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Kohl's Department Stores

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Company: Kohl's Department Stores, Menomonee Falls, WI
Company Description: Kohl’s is a family-focused, value- oriented specialty department store offering moderately priced, exclusive and national brand apparel, shoes, accessories, beauty and home products in an exciting shopping environment.
Nomination Category: Support Categories
Nomination Sub Category: Support Staffer of the Year

Nomination Title: Jessica Swearingen – Customer Correspondence Coordinator

Tell the story about what this nominee achieved since January 1 2008 (up to 500 words). Focus on specific accomplishments, and relate these accomplishments to past performance or industry norms. Be sure to mention obstacles overcome, innovations or discoveries made, and outcomes:

As the Customer Correspondence Coordinator at Kohl’s Department Stores, Jessica
Swearingen is responsible for responding to escalated issues that are sent to
the attention of Kohl’s Senior Executives and the Board of Directors.  Her role
is to actively resolve sensitive issues, and serve as a liaison to leverage
results across company lines.  In 2008, Jessica’s team processed over 540,000
pieces of mail, sent 10,500 letters, coded over 22,000 accounts, responded to
over 1,100 executive letters, and resolved 5,000 e-mail escalations.

In 2008, Jessica worked on several individual projects to enhance the customer
experience.  Her personal philosophy of doing “what it takes” to address
customer concerns made many difficult Kohl’s concerns result in positive
outcomes.  A few examples include:

•             Building a process to streamline customer interactions related to
damaged merchandise
•             Adding a hotline to the workload, so customers would have a place to
call with questions about one of our key private label brands. 
•             Working with the Kohl’s Legal Department and the eCommerce Team to
facilitate a product recall for a key Kohl’s vendor.

As a leader, Jessica has built an effective team of 13 Kohl’s Associates who
handle all in-bound correspondence.  Her team is customer-focused, as they
follow up on Kohl’s Charge, Merchandise,, and Marketing issues. She
continuously encourages her team to focus on active customer engagement, high
quality results, effective issue resolution and continuous learning.  To
summarize the team’s workload, Jessica assisted in creating a new reporting
structure and roll up summary for the Correspondence Team to align with
departmental objectives, the report is valuable in forecasting volume and
identifying trends.

As a customer service advocate, Jessica leads by example by openly engaging
Kohl’s patrons via telephone, e-mail, or letter to ensure that their concerns
are fully addressed and equitably resolved.  In addition, she works with her
team to address any issues that the company may receive from regulatory
agencies such as the Better Business Bureau, the Attorneys General, and the
Office of the Comptroller of the Currency.  To assist in resolving these
sensitive and escalated issues in a manner that is fair and equitable to Kohl’s
and Kohl’s customers, Jessica has built effective and long-lasting partnerships
with a personal network of internal and external business professionals. 
Jessica is respected by people at all levels within the Kohl’s organization, as
she takes a diplomatic and respectful approach in each interaction she has. She
works with executives in the Credit Division, Legal, Store Administration, Risk
Management, Public Relations, and company principals to resolve problems and
identify trends. 

List hyperlinks to any online news stories, press releases, or other documents that support the claims made in the section above. IMPORTANT: Begin each link with http://, and enclose each link in square brackets; for example, []:


Provide a brief (up to 100 words) biography about the nominee:

Jessica Swearingen attended the University of Northern Iowa, where she earned
her Bachelor’s degree in Public Relations and Spanish with a minor in
Journalism.  Customer relations and writing have been key drivers for her
career success.  After working in the mortgage industry as an Executive Liaison
at Washington Mutual, she moved to Kohl’s in 2006 as a Team Leader.  In May
2007, she was promoted to the position of Customer Correspondence