The story of Tanja
Tanja has been a customer service employee since the beginning of her career at Schotpoort sixteen years ago.
To find out exactly why she enjoys her customer service job, we sat down with her for a chat.
Tell us about yourself.
Tanja Bodt, I come from Dieren, I am happily married and have two daughters aged seven and ten. I have been working at Schotpoort Logistics as a customer support employee for more than 16 years. I have been doing this job since my first day at work and, 16 years later, I still enjoy every single moment.
What exactly does your job entail?
As a customer support employee, I collaborate with our customers daily. Not only do I enter their orders into our systems and checking invoices, I also provide support by keeping our customers informed of any developments that might occur during the logistics process.
How did you find this Job and Schotpoort?
In the final year of my MBO (post-secondary vocational education), I had to do a one-year internship. After getting my diploma, I continued my higher vocational education. However, I couldn’t get back into the study routine after a year working on the internship, so I decided to quit my studies and start working full-time.
What makes your job at Schotpoort challenging, fun and/or interesting?
From my first day as a customer support employee, I have felt that not a single day is the same. This is something that is said all the time, but as a part of the customer service department, I can honestly say that this is true. Every morning when I walk into the office, I have no ideas what to expect. This variety is inherent to the logistics sector, which constantly on the move, both literally and figuratively. Not knowing what to expect each morning can sometimes is what makes the work truly varied and challenging. Ideally, you want to provide the customer with everything, but, of course, this is not always possible. It’s then up to you to relay this information to the client.
As a customer support employee, you are always the point of contact for a select number of customers and you act as the interface between the company and the customer. This dynamic is what makes the job so much fun, even if I sometimes have to be the one to relay unwelcome news. Such situations require some tact in order to keep the customer on side.
Because the customer support employees each manage their own customer relations, you come to know the other people on the line well, especially if you have been working here for 16 years like me. This allows you to build excellent relationships with your customers and many of them often take the time for a quick chat and a laugh.
What are the disadvantages or less pleasant parts of your work?
As I mentioned before, the work is very dynamic, this is certainly an advantage, but it can also be less pleasant. Because you do not know exactly what is on your schedule, it can be chaotic from minute one. There might be tasks that you have to give less priority to because orders have to be entered or you have to deliver news to a customer. Especially during busy periods, it can sometimes be quite chaotic. It is then up to you to keep your eye on the big picture and stay calm. Sometimes you walk out of the building at the end of the day feeling that you could have stayed another 2 to 3 hours, but then you have to say to yourself: enough is enough, tomorrow is a new day.
I sometimes have to report bad news, such as a delay in the delivery time, damage or, on rare occasions, no delivery at all. In general, most clients are very reasonable and understanding because they understand that logistics can be influenced by several things beyond our control. Traffic jams, flat tires, and delays at a previous location can all contribute to delays further down the chain. Reporting this to a client can cause them to get frustrated or angry, so you have to keep your cool. In the end, nine times out of 10, the problem will get solved, but the customer may not know that. Yes, sometimes a discussion with a client can get a bit heated and both sides can get frustrated. It is in these moments that I notice that my team is there to back me up and can take over if needed to relieve some of the pressure.
In your opinion what is the difference between Schotpoort and other logistic service providers?
I appreciate the approachable and informal culture that Schotpoort has as a family business. I do not know if other service providers and especially the larger companies have this same culture. What really strikes me is how well as an organisation we are attuned to each other. Many of my colleagues have also been working at Schotpoort for a few years, so you know exactly what each person is capable of. Arranging things for clients is, therefore, just that little bit quicker and easier.
Because I have been with the company for several years, I have seen it grow into what it is today. On my first day at work, the position of customer support employee did not exist, even though I was doing the same kind of work I currently do. Back then, we were located on the ground floor of the building close to the entrance, now the six of us have our own office area.