I was first hired with Tilia to work with the retail services representatives to answer their phones for them. There were between seven and nine representatives at that time, and the bulk of the phone calls were from retailers wanting to order Tilia (FoodSaver) or VillaWare products, or they wanted to speak with their representative in sales or operations. In other words, when I started in September of 2004 I was a receptionist, and by January of the following year I had been offered a job with the company to be a retail services representative myself, specializing in RMAs and certain retailers, such as Kohl's. About one month after I was hired at Tilia the entire company was given word that the operation was moving to Neosho, Missouri for shipping and warehousing, and to Hattiesburg, Mississippi for administrative. We would be assisting in the transition not only in our approach to customer contact, but in the systems that we used to process orders and ship supplies, going from an SAP system to an AS400 system. Most, if not all of us, would be staying through the transition that would be scheduled for completion in August of 2005.
The skills that I honed with Jarden were minimal compared with my past jobs prior to that point, but I did significantly branch out in one specific area: satisfying customers at a corporate level as opposed to a retail situation. Many of the customer service aspects of retail carry over to a business-to-business type of situation, but some do not--my biggest challenge was in taking care of customers who had multiple representatives for their corporations. Mastering this challenge was a simple process of determining the customer's needs AND the representative's needs so that I could equal the two out, not unlike my developed focus of strengthening a business through customer service while improving employee retention. The contacts that I made within our customer base often became friends in the sense that I could offer them solutions to make their ordering process progress more smoothly or that they would have to maintain it less often by trusting me with the replenishment details. And, while I've mentioned that it was a challenging skill to master, it was a pure joy to discover that next level of customer service in myself and my performance.
In the next post, I'll talk about how my last job in Missouri with Alltel Communications helped prepare me for the jobs I was to enter in California.