You may know that PAR prides itself on providing the best Customer Service in the industry, but you may not know that this goes far beyond simply providing support when ordering! PAR’s Customer Support team prides themselves on going above and beyond. Every now and then, however, they truly outdo themselves. Here are a few examples of just how incredible our Customer Support team can be—and how seriously they take Customer satisfaction! Here are two recent stories from our Customer Support team. Baby on board Earlier this fall, a Customer called in with a question. During the conversation, she mentioned she was extremely pregnant. The Customer Support Specialist who took the call included a PAR bodysuit for the baby in the Customer’s package! Brazil and beyond At a recent convention, a Customer from Brazil came to the booth, hoping to take a copy of the Trauma Symptom Checklist for Children kit home with him. Because the Customer was concerned with the customs process and the cost of shipping to Brazil, the PAR representative was able to call the order in to our office and have the kit sent overnight to the hotel where the conference was being held. The Customer was able to pick up the kit and take it home with him to Brazil! Have you experienced our top-notch Customer Service yourself? Share your story with us in the comments.
You may not know Cynthia Lumpee by name, but if you have ever ordered from PAR, you have felt her influence. Cynthia is PAR’s Vice President of Customer Service, and she has shaped the entire Customer experience with her focus on providing the very best service in the test publishing industry. After a 32-year career with the company, today is her last day before retirement. Throughout the week, we have shared stories, memories, and well wishes. Today, we share two final well wishes here. [caption id="attachment_2066" align="alignleft" width="199"]Vicki King and Cynthia Lumpee during this year's United Way kickoff event. Vicki King and Cynthia Lumpee during this year's United Way kickoff event.[/caption] What an honor it is to propose a toast to Cynthia! I'm sure you have all heard many stories about her along the way. And it's stories like these and countless others that epitomize the wonderful nature and contribution that Cynthia has made to PAR. We are indeed fortunate to have had the privilege of sharing Cynthia's expertise, work ethic, and commitment.  She has achieved countless goals and accolades -- too many to mention now. Cynthia has left a remarkable legacy behind and one which will remain with us for years to come. She is leaving PAR a better place than when she found it, and that, in itself, will remain a lasting tribute to her professionalism. We will miss our colleague, a consummate professional, a confidant, a friend, a wise counselor, a shoulder to lean on, a leader, and indeed a lady of note. Remember us fondly and may the years that lie ahead be filled with laughter, happiness and even more dreams achieved. This is our wish for you as we say "so long," but not farewell. -Vicki King, Executive Assistant to the Chairman and CEO   In addition to leading the best Customer Support Department in the test publishing industry,  Cynthia has been such an important part of  PAR’s annual United Way Campaign.  Not only has she been a faithful donor at the Leadership level, but she has also been a creative influence in the planning of fun-filled activities and unique decorations for PAR’s United Way week each September. We will miss her positive spirit, suggestions, and involvement as we plan future United Way activities.  [caption id="attachment_2067" align="alignleft" width="300"]Cynthia with the Customer Service department during this year's United Way campaign. Cynthia with the Customer Service department during this year's United Way campaign.[/caption] “The capacity to care is the thing that gives life its deepest meaning and significance.”  -Pablos Casals Thanks to Cynthia for caring about her Customers, her fellow staff members, and her community! -Cathy Smith, Vice President Community Relations Cynthia, we wish you the best in retirement!  
[caption id="attachment_2062" align="alignleft" width="300"]After 32 years, tomorrow is Cynthia's last day at PAR. Congratulations on your retirement, Cynthia! Bob and Cathy Smith with Cynthia during the early days at PAR. Congratulations on your retirement, Cynthia![/caption] You may not know Cynthia Lumpee by name, but if you have ever ordered from PAR, you have felt her influence. Cynthia is PAR’s Vice President of Customer Service, and she has shaped the entire Customer experience with her focus on providing the very best service in the test publishing industry. After a 32-year career with the company, she is retiring this Friday. Throughout the week, various members of PAR’s staff will share stories, memories, and well wishes as we send Cynthia on to her next chapter. Cynthia taught me the “PAR way,” which is about doing things the right way—being friendly, reliable, and thorough.  She made sure that we always remember that Customer Service is our most important product. Keeping that goal in focus is vital to PAR’s success, and it’s what separates us from our competitors. Most importantly, she taught me that little details matter and the only perception that matters is the Customer’s perception.  Thanks for everything! -Daniel McFadden, Manager of Customer Support   I knew from my first contact with Cynthia that I had encountered both an exceptional person and company. Although I have worked for less than a year in Cynthia’s department, I have enjoyed every moment together and am consistently astounded at how wonderful a team she has put together at PAR. I am confident her influence will continue to radiate through our team and the rest of the company. She will be missed dearly! -Danielle Greer, Customer Support Specialist   Cynthia has shown me the true meaning of Customer Service. If our Customers are not happy, then we need to work on ways to fix it. I admire her dedication to our Customers and their satisfaction. -Vicki McFadden, Permissions Specialist   In just a few days, I will be celebrating my 21st work anniversary at PAR. Without Cynthia, it won’t be the same. Cynthia has not only been my supervisor all this time, but she has been a source of encouragement, a shining example of professionalism, and a friend. In all this time, I have had the privilege of working for her, learning from her, and sharing with her in an effort to build and train a team that provides the best Customer Service in the test publishing industry. We will miss her so much, but will never forget what she has taught us. We remain committed to carrying on her legacy through our never-ending commitment to Customer Service. -Tamara Dwoskin, Customer Service Quality Assurance Manager
[caption id="attachment_2058" align="alignleft" width="217"]Love our legendary Customer Service? You have Cynthia to thank! Love our legendary Customer Service? You have Cynthia to thank![/caption] You may not know Cynthia Lumpee by name, but if you have ever ordered from PAR, you have felt her influence. Cynthia is PAR’s Vice President of Customer Service, and she has shaped the entire Customer experience with her focus on providing the very best service in the test publishing industry. After a 32-year career with the company, she is retiring this Friday. Throughout the week, various members of PAR’s staff will share stories, memories, and well wishes as we send Cynthia on to her next chapter.   Cynthia has taught me so many things, I don’t know where to begin! So, I’m just going to say that our Customers always come first to her, and she has taught this to every employee she has had. Thank you for everything, Cynthia. I am going to miss you!  -Marie Mitchell, Order Entry Coordinator (and has worked with Cynthia for 24 years!)   This is not a story, but there is a quote that I think Cynthia has taught not only her Customer Service team but all employees within the organization: Customer Service is not a department…it’s everyone’s job! She has taught me that it is important to always put the Customer’s needs first and to give people more than what they expect to get. I am forever grateful for all of her lessons. She will always play a vital role in the development of Customer Service representatives at PAR! -Donna Drackett, Vice President/Chief Financial Officer   Cynthia taught me that no matter what, we’re here for the Customer. Everything we do in the company will affect the Customer in some way, and we have to think about that no matter what. -Teri Lyon, MBA, Senior Technical Support Specialist
You may not know Cynthia Lumpee by name, but if you have ever ordered from PAR, you have felt her influence. Cynthia is PAR’s Vice President of Customer Service, and she has shaped the entire Customer experience with her focus on providing the very best service in the test publishing industry. After a 32-year career with the company, she is retiring this Friday. Throughout the week, various members of PAR’s staff will share stories, memories, and well wishes as we send Cynthia on to her next chapter. [caption id="attachment_2054" align="alignright" width="300"]Many things have changed at PAR, but Cynthia has been a constant for 32 years. Many things have changed at PAR, but Cynthia has been a constant for 32 years.[/caption] Number 5. Cynthia was the fifth person to join PAR, and she has had an extraordinary 32-year career here. She joined PAR as a part-time office clerk in 1983. At that time, she described herself as a married tennis mom who was raising two young daughters. She became PAR's first Customer Service representative, then our Customer Service Manager, and finally Vice President of Customer Service. Along the way, she set the Customer Service standard for our entire industry and taught all the members of her team what the Customer Service experience should be. We will be forever grateful for what she has contributed to PAR. She is retiring in January as the longest-serving PAR family member but remains part of the PAR family forever. -Bob Smith III, PhD, Chairman and CEO
By: James Swain (www.jimswain.com) Question: There are signs all throughout the PAR buildings that say, “Customer Service Is Our Most Important Product.” That’s not just a slogan, is it?
Cathy Smith: No, it’s a way of life here at PAR. The difference between PAR and other companies is our service. PAR employees live and breathe Customer Service. Bob Smith: I was determined that regular communication with our Customers and outstanding Customer Service would be two qualities that would distinguish PAR from competitors. Excellent Customer Service has long been a core value of the company, from answering the phones with a live person to fulfilling orders on the day of receipt, responding to Customer e-mail inquiries within 24 hours, and providing error-free shipments. Years ago, a Customer named David Nichols wrote me a letter when a product he’d purchased was delayed in shipping. He said that “... it was not right to promote your products, take Customers’ money, and then not deliver the product... delaying product delivery is not right.” I’ve never forgotten that. And, since David wrote that letter, he and I became good friends and we remain so today.
Question: What does that mean for your Customers?
Cathy Smith: Every year we ship tens of thousands of packages with an amazingly small number of shipping errors. Our distribution staff prides itself on making sure that our Customers receive exactly what they ordered as quickly as possible. We get thank you notes from our Customers all the time, telling us how much they appreciate our Customer Service and outstanding delivery and shipping.
Question: Having once run a business myself, I learned that happy employees lead to a high degree of Customer satisfaction. Do you find the same to be true?
Bob Smith: Yes! We measure Customer satisfaction in many ways. We send comment cards in every order, which all management staff read when they are filled out and returned by the Customer. We also do Customer surveys and talk to our Customers. We also offer an excellent return policy. If a Customer is not satisfied with a purchase, we will accept the return of any item—no questions asked.
Question: Three of your competitors recently merged. How do you see that affecting your business?
Bob Smith: The merger has helped us differentiate ourselves from our competition, and enabled us to be responsive to Customer needs by continuing to deliver outstanding Customer Service and innovative new products to our Customers.
Question: PAR has come a long way since 1978. What do you see the future holding?
Bob Smith: We will continue to innovate, grow, and evolve, and we will continue to take care of our Customers. Our company is not for sale, and PAR will remain family owned.
Question: I first became aware of you and Cathy through your philanthropic work in the Tampa area. Can you tell me more about the causes you’re involved in, and why you feel it’s important to give back to the community?
Cathy Smith: Twenty years ago, Bob and I decided that it was our corporate responsibility to give back to the community in which we lived. Over the years, that commitment has grown, and last year we donated to more than 80 organizations in the Tampa Bay area, including the Humane Society, Meals on Wheels, United Way, and a scholarship program at the University of South Florida, to name just a few. We also encourage our staff to participate in community activities and to support local charities.
Question: One final question. You recently adopted a new slogan. Why?
Bob Smith: We shortened our name from Psychological Assessment Resources to PAR, because that’s what our Customers called us. We changed our slogan to “Creating Connections. Changing Lives.” It sums up not only what we do every day, but it captures what we aspire to do as well.