Sunset Hill Stoneware has a small but dedicated customer care team among our crew of employees. The head of this team helping our customers is Wesley Staedt, our Lead Customer Experience Specialist. Wesley has worked with us for almost three years as our company has continued to grow. She’s also been part of how we and our custom coffee mugs have improved over the past few years.
However, her work with customer care goes beyond answering phones and emails. Wesley is a symbol of our tight-knit team in action with almost everything she does.
Wearing Many Hats
Being on our customer care team from the start, Wesley fills many different roles. She’s one of the people our customers are likely to speak to after they’ve ordered their custom coffee mugs. She also helps enter the orders so our shop team can keep making new mugs for people all over the world. In the unlikely event that someone feels something is wrong with their mugs, Wesley is one of the first people on our team to help make things right.
Wesley is also a trained account specialist. She’s familiar with all of our colors and glaze styles, though her personal favorite of the moment is Blueberry Muffin. She uses this expertise to find the colors from our Glaze Gallery that are right for each customer’s design.
Although Wesley has held customer service positions at other companies, she explained that Sunset Hill Stoneware sets itself apart. The difference is in how our team overcomes challenges together.
“Here, I feel like there’s a lot more teamwork,” Wesley said. “If someone’s having an off day, we all just do everything we can to help everybody else and make it work.”
Her experience at some larger companies, on the other hand, was that everyone fended for themselves to get problems solved. That isn’t the case here. Although our team is small, Wesley says the dynamic is more like a tight-knit family.
“I truly do like coming into work every day,” Wesley said. “I like that everyone is open to ideas and willing to help one another at SHS.”
Working with Changes at Sunset Hill Stoneware
For us, change is natural. As an example, the minerals in the glazes and clay we use could change, so we’re always adjusting our processes. With that, the rest of our team adjusts as well. It’s all part of producing the highest quality coffee mugs in America. Whether it’s a new system we’re using or a different glaze color with unusual results, Wesley embraces it.
“Things change here frequently, but I like that because it keeps me on my toes,” Wesley said. “I’m the kind of person who constantly needs to be learning something.”
Sometimes, change makes people nervous. Wesley, however, recognizes that the changes we’ve implemented have been for the better. After all, we’ve grown from the business we were 21 years ago, making pottery in an old firehouse in Dale, Wis. We can now deliver far more mugs in a way that’s safer for the environment and our team.
To Wesley though, one of the most notable changes during the last few years was relaunching our website, and with it our Online Store. A big part of the makeover we did involved streamlining our old website and making it more current. Now, on top of looking like a modern website, it’s easier to use if Wesley needs to find something or help a customer find it directly.
“I think it helped customers,” Wesley explained. She also thinks our expansion to offering individual mugs on the Online Store and Amazon has helped us grow.
Outside of work, Wesley also uses her caring nature to make the world a better place. She has a penchant for learning about history that has opened her eyes to the ways some people still suffer today. Along with British and early American history, Wesley is also familiar with the civil rights movement that took place during the 20th century.
Wesley’s interest in the subject links to when she was in college. Back then, she went on a civil rights trip that took her through towns like Cincinnati; Atlanta; Montgomery; and Selma, Ala. All of these cities were important sites in the civil rights movement, which worked to enforce and enshrine constitutional rights for African Americans that white Americans already enjoyed. Selma was the site of Bloody Sunday in 1965, when state troopers attacked nonviolent activists who were on a protest march to Montgomery.
For Wesley, the seven-day trip was life-changing. Before she went south for the trip, Wesley didn’t know many people who were different from her. Afterward though, she realized she had more she wanted to learn about people with different experiences from hers.
“My whole world view changed,” Wesley said. “I had to decide what was more important: Me and my little family, or making sure I was on the right side of history.”
A year after the trip, Wesley organized a march at her university in Whitewater, Wis. The march took place on the 47th anniversary of Bloody Sunday, and raised awareness not only for what happened back in 1965, but the prejudice that still exists.
Lately, Wesley has also turned her love of learning about the world toward religion. Having grown up Lutheran, she loves the music and the ritual involved in attending high church. However, she’s also been learning more about different religions. Next, she’d like to learn more about Islam and Buddhism, as a way of understanding the world a little better. It has spoken to how she goes through life, even since she was in her confirmation classes.
“If I’m going to be there, I’m going to learn something. And that’s kind of how I look at everything,” Wesley said. “If I’m not where I want to be, I’m going to take some learning experience out of this. I was the person who always had all these questions, and my pastors would just say, ‘I’ll get back to you, Wesley.'”
Wesley is more than just our customer experience lead. She’s a caring individual who’s leaving her mark on the world, one step at a time. When you’re ordering your stoneware mugs, remember Wesley’s efforts to raise awareness and make America a better place for everyone.