Every customer of LCL Data Centers has at least one telephone number assigned to a hotkey: that of Katrin Ceulemans. As service manager, she is always available for customers who have questions or other issues. She goes about her daily work with great enjoyment and passion, with customer excellence always coming first.
“I know the background story of a lot of customers: how many children they have, where they go on holiday and what their hobbies are.”
The wide-ranging interest that Katrin has for LCL's customers is also reflected in her work history. “I have always liked variety and wanted to try out everything. For example, I have worked in the cultural sector, I was the assistant to a bank director, and I worked as finance manager at the Catholic University of Leuven.” She ended up at LCL as an interim operations assistant. “I was the assistant to operations manager Abdellah Mahlous. There was such a great atmosphere in the team that I really enjoyed going to work every day. So I was happy when Abdellah asked me if I wanted to lead the customer service section. This enabled me to work full on with customers and gain management experience. I grabbed the opportunity with both hands.”
In her position as service manager, Katrin can make full use of her organisational skills. “We always have several projects running simultaneously on our sites. I do the planning for my team and the work they have to perform and then coordinate this with our customers.” Katrin is the central point of contact for all customers. Instead of having to call reception first, they can reach her directly for anything they need. “I work according to the philosophy: treat others as you would like to be treated yourself. That's not hard for me, because that's how I am. Conversely, I also see it as my duty to give LCL a face at all times. In meetings with new customers, I involve as many people as possible from my team so as to enable customers to get an idea of the person who is helping them.”
The service team, not including Katrin, consists of five people. “Among other things, our team carries out the power, monitoring and connectivity cabling, installs racks, builds suites and resolves connectivity issues. We also assist our facility colleagues and conduct weekly tours to ensure the safety, security and cleanliness of all sites. We do this with Amor, the field supervisor, Noah and Hysni, the connectivity experts, and Marc. I always call him the Marc-gyver because he is just as inventive as the character MacGyver from the series of the same name. And a few weeks ago, we welcomed Steve as a new member of the team. He will be an all-round player in the field of connectivity and customer installations.” Together with the operations assistant, the project managers and the operations managers of the facility team, they form the operations department, ensuring the quality and security that LCL stands for.
Every day, Katrin proves that, as service manager, you have to be able to switch quickly to guarantee that quality and security. “My predecessor always said that you have to work on the double, chop, come on,” says Katrin, laughing. "I always know exactly how my day starts, but never know how it will continue. Customers can call throughout the day with a variety of issues. Sometimes I send colleagues out to assist customers further, other times I jump in the car myself to visit the customer on site. You have to be able to remain aware of the structure in order to respond flexibly and quickly."
Communicating in a proactive way is perhaps her most important task, says Katrin. “Small changes in temperature, humidity or power consumption can have a major impact on the installations. That's why we actively monitor everything, so that we can provide a fast response and keep the customer informed if something goes wrong. Also, when we carry out work or have to resolve an issue, I always keep in touch with the customer accordingly. First of all, we conduct a risk analysis. I then fine-tune this with the customer, after which we draw up a plan of action together. If this is done with proper consultation and the customer is adequately informed, things will always run smoothly.”
Now that LCL is growing, they are busy automating. “But that should never be at the expense of the human touch. On the contrary: automation frees up more time for an even more personal approach. With us, it's very much an ongoing story. We also involve customers in the improvement process by actively asking them for feedback.” Customer excellence is clearly paramount at LCL. But isn't that true for every company? “A lot of companies simply talk the talk. But LCL also walks the walk. Like a chameleon, we adapt to deliver the best results for each customer. I will never forget the complimentary email from Andy van der Eeken, Customer Service Manager at Fujitsu, which said:
"I don't do this often, maybe not enough, but I would like to take the time to congratulate you on the atmosphere and especially the excellent customer focus that prevails at LCL. The team we work with is absolutely brilliant! Nothing we ask is ever too much. You rarely see such customer-friendliness nowadays, and it's something to be envious of. Make sure you maintain this culture!’”
While Katrin initially thought she would work at LCL for three months as an interim, she has now been there for three years. And she feels she’s in the perfect place. “If you’re good at something, LCL offers you the opportunity to develop this further. I am now going to learn AutoCAD, so that I can deliver professional plans to our customers even faster.” The growth of LCL itself also presents a number of challenges. Katrin’s team will also grow, and she is determined to continue to leave her personal stamp on all operational activities. “We now have such a good basis that we can only continue to grow in the right direction,” Katrin concludes.