Ms Schäfers, what was the aim of relaunching the Rhenus website?
Schäfers: Our commitment to customers to always make them the centre of our actions and thinking means that we need to do this in the digital world too. We wanted to establish a forward-looking website solution – that is to say, give Rhenus a digital face – so that it meets as many customer expectations as possible.
Krede: In addition to this, our new website was to be linked to our CRM system (Customer Relationship Management) in order to adjust our client management processes to focus on customer centricity on one platform and therefore make our lead management even more efficient.
And how did you tackle this?
Schäfers: We initially wanted to get to know our customers even better so that we had a better idea of what was required digitally. We therefore sent a detailed questionnaire to many of our important clients in close cooperation with a market research institute and our sales team. Our sales employees, who are in daily contact with our customers around the globe, took part in this extensive survey too. We discovered in a great deal of detail what customer management will look like in future, who our clients are, how they work and what they expect from us.
How did you proceed from there? Did you discover anything new?
Schäfers: Our goal in doing this was to partly do justice to the local orientation of the Rhenus Group through our new website, but also develop a common Rhenus presence, which would serve as the central contact point for the customers of all the business units.
Krede: Looking at things from outside was just one element in our decision-making processes. We wanted to reflect the results internally during the next step and invited accounts managers from the business units around the world to attend workshops to discuss the results of the study.
That sounds complicated – is it really possible to achieve something like this?
Krede: Yes, it’s possible. But first of all, what will be the advantages and disadvantages of having a decentralised corporate structure in future? Being able to make decisions quickly creates a clear competitive advantage. That shouldn’t change, but things can go even faster and more simply if we have digital support. The weak point of our local orientation is that customers are often only aware of certain products and know nothing about our complete range of transport and warehouse solutions. We want to improve our presentation here, because we’re able to cope with the complete supply chain and offer integrated solutions for every segment of the supply chain.
How did you draw up the complex website? What does the new website offer to customers?
Schäfers: The design of our website is naturally responsive and can therefore be used without any problems on any terminal device. We’ve further improved the user-friendliness through the new structure of our online presence. Web visitors can find information that is relevant to them and contact details even faster now. There’s also a range of useful tools, like consignment tracking, for example.
Krede: It’s also important for us to ensure that the website makes it easy for our customers to contact us simply and communicate with us through dialogue. We therefore offer different channels for getting in contact with us, as a first step. We want to expand this part in future and we’re working on an intelligent solution that combines personal customer services with a partially automated process.
What’s the greatest challenge for a new website, in your view?
Schäfers: Visitors screen a website within three seconds. They first look at the structure and the key content. Only then do they really start reading the material. We’ve precisely focused on this when relaunching our website – with clear, easily comprehensible and simple controls, rapid loading times and making everything easy to read.
And how do users obtain information about a company nowadays?
Krede: You know how you act yourself. We use mobile, social and other means of interaction on the Internet on a daily basis and establish contact with a person or a company instinctively via touch points. This means that the website is not necessarily the first contact point. We therefore have links with all the communications channels across different media.
Do customers now expect something different from a website than they did in the past?
Schäfers: The content is still the overriding factor. You’ll always find the latest relevant content on our website – with the normal high quality and in suitable formats – whether they are texts written by an editorial department, information graphics, photos and videos, white papers or case studies that can be downloaded.
The Sales Leadership Team: representatives from the sales departments in all the business units within the Rhenus Group meet together on the Sales Leadership Team (SLT) to process strategic sales topics that are relevant to the whole company, draw up concepts and discover solutions. The aim is to strengthen networking within sales operations across the Group.
What other services does your website offer after the relaunch?
Krede: Our new Internet site is linked to our CRM system to make customer relations even more efficient. This means that working with Rhenus is even simpler, whether this involves sales, customer services or handling transport and logistics orders.
One of the challenges for corporate websites involves directing potential customers to your home page. What solution have you discovered?
Krede: The issue of search machine optimisation is an enormous challenge – there’s no doubt about that. Nothing works well without a good listing on Google and others. That’s why we’ve spent a lot of time focusing on keywords and metadata that our customers and potential clients use when they’re looking for products and services. We have to know the right answers to users’ questions. This is the only way of ensuring that we appear on the first page of search results and therefore generate more clicks, more visitors and more sales. We’ve therefore optimised the complete website, including the texts for visitors and for search engines. That’s not just something that you do on one occasion. It’s our goal to continually adapt our new website to user behaviour because it too is continuing to change all the time.
Where do you go from here? Do you already have plans for what you’ll do on the Internet in future?
Schäfers: Of course, the strategic planning work for our digital brand image is continuing. The website forms the core element here – it enables us to clearly position Rhenus and also present our services and skills. It also provides more effective customer management – and it can be continually adapted and improved.
Krede: In future, we’ll gradually expand our range of services to include digital solutions. We already handle customer services, accounts receivable management and a number of support services for products that need greater explanation and a great deal more for our clients in the B2B and B2C fields, for example.