Posted on 11/27/2017 via BSH Home Appliances Group

An Unexpected Summer in Sweden

A story of seven German service technicians and their time in Stockholm and Sweden.

A summer in Sweden means for many: Celebrating midsummer with friends, dances and traditional Swedish food, red summer houses everywhere near the countless lakes and endless summer days when the sun seems to never go down. But for seven BSH Service Technicians, working for the German Customer Service, it was all of that and much more. They spent three months with the Customer Service in Sweden to support them during a busy time but also to bring intercultural exchange and collaboration to life. Among them: Marian Maahs and Alfred Ivanov.

Initiated by Colin Embling, Director Nordic Customer Service, it was the first time ever that the Customer Service supported each other on a European level. Embling invited German technicians to spend the summer in Stockholm, as part of the Stockholm Field Service team in Greater Stockholm. The result? Lower waiting times and higher satisfaction scores than ever before.

A Successful Summer Full of Memories

“The commitment and the skills that the colleagues from Germany brought with them to Stockholm have been crucial for this successful summer,” says Colin Embling. “I want to thank them for both their great competence, and their fantastic attitude. A big thank you also to the German managers that were prepared to let them go for three months, and to the whole team here that has supported them during their stay – from administration and management to the colleagues in the field.”

But not only Embling considers this project as a success. It was also a great opportunity for the participants. “I never thought I would get the chance to work abroad, so I immediately said yes when I was asked,” says Marian Maahs who otherwise works in Leipzig. “It was such a good decision – I don’t know if it’s just the summertime, but Swedish people surely must be the friendliest people on earth.”
Alfred Ivanov from Heidelberg agrees: “The three months in Stockholm have been like a dream, definitely the best thing that has happened to me in my almost 30 years at BSH. The Swedish people are so friendly and relaxed.”

Sharing Insights and Learning

Both also gained insights about the different preferences by Swedish consumers. While it’s almost cash only in Germany, it’s common to pay by credit card for example. “This was like taking a leap into the future, and seeing that a cash free society works very well,” Marian Maahs and Alfred Ivanov agree. “If a customer cannot be at home when you arrive, they will just tell you that you can find the key under a flowerpot. They are also much more willing to repair their home appliances; whereas in my experience a German customer rather exchanges the appliance after just two or three years, Swedes choose to repair appliances that are a lot older than that – without complaining,” adds Ivanov.

After their return home they started to share their experience with their German colleagues. Ivanov explains: “There is a lot we bring back with us to the German organization as well. Like using iPhones, the credit card payments, and the Swedish fixed price logic, which is both easy to explain and to understand. The whole repair process is simply a bit easier in the Nordics.”

Swedish Hospitality

Alfred Ivanov also experienced the famous Swedish summer houses and warm hospitality: “I was visiting a customer who had a beautiful home, and when I admired his view he said ‘Then you should see the view from my summer home’. And before I knew it, he invited me to the summer home that weekend, where I then actually spent a whole day with his family.”

Both of them would take a chance like this again. “I have had so much fun, with so many great experiences,” says Maahs and Ivanov adds: ““The beautiful nature, calm atmosphere and friendly people – a part of me will stay here.”

Seven Customer Service technicians spent their summer working in Sweden. From left to right: Marian Maahs, Alfred Ivanov, Alexander Berk, Tommy Ros enthal, Björn Hoff, Stefan Köhler, Carsten Brockhagen.

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