Not a Call Center

I brought in fresh flowers to my office the other day, pink ranuculus. I put them in a vase on my desk, in front of the floor-to-ceiling gallery wall I created when I moved into the space. I have a natural steel Parsons L-shaped desk, with the clean (and easy-to-clean) modern white MDF top. When a coworker stops by to drop off Saturday’s WSJ magazine they lounge for a few minutes in my grey velvet Chloe chair. We all love that chair.

I check emails. Inez has sent me images from the custom home she and her husband are building in Napa Valley. We’ll chat later about ideas. There’s an update from the Room & Board vendor side on my customers’ sales order statuses. I make notes in my orders and send my customers email updates. Bill in Palm Springs replies, thanking me for the update. He’s thinking about adding to the order. We close off with mutual best wishes for a great weekend.

Calls do come in here, from all over the country: Joe in Kalamazoo, Sandra in Maui, Elise in New York, Ava in Miami, Jodie in Scottsdale, David and his wife Caroline on speaker phone from Charleston, South Carolina. I help them. We talk. I toss out design ideas, suggestions for that long, narrow living room. I solve problems. Caroline and I laugh about whether David’s opinion on accent pillow colors really matters or not. No. Brian is from Wisconsin and trying to decorate his first “grown-up” apartment in Chicago. We get a little sidetracked discussing the Green Bay Packers but agree that he’ll be most comfortable in the Orson sofa. I get it when Jodie’s kids all start screaming in the background. I can relate. Which leads us to toy storage ideas. I can relate to that, too.

Later, I’m off to double check a measurement of an end table base for a customer. I head back to our Central lab. On the way, I see that the Photo Shoot department is in the midst of a shoot, finalizing the details on an image that features our Wyatt leather bed.

At lunch, the kitchen smells amazing, the result of Room & Board’s Healthy Lunch Club. Someone is mixing up fresh greens for a salad to pair with a roasted vegetable soup. There’s a spinning class in the fitness center but I’m still sore from yesterday’s personal training session.

Maybe when customers call us for the first time, when they’re dialing or the phone is ringing, they have a stereotypical mental image of a call center and even, who I am. They’ve gotten lost in other retailer’s robotic assistance. They’ve ended up talking to customer service representatives on the other side of the world. But then I answer and everything changes. I’m here; the real deal. I can help. I can make it easy. I’m pretty certain they can hear me smile.

I don’t work in a call center.