Transparent information, open dialogue
We communicate wherever customers need information: on the product, in our Tchibo shops and supermarket concessions (Depots), on our websites, in the Tchibo Magazine, and increasingly via social media channels. We place a great priority on transparent communication and an open dialogue that involves customers in designing our product ranges and doesn’t evade even critical issues.
Our customer communications revolve around our products and their benefits. We always take care to ensure that our statements are honest and credible and use clear, understandable language. Regardless of whether we are providing information about coffee, consumer goods or services, our communications follow uniform principles, for which we have formulated clear requirements in our Tchibo DNA and Brand Manual. They ensure that our communications are easily recognised and always meet our high requirements. It goes without saying that we adhere to the principles of competition law in our advertising and marketing communications, and avoid misleading information. We base our product-related environmental communications on the nine principles of the ISO 14020 standard, which provides the framework for the communication, labelling and declaration of environmental aspects. (Sustainability Communications)
Coffee price increases: open communication about a sensitive topic
We feel it is important to inform our customers honestly about sensitive consumer topics – such as increases in the price of our coffees. Green coffee is traded in dollars. In early 2015 the strong dollar led to increases in our retail prices for coffee. We explained the reason for the price increase to our customers in our Tchibo shops and Depots as well as online. As promised, we had reduced our coffee prices again in early 2012 and at the end of 2013 thanks to lower green coffee prices – this, too, we communicated to our customers.
Social networks: direct interaction and valuable feedback
Our customers can also find us on the social networks Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube. This gives us an opportunity to enter into direct dialogue and obtain positive – as well as critical – feedback about our services and activities. This feedback is very valuable to us and serves as inspiration for new product offers or weekly ranges, or as a sensor to reveal potential for improvement.
Our own Tchibo corporate blog plays a very important role in this respect. Besides exciting and up-to-the-minute topics we also use it to address critical aspects that are being talked about on social networks. Tchibo employees from many different departments and areas of expertise are regularly cited in the blog – often in dialogue with NGO representatives and other stakeholders. One blog post in early 2015 discussed the extent to which the colour schemes and advertising of children's products promote gender stereotypes. This was triggered by numerous critical comments about Tchibo offering blue astronaut bedding and pink princess underwear for children. In an interview, the responsible Tchibo product managers took a stand and explained our position on this issue in detail. The discussion continued with many controversial posts in the comments section of the blog post. Meanwhile, in February 2015, we received a lot of positive feedback regarding our announcement that we would no longer buy Angora products. In a blog interview, an expert from PETA and a Tchibo representative explained the rationale behind our decision.
We have won several awards for our social media activities: the Tchibo blog came first in the ‘Best Corporate Blog’ category of the 2014 OnlineStar Internet audience awards, making it one of Germany’s three most popular corporate blogs for the third time in a row. Tchibo is one of the “most visible companies in the social web” alongside two other companies, according to a 2014 survey by the Searchmetrics service that analysed the social network presences of the ten best-selling online shops.
‘Tchibo ideas’ – Customers help develop products
An innovative example of actively involving our customers is a participatory platform called ‘Tchibo ideas’, which we set up in 2008. This online platform is aimed at everyone who wants to help develop new ideas for our product range. In 2013, we further developed ‘Tchibo ideas’ to more intensively involve consumers as well. Since then, the focus has been various actions that anyone can participate in. We invite customers to workshops to Hamburg, ask them about their needs in online surveys, or to vote on new product ideas. We also regularly offer them the opportunity to test new products before they go on regular sale. We consider the detailed feedback received from ‘Tchibo ideas’ in the further development of our product ranges. In 2014, we also gave young designers from the Brand Academy, a private college for design and communications, the chance to develop packaging ideas for ‘Mein Privat Kaffee’. Our customers were then asked to vote on which package they liked best, with the winning idea to go on sale as a limited edition during the course of 2015.