2020 CSR All-Stars: Carmen Martin, HCF Inc.
Sales Service Representative, Custom Order Specialist
HCF Inc., Hillsboro, Ohio
For 10 years, Carmen Martin stayed busy running an in-home day care until a major life change left her needing to rejoin the corporate world. A career in business forms had never crossed her mind, unlike her mother and grandparents, who all have industry experience. But as the long-running joke goes, print found her. She has worked at HCF Inc. for almost as long as she looked after children, putting her caring disposition and acquired patience to good use.
As a sales service representative, custom order specialist, Martin helps customers with whatever they need. She quotes new and repeat orders, enters orders, makes freight arrangements, answers phone calls and serves as the resident expert on integrated products, which happens to be the company’s largest-growing product segment.
Martin’s nominator admires her professionalism and knowledge, noting that she “pitches in to help wherever needed and never complains, even when pushed to the limit.”
Her Approach to Customer Service
My approach to customer service is just to treat people how I would like or expect to be treated myself. I always try to put a smile on my face before I answer a phone call as I do believe that it reflects in my tone.
How She Keeps Calm and Stays Inspired
Customer service can definitely be tense and emotionally draining. We all have days when we really just aren’t enjoying our job. Sometimes, all it takes is just stepping away from my desk for a few minutes and getting some fresh air to recharge, and other days, I just have to chalk it up to a bad day and remember that tomorrow is a new day and an opportunity to make it a great one.
How COVID-19 Has Changed Her Job
How I perform my job since the COVID-19 outbreak really hasn’t changed much. There are only four people in the location where I work, and we each have our own office, so social distancing has not been an issue. Because we service hospitals and the government, we were deemed essential and continued working as usual. Business has certainly slowed down with a significant number of our customers having shut down, but things seem to be starting to pick back up again with places opening back up.
Why She Loves Her Job and the Industry
What I love the most about my job is the people that I work with and the great customers that I have formed wonderful relationships with. This is one of the biggest (in my opinion) benefits of working for a smaller company and definitely important to me.
Her Proudest Career Achievement
I don’t have any sort of key achievement that I can think of that I am proud of, but I do very much enjoy the positive feedback that is shared with me via phone, email and trade shows. It is nice to hear especially when customer service can, a lot of times, seem like a pretty thankless job.
Her Best Advice
The best advice that I can give to people new to customer service is don’t take it personally. If a customer is upset and you happen to get that call, you have to know that they are not upset with you but, instead, with the situation. You need to take charge of the phone call and the direction that it will go. Be a problem solver and think outside of the box when necessary. Treat people how you would want to be treated and do your best to make them happy.
What She Does for Fun
I enjoy camping, fishing, reading books and going to music concerts and movies. Generally, if I am outside, I am happy.
Elise Hacking Carr is editor-in-chief/content director for Print+Promo magazine.