Interview 01/19

People vs Machines

Individuals are the major focus at Rhenus :people! – even in an age of digital change New Perspectives

Digitalisation is opening up many new opportunities for companies. However, one focus remains: customer relationship management. Gwendolyn Dünner talked to Olaf Remmele, Managing Director of Rhenus BPO Services, about the potential that the customer contact specialist, Rhenus :people!, recognises and uses in order to develop its business in a digital age.

Mr Remmele, what triggered the development of Rhenus services in customer relationship management?
A package of customer services and accounts receivable accounting exclusively for publishing houses has formed one part of our basic business since 2005. We wanted to expand this to include other sectors and skills. We now not only register orders, but handle key processes like customer contract management, the elimination of technical faults as well as wealth-creating processes like sales, cross-selling and upselling.

How exactly did you achieve this?
This took place partly through acquiring companies like KundenProfi in 2016 and :people! in 2018 – and then continuing to develop them. We’ve been able to more than quadruple our customer base and the number of our employees within a period of two years, for example. We’re now serving the energy, automobile, IT and telecommunications sectors, retail and publishing houses, associations and manufacturing industry and are now one of the TOP 20 in this provider sector.

Customer services – can’t Siri, Alexa, Cortana and co. cope with that too?
Not necessarily! It’s true that automatic systems are already handling more and more simple processes like recording information, renewing a contract or ordering a new mobile phone. However, customer management – whether this involves attracting new clients, coping with errors, handling escalating disputes or sales work – involves complex tasks, powers of deduction, social skills and sensitivity. A machine cannot offer all this so easily.

So, digitalisation provides a real opportunity for you?
That’s correct. It enables us to position ourselves better in the market place with new and innovative services. After all, even digital solutions require support, whether for the customer or the product. One of our clients, for example, provides extremely modern, smart home products. They too need a sales, installation and support process. We’re currently faster and more flexible than our rivals; we support our customers actively by developing new digital solutions with the relevant processes and successfully positioning them in the market

What other potential will you focus on in future?
We see potential in the changes to our customers’ requirements in the digitalisation process. We’re in a good position to expand our business organically in Germany. At the same time, it’s important to gain a foothold in other countries. Our model has proved successful here in Germany; we’re now looking at international markets.

Rhenus BPO Services has been part of the Office Systems business unit since August 2018. It is involved with managing physical & digital documents and information as well as individual processes: they range from incoming mail to digitalisation, archiving, data destruction and making available personnel and even include customer management, cloud and BPO solutions.

What Rhenus BPO Services offers:

  • Customer management with customer contact experts
  • IT management: Rhenus Cloud with data centre services for Microsoft Dynamics/e-commerce solutions
  • Logistics

An entrepreneurial spirit at Rhenus BPO Services:
“Personal customer support at a high level will never die out. However, having the courage to move from what is familiar to what is unknown in this way and tapping into completely new markets, as Rhenus BPO is doing, is proof of a real entrepreneurial spirit.”  Jens Kumbrink, Managing Director of Rhenus Office Systems.

more Logistics People
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