Angie Kronlage Makes Client Success Her Calling
In her first 13 years with Working Solutions, Angie Kronlage witnessed the company grow exponentially. She also has seen it retain the unique character of specialized customer service, which differentiates it from every other business in the virtual contact center industry.
Angie, who lives in Dyersville, Iowa, just outside of Dubuque, said in the beginning, the company felt like a boutique agency to clients. Many saw Working Solutions as an extension of their companies, with contact center agents embodying their brands.
More than a decade later, the company still delivers personalized service to clients and their customers. “We are much bigger, but our caring culture feels the same, which sets us apart,” Angie said. “We view each other as an extension of our families. You’d think we were together physically.”
Being Inspired by Leadership
Angie remembers her first regional meeting at Working Solutions. “I was very nervous. I’d only been with the company for a couple of months, and I was just getting used to the concept of working from home. Then, I heard Kim (Houlne, the chief executive) speak.
“I found everything she said to be inspirational,” Angie recalled. “I wanted to be become a part of Working Solutions. I wanted to feel it. And, listening to Kim, I got everything I wanted.”
The company’s foundational beliefs were—and remain:
- Family comes first. This belief causes you to value work even more because you know your company cares.
- No person is an island. You should always feel that you are part of a team, with ready resources at hand.
- You need to build trust and transparency with clients. Many of the company’s long-term ones feel a special bond with Working Solutions, whose agents often own or use the products and services they represent.
- Give everyone the tools they need to succeed.
Angie started at Advanced Data-Comm, which later became WS Live, in 1997. She left by the time Kim and Tim Houlne took over the company.
Sometime later, Angie called a friend in Indiana who told her Working Solutions was hiring. With Advanced Data-Comm leader and owner Mike Budde as a reference, Angie was hired as a program success manager. Today, she is director of that same function.
“I was responsible for all aspects of contact center programs—from implementation to completion,” Angie said.
Balancing Client and Agent Success
“That entailed overseeing processes, results and ensuring our platforms were effective and easy to use. In sum, I owned the client relationship and made sure the client’s success and an agent’s success balanced out.”
Her job, while much bigger, is essentially the same now.
“When I joined Working Solutions, we still had access to more than 100,000 potential agents in our pipeline, but our staff was half the size of what it is today,” which numbers 150+, Angie observed.
And while the company had the regional management meetings as it does now, a decade ago they were more of a family affair. “Spouses were invited to my first meeting,” she said. “And I think they even invited kids to earlier ones.
“The beauty of Working Solutions is that while it is much bigger, its culture remains the same.”
Having Something in Common
Just as the company celebrates 25 years in 2021, so does Angie and her husband, Brian, with their 25th wedding anniversary. They have two teenaged children and live in Iowa farm country. “We love our way of life. I’m always close to my family, but I’m also close to my colleagues at Working Solutions.”
All of this said, the COVID-19 pandemic has made in-person meetings with coworkers almost impossible. But Kim and the executive team continue to hold virtual meetings to ensure everyone remains connected. “They even had a New Orleans musician perform at one of them,” Angie remembers.
Looking back at her time at Working Solutions, Angie attributes the company’s success to the simple formula it adopted 25 years ago. “We treat our agents, employees and clients with respect and with dignity. We work to ensure none of us feels like we are on an island.”
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