As a service-oriented, responsible company, we feel obliged to respond to our customers' needs and expectations. That's why we have set up a comprehensive customer relationship management system. We encourage dialog with our customers by giving them opportunities to quickly and easily contact us at any time via the communication channel of their choice, e.g., by phone, e-mail or at a Telekom shop.
Our ambition is to delight our customers. We have integrated this goal into our Group-wide Guiding Principles. Even variable components of our managers' salaries are based on customer satisfaction. We use a variety of tools to regularly gauge the satisfaction and loyalty of our customers. One of these tools is the ###TRI*M### customer loyalty study, which is conducted several times a year by an independent external service provider. The results are presented in the ###TRI*M### index. We plan to improve our ###TRI*M### results from 2012 by around 10 percent by the end of year 2015. All customer responses are taken into consideration in product design and to improve our customer service.
Since 2013, all fixed-line and mobile communications customers are able to reach us by phone around the clock at no charge. This applies to all of our service numbers, even for questions regarding Internet and TV services. Online communication is becoming more and more important. More than 40 percent of all service inquiries at Telekom Deutschland are solved by support provided by our cross-area online platforms. We systematically evaluate our customers' inquiries and complaints to identify the root of the problem and make improvements.
Tangible success with "K1 – Kunde zuerst."
One key tool for implementing the "best customer experience" area of operation as part of our Group strategy is the "K1 – Kunde zuerst" (customers first) program. The idea behind the program is to improve customer satisfaction and give our customers a better experience. Not only do we meet the expectations of our consumers and business customers with this program, we try to surpass them. Thanks to the program we have been able to significantly improve customer satisfaction. The number of complaints regarding fixed-network services, for example, decreased by 6 percent from 2012 to 2014. Customers who were assisted intensively by a case manager within the scope of our Complaint Management 2.0 project expressed a particularly high degree of satisfaction. Compared to general complaint management activities, we saw fewer cases of customers contacting us multiple times with the same problem within the scope of the project.
Another good example of effective K1 measures is our return channel. When a customer signs a contract, we send a text message confirming the contract and a number that they can call to speak directly with the service center if they have any questions. Our service staff systematically documents the customer's questions and requests. This helps us prevent repetitive problems and further optimize our processes.
We received special recognition for the DSL help app, which was developed within the scope of K1 and which customers can use to conduct their own error analysis if they experience problems with their broadband line. In 2014, the internationally active market research and consulting institute, YouGov, named the app the Best Service Innovation in the Service and Assistance category.
Indicator shows progress in terms of customer retention
We use the ###TRI*M### index to gauge customer retention and regularly participate in benchmarkings. In 2014 we were able to improve our prior-year results. The ###TRI*M### index went up by around 1.8 percent throughout the Group; we were also able to further improve our index score at Telekom Deutschland. Our goal is to increase customer retention in Germany by 10 percent in 2015 compared with 2012.
Deutsche Telekom: Lead in customer trust
Customer satisfaction with our service was assessed by the TÜV Rheinland inspection agency in the reporting period. The testers rated our service hotline, the Telekom shops, and our technical service as "good" for the second time in a row. During the assessment, they had asked 850 customers from each of the three areas how reliable, competent and friendly the service employees they encountered were. Based on the number of points determined by the testers, each individual area also received a score of "good." This once again reflects improvement compared to the previous year.
Connect hotline test
Our efforts to strengthen customer trust were praised by a third party during the reporting period. 107 testers from the Connect trade journal compared the customer service at mobile service providers in Germany in a "hotline test" in 2014. The quality of the statements had top priority. The testers were most impressed with Telekom's customer service staff. The Telekom hotline was found to be very accessible with a relatively average short waiting time of not quite two minutes. The testers also gave Telekom a score of "very good" in the category of friendliness/social skills. The fact that the Telekom hotline 2202 is free of charge was also rates positively. Our e-mail service also got the top score. 18 out of 20 inquiries were dealt with within an average of 26 hours, with the majority of the information provided having been correct. Telekom earned the highest score among all its competitors, putting the company in first place. Connect also conducted a readers' test between March and May 2014 to assess quality, service, and customer satisfaction. More than 99,600 readers participated in the test and named Telekom the best provider for both fixed-network and mobile communications services.