As an international steel and metal distributor, we aim to offer customers the highest quality and optimum service. Reliable service strengthens our position as the connecting link between customers and suppliers on a lasting basis. High product quality, an extensive range of services and our digital solutions make us a reliable partner to customers from all industries.
Our high level of customer satisfaction – which we aim to continue improving – is a key competitive advantage for Klöckner & Co. In keeping with the design thinking approach, we always conceptualize products and services, sales channels and innovations from the customer perspective. Accordingly, we actively involve our customers in the process and analyze their personal wishes and needs on a targeted basis.
We make use of various agile working methods from the start-up world for this purpose. To keep product development moving forward and on target, we conduct results-oriented interviews with customers and use new insight methods such as mapping customer journeys. These involve visualizing the customer experience, from first product contact through the entire use process to long-term product adoption.
The resulting insights help us refine our products, tools and services. On this basis, we first develop what is referred to as a “minimum viable product” – one that initially meets just the most basic requirements. In the past, our development of such products or tools involved significantly greater effort and expense. Every conceivable feature and business contingency had to be catered for in the quest for perfection. The consequence was too much time spent on product development, high costs and dissatisfaction on all sides. That’s why we have adopted the “lean start-up approach”, also in a variety of in-house projects. This approach makes us significantly faster in that we meet only the most important requirements in an initial stage. Improvements can always be added progressively later on. That way, we also avoid the risk of tying up capacity for new product features that ultimately offer no added value for customers.
In response to requests from our customers, we improved the user-friendliness of our online marketplace by introducing various new features in the reporting year. These included making it possible to make purchases by directly uploading lists of product numbers, introducing an overview of customers’ personal purchase history, and making it easier to repurchase products from a previous order. Since 2018, we have also been offering complementary products from other suppliers via our marketplace function in order to successively expand and optimize our product range for our customers. At the end of 2018, a total of 29 dealers were already selling their products through our online shop, either under their own brand using our marketplace function or as a third-party vendor.
On the basis of various customer surveys we constantly improve our systems and workflows and initiate measures to enhance customer loyalty. For Klöckner & Co, satisfied customers pave the way for sustained, long-term growth.