2019 CSR All-Stars: Katy Vance, Pocket Folders Fast
Customer Sales Representative
Pocket Folders Fast, Omaha, Neb.
Katy Vance is one of the unsung heroes at Pocket Folders Fast. She makes things happen, never flinching from asking the tough questions that lead to creating a better product and experience for all involved parties. Customers have described her as “prompt” and “helpful,” to name a few adjectives. Vance is arguably at the top of her CSR game, but, admittedly, a career in print never topped her list of childhood dreams. After high school, she gained employment at a local telephone company that had an in-plant print shop. To her surprise, Vance found her tasks, which included running small presses, typesetting and bindery work, interesting and exciting. She was able to advance within the department to running larger presses—two-color and darkroom work. The company eventually downsized, leading her to apply for a customer service position with a trade printer, where she stayed for 12 years. In July 2016, Vance joined Pocket Folders Fast as part of the inaugural team to prepare for the wholesale printer’s launch in August. Her nominator believes Vance’s combined print background and eagerness to learn and share the new technologies offered have been key contributors to company growth. When asked to discuss how many clients she supports, Vance shied away from talking numbers because she feels that “everyone who calls or emails is her customer or client.”
A typical day: The day starts with a plan, but, upon the first phone call, that can change very quickly. My main duties are answering phone calls and customer questions, handling quotes, entering orders and seeing that the orders proceed and are shipped out on time. Also, I help out anywhere needed, like bindery work or shipping, etc.
Her approach to customer service: [I’d say] staying calm and on an even note. I try to approach each situation with solutions. I listen to the customer as to what they are wanting, and, if uncertain, I talk to a coworker. You will have fewer problems if you stay in communication with them.
How she keeps calm and stays inspired: I stay positive. You may have a terse customer with one phone call, but do not carry their attitude over to your next call. Breathe, or take a short walk to the water fountain to unwind before the next call. Most of all, keep outside problems outside. You might be having a bad day to start with, but treat every call as if it were the first one of the day.
Why she loves her job and the industry: Printing, to me, is very exciting and definitely a challenge. I love the smell of ink. It’s always changing. For example, starting out, we made our own negatives and plates, and tried to get everything lined up on the press. Old school. Now we go directly to press. With the new technology and what is produced, it’s extraordinary. I have the privilege of working with a company that has kept up on this technology, and I have seen what can be produced from it.
Her proudest career achievement: Mostly, it is the people that I come in contact with—customers and coworkers [alike]. Everyone has a story. Some will tell you of their time in printing or other experiences they have had. A lot of times, you can relate to this. I enjoy taking the time to listen and to learn.
Her best advice: The first word that comes to mind is “communication,” both with your customers and with your coworkers. You are a team and are all in this together. Documentation is another. You will not be able to remember everything. Write it down, and refer often to this. Then, be flexible. What may work for one situation may not work for another. Find options that work. Most of all, have fun.
What she does for fun: I like a variety of things, including sports (especially football), movies (the scarier the better), antique malls, and, of course, food.
Elise Hacking Carr is editor-in-chief/content director for Print+Promo magazine.