As promised when it first unveiled its “Supplier of Choice” strategy, De Beers is making strides toward becoming more “customer friendly.”
The company recently announced a new account manager system that was supposed to debut with “Supplier of Choice.” But while the launch of “Supplier of Choice” has been delayed, the account manager program has already been implemented.
Jonathan Kendall, an executive formerly with the brand-heavy perfume industry, has been appointed to the newly created position of head of client management. He will supervise a new department of “key account executives” who will have regular contact with sightholders and their brokers.
“One of the things that came out in De Beers’ strategic review is that we have to approach our customers in a different way,” he says. “We need to focus on building long-term business relationships with them. We need to understand their needs and businesses better.”
Kendall wants to give sightholders support they haven’t received in the past, by providing them with market intelligence and helping them with marketing, promotions, and public relations.
“We want to provide them with an improved level of service,” he says. “Like any good business, we are looking at our customers. We want to do as much as we can to help them.”
The account representatives will be divided by categories. Some will work with clients who cut large goods, others with the small gem market, and others will focus on sightholders from producer countries such as Canada, South Africa, and Russia.
They will also monitor sightholders’ compliance with the company’s “best practices” principles and marketing plans.
“This will get the industry to a more focused and professional level,” Kendall says, adding that reaction from sightholders has been positive: “There are not many downsides for them.”