1. How did you get into a Customer Care leadership role?
Audry: I had the opportunity to join Customer Care in a leadership role as the Lowe’s Customer Care Manager. I worked in stores for Lowe’s as an Assistant Store Manager when the opportunity came up to interview for this position. With my previous experience and the incredible connection with the Leadership Team, this role was a perfect fit!
Kim: I started as a Customer Care Professional for Timberlake back in 2003 - funny story, my Mom (in Pennsylvania) was working with a marketing agency who was also working with American Woodmark. She mentioned I was looking for a job in Winchester, VA, and they checked and found an opening for Customer Care. I applied, and the rest was history.
Megan: I started working in Customer Care just over 24 years ago, processing orders, and worked hard to get to where I am today.
Steve: I started with the company in outside sales and joined Customer Care as a Manager many years ago. It was a unique situation that was right for the company and me at the time.
2. What does a typical day look like for you?
Audry: The idea of a “normal” day is a funny one! We’re fortunate enough to be involved in several different projects and workloads, so no two days are exactly the same. There are days with lots of meetings, but my favorite days are when I connect with my team and spend time working together on projects that excite us.
Kim: The one constant is making a cup of coffee to get me started! From there, it varies a bit. I typically spend time reviewing daily activity, working with the team to resolve escalated issues, zooming in various meetings, and looking at process improvement opportunities.
Megan: Every day is extremely busy. I constantly change my focus to meet customer and client needs.
Steve: For the last several months, my days are pretty self-directed with a focus on multi-functional projects and supporting the Transaction Quality team as needed. This year has renewed focus on finding new ways to support our new team members and managing Transaction Quality differently.
3. What makes Customer Care special?
Audry: We really are like a big family. We share so many experiences and support each other through them all - wins, losses, work and personal. I love this team and feel so fortunate to be a part of it.
Kim: I can keep this one pretty short - the people! Customer Care is an amazing group of individuals that genuinely care for one another. There is no challenge too great that we can’t accomplish together.
Megan: Everyone in Customer Care works hard and helps each other out when needed, and partners with all other departments as well.
Steve: We have a dynamic operation that has evolved through many positive iterations over the years. Many challenges have been overcome, and opportunities continuously present themselves to improve our customer's experiences and support the company’s strategies.
4. What do you most enjoy about your leadership role?
Audry: My favorite thing about my leadership role is having the opportunity to support an amazing team and help them find ways to grow personally and professionally.
Kim: I really enjoy problem-solving and troubleshooting but what I enjoy most is having the opportunity to work with others to help them achieve their full potential.
Megan: My role is technical, so I enjoy every aspect of process automation and analytics, removing non-value added work so we can focus on helping our customers.
Steve: I have a mature team that strives to meet the demands involved with supporting a call center and transactional processes that must be completed quickly and accurately as orders come in at high volumes day-to-day. I also enjoy my talented peer group. We all bring unique qualities and skills to our work and assist each other in all kinds of ways — our sense of family and teamwork is second to none.
5. What is a common misconception about Customer Care?
Audry: That we “just” take phone calls or that it is easy work. We have so many different functions in Customer Care, and many of our team members support multiple workloads. The work is extremely complex, and our team members have an incredible depth of knowledge and experience.
Kim: That the job is easy, and all we do is answer phone calls. The role of Customer Care has become very complicated over the years. We are constantly working to support new products and programs on various platforms. Oh, and cabinets are way more complex than a box where you store your dishes!
Megan: The complexity of our operation.
Steve: I think over time, Customer Care as a function has gained a lot of respect both within our company and in the industry. There may be some who perceive the work we do as less challenging than other areas. However, I would disagree with that emphatically.
6. What advice do you have for people looking to become a leader in Customer Care?
Audry: Remember that leadership is about serving others. Finding opportunities to help others learn and grow while still working hard and doing great work yourself. If you want to move into a leadership role, continue to look for opportunities to lift others up, support your team, and do your best work every day.
Kim: The role can be very mentally and emotionally demanding. You need to have a method to refresh and recharge to tackle each challenge with the same energy.
Megan: Work hard and be prepared for hard work, but it all pays off!
Steve: You need to have excellent communication skills and be a problem solver.
7. What changes/advances have you seen in Customer Care during your tenure?
Audry: We have rolled out some really exciting programs in my time in Customer Care, all of which have allowed our team members to grow and made us even more valuable to our customers.
Kim: It seems the one constant is change in our rapidly evolving world! We are always exploring opportunities to raise the bar on the level of service we provide. Technology advancements have improved how we communicate even internally. We used to raise our hand and wait for someone to come assist us or walk through the building to get help from other teams. Now, all we have to do is send a quick chat message.
Megan: The workload and technology have evolved to support the changing business needs. Keeping ahead of business needs is key to being successful long term.
Steve: The capabilities and contributions of our team members at all levels have grown. We have vastly improved our ability to involve all levels in changes that we may make and adapt to changing circumstances quickly and effectively. The best example and there have been several recently, is the transition we had into remote operations last Spring.