Gabriella Fodor, Export Customer Service Manager
Wellis’ Export Customer Service Manager Gabriella Fodor is responsible for the UK, all of Europe and Asia. Her job is to establish a customer centred, world-class Wellis customer service, in which customer feedback and experience is actively taken on board and used in the development, quality control and manufacturing process to continuously improve Wellis products.
How did you become an expert in this specialised industry sector?
I graduated from the University of Economics and worked for 6 years as a project and membership manager at the American Chamber of Commerce. It was a very decisive part of my life, this is where I actually got close to this field. After that I worked as a Customer Service Manager for various multinational companies. I worked for DSM for 3 years, followed by Pfizer Pharmaceuticals, then moved on to ESAB Europe SSC, the world's largest welding company, where I was the leader of a team of 70, which also covered the whole of Europe. Wellis found me here last spring, and in June I became a member of the Wellis team.
What is an Export Customer Service Manager is responsible for at Europe’s largest hot tub manufacturer?
At Wellis I am leading a dedicated team of 12 people and I am responsible for all the European countries, the UK and Asia in three main areas:
The export orders, this includes order processing, ongoing communication with our distributors and coordination of shipment scheduling.
The AfterCare, this includes warranties, services and repair.
Logistics, ie transportation and servicing distributors.
How does the procedure work for customers who have a problem with their Wellis product?
Our distributors have dedicated service teams. We have specialised training sessions for engineers at our factory in Hungary several times a month, and our goal is to have our engineers in Europe and the UK trained annually to keep them up to date. Many of our distributors have long established relationship with us, they know our pools very well and provide excellent service to their customers.
The procedure is as follows in general:
The customer calls the distributor where she/he purchased the product and reports the defect.
The distributor will report the matter to us, if necessary, order the part to be replaced and make the repairs.
If the fault is very complicated, we have a service partner in the UK who can be available for the repair, and in the final case, Wellis will send an engineer from Hungary to fix the problem. Fortunately, this is more and more rarely needed.
In the near future we will be introducing a new system, where the customer has to register to ‘activate’ their product warranty. Our hot tubs are coming with a 10 years manufacturer warranty on shell and 2 years on engineering products. In the future customers can access extra warranty time through our website.
How often are you coming to the UK to visit Wellis distributors?
I visited our UK distributors in December last, personal contact is very important for us, and it was great to hear what they are happy with and their suggestions for improvement. Incidentally, Wellis has a UK export and sales manager, David Wright, who lives in the UK and regularly visits our partners.
Will there be any changes in Customer Service at Wellis in the post Brexit UK?
After Brexit, England will remain one of our most important markets. There are several options available to run a successful customer service when the time comes.
We currently have a warehouse in England, which is constantly being replenished, knowing the demand and stock movement. I think this could play an even more important role after Brexit.
We are in the process of assembling a service parts-package that will be available from our distributors. So, if they need a part for a service, they don’t have to wait for them to be shipped from Hungary they can immediately fix the problem.
In addition, as I said, we are running our Engineer Trainings in Hungary for the UK and European service teams, to learn how to properly install and repair our products. We also have a very good relationship with Hot Tub Doctors, who can provide nationwide repairs in the UK and we are very satisfied with their service.
There is a lot of uncertainty around Brexit, but that will not affect our future plans in the UK.
What are your future plans at Wellis?
At Wellis, my job is to create a world-class customer service that functions as the ‘buyer's’ ear. By this I mean that everything we hear from customers is conveyed to our co-departments. There is a very close cooperation between our customer service, development, quality control and manufacturing departments, we have meetings on a weekly basis to discuss problems based on customer feedback and seek solutions. We will be sending out our Customer Satisfaction Surveys soon and we will be responding to feedback on there. We can always be better and I am looking forward to the results.
I work with an incredible team, with the greatest strengths, which are: brand and company loyalty, professional knowledge, competency and continuous training. To achieve the highest customer satisfaction and work performance I need to work on keeping this strong team together as long as possible.
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