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 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.