A major engineering firm undertook a relationship audit of its customers as part of its customer management strategy. One of its employees, an eminently qualified engineer in his field, was managing one of its major customers, worth over €1m to the company. On completion of the audit, it discovered that they were about to lose the customer.

Our Intervention

Before taking action, the firm decided to call on the services of CDS to do a job and person profile exercise with its employees, putting particular emphasis on communication style. The findings were revealing. This specific job was placing a heavy dependency on a relationship style of communication with this particular client.  The employee  needed to have an ability to listen to the needs of the client and to take remedial action diplomatically to solve their problems.

The employee completed a person profile. It revealed that his communication style was to take control of the situation, appearing dominating and authoritative and impatient to get results quickly.

There was a huge mismatch between the two communication styles, resulting in the employee being a source of irritation to the customer. What he was overlooking was that he was not setting the agenda – the client was – and therefore he needed to work with them and adapt his communication style to suit that of the customer. The chemistry that existed between him and key personnel, therefore, was unnecessarily confrontational.


An immediate plan of action was put in place to re-address the situation. As a result of this, a new dynamic was established between both parties, with the result that the company did not loose the client.