Back to Career Blog

Story by Ilja Eijkhoudt – Inside Sales Executive – Italy

Working in Sales – Matching our services with our customers’ needs
Story by Ilja Eijkhoudt – Inside Sales Executive – Milan office in Italy

My story is probably not the most common one, but it definitely has been a fascinating journey so far.

How it all started
I was born and raised in the Netherlands but chose to move to Italy to rebuild my life in this beautiful country. It was challenging to master the Italian language and get to know the culture, since it is quite different from – some even say completely opposite to – the Dutch culture.

Samskip supported me and helped me to acclimate. They provided me with private online Italian lessons and listened to me when I had difficulties understanding certain behaviour and cultural traits. In return, I demonstrated traits of the Dutch culture in the Italian office. Sometimes it caused uproar, but we have created a good balance between both cultural traits. I was the first foreigner in the Italian office.

My professional route at Samskip
I started my career at Samskip in the Customer Services department and followed that career path for five years. I recently got the opportunity to grow into a sales role. This enables me to get in contact with the Rotterdam office more often. My manager is based in Rotterdam. Usually my contact with the Dutch office goes via Skype, but sometimes I get to travel to the Netherlands or my manager joins me in Italy.

I studied business in Rotterdam and in my sales role, I get the chance to put the knowledge I gained during University into practice. Samskip gives me the freedom to make my own mistakes and to learn from them. In return, I take responsibility for my results. I do not only grow within the business, but also as a person.

Working in Customer Services
Our customers expect a great service. As a Customer Services Coordinator you will be the first person to experience the specific needs of customers, and you have to listen carefully to understand their needs and expectations.
When you are aware of their needs, it is up to you to find optimal solutions for the problems and to satisfy the customers’ specific needs. You will not do this alone, but together with colleagues from the Transport Planning, Sales and other departments and offices in Europe.

Today’s job: what my days look like as a sales professional
In my current job, the customer is the main focus. I am always looking for ways to increase sales with both existing and new customers, based on the priorities and targets that Samskip has set. It is important to maintain good relationships with our existing customers and to understand their needs and potential so we can match our services with what they need.

I talk to my colleagues in the Netherlands and my customers in Italy, and I negotiate with both to bring Samskip and the customer together, ensuring that expectations on both sides are met and cultural differences are overcome where needed.

It is a unique experience, living the life I want in Italy while still being in touch with my Dutch roots. Working at Samskip? It is challenging, dynamic and enjoyable.