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Yearbook Hero Abby Oxendine helps 100s of Advisers (that was just today)

Portrait of yearbook hero Abby Oxendine in a cat outfit

TreeRing Yearbook Heroes is a monthly feature focusing on yearbook tips and tricks.

Meet Abby, TreeRing’s Customer Advocacy Team (CAT) Director. Not only does she advocate for schools and parents who need support, but she also advocates for the team she leads by creating a positive, proactive environment.

Do you have a yearbook story for us?

In 7th grade, I won the athlete of the year superlative. The photographer set up her photoshoot after a workout and expected me to do a chin-up. I was a swimmer. The resulting image showed me with my tongue out, hair in disarray, and shirt pulling from my shorts. It told people, “I’m a great athlete, but a mess everywhere else.” I always wondered why they didn’t photograph me in my element, the pool.

And thus, you began fixing yearbook issues! You’re in the midst of our busiest season because April through May are when our spring deliveries go to print.

Yes, this is my favorite time. I started hyping up the team in January by letting them know we are approaching the final stretch. It’s now, in the 11th hour, when customers are putting the final touches on their masterpieces and inevitably things are going to go wrong.

Last summer, we increased our permanent staff to better serve customers. We also increase seasonal help during this time and extended the hours phone and email support are available.

What other new initiatives have you begun?

We are constantly evolving. In fall, we started Welcome Walk-Throughs for new yearbook editors so they are ready to cheerlead their own book. During these one-on-one sessions, an advocate goes over page count, shipping, dates and deadlines, yearbook promotion, and how to engage the school community, set up folders/photo storage, complete portrait autoflow, and go print ready. It’s a lot! We really want to build confidence.

Every day, we learn from customers, and many updates to the app or new themes have come from them! 

How does it feel to see your ideas in motion?

We are just scratching the surface! Last year, I wanted to do something fun for our customers and recognize our community by rewarding them for doing a great job and for all the hours they put in. The #TreeRingMemoriesMatter came from that. I’m excited to see how it expanded to the #YearbookHero and #TreeRingMemoryMaker contests.

There are always things we can do along the way to help people smile. Whether it’s these large-scale contests or telling yearbook editors what looks great in their books—it’s about kindness. Our customers put hours they don’t have into their craft.

When people think of “support,” they probably envision a cube farm with a bunch of headsets and scripted responses. How is TreeRing Yearbooks different?

The work culture at TreeRing Yearbooks is what attracted me to the company in 2012. Our focus has always been on customer service. When most help centers have a “turn and burn” philosophy, TreeRing doesn’t monitor call times. Our advocacy team is trained to anticipate future needs and educate editors. I tell them, “Answer the unasked questions.”

Every year, satisfaction surveys consistently mention how much yearbook editors and parents appreciate the focused time they receive on the phone from our agents. 

If you could tell a TreeRing yearbooks customer anything, what would it be?

The CAT team is here to help you every step of the way in your yearbook journey and we are here to help you when you are overwhelmed. There’s no limit to what we won’t do for them (in the yearbook).

Operative phrase: In the yearbook. Visit/favorite/bookmark help.treering.com for more.

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