Meet Our Machinery: Steve Kenney
Meet Our Machinery: Steve Kenney
Crafting streamlined care and support for St. Croix dealers and anglers
Steve Kenney knows the value of customer service. Before coming to work on the St. Croix Team as Customer Service Supervisor last November, he ran his very own retail business, which included 13 stores.
“Ultimately, my job at St. Croix is to provide streamlined support and outstanding service to our anglers and dealers,” says Kenney, who leads a Customer Service Team of 10 people working closely with the St. Croix Sales Team to ensure responsiveness to varied dealer needs, as well as those of individual anglers. “Whether it’s providing up-to-date information on order status, inventory, or backing up the best warranty in the industry, we’re constantly looking for ways to improve our customer experience, especially in light of some of the challenges that were presented by COVID-19.”
It’s a big job, but Kenney says the past couple of months have been a particularly exciting time. “We’re rolling out a new process that’s going to help our reps better support our dealers,” he says. “We’re streamlining the ordering process for more timely input, and are also looking at ways to improve or dealer warranty process. We’re working more closely with Sales than ever before to solve problems faster and make everything more consistent for our dealers,” Kenney adds. “At the same time, we’re also implementing improvements to our Guide Center which will allow us to respond more timely to the needs and concerns of individual anglers.”
Previously residing in Texas, but with roots in Ohio, Kenney says he and his family decided to make the move to Northern Wisconsin when his wife took a professional opportunity in Ironwood, Michigan, just up the road (by Northwoods standards) from Park Falls. An employment agency helped connect Steve with St. Croix Rod, who promptly hired him. “We weren’t exactly sure what to expect from such a drastic geographic change,” says Kenney, whose family also includes a 20-year-old son and 16-year-old daughter. “My son is attending college in Austin and transferring to Ohio State University next year, so he didn’t make the trip with us, but after just a few months – even in the middle of a Northern Wisconsin winter – my wife and daughter and I are really feeling at home here and loving the change. I quickly learned that St. Croix is a family in itself, so, naturally, everyone who works here is very family-oriented. We appreciate that. It’s a highly supportive environment and everyone on the St. Croix Team is committed to doing whatever it takes to help out and make the entire Team more successful. You don’t find that just anywhere these days.”
Like so many other St. Croix Team Members, Kenney enjoys spending time fishing, though the currently frozen waters in his new backyard look very different than the Texas tidal marshes and estuaries he’s accustomed to. “We haven’t been out fishing yet, but are looking forward to exploring all these beautiful lakes once they thaw out,” says the displaced Texan, whose Midwestern upbringing left him well-equipped to combat cabin fever. “I’m an avid home brewer and also enjoy woodworking, so I’ve got plenty to keep me busy when I’m not at work,” he adds.
Kenney reinforces that the St. Croix family includes its anglers and dealers. “We want to have the same kind of relationship beyond our doors that we enjoy inside the building here in Park Falls. That’s why we’re engaging with our dealers and the Sales Team to learn everything we can reasonably do to better support their needs. Same goes for our anglers. Best Rods on Earth® is more than a marketing slogan; it’s an affirmation of everything we are and aspire to be here at St. Croix. Just as we never stop looking for new and better ways to improve our rods, we’ll never be ‘done’ with customer service. Anglers learn from each experience on the water, and it’s the same here. Each new day is an opportunity to get even better.”