At Ally, our mission is to drive outcomes for our clients. eCommerce is complex and constantly changing, so we rely on a fast-paced, innovative culture to make it happen. We want to help you get to know the people behind your eCommerce engine, so today, we’re taking you behind-the-scenes with Meca Alexander.
Meet Meca: Q&A Lightning Round
Client Operations Specialist at Ally
Tell us a bit about your background and how you got started with Ally.
I got my start at Ally prior to its conception in a way — when I was hired, the company was in a transition period. I was in a temporary position to help out with customer service. There had been an ice storm in Atlanta, and the previous company shipped globally, so there were a lot of people with no understanding of why their orders were delayed because of what they considered to be “little ice.” With my previous experience in health administration and my high attention to detail and process, my ability to calm escalating situations really came in handy. At the time, I was there to help out as a favor to a friend who was employed here, but after two excellent weeks, I was offered a permanent position. Eight years later, I’m still here, and I’m still loving it.
Walk us through your typical day. What are the core components of your role?
A typical day for me starts with reviewing emails for any replenishment concerns, and monitoring and documenting backorder and pre-order arrival dates. I also continuously scan my release date calendar for new SKUs so I can create them and hand them over to the merchandise department for new listings. Primarily, new SKUs come at random from various clients, so I’m always in direct communication with my warehouse receiving team, so I can assure the client the confirmation of receipt, notate any discrepancies, and verify the condition of the deliveries. Then we can get set up with pallets that are conducive to quick and accurate receipt.
In addition to creating new SKUs (including configurables and kits) within our system, I also transition existing SKUs out to different life cycle stages like end of life, discontinued, etc., and remove listings, so that our client catalogs are always updated and ready for success.
How do you help clients be successful? What recommendations do you make?
My first priority is to look for accuracy in our listings based on the information we were provided — that’s my primary concern. However, it’s not the only one, since I also have to make sure that we are listing all required information as dictated by the marketplaces. One of the most important things for ensuring a satisfactory customer experience is to ensure that the product we’re offering matches the information that we’re posting on the website. After all, this is the customer’s only interaction with a product, and we don’t want them to open the box and realize this isn’t what they were looking for.
“I make a point to get a dedicated operational person on their internal team so that Ally can be as accurate as we possibly can be on the front end. I help train the new team member, and also, oftentimes, help restructure the team and processes as well so we can all be successful.”
When you start working with new clients, what are some common problems that they come to you with? How do you help them solve those problems or correct past mistakes?
At the heart of it, I’m a checklist girl. I’m super documented and detail oriented, so the first thing I do is go through everything that my clients need to be successful. My job is to bring clarity and uniformity wherever I can because the biggest mistakes are usually clerical on their end: misinformation, things didn’t arrive when they said they would, a different version of an item was sent, etc. My primary objective is to make sure that the i’s and t’s are dotted and crossed, and that the client has an updated report of what we need internally on our side.
It’s common for our clients not to have someone in my role on their side, meaning no dedicated person is managing the necessary information and ensuring it’s correct. In fact, typically many people contribute to the information that we need to be successful, and when there’s a lot of hands on a document, we have to streamline the process and ensure that the information is correct the first time around. I make a point to get a dedicated operational person on their internal team so that Ally can be as accurate as we possibly can be on the front end. I help train the new team member, and also oftentimes help restructure the team and processes as well so we can all be successful.
Where have you seen success with some of the clients you work with?
I love success stories, and one of my favorites came from a company that didn’t have a U.S. presence before us. In the end, we helped them get a foothold in our domestic market, and they’ve made direct referrals for us because of the success we were able to provide for them.
Another one of my favorites is when we get new business from the same customer. When we first started working with one of our clients, we managed two of their brands. Now we’re managing seven of their brands because we had so much success with the two we started working with. Our best stories are always referrals because we know that our clients can see that what we’re doing is valuable…so much so that they are willing to share this with others.
What’s the most rewarding part of your job?
I love it when a plan comes together. When you give me the information and it gets done, it goes well, and everybody’s happy, that’s my favorite part.
We just had a Good Morning America sale for one of our clients, and it’s the third time we’ve done it, and it went off on our side without a hitch. It requires a lot of prep from our team to manage the sales: hiring additional workers, adding hundreds of SKUs, managing palette shipments, etc., but we were able to manage the challenges and had the expertise to dedicate to making sure the process went as smoothly as it did. When we do our job right, our customers get more sales, more SKUs, and that’s rewarding for me — I really just love that part!
“Our team is second to none. We’re here to get the job done, and we’re even better together. Ally has always been extremely successful at hiring — they only bring on people who are dedicated, hardworking, passionate, and who fit in with the existing culture. People come in with the same values and virtues, and I love that part. No matter how much we grow or how often roles change, that part always stays the same.”
What’s the most challenging part of your job?
Discrepancies make it tougher for us to execute the process well. Even though we are up for the challenge, when we have to educate a client on a better way it creates more challenges, that takes a significant amount of time. But at the end of the day, that’s what makes Ally so valuable. We can handle what other companies can’t handle. We’re a team, and we have people who are willing to jump in and help fix any problem.
Why should brands be considering — if not prioritizing — selling DTC? In your words, what benefits and opportunities does this strategy offer? And what makes Ally the best partner?
Based on the success that we’ve had with our clients with our formula, all I can say is that we’re doing it right, plain and simple. The culture of our team is just rare — I’ve worked a long time and in a lot of different places, and I’ve just never seen this type of culture before. There’s so much talent in one place, and everyone here is truly a Grade A problem-solver. At Ally, we figure challenges out, and we thrive on creating solutions in a way that no other existing company can. If you look at our track record with existing clients, we offer solutions for websites, technical processes, customer services, and so much more. It’s a total solution that isn’t offered anywhere else, and that’s why we’re successful with the clients we have — they know that nowhere else can they get everything they need from one place.
Want to learn more about working with Ally? Get in touch today.