our job in action.


I think the biggest challenge is to keep innovating. I walk several trade shows around the world looking for the next cool promo item that we can share with our clients but that is not always an easy task.


In our industry we get to help our clients create all sorts of products. While this can be challenging, I love the feeling of a job well done and knowing that we are helping our clients grow their business with the products we help them with.


My No. 1 tip would be to never assume anything. By asking questions I can often ensure that I totally understand my client’s needs, which helps me create a bespoke product for them and ensure they are getting exactly what they hoped for from the outset.


The food ordering service I use is my favorite example of great customer service. There have been times when I accidentally ordered my food to be delivered to my home on a Thursday morning instead of to the office. They phone just to confirm I’m not in the office. Sometimes I am in the office and forget to change my delivery address. It may sound like a small thing but helping clients not to make a mistake is one of the things I value the most.

 

Before Akhil Shastry joined BrightStores almost three years ago, he was working in customer service for a streaming service provider. What he learned in that position helped set him up to make a significant contribution to both internal and external customers at the Denver, Colorado-based business services company BrightStores. “Akhil is the glue that connects users to a positive software experience,” says Victor Nakada, account manager and one of 10 nominators. “Most importantly, he makes everyone’s job easier here at BrightStores.” Another nominator, Sarah Tuomi, who is on the billing team, shares this example of how Shastry goes the extra mile. “The other day we got a very unusual question in support and I was stumped. He took the initiative to take it on and did quite a bit of research and testing, not stopping until he had exhausted all routes available. Akhil makes it his mission to truly get to the bottom of problems, not only to help the client, but to help BrightStores improve for the future.”


I enjoy being able to help our distributor clients in solving their complex issues and questions. Being able to provide an answer in these scenarios is always much more fulfilling.


I find that I am challenged most by unique or new problems presented by our system and take these challenges in stride to better myself and hopefully be able to provide feedback so we can supply a better product.


The unique questions and store configuration scenarios that are posed. While everything has its own “process,” I find the complex or unique questions have their own solutions and are somewhat like solving a puzzle.


Don’t give up on tough questions and never be afraid to ask for help or more information. Trying to solve something without knowing the full picture could result in more issues.


I was working with the support team for one of our technology providers to find out more information and I was pleased with how responsive and informative their team was with the questions I asked. This isn’t always the case when working with another company’s support team, but I’m always impressed when I do get to work with someone like this.

 

 

Among Mike Tarter’s seven nominators were several buyer clients, including the merchandise and promo buyer for a major Dallas sports team. “Mike has impeccable service,” she says. “We work with over 60 vendors and he is definitely a front runner and a pleasure to work with. He makes miracles happen like any superhero would.”

Tarter was the first employee at Elevate Brand Marketing and worked his way up from graphic designer to director of inside sales. Today he’s responsible for managing a team of eight and handling order management, creative, product design and merchandising. “Mike can handle anything that is thrown at him, from presentations, creative concepts and virtual proofs to order placing, tracking, trouble shooting, follow up, client interaction and all around involvement,” says nominator Todd Exley, senior account manager.


I love working with everyone on my team and am ecstatic when we deliver something to a client that they didn’t think was possible or when a client responds with an overly positive response to a job well done by me and my team.


We don’t want to let the customer down and sometimes timelines are very difficult to work with, but we will do everything in our power to make it happen or make it right.


Work ethic and making sure my clients are happy daily. Every day I am marketing myself with the work I do. My performance every day is important to me. That may be the athlete in me and my sports background. How you perform ‘on the field’ or in the workplace is everything and my clients are very important to me and my company. I’ve created relationships and friendships doing what I do and just like outside the office, I want to keep those relationships.


Be the nice guy/gal. You won’t lose anything by being too nice.


It happened recently and has stuck with me for the past few months. When I rented a car, I was overcharged and charged twice on two different credit cards. When I pointed it out, instead of charging me what I owed, the gal at the counter credited me the entire amount on both cards and essentially let me rent the car for a week without having to pay. This was a mistake on their end, and they didn’t hesitate to make it right. I have a lot of respect for this car rental company and will be a customer for life. This is what customer service is all about. Be friendly and make it right.

Marianne Taylor has built her career in customer service and sales roles selling fine jewelry for a major department store for 25 years, managing a children’s consignment shop and then working for a greeting card line. She joined Quinn in the Quoting department and moved to Data Entry before taking her current position as a CSR. It’s definitely turned out to be the right fit for Taylor. “She asks great questions when an order is received to help troubleshoot before the order goes to production such as, ‘how will this look?’, ‘Should we have a pre-pro sample made?, ‘Does the customer know or understand…’” says her nominator Wendy Schwab, customer service supervisor. “Her customers appreciate the extra information provided so decisions can be made before the proof is made or the order is sent to production. Even the insight of “I am not sure about this one” gives her the upper hand in preventing problems. Marianne works well with our customers and has exceptional phone and communication skills.”


I really enjoy the variety of responsibilities related to the job and communicating with the customers. Part of being a customer service representative is providing helpful information. We are the front line of support for clients and customers, and we are here to help ensure that customers are satisfied with our product or services. It is such a good feeling to know that I helped a customer who may have had reservations or concerns about a product. Once I gave them a better understanding, they proceeded to order the item. Also, it is nice to hear afterwards that our product exceeded their expectations.


I take pride in my work and our product. I am inspired to create lasting relationships with my customers to keep them coming back to Quinn. My goal is to provide the best customer service experience to our distributors. 


As a customer service representative, my actions may determine whether a customer continues to give their business to our company or decides to never have anything to do with it again. I feel the best tip would be to listen to your customer, whether it is related to products or a problem with an order. Also, asking questions is important—from how the product will be used to specifications on the product. Your customer wants to know that you care about their order and can give them a quick resolution to a problem.


I would say my best customer-service moment was when I was shopping out-of-state for my sister-in-law’s Christmas gift—a perfume she really likes. I was carrying multiple bags that day and went to eat at a restaurant and accidently left the bag there. I did not realize the bag was missing until I got home. The next day, I contacted the restaurant and did not have luck there, so I proceeded to contact the store to see if by chance someone turned the package in to their lost and found. Again, no luck, but the salesperson did take down my address in case the package showed up. Well, within a few days, I received a package in the mail with a note saying they replaced the bottle of perfume for me at no charge. That is what I call impressive service.

Nominator Evan Mann, director of strategy, engagement and innovation at Ideas Unlimited, calls Erin Wright-Simpson “customer-centric.” What she means is that Wright-Simpson puts her customer’s wellbeing and concerns at the center of the order process. “This begins with the way she forms a personal relationship with every contact for each of her accounts,” says Mann. “Erin knows the names of each individual, their likes/dislikes and their interests, and stays abreast of what’s happening in their lives. From knowing about their families, to their vacation plans, to deaths in the family, Erin is on top of every relationship detail. Erin is also customer-centric in the way she manages her calendar. She always knows when a seasonal or annual project is coming and proactively communicates with clients to get the ball rolling—they expect her to be there for them, and it’s clear she expects this of herself.”

Wright-Simpson takes excellence at work personally, too. “We call her ‘Speedy Gonzales’ because she’s the first to answer the phone, to get the mail, to return a proposal to a customer or to do any other job that needs doing; usually before anyone else thinks to do a job, Erin’s gotten it done,” says Mann.


I value the personal and professional relationships I have with my clients and the vendors I work with. My clients know that when they call me at 4:45 pm and need those tumblers in two days, I won’t stop until it gets done.



This quote from the Wonder Woman comic:  “Because no matter how small an act of kindness or generosity or simple positivity you put out into the world, it will make a difference.”


As Diana Prince reminds Captain Steve Trevor in the Wonder Woman movie, “A deal is a promise and a promise is unbreakable.”



A recent personal experience was on my birthday last year. While visiting Boston, my boyfriend made reservations at a restaurant that had wonderful reviews. After sitting for almost an hour without even being offered something to drink, we decided to leave. Needless to say, I was very disappointed with how the night was turning out. We walked down the street just a few blocks and tried again. This time, when we explained the situation, we were guided to an intimate table for two and brought out course after course of food by two of the most amazing servers I have ever had. They sang to me, talked my boyfriend into splurging on a bottle of Dom Perignon (first and only time) and turned the entire night around. All it takes for exceptional service is a little time and attention.

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Tina Berres Filipski is editor of PPB.

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