Inspiring customers, strengthening trust, and sustainably expanding our ranges
Management approach: GRI 301; GRI 418
The Tchibo brand lives by the trust and enthusiasm of our customers. We can only continue to be successful if we strengthen this trust and keep kindling this enthusiasm. This is why we maintain a resolute focus on our customers, highest product quality, and uncompromising consumer protection. On the path to becoming a 100% sustainable business, we are continuously expanding our range of sustainable products and individual services, and are intensifying communication on sustainability, thereby promoting responsible consumption.
Tchibo represents a unique business model: we combine the highest expertise in roasted coffee, coffee enjoyment in our branded coffee bars with an innovative weekly changing range of consumer goods with services including travel and mobile communications. We have operations in nine countries, including more than 1,000 Tchibo shops, approximately 22,300 supermarket Depots (concessions), and a number of national online shops.
As a family-owned company, we laid the foundations for a pronounced customer focus more than 65 years ago. It is a core value of our corporate culture to this day, and firmly anchored in the Tchibo DNA. We strive to ensure that our customers are not just satisfied, but inspired. “A new world every week” – we want our customers to see this claim confirmed on a daily basis: with attractive products and a unique shopping and service experience that encompasses all sales channels – from Tchibo shops to concessions (Depots in supermarkets) to online shops. We will continue to live up to this claim and keep surprising our customers with new products and services. At the same time, we are making our product lines more and more sustainable and intensifying our sustainability communications, because our path to becoming a 100% sustainable business can only be successfully pursued together with our customers. We build their awareness and enthusiasm for our sustainable products and their advantages – and thus provide impulses for sustainable consumption.
The trust of our customers is a cornerstone of our success. Because this trust requires commitment and reliability, interacting with our customers is very important to us: we listen to them, are open to criticism, review requests and suggestions, and adjust our actions accordingly.
Setting priorities: further development of the priorities
We are continuously developing our sustainability management. Based on a materiality analysis, in 2012 we determined the following focus topics: ‘Customer focus and service’, ‘Product quality and safety’, and ‘Consumer and data privacy’. In 2017, we conducted a variety of stakeholder dialogues, the results of which are incorporated into the further development of our main focus areas. In this way, we are focusing our efforts even more on promoting responsible consumption by making our product ranges and services increasingly sustainable and intensifying sustainability communications.
Challenges: retail in the age of digitisation
The market we operate in is evolving steadily. First and foremost, digitalisation is changing customers’ buying behaviour and expectations. It leads to more complex forms of customer relationship, and at the same time opening up new possibilities for further developing our services in a customer-focused manner. Against this backdrop, we are addressing four key challenges in the market and are developing viable solutions to effectively address them.
Ensure customer loyalty: In general, customer loyalty decreases in as prices and offerings become 100% transparent through online retail. To continue to inspire our customers and win over new ones in this market environment, Tchibo offers the best quality and strives to keep offering innovative products and first-class services.
Customer enthusiasm: Digitalisation opens up new possibilities for us to further develop our services. Speed, both in delivery and in communication, is a decisive factor here. However, the basis on which we build our offerings always remains the same: a personal, trustful relationship with our customers.
Dialogue: Social media channels open up an opportunity for customers to communicate their opinions to us directly and quickly. This form of direct dialogue is exceedingly valuable to us. We can better align ourselves to the needs of our customers and at the same time openly discuss critical feedback. With this form of honest and transparent communication, we also fulfil the expectations of customers in terms of transparency, openness and depth of information, particularly in the area of sustainability communication.
Responsible consumption: In the course of expanding our sustainable product lines, we also fulfil many customers’ desire for responsibly manufactured products – as indicated by studies and customer surveys. We focus on coffee, cotton and viscose textiles, furniture and handicraft utensils made of wood and cellulose, as well as shoes, bags and accessories made of leather. The fact that we are making steady progress in this is attested to by the German Sustainability Award Foundation naming us as Germany's Most Sustainable Large Company in November 2016. In order to keep living up to this claim, Tchibo continues its intensive involvement in the coffee and consumer goods supply chains.
Inspiring customers with resolute customer focus
Customers are at the centre of our considerations and actions. We put this principle into action every day. It has been anchored in our Tchibo DNA since the company was founded. We offer our customers excellent service management, communicate openly and honestly, and always consider aspects of sustainability and innovation as we continuously develop our offers and services. We also keep a close eye on the customer’s needs and wishes and fulfil them with a growing range of individual services and with comprehensive communications. For instance, we responded promptly to customers’ changing buying behaviour during digital transformation, by expanding our multi-channel system into a cross-channel system. It connects our sales channels – Tchibo shops, Depots and the internet – in such a way that customers can combine them as needed for order, pick-up and exchange. An important element of our comprehensive customer focus is an open, transparent dialogue with our customers that does not ignore or eschew critical topics. For us, customer focus also means raising our customers’ awareness of our environmentally and socially compatible product ranges, and get them excited about sustainable consumption.
At our "Tchibo Green Carpet" event in 2017, we presented our first fashion collection featuring ECO-LOGIC cotton, and entered into an exchange with various stakeholders such as customers, journalists, bloggers, Tchibo employees, and our partners from India.
Transparent, open exchange with customers
Our communication with customers is characterised by transparency and open dialogue: whether on the product itself, in our shops and concessions (Depots), on our websites, in the Tchibo magazine, or on social media channels. 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 also provides the framework for the communication, labelling and declaration of environmental aspects.
We put our claim of open dialogue into practice by seeking an exchange with our customers and other consumers using various communication tools. We interact directly with customers and consumers on various social networks, such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube or our Tchibo Corporate Blog, where we receive valuable feedback on offers and activities. To professionally manage our Tchibo bloggers and influencer relations, in 2015 we created the new position of ‘Blogger & Influencer Relations’. The Tchibo Community on our www.tchibo.de website is a section for discovery, participation, experimenting and exchanging ideas. These forms of dialogue and service increase customer satisfaction and enthusiasm. In 2017, we came second out of 324 companies in a customer survey conducted by the market researchers at ServiceValue, with a score of 2.05 (grades range from 1-6, with 1 being the highest possible score, equivalent to an A).
Highest product quality and uncompromising consumer protection
We seek to offer our customers top product quality at fair prices at all times, so we always have our items produced according to consistent, stringent standards. We see legal requirements as minimum requirements, which we go far above and beyond in many aspects. For example, in coffee we voluntarily comply with the International Food Standards (IFS 6). We test the quality of our products ourselves, as well as with the assistance of independent and accredited external institutes. We stipulate clear requirements for safety, functionality, workmanship and materials. Our Social and Environmental Code of Conduct (SCoC) additionally specifies social and environmental standards for the production of our consumer goods – because the Tchibo quality promise applies not only to product features, but also to our ethical standards.
Our comprehensive data protection management guarantees a careful and strictly confidential handling of all the information entrusted to us by our customers and employees. Here too, we go beyond the legal requirements.
Promoting responsible consumption
On the path to becoming a 100% sustainable business, we systematically work to offer our customers ever more products that have been manufactured in an ecologically and socially compatible way. This corresponds our customers’ wishes, as surveys show: according to our Tchibo Experts customer survey 2014, sustainable production is important for 65 % of respondents. A 2017 ServicePlan survey confirms that about 70% of Germans already consider sustainability in their purchase decision. Prerequisites for promoting responsible consumption include not only a ready supply of sustainable products, but also easily-understood sustainability communication. It provides customers with a sound basis for decision-making and contributes significantly to increasing customer uptake/acceptance of the products – e.g., through the Tchibo ‘GUT GEMACHT’ logo. Our customers’ choice to buy sustainable products is one factor that determines how quickly we can achieve our goal of becoming a 100% sustainable business.