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Darby Wickersham of Foundry Four Coffee + Whiskey is the first recipient of the new Chamber of Commerce-sponsored Customer Service Award

JASON CHANEY - Darby Wickersham of Foundry Four Coffee + Whiskey is the top nominee recipient for Prineville-Crook County Chamber of Commerce's first-ever Customer Service Award. The recognition came as a shock to Wickersham, who says she loves her job.

The Prineville-Crook County Chamber of Commerce has launched its new Customer Service Award and recently honored its first recipient.

Darby Wickersham of Foundry Four Coffee + Whiskey was recognized after receiving nominations from her customers, which the business then turned over to the Chamber.

"Darby and the entire staff at Foundry Four had an overwhelming number of nominations, showing that it isn't just one person going above and beyond in this establishment, but rather an entire team committed to giving excellent service," said Kim Daniels, the Chamber's executive director.

Wickersham was honored but surprised to get the award, since there are so many people and so many businesses in Prineville. She is quick to stress that her level of customer service is an extension of her love for her job.

"That's what matters," she said. "If you like what you do, it's easy to be nice to people. It's easy to have fun."

The Chamber started the Customer Service Award in hopes of encouraging businesses to take special care in how they serve their patrons.

"I wanted to challenge the business community to excel at service to our local community and to those visiting or new to Prineville," Daniels said. "From a simple smile to asking, 'How is your day?' to going above and beyond the scope of one's job, I wanted to instill a culture that would not only benefit the customers, but our local businesses as well."

Those sentiments are echoed by Bryan Iverson, who owns Foundry Four and supervises Wickersham. He points out that great customer service is one of the few differentiating factors that business leaders can tell people look forward to.

"People always talk about small-town service – everybody is nice, everybody is happy in a small town," he remarked. "That is what we hope to exemplify at Foundry Four."

Iverson went on to highlight the work of all his employees, noting that they all excel at customer service. Wickersham offered similar praise to her colleagues as well as her employer.

"We really want this place to be welcoming and inviting, so we work really hard together to make it that way," she said.

Recipients of the Customer Service Award are determined by nominations, which are provided on a form that is made available to all businesses or can be picked up at the Chamber office. Questions address why the employee is a role model for their business, how they exhibit specific attributes when delivering customer service, and specific examples that highlight how the nominee exhibits excellent customer service.

To be eligible, nominees must have at least 12 months of service with the business (unless it is newer) and maintain an acceptable level of performance in all functions of their positions and consistently exhibit excellent customer service. In addition, they must seek to improve service in creative or highly responsive ways, take initiative beyond the normal scope of service, or proactively resolve or contribute to the resolution of long-standing problems that directly benefit customers.

Nominees are reviewed and decided upon by a committee, which includes at least two Chamber board members. Each nominee will receive a congratulatory letter of acknowledgement, and Daniels said awards will be given out a few times a year.

Individual recipients may be awarded a $500 gift card to the Chamber business of their choice, and the Chamber will recognize all staff of the winning establishment.


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