In the latest Lord Combustion Services staff profile, we speak to business development manager Kal Plaha about her work with the company, her approach to engaging with new businesses and the support she offers clients when they need help.
What are the main responsibilities in your role?
I am responsible for identifying and securing new opportunities for Lord Combustion Services. I joined the company in October 2018. My work includes engaging with clients across the West Midlands and looking at new areas for potential growth. We cover a wide region including the West Midlands authority area, Warwickshire, Worcestershire and the surrounding areas. I build relationships with company directors, facilities managers, as well as business managers at schools and academy trusts.
Who do you work with directly in the Lord team?
I work with colleagues across the team in shaping new work for customers. This could be getting a quote for a potential new client who needs a new boiler, which would mean getting support from the contracts team who can price up the cost of replacing the boiler, backed with a service contract. I work with a range of colleagues in raising quotes and then liaising with the customers as they come on board. They see me as another port of call once they are up and running with us.
What jobs did you have before you joined Lord?
I worked in business sales in the motor industry, which involved going out to companies to engage with everyone from managing directors to end user drivers to secure and maintain relationships. I have strong experience in business development, account management and working in an industry based around engineering. Although I had not worked in commercial heating before, I had transferrable skills such as the confidence to meet new customers and speak to senior management involved in the decision-making process, such as business owners and finance directors.
Which skills did you bring to Lord from your previous work?
It helped me to speak with confidence and how to be flexible to respond quickly to client needs. I would not just sell a car and forget the customer. I would follow it up and keep involved with them, so they came back to us for their next purchase. I wanted to make the customer experience nice and memorable for each client, so they felt we were always here to look after them.
What is the best bit of advice you would give somebody starting at Lord?
It is important people know to draw on the experience around them, which has been key for me as I came from a different industry. I have had to get an understanding of the sector to better understand customer needs and the technical points raised by clients. The change in career did not faze me as I knew Lord’s, MD Stuart Smith and director Mark Chapman and I was impressed with the company which helped my decision to join.
What has been the most memorable occasion where you have helped a client?
Over a bank holiday weekend, I helped a client who owns several care homes, the hot water went down at one of them. I liaised with our engineer to make sure it was resolved. Our customer was over the moon with Lord’s and the way we had responded.
What can be the most challenging parts of the job? How do you address these challenges?
The biggest challenge is knowing what to do each time a customer has a technical request. I have a supportive team around me who will help whenever there is a query or a request.
What are your interests outside of work?
Family is important to me. I enjoy both my work and my home life.