For Minted, customer service is an Oscar-worthy performance

“Sir, I’m literally sitting on a bench with a gun on my lap. I’m calling you from a military phone in Iraq — regarding envelopes.”

That’s a slice of what an American soldier, a Minted customer, described to Donald Antoine, Minted’s customer service supervisor, in 2014. The calm-voiced soldier called Minted on behalf of his fiancée, who had ordered save the date cards for their forthcoming wedding ceremony back home in the States. They needed their return address corrected on their envelopes — and they needed it yesterday.

Enter Donald to the rescue. “Rest assured we’ll do everything we can,” Donald said to the soon-to-be husband. Donald corrected the address, reprocessed the order, and shipped the envelopes to the bride-to-be the same day. Three months later, Donald received an email from the Mrs., thanking Minted for its service.

Donald Antoine heads up Minted’s customer service team. Minted Customer Service not only benefits customers, but also our community of independent artists who produce the products you see on Minted. The Customer Service team helps “close the deal” with customers and retain them as loyal shoppers. By providing this service, we free up time for our community of artists to focus on their creative work and spend less time on administrative work.

This is just one of the stories Donald shared when we asked him to recall some of the most memorable customers he’s met on the job. Donald and his team of associates serve customers around the world, many of whom are celebrating life’s most memorable moments — weddings, births, graduations, birthdays, and anniversaries. “It’s amazing the people you come across,” Donald says.

Donald retells a number of stories from the front lines of customer service with vigor, but one is particularly close to his heart. In 2014, Donald “hit it off right away” with a customer who was also a nearly-wed — this time, a Golden Girl who needed help with the process of ordering her wedding invitations online. She loved the elegance of many of Minted’s designs and knew she wanted crisp black text — but was searching for something a little more simplistic. Like a trio in harmony, Donald, the customer, and her fiancée talked on the phone for nearly four hours, throughout the course of a day. Donald helped to personalize the couple’s invitation design and message, and the more they talked, the more they got to know each other. Donald got choked up when he learned the customer’s first name — which is the same as his sister’s middle name. “My sister passed away in 2012, and we were very close. Then when we realized the couple’s wedding date was the same day as my sister’s passing, they started crying,” Donald says. “We established a wonderful relationship, and they invited me to their wedding.” Although he wasn’t able to attend, he’ll never forget the experience.

When the first Minted Store opened in San Francisco in 2016, Donald Antoine was called upon to set a high bar for customer service.

As an actor-turned-customer service supervisor, Donald treats customer service like a performance. Not in the sense of transforming into a character per se, but in the sense of providing a personable experience for anyone who shops with Minted. “Sometimes you don’t feel your best, but you have to smile and give your best performance, because that’s what customers come to the show for. Our customers deserve the best,” explains the Californian who’s worked for Minted for nearly four years. As he sees it, no one wants to call a company with poor customer service. “If they come to the show and the actors are dragging, the entire performance is bad.”

Now that his two children are 2 and 9, in Donald’s spare time, he’s dipping his toe into acting again.

Having studied at Berkeley Repertory, Donald began acting onstage at age 14, and eventually became a film and stage fight director — a job, he says, that took him to “the edge of the earth.” Donald directed fight and action scenes for performing art in film, TV, and theater productions, such as Zorro in Hell.

Now a father of two, he embarked on a career change into customer service by working for several “very large companies.” Donald joined Minted as a customer service associate in October 2013, and has been promoted several times, now leading a large team. “With other companies, it’s about moving customers in and moving them out, but not with Minted,” Donald says. “Minted was a breath of fresh air.”
That breath of fresh air, Donald says, lies in Minted’s approach with customers, which is centered around spending quality time ensuring customers find exactly what they’re looking for. The philosophy he instills in his team is to be an attentive listener. “You never know how much you could change someone’s day just by helping them with their wedding invitation. This is the most rewarding part of my job — even if it’s just one person, it’s a joy to cross the finish line with the customers and see how happy it makes them.”

About the Author: Amy Schroeder, Minted’s Community Content Manager, founded (back in the day) Venus, the magazine about women in the arts and DIY culture, and has written for Etsy, West Elm, and NYLON. Connect on Instagram @thevenuslady.

Published January 11, 2017

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