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Behind the Scenes: Our Call Center

"Thank you for calling Bas Bleu. How can I help you?"

When you dial our toll-free order number and hear those words, you're not speaking to a stranger in another country halfway around the world. You're speaking to a Bas Bleu representative in Hudson, Ohio, where our call center sits nestled at the heart of our company headquarters.

Inside the call center, our agents field thousands of telephone calls each day from customers placing catalog orders, following up on shipments, and asking questions about our products--"Is this novel suitable for a pre-teen?," "Is this mug dishwasher safe?," "Will these books get to my grandson in time for his birthday?" We like to say our call-center agents are "on the front lines" at Bas Bleu, because they are the employees who interact most frequently with our customers. They're often the first to know which of our new books and products are most popular, and as they field questions, compliments, and (occasionally) complaints, they provide essential feedback to our editorial team about what our readers do and don't want.

What makes a great call-center agent? They're cheerful and enthusiastic, organized, patient, and knowledgeable about our products. Most important, they must be good listeners, offering empathy and a calming presence. Call Center Manager Dave McCandless explains, "We try to always put ourselves in the customer's shoes, and do our best to help them with any issue they have. You never know how sentimental or important the gift is to our customer, so we do our best to treat them like family. Our goal is to make them happy."

Unlike some retailers, we don't want to make it difficult for our customers to get in touch with us. Want to place an order? Call us! Have a question? Call us! Did we get something wrong? Call us! (We'll do our best to make it right.) Our number is printed throughout our catalog and right there on our website. If you dial us up when our call center is closed for the night or we're extra-busy and don't want you to wait on hold, our order line is answered by an off-site call center. Our agents work hard to ensure our telephone ordering process is easy and efficient. On those occasions when there is an issue with an order, our folks love a happy resolution. "There have been times when customers finally received orders that had been delayed for various reasons," recalls McCandless. "The best part of these unfortunate situations was hearing the happiness and tears from our customer because we took every step in making sure their order arrived in time for their special occasion."

Customer satisfaction is our #1 goal, and happy employees go a long way toward helping us meet it. Our full-time agents (more than 70% of our permanent/non-seasonal call-center staff is full-time) earn a competitive wage with benefits including paid time off, health insurance, retirement benefits, and an awesome employee discount. But there are other perks, too, McCandless says: "The life of a contact center revolves around food! We have a potluck lunch almost monthly, and over the summer, at the company's expense, an ice cream truck came to the office to serve us some delicious treats. Between Thanksgiving and Christmas the company provides lunch on the weekends for all employees. We also have a perfect-attendance drawing, and we celebrate birthdays by decorating cubicles."

In this digital age, when other companies seem to go above and beyond to prevent you from speaking with an actual human being, we're proud to still offer quality, "old school" customer service via the telephone. The next time you're placing an order for books or you have a question about one of our products, give us a call. Our team is ready to help!

Call Center Stats

  • Number of staff during non-peak season: 39
  • Number of staff during peak season: 74-80
  • Operating hours: 8:30 a.m. - 9:30 p.m. (M-F), 9:00 a.m. - 5:30 p.m. (Sat.)
  • Average daily calls during non-peak season: 2,000
  • Average daily calls during peak season: 12,000
  • Number of call-center staff with 15+ years experience at the company: 5
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