Customer Service Lead
Gemini Industries Inc., Roxana, Ill.
As COVID-19 continues to disrupt lives and livelihoods, Jill Hamilton has tried to maintain normalcy for her clients. Not only has she been handling her usual workload of fielding product questions, rushes and problems, she also has been the only on-site CSR for the two months that Illinois’ stay-at-home policy was enforced, making her responsible for even more client-facing communication.
“We could not have kept up on orders, payments, proofs and many other tasks without her,” according to her nominator. “She is the go-to person for everyone in the office because she has been with the company [for] 22 years. We would be lost without her!”
Hamilton loves her job, but promo wasn’t supposed to be a stop on her professional journey. Despite a few detours, however, working with the public has always been the uniting factor among her experiences, which made her the perfect candidate for a position at Gemini Industries.
Hamilton got her start in the office and then in sales at the local talk radio station WBGZ, which is owned by her family. She split her time between helping local business owners with their advertising needs and co-hosting an hour-long program on Saturday mornings called “What’s Your Bid?” Five years into her gigs, Hamilton accepted an offer to be executive director of fundraising for Easter Seals, where she again assisted the local business community with sponsorships and raised funds for the organization’s annual Easter Seals Ball. In addition, she coordinated the distribution of the Easter Seals Christmas ornament and organized a two-day Senior Pro-Am golf tournament that consisted of a media day and children’s day.
Looking for a new opportunity, Hamilton applied at Gemini Industries and was offered a role in customer service, and the rest is history.
Her Approach to Customer Service
When talking with a customer I do try to start out on more of a personal level—how is your day or [discuss] what is happening around us. Sometimes people open up a lot and other times, not so much, but I feel like you are starting off the conversation on a positive and friendly note. I try to give the customer as much information about the product that they are questioning, [like] all charges, production time, where it is made and stock availability. If a customer is contacting us because there is a problem, I will let them speak and get all of their information and frustration out, and just listen.
How She Keeps Calm and Stays Inspired
I am already a very laid-back person. It normally takes a lot to upset me, and I also do not take anything personally. I am not one who normally takes breaks during the day, but I do recommend [that] my other customer service reps take their breaks regularly because it does help to just take a walk away every so often. A nice glass of wine at the end of the day helps as well. The company and the people that I work with really inspire me. We are a close-knit group in the office and the factory, and, as with any company, we have been through great times and then slower times, and I am really invested in wanting to see this company succeed.
How COVID-19 Has Changed Her Job
Unfortunately, with the COVID-19 outbreak, the company had to lay several staff members off in the office and factory. I continued to work in the office the entire time and I had our vice president of sales, [who was] working from home, in constant communication with me. During this time, due to me being the only one in the office, I have had more jobs put on my plate. We are slowly continuing to bring people back to work now and starting to get back to more of a normal routine.
Why She Loves Her Job and the Industry
I love how this business is always changing. [There are] new products and different ways to use some of the older products. [I love] seeing the advertising that our customers put on our products, and how they are using them and suggesting them to their customers. I truly enjoy the friendships that I have made with customers and meeting them at shows so that you can put a face with the voice.
Her Proudest Career Achievement
There have been two that really stand out to me—both [involving] customers, but for different reasons. The first customer, I was working with [him] to resolve an issue that he had with a order. After working with him and getting everything fixed to his liking, I received a package and a very nice card telling me how much he appreciated the effort that I had put into his order and making this right for him. The other customer is someone that had been doing business with Gemini when I started and [I] just became very friendly speaking with him over the years. Last year, he decided to retire and close his business, and he sent me a nice gift and card thanking me for taking care of him over the years. I just thought both were so nice. And it made me feel really great, and like maybe someone does notice and appreciate all of the hard work that I do.
Her Best Advice
One of the first things I tell someone that I am training is that you must be able to multitask in customer service. There is not a day when you are not working on several things at the same time. Don’t take negative calls personally. Don’t be afraid to ask me for help; no question is silly because there are days when I still have to ask something that I have known, but at the time cannot think of it.
What She Does for Fun
[I enjoy] spending time with my family. I am married with three grown children, five grandchildren and one on the way. I also enjoy being on the lake with friends.