Building Better Business Relationships

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An interview with Michelle Carruthers

The foundation of any relationship is built on trust and authenticity, and business-to-business relationships are no different.

It’s an ideal that drives all employees at CreditorWatch to make meaningful connections with others, including Michelle Carruthers, one of our Senior Consultants in Melbourne. With more than four years in the industry under her belt, Michelle is somewhat of a customer relationship guru at CreditorWatch and prides herself on connecting with prospects and clients on a genuine level. 

Business relationships don’t need to be based on meeting minutes and handshakes (or the cringeworthy elbow bump during COVID-19). For Michelle, it’s about taking on a “holistic approach to conversation” and fuelling her curiosity for topics she has never even considered, like dirt bike riding in the Apple Isle.

“I’m genuinely interested in other people and their businesses. I love learning about people’s different hobbies and work dynamics. A new client I recently spoke to loves to ride dirt bikes, so since then, I’ve learned about new towns in Tasmania that have expanded as a result of a new dirt bike track,” says Michelle.

“My curiosity helps me to listen and understand not only my customers’ needs and requirements but also how their business operates with new strategies moving forward. There are so many amazing businesses in Australia that I didn’t even know existed and I truly love hearing about how they started and where they are going.”

Effective business relationships in practice

One of the businesses Michelle gushes about is Penguin Random House Australia, the Australian branch of the world’s largest book publisher. 

Belinda Worton, Penguin’s ANZ Credit Manager, first met Michelle in 2018 when she became a CreditorWatch customer. Since then, Michelle has helped Belinda and her team roll out credit risk management solutions like ApplyEasy, our online credit application platform, which she says has been “an absolute joy”.

“While the product sold itself due to its simplicity, Michelle was willing to assist at any time with even the simplest query and give the guidance we require when dealing with new applicants,” says Belinda.

“Since implementation, Michelle has acted quickly when we have submitted requests to adjust or add to ApplyEasy and I can’t fault the service that has been provided by Michelle and the team at CreditorWatch.

Keeping Australia moving during COVID-19

As an essential service, it’s been business as usual during the pandemic for another of Michelle’s customers: Natalie Abbott, Financial Accountant at national transport and logistics company Capital Transport

As a leader of a team of seven, Natalie acknowledges the value of the CreditorWatch monitoring tool when it comes to making important decisions for the business, especially in today’s economy

“With CreditorWatch, we have the ability to monitor our clients on a daily basis and receive alerts of any pertinent information. This allows us to be proactive with the decisions we make, and gives peace of mind,” says Natalie.

The CreditorWatch customer relationship with Capital Transport began just as COVID-19 emerged in Australia, and Michelle was instrumental in setting Natalie and her team up quickly with everything they needed to mitigate credit risk and monitor their customers.

“Since then, I’ve been able to ring Michelle anytime with questions or to provide direction on best use of the system and always receive a quick response,” says Natalie. 

“We appreciate the personal relationship with Michelle and knowing that we have the ability to adapt the product to suit our requirements.”

“It’s a two-way street,” explains Michelle. “My customers know they can ask me any questions and if I don’t have the answer, I’ll find out straight away. But, I also sometimes ask my customers questions about how they perform certain tasks for my own learning benefit.”

“Life is just easier when you deal with good people and I can’t help wanting to build relationships with good people.”

How do you build strong business relationships?

These are Michelle’s top tips for building better business relationships:

  1. Actively listen to what the person in front of you is saying. 

  2. Take a genuine interest in your customers and what their business is about.

  3. Do your research before speaking with a prospective client so you don’t waste their time.

Connect with Michelle

Michelle Carruthers

Michelle is a Melbourne-based Senior Consultant at CreditorWatch, helping medium-to-large businesses mitigate commercial credit risk. She works closely with credit and procurement teams to understand their requirements in line with corporate strategy and provide guidance on the best solutions available.  

Michelle is especially passionate about building close business relationships with all her customers, from SMEs to ASX-listed enterprises. She’s also part of the AICM VIC/TAS council.

Outside of work, Michelle loves painting and travelling. She enjoys exploring new countries, especially ones that are hard to get to and therefore less explored. Some of her favourite places include Madagascar, Palau, Ecuador and Patagonia.

Contact Michelle at michelle.carruthers@creditorwatch.com.au or on her mobile 0431 312 064.