2021 CSR All-Stars: Kim Hendrix, Sportsman Cap & Bag
Customer Service and Merchandising Specialist
Sportsman Cap & Bag, Lenexa, Kansas
Kim Hendrix is an integral part of Sportsman Cap & Bag, where she takes care of customers, product merchandising, vendor support and marketing. She does whatever is needed to guarantee an optimal client experience — and that includes hopping on a flight with no notice (or luggage) to work miracles for her employer.
“Pre-pandemic we were setting up for one of our biggest shows of the year when we realized that samples for one of our biggest-selling and most sought-after brands did not arrive,” recalled her nominator. “This was bad for many reasons, including the fact that the manufacturer of this brand was at the show [and] expecting for us to display his product front and center. We called Kim back at the corporate office and she grabbed samples, rushed to the airport and jumped on a plane immediately. No toothbrush, no change of clothes — just samples in hand as she rushed to the show to save the day.”
That’s only one story highlighting Hendrix’s grit and can-do attitude over the past 20-plus years. On any given day, you’ll find her providing support to her six assigned stocking companies, consisting of 150-plus reps, managers and marketing team members combined. She also fields incoming calls from distributors and decorators, often assisting with local inventory. And on the merchandising side, she ad-vises the executive team on new products to add to the Sportsman Cap & Bag line.
Hendrix got her industry start right out of high school when, through the help of an unemployment office, she found a customer service position at apparel supplier King Louie America. Although technically a newbie, Hendrix approached the job with the steady passion of a seasoned CSR. Ready for more responsibility, she moved on to Dog Daze Headwear, which Sportsman Cap & Bag acquired in 2006.
“I had no idea that this industry was a close-knit family and the warm welcoming I would receive,” she said of the group she now proudly calls “home.”
Her Approach to Customer Service
Be positive and help, exceeding expectations and giving my all. Finding the right answer so customers can move on with their day. “One call, one solution” is my motto.
How She Keeps Calm and Stays Inspired
I believe in “customer comfort.” Customers need help and I am ready to support and find solutions. The comfort for the customer is knowing that if they call me, they have a partner. Being able to help with something as simple as locating stock, or, more difficult these days, finding replacement for stock that has been delayed due to the supply chain issues, makes me feel good about my job and inspired to help the next person.
How the Pandemic Changed Her Job
My everyday duties have not changed at work as much as adjustments have been in how we do work — now often meeting over Zoom or Microsoft Teams. The great part about that change is that by meeting on these platforms I can put more faces with names. It’s great! We do make even more effort to communicate to ensure that we’re on the same page — so more calls, emails and texts as well.
What She Learned About Herself in 2020-21
I’ve learned that I can adjust to situations in life by just taking one day at a time. It helps me to roll through changes as they come.
Her Proudest Career Achievement
This is a hard question. I take pride in my job and am fortunate to feel accomplishment daily. Appreciation from customers, sales reps, marketing team members, coworkers and employers makes me feel proud. I deeply appreciate when executive team members make the time to teach me. I love learning the ins and outs of working in this industry as times continue to change. I am most proud of finding the ability to adapt, [and] tak[ing] on new challenges and new ways of doing things.
Her Best Advice
The best advice I can share is to practice patience, problem-solving and product knowledge (the three Ps). If you do not know an answer, find it. Let the customer know that you are on it. Provide the best solutions. Every day is a learning experience and the more you ask, the more you know. Go above and beyond.
What She Does for Fun
For me, family is fun, and I love spending time with my grown-up kids and being part of the lives they are building. My son, daughter-in-law, daughter and her boyfriend are great, but the most fun is being Gramma to my 3-year-old granddaughter.
Sportsman Cap & Bag is like a second family. I have worked with some of these wonderful people for decades. We know each other, and working together is fun and easy. I can’t imagine being any place else.
Elise Hacking Carr is editor-in-chief/content director for Print+Promo magazine.