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Office manager says sweet talk is key to customer service

February 24, 2001

Office manager says sweet talk is key to customer service



MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - As office manager for the Martinsburg Mall, Karen Armbrester doesn't spend as much time behind the customer service counter as she used to, but shoppers and mall walkers still stop by.

They knock on the glass window to the mall office as they walk by or pop their head in the door to say hello, said Armbrester, 47, of Hedgesville, W.Va.

"I love people. I'm a people person," said Armbrester, who worked at Jane's House of Hair in Hedgesville for 24 years.

She took a job with the mall in 1996 so she could get better benefits as her daughter was getting ready to attend college.

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Armbrester worked at Things Remembered during the holiday seasons. She worked at the mall's customer service booth on evenings and weekends for 3 1/2 years before becoming customer service supervisor.

She still fills in at the customer service booth around lunchtime.

She helps people with directions and tells people calling for the cinema the theater's telephone number and even what's playing. And she helps calm shoppers who have forgotten where they parked their cars.

"I learned a long time ago that if you just smile and sweet talk people, they'll relax," Armbrester said.

- Julie Greene

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