With Bright Friday, Cyber Monday and all of the retail hustle and bustle of the season knocking at our door, we are tiptoeing toward the busiest time of the year. Unfortunate order hiccups and confusion – though we hope never happen – are much easier to bear with a kind, caring voice on the other end of the line. When it comes to amazing Customer Service Representatives, ours top the list. We invited a fabulous foursome from our Customer Service department to bring their favorite Stationery style and sit down for a little pregame snack and chitchat before the holidays officially arrive.
On the guest list:
What is your favorite thing about being part of our Customer Service team?
RM: I work with our indirect retailers, and I love their familiarity with our brand.
NS: We just have the best guests! I really enjoy talking to and connecting with our web customers.
AB: I love getting their feedback, negative or positive, because it truly helps our company grow. They tell us what to change and we take it seriously.
NS: We really make changes quickly to make our customers happy.
TG: It’s definitely a guest-led company. As soon as they have an issue, we take it to the appropriate people and make a change, and that’s so unique.
AB: Also, some companies don’t see Customer Service as the top of the tier, but at Vera Bradley, everyone respects us and appreciates that we work with our guests. That’s who we want to make happy, after all. We get a level of respect and we’re all equals, we’re all a team.
NS: We get to interact with every other department regularly, so there are a lot of opportunities to connect.
TG: There’s no “us” or “they”.
RM: And, I think it helps that we have the empowerment to help the guest, the power of “yes.” We don’t have to ask anyone for permission to make it right.
On social media darling, Pinterest …
TG: So, I’m into Pinterest.
NS: Really? We couldn’t tell from the pictures of your kids’ birthday parties.
TG: Well, the thing is I think I almost spend more money making all of these things than I would have had I just bought everything.
NS: Me too! I like the d.i.y. projects where they update old items, but I end up spending so much on paint and stain.
TG: I justify it. It’s expensive for that first project but then I’ll have it for the next time … right?
AB: Tell yourself that. I have a whole board and I’ve done maybe like 2 of the 80 I’ve pinned.
NS: I’ve done 80 percent of 1. And who has all of this great furniture just sitting around waiting to be restored?
TG: Yeah, you have to go to an antique store and get the furniture to refinish it.
So, is it safe to say Pinterest is your favorite form of social media?
TG: Oh yeah, I’m on there a lot.
AB: Well, just dressing yourself …
TG: Oh my gosh, that’s huge! What I used to do was go to a store and see a mannequin and say, “That’s my outfit.” Thanks to Pinterest I can shop from my closet. I have so many outfits!
NS: You type in, “black skirt,” and search all of the options.
TG: And the Christmas gift ideas … there are so many!
AB: That’s so funny, because I need an idea for my mailman. He’s the best. He left me a note with a smiley face the other day.
NS: I’m a big believer in hand-written notes. It’s a nice token of appreciation and a great gesture.
RM: I love mailing things to our guests directly.
The holidays are coming, and you will be extending your hours to serve our guests. What are your plans to get through the season?
NS: Actually, today is International Potluck Day, a kick off to the season.
RM: And our new International Shipping option.
TG: We have the Customer Service CARE Committee, which stands for Compassion, Activities, Respect and Excitement. We’re having a scarf and sock exchange this year.
RM: We have something every week. The day after Thanksgiving, Bright Friday, we’re having pajama day.
NS: People bring their leftovers, and we just stay comfy and chitchat.
RM: Last year, [Customer Service Manager] Shelli had a snack cart she would push back and forth and we had drawings for prizes.
NS: I’ve been eyeing the Baked Doritos in her closet. That’s another thing about Customer Service, we eat a lot. We love our sweets, our snacks, our soups; it’s wonderful, but it’s a struggle. I think that’s a Vera Bradley thing, actually.
TG: Yeah, luckily we have so many healthy programs, too.
RM: I do think it’s so neat how people get together on breaks and go for walks and things.
On what it’s like behind the scenes …
AB: I love sitting next to different people and getting to know them. We all mesh so well.
RM: I miss sitting next to you and hearing you on the phone because you’d get so excited listening to people and describing bags.
AB: Well, I try to make it exciting.
NS: I always see people using their hands to describe the bags and walk through the details of the style, which is funny since the customer is on the phone. We have one of each bag on hand to ensure accuracy, but sometimes you just know the product so well.
AB: That’s my favorite, shopping with the guest.
NS: I’m getting excited just talking about it!
AB: Especially when you have the product. I think it’s so important to use the product because then I can help them shop. Like the Ditty Bag …
TG: It has like 50 uses.
NS: I love the Zip-Around Wallet. You have the handy wrist strap, room for a lip gloss and phone, and you can just grab it and go. Each guest has a favorite, too, and we get to hear their Vera Bradley story.
RM: Well, and then there are also the types of calls we don’t look forward to.
NS: I take some of the escalated calls, but it’s great. It’s nice to try and be her best friend and turn things around.
AB: When they’re upset, it makes you upset.
NS: It’s contagious. When you hang up the phone and they’re so happy, that energy goes into your next call.
NS: When you come back on the line and they’re singing. It actually happens quite a bit. I just let them finish.
How do you spend your downtime?
TG: Wine and Nicholas Sparks.
AB: A walk with my boyfriend’s dog.
NS: Wine and then a walk with my dog.
RM: Going home and sitting on the couch with my babies.
Do you have a hidden talent?
NS: I am actually amazing at bubble letters!
TG: I don’t think I can top that.
AB: I’m kind of an artist … a little bit. I like to draw in my spare time.
RM: I feel like my ability to relate to just about anybody is a talent.
TG: Gosh, I don’t watch much TV. Army Wives.
NS: Yes, Homeland and American Horror Story. I guess I have a bit of a dark side.
RM: Comedy, all the way. Mike and Molly, Two Broke Girls.
All-time favorite color?
Final thoughts going into the holidays?
TG: I would say, just remember that the person on the other end of the line is a person, too. And we really do want to help.