Irene Viergever, the After-Market Sales & Marketing Manager for global company Thetford, transferred to Australia from the Netherlands five years ago and instantly saw a need to grow the after-sales care department of the business. On this week’s episode, Irene and I chat about various topics, including the importance of quality assurance, her role as a future leader within the caravanning and camping industry and how Irene manages to stay motivated and maintain her busy schedule.
Product Quality Assurance
Having worked for a number of years in the European Van Industry before coming to Australia, Irene shares with us valuable insights into the differences between the markets and what business owners here in Australia can do to continuously improve the buying experience of customers. Irene tells podcasts listeners that while there are more vehicles produced in Europe, there are actually a greater number of van manufacturers in Australia. While more manufacturers may result in a diverse range and often increased competitiveness with pricing, the lack of large brand manufacturers can lead to difficulties for customers when seeking market dominant brands who have built trusted reputations.
Irene’s shares with us the responsibilities of her role, which involves travelling to countries like China to ensure products produced for Thetford and supplied to the myriad of Australian manufacturers meet industry standards and can withstand the harsh Australian climate. Thetford is committed to supporting manufacturers and retailers within the market, providing extensive training to ensure up to date product knowledge to assist in delivering high-level customer service. Going one step further, Irene and her team offer direct assistance to customers, allowing them to bypass dealing with manufacturers and retailers if they have an issue with a Thetford product. These are just a few initiatives Irene and her colleagues undertake to provide quality product assurance.
Young Leaders Fostering Positive Relationships within the Industry
At a recent Caravan Industry Association (CIA) of Australia Hall of Fame celebration dinner, Irene was awarded the 2018 Young Achiever Award. In addition to a number of positive outcomes that resulted from being a recipient of the award, Irene tells listeners how her introduction into the CIA Future Leaders program was the most beneficial. The Future Leaders program is made up of innovative individuals under the age of forty, who combine their youthful tendency to embrace digital advancements and tackle industry issues from varying perspectives. Membership consists of people from caravan parks, suppliers and manufactures who are committed to the growth of the industry, communicating regularly through an exclusive Facebook group. Irene, a member of the committee, assists in organising networking events at industry conferences and behind the scenes tours of industry related businesses to ensure that the group stay abreast of industry advancements and quickly identify industry growth possibilities. During the podcast Irene explains to listeners how this great initiative is strengthening relationships and benefitting the industry as a whole.
Journaling as a Daily Motivator
Irene is regarded within the industry as a role model for the younger generation. Knowing this I asked Irene how she manages to stay motivated. Irene replied by sharing that in addition to a motivational coach, her motivation predominately comes from keeping a daily journal. Irene was introduced to the ‘Best Self Journal’, which she used to begin her journaling routine and since then she has created her own journaling style. Irene explains how her specific journaling technique helps her to identify things she is most grateful for, enabling her to start each day in a positive frame of mind. The technique Irene shares in the podcast is used to achieve set daily tasks and once these priorities are completed, Irene considers her day a success. The process also involves reflection and identifying areas for improvement. Irene explains how over a period of time these daily techniques can be used to identify red flags that highlight situations, events and even people that should be avoided to improve life situations. Tune into this week’s podcast to learn more about Irene’s journaling ritual and consequent personal development.
In this episode of ‘That Bad Review’ Podcast Irene and I also discuss:
- Keeping personal connections alive
- The importance of first impressions
- Learning to be a warrior instead of a worrier
- Differing travel trends in Europe and Australia
- The changing role of industry shows and expos
- The customer buying journey and decision-making process
- How to grow the industry by tapping into the young traveller market
- Selling features verses customer pre-purchase knowledge and their need to touch and feel a tangible product
Listen to the full episode here.