Karen Lim, Managing Director, Think Customers (www.thinkcustomers.com) has spent many years as a UK customer service professional and is known for her passionate commitment to customer care. She has a unique ability to view any situation from the customer eye view and an intuitive grasp of how to act on that information. Karen spent 7 years with Oracle Corporation as Director of Customer Services for UK, Ireland and South Africa. Reporting to the Oracle UK board she was responsible for devising and developing their service strategy and integrating it with existing technology. Karen setup and managed the UK after sales service centre, designed and implemented a complaints management system, customer reward programme and created the customer forum. Over the last 15 years, Karen has held a number of senior management positions in companies ranging from SME to multinationals and built up a wealth of experience on the issues encountered when dealing with customers. A companion member of the Institute of Customer Service she is an active participant through public speaking, judging ICS National Awards and the Breakthrough Research Programme.
John Watson, Chief Executive John Watson & Co (www.johnwatsonprinters.com). John joined the small family printers and stationers in 1968 having spent three years at the Leeds School of Printing. Although technically trained in printing he soon realised that his role would need to be sales orientated if the company was to survive, as the marker for stationery products was collapsing due to the convenience of the large multiple shops setting up in Glasgow. The company’s shop in St Vincent Place was sold and the proceeds used to build and develop their purpose-built printing facility in Townhead. The company invested in state of-the-art equipment and secured additional printing business particularly within the drinks industry. John Watson & Company has a wide and diverse range of blue chip accounts
Our Chairman for the evening is Jimmy Gilchrist, Managing Director, GP Plantscape. The Gilchrist family has been trading in the Clyde Valley for 4 generations, first as market gardeners, diversifying into interior and exterior landscaping. Jimmy has been involved in the family business from an early age and spent time training in Denmark and the USA before becoming the maintenance director for Gilchrist Plants in 1987. Rentokil acquired Gilchrist Plants in 1992 and Jimmy remained with the company as service manager for Scotland until 1995. He and his father then left Rentokil to start GP Hire a vehicle and machinery hire company. In 1997 Jimmy went back to his "roots" as managing director of GP Plantscape when he re-entered the interior and exterior landscaping market. GP Plantscape designs, installs and maintains tropical plant displays and exterior landscapes. The company now employs approximately 50 people and operates nationally. The client list includes Clydesdale Bank, Scottish Executive and The Bank of Scotland. A recent addition to the GP group is GP Artscape, which provides innovative corporate artwork for offices, hotels and other public areas.