Niki always has a funny story to share that sets me up for the day ahead. When I'm driving or in meetings, my mobile automatically diverts to Niki, who knows my customers really well, so she is able to deal with all types of questions. Nobody wants to talk to an answering machine and customers tell us they like getting through to talk to Niki.
I love visiting dealers and prospects, which is just as well as this forms a large part of my week. Phone calls and emails are great up to a point, but the best conversations happen face to face. After each meeting or call, I enter a brief reminder on my tablet about what was discussed. This info is immediately zapped to Niki's desk, which means she can get on with helping me to put proposals and deals together while I'm travelling to my next appointment. This works really well and all our territory managers and account co-ordinator teams work this way.
Niki says: After our catch-up call first thing, my busy day can start. Some days my phone seems to ring off the hook, but I love the variety. One call will be an enquiry from one of Chris' dealers, the next call may be a pricing query from anywhere in the country. The account co-ordinators work closely as a team we can all cover each other during holidays, and there's always a lot of banter. Chris may be proud of his England Cap, but that's nothing compared to my English cat, Nala, and there's always a tale to tell my colleagues of her latest escapades.
It's a very busy team, so I love looking for ways to improve what we're doing, making it easier for us and our customers to work together successfully. When Chris gets a chance, he'll ring me so that if there is anything urgent we can deal with it together. I'm very adept at typing and talking at the same time, so sometimes the information he needs arrives in his inbox before our call is over.
Having easy access to so much information and data in the office really helps Chris when he is travelling, and I've been asked to send him anything from customer sales history to the postcode of a local eatery for his lunch!
Chris says: Conversations with dealers are always so much easier when you can put a face to a name, so Niki gets out of the office as often as possible and joins me for visits to dealers. We also try to get our dealers together informally every now and then, and Niki's mad idea was to put us all on a boat on the Thames last year. It turned out to be a really fun evening, so not such a mad idea after all. I also visit our Warwick office at least once a month and Niki and I will sit and plan for the next few weeks.
Niki says: Having worked together for two years, we've built up a great rapport with our dealers and each other. We know our dealers really well and we're both passionate about making this the most successful region in Jet's network. It definitely helps that Chris started as an account co-ordinator, so he really knows my role inside out. Success comes in many shapes and sizes, so we may be helping a dealer with a charity event he has in mind, designing posters to attract new customers to the site, or working with a dealer on how he can build fuel volume with special offers and support.
Chris says: We know from feedback that our dealers really value Jet's unique approach of having dedicated teams. By doing this we can offer a personalised service to our dealers. Niki and I get a lot of satisfaction from pushing them to do well and helping them succeed. The satisfaction of seeing real life improvement is what drives us and keeps us enthusiastic and constantly striving to do better.
Niki says: Both of us thrive on the challenges and variety that our roles offer. The South region is very competitive and has some of the biggest-volume sites. It can be challenging, but growing our market share in the South is what we intend to do.
Names: Chris Murphy and Niki Cooknell
Job titles: Jet territory manager (South) and Jet account co-ordinator (South)
Career histories: Chris was a professional footballer for five years before working for tyre firm Bridgestone UK. He joined Jet in 2012 as an account co-ordinator before becoming territory manager in 2014. Niki's background is in waste management and logistics; she worked as a transport manager and account manager before Jet
Greatest achievements: Chris has an England Cap. Niki has an English cat
Tips for business success: Be open and honest
Most likely to say: Happy days
Least likely to say: No!
Other interests: Chris loves football, holidays and mountain climbing. Niki likes animals, travelling and beauty she is a trained make-up artist.