19 Aug Tough Day, Beer & Customer Service
At Last, The Weekend.
In business things do not always go according to plan. Many things can trip you up. Often it is your own fault, but by no means always. Running your own company can be tuff, brutal even. In short there are days when you just wonder, WHY?
Today the EU by dint of bizarre and not exactly rational decision making, decided to kick our client even as they were trying to comply with EU regulation (very worthwhile regulation it must be said). After that their day, indeed for several long, long days to come, fell apart and we were once again left trying to help our client manage a crisis while our own work got delayed, again.
At the end of this rough day my colleague observed “That did not go to plan eh Boss?”
Nope, no it did not.
Him, “What do we do now, we were meant to be working all weekend, but we are stuck?”
“Plan B” I said.
“Oh right, Plan B. ……………….What’s Plan B?”
“We go back to Delft as fast as we can and go to the Belvedere!”
Him, “What’s a Belvedere?”
What is a Belvedere, well now……………
Beer & Customer Service
The delightful, lovely, modest town of Delft, a town I have had a 35 year love affair with, has much to commend it. It was the birth place of one Johannes Vermeer, a painter who specialized in domestic interior scenes of domestic 17th century life in Delft. Every one of his 34 works tells a story in a single picture. It was also home town of the famous jurist Hugo Grotius and scientist Antony van Leeuwenhoek. Delft is also famous for the blue (“Delft Blue”) pottery and also for a famous Big-Bang. On 12 October 1654, 30 tonnes of gunpowder in storage exploded, destroying much of the city, over a hundred citizens were killed including another famous artist Carel Fabritius. Delft is also the burial place of Dutch Royalty since the 1580s, thanks to an untimely murder!
However as worthy as all of this is, on a day like today they all pale into distance in the face of an important fact. Delft is home to no less than four of the best specialist beer bars in the entire country. Each of those bars has a peaceful, friendly ambiance inside and out that embraces you warmly. They are all exemplars of customer service. They encourage you to come and sip, reflect, sip again and watch the pleasant life of the town go by. In short their friendly and perfectly pitched service enablers you to enjoy the experience. The Belvedere on the Beestenmarkt is my personal favourite beer bar.
As we sat there and drank our dark brown Karthuizer Ipso Facto beer I reflected on why I do this business.
The Tough Days Are When Service Matters Most
Despite the days that get bent out of shape I actually enjoy it. I do think that those people who say “You control your own destiny when you have your own company” are somewhat deranged because it is simply not true. It is not true if you care about your staff because you care more about their destinies than your own. It is not true if you care about your clients and the quality of the service you give them! That has an effect on your destiny like a gravity well has on a spaceship.
But you can make a difference to the lives of others. You can give room for employees to develop, explore new avenues and grow. You can help other business to grow by providing services to them that are not just a thing they have to purchase, but because you are adding value. Be assured, when they grow so do you.
Lastly you get to learn new things every day. Five years ago as I worked at a major IT outsourcing provider if you had told me I would grow to know about robotics, Big Data, AI, IoT, Smart-City Tech and Digital Railways, well I would have thought you were the one drinking 10.5% proof beer!
Around bottle number three, and as I watched a tea cup dog take a leak over his mistress’s shoe, my colleague asked me, “So what shall we do tomorrow then Boss?”
Oh the possibilities. A canal tour around town, then lunch on the beautiful market square at the Het Konings Huys on the Markt perhaps. Hop on the tram to Scheveningen to dip our toes in the sea, then Frits on the promenade on expenses (never say I do not treat my staff from to time!).
I asked my sidekick what are they (client) were doing tomorrow?
“In all weekend trying to raise all the paperwork the EU want from them by Monday I guess, going to be a rubbish weekend for them!”
I sighed. I had realised that here I was enjoying the benefits of good customer service, it had been a rough day and yet this was when their service made the most difference. The waiting staff were doing what we should be doing over the weekend for our client.
“Tomorrow we are going back to Dordrecht and going to offer our help, even if its only making coffee and supplying pizza and vlaai at lunch time !”. It is never fun to have to suffer on one’s own, always helps to have others there with you! Besides, are they clients or partners? Tomato or tomatoes? It did not matter, working with them is where we had to be.
Call it SERVICE.
Have a good weekend everyone, NJM Consulting are off back to work tomorrow!
- Karthuizer Ipso Facto Beer: Pours out a dark dark brown, pretty much black with brown glowing on the sides of the glass from light. Practically no head, small ring on the side. Taste is instant deep roasted malts and grains. It is a tad sweet at first, but then turns instantly dry. A very smooth 10.5% beer. I highly recommend it. Brouwerij de Drie Kruizen.
- Belgian Beer Cafe Belvedere, Beestenmarkt 8, 2611 GB Delft, http://www.bbcbelvedere.nl/
- Het Konings Huys : restaurant on the Markt, Delft. Nice staff, good food, nice views http://www.hetkoningshuys.eu/
- Vlaai: fruit flan, very Dutch.