In the start-up days of any company, it's perfectly logical for a CEO to double as chief salesperson. But once business starts to take off, it makes little sense to continue to play sales rep. Such was the case for Jim Genstein, CEO of In-a-Flash, a $2.6-million direct-mail company, located in Pittsburgh, that sells educational flash cards. After the ranks expanded to 12 employees, the boss stopped taking orders to concentrate on other aspects of the business. "I'm not allowed to talk to customers, because I don't have the time to be warm and fuzzy," he says.
"Some people will talk forever before making a choice over a $35 purchase. Eventually, I'll get to my boiling point and say, 'Sorry, I have to say good-bye now'--which is why my employees don't let me on the phone."
Customers now receive that warm and fuzzy feeling from In-a-Flash's inbound telemarketing customer-service agents. These agents let the customer linger longer on the phone line without upsetting the boss or the bottom line.