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Thriving in a Time of Uncertainty

Members of the Alabama Industries for the Blind Customer Service Department smile to camera from the production room floor.

By Jessica Love, Administrative Assistant to the Executive Director, Alabama Industries for the Blind

In the words of Michael Scott from The Office, “In the end, life and business are about human connections.” At a time when most retail sales are down, Alabama Industries for the Blind (AIB) has used this human connection to increase sales by 30 percent over last year’s totals.

Susanne Willis, AIB’s Sales and Marketing Manager, credits the modernization of AIB’s business strategy and the efforts of the Sales Team for this success. The Customer Service Department, which serves state agencies across Alabama, was reorganized into smaller teams serving a dedicated region. This has allowed for more personal interactions between each team member and their customer base, leading to better customer relationships.

“Having that personal connection with our customers allows us to anticipate their needs,” said Willis. “Our goal is to become the one source for all of their needs.”

As a result of the 30% increase in sales, the Customer Service Team was able to grow their department by two new employees. A Sales Representative was added to cover the Central Alabama Region. A Federal Sales Representative was also added to serve the AIB’s Base Supply Centers, located on and serving Federal customers on military bases across Alabama and Georgia.

“The addition of these Outside Sales Reps helps grow sales by recruiting new customers while ensuring that continued customer loyalty is provided to our current customer base,” continued Willis. “The past couple of years have changed how the world does business. There was no better time for us to change our business strategy in order to keep up. We changed the way we interact with our customers and implemented ways for us to provide better service. All while giving the Sales Team guidance to reach new goals set for them.”