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The friendly face of customer service

Friendly face - Marie Male, customer service representative for the Wellington Advertiser, is the first face that people see when they visit the office.  Photo by Olivia Rutt

The friendly face of customer service

by Mike Robinson

FERGUS - Stepping through front door of the Advertiser’s Fergus office, chances are the first person one sees is Marie Male.

She has been with the newspaper for about 13 years, starting shortly after the office moved from St. Andrew Street to the corner of Gordon and Gartshore.

“She’s definitely a valued, longtime employee and an integral part of our team,” said Advertiser publisher Dave Adsett.

Male, who has a degree in English, has always been interested in reading the newspaper thoroughly.

“I thought it would interest me to be part of it - which it has,” she said.

“I always think it seems so quiet up here ... it’s hard to tell there are 20 other people (down the hallway in the other departments).”

Male, who oversees myriad tasks depending on the day of the week, said she likes that “every day is different.”

On Monday and Tuesday items for advertising are gathered and finalized for the newspaper, which means she is “relatively busy” helping customers.

“I’m directing traffic,”  she said, noting she determines the correct department to receive information, requests or phone calls.

Wednesdays and Thursdays are generally spent gearing up for newspaper deliveries. Male prints  address labels and sends out copies to those who subscribe to the Wellington Advertiser.

While the Advertiser is a delivered free each week, Male explained there are still a number of people who subscribe to the publication; most once lived in the county and want to keep up with local news.

On Friday, the process begins anew, gathering information for the next week’s edition.

Male is responsible for certain aspects of billing - such as payments for word, in memoriam and celebration ads.

“With those ads you get to see the happy and the sad. You try to be sensitive to what is happening,” she said.

Adsett said Male is the perfect person to deal with such inquiries.

“She’s a friendly face to our customers dealing with good news or bad news,” he said. “It’s very much appreciated how she deals with people. She’s a very calming person.”

Male is also tasked with typing classified word ads into AdWorks, an advertising management system designed for daily and weekly publications.

“I’m using the program for a great part of the day,” she said, adding it facilitates access to a customer base.

Compared to when Male first started, “more (classified ads) are coming from the website now,” she said.

Sometimes, the most challenging calls received at the front desk are from residents upset about the delivery of the newspaper. Often someone who didn’t receive a paper will request that she personally deliver it.

Others want to know about something published in the newspaper, “but can’t remember the name of the person involved, what the article was about ... (just)  that it was published around 10 years ago - and could they please get a paper copy of it.”

Male adds, “for the most part, people are very nice to deal with ... just the odd funny request, which keeps you intrigued.”

Male, who also writes theatre reviews in the newspaper’s arts section, enjoys her job.

“I like it here. I feel it’s my home away from home,” she said. “I have good relationships with a lot of my customers and I find lots of good will here.

“I think I’ve learned a lot working here.”

-With files by Chris Daponte

April 13, 2018


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