We’re back with another opportunity to get to know our Customer Service Reps. This time we spoke with Donna, who began working for us last summer. While she may be relatively new to the Customer Service department, she actually has previous experience working for Hodges Badge Company, as she spent time in our Rhode Island factory as our Shipping Supervisor in the ’90s.
Now that she spends more time taking calls, Donna shared how interesting it is to talk with people from all over the country, and how much there is to learn about the different type of competitions our awards are a part of.
When I asked her what customer service means to her, she noted how important it is to make the customer comfortable. This means being yourself on the phone in order to provide service on a personal level.
Originally from Fall River, Massachusetts, Donna is a super busy mom to three kids- ages 11, 10 and 6. When she gets a spare moment, she loves reading, running, and spending time outdoors.
We know it’s been a while, but we’re back with another friendly employee from our Customer Service Department. Caroline may have only been with Hodges Badge Company for 8 months , but she has been a part of our extended family for much longer. In fact, her mother worked in our Rhode Island rosette department during the 70s and 80s. Caroline even has memories of being a flower girl for another factory employee that is still with the company.
In her time working at Hodges Badge, Caroline has come to take pride in being part of a smaller, family-owned company. She noted that our size and attention to the customer enables us to provide a higher level of service. For example, did you know that we still accept payment by personal check or that if you have prepaid for second day shipping and we can get the order out fast enough to use ground shipping, we’ll refund the customer the difference? “You just don’t find that anymore” she said.
Outside of work, Caroline keeps busy with her two teenage daughters. She also enjoys dancing in Zumba classes and admits an affection for anything Disney, with Beauty and the Beast being her favorite movie.
We hope you enjoy getting to know the people that make up our Customer Service department. Is there anything else you’d like to know that our Reps can answer? Let us know in the comments.
Our next rep kind enough to participate in an interview for the blog is Liz, a name that I hope will be familiar to many of our customers as she has an impressive 27 years of service with Hodges Badge. Liz is our Customer Service Supervisor and like Billy, she refers to Hodges as her “second family.”
During her time with the company, Liz has built many enjoyable relationships with customers, some of which have invited her to coffee or to their event. In addition to being a friendly “real person” on the phone, Liz enjoys reassuring the panicked customer that it’s not a problem to meet their needs, and speaking with people from across the country.
Spending a significant amount of time on the phone with our customers has not only allowed her to provide them a service, but provided Liz with a surprising benefit. “I can now answer a lot of questions on Jeopardy! because of things I’ve learned talking to our customers” she said.
Speaking of TV, Liz shared that she admits to tracking the appearance of Hodges ribbons, medals and awards in commercials, programs, and movies. “When I spot a ribbon, I’m always looking to tell if it’s from Hodges” she said. This has turned into an unofficial game that more than a few of our employees (myself included) will admit to playing.
A Massachusetts native, Liz enjoys spending time gardening, reading, and hanging out with family. When I asked her how long she planned on staying at Hodges, she responded “Forever! Or as long as they’ll have me.” That’s some serious employee dedication that I know we are happy to have.
I know it’s been a while since our last “Meet the Rep” feature, but I hope you’ll find this one worth the wait.
Today’s featured rep has been with Hodges Badge at three locations, through growth, expansion, and an endless list of technological upgrades. Billy has 32 years of experience in Customer Service, and many of us can’t imagine the department without him.
“I’ve been here so long that Hodges is like an extension of family” Billy said. “It’s a part of my life; I’ve grown up with people here” he added.
When I asked him what it was about the job that has kept him here, he said “What I like the most is working with customers whom with I’ve established a relationship with. But whether it’s someone’s first call or their fiftieth, I want them to know I take pride in helping them.”
Outside of work, Billy, a native Rhode Islander, admits to staying up watching Red Sox games, following NASCAR, and cooking meals inspired by the chefs of Food Network. So next time you’re speaking with him on the phone, in addition to getting tips on your ribbons and awards, you can also get some advice on what’s for dinner.
If you’ve ever unpacked an order from us, you might have noticed a little white postcard asking for feedback on your experience dealing with our company. If you ever wondered what happened to that card, I’d like to let you know that each one is read the very day it is received.
While positive feedback and compliments are great, what really motivate us are suggestions of things we could do better or differently. As proof, I’ve put together a list of recent changes (within the past year) that were largely because of our customer recommendations:
- Our larger selection of trophies came about because of your requests! Brand new this year are the Superstar, Signature and Walnut series. And now you can put any one of our 92 trophy tops on any base.
- Our completely redesigned web site was launched with your suggestions for how to make ordering easier in mind.
- You can now view neck ribbon, and medal designs straight from the main page instead of clicking through a product. We’re working on adding similar pages for trophy tops and stock designs, and ribbon colors.
- You asked for budget-friendly silver items at $10 or less. We now have a 6″ round tray for $8.95 and a 6″ wave tray for $10.
Have an idea or suggestion? You can comment, leave a note on our facebook page, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In 1992, President Bush signed a Congressional Proclamation designating the first full week of October as National Customer Service Week. Ever since, Hodges Badge has celebrated the week (and our valued Customer Service employees) with special events to lighten the mood in the office and say thank you for their hard work.
This year our staff working in both Missouri and Rhode Island will be treated to breakfast served by our President, there will be an outdoor cookout, and employees will take part in a trivia contest as well as a dessert bake-off.
Most importantly, this week reminds us that our company would not be what it is today without our continuing commitment to customer service. Despite the rise in online ordering, we maintain a full staff of customer service reps who go through months of training before even answering their first phone call. We know that our commitment to service separates us from the competition and hope it keeps you returning each year.
Do you have a particular story about an interaction with our reps that you’d like to share on the blog? We love feedback, so leave a comment or send us an email at email@example.com.
Next up in our Customer Service Rep interviews is Carma, who just started working for Hodges Badge in April. While she may be new to Hodges, she is certainly not new to Customer Service, with 15 years’ experience. A Missouri native, Carma works at our facility in Washington, Mo.
When I asked Carma what she was surprised by when learning about our products (all of our office employees go through a full factory training), she said she would never have guessed at the number of hands that are required to create and assemble each product. She also admits to laughing at some of the more creative designs that make their way onto ribbons. For example, what do you call a wombat holding a baseball bat? Just batty?
Outside of work, Carma keeps busy as an active reader (she prefers suspense author Sandra Brown) and accompanies her 13 year old son on frequent Boy Scout activities. When I asked her if she goes camping, she said yes, but then honestly added, “reluctantly.” Like many other Hodges employees, Carma is an animal person, with a Lab, Australian shepherd, miniature sheltie, miniature pinscher and Siamese cat. While none of her pets are show dogs, she says they would be in the running for the Most Disobedient Dog rosette. Hmm… that gives me an idea for our next dog catalog!
Have a question that our reps could answer? Leave a comment or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
I’m back with another opportunity to meet our Customer Service Reps, and this time I talked with Gail, a native Rhode Islander who has ten years experience working for Hodges Badge. Like Donna, Gail remembers working with orders kept on paper (instead of electronically), but shares that she was one of the first to learn to scan in orders to our database.
In ten years, Gail has heard a lot of interesting things from our customers. There was one equestrian customer who was treating her horse’s colic while calling to check on an order, and another who had to hang up after the tornado warning sirens went off. She also is understanding when a customer stays on the phone a little longer to share a story or vent about a show they’re planning. But at the end of the day, it’s these same customers that make her laugh, and make her work worthwhile.
Outside of work, Gail says her one and three-year-old granddaughters are her world, although she wishes they were closer (they’re in North Carolina). She also notes that despite being from a Navy family and living almost her entire life in Rhode Island, she dislikes both the ocean and seafood. (I guess that’s similar to living in Texas and hating barbeque.)
Do you have a question about one of our reps that they could answer here on the blog? Send an email to email@example.com with “blog” in the subject line.
Next on my list of interviewees is Donna, who has 10 years’ experience working for Hodges Badge Company, both before and after taking time off to raise her two boys. When I asked Donna when she started, her response was “when we used paper files and all orders were handwritten.” Yes, a lot has changed since then.
According to Donna, the best part about her job is sharing her specialized knowledge of ribbons and awards with people that are new to ordering them or unfamiliar with how they are made.
When I asked her about a particularly memorable customer, Donna told me about last summer’s ribbon order for Hardly Strictly Bluegrass, a huge music festival in San Francisco. Together with an assistant for the festival, Donna designed ribbons with music stars’ names (Lyle Lovett, Emmylou Harris, MC Hammer) to hang backstage in their hospitality area. Especially important was that no singer’s name be printed larger than another’s!
Outside of work, Donna is quite busy with her two sons and their activities, as well as an Australian Shepherd, cat and guinea pig. (I’m noticing a trend of Hodges employees being “animal people”.) If the family has some free time, they head out sailing with the kids as crew.
Do you have a question a rep could answer here on the blog? Leave a comment or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Next up in our Meet the Reps series is Robin, who has been working for Hodges for over five years. In addition to her time in customer service, she has also filled in in our medals and flat ribbon departments, which enables her to bring a unique understanding of how our products are made when speaking with customers.
In her time at Hodges, Robin enjoys the personal relationships she has built with long-standing customers. As an example, when two of her customers found out she was pregnant with her daughter, they sent girls’ outfits and baby blankets. She also told me that when the Durham Fair places an order, they often leave some awards completely up to her discretion, even though they know of Robin’s penchant for neon pink.
Continuing in my interviewing trend of asking what was the strangest order they have received, Robin told me about a woman who needed an extensive number of horse show ribbons remade after her guinea pigs had gotten loose and chewed up their streamers for bedding. (Really, I couln’t make that up if I tried!)
When she’s not at her desk, Robin keeps busy with her son and her two year old daughter, as well as her Jack Russell Buddy.
Do you have a question that our reps could answer in one of our next blog posts? I’d be happy to include your input! Leave a comment or email us at email@example.com with “blog” in the subject line.