2021 CSR All-Stars: 9 Customer Service Professionals Keeping Print and Promo Running
It’s tough out there right now, we know. Product is hard to find, in-hands dates are almost impossible to guarantee and prices keep going up. Suppliers are short-staffed and overworked. Distributors are growing frustrated or burnt out as they feel less and less capable of serving their customers. This year was supposed to be the big bounce-back from a difficult 2020, and while plenty of distributors are seeing success, others are finding 2021’s challenges to be even more daunting than last year’s.
The current state of affairs makes it all the more humbling to hear what print and promo’s customer service representatives (CSRs) have to say. As the primary point of contact for vendors, clients and partners, CSRs have maybe the toughest job in the industry. They deal with people directly, day in and day out, the bearers and receivers of bad news. And yet, even with a lot more bad news than usual, CSRs remain overwhelmingly positive.
Just look at the nine we profiled for our 2021 CSR All-Stars feature. The word “listen” appears six times in their responses, the word “calm” five. The word “help” appears 23 times. Heck, the very word “positive” shows up seven times. This despite all the business challenges and frustrations of the last 18-plus months—and, more than that, the human side. Check out this quote from Christina Garcia, customer service representative for Royal Business Forms, a Div. of Ennis Inc., Arlington, Texas:
“The past year and a half has been a challenge,” she said. “We have more distributors working from home with little-to-no information when calling needing help or to place orders. Royal has experienced loss during this time, and it’s been heartbreaking to watch close friends lose loved ones. I’ve grown close to many distributors over the years. It’s been hard to hear the stories of distributors’ loved ones and how hard COVID-19 has affected them. I will always listen, offer my prayers and try to provide a consoling voice when talking with distributors.”
That’s heavy stuff, but it’s also inspiring. Garcia, like so many other CSRs, has seen and heard so much personal and professional heartbreak, but she’s gone above and beyond to listen, remain calm, stay positive and help however she can. Just about everyone in our industry has faced some kind of battle since all this started in March 2020. And with more battles in store as we navigate the current and next phases of the pandemic, we could all learn a thing or two from Garcia and her fellow CSRs. Try to stay positive, everyone. And remember: There’s always someone willing to help.
Now, without further ado, we present your 2021 CSR All-Stars. (Click to read each full profile.) Let's have a round of applause!