I have never thought that this is possible

Thursday 25 September 2008 0 Comments

The outside world is changing rapidly, yet I remain fixated in my office accessing the world from my laptop. Who would have thought that it is possible to do international business sitting down? When people heard about my job, the usual respond would be, you must be busy traveling the world. While the comment might not be totally untrue, I handle international deals mostly from the comfort of my own room, and most of my clients have never seen me face-to-face. I was indeed approached by a few local companies with stories about their success in handling overseas markets and that they have the good “cable” size which could connect us to the right “power”. We don’t deny their success but at the end of the day, FingerTec is much more comfortable dealing with local people who have Internet connection and know how to connect to their local buyers effectively.
Once my boss entered the sales department and made a good observation, “You are the leader of the United Nation,” he said. I couldn’t agree more looking at the team of sales personnel we have. To connect to the world, the importance of language can’t be overlooked. English could have done half of the job I supposed but how about Vietnam, Thailand, Mexico, Brazil, Russian, Iraq, Iran to say the least? I said hello, and they say hola and started speaking Spanish. I ended up Googling what they said and they laughed at my reply, which obviously I cut and pasted from the Google free translation service. I took no offense because I shouldn’t be talking gibberish to the potential customers.

There’s when Regielou would come to the rescue and hola them back. Customers from the Middle East are not as hard but once in while I would receive an email, which I couldn’t figure out the meaning. They thought they had written in English like I thought I had spoken in Spanish. Months ago I would stare at the email trying to make sense of it but now we have Benacer who would reply in Arabic, writing from right to left to find out what they want. Do I understand what Ben wrote? Couldn’t understand a word but for as long as he’s bringing sales and the customer is happy, I know that he’s doing a good job. Because if not, we would definitely get an email with a subject COMPLAINT, regardless of the language they use in the emails. We are planning to hire a couple more different language experts to complete our mini UN office.

I learn from my years of “sitting down” with customers that their priority are fast services and having choices. Who would have wanted to pay and wait for long to get the orders? And it’s human to prefer choices and FingerTec provides choices. I stress to my team to not deny clients choices. If the clients need the goods fast, do it for them but make sure the payment is in first. J How do you want to ship your goods? We have choices of ready packages, loose items, bubble wrapping, no boxes, fold the boxes and put them under the carton, etc. You want us to source for accessories for you; we try. You prefer to use your brother to pick up your goods; we have no problem. You want us to quote for the lowest shipping; we find that info for you. The only choice we aren’t providing at this moment is payment term. And we are sorry about that but we are not going against the company’s no. 1 policy.

5 years back, I have never thought that I would have a client in Sudan who orders a few times per month, demand their choices to be taken care of in a matter of hours, venting their anger when we disappoint them once in a while and at the same time we maintain a very respectful and fruitful relationship with each other through emails. Our distributor in South Africa was screaming with joy in the email when we told them that we have the goods they wish for; a lot of exclamation marks were used, I can tell you that. All that happened virtually but very real. FingerTec will continue to serve our clients all over the world with all our humility we could offer. We believe that relationship is built based on trust and commitment. No matter that we have never met most of our clients, what matter is our clients taken care of FingerTec® brand name in places where we would never thought we could reach by ourselves.

by Norana Johar, COO, FingerTec HQ

The outside world is changing rapidly, yet I remain fixated in my office accessing the world from my laptop. Who would have thought that it ...