Top priority: customer expectations, wishes and concerns
As a core value of our corporate culture, customer focus is firmly anchored in the Tchibo DNA. With this in mind, we work daily to ensure that our customers are not just satisfied but inspired: through attractive products and excellent service management across all sales channels.
We can only succeed in doing this if we know, fulfil and even exceed customer expectations. Online shopping in particular has changed customer behaviour in recent years and has increased their expectations. This is why Tchibo connects the on- and offline worlds in a cross-channel system that lets customers shop even more conveniently, and keeps developing its services. We see customer focus as a holistic process, with many interlocking cogs – from product management, purchasing and logistics, to customer consultation, comprehensive customer service, and warranty and repair services. Our top priority is to constantly delight our customers.
To this end, we regularly make improvements to our processes, e.g. the repair process or our customer information systems. In 2017, for example, we laid the technical basis for identifying customer concerns in a differentiated way and immediately forwarding them to a customer advisor with the appropriate technical expertise. This lets the customer experience our comprehensive service expertise right from the first contact and also saves time. We offer special training for employees who are in direct contact with customers – for Tchibo employees as well as those of our call-centre service partners. In 2017, we increasingly focused these on skills – which, besides the systemic recognition of concerns, is an important prerequisite for specialized customer communication. Employees from across the company are given an opportunity to ‘see things through the customers eyes’ by spending some time shadowing our customer service agents.
Our customer service staff always works to make our customers’ everyday life easier and more enjoyable. We give top priority to customers’ concerns, questions and wishes are our top priority, and therefore do everything in our power to impress them with our products and services. To this end, we have formulated a service and quality promise as a central benchmark for all employees. It concentrates on the “8 service dimensions for Tchibo customer enthusiasm”: professional competence, appreciation, surprise, speed, equanimity, reliability, individualisation, and friendliness. The individualisation service dimension can also be optimally fulfilled digitally, for example. With the Tchibo Community we have the opportunity to personally address customers and offer them with customised products or services.
With the intention of developing Customer Service into an all-round brand ambassador within the Tchibo customer journey, we are planning measures in 2018 to extend the effectiveness of customer service beyond consultation, issue resolution, and process optimisation.
Quality assurance in customer service
Alongside our Tchibo shops and the Depots in supermarkets, customer service is another important department with direct customer contact. Due to its great variety of contacts with customers, it plays a special role in customer relationship management – and thus in Tchibo’s business success. In order to assess, safeguard and thus improve the quality of its core service, i.e. handling customer’s concerns and requests, we evaluate phone calls and written correspondence for coaching and training purposes – in agreement with our customers and in compliance with data protection requirements. This evaluation focuses on qualitative aspects such as the professional competence and communicative performance of our customer advisors.
We process customer requests in a quick, accommodating and reliable way. But do our customers feel the same way? We regularly survey them about this. Feedback, even and especially criticism, complaints or suggestions for improvement help us to meet our customers’ expectations and keep inspiring them. At the same time, they provide us with important input for developing innovations and revising our services. With the aim of establishing a Tchibo service dialogue that is in line with our brand, we have expanded our basic requirements for customer communication (simple, structured, concise and attentive) to include our brand attributes. The Tchibo brand speaks in a warm, authentic and clear voice. Following these principles, we have developed a Tchibo communications manual, tonality as well as texts and templates for standard communications, and have trained our employees and business partners accordingly. At the beginning of 2017, in addition to the regular surveys, we conducted a comprehensive basic study for the first time to determine the needs of customers and their expectations of an ‘ideal’ customer service. Based on the results, we further optimized our customer service and thus customer satisfaction. In Switzerland, for example, our contact channels were expanded to include online chat. Due to the positive response, we will also begin testing such a chat in Germany in spring 2018. Our goal is to establish online chats as an additional contact channel alongside telephone, email and post, from 2019. This opens up another way for customers to enter into a quick and easy dialogue with Tchibo.
Customer needs are not the same everywhere. They vary from country to country – and therefore increasingly require a country-specific approach in customer service. We will increasingly concentrate on this ‘localization’ in 2018, analysing the respective needs and expectations of customers in all our markets and – depending on their economic feasibility and how much they mean to customers – incorporating them into our services and service dialogue.
Keep developing the ranges and services
Building on our understanding of service, we are constantly developing our offers, and respond to changes in purchasing behaviour at an early stage. Since 2014, we have made online shopping even more attractive for our customers with new applications and services, e.g. the option of paying with PayPal, having packages delivered to DHL parcel stations, or using the online “Store Availability Check,” which shows customers what stores have a given product in stock.