Relationships Drive Business

Strengthening Customer Engagement to Propel Your Business

Success With a Challenging Customer June 3, 2008

Filed under: Learnings,Successes,Uncategorized — Carla Bobka @ 4:21 pm

We have achieved another success with my most challenging customer!  This is a large, regional bank with +400 locations.  Their geography is from CT to FL.  My tenure as their account manager began in February, when the prior account manager was let go as part of our reorg.  Our service to the bank includes weekly visits to each location by our mobile shred trucks.  Since the inception of the agreement the customer has required daily reporting of which locations are serviced each day, and notification of any where the service needed to be rescheduled.  The reporting structure was designed by our sales team, and due to their lack of knowledge of what reporting is available in our systems, they promised something that is undeliverable.  Guess what the Purchasing Dept thinks about that!  Talk about friction.

The state of this reporting has stymied the growth of the relationship and additional opportunities.  I have been challenged to resolve the issue so we can move forward.  However-we’ve now developed a solution that works for both of us!

Here is how it happened:

At a meeting in February, our Chairman read an email from Radio Shack.  That relationship had been suffering for similar reasons.  The email documented the customers delight in the shift in the tide of the relationship primarily due to improvement in our reporting and communication on daily shred visits.  I decided to reach out to our President of Global Standards, who was mentioned as instrumental in the turnaround.  Harry lead me to a team that had developed a solution.  Kim (my customer service associate) and I sat down with that team to see if we could develop a similar solution for the bank.  With their guidance to Kim on the analysis of the available reporting, we have come up with a framework that serves the customers overall need. 

Kim has done a phenomenal job in executing and delivering this.  She has learned how to read the report and interpret it for accuracy.   Ray just wants a score card for how well we are executing on our commitment, and to know about any service issues before a branch calls him to tell him their service was missed.  That’s not asking too much. 

Our resulting report accomplishes that, on a daily basis.  My fear was the district level follow up that would be required would bog Kim down for several hours each day.  When I took over the account another staffer was spending 9 hours a week on the report and the results were questionable.  And it was being delivered weekly, not daily.  As it turns out, Kim has refined the process so she spends between 15-45 minutes a day on the process.

The customer is getting exactly what he asked for, and our resources are not tied up for an unreasonable amount of time trying to execute.  Win-Win!


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