CoffeeCakes.com and AnswerNet – A "Sweet" Combination

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By Celine Hundt, Contributing Author

When Sherry Comes started her Internet coffee shop in 1995, she had no idea that her business would eventually turn in a radically different direction. The Internet café she envisioned proved to be ahead of its time, but the timing of the delicious coffee cakes sold at her store couldn’t have been better.

Customers loved the coffee cakes so much that they asked how to order more for themselves and their friends and family. Sherry, an IT consultant for IBM and self-described “IT junkie”, became fascinated with the idea of marketing her cakes exclusively on the Internet and harnessing the revolution known as “e-commerce.” And so, CoffeeCakes.com was born.

While having an electronic storefront was the cornerstone of her business strategy, Sherry still wanted to create a customer experience that was reminiscent of walking into a bakery on Main Street USA. In tandem with providing an online ordering function, she decided to offer her customers the opportunity to place an order with a live customer service representative.

Deciding which vendor to choose to manage CoffeeCakes.com’s call center function was almost as agonizing as making the decision to take the store completely online. For Sherry, it was paramount that her customer service representatives espoused the core values of CoffeeCakes.com. Central to CoffeeCakes.com’s philosophy is a “no questions asked” customer return policy. In Sherry’s business, wanting to make the customer happy is more than just an aspiration, it could be considered survival. After all, almost half of CoffeeCakes.com’s business is ‘repeat’ business.

AnswerNet, an award-winning call center solutions company, stood out from the other companies that Sherry interviewed. With her background in IT, Sherry was impressed with the 24/7 IT support available to AnswerNet’s customers. Because of her training in mission-critical environments, she liked the fact that disaster backup was built into AnswerNet’s service offerings.

As she became familiar with what AnswerNet could offer – the personalized service found in smaller companies, coupled with the technological innovation of integrated service offerings that included voice, voicemail, inbound/outbound IVR (Integrated Voice Response), email, chat, call recording and fax – the decision became “a piece of cake.”

Sealing the deal was the fact that the quality and excellence of service offered by AnswerNet’s customer service reps mirrored CoffeeCakes.com’s own obsession with customer service. For CoffeeCakes.com, the strategy has been rewarded by the fact that the company receives a Five-Star Top Service Customer Rating year-after- year since 1995. For AnswerNet, five-time Inc. 500/5000 award winner, the accolades speak for themselves.

Over the past 14 years, CoffeeCakes.com, like any other business, has experienced its share of good times and not so good times. However, the relationship between AnswerNet and CoffeeCakes.com continues to grow stronger and stronger. AnswerNet has helped CoffeeCakes.com to work through periods of high and low call volumes, a major website redesign, relocation of the fulfillment function, and a host of other changes necessary to grow the business.

CoffeeCakes.com’s dedicated AnswerNet staff takes pride in their relationship with their client, enjoying the fact that they are given the autonomy they need to provide exceptional customer service.

That may be why if you visit the AnswerNet call center, CoffeeCakes.com CSRs’ cubicles are adorned with pictures of sumptuous coffee cakes. Of course, the CSRs’ devotion to the company is helped by the fact that they receive frequent samples!

But most likely, the reason the relationship between CoffeeCakes.com and AnswerNet continues to flourish is because the two companies are completely in sync with their attention to the customer, the desire to optimize technology to provide great service, and a commitment to offer the highest quality product possible.

CoffeeCakes.com (www.coffeecakes.com) is a privately-held company that markets specialty food and gourmet gift items exclusively on the Internet. Founded in 1995, the company is headquartered in Castle Rock, Colorado. CoffeeCakes.com’s product line includes corporate gifts, specialty gift baskets, coffeecakes, fruit cakes, rum cakes, travel mugs and products to enhance the enjoyment of coffee and tea. 

Happy 11th Anniversary AnswerNet!

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I was in a meeting on Tuesday with someone, and I got to tell them the AnswerNet story (I love that story). As I got to the part where Bill and I did the first deal on that yellow pad, I pulled out our agreement to show it to my visitor and realized that Tuesday was the 11th anniversary of AnswerNet‘s start date as an operating company.

While I was much younger, much lighter and had more hair, I did not have any idea how much fun the next 11 years of my life would be. I also didn’t realize how lucky I would be to get to work with such an amazing group of people, and that has made my life much more wonderful than I could have imagined.

Thank you to Bill and Barbara for being wonderful partners, and thank you all for making AnswerNet a great place to work and for being a part of the AnswerNet family and my life.

Humbly submitted,

Gary Pudles