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young Dutch growers learn:
"Happy customers are of no use"
Priva's carpark was crowded monday at seven o'clock in the evening as nearly 200 young people came to the company for a joint meeting of the Horticultural Youth Oostland and Horticulture Youth Westland. "We felt it was time to once again organize a nice busy evening," said Young-Westland Horticulture President René van Dop. It was more than successful.
See the photoreport here.
The evening opened with a stimulating message from Meiny Prins. Everywhere horticulture is booming - from solar greenhouses in China to multi-span in Mexico and high-tech in Japan. Indoor, outdoor, rooftop and city farming - the sky is the limit. The world's population increases, but thanks to developments in the sector, it is actually already possible to feed the whole world. No problem then? Absolutely not. The food and the money are not distributed evenly. Growers do in fact need three times more space to earn the same amount of money as their fathers. Agricultural subsidies in Europe disturb not only the European, but also the African market. The resulting system is not only undesirable, but also costs an awful lot of money to be maintained.
Cities are rising
Prins looks further to how these systems can be overthrown. She sees the developments in cities and the emergence of local food supplies. "In cities, it will happen. Residents do not want to pay a lot of money to live in small apartments in a dirty city. And the city is going to listen to the citizens," she predicts. Combined with technological developments in the near future (telemedicine, shared economy, alternative energy sources), the sector is going to change enormously. And the Netherlands can play a huge role. "The Netherlands has the knowledge, integrated solutions," she refers to the combinations that are made in Dutch projects: exchange between greenhouses and residential areas, waste and building materials. "In Seoul they seek such solutions." Developments in the sector are going very fast, observes Prins. "A lot is happening - we all can feel it and yes it is scary. But who is not adding value, who cannot organize his own disruptive value, disappears."
The second presentation went in a totally different direction. Happy customers are of no use to you. You need enthusiastic customers: to promote you. Unhappy customers spread bad stories ("everybody likes to complain - just look at birthdays") and happy customers say not a single word. But how do you get your customers excited? Your quality is basically in order. According to Cats it revolves mostly around expectations. "Just ask your customers what you do well, you know what your strengths are and ask what the customer would want you to do, what he expects -... How do you get a compliment from him." It may sound exciting and uncomfortable, but Cats stresses the importance of clarity. And in addition to meeting expectations, you can also rise above it: by surprising your customers. "Surprise your customers, surprise your employees. This should not be difficult:.. with a postcard you already step out of the ordinary."
But there's more, says Cats. (In passing he also gives the young listeners some parental advice. "Customers are not children. They can complain a lot, but also can be a lot of fun") Never do what you do not want another to do, for example. Invest another five minutes in doing what you have to do and rest five minutes later. Do not be afraid to make mistakes. "Your satisfaction is higher if you resolve errors than if you just do good," he knows from experience. "I do not mean that all kinds of things must go wrong or to let things go - but have no fear of making a mistake." And above all: keep the fun in it. "That gives us energy. People like to complain, but it only costs energy. Keep smiling."
Time for a drink. The evening was hugely busy - both by the young people and by the 'old guard'
After the presentations, and the invitation for the next meeting of Horticulture Youth Oostland and Youth Westland Horticulture, it was time for a drink.
See the photo report here.
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