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Businesswoman wins entrepreneur accolade

Marie Cross
Marie Cross

A businesswoman who took radical steps to reinvent her company has been named entrepreneur of the month.

Customer service specialist Marie Cross of East Barming, near Maidstone, won the accolade from the Entrepreneur’s Circle set up by guru Nigel Botterill and now the UK’s largest membership organisation dedicated to helping businesses grow.

Ms Cross set up First Impression Training in 2001 following a lifelong ambition to start her own company on the back of a 10-year freelance career, training and coaching customer service staff across the UK.

Responding to a downturn in the training industry, Marie implemented a new marketing strategy to make her company stand out from the crowd. It included a company re-brand and the launch of a new website.

Inside the first week, she saw immediate results and secured a contract to train 150 frontline staff. She has since reported the two most profitable months in 12 years of trading.

She said: “I’ve done an enormous amount on myself and by myself, but for fear of sounding a little sycophantic, my greatest learning in this journey began in June 2011 when I joined the Entrepreneur’s Circle.

“I’ve learned that I was right to stay true to my values and beliefs about First Impression Training and all that it stands for because when you love something with every fibre of your being, the impossible suddenly becomes possible.

“One of the most important things I’ve learned from Nigel and his team at the Entrepreneur’s Circle is that it is not your customer’s job to remember to do business with you, it’s your job to remember to do business with your customers.”

On her website, Ms Cross said: “You know that your frontline staff aren’t just the people who take or make phone calls on behalf of your organisation – they’re the voice of your business and the ambassadors of your brand, with the power to both create and destroy customer loyalty. They truly are the difference that makes the difference – they’re the people who determine your customers’ experience of your brand every day.”

She expanded this theme in a book “Seven Super Secrets of Remarkable Customer Service – How to Develop True Brand Ambassadors on Your Frontline.”

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