DeWese--Hats Off to Receptionists At Printing Companies
Shut your eyes tight and imagine that you're in the grand ballroom at the Waldorf Astoria in New York. You and everyone in the audience are elegantly garbed in formal attire.
You have come to attend the fifth annual Mañana Man's Receptionist Hall of Fame ceremony. Tonight, four new nominees will be inducted into this prestigious society of printing company employees.
If you're a regular reader, you will remember that I created this recognition five years ago to honor the folks who greet your customers by phone and in person. They are the people who frequently create the first impressions that lead to new accounts. They are the people who deploy customer inquiries while jobs are in-house. They are also the people who can promptly track down an errant CSR somewhere deep in the bindery, and page him/her in order to speak to an important customer.
The first inductee for 1998 is Grace Maglio of The Rothchild Printing Group in Elmhurst, NY. Her boss, Herb Rothchild, is a great salesperson and a nice guy.
Herb wrote me, "When Grace Maglio asks, 'How are you, Harris?,' she means it! She truly wants to know! The sincerity in her voice is obvious as she checks on the rest of your family—spouse, kids, etc."
Herb continues, "And the second time you call, you need not identify yourself. She knows your voice because she pays attention the first time, something us big-shot managers should learn to do.
"When clients visit us for a press OK or other business, Grace makes it her business to find out what kind of Danish or doughnuts they like and you can be sure that the goodies will be waiting for our guests.
"Come next April, Grace will have been with us 25 years. Our concern is that one of these days she'll hang it up and devote her time to spoiling her three grandchildren. When this happens, we'll be in deep trouble because Grace Maglio is irreplaceable! She's receptionist, CSR, nurse, babysitter and, most of all, a dear friend wrapped into one cuddly ball."
Mike Willemin, an account executive with CPI Graphics in Lansing, MI, nominated the next inductee, Linda Mullen. What's so remarkable about Mike's nomination is that Linda actually works for another printing company. She is the receptionist at Treasure Chest Advertising in Greenville, MI.
Mike writes, "This may seem a little strange electing to nominate a receptionist from another printing company; however, when you deal with a one-in-a-million person, she deserves proper recognition."
Mike continues, "Being an outside vendor to Treasure Chest, we have the privilege of dealing with Linda. You will not find a more pleasant professional. She is always polite and helpful. She handles business with class and integrity. Linda will always get you through to the people you need to talk with or inform you how to get in touch with them. Because of Linda's professional attitude, her best interest is always to the benefit of the company—and it shows!
"Linda has a number of other responsibilities but she always seems to leave you with a personal touch. When making a visit to Treasure Chest, she will always go the extra mile to make you feel welcome. Linda is a blessing to us, and Treasure Chest is fortunate to have her on its team."
Meeting Their Demands
Rich Sirota, president and CEO of Kwik International in New York, nominated our third inductee, Dell Ann McCarty. Kwik, a division of Unidigital, is a large digital imaging company that serves the demanding advertising market in Manhattan.
Rich writes us, "Our customers are among the most demanding anywhere. Our jobs are time- and color-sensitive, and are crucial to the magazine and outdoor advertising of many major clients. Dell Ann puts our clients at ease with her Texas charm. She has the uncanny ability to remember voices and attach the voice to a name. She is literally the calm in the middle of a storm every day.
"Dell Ann also has a spontaneous sense of humor that keeps our customers relaxed and friendly before they are transferred to me, an account executive or a customer service representative."
Last But Not Least...
Our final inductee this year is Kathy Shoenfelt of Compass Capital Partners. I know, I know: You're saying this nomination is the Mañana Man being self-serving by including someone from his own company. Actually, my partners—Gabe Nagy, Graham Humes, Peter Schaefer and Steve Marcus—threatened to evict me if I didn't induct Kathy.
Kathy deserves this honor if only because she's had to put up with me for 10 years. She serves as our bookkeeper, office manager and executive secretary. She is so valuable to us that we made her an owner this year. Our clients are all the presidents and owners of printing companies, and you know how obstreperous and irascible they can be. Kathy's quiet and consistent professionalism, however, satisfies even the most demanding CEOs.
Well, there you have it—four outstanding individuals who help their companies' salespeople and managers in numerous ways. Now I want you to go out there in the lobby and thank your receptionist for helping you sell. While you're at it, invite your receptionist out to lunch or give her the afternoon off. Better yet, give her a raise.
After you've finished thanking her, keep right on walking and get out there and sell something!
About the Author
Harris DeWese is the author of "Now Get Out There and Sell Something!" published by Nonpareil Books. DeWese is a principal at Compass Capital Partners Ltd. DeWese specializes in investment banking, mergers and acquisitions, sales, marketing, planning and management services to printing companies. He is one of the authors of the annual Compass Report, the definitive source of information regarding printing industry merger and acquisition activity.