CompoSecure has had to reimagine many of its processes and procedures to keep its employees safe, while keeping up with production goals and schedules during the pandemic. Project Managers are on the front line of customer care and are navigating this new normal. Meet Jennifer Ogrodnik, one of the Project Managers at CompoSecure.
It Starts Here
At CompoSecure, Project Managers (PMs) play a crucial role. They are the “interpreters” within the company, taking in the customers’ goals and aspirations for a metal card program then working with the design and production teams to determine timelines for samples and final product that work for everyone. Jennifer will tell you that for her and the other PMs, being the conduit between customer and the company is a role that requires trust. First, the customer puts their trust in CompoSecure and the PM to walk them through the design process and, ultimately, to deliver as expected and on time. But second, and equally important, is building trust between the PMs and the rest of the CompoSecure organization.
Awareness of metal payment cards has grown dramatically over the past ten years. Once only available to the super-elite cardholders, card issuers are now using metal cards to attract a broader audience who prefer metal cards as a personal differentiator. Card issuers see metal cards as a way to acquire new customers and increase customer loyalty. All of these factors are driving card issuer demand.
As an important connection to Sales, the PM team is responsible for understanding and getting to the core of customer needs and managing timelines. With new health and safety processes that have been put in place as a result of COVID, the role of the PM is even more critical. Setting realistic expectations to the customer, balancing and readjusting as priorities change, while providing world class service.
Getting Creative with the Creative Process
How do you establish trust in a new business relationship? Before March of this year, Jennifer would have told you about the face-to-face personal relationship she built with a new customer. She – and many other members of the CompoSecure team – flew thousands of miles, crossing state lines and time zones to get to know the customers and communicate CompoSecure’s understanding of their business goals. That in-person interaction was foundational to building trust.
Similarly, the design sessions between clients and PMs were also largely done in-person, where the look and feel of metal payment cards could best be shared. With the onset of COVID, CompoSecure had to get creative in how to continue the world class service they are known for. Virtual design sessions and other levels of prototype creation were developed to provide similar hands-on experiences clients had being onsite; a key step that customers need to make the buy decision.
It is always hard to adapt to new processes. Jennifer and the whole team are keenly aware of the pressures felt by the design and production teams and create ways to alleviate it. Advanced planning is one way that they are accomplishing this. The teams come together much earlier in the process to discuss plans, pool information and collaborate. Jennifer believes that the challenges brought on by the pandemic have actually boosted creativity, especially on the planning process.
Another unexpected benefit came from CompoSecure’s focus on employee wellness. Before COVID, employees would socialize during the workday with activities like daily lunch time walks, meeting out at the picnic tables for lunch or break, holiday/celebration parties. They had to find other ways to connect. “We have cross-functional Zoom meetings as a way to check in with one another and reinforce connection during a time when everyone is apart,” said Jennifer. These bonds provide opportunities to recognize co-workers’ struggles and achievements. “When you have a feeling of accomplishment, everyone shares that with you.”
Strength from Within Strengthens Throughout
Jennifer has taken this collaboration from the office to her community in Somerset. Late one evening, she created a chalk tapestry in the courtyard of her living complex, leaving voids where others can color in the gaps, and left a box of chalk encouraging others to come together and create art. When she woke the next morning, she was overwhelmed at how people were touched by this simple act in the midst of the pandemic. It lifted the spirits of her neighbors and brought them together, when they were all feeling so isolated. Jennifer understands the importance of building connections – whether that is with her neighbors, local businesses she supports or her co-workers and clients.
Just as CompoSecure has continued to grow and thrive despite the challenges, Jennifer is certain the strong co-operation between its employees and customers will endure after the pandemic, “We got stronger during COVID, and we’ll keep that spirit alive after.”