This is the motto of Thomas Schwabe, who has been Head of After Sales & Services at KEMPER since June 2019. In an interview he explains how his philosophy shapes his working day, what Schwabe's goals are with KEMPER in the short and long term and how he wants to achieve them.
In your function the service for the user is the focus of attention. How would you describe service in your own words?
Schwabe: I understand the term service to mean first of all covering customer needs with products and services - that is the minimum requirement for our department. But in essence, it is about thinking beyond what is necessary for the user. Only then does service unfold its full potential to create genuine satisfaction. The purchase of a product is the first step, and from the time of commissioning, service must take the customer by the hand.
And what do you understand by "taking the customer by the hand"?
Schwabe: Service is always about doing a little more than what is expected. The customer should always get the feeling that he doesn't have to worry about anything because the service department is already actively looking after him. Requirements and needs for action are recognized and fulfilled in advance without the user having to react - good service therefore has a bit of a mind reader.
What does that look like in practice at KEMPER? What is your strategy?
Schwabe: First of all, we don't want to wait any longer for the company to contact us, but we want to actively approach them. We are presenting our various services and the advantages they offer in a new, comprehensive brochure. In addition, we are already working with various approaches in the area of IoT and Industry 4.0. For example, our IoT-capable products already report essential information such as operating hours or the condition of the filters, so that we are optimally prepared in case of service and can thus also act proactively. Since our devices are often sold through different dealers, we want to ensure that every user can ultimately benefit from the same services. To this end, we are setting up a partner concept together with the dealers to guarantee these services. Because no matter which way the user buys his new extraction system, in the end it is always a KEMPER product.
What goals do you want to achieve with the services and the partner concept?
Schwabe: In the short term, we want to increase the perception of our services and present the diversity of our offer to our partners and end users through active communication. In future, every user will receive the service brochure at the first contact, so that he can convince himself of the associated service when buying our extraction systems. Everything is listed there - from the determination of requirements to installation and maintenance. No matter whether you are a specialist dealer, welding company or private user - everyone receives transparency in advance about all processes that go far beyond the purchase. In the long term it is my goal that KEMPER develops into a service company in the service sector.
A real challenge that you will face at KEMPER. Is there a motivator or a person who inspires you?
Schwabe: That immediately brings Friedrich Nietzsche to mind. In keeping with my task, he was always concerned with questioning the status quo, analysing situations and finding the best solution. Something can always be optimized. As a child, my idol was Captain Jean-Luc Picard from the Star Trek universe. His motto was also to work on himself every day to improve himself and humanity.
Your motto: "Better do today than talk about tomorrow". What do you do when you are not working for KEMPER?
Schwabe: Then my service will concentrate on my family. I live with my wife and my two daughters in Duisburg. When time permits, I do sports. Music also plays a major role in my life. But my passion is for my vintage cars.
Is there a favorite?
My Opel Monza, built in 1982.
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