Guest Post

Do The Right Thing

by Danny Bottoms
10/08/2009

Some may call it nerve. I call it just doing the right thing. The right thing for the customer, that is. Sounds simple enough but sometimes companies collectively lose sight of that goal when they are trying to navigate through acquisitions, organizational changes and disparate cultures.

My first job as president and CEO of Cavalier was to elevate the customer. Cavalier is the sum of ten different companies through a series of acquisitions. This means Cavalier inherited ten different identities. A common company culture that positively focuses on the customer is paramount in order for a company to be successful.

Change takes nerve. Nerve involves risk. I ask all employees to practice and embrace what I call the 'Own It' principle. By owning it, all employees are not only empowered, but expected to be fully accountable for owning any customer interaction. This mindset and activity sets up a culture where organizational silos are broken down and the focus truly is on doing what is best for the customer.

One example of this 'own it' risk and reward is when our telesales manager received a misdirected call from a frustrated customer who wanted to cancel because he could not program our TV remote control. He quickly realized he could solve the problem so he left his desk, jumped in his car and drove to the customer's house to program it for him. Simply by listening to the customer and taking action, he saved the customer in less than one hour and created an example for everyone to follow.

Prior to joining Cavalier, I spent two years in United Arab Emirates working for a pay TV company. Dubai is a fantastic melting pot of people from all over the world. One of the most interesting lessons learned was how the language and cultural differences impacted customer experience. Even with nearly 50 different nationalities working at the company, we struggled every day to meet customer expectations due to their diversity and our own. These differences were both our strength and weakness.

Cavalier focuses on what we do best and tries not to be all things to all people. And that alone takes a lot of collective nerve from an entire organization working together. Often, it is easier to over-promise or mislead to win customers, but by 'owning it' we all remember that we are part of the entire solution and accountable to and for the customer. Perhaps that sounds too simple, but it is rarely practiced to perfection, no matter where you are in the world.

Danny Bottoms joined Cavalier Telephone in 2008 after two years as COO of Showtime Arabia, a pay TV company operating from Dubai, United Arab Emirates. With more than 15 years experience in the US telecommunications industry, he was most recently the President and CEO of the metro optical solutions provider OnFiber Communications until its acquisition by Qwest Communications in 2006. Prior to OnFiber, he held management positions with MasTec, Qwest and MCI. Danny started his career on active duty with the US Army and holds a BS in Chemical Engineering from the University of Iowa.

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