A Monday with Meta
“Designing a project together with a customer is the best thing there is.”
ELI Play has a new office with a new face. Meta van Hoek has lived and worked in France for fifteen years. Since 2017 she runs the French branch of ELI Play.
My alarm clock goes off early every day. I get up and we have breakfast together as a family. When the children go to school, I get in the car to drive to our brand-new office: about thirty kilometres further on in the Alpespace business park. Searching for this workplace was quite a challenge, but we have everything we need: a representative office where we can receive our customers and a separate meeting room. We share our office with several entrepreneurs. It is a co-working place where entrepreneurs rent an individual office. Together we share the meeting room, the copier and the kitchen.
I drive off the peage and take the exit. With this beautiful weather I always see a glimpse of Mont Blanc in the distance at the exit. I marvel at this beautiful view every time. For me, as a Dutch woman, this will always be very special.
In the parking lot I see Michael's car. Michael is my French colleague who joined ELI Play four weeks ago. Our French customers like the fact that there is a 100% French colleague in the office. They immediately feel at home with that idea. I, too, am pleased with him, because he is there to review all the new requests that arrive via the website. For him it is almost a complete day job at the moment. There are many entrepreneurs who want to open an indoor playground or trampoline park. The French market is dynamic and many different leads are coming in: small projects and large projects. Some are already at a more advanced stage than others. That is why it is important for Michael to call applications. We call this a warm handshake. He is always very open in the first conversation: how can we help, what can we do? This very first contact may sometimes merely be about an application for the brochure. And sometimes the entrepreneurs already have more concrete plans.
I myself will start reading my mailbox today and decide what has the highest priority.
Michael and I discuss which requests are already at and advanced stage; I then contact these customers to specify their wishes. When these wishes are clear, I'll start by making a design and a quotation.
While I make coffee, I think of an e-mail from one of our customers. He wants to know if we can make a retractable net in his trampoline park. I consult with a designer in the Netherlands to see whether this is technically feasible, what this could look like and whether or not it is in conflict with the general safety standards. I discuss this outcome - together with the cost estimate - with the customer.
Michael and I have lunch together with the other colleagues in our office. That’s always fun! Usually I eat a little bit of hot food from the night before, just like all French workers. Once a week I have lunch in the large cafeteria of the business park. Last week I ate crozet, a local dish. It’s a kind of a small square pasta. Very tasty.
Tomorrow I'm going to Paris to visit a customer. He already has an indoor playground, but wants to add some game elements. I go there to take a good look at the location and discuss the wishes of the customer. It is very important for me to be well informed about all the products ELI Play offers. This way I always have a nice solution for the customer. I look for the information I received from this customer, bundle it all together and buy a ticket for the TGV online.
I just heard from another customer that he can see our design for his trampoline park, he only wants to add a climbing element to distinguish from other trampoline parks. For this customer, we have devised a complete plan for the layout of his park. Collaborating with the designers in Boxtel to create the design is the most enjoyable thing there is. There are infinite possibilities to set up a ‘leisure facility’: a very creative process. Before the designers get to work, I need to know for sure what the wishes of the customer are for a good briefing to the designers. If the designer and I are both completely satisfied with the plan, I present it to the customer.
Finally, I do some administrative work: I send Michael's last week’s worked hours to the payroll company that pays our salaries and book a ticket for a trip to the head office in Boxtel. Soon we will have another Technical & Sales meeting and all sales and account managers will be updated on all new products of ELI Play. I also call the landlord of our office, to let him know that the shutter in our office is broken. At 18:00 I go home.
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