Aside from a few harmless office pranks, helping customers is the fun part of our job. The moment your order is sent in, however, the real work begins: order processing.
Step One: Translate the Order
Your order is first taken in by Heather and Douglas- these two practiced order processors translate your ‘language heavy’ Order Notification into a series of short phrased descriptions and codes. These descriptions and codes are written in forms unique to each of our craftsmen.
Step Two: Peer Checking
As the orders are pending review by the craftsmen, they undergo peer checking by Sean. With the eye of a hawk, Sean compares each document (order notification, invoice, purchase order) associated with your order. Sean’s trained mind can decipher the differing languages in these documents and assure they all are saying the same thing.
Step Three: Correspondence with Craftsmen
The craftsman eventually replies in the form of a Sale Order- which Heather then scrutinizes one last time before assuring all documentation is accurate and crafting is a GO. All the while Douglas (our supervisor) plays a few rounds of Snood and grunts his disapproval of our work.
Step Four: Post Processing Party
We don’t actually have a party after each order but we do have a good time all the while. This holiday season has been a real test to our team’s order processing skills. The large influx of giving spirit has put Vermont Woods Studios sales above our goals. In return, we’d like to give a little back. If you’re looking for a belated Christmas gift or just want to finally get something for yourself after all your holiday shopping, check out our Winter Holiday Sale and save up to 20% off.
I can’t believe how lucky we’ve been at Vermont Woods Studios Fine Furniture this year. Somehow we’ve been able to find 6 new staff members, all extraordinary in their capabilities and drive, not to mention passion for our green mission. If you’ve ever owned or worked at a small company, you know it’s not easy to find just the right professionals to bring on board. Small businesses need people who can work under pressure but go with the flow, leap tall buildings in a single bound and take out the trash, be friendly to customers and co-workers but clam up and put their nose to the grindstone when it’s time to crank out the work. Already Sean seems to be juggling those things with finesse.
He’s working for Douglas alongside Liz and Heather G as a Sales and Customer Service Representative. I’ll try to give you some inside scoop on him, so you can surprise him if he answers the phone next time you call. Let’s see. Before Sean came to us, he owned and operated his family business–one of Brattleboro’s favorite restaurants, the SteakOut. Owning a restaurant? That was our first clue that he knew how to work hard.
Sean holds a BS degree in Business Administration from the University of Vermont where he studied financial and office management. While working his way through school, he sold Cutco knives. Now I love Cutco products (they’re made in America, by the way) but they’re not exactly an easy sell. When was the last time you happily welcomed a door-to-door salesman into your home? Right. So anyone who can sell anything door to door gets my respect.
Liz and Heather have been trying to dig up some dirt on Sean (it’s so competitive around here) but at this point– still nothing. It’s early though so stay tuned. They’ll manage to unearth something good.
And speaking of Liz… could it be that she actually believed Douglas when he said we were interviewing for a personal assistant for her? Hmmm. That could explain why she keeps asking Sean to get her coffee and shine her shoes.
Stay up to date on Sean’s adventures with Liz, Heather and other enigmatic personalities at Vermont Woods Studios by visiting our Facebook now and then.
Though I proudly work as a customer service representative at Vermont Woods Studios, like most everyone here, I have multiple responsibilities- like coordinating our shipping department. When I say ‘department’, I mean myself and ample help from my co-workers, Heather and Sean. And when I say ‘coordinator’ it should be understood I’m not blanket wrapping or boxing furniture or doing any heavy lifting (in the physical sense)- no, my job more consists of generously detailed spreadsheets conveying who has what going where. Of course, this is the most plain way to relate the job of shipping coordinator- behind every spreadsheet entry is a person that myself or one of my close seated co-workers has likely spent time helping to carefully select the furniture destined to become heirlooms in their lives.
Perhaps you’ve been one of these people or you soon will be. Either way, you may be curious what happens after the phone calls and email exchanges are done and your furniture crafting is under way. I’ll start by saying you are never forgotten. There may not be a group of Einsteins providing customer service here (though we certainly know a heck of a lot about furniture) but we have an inspired sense of memory when it comes to recalling individual customers- their personalities, orders and particular needs.
Order processing, peer checking, communicating with craftsmen, booking delivery and the occasional office party barely begins to highlight the ins and outs of our department. Want to explore the caverns of the Vermont Woods Studios world? Check back every other week for a detailed (possibly wordy) exploration of our day to day. Next week features Behind the Veil: Customer Service- Part Two; the surprisingly interesting (in the opinion of some) order processing process.
Yesterday I mentioned our Vermont Woods Studios Furniture Customer Satisfaction Survey. As far as I know we are the only company in the furniture industry that's willing to publish candid customer reviews and survey rating results.
It's not all perfect and I'll admit, I'm more than a bit uncomfortable publishing it. Not because we're doing badly (we're actually doing great and getting better every day), but because there is much discussion needed to interpret the results.
I'll be writing a number of additional posts over the next few weeks to discuss the details behind the numbers as well as our plans for improving them as we move forward. I have to ask you to read the whole series of posts or you won't have an accurate picture of our customer reviews, and how they fit in with the broader context of the furniture industry.
I welcome your comments and suggestions throughout the process. You can post them in the comments section below or on our Vermont Furniture Facebook. To all of those customers who contributed to this assessment, we say thanks as we continue to work through implementing your input.
So… here's how customers rated our performance in the following areas:
Excellent or very good – 86.95% (many online orders require no interaction with customer service personnel, thus the 13% response for NA)
Neutral – 0%
Needs improvement – 0%
Unsatisfactory – 0%
No answer or not applicable – 13.04%
So there you have it– the good, the bad and the ugly of our customer satisfaction survey results. Please check in over the next few weeks to see further details about what's behind the numbers and how we're working to continuously improve them.