Anders is calm and focused. There are no signs that he has been up since the crack of dawn or that he has just flown from the north of Sweden to head office in Stockholm. We are sitting outside at the Lindetorp carpark, which opened under Q-Park management before the summer, and which offers terrace areas with benches and flowerbeds between the parking spaces. After a day of meetings, Anders is glad to get some fresh air and feel the cool late summer breeze.
"What comes to mind when you look out at the carpark here that was completed in the spring?"
"International", replies Anders. "Modern and international."
He answers quickly and naturally. As if it is obvious. He laughs a lot and our conversation sometimes drifts into reflections and opinions.
"How did you arrive at Q-Park?"
"I worked with sales for thirty-five years, for companies such as Coca Cola and in the security sector. I then ran my own company and sold video surveillance systems to ICA supermarkets. Then I started working for Q-Park as a site sales manager".
"You have been promoted in your managerial role since then?"
"Yes, but the title is not that important to me. What matters is that I can work with customers and do good business. It probably has a little bit to do with me being a northerner," adds Anders with a chuckle: "we don’t change our jobs or our customers quickly. In the north, honesty always permeates our business and personal relations. I can’t let anyone down, because II might encounter them outside the office: in the street, in a shop. During all the years that I’ve worked for Q-Park, I’ve never lost a single customer. I take good care of them".
"Your colleagues describe you as being very committed and engaged – do you agree?"
"Yes, I am always available. Q-Park gets its revenue from its customers. So I take care to ensure that our customers are always at the heart of what we do. If a customer phones outside of business hours, I’ll always answer and do my best to help," he explains. "If a customer contacts me at eight o’clock on a Saturday evening it is probably something that needs to be sorted out by eight o’clock on Monday morning.”
"What's the best thing about working at Q-Park?"
"It's a varied job with friendly and knowledgeable colleagues. I have good relationships with my customers. I am very proud of the fact that none of my customers have left during my time here.”
"What is a typical day like?"
"There are no typical days," he responds: "But one thing that’s constant is that I have telephone and e-mail contact with my customers every single day. My job is not to ensure that Q-Park is constantly issuing parking fines – it’s to make sure that everything runs smoothly at our parking facilities. To ensure there are no vehicles blocking exits and that no-one has to spend longer than necessary looking for a space. I dedicate a lot of time to looking after my customers and staff. Replacing them is costly and takes up a lot of time and energy. Then I also have lots of negotiations to carry out and lots of reports to write".
"Your working area is huge in geographic terms: all of Norrland".
"That’s right", Anders laughs. "All of Norrland”.
"What do you do when you’re not working?"
"My son is a keen swimmer and we play golf together. "Up in the north, in Norrland, there’s always time for the golf course, and if it rains, we just wait until later or play another day," he says happily. "My wife and I are very active and we have a holiday home where we spend the summers. In the winter we love to ski. What we miss in the summer we make up after the snow comes".
"What challenges do you see ahead, in your private life, and at work?”
"My private life is very focused on my family. And as for my work, I will stay with Q-Park. I want to develop my customers and staff and help them to thrive. We look after what we achieve each day". He pauses for a second and then adds: "It all comes down to good relationships".Then he laughs, his warm, distinctively northern laugh, as we head back into the office. Staff manager Tiina gives Anders a hug as he walks in. Q-Park CEO Peder insists on giving him a lift into town so that he can get to the airport in good time to catch his plane. Back home to Norrland.