People Project - Meet Viv

06 November 2020

Customer service teams are an essential element of any business around the world. At Limbs & Things, there is a special emphasis on the customer service function, due to the way in which we sell and distribute our products across the world. At Limbs, Customer Service Coordinator Vivien Boardman, or Viv for short, is our resident export specialist.

People Project - Meet Viv

Serving 76 international distributors from 60 different countries across the world, the international customer service component at Limbs is different to its counterparts in the sense that it operates alongside the UK team from the Bristol headquarters. As our export specialist, it is Viv's job to get our products to their international destination. Explaining her role specifically, Viv says: “International customer service is slightly different to UK customer service because internationally we tend to deal with distributors who sell on to the end user.” It’s that relationship with a distributor, rather than an end-user that makes Viv’s role so intriguing, and sometimes complex. Although, she does admit there’s something warming about managing and communicating with the same contacts frequently: “It has been the same contacts that I have dealt with for a while now, so it’s been great and a lot of them are friends if you like, as well as work colleagues. I had a break away from international customer service at one point and when I went back to take on some of my older accounts quite a few of them were saying ‘great to see you back’, so you know you do get that friendship built up.”

Within the customer service department at Limbs there is a large emphasis on building a rapport with our customers and having the ability to utilize differing communication styles depending on who the customer is and where they are. Viv continues: “There is a lot to think about. You are dealing with distributors all around the world so obviously you have to handle customers differently but I enjoy the job; it’s challenging but it’s also rewarding!”

“I do love the shipping side of things, too”, she adds. It’s an area that isn’t always associated with customer service, but at Limbs it’s paramount, and Viv has been lucky enough to combine logistics and customer service throughout her career. “I’ve always shipped internationally, and it just intrigues me; getting the paperwork correct and I just enjoy getting that final delivery to the customer.” An ever present over the last seven years, Viv is one of our longest serving members of the UK customer service team at Limbs . The challenge she alluded to earlier is one she is one she has embraced. Sarah Wicaksana, the Customer Service Manager in the UK, says: “Viv has an in-depth knowledge of our system and processes. She is meticulous in her approach to work, and has been the person who has handled the business’ first dealings with letters of credits and cash against document transactions, which has meant she has done a great job in supporting me with writing work instructions for the rest of the team to use.”

Although, Viv insists it’s that special feeling of processing an order from start to finish that provides her with the greatest sense of fulfilment, as she explains: “It’s great when you get a big order in and you can see it being built, and when it goes out on time, is delivered and the customer is happy with the whole aspect of it start to finish; that’s particularly rewarding. It is all about teamwork though; customer service are only as good as the sales people bringing the sales in, production making the products and sending them out, and we just try and keep the customer happy all the way through.”

‘Keeping the customer happy’ is the old adage that all customer service teams aspire to achieve. It’s another aspect she has had to master, but one she has mastered nonetheless. Her unquestionable commitment, vast knowledge, and pride in her work further highlight her value to the business, and Viv's mindset goes some way to evidencing that resilience further: “I thrive off the pressure; I always like having things to do and I always find things to do; filing, all sorts! Rather than just sitting around, I just can’t do it!”, she states proudly.

Her busy but calculated spirit extends further than her work. Often the envy of the office in January; Viv and her husband have frequently spent time in the winter sun of the Caribbean. More recently, whilst most of us have struggled to keep ourselves occupied, Viv and her husband were speeding around the Norfolk Broads on a cruiser. Other activities include zip-lining and horse-riding. It’s a Viv many of us at Limbs won’t know, but the Viv we do know is ever dependable, and put very simply; excellent at what she does. Limbs would be very different without her expertise and knowledge.