SUSTAINABILITY REPORT2017

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.