One of our nine company values is Relentless Customer Focus. Our founder Barclay Simpson said “No matter what your position in the company, it’s vital that you keep the customers and users in mind whether you have direct contact or not. What do they need from you? How can you improve their lives?” Matt Anderson, our Inside Sales Manager at our McKinney, Texas branch, has been living that value for nearly 20 years. We asked Matt to share his career journey with Simpson Strong-Tie and explain what “relentless customer focus” means to him.
My career at Simpson started fresh out of college in February 2004, and I had just moved to Texas from Wisconsin. Hired in Customer Service, I learned everything I could to be ready for any call or email that came to me. I loved doing what I was doing, and after a few years I was promoted to the newly created position of Inside Sales Supervisor. In that position, I managed the day-to-day responsibilities of the department, and started tracking metrics to see how we could improve on an already first-class Customer Service department. A few years later, I was promoted again to Inside Sales Manager for the McKinney branch (Southeast US). Here I continue striving to improve processes and help Simpson stay recognized as our customers’ best vendor. We want to answer the calls quickly, enter all orders to ship on the same day, and have everyone on the phones trained on product knowledge so they can handle any request that comes in. We constantly receive calls and emails from customers saying just how great of a vendor we are, especially compared to the competition.
I love being a manager at Simpson, especially a manager of a department as great as Simpson’s Customer Service department. I have an amazing team of dedicated and hardworking people who strive to keep our company culture and values going strong. They give their best service to our customers and are always trying to learn more about our products so they can be ready for the next call or email that comes in. When I moved to Inside Sales Manager, Rebecca Heckle took over the role of Inside Sales Supervisor and I could not be happier with how she manages the day-to-day responsibilities of the department. She has the trust of the department to come to her with any questions or concerns they have, whether it’s work related or even a personal matter. She keeps this department running smoothly, and I could not be prouder of the group we have. Inside the department, we also have four Senior Customer Service Reps – RD Dominguez, Rebecca Ash, Adam Spears, and Jose Fernandez. They act as team leads for questions/training opportunities and also help Rebecca Heckle and me with special projects that arise.
My day-to-day responsibilities include working on long-term projects, tracking metrics on the department and seeing how we can improve an already amazing group, creating branch presentations, and working closely with our Sales Managers to help Inventory Control with our SIOP process, mainly on forecast variances. I also manage our Strategic Accounts Team and our newly created Business Analytics Team. The Strategic Accounts team was created a couple of years ago to give “White Glove” treatment to a select group of customers. This is a group of four (Korey Hicks, Cara Fraser, Logan Robinson, and Reid Feeley) who came from our Customer Service department and have proven their “Relentless Customer Focus” as well as the ability to work well with our Outside Sales team. The Business Analytics team, led by Parimala Manot, helps all departments pull data out of SAP to analyze and create dashboards for review and improvement.
In my opinion, the most important contribution of a manager in the workplace is making sure people are ready to do the job when they are hired on, especially in Customer Service where they are expected to know the answers to everything when a customer calls in. We put all new hires through extensive training, led by Adam Turner who is passionate about making sure not only that new hires get the training they need but also that the entire department gets the ongoing training they need to keep up with all the new products and process changes. Without Adam, we would not be where we are today with as many product lines we now have and everything that is expected out of a Simpson Strong-Tie Customer Service Agent. While everyone here strives to uphold all our company values, it’s easy to see the biggest one we show every day is #1, Relentless Customer Focus. Building the trust of our customers and being there when they need us is what helps us stand out compared to all other vendors out there.
One way we show this is with our Gold Stars throughout the department on the outside of each person’s cubicle. When a customer goes out of their way to contact the department supervisor, manager, or their sales rep saying how great their service was, that CSR gets a gold star attached to their cubicle glass. This is unsolicited feedback from a customer, and we like to recognize that with a visual reminder of how great our service is. When the packs of stars came in years ago, it looked like so many that we would never need to order them again. Last year we ran out and had to order another large batch of them, we have such a great group and some of them have stars lined up halfway down their cubicle from years of great service. I envision the future of the Customer Service team being a lot like it is now, with a strong group of agents who understand our products and can help our customers with any needs they have.
Learn more about this Inside Sales Team and hear from the members themselves about their career journey with Simpson Strong-Tie and the meaning of customer serivice.