2022 CSR All-Stars: Kim Duplessis, Barker Specialty Company
Barker Specialty Company, Cheshire, Connecticut
Got a customer on a tight timeline? Do they need extra attention? Are they a little demanding? Duplessis is on it, always able to anticipate the best course of action for both client and assignment. She brings 17 years of promotional products knowledge to her role, where she supports roughly 25 clients and one of Barker Specialty Company’s top million-dollar salespeople.
“When working at that high level of sales, there are countless scenarios where things can become complex quickly, and Kim navigates it all with professionalism and compassion — not only within our team, but with vendor communications and problem-solving as well,” her nominator says.
While every day is different, Duplessis typically begins with reading emails, checking phone messages and reviewing her calendar. She then has a brief status check with her salesperson, which is followed by order entry, researching new requests and attending vendor meetings. Of course no shift is complete without a purchase order mishap or inventory shortages, but this is where Duplessis thrives.
Even while managing her own heavy workload, Duplessis is the first person to ask how she can help others.
“It’s just the kind of person she is,” her nominator continues. “She wants to help her team alleviate stressful situations, while ensuring our customers are all well-cared for and all orders are on track for success, even when not her own.”
Her Approach to Customer Service
I always want to exceed my clients’ expectations and I do so by envisioning myself in the clients’ shoes. For example, if I send tracking information, I also do the tracking, so the client doesn’t have to do the extra step. If there are orders with event dates, I try to be proactive and alleviate any customer concerns by keeping the client constantly updated. Communication is key and my mantra is: “A bad truth is better than a good lie.” I am always open and honest with our customers, and this has been particularly true during the past three very difficult years.
Her First Instinct When Things Get Complicated
From my experience, when things start to get complicated, there is a snowball effect. I try to figure out the source of the issue and try to fix it as soon as possible. Fortunately for me, my mentors at Barker Specialty Company, especially Steven Barker, always have time to review and discuss various methods of handling problems and over 17 years, I have learned how to deal with the many issues that arise.
What Pandemic Fallout Has Taught Her
My takeaway from the current supply chain change is to check stock and production time before placing every order. It has taught me that patience is truly a virtue. I have also learned to be compassionate about our vendors who are often stressed and overworked. At the same time, it has also taught me how important it is to have good relationships with vendors and clients. Problems will always happen — it is the ability to resolve them in an expedient and calm manner that sets our company apart from others.
Her Proudest Career Achievement
A couple of years ago, I received the “Customer Service Representative of the Year” award for Barker Specialty. It was quite a special honor to me, as it not only came from my co-workers, but so many of them I deem exceptional as well.
Her Best Advice
At the beginning of the position, it may seem difficult, but stick with it. It is rewarding. Also, knowing the direction you would like your career to go in is helpful. Communicate that with your supervisors and it could potentially help you land where you would like to be.
What She Does for Fun
My idea of fun is spending time with my family — especially camping, cooking or playing with our dog. I have two daughters who have lots of energy and always keep me moving. Seeing my children smiling and happy is my ultimate joy.