OTE - Oregon Travel Experience

Customer service 101: Inside and outside OTE

Posted on: December 28th, 2011 in News & Press, Roadways and Waysides | 3 Comments

A conversation about highway business signsImage of Sue VanHandel, OTE Highway Business Sign Program Assistant.

If you’ve ever worn a reversible jacket, you may have preferred one side over the other. Sue VanHandel, our business and sign assistant, carries the reversible jacket analogy one step further—wearing her personal mantra of excellence for both internal and external customers

Sue helps Oregon businesses obtain space on Interstate and off-Interstate logo signs. She is unabashedly enthusiastic about fostering small business visibility.

“A lot of people don’t think they qualify for a highway business sign. It might be because they are smaller “mom and pop” businesses. But I love being able to explain to them that the application and approval process is the same for all businesses, no matter what their size.”

Highway business sign approval is based on location, density of signs and population, and several other factors— not on company size or brand recognition.

Sue points out that an Oregon Travel Experience highway business sign is often the first point of information about a unique local dining experience or other attraction along major Interstates. “I like to discover something new when I’m driving down the highway,” she says, “so a highway logo sign is where I look for locally owned businesses.”

In Sue’s job, excellent investigative skills are required. “If someone calls in and doesn’t know what kind of sign they want, I have to ask a lot of questions to help them figure out what would be the best fit. There are so many variables to our application process and some of the state and federal requirements can be confusing for customers. It may take a long conversation to figure it all out.”

During the recent brand transition, Sue found herself fielding calls from quite a few of OTE’s 4,000 business highway sign customers, mostly with questions about the new name. “I had to reassure our customers that we were still the same company, still a state agency, and that everything had stayed the same in their billing process except for our name and logo.”

Sue will often help define the value of a highway business sign by emailing OTE customers a photo of their installed sign. “Once they see their logo up on that sign, they really understand what kind of economic impact a sign has. Our signs are a really good product and are a total win for many businesses.”

When not hard at work for Oregon Travel Experience, Sue volunteers with the Santiam Canyon Rodeo Association, a community-based charitable non-profit organization near Stayton. “We do fundraising not only for the rodeo but also for the Stayton Hospital. Many women’s groups also receive donations from us because the need is so great.”

While many employees embrace excellence as a value, not many integrate it as seamlessly into their everyday jobs. Sue VanHandel delivers quality front-line service and ensures a positive and productive customer experience. Her approach works equally on the inside of the organization (with her coworkers) as well as externally with OTE sign customers.

For more information about Oregon Travel Experience highway business signs, visit our overall sign program page.

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