To ensure flexibility and scalability for all our German-speaking customer contacts, we have an office in the heart of Essen. We already took a first step across the border in 2015, with the mission to set up a professional Customer Experience Centre in which our core values and the Engage culture are preserved. This means that our Dutch roots can also be clearly felt in Essen.
Our partners in Germany are primarily SMEs, scale-ups, and international companies taking the step to the German market. They need German-language support, and are looking for a partner who can take care of their business and think along with them.
We previously wrote about how Digital Sales is a reality. Despite the pandemic, we were able to add some great new labels to our German portfolio in 2020. Our Charge & Tech team has, among other things, been able to add two new partners for 24/7 support at charging stations, and support with state-of-the-art coffee machines. Our retail team was expanded with a new partner and has grown considerably to support all e-store queries. We asked Steffi, International Sales manager, how she managed to do this when social distancing was the norm.
To what extent were these processes different due to COVID-19?
“A number of processes were completed entirely online without ever really looking each other in the eye. I already knew some of the new partners before COVID-19, but there too, the entire process was conducted online. For us, personal contact is always the main priority, not just with our employees, but also with our current and future partners. It normally includes a site visit, lunch, or a few moments to chat. The current situation calls for adjustments and that is what we have done; fully COVID-proof, online, with a personal touch.”
What is something that you were forced to change but which you are planning to keep doing from now on?
“Meetings will continue to exist in a hybrid form in the future, just like working from home. I will definitely be doing site visits and lunches again if these are possible, but combined with online meetings to save travelling time and the environment.”
What has been a real eye-opener because of COVID-19?
“That anything is possible as long as you are creative and stay true to yourself. Sales is not always just about selling. Sales is about connecting with people, which is not really an eye-opener for me because it’s something I’ve always done, but now I know that it can also be done virtually. What was an eye-opener is the adaptability of people to, for example, work en masse from home should the need arise. At Engage, we’ve been proclaiming the advantages and disadvantages of working from home in the industry for 13 years, but COVID-19 caused a tsunami of interest, as it suddenly became a necessity. And it works!
What are you looking forward to when you are able to meet people again in real life?
I miss social contact the most, the unexpected conversations during breaks over a cup of coffee, the meetings at network events and trade fairs, as well as a walk around the Engage campus when it’s full. The dynamism of this industry is unmatched, which you can feel when you are together.
Would you like to know more about VANAD Engage Germany? Or discuss customer contact trends and developments in Germany? Please contact Steffi Brodkorb on +31 (0)6 48136423 or e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.