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Driven to make life easier for New Zealand farmers

Paul Ansley is a manager with a purpose. As head of Gallagher’s customer support team, he gets out of bed each morning committed to making life easier for New Zealand farmers.  

Paul is Operations Manager at Gallagher Animal Management New Zealand, where he leads a 12-strong team of Customer Technical Services and Customer Service experts. He came into the role in October 2022, after a year as Customer Services Manager.

Through most of his career Paul has been involved in management or leadership positions. Since moving from Palmerston North to Hamilton in 2004 he has assisted several teams and businesses through acquisitions, mergers, restructures and transformations.

Paul grew up in Whanganui and as a youngster spent time in Patea and Raetihi. He helped on a family farm during lambing and hay-making seasons and lent a hand on a family commercial fishing business. He is no stranger to farming or rural life.

Paul says it’s easy to foster a great team culture with an unwavering focus on customer service, because it’s an attitude that’s entrenched throughout the wider Gallagher group.

“Gallagher has an excellent reputation for innovation and customer service, with the customer at the centre of everything we do.

“For our team, in particular, it’s about being genuine in our interactions with farmers. Even though we’re on the phone, we’re still smiling and that comes through in our general demeanour and willingness to get things done for our customers.”

An advocate for collaborative leadership, Paul knows gaining trust and buy-in from his teams is crucial to make sure Gallagher’s relationship with farmers continues well beyond product purchase. And it’s all underpinned by a supportive company culture.

“The days of simply telling people what to do are long gone,” he says. “I’m a huge fan of a collaborative approach to team leadership. I want to take as many people as possible on a journey together to agree on what success looks like and how we best achieve our goals.

“When I started in this role, I was fortunate to come into a team that was already in great shape with its commitment to customer service. They already had solid processes and ways of doing things. I was given a lot of flexibility to think about ways we could continue to improve on what the team was already doing.”

One of the initiatives Paul and his team implemented was the introduction of some daily customer service KPIs.

“We got together as a team and discussed what success should look like for us and how we go about getting there. How can we measure the level of service we are giving our farmer customers?

“It was a completely collaborative process, so everyone felt like they had a stake in it and were invested in making it happen.”

The team now has daily stand-up meetings where, among other topics, they review the previous day’s customer call stats, celebrate success, and look at any opportunities for improvement.

 “We all get really motivated by having these goals. It’s become a fixture of our stand-ups. If we don’t have the numbers ready, the team are quick to remind us!”

 For Paul, great customer service is about really listening to farmers’ queries and concerns and inviting as much feedback as possible.

 “We are always open to receiving feedback from our customers, both good and bad. Any time we spot an opportunity to improve, it spurs us on to make any changes, which helps us stay dynamic and responsive.”