In a fast-changing information landscape and a softening global economy; event organisers are seeking value for money and are better informed about technical potential than ever before. A well-delivered event is no longer sufficient to keep these clients satisfied; technical suppliers need to be able to meet and serve their option-savvy expectations in terms of value, solution innovation and standout service but, most importantly, meet them in a way that instils trust and fosters confidence in their technology partner.

Gearhouse Group’s internal client service drive has been operating at full throttle for the past 18 months and the initiative is starting to bear fruit. A leader in terms of equipment and capacity, the 10-strong collection of companies has always been able to meet last minute requirements with the best equipment at a good price. In fact, they are widely known for being able to “pull the rabbit out of the hat” with minimal fuss. However, the “magic” in the company’s tagline is longer all that’s required to retain clients in an engagement-hungry marketplace and there is no room for complacency in this busy organisation.

“Within Gearhouse, we monitor client preferences quite closely and we are driving a specific focus on business development at a more personal level and with a longer term outlook,” says Catriona Regan, Johannesburg Sales Manager.

Having started 2016 with a restructuring of the internal sales process and with a brand new sales team in place, Catriona is upbeat about the sales outlook for the coming financial year. “Because Gearhouse is such a large company, we realise that approachability can be an issue for our smaller clients. We aim to put the face to the service and give every client a personal contact to turn to - for whatever they need, whenever they need it and whatever the size of their requirement."

"Our team is both diverse and dedicated,” says Catriona. “Lisa Daki has recently joined us from a similar industry and is truly a breath of fresh air with a vivacious and energetic approach to client service and relationship building. Zahir Kahn has years of experience in the retail space and brings a bit more structure to our sometimes erratic environment and Mitchell Farry has moved within the Group, from selling ICT event solutions such as online registration and presentation management to selling the wide range of Group services from a more holistic point of view.

According to Catriona, however, the ‘glue’ that holds the team together is Sales Administration Team Leader, Monique Ross, who despite her diminutive stature offers the team a ‘giant-sized’ office -based support system to rely on at all times. “She is soft natured, patient and nurturing - the mother of our team really. Without her guidance we would not be half as effective as we are” she says.

Irish-born Catriona joined Gearhouse 7 years back and has only lately taken over management of the Sales team after years in Project Management (she was an integral part of the installation team for the AV and IPTV systems at Moses Mabhida and Soccer City ahead of the Soccer World Cup).

Having also worked extensively abroad managing Government events, Cat, (as she is affectionately - if reluctantly - known by her colleagues), has a broad experience in event management, health and safety and event logistics and a good understanding of licensing, artist bookings and event marketing. “I have been the client,” she explains, “so I understand what it feels like from their point of view. Obviously my mandate is to increase sales but behind the scenes we are involved in a culture change which will build retention and help new clients to understand what we can do from a technical aspect to assist them in achieving their objectives. Gearhouse has the capacity to service our client base with a ‘big picture’ approach and to handle national accounts through a single contact. We are busy re engaging with our clients to reassess the value of what we are able to offer each of them individually.”

Gearhouse is now in its 25th year of service and is the sole South African representative of the AV Alliance; an international network of like-minded companies which is committed to perfect service and quality at the highest possible level. “We will always strive to improve on what the South African technical services industry is able to offer, whether it’s for inbound business or for the local market. I think it’s in the company’s DNA” concludes Catriona.

Story Robyn D’Alessandro, Photo Aaron Harvey

May 26, 2016

The Gearhouse Group of Companies