I recently encountered a situation where my main account rep was delivering below average performance – I’d say he was ‘phoning it in’ for sure. It was subtle at first and gradually increased to the point where I was starting to expect less and less of this vendor. My expectations were rock bottom and I was in a prime mode to be swept away by another vendor.
What fascinated me most was the fact that I didn’t complain sooner to the vendor – maybe because I didn’t know who to go to since my sales rep was no longer there. In a situation where something abruptly goes downhill I think we are much more likely to raise the alarms and get things resolved.
But when damage to your brand is gradual it seems to have a different effect. Maybe like the frog in the hot water story?
Suffice to say, this one account rep was about to lose business for the company. Sales and marketing folks cringe when we hear that because we know how difficult it can be to land business. And before we blame the account rep, obviously the system to monitor client satisfaction and transition accounts wasn’t properly in place – so management has the most responsibility here regardless. The brand was being damaged – if you want to explore my other thoughts on branding check my blog on Santa’s brand.
This reminds me of something my client continually says – “it’s never the problem, it’s how you deal with the problem that solidifies client relationships and wins prospects.”
And that’s exactly what happened.
Fortunately, with social media, it’s easy to find any CEO or other responsible party in a growing business.
So I reached out, and sent an email. I’m a business owner and since he was as well, I figured ‘cutting to the chase’ would be the best approach. So simply I said: We’ve been with you through your evolution and want to continue this partnership. We also want you to succeed. But what we have now isn’t working. Your account rep isn’t knowledgeable or interested enough to give us the service we need. IE here’s the problem, please solve it.
In no time I was connected with the operations lead and things are back in track. Meetings are scheduled and more importantly I was openly brought into what the core problem was. And truly we shouldn’t have ever been dealing with the individual we were. Problem solved, things are on the mends and I’m optimistic. Not because of the problem or even the solution. But, because of the way the communication and process was handled.