This is the story of a gift from heaven.
But it is also the story of a challenge which has been renewed, 34 years later.
But let’s go in order, back to 1985.
Fioravante Berto decided to move the axis of the company’s activity towards the final customer as up until then the company had been exclusively subcontractors. At the time it was brave decision, a challenge for everyone and everything….. and only later, much later, did we realise how right he was.
With unimaginable sacrifice, the BertO company participated in the Fair in Milan and for the first time they offered their products directly to the final customer.
And, as in any happy fairy-tale, the first customers appeared, just as Ante had predicted.
“When there’s a customer, there’s a market”
someone once said, and in fact, 34 years later, we are here to give testimony to that. But we are not quite ready to come back to the present: let’s go back to that day in 1985 when that first customer made that first order.
An armchair, a green bergère armchair.
After producing the armchair, Fioravante personally went to deliver it in Milan.
Good morning, I’m Berto here to deliver your armchair. What floor are you on?
Ninth floor. Be careful because the lift is quite small.
In fact it was small, too small, and the bergère just wouldn’t fit in. But it needed more than this to stop Fioravante Berto, who, loading the heavy armchair onto his shoulders, climbed up on foot to the ninth floor of that apartment building in Milan.
When he arrived he went into the flat, placed the armchair on the floor and was just about to thank the Altmanns and leave when the voice of Mrs. Altmann stopped him right on the doorstep: “I don’t like it, I don’t like the backrest, not like this with the buttons, I’d prefer it plain”.
Fioravante listened and without a seconds hesitation he replied
“That’s no problem, Mrs. Altmann. I’ll take it back to the laboratory and make the necessary modifications”.
“Also the seat, the cushion.. perhaps it would be better to lower it a bit”. (This was the voice of Mr. Altmann, the husband, who in the meantime had tried to sit on the bergère, finding that under his weight it was obviously a few centimetres too high).
With a smile which hid the pain in his aching back, our founder hoisted the bergère onto his shoulders, said goodbye and went back down the 18 ramps of stairs to his van and drove back to the laboratory to modify, starting almost from scratch, Mr. and Mrs. Altmann’s armchair.
34 years have passed since that shining example of customer service, of total personalisation and insuperable customer care. And in those 34 years, many things have happened.
This man, the protagonist of this story and co-founder of our company, is no longer with us to laughingly tell the story of how he served our company’s first customer.
But sometimes we can still feel his presence. Now that we are more numerous, bigger and more well-known, we still feel that he is here beside us accompanying us in our daily activity.
Now that our laboratory has evolved into an important and appreciated presence on the market we still seem to see his easy-going talent, always a bit ahead of everyone else.
Now that our participation in fairs has become a sophisticated and proven sales system, it seems that he is still here helping us in our relationship with our customers.
Now that the BertO shop in Meda has become just the first of a series of important showrooms, it seems to us that he is still here repeating over and over again “we can do better”.
And every day we ask ourselves:
Are we capable of doing that which Ante demonstrated to us that day?.
Are we up to his standard to satisfy our customers, in positivity in our relationships, in problem-solving?
And we certainly asked ourselves this when Mr. and Mrs. Altmann arrived at the door of our showroom in Meda on 3rd October 2019. Yes, Elisabetta and Fritz, come to order a new bed.
We could almost hear Ante laughing, more amused than ever, and in our hearts we thanked him for all that he still continues to teach us.
This is what we mean when we say that “someone up there loves us” There, on the ninth floor and even higher.