Vice President, Sales Manager
Goes Lithographing Company, Delavan, Wis.
Cesar Perez is one of the unsung heroes at Goes Lithographing Company. He is the first voice customers hear when they call. He regularly makes on-demand updates to the company’s e-commerce sites. He practices unrivaled patience when handling challenges. But that’s not even why he stands out.
“What really makes Cesar an excellent CSR is that he is an excellent person off the job as well,” his nominator shared. “His dedication to his family and friends, through happy and sad times, is the true testament to his character, and we are fortunate to have Cesar bring those character traits to work with him.”
Perez is arguably at the top of his CSR game, having recently been promoted to vice president. A career in print, however, only happened by chance. As the 21-year industry veteran tells it, he needed to find a job fast when the data center he worked for was about to relocate. He put an ad in the newspaper and landed an interview, followed by a job offer with Goes Lithographing Company. He started in customer service for the printer’s Rocketline calendar products and was later cross-trained on a few other lines, including Nova-Line, certificates and Falls Enterprises.
Several years into his role, Perez, once again, found himself facing uncertainty due to employer relocation, except this time he considered a different option: Should he make the move with his superiors? With the OK from his wife, Perez and his family left their small Wisconsin town for the big city of Chicago.
“It was a life-changer for the best,” he said. “Our first year in our new location required a great amount of training that I had to provide since we had all new employees in our customer service department, along with training for everyone due to the company working with a new order-entry system.”
Perez flexed his professional muscle, taking on additional tasks with vendors, while obtaining price quotes, generating purchase orders, and dabbling in graphic design, accounts receivables and web support. The sales manager side of his position requires him to create customer retention strategies and train CSRs. He greets each day, along with his roughly 500 unique customers (yearly), with enthusiasm.
His Approach to Customer Service
I’ve learned over the years to, first of all, have patience. Even though I may know the answer to [a customer’s] question in a few moments—in a phone call inquiry, it is best to not interrupt them because they may provide new information [I was] not aware of. This leads to attentiveness and reassures a customer that we are listening to their questions or concerns. Another approach is positive language and customer service substitution words and phrases. I am not a fan of saying the word “no” directly to a customer; I would prefer to say, “I’m sorry, but, unfortunately, that is not a product that we manufacture” and so forth. Being knowledgeable in all of our products and services is also a key approach.
How He Keeps Calm and Stays Inspired
Just like my previous answer, patience is a key component. When things get tense with a customer, we have to remind ourselves not to take it personally. A customer may be upset due to a delay with an order, and it is our duty to explain why there is an issue with the situation and it may be beyond our control. In the end, I want the customer to feel that even though the situation overall was not resolved completely that a small resolution for the time being turned the situation from bad to better.
How COVID-19 Has Changed His Job
When the pandemic first hit, we closed for about a few days and then returned to work with a limited staff and limited hours. We are now back to regular hours and operations, and are accepting walk-in customers and pickups of orders with social distancing procedures in place. Sales and product inquiries [have been] also on the upswing [since] June when compared to March through May.
Why He Loves His Job and the Industry
I enjoy speaking to our customers from all across the United States, especially the account executives for some of our resellers because they are the ones out in the field letting us know what end users’ are interested in buying or what trends are happening in the promotional products industry. I love the way technology continues to shape and dictate the way some of our own products are produced. There are so many customization options now that would have been unheard of 15 years ago.
His Proudest Career Achievement
There have been countless, but one that I continue to be proud of because it happens often is when our departments pull together to rush an order out for a customer that needs something the next day. The initial first contact is in customer service and if all pieces are in [a] place that a product can get out right away and we let the customer know that “Yes, we can make that happen,” they are delighted. This is how strong customer relations are formed.
His Best Advice
Have empathy and patience when dealing with customers and ensure you are knowledgeable in the products you represent and have clear communication with each and every customer.
What He Does for Fun
I love spending time with my wife and two daughters, and traveling as a family to different locations. I also am a big fan of all types of music because I am a DJ—have been hired in many midwestern states.