#25: Robin Bouck – Pederson’s Sales Support
ROBIN BOUCK Podcast Transcript
Neil Dudley: Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the Pederson’s Farms Podcast. We are so excited you’re here. We appreciate you joining us. And we look forward to sharing these conversations with thought leaders from our industry. They’re going to paint a picture from every perspective – consumer, customer, vendor, employee, and peer – that I think is going to be super valuable, and we’re really excited to share. So, thanks for tuning in. Remember don’t tune out, and grab life by the bacon.
All right, everybody, welcome to another episode of the Pederson’s Farms Podcast. I am super pumped up, stoked for one reason – we have Robin Bouck joining us today, and we get to introduce you, help let you meet- And by the way, hi everybody out on YouTube. We’ll be also videoing this podcast, so if you watch YouTube and take in content that way, this information is going to be there for you as well. Robin, thanks for coming. Thanks for spending the time on the show with us today. Tell everybody just a second about what you do- Well, no, let’s not start with what you do at Pederson’s, let’s first start with who are you? Where’d you come from? Like where do you live?
Robin Bouck: I’m Robin. I live in Orlando, Florida. I work remotely for Pederson’s doing e-commerce customer service.
Neil Dudley: All right, cool. What did you first do for us?
Robin Bouck: So, I started in December of 2019, prime time, right before the world changed. And I was originally hired to do store checks and in store demos, cooking bacon and educating consumers about our products.
Neil Dudley: How did that go? What was that like? Can you remember back to those days before COVID struck? Paint a picture of what that was like, your maybe daily routine or just one day in the life of what’d you do.
Robin Bouck: Yeah, so I was new to the Pederson’s brand, working with the company. I had a lot of catching up to do, just learning our standards, our philosophies, just more about the company. I had a little bit of insight because my sister and cousin had already worked for Pederson’s. So, it wasn’t a total learning curve because I did have some history with the brand already, but driving around all the Florida stores, independent stores, like Sprouts and Whole Foods are larger retail chains in Florida. So just talking to the meat managers, seeing what their struggles were, just trying to be a voice for our brand in Florida.
Neil Dudley: That is valuable. It still is. It was, it is, it probably always will be having someone, at least for Pederson’s, we want to have that connection to the geographic area, the people- I want to say people, but really culture in Florida is different than culture in Austin or Texas. And it’s different than culture California or LA. It’s different than culture in Chicago or Illinois. So, that has been a big piece of how we are successful is having people in different places, parts around the country, supporting our brand, going in, meeting those stores, knowing those people. So COVID coming along and kind of kiboshing all of that certainly was kind of a real pivot for us. Then you mentioned briefly- Well, I think we still haven’t really gotten to a little more of who you are and where you came from. Tell us a little bit about like what was your childhood like? What did you find out or what seems to be valuable to you today from your childhood that you kind of use and it makes you good at what you do?
Robin Bouck: Well, I’m the oldest of three girls, so I was always the right-hand assistant as my mom would call me. I was always the navigator on road trips and her junior assistant or junior mom, she would say, because I always mom-ed my younger sisters. So, the organization and just planning out a strategy and following through with the plan is something that I think I’m good at. We were always outside growing up. We went camping. I was always barefoot in a bathing suit, running around the neighborhood on bikes and playing with the neighbor kids. And we grew up on a little dirt road in the same neighborhood my mom grew up in, where my grandmother grew up. We always had family close by. I could go down the street to my grandmother’s and have a tea party, so we called it. And it was a good childhood.
Neil Dudley: I love what you said there though, being the first child, being the navigator, being organizational, all that stuff kind of makes you tick. And it really is an asset to you now today in what you do each and every day. I see that; it’s valuable to me because you do a lot of the stuff that I’m not great at with some of that organizational piece. And it’s just painting a picture for everybody that wants to learn more about Pederson’s or is interested in the people of Pederson’s, like this is one of the people and one of the skillsets that really makes what we do possible. And by the way, I haven’t said this, I probably don’t say this nearly enough, thank you. You’re awesome. Like the people of Pederson’s are the thing I love the most. I mean, I think we make some of the best dang bacon ever and sausage and ham too, but we have some of the best people.
Robin Bouck: Yeah, it’s been a great team to be a part of.
Neil Dudley: And that’s so true in the sense of the word team, I mean, because that doesn’t- even you and I have to butt heads about things. We’re discussing right now, a front of mind thing is some of our fresh pork stuff and e-commerce and how we’re going to handle that. And it’s so important to me that we keep it, but it’s so important to you that it flows well, that it’s not a problem for our customers, our consumers, people that want to buy the product. It can be a bit of a hiccup for them and a bad experience if we don’t do it right. So, we have to have those passionate conversations in order to be successful.
Robin Bouck: Yeah. And just over in the last year, understanding the process more from A to Z and every step along the way and how it affects everybody along the way and the potential for mistakes and trying to fix them before they happen has been a really important part of my role, I think, that I’ve been able to contribute to that over the last year.
Neil Dudley: Yeah, anybody that is listening that has an e-commerce business that has to deal with fulfillment, supply chain, trucking, all those things-
Robin Bouck: It is crazy to think how many moving parts go into that piece of bacon on your plate.
Neil Dudley: Well, and then think about dry ice. So, the second you add frozen to it, too, some kind of perishability to the product, it just gets even more dynamic. Okay so now, I mean, we’re just jumping around a little bit. I hope everybody keeps following along because it’s all so really good. Paint us a picture of what you’re doing today. You tried to touch on it a time or two, and I keep kind of directing you somewhere else or let’s go back and talk about your growing up.
Robin Bouck: I think it started around April of last year, where you realized that there was a lack of communication to some of our consumers through e-commerce, The Simple Grocer specifically.
Neil Dudley: Time out, stop, just sorry. But we’ve got to tell everybody Robin deals with the Simple Grocer, pedersonsfarms.com, Amazon, Costco, to name some of these e-commerce pieces of the puzzle that she deals with each and every day. It’s not just pedersonsfarms.com. So, we do the Simple Grocer. We do several different e-commerce businesses, and our products are available to people in a lot of different places.
Robin Bouck: And also, the live chat and being the general contact for the website as the gatekeeper for any general inquiries that come in through our site.
Neil Dudley: Okay. So now back on the road you were on, I just thought it’d be important for everybody to understand when you mention the Simple Grocer, you’re going to talk about several different things probably along this journey, and I want to just kind of lay that framework. We noticed that our communication with consumers and customers wasn’t really top notch.
Robin Bouck: Yeah, we had people reaching out and there wasn’t really a designated person who was handling all communications for e-commerce. And at the time, it was just the Simple Grocer and Amazon, I believe, was really all we were dealing with as far as online orders. So yeah, I started- I made a big, long list of every customer that had ordered in the last year and just started calling and talking and checking in and seeing how they felt about their future order potential and how their experience had been so far.
Neil Dudley: And see, to me, that’s just such a great parlay from doing that same thing in stores with people shopping. I mean, it kind of flowed- it moved in really well- moved in, I’m not sure that makes any sense.
Robin Bouck: Yeah, it was a nice, simple shift to do. I think it’s the same thing. You’re just doing it over the phone or on the computer rather than making that connection with a customer in a store.
Neil Dudley: As you’re making those calls, what’d you learn? Can you remember?
Robin Bouck: Most of it was just learning people’s motivations, their why behind why they were seeking no sugar meats or better for you meats, or it’s dietary restrictions, it’s a child with an allergy. Their learning too and wanting to be educated and a lot of it’s just educating consumers and teaching them what they needed to know. And I didn’t know any of the answers myself. I had to figure it out along the way, asking you, asking team members.
Neil Dudley: I don’t know all the answers. The truth is that’s valuable to us. That feedback, the questions, a lot of times make us go learn something that we didn’t know we didn’t know. So sometimes you just don’t know what you don’t know. Our consumers, our friends, our community, they help us see those things sometimes.
Robin Bouck: Yeah, absolutely. And I mean, that’s a big motivation for ingredient changes on our labels too. I mean, you understand a little bit more about why a certain ingredient maybe less desirable, and if you’re able to, you find a better solution.
Neil Dudley: What I want to ask, what I want to try to find some truth and transparency in is as you’re calling those hundred people, were every one of them just happy and so proud of everything that we were doing for them?
Robin Bouck: No, I would say 95% of people that I speak to just generally overall are very pleasant and very happy to provide any feedback and are generally nice. There is, I mean, with any job though, there’s going to be a handful of people that you’re going to butt heads with and don’t see eye to eye with what you’re trying to do or misunderstand your intentions.
Neil Dudley: I need to rephrase my question because what I’m really trying to tell everybody is we own the fact that we need to get better still today. Like then we needed to get better, now we need to get better. So, for example, on the Simple Grocer, the idea is to have product that comes off of our line available to people. Well, guess what, when it comes off the line, it has a use by, freeze by date on it. Can that confuse consumers any?
Robin Bouck: Yeah, absolutely. Most of our products that were sold on e-commerce then, I mean, we didn’t do a separate production run, so they were originally probably going to a retail location, and we made too much or there was a change of plans or we just had excess product that was sold through the Simple Grocer.
Neil Dudley: And we just chose not to change the line, change the date stamp while we’re running the line because, in full transparency, I thought everybody will understand that, no big deal. It says use by, freeze by, and a date. The problem is not everybody understands that. So, you’ve had to deal with that education with our consumers. I think you tell the consumer the story that, well, this is what happened. We just run the line, we take the same product, it’s use by, freeze by, we freeze it as soon as we get it, within probably 10 days of production. So it’s easily frozen before the use by, freeze by date, and it is totally safe for you and your family.
Robin Bouck: Yeah. And I think just it’s, again, just educating. I think a lot of people in general don’t understand the cold chain process and that frozen food stays frozen all along the steps of our warehouse, in the box, and ideally all through the transit time with the shipping carrier until it gets to their door. But yeah, once it’s frozen, it can stay frozen, and it does and is perfectly good to eat once you thaw it out.
Neil Dudley: But that’s a reality that can be confusing, and it’s a thing we have to own, communicate about, allow.
Robin Bouck: Well, I think it’s just a fear, and people don’t fully trust their food if it has a date on it that’s an end all be all hard stop date, but people are going to toss it if they see a date that’s passed. Where, I mean, if you really educate yourself on your food and you know where it comes from and you know how it’s been kept, the condition of it all through its life, there’s really not big fear to eat something that’s been frozen for its entire life.
Neil Dudley: We’ve been trained to be that way. I would say just because it is in date doesn’t mean it’s safe to eat. You’ve got to kind of be skeptical of your food. Skeptical is probably the wrong word, but just educated.
Robin Bouck: Nobody wants food poisoning.
Neil Dudley: Right, nobody wants food poison or just to eat something that tastes bad. I mean, that’s not a fun experience. So totally understandable. I just want to paint that picture, touch on that truth that we’re here to answer those questions. That’s what Robin does each and every day. She takes care of people’s questions, helps them understand. And in some cases, even once they’re educated, they’re still mad. It feels like they’ve been lied to, cheated, stole from, and I hate that. I’m so sad that happens.
Robin Bouck: Me too. I mean, that’s the biggest heartbreak for me is when I can’t get somebody to understand our motivations and the fact that we’re not out to shyster anybody and we’re not out to make you feel misled in any way. Like we are just selling bacon.
Neil Dudley: I can attest to this. I mean, Robin gets emotional about those conversations. It hurts her feelings. It hurts her pride in her job to think there was a scenario in which we had a consumer that was that dissatisfied. And that’s why I love you so much because that kind of heart is what drives this company. It is what keeps us top of our game. So, keep bringing that each and every day. All right, cool. So, what’s the most fun thing you do?
Robin Bouck: I love hearing all the success stories and the raving fans and the people who eat nothing but Pederson’s and tell all their friends and their cousins and their moms and buy it for Christmas gifts. Those are my people.
Neil Dudley: You probably get access to more of that than anybody in the chats, in the- It probably goes to mention Hackett and Hector that kind of work alongside you that do these things. So, everybody that listens and you think you’re going to get Robin every time, you might not, you might get Jeff or Hector, but they are going to be right in the same vein as Robin. These guys and gal all come from that demo customer service role within our company. And then now they’ve just kind of taken over the e-commerce relationships as kind of a necessity because we can’t do those demos in the stores anymore, and it fits their skillset really good.
Robin Bouck: Yeah. I mean, I have a background in bartending. I bartended all through my twenties, and I see it as regulars, that person that comes back again and again and again because they like what you’re selling, but they also like you. Like they’re not just- it’s the customers that come back again and again because they had a positive experience with me or with Jeff or Hector, and they know that they have somebody that they can reach out to if they have a question or concern.
Neil Dudley: I’m telling you, that’s a small team right there. I mean, it really is. I’m so proud of it because the team will have to grow as our business grows in e-commerce. Because, I mean, folks, you might not know this, but Robin has worked 24/7 for a while, making sure this stuff is done. And it’s a rare thing for somebody to just be that committed to that. So, if you get a chance to talk to her, or if you have a problem with our products and you run across Robin, just tell her what your problem is, I promise she’ll work on it, and then high five her for being there. Because that is a kind of a 24/ gig taking care of customers.
Robin Bouck: Yeah, and I try to reply within 24 hours if it’s an email. And if I don’t know the answer, I mean, there may be a couple day delay, but it’s because I’m sending four or five email chains on the backend trying to find the answer or come up with a solution for whatever your concern is.
Neil Dudley: I’d say you’re a great problem solver. I mean, that’s one of the roles you play. I mean, because there’s no handbook in a lot of these scenarios.
Robin Bouck: No, we are writing it.
Neil Dudley: Yeah, that’s right. You have to kind of dream it up, figure it out, come up with a solution. All right, so what is one of those things that is a little bit of a drag in your day-to-day?
Robin Bouck: It just goes back to people that misunderstand our intentions and negative comments or people that just are outright mean. But that’s just the reality of the world. There’s always going to be that one thorn in your side maybe that you can- But it’s the minority, it’s an overwhelming minority of people who are just out to be negative and mean. And you can’t let that affect your day because there’s so many more people that deserve your attention.
Neil Dudley: Although, the facts are the one unhappy, mean person, it takes about ten of the happy ones to outweigh that, right? It’s almost like reviews and comments and that kind of thing, people share their bad experience more than they share their good experience. That’s the reality we live in. Do you agree with that?
Robin Bouck: Yeah. With the access to social media, it’s bad news spreads like wildfire, and it’s hard to stop that once it gets going. So that’s always our challenge to try to get ahead of that.
Neil Dudley: Awesome. Robin, keep it up. Now, let’s talk about what you do that’s not work. Like what do you just like? What do you do? I know a little bit, or I can have some guesses, but I think the listeners will be interested in that as well. What do you do for fun?
Robin Bouck: So, I try to get in the dirt every day; I garden. Right now, I’m growing peppers and tomatoes and green beans, lettuce, broccoli, all in December and January in Florida. That’s one of the great things about our growing season here. So yeah, I garden, and we try to grow a lot of the food that we eat between my garden and my mom’s. So that’s a fun hobby that we both share. I have a border collie; we go out on long walks every day and throw the tennis ball. It’s a necessary part of his day and good for me to get outside and take a screen break. And I do long distance backpacking. So, I’ve done forty miles of the Appalachian Trail and another plan to do a hundred miles this year.
Neil Dudley: How long does that take?
Robin Bouck: The whole trail is over 2000 miles. So, if you do it in one stretch, which some people do to be a through hiker, it’s five or six months. But I’m just fraction hiking.
Neil Dudley: Do you have a goal? Are you going to hike all 2000 or am I just now planting that seed?
Robin Bouck: No, maybe. I mean, my mom has actually section hiked from the beginning of the trail in Georgia through up to Virginia now. She’s done all of Georgia and all of North Carolina, and I did a section of it with her last May. And so, we’re going to go and do the Shenandoah National Forest this year hopefully.
Neil Dudley: That sounds fun to me. I’ve never even thought about it. I mean, just in my life, that’s not a thing that’s ever kind of came up. I’ve done some hiking. I mean, I’m outside. I love getting in the dirt like you say. I mean, it’s part of what I think is important. I enjoy it, it resets my soul, all those things. I never thought about hiking the whole Appalachian Trail.
Robin Bouck: It takes a crazy kind of person I think to carry everything you need, 30 pounds on your back, for seven days stretches at a time. It’s a fun challenge though. I like the challenge and I like being out in the middle of nowhere knowing that I’m maybe the only person within my radius.
Neil Dudley: So, when you hike 40 miles or a hundred miles, are you spending the night? Is that a day thing? So you’ve got your tent and everything.
Robin Bouck: Yeah, we hammock camp. So, I’m in a hammock with just a tarp, an A-frame tarp on a string. And we did six days straight out on the AT. And there are shelters too, but we stayed outside of the shelters in our hammocks just because it was 2020. So, we social distanced on the trail.
Neil Dudley: Oh, I’m sitting here. Did you see the confusion in my face? Anyways, now I caught up.
Robin Bouck: More people than ever were out on the trail. It was, I think, one of their busiest years for through hikers, because I mean, what was really-
Neil Dudley: It was a thing to could go do where you could stay distanced.
Robin Bouck: So, it was really busy last year.
Neil Dudley: Robin, thanks for sharing. Thanks for being a part of this podcast. Thanks for doing what you do each and every day for Pederson’s. The last kind of question or thing I want to give you a chance to put on the show so hopefully all of our audience will hear it – what is the number one question you get as an e-commerce customer service, lead customer service person that you would like if you could just plug it into everybody’s brain, they would know the answer and not need to ask?
Robin Bouck: I think just the sustainability initiatives that we put in place and to try to be fully vertically integrated and to own the pigs along every step of the way and just that our intentions are pure. We’re trying to do the right thing. And I think we do, I mean, a lot better than some of the other conventional retailers that are available right now. That’s for sure.
Neil Dudley: Yeah, cool. Good. Everybody, I hope you heard that. If you didn’t rewind about 10 seconds and listen again. Robin is a huge piece of what we do each and every day, a huge piece of our interaction with consumers and that’s so very important. Thanks for listening to the Pederson’s Podcast. Come back again next week, or when this drops, we will drop about four episodes. Robin’s our employee episode this time. We’ll have a consumer episode, a customer episode, a vendor episode, and I think, in Robin’s month, we’re going to have a peer episode. So, we’ll be talking to somebody that does the same thing we do and highlight them for the great things they’re doing. So go listen. Robin, did I miss anything? Are you happy? Have you said everything you want to say?
Robin Bouck: Yeah. It’s the best job I’ve had yet.
Neil Dudley: All right. Hey, I didn’t pay her to say that folks. She said that all on her own. Thanks, everybody. Talk to you next time.
Hey, everybody. Thank you so much for listening to this episode of the Pederson’s Farms Podcast. It’s been a blast bringing this to you, and I sure hope you enjoyed it and found value. If you did, tell a friend, share it out on social media, hit that subscribe button, or go check us out at pedersonsfarms.com. We sure hope you do. And thanks for being here.
An Employee of Pederson’s with a passion for our brand and the e-commerce customer experience – Robin Bouck plays the intricate role of conveying our desire to do the best thing even when those desires don’t always result in the best experience for our customers. She is a shining example of what it means to be a PNF’er!
Fun fact: Robin is an avid outdoorswoman who has hiked a good portion of the Appalachian Trail!
(1:02) – Robin’s background and career with Pederson’s while working remotely in Florida
(3:25) – Robin’s childhood and family dynamic
(5:31) – Building a team dynamic at Pederson’s
(7:12) – Robin’s current role with Pederson’s
(15:45) – What’s the most fun part of your job?
(18:32) – Is there anything that is a drag on your day to day?
(19:47) – What do you like to do outside of work?
(22:58) – What is the #1 question you get from customers?
The Pederson’s Farms Podcast is produced by Straight Up Podcasts & Root and Roam