WHAT happens when your key sales manager is involved in a crash? Who picks up the pieces? And how would driver training prevent this in the first place – and protect your staff and your company’s bottom line? DriveTech’s Steve Johnson files this special report.PICTURE this: it’s 4.08 pm on a dull November Friday. You’re just looking forward to winding down for the weekend after a tough few days.
A couple of customers have complained about late deliveries. The quarter end is approaching and you’re way off target. You’ve just heard your toughest competitor has introduced a new, innovative and keenly priced product. What more could go wrong?
The phone goes. It rattles inexorably around the hunt group. Nobody picks up. All busy….on existing calls, down the hall dodging the issue, gossiping about the weekend so tantalisingly close now. The call arrives impatiently at your desk, the metallic ring drilling relentlessly. Wearily you grab the handset.
“Martin Warren….how can I help?”
“Mr Warren, it’s PC Eddison, West Mercia Traffic….I’m ringing about your Jim Thompson. He’s been involved in a crash on the A53. Pretty bad I’m afraid. He’s on his way to hospital now. The car’s a mess. He said I should call…”
That’s a pretty plausible scenario, one that in itself is painful enough to deal with and resolve. If the buck stops with you, just dealing with the aftermath of a crash involving a work colleague is time consuming, frustrating and almost inevitably unpredictable in nature.
Most small businesses are unlikely to have an accident management provider on hand to pick up the pieces. There’s so much to think of:
- managing the vehicle repairs;
- dealing with the insurance;
- arranging a temporary replacement vehicle, perhaps;
- liaising with hospital and family;
- helping the police with follow up actions;
- informing the staff;
- and making sure the local paper get the facts right.
But that’s not the end of the story. It’s the knock-on effects which should alarm small business managers, directors or proprietors.
In this scenario Jim is the sales manager. Had his finger on the pulse. Knew all the key accounts. The regional managers rely on him for motivation, guidance, support. The hospital says it could be three weeks….and then at least four at home recuperating…..and it might be another four before he can drive again.
Who’s going to fill his shoes? Are some of those important key customers now going to be vulnerable to that competitor? Are the regional guys really capable of maintaining their confidence while Jim isn’t around? It’s pretty clear – his absence is really going to hurt.
A couple of days later the broker calls and starts showing concerns about the number of claims in the past 12 months. “It’s a tough market Martin. I know you’ve been with us for six years now but I’m afraid the premium’s going to take a hit next time around. And the excess is going to have to rise too, so be prepared.”
That’s more money off the bottom line.
All this as a result of a crash that could have been avoided. Avoided? Yes, almost certainly Jim would have avoided that ‘all of a sudden’ collision if he’d been better prepared, knew what to look for and been equipped with some basic risk mitigation skills.
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