working towards great client service

Archive for the category “From the editor”

Closing announcement

Thank you for subscribing and contributing to clientmanagementvn. I had a wonderful 3+ years with all of you. Unfortunately, this blog is now closed as I am no longer working in RMIT University Vietnam.

Please feel free to read and review the articles here for your educational and professional use. Just remember to reference them and give credit to the authors.

As learning never ends there is a new platform for my followers and contributors at EQme. For any academic assistance you may send a private message to our Facebook page or email me at

Happy 2015 everyone!



S2 2014 Clean-up Complete

Please note that the entries from last semester have been edited. You will find only the best blog posts/ interview articles from May 2014. As for the previous 2 years’ entries they are still available, but make sure you refer to the “liked” entries from the editor as examples for your Assessment 3.

I also encourage you to take a look at ALL the only comments/ replies given as they point further to how to make the articles better. Learn from others 🙂 and happy reading!

We will invite you to become ‘authors’ to the blog sometime in Week 10. ~Mel C

9:00 cut off

It is now 9:00 Vietnam time. Anything posted after my entry will be considered late. We look forward to reading your interview articles.

~Mel C

Building a culture for your organization. First step before accquisition and retention.

Building a culture for your organization.

First step before accquisition and retention.

Interviewed by Tran Mai Thao _ S3410167 _ SGS _ G2

I had a chance to spend a week as an internship student in Minh Ngoc Anh (MNA) Limited Company. MNA is the top 5 of “Yamaha 3S* Dealer” in Ho Chi Minh City. They maintain their motorbike business since 2007.

I spent time to chat with two different people here. The director is Nghiem Minh Anh, he inherited this business from his parent so he seem inclined to traditional.


Prood of Life- Director- Nghiem Minh Anh at Yamaha Minh Ngoc Anh with an author


He just keeps relying on their long-term customers, run business by family’s reputation. He doesn’t’ consider customer is the important core to run and expand business. He thinks customer needs him and his business.

However, from 2012 until now, the motorbike market faces to a biggest challenge. People don’t want to buy common motorbike any more. “I defined that MNA needs to focus on other fields: services and selling spare parts” – the general manager of the store in Binh Tan, Dai Thanh Tuan Anh, thinks quite modernly. “And the most important thing, i must look for the new customers for these fields too because almost customers have known MNA as a store which selling motorbike only”, he said.


General Manager – Dai Thanh Tuan Anh at Yamaha Minh Ngoc Anh with an author

Proof of Life- General Manager – Dai Thanh Tuan Anh at Yamaha Minh Ngoc Anh with an author

Tuan Anh proposed his new strategy which focus most on CRM (Customer Relationship management) and test it on Binh Tan’s store. He focuses on acquisition step on wholesale customers and retention step on retail customers.



Realtionship Ladder - Reproduced from Payne (1995)

Realtionship Ladder – Reproduced from Payne (1995)

He started to change his organizational culture of his company first. He said “defining own culture for my company is also the way i create our brand image in customer’s minds”. In the new strategy, Tuan Anh tries to deliver the new and professional image of MNA’s services to his customers. There are 7 employees included: 1 receptionist, 2 sales, 3 technicians, 1 warehouse keeper who work in this new strategy. Involving this campaign, employees must always smile and learn how to listen customer’s insights. Everyone in his store must have the basic knowledge about motorbike even the female receptionist. “That could increase the trust among customer because customer could think they came to the right place where everyone here can help them and their motorbike”- He also said.


Reproduced from, 2014

Reproduced from, 2014

In June, 2012, they tried to call back all customers who used to buy motorbike in Binh Tan’s store. He started to fill up customer’s database professionally, and remind customers about the maintenance duration. His employees also announced all promotions to customer through messages, phone-call and email also.


Reproduced from Tom, T, 2012 in

Reproduced from Tom, T, 2012 in


In the part of building trust in customer’s mind, he said “customer trust us while we know their problems and show the most effective and professional way to help them solve problems, so i realized me and my employees must improve our expertise first and then oriented customer to the right way because customers usually don’t know what they really want, they need effective helps”.

Reproduced from, 2013

Reproduced from, 2013


About how MNA found out new customer for their wholesale part, Tuan Anh indicated that he took a long time to research, took many field trips in Binh Tan to find out the demands in this area. At the end, he found out that, Binh Tan has many unprofessional garages want to buy real genuine spare-parts from Yamaha with good price but don’t need go too far to buy. Therefore, he assured that he serve exactly what the customer’s want.


Reproduced from Maren, A, 2013,

Reproduced from Maren, A, 2013,

According to all Tuan Anh’s thoughts, these are very similar to Solomon’s thoughts in “The Art of Client Service” book. Solomon also asserted that people need to make sure all things we said to customer, provide the reliability they “know” not “think” (Solomon, R, Chapter 42). Then, provide what customer’s want before suggest or serve what customer’s need (Solomon, R, Chapter 43). After campaign, MNA gained a lot of contracts with wholesale customer in Binh Tan. MNA also has known as the experts in repairing motorbike. It’s wonderful that i can see the real experiences from MNA Company to strengthen all knowledge from textbook.


Some corners at Yamaha Minh Ngoc Anh – Binh Tan Store

Some corners at Yamaha Minh Ngoc Anh – Binh Tan Store

Some corners at Yamaha Minh Ngoc Anh – Binh Tan Store

Some corners at Yamaha Minh Ngoc Anh – Binh Tan Store


Word count: 660


Solomon, R, 2008, “The Art of Client Service”, chapter 42 & 13, pp.107-109, Kaplan Publishing, N.Y

*3S: Sales, Services and Spare parts.

 Contact information of the interviewee:

General Manager of Minh Ngoc Anh Co. Ltd, – Dai Thanh Tuan Anh

Address: 147 Bis Nguyen Tat Thanh Street, District 4 // 506 Tinh Lo 10, Binh Tri Dong Ward, Binh Tan




Semester 1 2014

Dear Future Client Managers,

Welcome to Semester 1, 2014! Dung and I are excited to potentially read almost 60 new interview articles from across Saigon and Hanoi this semester.

As you can see there are over 180 articles in this blog since its inception. Feel free to browse through the various entries and see what your peers have to say about client management issues and what they have discovered thanks to a wide array of interview subjects who are experts in their field both locally and globally.

A word of caution though: NOT ALL ARTICLES ARE GOOD EXAMPLES. I have tried to “Like” some of the entries that are recommended and have deleted past entries that didn’t make the CR mark. But it takes time to curate the entries so there are a few that have ‘slipped’ through the radar. If you have any concerns about these examples please send your lecturer an email to confirm if you are looking at a good example.

Alright… make sure you check the task brief on Blackboard for Assessment 3 for particulars of the interview article. Good luck!

~Mel C


Indian Giver


finding the value in ‘value added gifts’

Have you heard this saying before? It’s an American term for someone who gives a gift and takes it back, or expects something to be given immediately in return. It is commonly believed that the ‘Indian gift’ has its origins in the 1700’s when white settlers in America misinterpreted the Native American’s way of bartering. Regardless of origins, it seems to have found its way to me, here in the Tan Pho.

Recently I purchased a Samsung Galaxy S4 smart phone (yes its pink!) from the brand’s official store at the Crescent Mall. As part of a cross promotional campaign, they tied-up with The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf chain to give Samsung customers free drink vouchers. Nice! Three days after, I got a package containing 10 vouchers. Nice Nice! The following week I got another set of vouchers. Nice Nice Nice! Wow, I wondered, how many vouchers more can I get from this transaction?

Feeling as generous as my benefactors, I gave away pairs upon pairs of vouchers to my friends and colleagues. And then… the phone calls started coming. A man who had very little English-speaking skills called me about 5 times, and from bits and pieces of the conversation I simply thought he wanted to know if I received their gift. I happily said thank you and said I got them fine.

Then, a messenger from the coffee company came to my office’s reception. Another voucher delivery? But alas, I finally understood what the phone calls were about! They wanted the second set of vouchers back! I tried to explain that they were no longer with me, but it was lost in translation.The day ended with a few more phone calls and finally I messaged them: ‘please stop calling me.’

I should have suspected that something was amiss after the second package arrived. But I didn’t want to underestimate the value of ‘value added.’ Lesson learned for them I guess… and for me? I’m still hoping another set of vouchers come in the mail. ~Mel C

Welcome Landon and Dung!

Welcome to Semester 3 2013 Client Management lecturers Landon Carnie (SGS) and Hoang Tuan Dung (HN). I’m not sure if they will be using this blog for their Assessment 3… but nonetheless a big welcome and cheers to new students is in order! I will still be writing blog entries and tweeting on various #servicestories #randomsaigon so I hope to still be part of the conversation. Have a great semester you guys! ~Mel C

3PM cut-off

where i come from 3pm is usually known as ‘the hour of great mercy’… blame it on being a catholic country. did you know that its only the philippines and the vatican who haven’t legalized divorce? anyway that was just a fun FYI trivia to announce that 3pm is here and anymore posts on our class blog after mine is now considered late. thanks for the semester guys, do return to your blog posts in the next 3 weeks to see my on-line comments. ~mel c

Candy Change

Barter (noun), bartering (verb): The exchange of goods and services, for other goods and services without using money.

The forerunner of modern economic transactions, bartering, historically served as a way for ‘natives’ and explorers to exchange goods in the absence of a common currency.  Bartering existed among strangers, people who would otherwise be enemies. This scenario raises questions of the equality of the value of goods and services exchanged (even cultural exchange!) within this system. I mean… who can top Dutch colonist Peter Minuit’s bartering skills when, he bought the island of Manhattan from the Native Americans for the equivalent of $24 worth of trinkets, beads and knives in 1626? Modern bartering exists today as practiced in Retail Barter Exchange and Corporate Barter.

However, my blog post today does not focus on the traditional bartering model, but rather on some bartering similarities I experience when I shop in my neighborhood grocery, and when I use a taxi service.

I wonder where this currency was 'minted?'

I wonder where this currency was ‘minted?’

On more than one occasion, the grocery cashier gives me a mint candy after I pay the bill. Hmmm… another example of sweet surprise I thought! But not really, they just didn’t have the small change to give me- 100 vnd, 200 vnd or 500 vnd, etc. so they would automatically hand me a candy in exchange for the real coin. No big worries right? But have you ever tried paying the grocery store using the same candy currency? I did for a laugh… they simply laughed back at my attempt and dismissed my rationale ‘you gave me candy change last time, so now I want to pay you in candy’. Of course the answer was a clear no. This type of barter system only worked for their benefit, never the customer.

The double standard although quite comical, irritated me as I saw the same thing happening with taxi’s. The meter would read say… 50,000.500 vnd you hand the driver a 50,000 vnd and give your brightest smile, and say ‘Cảm ơn anh!’ But the drivers would either give you the loudest grunt or a stony stare that would make you want to run out the door. But when its their turn not to have small change they will try to give you that ‘double hand wave’ (sorry… i do-not-know!) and assume you’ll leave it up to good karma and get out the taxi without any argument.

I always tell my students, give your clients added value… think of ways to do something for them without being asked to work on that long-term relationship. But now, I add to this a word of caution. The return on service investments should be two-way. Especially in the bartering of goodwill, this should never be one-sided. Caution should be practiced to discern whether the exchange just benefits one party.

Who benefits from this bartering scenario? The grocer or the buyer? The taxi driver or the passenger? The service provider or the client? Ideally in all exchanges both parties should have equal gains. Perhaps not at the same time, but at the very least make sure to take turns in barter benefits. It may just be a few un-accounted cents but when you sum-up all the returns, it’s still rounds up to a Big Dong. Make sure you don’t end up short-changed.

~Mel C

Deadline Announcement

Dear Future Client Managers:

The deadline for this semester’s blog upload has arrived. You may submit late of course but penalties do apply (I will be checking edit/ revisions in the Dashboard so there is no escaping that!)

Make sure to re-visit ALL the posts and make comments on everyone’s articles. I will also be giving you immediate feedback online, so do check back on your article. The final mark based on the task rubric will be made available on week 3 of the next semester. Again, thank you for a wonderful semester and enjoy your holiday!

~Mel C

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