© Windsor Bay Communications Inc. 2017
WHEN SYLVIE VIEL, A VETERAN SALES ASSOCIATE at Ameublement BrandSource Rice traveled to Toronto to receive the Retail Sales Professional Award (RSPA) for Atlantic Canada, she was the only exclusively Francophone recipient.
But that didn’t stop her from mingling and sharing a moment with fellow winner Ruth Parkinson – of Executive Furniture Rentals and the award winner for Ontario – over a shared taste in footwear.
Viel was one of four regional recipients saluted by the ﬁrst annual RSPA, which is sponsored by Zucora – the London-based added value service provider – and three other industry insiders, including Home Goods Online (HGO), the Canadian Home Furnishings Alliance (CHFA) and the Canadian Furniture Show (CFS). The award recognises the outstanding achievements and accomplishments of experienced sales professionals working on the ﬂoors of furniture, mattress and major appliance retailers across the country and seen as leaders when it comes to delivering exceptional customer sales and service.
Since the award isn’t an easy one to win – salespeople from across the country were nominated for the honour by their managers or peers – locking down for one designated for Atlantic Canada is impressive and very worthy of celebration.
I was honored, it felt like recognition of all my hard work for the last 28 years in customer service.
“I was so proud, excited and privileged,” Viel told HGO through an interpreter (she speaks French exclusively), to discover she had been nominated and, eventually, selected. She was even more thrilled to have been recognised for her hard work.
“I was honored, it felt like recognition of all my hard work for the last 28 years in customer service,” she says.
Viel accepted the honour at the CHFA annual gala, which was held just prior to the opening of the 2017 Canadian Furniture Shore – an event that attracted winners from as close as North York and as far as Kelowna, British Columbia.
As for what compelled her employer and manager, Jim Rice – the owner of Ameublement BrandSource Rice, which is located in Edmundston, New Brunswick – to nominate her, he says it has a lot to do with her drive to go over and above.
“Sylvie consistently strives to achieve more than is asked of her,” he wrote on her nomination form. “She was one of the top sales associates with a competing retailer for 10 years until she switched over to our team in March 2016.”
He also noted that Viel is incredibly dedicated to improving the store and increasing its performance and has gotten tangible results. “In 11 months, our overall performance has improved by over 50%,” he wrote.
Asides from being a strong salesperson, she has the personal touch that works to engage not only customers, but co-workers as well. Viel is known for her strong coaching skills as well as her eagerness and willingness to help other associates perform better. She also works to achieve her ends by setting monthly, weekly and even daily goals – something that works to embolden and encourage the other members of her team.
Interestingly enough, Viel is something of a new face at BrandSource Rice, having only joined the company 15 months ago. The last year has been a big one for the customer service veteran (she’s been working with clients for close to 30 years) who considers transitioning out of the textile industry into the sales segment a bona ﬁde career highlight.
As for what she loves most about her job, she says the interactions with clients are the most rewarding. “There are a lot of small things, but the two most important things are my client’s loyalty towards me by asking to be served by me and always coming back when they need to make a purchase for their home,” she says. “There’s also the recognition of their satisfaction regarding the products I recommended to them to fulﬁll their needs and desires.”
Viel says one of the reasons she enjoys working at BrandSource Rice is everyone’s desire to make the store the best it can be is attractive. “[I like] the ambiance and the drive,” she relates. “The people are always working on improving not only as individuals, but as a team.”
In her free time, Viel likes to spend time gardening and keeping active. “Outside of work, my biggest passion is mostly gardening, but I also keep busy by doing yoga, taking long walks, reading and even playing golf.”
Viel has every intention of staying in the furniture industry and hopes to pass her wisdom down to others going forward. “I would love to pass on my passion to those who are willing to learn,” she says.
Ashley Newport is Contributing Editor to Home Goods Online. This article first appears in the Fall 2017 edition of the HGO Merchandiser and is reproduced here with permission.