2022 CSR All-Stars: Katie Woznak, Liquid Screen Design
Branding + Swagging Architect
Liquid Screen Design, Minneapolis
A chance experience in a journalism class turned out to be the connection to an exciting, new world for Katie Woznak. In her final year at University of Wisconsin – Eau Clair, the undergrad was finishing up a capstone course for her major (Bachelor of Arts in Psychology, and Integrated Strategic Communications with an Advertising Emphasis). One day, Benji Bearman, co-owner of Liquid Screen Design, was visiting as a guest speaker. Woznak enjoyed the discussion. She didn’t know it then, but she’d be seeing Bearman again.
Fast-forward a bit. Woznak is now a proud graduate looking for her first big job. A professor recommends her to Bearman — a name Woznak instantly recognizes, along with the “projects and clever marketing plays” he shared that day.
“When Benji reached out to chat and offer me a position here, I couldn’t say ‘no,’” Woznak says.
Believe it or not, that was only a year ago. But don’t underestimate Woznak’s abilities. She splits her time taking care of various customer service, production and marketing responsibilities. This includes problem-solving for her 1,500-plus clients, sending emails, making calls, communicating updates and generating campaigns — all while tending to high-priority tasks that pop up.
“Katie is a true CSR superstar,” her nominator says. “She came into this industry not knowing anything about promo or marketing, and she has taken off as a leader in the industry already. ... I cannot wait to see where and how she moves [Liquid Screen Design] forward.”
Her Approach to Customer Service
I would describe my approach to customer service as active, innovative and quick. When it comes to understanding our clients’ needs and situations, being an active participant is key. Before diving deeper into the problem, I need to have a firm grasp on what went wrong, what needs to be fixed and the timeline of it all. Once I have all of that down, I immediately reach back out to the client and let them know I understand the problem and assure them that I will reach back out with a solution as soon as possible. Nothing is worse than reaching out to a customer service representative and being given an empty “we’re sorry, here’s a refund.”
Innovation comes into play when it comes to solving the issue. Simply refunding the client is not how we do business here at LSD. We aim to go above and beyond and make sure that the client receives their corrected order as soon as possible because we want to do right by them and maintain a positive relationship moving forward. One specific example comes to mind when I think about this. A couple of months ago one of our clients didn’t receive one of their packages. Low and behold, it was delivered to an old address on file. As this was for an event, we had no time to reprint these items, so we had to very creatively solve this one. We ended up contacting the landlord at the old address, getting ahold of the new owners and asking them if they received the package, and then having a courier pick up the package and deliver it to the correct address — not to mention we did this all in one day! That is how I describe our customer service, and what I strive to do every single day. Be a day-maker for our clients in hard situations.
Her First Instinct When Things Get Complicated
My first instinct is to just step back and breathe. Yes, branding and swagging are important. However, when it comes down to it, it’s not life or death. Sometimes you put your all into finding a certain solution for your client, but you fall short, and that’s OK! It’s incredibly important to ground yourself and make your mental health a priority. Once you take a moment for yourself, dive back in and step into the issue with a clear mind. Who knows, you may just come up with a new innovative solution that is a win-win-win for all.
What Pandemic Fallout Has Taught Her
My biggest takeaway from all of the recent road bumps in the industry is that when things happen, you just need to adapt. Everyone in the industry is encountering the same issues, and things like supply chain shortages are here for the long haul. When issues like this come into play, we are very transparent with our clients and explain the situation thoroughly while offering solutions to the problem as well. All of this has taught me that people value transparency and honesty, rather than last-minute excuses. This translates outside of work as well — when things go wrong, find solutions and work with people rather than getting defensive. I would say this job is definitely developing my character in a positive way.
Her Proudest Career Achievement
I would say I’m most proud of the growth I’ve achieved here at LSD thus far. I started a little over a year ago as a branding and swagging architect and CSR representative, and have quickly grown into various leadership roles. I now oversee our growing marketing and creative team [that consists] of five full-time employees and four graphic designers, and have taken lead in training multiple new members of our team as well. I position myself as a support system for not only our clients, but our team members too. Whether they need help with a task or just need a hype woman on a rough day, I’ll be there to help. I believe this has played a valuable role in my career so far.
Her Best Advice
My biggest piece of advice to anyone starting in customer service is to view every day as an opportunity to make someone else’s day. Yes, that may sound cheesy, but it’s true. A client may come to you disappointed or mad because their order showed up wrong, or there’s a problem with it, but you have the chance to save the day. You are given the challenge to creatively solve the problem and provide the client with exactly how it will be fixed. Flip the negatives into positives and view challenges and ways to grow, both professionally and personally. Customer service isn’t an easy feat, but be confident and put your best foot forward — your clients will thank you!
What She Does for Fun
I typically spend my free time outdoors. I love to hike, fish and sightsee as much as I can. When I’m indoors you can find me cooking, reading or going to the gym. Don’t get me wrong though, I have been known to binge a Netflix series from time to time.
Elise Hacking Carr is editor-in-chief/content director for Print+Promo magazine.