Profiles in (McKenna) Excellence: Keith Nester

Here at McKenna, one of the things we pride ourselves on the most is our ability to take care of our customers. Because of this, we put customer service at the forefront of every order, call and interaction we have with them.

When you work with McKenna, you’re not just a number or a name on an order. We know who you are and we want you to know who we are too! We recently sat down with our newest Client Relations representative, Keith Nester, to talk customer service, motorcycles and why he loves working at McKenna.

I hear you have a kind of famous “Elevator Speech” when talking to customers – can you give me the speech?

I start by telling my story and the experiences I’ve had as a customer and now as an employee at McKenna.

My wife Estelle and I run a portrait studio in Marion, Iowa, which has been open since 2009. We’ve been a McKenna customer for the last 5 years. The thing that has kept us with McKenna, in addition to the great products and competitive prices, is the feeling that we aren’t just another customer, we are part of the family. When we call them (or they call us), they know us by name and have always gone above and beyond to take care of us.

Can you give an example?

This is my favorite story and a great example of why I’ve stayed with McKenna. We had an album that we printed last year for a client. We delivered the album to the client and she called me a day or so later and told me she’d found a speck on one of the pages. She brought it back and my first thought was that it was dust on my lens, but when I pulled up the file it was clean. I realized it must have happened during printing.

I called late on a Thursday and talked to Kristie about the album issue. The next morning, Dave was in my studio. He drove down from Waterloo with chemicals to try to fix it. “If we don’t get it perfect, we’ll print you another one,” he said when he arrived.

He went to work on it and I thought it looked great when he was done. Dave wasn’t so sure. He inspected the album, picking it up and viewing it from every angle, and decided the fix wasn’t good enough. He told me they would print us a new album, and they delivered. Not only did they print a whole new album, they upgraded the album to genuine leather and had it delivered by Monday. Our client was so happy when they received the new album they sent flowers and a note saying, “Thank you for taking care of us!”

How does that story cross over into your work at McKenna?

The way I look at it, no lab is always perfect. Stuff happens from time to time. It’s what we do with it as a company that either keeps or loses clients.

When Dave came and talked to me about working at McKenna, I wasn’t looking for a job. Later when I thought about it, I realized that we were cut from the same cloth when it comes to how we treat and serve our customers. I realized it would be a good fit for me.  One of the things I’ve been able to do is bring my experience as a photographer, studio/business owner to our clients. Through McKenna I’ve become a consultant/coach to some of the photographers and studios we work with. I love talking “shop” with photographers about sales, marketing, shooting, gear, as well as products. That’s a neat thing for a lab to bring to its customers. We’re not just printing and shipping to you; we’re helping you grow your business.

That’s awesome – I can tell you’re really passionate about what you do! Is there anything else you like to do, when you’re not running your studio or helping other photographers with McKenna?

I love to ride motorcycles. I have a Harley. If ever get a free moment, that’s my go-to. Estelle and I have three kids so we try to spend a lot of time with them when we can. The kids are older, so we’re kind of empty-nesters. I also do a lot of things in our church. I love to write, and I do some speaking here and there. I love dogs. We have a cabin out in Colorado out in the mountains. But my favorite hobby is my bike – I love to ride.

Wow – you’re a busy person! Do you have a favorite drink to have at the end of a long day?

Guinness and Newcastle. I also just started dabbling a little bit in Irish Whiskey.

What about a favorite TV show?

I’m a dork, and I just discovered Survivor. My son Drew turned Estelle and I on to it. Every time I logged into Hulu, it was on his recently watched. I got back from a trip and Estelle said, “We need to watch this.” After that we got completely hooked on it. I like Deadliest Catch too. My all-time favorite show is Seinfeld.

Music is also important to me. I am a drummer. It’s a big part of my life.

That’s great! My final question should be pretty easy – what’s your favorite part of working at McKenna?

Spending time with photographers and hearing their stories is what I love the most. When something I’ve done has helped someone else it’s incredibly rewarding. For example, when I’ve been able to share something I’ve learned and I see the lightbulb go off as they see how it can work for them and they’re like, “Yeah that’s great!” I also love it when I can help a photographer do something great for their clients. I believe a lab is ultimately an extension of a photographer’s business. I love it when our work makes their work better.

I love to serve people. When I’m able to help people in anyway – that makes me the happiest.

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