We recently caught up with Tracey Bailey, Senior Business Development Manager, to understand a little more about her role within this vital area of work, within our Occupational Hygiene team.
I have been in the Occupational Hygiene field for 20 years now, believe it or not! Whilst I have worked in Sales before, the majority of my time was spent in Operational Management. At that time, I felt the role with my previous employer was becoming a little stale and repetitive and I was missing the direct interaction one can get with clients.
An opportunity then arose through a former colleague, to move back into a more customer-facing role here at RPS. This wasn’t something that my previous employer could accommodate, so here I am just over four years later!
Well, I am currently a Senior Business Development Manager here at RPS, which is part of the commercial arm of our business. My role will shortly be changing to Operations Manager for the Occupational Hygiene team. It involves and will continue to involve interacting with clients to understand their requirements, but my primary focus will be liaising and supporting the consultants within our team to ensure that we maintain a high level of service to our clients.
I am quite often the first point of contact for a client, so it’s important that we scope the work we do for them correctly to ensure the job runs more smoothly.
Having discussions with clients both existing and prospective, in order to better understand their requirements, is a large part of my day. Part of that exercise will be to price up pieces of work for our clients and from time to time, negotiating on the price, if that may be required. This is particularly true if and when we are in a competitive situation. Following these discussions, I conduct further meetings with the consultants within our team to ensure they know what is required by the client.
I feel that I have most of the knowledge to scope out specific pieces of work, but the consultants can be relied on for their knowledge and advice when required. At busy times, my role is most definitely reactive to incoming enquiries. When it’s less busy, time does also allow for more business development functions such as looking at ways to grow RPS by up-selling additional services to different clients, or by offering any services to brand new clients. There are also good cross-selling opportunities with the Laboratories and Occupational Health business streams as well.
My interaction with the Technical consultants is really important to ensure that they know what is required as part of the job. As already mentioned, in the commercial team we are often the first point of call to scope out a piece of work, but it's important to me that they (the consultants) are involved right from the beginning and can see the process through, from start to finish. I talk with them regularly on an upcoming piece of work, giving them ample opportunity to ask questions and understand the client’s expectations. It's quite often the Business Development team at the front end that have got all that vital information that the consultants may not have, and we're more likely to deliver the quality service that the client expects and needs if we communicate more internally.
When I first joined, the commercial and operational arms of RPS were very discreet and worked remotely from one another. However we soon realised that we could not afford to operate in this way anymore. I think a more joined-up approach benefits our clients and we’ve been trying to do that for a while now. My future role as the Operations Manager should help enhance and develop that relationship further.
In my role I have an opportunity to witness quite a few different things and no two sites are the same. Some rather incredible experiences do spring to mind! Visits to chocolate or biscuit factories, for instance. There's obviously a common theme here and the smells are divine at those places. However, I never cease to be amazed by how things are manufactured on such a large scale.
I've once had the pleasure of being taken underground in a cage into a deep mine. I’ve also been behind the scenes at the London Underground, when contractors were working on the new Tottenham Court Road station. The train drivers were complaining of a solvent-like smell that they thought was coming from the adhesive they were using to tile the underground shafts. So, when we went down there into the service channel to explore, you could hear the underground trains going by despite not being able to see them!
I’ve touched on this earlier but certainly now more than ever, I believe we have a more joined-up approach between ourselves and the consultants. It’s important to me that everyone knows what's expected, especially to deliver successfully for the client. I do believe we're a true consultancy. There are other consultancies out there that may be the same as us but there are several more that really don't deliver a complete service, perhaps just a monitoring strategy followed by some results produced.
However, here at RPS we believe that results always need more context behind them as there might be a reason for a particularly high result. We pride ourselves on the observational work that our consultants include in their reports. As a result, we do offer a great service and excellent client retention is a natural result of that.
One thing I have noticed a lot more within the Occupational Hygiene field is the involvement of the HSE with businesses and we’re getting more involved in assisting companies to address their shortcomings. Within RPS, I believe that communication has been enhanced significantly. The ‘Your Voice’ employee survey that I first completed three years ago has resulted in improvements across the whole business and certainly the dissemination of information has also gotten much better.
For me, I get a real buzz when I win a job and it doesn't matter how small it is! It may be a really straight-forward piece of work or one worth tens of thousands of pounds that I've worked on for several days, but it's still the same feeling when that purchase order number comes in! I certainly get more of a buzz when something comes in that I didn't expect to, but that being said, I think I'm quite realistic. Some jobs do surprise me even now though, so I find that quite enjoyable.
From an operational perspective, when I know we've completed a job well, it feels amazing. Right from the start, knowing we have scoped it out correctly, the consultants have also done what's required of them and done a good job. When we deliver a whole package and we get a thank you or a pat on the back from the client, I know we've done a great job!
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