As a part of our series about the five things a business should do to create a Wow! customer experience, I had the pleasure of interviewing Cam Franca, CSR Manager at PackagingPrice.com.
Cam Franca is an enthusiastic customer service professional with over 20 years of experience in the packaging, construction, and steel industries. Dedicated to exceeding the expectations of Packaging Price’s customers, her specialty is making each customer feel valued by listening and following through to the end. Outside of work Cam enjoys traveling and spending time with her 7 wonderful grandchildren who really keep her on her toes!
Thank you so much for joining us! Our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your ‘backstory’ and how you got started?
My grandfather, who I affectionately called Hammy, has been a driving force through most of my life. Hammy’s life lessons shaped me both personally, and professionally. As a wife, mom of four, and “Gigi” to seven, I cherish the lessons I’m now able to pass down to the next generation.
Hammy owned an insulation company and often brought me to work with him. I sat at his desk, messing it up I’m sure — but marveled in the magic of the business surrounding me. The most prominent of my memories was Hammy with his customers. Even now, the warmth envelopes me thinking of the relationship Hammy had with everyone he met. Nice firm handshakes, enthusiastic smiles and a hands-on approach, Hammy showed me what great customer service was before I was old enough to articulate the words.
These life lessons from Hammy carried me as life threw its curve balls my way. They carried me when I co-owned my own insulation company, during my time in the steel industry, as a purchaser, as a seminar organizer, and in my many roles within customer service. All of this experience and knowledge translated into a skill set I find to be an asset to my team.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lessons or ‘take aways’ you learned from that?
Rejoining the work force after being a stay-at-home mom is intimidating. I remember sitting at my desk after being asked to convert data sheets into a usable spreadsheet shared among the team. I thought I knew how to use excel proficiently and I’m also sure I reassured my boss at the time I could manage the task. We all know where this is going, don’t we?
I learned in about five minutes that I must have been lying to myself! I resorted to the very professional strategy of texting my teenage children for help. After we all had a good laugh, I turned to watching YouTube videos. I learned so much about the use of the internet and excel. The takeaway was important though. I was more than capable of problem solving and I was more than competent to make it professionally when armed with Hammy’s life lessons and a little elbow grease.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?
I would be remise if I only mentioned a few names out of all those who have helped me. The truth is at some point most professional relationships turn into friendships. I’ve had so many colleagues and past managers who stand out because of the role they played in my career development. These colleagues — or friends, challenged me, taught me, encouraged me throughout my career and truly grew me into the professional I am now.
I feel so lucky to be in this role at Packaging Price where I can utilize those skills and share them amongst my team. It is amazing what we can accomplish when we all help each other be the best employees for ourselves. The teamwork atmosphere Packaging Price promotes generates a healthy dynamic where I’m still learning from my colleagues today and hopefully imparting my wisdom back to them.
Thank you for that. Let’s now pivot to the main focus of our interview. This might be intuitive, but I think it’s helpful to specifically articulate it. In your words, can you share a few reasons why great customer service and a great customer experience is essential for success in business?
When I think back on the customers I’ve helped over the years, I smile. Knowing that I helped them achieve their own goals is such a rewarding and powerful feeling. That feeling carried over to my professional success within customer service. Throughout any business’s life cycle, growth is arguably the most fun. Customers are the driving force to growth, security, and stability. Arguably, this is why customer experiences are the foundations to a successful and thriving business. When you can showcase your brand identity through treating customers with humility and kindness, it gives your company credibility and reputation. I’m lucky to be a part of that process.
The ultimate positive customer experience is what I constantly preach to my team. We are tasked with aligning customers’ beginning expectations and final take aways, in partnership. If you can provide a quality experience, customers will associate your brand with that fond memory and will always remember their encounter.
My approach to this partnership with customers is if I know there is an issue, I’ll get it done. Correctly. It’s simply the right thing to do and I’m so lucky Packaging Price allows and encourages us to do the right thing by our customers.
We have all had times either in a store, or online, when we’ve had a very poor experience as a customer or user. If the importance of a good customer experience is so intuitive, and apparent, where is the disconnect? How is it that so many companies do not make this a priority?
I believe the customer experience is lost when companies prioritize their bottom line over customers. The way a brand makes you feel draws you in to try their product but how a company treats you is how you become a long-term customer. When a company values money above all else, the customer experience dwindles.
Can you share with us a story from your experience about a customer who was “Wowed” by the experience you provided?
About a decade ago, in a previous position, part of my role was assisting internal personnel coming to our Chicago location for short and long-term work trips. A group of recruiters, customers, and current employees had all flown in and were working together on a time-sensitive project. One afternoon we had a terrible storm which resulted in our air conditioning units being ripped from the building adjacent to where these “guests” were working.
The event caused an urgency to move this team from one floor of our building to another due to deadlines and already lost time because of the storm. Utilizing my knowledge of our internal software and onboarding procedures, I was able to quickly jump into action and relocate the entire team. By managing expectations, questions, moving everyone to new desks, and finding available equipment I was able to quickly get this team back on track with their project and they met their deadline.
One of the recruiters was so appreciative he gave me a glowing review on LinkedIn!
Did that Wow! experience have any long-term ripple effects? Can you share the story?
Yes, I am still friends with the recruiters, and they even placed me in my current position at Packaging Price!
Ok, here is the main question of our discussion. Based on your experience and success, what are the five most important things a business leader should know in order to create a Wow! Customer Experience.
3) Brand Identity
4) Problem Solving
Are there a few things that can be done so that when a customer or client has a Wow! experience, they inspire others to reach out to you as well?
I’m so privileged to work for a company that really empowers us as employees to provide a positive customer experience. Even with the best of intentions, life happens, and so I work by these philosophies about customer service. First, keeping your word no matter what. Second, approach everything with thoughtfulness. There is rarely a situation you cannot fix or handle with these two mindsets arming you. Building longevity in business relationships is paramount and trust is of the utmost importance.
You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
I would say a lot of small things make big waves. Having a mass amount of people doing small acts of kindness has a huge ripple effect. As Hammy would say, no matter what you do to help others, having compassion and humility in your everyday life can be the small contribution you make to the big wave.
How can our readers follow you on social media?
This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!
Cam Franca Of Packaging Price On 5 Ways To Create a Wow! Customer Experience was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.