Dedicated to the company for 19 years, head of Training/Sales Jacqueline Di Marco is faced with challenges on several fronts. In addition to dealing with the demands of everyday working life, she is also dedicated to training young people. For she believes they are our future.
Jacqueline Di Marco, you have been working for Confiserie Bachmann for 19 years. How come you never get tired of your job?
Jacqueline Di Marco: Because it’s never boring. I’m a member of the Executive Board and the Board of Trustees, yet you’ll find me in both the office and our specialist stores. I see myself as a team player and love being on the front line supporting our staff, which is why I’m only too happy to lend a hand.
As head of the Sales department, what is your favourite product?
Every morning, I grab a coffee and a sandwich for my break. I need this to get going. We have so many great-tasting products, I’m always sampling them and, where necessary, offering feedback.
Besides the quality of the products, which aspects are most important for sales?
A lot has changed over the years. Changes in society are also effecting changes in our specialist stores. Generally, sales have become much more fast paced and demanding.
In what way?
Today’s customers are demanding increasingly high-quality products and an ever-greater product range. We are now seeing a growing demand in the niche sector for products such as vegan or lactose-free. That’s why we are focused on offering our customers maximum value for money at all times as well as expert advice and impeccable service. This makes the role of our sales staff even more important, as they are the hallmark of our company.
«Constructive criticism helps us to improve and cater better to the needs and suggestions of our customers.»
Do you find you have to take more criticism nowadays?
As they say, criticism is the highest form of praise; it may not be flattering, but it makes us better. Constructive criticism helps us to improve and cater better to the needs and suggestions of our customers. All feedback is taken seriously and used to derive appropriate measures. Our staff are also trained on how best to deal with such criticism on the front line. The welfare of both customers and staff is very important to me.
Besides numerous other tasks, you are also responsible for apprenticeship training in sales. Confiserie Bachmann regularly trains apprentices. Why?
Every year, we offer between seven and ten apprenticeships including three-year EFZ (Swiss federal VET diploma) and twoyear EBA (Swiss federal vocational certificate) apprenticeships. We currently have around 25 apprentices in sales. Here at Confiserie Bachmann, we know that by investing in today’s youngsters, we are harvesting the fruits of tomorrow. Young people are our future, which is why they are so important to me.
What do you look for in potential candidates?
Many different things. Grades are not the most important criterion. We are much more interested in the person behind the application. Key criteria for an apprenticeship with Confiserie Bachmann include charisma, friendliness, politeness and keenness as well as manual and organisational skills.
Youngsters applying for a position are often insecure and inexperienced. How do you find the right people?
Those wanting to do their apprenticeship with us complete a five-day trial apprenticeship. This has proven to be very effective, as experience shows that people are incapable of keeping up a pretence for five days. We use this time to get to know the youngsters, as well as their strengths and weaknesses. Those who manage to impress us during the trial apprenticeship are in with a good chance of being offered a full apprenticeship.
This appears to be a winning tactic.
Most definitely. On completing their apprenticeship, our trainees are not only adults, they are also ready and mature enough for the job market. This year, we had another ten trainees pass their final exams and seven of these will remain in the company. Of this we can be proud.
Let’s talk a little about your private life. I’ve heard you’re never bored at home either ...
(laughs) On the contrary! I used to always refer to the business as “my baby”. While I sometimes still do, a husband and two children have meanwhile come along. That’s why I’ve now started to work part-time – which can be considered quite an achievement for a senior executive. This is another positive aspect of Confiserie Bachmann. Incidentally, my husband is also partially responsible for me being hired by Confiserie Bachmann in 1998. He was the one who helped me compile my application – for which I am grateful to him to this day.