Service with a smile is the survival strategy for the future
As soon as I walk into the cool business building, I am warmly welcomed by the receptionist and the feeling is immediately good and warm. You immediately taste the young and hip atmosphere of the companies that are located there. I am soon picked up by Dave Spijker who takes me after a small tour to the new office of Boys with Brains, where the beautiful steel frames immediately indicate that we are here at a young, hip, but professional company.
From building your own ICT companies you have now ended up on the only service & installation side of the industry branch
Yes that’s right. After having been directly active in the internet and telecom industry for almost 20 years, after selling my internet and telecom companies, I have actually ended up on the other side of that industry. About 4 years ago I already came into contact with my current Italian business partner who had set up a service network all over Europe. At the time his question was whether I could not provide an ICT service for his customers with my companies in the Benelux and part of Germany. Considering that I then focused on partners and mainly end customers with our own services and products, this was not a match. In the meantime, of course, we have now taken that step and thanks to the smart layout of the joint network, we are able to provide service in up to 17 countries in Europe using the same Smart Services Software tool and the same 24×7 multilingual service desk. My colleagues from Spain, for example, use us for their customers in the Netherlands, Belgium and part of Germany. Conversely, we now serve our customers in those countries and the common denominator is that we all work according to the same procedures and systems, so that our client does not have to figure out how they, as a Dutch party, can now serve customers in Spain.
So you only “just” started a new fulfillment service company?
The ideas for Boys with Brains had been around for some time. I have always had a dream to translate the way of thinking more freely, especially in traditional worlds, by linking smart marketing to understandable explanation and translation. Boys with Brains is fully equipped to provide service and support to both manufacturers and suppliers who serve their end customers. Many suppliers and producers have excellent products and services, but once it has been sold, it is more difficult to ensure that the products are installed properly and above all quickly. Providing service in the event of an unexpected failure is often even more difficult. A common phrase is therefore … ‘when it was sold I didn’t see them anymore’. That is of course not what you want to radiate as a supplier of a product or service. That is where Boys with Brains’ right to exist. We are the ‘hands’ that ultimately ensure that important smile for the end user.
But what exactly do you do?
Good question. I often saw companies with a great service or product that could sell, but that they simply did not have enough hands to ensure a thorough and fast installation. Let alone for a solid service channel in case of calamities. With Boys with Brains we initially set up 2 unique pillars in-house. Firstly, as mentioned, an international multilingual service desk that is actually available 24×7 and is currently active in 17 European countries. The employees therefore speak to the customers in the language of the country. Secondly, the smart Smart Service Software, in which all steps are fully registered and the items on which we provide service are also recorded. If a part is ‘broken’ at the location of the end customer, we will go on the road with our technical couriers on behalf of the client and replace the broken part. So no or the shortest possible disruptions on location. The new part is directed in the Smart service Software and the replaced part is collected centrally in the Netherlands in our logistics center in Tiel, where it is repaired or returned to the supplier or manufacturer. Because our clients remain the owner of the goods and we are ultimately the ‘hands and feet’ that take care of installation and service, we can actually be a party to virtually every product that needs to go from A to B and that requires installation & service.
Do you have any examples of that?
A few weeks ago another nice assignment came in. A customer of ours has more than 1000 coffee machines in the Netherlands and Belgium at companies. Now the Corona crisis has created an extra problem for him. Many coffee machines have been idle for months and that is not only bad for the companies, but also for the products in the coffee machines. Just take the milk for cappuccino, which has a certain expiration date. Now we have been instructed to pay an extra service visit for those 1000 coffee machines and therefore to ensure that we also check the products in them at the same time. As an extra gesture towards its end customers, the supplier has ensured that our technical couriers also have a starter kit with them with fresh products, so that we will also have a real fresh start now that the catering industry is reopening. Thanks to the wide availability of technical couriers in our team, we can fully implement such a rollout within 2 weeks. From project management to the rollout on location. The coffee machine company can focus on the innovation of their products and we unburden them with the rest. So they don’t have to worry about how the products are placed and especially if there is something wrong with their products. This good cooperation is important, because especially because we are active in several countries and our rates therefore remain normal, we can make a difference for many parties. In addition, this central recording in our Smart Service Software is the key to our success.
Is every supplier interesting for you?
Yes, actually, as long as they are services or products that can be delivered or installed in multiples. Our technical couriers are trained for a new product or service and can be on the road quickly thanks to a central approach and recording in the Smart Service Software. Usually disruptions are resolved no later than next business day, but often even faster because we have a wide spread of technicians across the countries and we naturally try to pick up a ride right away if someone has someone nearby. The motivation to switch qualitatively and quickly not only prevails with us as management, but also with colleagues on the road, because coming up with something at management level is 1, but also having it executed as discussed and conceived with the client is 2 . We install and service in various markets. From PCs, laptops and printers to TV screens for migrant homes, photo kiosks and solar panels. You never know where the question comes from, but we fill it in with love.
Do you just have those technical couriers sitting on the couch?
If you only look at the BeNeLux, we have a permanent team of technical couriers and installers (engineers) in house. We are also ready for the client for heavier, longer-lasting installation jobs, such as laying specific cabling. We can currently scale up to 120 men (and women) in the Benelux and we also have a flexible layer of partners that we can deploy. A takeover around August of this year of the service department of one of our shareholders will add a great deal of knowledge and expertise, as a result of which we will function even more as a total service partner in markets such as non-residential construction and W&E installations.
Are you now also going to work for your old industry, the internet and telecom parties?
They may also come my way, but so far I have not personally been approached by that sector directly to be able to pick up installations or services for them. It may also be a bit sensitive since I used to compete with my previous companies for the past 20 years, but now that I, as an independent service and installation party, can also contribute something to their services for them, those contacts will certainly start again come. If you look at the Netherlands, the market is of course only small and ‘us knows us’ of course.
What is your goal with Boys with Brains?
Make a positive contribution to the installation & service market. Everyone happy should be the goal, but if in practice we already see that important smile with each of our customers and especially their end customers that it works again, then we have already achieved a very large part of our objectives. Earning money is necessary, but having fun is an absolute must. Just good and no hassle with the right smile on your face. That is what we stand for with the Boys with Brains, Smart Fulfillment Services.
I walk towards my car with my head full of ideas and look back at the cool Boys with Brains logo. Spontaneously a feeling of jealousy comes over to Dave and his ‘boys’. What a cool international company to work in. I expect that we will hear a lot more about this in the coming years.