Account managers deliver high-flying service

by Isabella Lee

Chris Ho, major account manager, business development
UPS Parcel Delivery Service Ltd
Photo: Wallace Chan

Advanced technology propels leading airfreight express carrier to business excellence

To succeed in the airfreight industry, companies need comprehensive support networks and substantial business acumen.

As an integrated airfreight express carrier, the world's largest package delivery company and leading supply chain solutions provider UPS offers a wide range of options for synchronising the movement of goods, information and funds in more than 200 countries and territories worldwide.

UPS has invested heavily in equipment and technology to maximise its ability to manage the movement of goods from suppliers to end consumers and at all points in between. Of equal importance, the company strives for the highest service standards at all times.

"Every department at UPS plays a part in customer service," stresses Chris Ho, major account manager, business development, UPS Parcel Delivery Service Ltd. "In addition to the sales services provided by our account executives, our customers can get assistance from across the company —f rom the customer service hotline that responds to general enquiries, to the accounting team that provides financial information to account holders."

Professional service

UPS' synchronised supply chain solutions simply mean getting the right product to the right place at the right time and in the right condition. However, this requires a number of precise steps, skills and services provided by a range of UPS professionals. In particular, the responsibilities of UPS account managers include identifying sales opportunities and conducting sales calls and customer visits within their assigned areas. They yield sales volumes and revenues by creating new accounts, retaining existing clients and canvassing potential customers. Part of their role is to be actively involved in addressing customer issues and concerns.

"Compared with the role of call centre staff, our position requires us to be proactive in performing our daily tasks. Instead of waiting for customers to approach us with queries, we take every opportunity to let them know how we can help them and what we can do for them," Ms Ho notes.

Since different business models have different requirements, Ms Ho is always open to discussing all possible logistics solutions with client companies so that she can tailor-make proposals that will bring the maximum benefit for individual customers.

"It is important to listen carefully to every customer. In most cases, they are aware of how our service can streamline their business operations. Our responsibility is to find out how their business works so that we can design a suitable product for them. To achieve this, we believe in walking the extra mile, without over committing," she adds.

Open sky

Ms Ho currently looks after about 70 corporate accounts. She provides a comprehensive after sales service, including explaining the range of UPS services to inexperienced customers and taking follow-up action in response to changing shipping rules and regulations. Her passion for the job and hard work have not only earned her customer loyalty, but also a Distinguished Salesperson award earlier this year.

"We believes in developing employees to their highest potential. Since there are abundant opportunities within the organisation, staff members are driven to keep improving," says Ms Ho.

UPS makes it a priority to fill positions with qualified candidates from within its workforce. This promote-from-within policy allows employees who start off at entry level positions to work their way up to executive levels. There is a firm understanding that all staff will be notified when new positions open up.

During the last round of promotions to managerial level, applications from within the company made up 95 per cent of the total number.

UPS also encourages an open working environment where two-way communication is promoted via a number of channels. The company's unique Talk-Listen-Act initiative gives employees the chance to voice their ideas directly to their supervisors. In return, management provides direct feedback to employees, discussing company direction and career development during individual sessions.

Apart from the possibility of vertical career moves, UPS employees are presented with many opportunities to explore other parts of the business through cross-functional training. There is always a chance of permanent or temporary job relocation, job rotation and joint-division projects.

"UPS is a company for people from a range of backgrounds. Staff members can find a position suited to their skills and attributes and there are many opportunities for promotion," Ms Ho concludes.


Taken from Career Times 01 August 2008, p. B3
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