Debbie Ohland – Customer Service/International Sales
During any given hour at Engrave-A-Crete, Debbie Ohland may answer several tech questions, take reservations for the next seminar, counsel customers about growing their businesses, instruct customer service representatives, and produce sales reports using the company software. To say that she’s important to Engrave-A-Crete is an understatement.
While Debbie officially works in sales, she also enjoys the customer service aspect of her job.
“I like being able to help my existing customers and new customers…to be sure they’re never stuck,” Debbie says. “I want them to never hesitate to call me. I want them to be comfortable calling in and asking questions.”
With that attitude, it’s easy to see why so many customers direct their calls to Debbie. Her personal philosophy of customer support goes right along with that of the Engrave-A-Crete company in general.
“I want customers to get what they need because it’s our reputation, it’s my reputation. If I’ve promised them I’m going to do something, then I’m going to do it. If our customer screws up a job and we can’t help them fix it or if they can’t get what they need, then their reputation goes down as well as ours. We have to hold up our end of the deal when we sold them our stuff and told them we’d be there to support them. We’re not responsible for all their decisions, but we’re responsible to help them be successful. We promised in the beginning that we’re not just selling them tools, we’re selling them the ability to succeed and our support to go along with it, so we should be there to back it up.”
Along with assisting customers, Debbie now has the added responsibility of handling international sales. That involves a working knowledge of currencies, rules and regulations, and working with multiple culture/language groups in addition to a firm understanding of the company’s tools, products and processes.
“Right now I’d say international sales take about 50% of my time. That means getting quotes, products shipped out, and setting up distributors in other countries. International is a challenge because there’s a huge market out there. It’s a really big deal,” Debbie says.
Debbie has been an Engrave-A-Crete employee for the past eight years and was instrumental in setting up better accounts, a part number structure and improved billing system. Along with her computer and accounting savvy, she has experience with sandblasting, concrete overlays and decorative concrete staining. Prior to Engrave-a-Crete she worked for other small businesses and enjoyed watching them grow into multi-million dollar companies. This varied background gives her a well-rounded view of the decorative concrete industry and business as a whole.
“I’ve done every aspect of a manufacturing company,” Debbie says, “from production scheduling, operations manager, engineering, materials, to accounting. So while it doesn’t all apply to Engrave-A-Crete customers, I can give them perspective from all the different viewpoints on things when they’re trying to come up with a solution.”
Debbie’s easy way with people and her willingness to help are evidence of her world view of tolerance for others.
“My family comes first,” Debbie says, “and I try to teach my children not to be judgmental of others. I think until you’ve experienced what another person has experienced, you can’t judge their actions or decisions regardless of what they are. When you take time to understand people, then your knowledge base expands. You grow more as a person and if you’re kinder to somebody then maybe they’ll be nice to somebody else. I’m not going to say that I’m always nice and sweet because some days there’s a job that has to be done and you do what it takes to get it done, but it’s important to understand people, to just take a moment.”
When she’s not busy with Engrave-A-Crete customers and business, Debbie enjoys spending time with her son and daughter. They often take road trips, go camping, shop at the mall or ride horses. She supports her son’s interest in paleontology with trips to museums and zoos, and her daughter’s interest in art with visits to art museums.
Although she admittedly has little time to work on them, Debbie also enjoys making and selling bracelets. She developed and maintains a website for the jewelry she and her parents make. Her children are also entrepreneurs and earn profits making marshmallow guns to sell at craft shows.
Debbie can be reached at the main Engrave-A-Crete number, but she has seen communication methods change a lot during the past few years.
“Now a lot of my customers reach me on Facebook and by texting,” Debbie says. “I also have customers on LinkedIn, Twitter and everywhere possible. A lot of them call my cell phone directly. Then of course there’s email and Live Chat on the Engrave-A-Crete website. I’m easy to reach.”