Meet the ASC Team - James Palfrey-Smith

Meet the ASC Team - James Palfrey-Smith

2nd Apr 2024

Excellent customer service is essential for our business – many customers rely on our knowledge and friendly support to get the packaging they need. With this in mind, let’s get to know our Commercial Manager, James Palfery-Smith, whose remit is to help customers get the packaging solutions they need.

James's Experience

Everyone at ASC Direct is a valuable member of the team and James is no exception. His extensive experience includes operations and sales – giving James brilliant insight into the issues facing production as well as the need to provide the best solutions to build customer loyalty.

Before joining ASC Direct

Before joining ASC Direct, James spent 12 years working in furniture manufacturing. During this time he built two companies, covering the demands of operations along with the need to build significant sales for both businesses. James learnt a great deal in the process and is now able to apply this for ASC Direct including how important it is to prioritise customer requirements.

“I’ve learnt a huge amount in my career so far and I’ve found it is essential to build a strong team and create a positive atmosphere. Customers recognise when a support team are happy and engaged and just want to help them get the best packaging solution for their needs. We have the best team at ASC Direct and we aim high – my motto is to reach for the stars.”

Problem Solver

James loves solving a problem – he and the team understand the issues which customers face when packaging and transporting valuable products -and know how to solve them with custom packaging design and using the right materials.

“When we speak to a customer, there is often a challenge they are facing. They may have a new product they need to protect, or they could be changing a current product, and they need help to change the packaging. They may be diving into Amazon selling and need to make sure it fits those requirements. Sometimes new customers get in touch because items are being damaged in transit and they aren’t sure how to prevent this.

We help to identify the problem and then work with the design team and tool makers to design the right packaging solution. We’ll provide samples for testing and iterate the design where necessary. If we’re able to get our hands on the product, our design is usually perfect first time.”

Fast response

One of the most important elements for James is providing a personal and speedy response to customer queries. He and the team aim to respond to a call within 10 minutes and an email query within 30 minutes. This way, customers get the service they need to get on with their business – from a team they can trust.

“When customers contact us, we aim to answer their queries immediately - if we can’t, we respond as fast as we can. We’re aiming to build trust and don’t want to waste our customers’ time – they want an answer right now. And I’m not at all against Chatbots – they can be useful for routine queries - but for me, they’re not personal enough. Our customers often need to discuss their requirements – and we want to make sure we understand their issues and provide the right solution.”

Outside Work

Living in West Yorkshire, James quite naturally has a huge appreciation of the outdoors. He loves to hike and camp and is happy either on his own or with his family and friends.

This year James is spending 10 days walking the famous Coast to Coast walk – which extends along 192 miles of England's countryside, from St Bees in Cumbria to North Yorkshire's picturesque east coast at Robin Hood's Bay. James won’t be doing this alone, his daughter will be walking with him. This is a huge undertaking and one he is really looking forward to.

“The Coast to Coast is something I have always wanted to do but you need to prepare. To get ready, I’m walking at least 12 miles a day. It’s really useful that I live near to ASC Direct as it means I can walk to work in the morning and back again in the evening which is perfect for training, and I also get out at lunchtime for 2 miles. I tend to hike at the Weekends too so I’m always getting the miles in.”

One of the well-known compensations for a good long walk is a pint of beer and James is also a fan of real ale and visiting beer festivals. James is also a keen skier.

James’s Recommended Business Books and Podcasts

James is always learning and so we asked him which business books he would recommend:

“The first business book I read is still one of the best, ‘Winning’ by Jack Welch. It is hardcore and of its time, but I’ve gone back to it over and over again. ‘Black Box Thinking’ by Matthew Syed is also a favourite and anything written by Simon Sinek.

For Podcasts, I listen to ‘The High Performance Podcast’ by Jake Humphries, ‘Leading’ by Rory Stewart and Alistair Campbell, and ‘Diary of a CEO’ by Stephen Bartlett.”

James is spearheading the best in custom packaging design for all of our customers. If you’d like to get an even closer look at what he’s able to offer, then call up our sales team at 0800 0731 126 or fill out our contact form here. You could end up working with any one of our amazing team members, but you’re more than welcome to ask for James specifically.