I remember my very first client when I started out in this business in 1995. I was so pleased and excited at getting the contract and the fact that someone was willing to trust a complete newcomer that I made sure everything was not just 100%, but 120% perfect. I not only supervised the whole process from the first drawing to the final build but I was OBSESSED with it. I bet I drove everybody mad with me over their shoulders all the time. But I must have done something right because the final result was stunning. I still have a little glow of pride when I think about it. And the client must have been satisfied because he’s still one of my most valued customers to this day.
Now the experience I went through back in 1995 was a salutary one because it formed my philosophy. I would never be satisfied with anything that was less than perfect. I would treat every customer as though they were my ONLY customer. And that is what has contributed to the success of Bentley Design.
In 2008 when everyone was hit by the recession (us included) and new clients were as rare as hen’s teeth, the fact that I had loyal customers who used our services year on year, meant that I was able to withstand the storm. I’d always treated them as special and I found that when I needed them, they stuck by me and that experience has stayed with me and informs what I do to this day. Certainly, like many other companies, we had to trim our sails a bit but once the worst was past, we have gone from strength to strength. We have a substantial team of regular staff with the ability to call on many other trusted specialists when necessary. Two years ago we moved into a new, large 28,000 sq ft warehouse, workshop and office space which meant that we can design build and store our stands under one roof. And we have the latest, most up-to-date equipment so that however complex a design, we can see it through to completion.
Another feature of my company is that it’s a family affair: my son Ben and daughter Chloe work for me. Here’s a picture of us with my wife Samantha at a family party last year.
Now the big advantage of working as a family is that we all know what we’re doing (and I get to reinforce the company’s philosophy morning noon and night!!). Seriously though, it is a huge advantage. They say that blood’s thicker than water and I know I can count on them one hundred percent to do what we do best: i.e. treat every customer as totally unique and special. In practical terms, having a project manager for each client who is in regular touch with them throughout the whole process means we can actually do just that.
And what’s more, treating the client as special has other advantages: many of my customers have become genuine friends. By that I mean people I socialise with, go on holiday with. Not all of them of course: it’s not a condition of employment (!) – but it does make me realise that I am doing something right.
Vince Roe, Managing Director