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Advice to businesses: Get some face time with your clients
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Jan Moore

            Plain and simple, last week was scary. It was clear that our proverbial chickens had come home to roost, and years of easy money and irresponsible spending  and investing had caught up with our country's financial markets, and a monstrous financial catastrophe was knocking on our door.

            In the midst of all of the turmoil, I attended a dinner held last Wednesday by Frontier Communications thanking its corporate customers for their business and taking the opportunity to tell its clients and community leaders what Frontier was doing and had done in our local market to improve service and provide additional options.

            The dinner really reminded me of  the good old days when you went to see your clients, knocked on their door, and asked to visit with them for a few moments.

            You wanted to know how they were doing. You asked about their employees, their families, their business. Was there any way you could help them? You earned their business door by door, call by call, conversation by conversation. No quick emails, no text messages, no slick marketing, no voice mail, no webcam meetings. As a veteran of corporate sales, my bosses always said, if you were in the office, you weren't making sales - so leave.

            I know banks and financial services companies have stressed for a long time the relationship building aspect of their businesses, but for many companies, clients have become numbers on a spreadsheet.

            That is why I thoroughly enjoyed the other evening. Stephen LeVan, senior vice president and general manager of the east region of Frontier spoke to the group stating that business partnerships go far beyond a profit and loss statement.

            "I cannot stress the importance of this community to Frontier," LeVan said. "We no longer operate in a monopolistic environment in providing telecommunications services. We are continuing to adapt and change the way we do business.."

            LeVan said decision making will be done at a local level, and appointments for service will be within a two hour window instead of waiting for a technician to show up in the morning or afternoon.         LeVan said his company has recently spent four million dollars to increase broad band capacity in Statesboro and is working with the city to provide wireless internet.

            I am not going to sit here and say that one telecommunications company is better than another, that's for you to decide. But, I do appreciate it when a company's officials take the time to thank me and then try to sell me - face to face. Given today's environment, that may just be what it takes for the foreseeable future. I sure hope so.