The BÖHLER UDDEHOLM Africa (Pty) Ltd. subsidiary in Port Elizabeth with its 11 employees is comparatively small, but—located in the country’s automotive hub—it is also comparatively important. But above all, it is one of the Special Steel Division’s most profitable South African sales companies. And that is no accident, as Managing Director Helmut Ulrich assures us. In Charmanita Hoggons, the subsidiary on the Eastern Cape has a branch manager who is especially outstanding due to her extraordinary focus on customer service. For 14 years now, Hoggons has managed sales of heat treatment and steel welding technology. In 2002, however, Ulrich was not completely sure that she could manage these tasks.
Because Charmanita Hoggons joined the company in 1992 as what you could call a jack of all trades. Her education didn’t extend to more than one college course for secretarial work. But from the very beginning, she stood out due to her charisma, openness, high motivation, and how she dealt with customers and employees. “Simply a charismatic personality that rubs off on others,” comments Ulrich, “and in a customer satisfaction survey back then, Port Elizabeth was by far the best. So we decided to give her a chance.” One of many that were given to her, admits the 44-year-old Hoggons. And she took advantage of all these opportunities and is thankful for every single one of them.
From the first promotion to receptionist after she had shown how well she dealt with customers to the promotion to the sales team. Gradually, she was given more responsibility: first to answer the telephone, then to order out-of-stock items, and later to stand in for the boss when he was out of the office.
No matter what tasks I was given, I welcomed them all.Charmanita Hoggons
And gradually, she continued her training: from obtaining a license so she could work in outside sales to training in business administration and management to the voestalpine value program: “I tried to absorb everything. Step-by-step I grew, and I enjoyed each step.” Her employees, her customers, and last but not least her company have all grown with her over the years according to Charmanita Hoggons, and she has built up a special relationship to all of them. And that’s the most important thing.