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‘Above and beyond’

Best phone store — Verizon Wireless


rom an early age, it was clear that Amber Pietan’s career was going to involve traveling in one form or another. While growing up, her family traveled to either Wyoming or Utah every summer, and whenever they visited rest stops, Pietan made a point of picking up every promotional magazine and brochure offered. She requested that her father stop at each state line so that her picture could be taken next to the sign announcing the new state. Pietan also took on the role of family travel agent and helped her parents plan the route, hotel and sightseeing excursions for family vacations. That preliminary work paid off as she now runs her own agency in North Mankato. Amber Pietan Travel Agency specializes in luxury travel, river cruises and escorted tours. When planning a vacation, Pietan says that travelers will save time and money by using an agent instead of booking on their own. “A person can spend hours searching online — five hours on average — searching online and jumping from one website to another. But booking a vacation on your own can be very stressful. A travel agent will help you build, plan and piece together your vacation by asking you about your lifestyle, dreams and what activities you want to include,” Pietan said. “Travel agents also have inside contacts, which are like having the inside scoop for the traveler.” For people who might not be sure where they want to go, Pietan asks her clients when they want to travel, how long they want to stay, what kind of budget they have and what they like to do on their vacations. “I’ll do this to help my clients plan the vacation they didn’t know they wanted,” Pietan says. “We may look at popular travel destinations such as Alaska, Hawaii, Paris or Tahiti or less traditional destinations. It all depends on what the client wants.” River cruises are currently hot in the travel world and are so popular that Pietan recommends booking a year in advance to ensure the customer gets the cruise they want. For her own vacations, Pietan is a history buff and likes to visit places where she can learn about the local culture. “It is all so interesting to me and helps me understand cultures as a whole, which helps me plan the perfect vacation for my clients,” Pietan said. “Seeing the Terracotta warriors in Xian, China, is currently at the top of my list.”

ot only does Verizon Wireless boast some of the most extensive 4G LTE networks, top-of-theline devices and a plethora of other home services, they are using their expertise to bring their customers some of the best in-store and call center service. Verizon Wireless hosts familycentered events within the company by offering movie nights, trick-or-treating and other holiday events for their employees. By focusing their attention on a family-oriented environment, Verizon employees reflect the same ideals into their work. “We’re trained by the best possible people in our Mankato location,” Tyler Boehm said, a tech expert at the Mankato-based Verizon Call Center. “We like to make people feel welcomed and help them to the best of our ability.” Boehm cited the Mankato call center to be one of the best simply because of the area it is in. “We have Minnesota Nice going for us,” Boehm said. “I can always tell when calls get transferred in from other areas because they thank us for being more helpful than the last person they spoke with. I am always trying to go above and beyond when I’m talking with customers.” Boehm has worked for Verizon since November 2011 and said the Mankato location is one of the best possible centers to work at. Boehm said the company does many things for employees that are displaced from work when call centers close. “Call centers open and close all of the time. We are one of the few centers that actually own the building we are in,” Boehm said. “I think that security of knowing we won’t be forced out by rising rent makes us comfortable enough to work with our customers better. We’re focused on making people happy.”

— Nell Musolf

— Gillian Needham

Amber Pietan began her career early, charting and planning her family’s vacations. | John Cross

Traveling full circle

Best Travel Agency — Amber Pietan Travel Agency


30 • July 2014 • MANKATO MAGAZINE

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