Most of our customers now mainly come to OTTO as e-shoppers, but many still like to leaf through the catalogue or do both. According to the Federal Association of German Mail Order Retailers (BVH) about 70 percent of all online buyers look at information about a product in the mail-order company’s catalogue before ordering (www.versandhandel.org/zahlen-und-fakten/allgemeines/). Multi-channel models give them a choice. Most OTTO customers are part of the ‘modern middle’: Women aged 25 to 44, who like to dress fashionably, arrange their everyday lives according to their personal wishes and are happy to be inspired by new things.
To optimally serve them and all other customers, OTTO takes an easy path: We engage in direct dialogue with them. We listen, ask and learn something new every day. In this way, we learn – directly and authentically – about our customers’ current and future needs. The things we learn influence new product ranges, styles and services.
Numbers, anyone? 2,000 customer consultants and another 1,000 external service staff engage in personal dialogue with customers for OTTO. Each year our sales representatives visit 120,000 customers at home, while another 1,000 customers are invited to the OTTO’s headquarter in Hamburg.
In addition, we use our OTTO Facebook fan page, Twitter account and other social media platforms to build bridges with future customers, who want to contact us via social networks. The transparency of this new kind of dialogue, where anyone can read what’s being said, requires an authentic approach. Slick advertising slogans are not called for here. OTTO service agents like to hang out in the communities and understand their requirements. A quick response and the right tone are important - not to mention the right solution. "The be-all and end-all here are our employees, who playfully switch between the various channels and are always authentic. There is a trend towards multi-skilled agents, who are able to address the respective target groups as required" , says Thomas Steck, Director of Customer Service & Logistics at OTTO.
Incidentally, OTTO realised the importance of this kind of exchange early and therefore introduced a rating tool for customers in 2006: This allows for rating products purchased through the online shop with a star system, plus detailed comments.
A recent survey shows, that we are already doing quite well at managing customer interaction across all channels. More than 93 percent of respondents said, they were very satisfied or satisfied with OTTO’s services. Over 95 percent would ‘highly recommend’ or ‘recommend’ our services - such as our specialist technical advice; the chat function for products, that require some explanation; geographic online order tracking and telephone calls one hour before furniture or large electrical goods are to be delivered. Search and order options, payment methods, returns and the provision of service offers were also rated.
TÜV Rhineland gave OTTO its coveted ‘highly recommended’ seal and OTTO won Germany’s Most Customer-Oriented Service Provider contest in 2011. Customers and judges both liked our intensive dialogue with customers across all channels, our extensive product range and the strength of the OTTO brand. The award is based on a representative customer survey and research-based business analysis by independent experts at the University of St. Gallen. OTTO also won the prestigious award in 2010 and 2006.
The TÜV quality seal, a No.1 slot in Fashion & Lifestyle and the ‘Oscar’ of the service industry: Given our millions of customer contacts per year we are proud of this at OTTO – all Hanseatic modesty notwithstanding.