Meet the Team: Bette Smith


My role as part of the Friend team is Head of Customer Experience, part of the Enterprise department.

It’s my job to ensure that every time a customer contacts us – whether by phone, email, letter or webchat – they receive the best possible treatment and support. My team and I are always happy to help, whether a customer calls to purchase products, renew subscriptions or ask for help with an order.

I have been with the company for seven years and have always worked in Enterprise. In that time, the department has expanded and we are able to offer many more products and offers. We don’t really have any involvement with the development of new products, but we do sometimes get asked our opinions when deciding between a few different designs.

I think The People’s Friend 150th Anniversary Special is great. It is so interesting – full of history and a bargain at £6.99, but the Tea Caddy is another favourite of mine – I love a cuppa and only ever drink tea. I like its classic design – very traditional and it also comes in a pack with Dundee Cake – yummy if I wasn’t on a diet!

A Typical Week

During a typical week, I would be supervising staff, providing training, doing rotas, liaising with other departments to ensure that everything has been done correctly for our customers. We need a great deal of product knowledge to do the job – staff have to know about all of the offers that are available.

The team are always busy answering the phones and dealing with emails and webchats from the website. More and more “Friend” readers are becoming computer savvy, so like to use these methods to communicate with us along with good, old fashioned “snail” mail.

In a typical day, my team would speak to around 100 “Friend” customers, apart from during the run-up to Christmas when we could be speaking to as many as 500 a day. It’s just as well we all like to chat!

Happy Customer

My favourite part of the job is making sure that my team are all fully trained and happy in what they are doing. I also like helping them to solve any complicated customer problems. Ensuring that customers get the best service possible and feeling that I have helped to make someone happy brings me great satisfaction.

One example that springs to mind is a customer who had subscribed to the People’s Friend Specials on December 23 and didn’t realise that it can take a few weeks for a subscription to start. She called us, upset that she was not going to get her Special to give her some reading over Christmas as she was going to be on her own.

When I saw her address and realised that she was local, I went to her house after work and delivered the magazine for her. She couldn’t believe it and was very happy that she would have her magazine after all.

Meet some of the other lovely people who make the “Friend” what it is.

Marion McGivern

As editor of the cookery, money, pets, know how and talking point pages, Marion covers wide a range of regular Features content. Along with the rest of the Team, she enjoys finding interesting features for both the weekly and Special issues that readers will love. Having so much variety every day means that over ten years with the “Friend” has just flown by!