For somewhere between 1 and 2 years we have had the same BT account manager, Martin. This length of tenure is rare for us. We seem to wear them out or break them far faster usually.
Prior to Martin, we had had two in just six months.
Prior to that, we’d had none for ages (probably over a year).
We did, back in the midsts of time, have one other good account manager, Ian, but our general expectation is, sadly, that they will turn up, sound enthusiastic for the first meeting, vanish, and scarcely or never be seen or heard from again. This has left us floating in space when we had a query, uncertain who to ask.
We (A&A) spend millions a year with BT, and the account manager’s job is quite varied and at times tricky. It isn’t, as some “account manager” type jobs are, just a sales job; after all, we are (mainly) a mass buyer of a fairly small range of products.
Far more of our business with Martin has been what I’d call “troubleshooting”. When you spend millions a year, supplier mistakes running into thousands are quite commonplace. Disputed charges running into thousands are even more commonplace. We had, for a long time, had difficulty communicating and getting action on various accounts problems, and they were mounting up.
Aside from that type of job, we also had the a level of technical enquiries – on new installs and on existing services; situations where simply putting us in touch with the right people and giving us an introduction, or knowing which heads to bang was the magic ingredient. Sometimes these took time, but we always felt that proper progress was being made.
In short Martin got shit done. He visited us once a week, and things got pushed forward. Long standing accounts queries got finally tied up and settled. We found him personable and interested in our, (I freely admit) slightly quirky at times, business. He took onboard our feedback, concerns and thoughts, and I truly believe fought our corner at times inside the behemouth of BT.
Martin was our BT Wholesale manager, but about half way through his tenure, he put in place paperwork to allow us to route our OpenReach enquiries through him too! A glutton for punishment? Perhaps. But our sales guys have found it very useful, and again, his “chasing up” of issues and giving weekly reports was a huge step forward.
Why am I saying all of this now?
We are losing Martin. Due to a BT reorganisation, probably the most effective account manager we’ve ever had is being moved out of account management. I cannot help but question whosever decision it was do make this move. I am sure they will never read this anyway (though if RevK chooses to reblog this, perhaps they will).
Naturally we’ll carry on. A new manager will be assigned to us, and I’m very hopeful about their abilities. We will – of course – welcome them, work with them to get them familiar with our business, and be as positive about this change as we can be. We managed with no account manager at all for probably more than a year, so we’ll manage whatever.
RevK and myself are quick to criticise when BT screw up. In this case I write in praise of one individual, and, yes, slightly to criticise the decision to reorganise something that we all felt was working well. It is a great pity. We look forward to meeting our new account manager though and hope they can fill some quite large shoes.