Employee Spotlight: A Day in the Life of Our Operations Manager

MARYBETH IAMONACO | Operations Manager

I chose to pursue this particular position because …

… of a feeling. I felt like this position was a catalyst for an amazing future. I was searching for something that would foster the growth of my career. While I didn’t intend to be in the role for which I interviewed forever, I immediately recognized how many other opportunities I’d have at Clarus.

I’ve always gone with my intuition, and for the most part, it’s worked out well for me. Clarus is by far my finest example of how “going with your gut” can lead to really great things.

The people, the culture, the support, the ideas, and the collaboration are unparalleled.

The thing I love most about my job is …

I can get involved in a variety of different things — no day is ever the same for me. I get to interact with each department, and everyone keeps me on my toes! Operations is very data-driven. I spend a lot of time monitoring important metrics for our programs, as well as KPIs to ensure that our initiatives and systems are always creating a positive impact. I also engage in a lot of planning and product management work to help keep our team on track with any given initiative. My team also manages several of our vendor relationships, which often require attention to detail and persistence. I help establish procedures and put them into effect while maintaining a laser-like focus on where we can cut costs and achieve savings as a company.

My favorite thing about Clarus is …

The atmosphere. It’s 76 of the smartest people I have ever known coming together to achieve the same goal. The culture here is unmatched, and I love that we can all laugh at ourselves … you can tell just from walking around the office how passionate each person truly is.

My role as Operations Manager allows me to collaborate with almost every department and pass around ideas to enhance and optimize our current products and procedures.

How have you grown since joining the Clarus Team?

I started at Clarus as a Customer Service Specialist, got promoted to a Supervisor, and now I am the Operations Manager. I’ve won the “Unsung Hero” award twice and have also received an Employee Recognition Award.

I feel like I have a completely different skill set than I did on my first day. I can probably do a pivot table in my sleep now and understand a number of important aspects of the business that I didn’t before. I understand the necessary steps involved in maintaining success, and I can speak to our data and offer ideas, something I may have been hesitant to do before.

“I only surround myself with positive influences, and Clarus has always been a constant source for all of these things.”

At 8 am, it’s time to start my day. Here we go!

8:00 AM | Project Review

After grabbing my morning coffee, I settle in at my desk and review the projects my team is currently working on. Today, it’s two new white-label product launches.

Timeline and project management is still pretty new to me. At times, I’ll need to reach out to stakeholders of certain projects and try to keep everything on track to the best of my ability. As expected, there are occasional challenges, but they’re usually delays that we cannot control.

When there’s an issue, it’s all hands on deck. This morning, we need to figure out how to send purchase data for a product that doesn’t use a closed loop feedback system. With the help of our IT department, I know we’ll find a solution and keep up the pace.

9:00 AM | Analyze Returned Checks

Our flagship product offers customers a number of different benefits in the form of reimbursement, so we pay the customer via check to the address on his or her account. Sometimes, we’ll get checks that were sent out to customers returned to us. A returned check simply means that, for whatever reason, it wasn’t successfully delivered to the recipient — in this case, the customer. In these instances, we’ll need to find an alternative delivery method to ensure every customer receives the money they were granted as a refund. I commit to an analysis of returned checks once a week.

9:30 AM | Meeting: Product Launch

“Exciting news, everyone — we launched a new product today!”

We held a product meeting to review some product details and did some last-minute Quality Control to make sure everything was up and running properly. Some of the things we discussed were IT builds, client approvals, and finance tasks. Making sure that we’re in a good place to acquire and retain customers is crucial to the success of the product.

10:30 AM | Phone Call: Cheque Vendor

I spoke with our cheque vendor for our UK product, Delivery Deals. We needed to brainstorm ideas for how to handle returned cheques over in the UK and how we’ll be notified every time it occurs. On the phone call, we discussed the possibility of resending any cheques that have been directly returned to the vendor’s headquarters. The goal is to make it as consistent as possible with our strategy here in the United States.

11:30 AM | Meeting: 800 Number Integration

Right now, we have a bunch of different 800 numbers for customer service, and our goal is to create one, universal number for FreeShipping.com. We put these 800 numbers on all of our checks, and as the manager of our check vendor, I need to approve any changes we make to their current format. We exchanged some test files, and I signed off on moving forward with this change. I spoke briefly with our Product Manager about complimentary accounts we set up to let potential clients or vendors get accustomed to FreeShipping.com.

12:00 PM | Lunch

“I get to relax, eat lunch, and talk with my amazing co-workers.”

Today, a few of my friends at work and I ate outside to enjoy the beautiful day. Though I usually bring my lunch to work, I bought a salad in the building’s cafeteria.

12:30 PM | Analyze Approval Rates

I started to dig into FreeShipping.com approval rates to see if running our billing engine at a different time of day might impact our transaction approval rates. To measure approval rates, I use Excel to manage the different types of data. I look at the date of transaction, failed versus successful bills, and total bill attempts in order to produce significant and legitimate results. After my analysis, I was able to conclude that there was no noticeable difference — which means we don’t need to make any changes to our current process!

1:30 PM | Meeting: Claims Revision

Most of our programs allow members to submit a claim by mail, but our current claims process requires manual input of all purchase information and then a separate task of processing that rebate. We’re trying to streamline this to be one seamless, efficient process. Today, I met with Alice, our Director of Loyalty Customer Service. We meet once a month to review the progress of these efforts. Currently, IT is working quite diligently on the early framework.

2:30 PM | Product Launch Preparation

We had a quick meeting about an upcoming product launch and how we plan to handle rebate payouts for these members, simply because it requires a process that’s slightly different from what we are used to. Typically, our rebates are processed in 3–6 weeks, and then a check is sent to the customer. For this particular program, the customer’s earnings are placed into a “savings center” that the customer can access from the program’s website. Anything paid out to the customer is sent out via check at the beginning of the next month. This requires a slight code change and the consideration of how to align the pay dates to the beginning of the next month.

3:00 PM | Meeting: Email Layout Review

We met briefly with our Front-End Developer, Tom, to discuss possible style updates to the welcome emails we send out to new customers. We wanted to add stylized fonts and new colors along with the logo at the top of the email, as it produces a much nicer visual representation of our product.

3:30 PM | Cost-Cutting Review

I met with JJ, a member of our Client Services Team, to get a handle on the cost of the welcome packets we send to members who sign up over the phone. These members don’t typically access our benefits online, so welcome emails aren’t always effective ways to reach them. We’re really trying to focus on lowering some of the product costs for these packets without impeding the customer experience, so we meet once in a while to brainstorm ways we can cut spending.

4:00 PM | Finalize Product Launch Prints

We met and had a phone call with our printing vendor to finalize the latest version of the promotional prints for our a new white-label product. The welcome packets that we send to members who join over the phone are handled by our printing vendor, and I maintain our account with him. We were able to work out the welcome letter copy to ensure that our kit codes matched.

4:30 PM | Bank Statement Approval

I manage the Check printing bank account for our company, so I have to approve all the statements we receive. With all the new and exciting products that are coming through the pipeline, we require a new account for each so that we can customize logos and program information. Our Operations Coordinator Chrissy and I have approved the Statement of Work and uploaded some test files for IT to sign off on. Once complete, this will be ready for implementation.

5:00 PM | Goodnight, Clarus!

Now that the workday is complete, I’m ready to go home and enjoy a relaxing night. After closely observing my routine throughout the day, I’m so pleased with the amazing things going on at Clarus right now. I couldn’t be happier to be a part of this company.

“I’ve never forgotten how lucky I am to have spent 1/3 of my life here so far. I’m still excited to walk through the double-doors that mark the entrance to our office space each and every day.”

Originally published at www.claruscommerce.com.

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