Continuum Q&A with Kathie Fandrei

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Kathie Fandrei This post is part of a feature series on customer service at Continuum Pedicure Spas.

Kathie Fandrei has worked in the customer service field for 30 years, but she didn’t start out that way. As a Milwaukee native, Fandrei pursued the pre-med program at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and then Concordia University. Like most prospective medical students, Fandrei had set out to help people.

What she learned later was that her passion for helping people was best suited in her current field of customer service.

“I found my calling wasn’t necessarily to work with those who are ill, but instead, I found helping people was really always at the center of what I wanted to do. As I experienced different paths of service, I kept coming back to the things I like to do the best, which is helping solve their problems, no matter how big or small, and making customers happy” said Fandrei.

Fandrei joined Continuum’s staff as a customer service representative in December 2013.

What are the qualities that describe a good customer service agent?

You have to be able to listen, to trouble shoot and above all, to care. People like doing business with those who have their best interest at heart. That’s part of customer service—making sure the customer has faith that you are there to help them and then follow through. Our customers can really feel a partnership with them and our company’s service department.

How do you define customer service?

In a way, everyone in our company is customer service. We all take responsibility to make sure our business is what it should be, a company that people want to work with for years to come. Things are not always easy, as so often I am dealing with time critical solutions. My job is to make things as easy as possible for our customers. That is good customer service to me.

How is Continuum’s customer service different than other manufacturers?

We want to make sure that when customers call us they get to experience what a family operated company can do, which is to get things done without having to go through layers of people and formalities to help someone. Our customers become part of the Continuum family. When they call, they get treated like family—not like a number or an account. We want them to be glad they purchased our products and they are comfortable with the people behind them. We take great pride in the products that go out our doors and into their salons.

How has your 30 years of experience influenced your role at Continuum?

I have gained a common sense approach and have learned how to communicate effectively with people. By having a lot of different experiences and meeting so many different people in various jobs, I learned to think on my feet to make sure I was doing the right thing for each person. I treat each case individually. When you have that in mind and keep that personal approach with each customer, it just makes it much more enjoyable. Sometimes things break. It happens, but it’s how you react to the problem and treat the customer that is the most important thing. I want that experience to be great!

Where did you work prior to Continuum?

I was employed at Harley-Davidson in customer service for 11 years and prior to that at Allied Computer Group in a similar role.

Are you the primary representative at Continuum?

Yes. If customers need help with anything that has to do with parts, service or warranty at Continuum, that’s why I am here, to get answers for them. Sometimes it involves collaboration with our quality manger, our buyer, our plant manager or even our CEO, but one way or another, we will find the answer and make sure we get the problem solved to the customer’s satisfaction.

Has anything surprised you from working this job?

In customer service, you never know what people are going to ask! Every time you think you’ve heard it all, there’s one more thing you’ve never heard before. You don’t know where some of the issues come from, but you always figure it out.

Being new to the pedicure field there’s a lot of things I’ve never heard, however that’s what makes the job fun and interesting and challenging.

What is one of your most recent success stories with a client?

We recently had a customer who had drainage problems in their salon. They were scheduled for a big wedding party that day. We were able to work with our service partner to get parts and service done in time to make sure everything was ready for the wedding party and with as little disruption as possible. Everyone was happy and that makes me proud of what I do here at Continuum.

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