Friday 19 January 2018

'If at all possible, it's better to be accessible 24/7 to avoid any issues becoming problems...'

We are as only strong as our weakest link, says Siobhan Byrne Learat
We are as only strong as our weakest link, says Siobhan Byrne Learat

Siobhan Byrne Learat Founder and CEO, Adams & Butler

'Early on in my career I became overwhelmed and anxious whenever I saw my diary for the coming weeks, having to juggle small boys and lots of travel.

"I remember one particular paradigm shift when I realised that all I had to do was just focus, break the week down and concentrate on getting through one day - or even a half-day - at a time, and then the next.

"The other big insight was realising that the next potential client did not know that the last sales call wasn't successful. I would put a smile on my face, my shoulders back and knock energetically on the next door. It was frequently the last call (often cold) of the day that reaped rewards.

"I also learnt never to say 'no' to potential business by limiting opportunities.

"We're a private travel designer arranging cultural and travel experiences and are constantly looking for opportunities and new suppliers to innovate our offering.

"The hardest lesson I learnt was making sure that new appointees fitted in well with the team and culture, and letting them go if they didn't. This is my weakness. I can be a softie here to the company's detriment.

"Our product is amorphous and unstructured, but paradoxically this means that our processes and people have to be highly organised.

"We do a lot of B2B business as we are members of various international travel consortia. The agents are often stressed out with their high-powered, wealthy, demanding clients, so I learned that it was vital we didn't take their rants and raves personally. Instead, we listen and give the client time to express their concerns, albeit at a high pitch, and then calmly suggest courses of action.

"We learnt it's better to be accessible 24/7 to avoid issues becoming problems later. We really care and hand-hold, and it pays dividends with lots of referrals.

"Unlike other firms, one person deals with the client throughout the sale. We don't second-guess what the customer wants and we start with a clean page. They want value and an authentic experience.

"We also learnt that we are as strong as our weakest link. Our relationships with our suppliers and stakeholders are important to us. We pass on compliments and positive feedback to suppliers as we feel that we are true partners."

Sunday Indo Business

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