Coffee break with the DACH team: Nadja Eder (SEO Content Marketer) and Dirk Muschol (Customer Success Manager).
6 min

Coffee break with team DACH: Nadja & Dirk

For today’s coffee break we sit down to speak with our DACH team: Nadja Eder (SEO Content Marketer) and Dirk Muschol (Customer Success Manager). Grab a hot drink of your choice and discover the differences in business and culture between Dutchies and Germans!

Nadja Eder – SEO Content Marketer DACH

  • Lives in Amsterdam
  • From Graz, Austria
  • 25 years old
  • Usually takes her coffee black, but now in summer with ice and oat milk

Dirk Muschol – Customer Success Manager Benelux & DACH

  • Lives in Zandvoort
  • From Monschau, Germany
  • 33 years old
  • Discovered the perfect Flat White in a café near Zandvoort train station.

How did you end up in the Netherlands and at TimeChimp?

Nadja came to the Netherlands in 2021 for an internship during the last semester of her journalism and communication studies. “After completing a six-month-long SEO internship at an international recruitment agency near Amsterdam, they offered me a job as a SEO copywriter. I stayed there for a year, but then I wanted to do more than just write SEO texts. At that time, Fred (our CEO) contacted me via LinkedIn and asked if I would be interested in a job at TimeChimp.” That was in summer of 2022 and Nadja has been part of the TimeChimp team since October.

At the age of 22, Dirk moved to Vlissingen for a 2.5-year business management study programme: “There I discovered my love for the North Sea, which really tied me to the Netherlands. I have worked for different companies in community management, customer service and account management. I also worked as a surf instructor for a while. In October 2022 I had my first interview at TimeChimp. It felt like a great fit straight away and also the atmosphere in the office felt good, so I started as a Customer Success Manager.”

What is so special about the German market and what opportunities are there for a Dutch company like TimeChimp?

Nadja explains that the step into the German market is more than just translating everything. “For example, there are certain legal requirements for invoicing as well as other things that are regulated in a slightly different way in Germany. But I think we have good chances on the German market, as time tracking is often still done in Excel. However, the challenge will be to convince German customers of our cloud-based solutions. We are currently working on changing our tone of voice and figuring out a communication strategy fit for the German market.” For Nadja, her Austrian origin is not a problem when working for Germany. “Of course there are differences between Austria and Germany, but we still speak the same language and have a lot in common. It’s a bit like a relationship between siblings: Both have individual personalities, but a similar environment shapes them.”

Dirk tells us from his experience, and he believes that there are enormous opportunities on the German market: “Compared to the Netherlands, Germany is still lacking a bit in terms of technology and digitization. This for example can be seen with contactless payment methods or the use of apps and software instead of spreadsheets. A common reaction when talking to customers is: ‘Excel works well, so why should we switch?’ This is where our challenge lies: We need to convince German customers of the advantages our cloud-based solutions can bring. ”

What are TimeChimp’s ambitions for Germany?

Regarding the expectations for TimeChimp Germany, Nadja quotes our Head of Commerce, Luuk: “We want to be the best and most popular time tracking software in Germany.” So there is definitely no lack of ambition. This means a busy summer for Nadja: “I was looking for a more challenging job and that’s exactly what I got. (laughs) We are currently focussing on brand positioning and optimization of the German website in order to adapt a more refined tone of voice.”

Dirk adds: “As Customer Success Managers, we naturally want to build a strong relationship and reputation with our new customers in Germany right from the start. We want to win their trust. We are a Dutch company, and we are aware that Germans prefer to do business with other Germans. So we will have to prove ourselves with an excellent product and great customer service.”

What is the biggest difference between the Dutch and Germans?

Dirk is fluent in Dutch and therefore also works in the Dutch Customer Success Team. He reports that at TimeChimp he is already in touch with a small group of German customers. What are the things he notices in his communication with the Dutch and Germans? “Many questions are similar, of course. But Germans are generally more formal. For example, text messages from German customers are often much longer and contain very formal language. During phone calls, both groups focus on the features of the tool. However, the informal part of the conversation is generally shorter with Germans, while with Dutch people you sometimes talk for a few minutes about private matters.”

Nadja notes that the atmosphere at work is also very different. “The hierarchy in a German office tends to be much stricter than in the Netherlands. And I feel like Austria is even more conservative than Germany. However, this does not mean that there is no sense of hierarchy here in the Netherlands. But I can have a relaxed lunch with our CEO or casual conversations with my manager over a beer. Also, the concept of ‘Vrijdagmiddagborrel’ (Friday afternoon drinks) does not really exist in German-speaking countries.”

Dirk adds: “In Germany, employees sometimes stay in the same company for decades and change jobs less frequently. This makes the working culture less flexible. Here, companies are more open to change, and contributions of individuals are more appreciated. It makes working in the Netherlands more challenging, but you also have more impact on the growth of your organisation.”

Apart from that, Nadja and Dirk agree that the Dutch and Germans are actually quite similar, especially compared to other countries in Europe.

Abroad the Dutch are notorious for their directness, don’t you think that’s rude?

Nadja on Dutch directness: “I think Germans are just as direct as the Dutch, but Germans are just more formal.”

Dirk adds: “That’s right. I once had a job interview where the Dutch interviewer after ten minutes already said that I was not the right candidate for this specific position. However, there may be other suitable positions in the future. In Germany, such an interview is usually continued, and I would have received the same rejection via e-mail afterwards.”

What are your personal challenges?

For Nadja this is her first job with “actual” responsibility. “Of course, it was a challenge at first. I had the basic skills and knowledge, but I still lacked the experience. However, at TimeChimp I have been given enough trust and space to grow. I learn a lot every day, and I am realising that I can handle my responsibilities better than I initially thought.”

Dirk enjoys talking to entrepreneurs, HR managers and project managers from different industries. “I used to work for software companies in the catering and fitness industry. Now I dive into different business processes and can help companies to set up the tool in the best possible way. I also want to take my Dutch to an even higher level and look forward to getting off to a good start in Germany.”

What do you do in your spare time, and how often do you visit family abroad?

Nadja says that her family had to get used to the fact that she now lives in the Netherlands: “Unfortunately, I can’t attend every family occasion, so I usually plan my home visits to Austria around the holidays. But I really like my life in Amsterdam and love to spend time here. I enjoy going to museums, being creative and using my photography skills. I am currently helping a musician friend with the design of her new album cover and took some portrait shots of her. Also, I recently started a boxing course and have a lot of fun with that. Otherwise, I like to go out with friends and just explore the city. I don’t really have a favourite bar or restaurant, but lately we are regulars at Skatecafe in Noord.”

Dirk has been living in the Netherlands for some time and sees his parents regularly: “It just so happens that my parents come this afternoon with their motorhome and stay for a few days. I also regularly go to Monschau because I sometimes miss the ‘mountains’. (laughs) My love for surfing, the sea, and the dunes developed here in the Netherlands. I really love the sea and even today I went swimming before work. On Fridays, I give surf lessons to children, which is why I only work from Monday to Thursday.”

Do you have any recommendations for books, games, films, or series?

Nadja has three book recommendations: “I’m currently reading ‘The Lady in Gold’ by Anne-Marie O’Connor, and it’s already one of my favourites. It tells the extraordinary story of Gustav Klimt’s masterpiece ‘Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer’ and how it was stolen by the Nazis. I also recently read ‘Product-led SEO’ by Eli Schwartz, which gave me a new and interesting perspective on SEO in the customer journey. I also recommend the book ‘Surrounded by Idiots’ by Thomas Erikson. Obviously you should take the division of people into four categories with a grain of salt, but the basic idea is very interesting.”

Dirk also has some recommendations: “At TimeChimp we have a library, and I started the Dutch version of ‘The 4-hour Work Week’ by Timothy Ferriss to improve my language skills. A book I found intriguing and helped me with my every day tasks is ‘How to Calm Your Mind’ by Chris Bailey. It’s about sorting out the flood of information we receive every day and switching between communicative and analytical thinking. And a novel I have read long ago but still recommend is ‘Nothing New on the Western Front’ by Erich Maria Remarque. The book describes the life of a soldier in the trenches during the First World War. Recently, the book was also filmed by Netflix. It makes you really grateful that we can buy food in the supermarket and go to a nice office every day to earn our money.”

Wanna join the team? Check out our open vacancies and send us your CV!

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