STORES Magazine - June 2011 - (Page 22)

EXECUTIVE SUITE / CUSTOMER SERVICE Road Warrior POS operations VP goes mobile to get up close and personal with clients BY SANDY SMITH A weekend vacation and a book don’t often combine to create life- and company-changing experiences. But that’s what happened when Chris Gage, vice president of operations for pharmacy point-of-sale company Retail Management Solutions, visited a friend at an RV park just after reading Live a Thousand Years. The book, written by Giovanni Livera, urges readers to mark the passing of life through experiences, not time. The parable had been given to her by RMS president and CEO Brad Jones, who mentored each member of his staff personally through the book’s “Life Documents.” Some in the company made dramatic changes in their personal lives, resulting in a less stressful work environment. But Gage took it a few thousand miles further, thanks to that experience in the campground. “We were sitting around, all of us in our early 40s,” she says, “just dreaming about what we would do with our lives as we get closer to retirement.” With the book as an inspiration, she decided not to wait to achieve her goal of seeing the country. She pitched Jones on an idea that would allow her to travel and connect with RMS’s customer base: She would live in an RV for two years, visiting customers and vendors while touring the country. She already worked remotely quite often from her home, 100 miles from the company’s Olympia, Wash., headquarters. “I thought, ‘I could be sitting somewhere sunny with a laptop and wireless connection, doing my job wherever, not sitting in rainy Washington state,” she says. “I could be on the road experiencing great weather for my personal satisfaction, but in a way that would benefit the company.” She put together “a plan of attack” and presented it to Jones. He was intrigued, but probed her commitment to the idea since she’d never lived in an RV before. “I didn’t want her to get two or three months into it and say, ‘What did I do?’” Jones says, but “she’s got the right personality and this was something she really wanted.” “I could be sitting somewhere sunny with a laptop and wireless connection … not sitting in rainy Washington State.” – Chris Gage, RMS Positive results Within six months, Gage had sold her house, bought a 40-ft. RV, packed up her pets and headed south. Now, she plots out a place to park for a few weeks at a time, and visits customers several days a week (in a Jeep towed behind the RV), spending a few hours at each site. “Some of [the customers] have been a little bit apprehensive, thinking it’s a sales call,” she notes. “It’s not. My visit is to help them work better with RMS or utilize their system in a way that’s more beneficial.” That means specialized training and making customers aware of new features in the existing POS set-up. While visiting one pharmacy, for instance, she noticed that customers had to sign twice — once when they used a credit card and once to verify WWW.STORES.ORG RMS vice president of operations Chris Gage blogs and tweets from the road. Follow her at 22 STORES / JUNE 2011 http://WWW.STORES.ORG

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of STORES Magazine - June 2011

Stores - June 2011
Editor’s Page
President’s Page
Retail People
CEO Compensation
Customer Service
Business Strategy
What We’ve Learned
Loss Prevention Supplier Directory
Customer Rewards
Business Management
Social Media
Planning Solutions
Loyalty Programs
Business Intelligence
Store Operations
Divisional Update
NRF News
Point of View
Retail Industry Calendar
End Cap

STORES Magazine - June 2011