Business report > Business and financial review
Customer focus takes center stage
As Geberit prefers to generate mostly organic sales growth in order to ensure the Group's long-term success, it needs to increase its penetration of its existing markets and selectively develop new markets. Against this background, the optimization of market cultivation is very important. Customer focus therefore plays a central role in the company's integrated, sustainable corporate evolution.
Around 500 technical advisors working in the field are in daily contact with plumbers, planners and architects in particular. During the reporting year, around 30,000 customers were provided with training in Geberit systems and software tools in the 25 information centers in Europe and overseas. Additionally, external events held by local sales companies provided a special setting for training courses offered in cooperation with partners. In this way, another 80,000 or so customers came into contact with Geberit know-how and products during the past year. These efforts are regularly recognized. In 2012, the new training center in Prague (Czech Republic) was ranked as the best for the year by a local trade magazine.
Thanks to the extensive campaigns of the past few years, recognition of the Geberit brand is also increasing among end customers. Marketing campaigns that target end customers mainly address people who are interested in home and interior design, as well as architects and interior designers.
More emotion in communication with customers
Geberit's most important target group is and remains plumbers. The current, tried-and-tested market cultivation activities such as customer visits, training, the provision of technical documentation, etc., were continued successfully. In addition, Geberit again invested in efforts to communicate directly with and improve the emotional bond to plumbers in the reporting year. To this end the → “Geberit On Tour” events and the → “Geberit Challenge” competition for plumbers were developed further. “Geberit On Tour” is a mobile exhibition that allowed plumbers in 2012 to experience the advantages of Geberit products up close and personally at more than 600 events in 15 European countries. In Switzerland alone, 3,500 customers were informed and trained, which is 16% more than in the previous year. In 2012, the successful “Geberit Challenge” competition, incorporating many emotional elements, was held in Denmark, Germany, France, the UK, the Netherlands, Norway, Austria, Sweden and Switzerland. Garnering much media attention, the best team of plumbers in each of these countries was chosen on the basis of professional competitions comprising theoretical and practical challenges. The winners received an exclusive trip to Dubai.
The leading position is also to be cemented in other areas. For example, since 2012 all technical advisors in Germany have been equipped with iPads. The advisors are supported by animated sales apps during sales talks where they have all the relevant sales documentation available online and can even send it directly to the customer. As a premium provider, Geberit also aims to present its products in premium format.
In 2012, Geberit again found trade fairs to be a good platform for maintaining customer contact and advertising the company's innovative power. The most important trade fairs were Batibouw in Brussels (BE), Mostra Convegno in Milan (IT), Kitchen & Bath China in Shanghai (CN), Swissbau in Basel (CH), Mosbuild in Moscow (RU), Idéo Bain in Paris (FR), SHK in Essen (DE), Aquatherm in Vienna (AT), and the Kitchen & Bath Industry Show in Las Vegas (US). Architects and designers were also addressed directly at the Fuori Salone – the international design meeting point – in Milan and at Architect@Work in Shanghai.
In contrast to plumbers and planners, it is less the technical facts than the emotional and design aspects that count in communication with end customers, designers and architects. For this reason, Geberit introduced a new branding concept for the whole Group in 2011, aiming to evolve the brand while at the same time improving the focus on the needs of the business-to-consumer sector, which is a relative newcomer among the company's target groups. The new brand image integrates two different worlds: A more emotional one for architects and end customers, and a more technical one for plumbers and planners. Both worlds are based on the five central Geberit brand values - know-how, innovation, partnership, reliability and quality of life - and the same design principles. In the reporting year, the exhibition stands for the first time had the same look worldwide. The Group's (→ www.geberit.com) internet site was redesigned at the end of 2011, and in 2012 preparations started for the redesign of the local country sites to reflect the Group's enhanced focus on its specific target groups.
High degree of customer satisfaction of utmost importance
A high degree of customer satisfaction in the individual regional markets is central to Geberit's success. A customer survey among 5,400 plumbers and planners in Switzerland at the end of 2011/beginning of 2012 had a high response rate and satisfactory results: On a scale of 1 (not satisfied at all) to 7 (completely satisfied), Geberit received a total mark of 6.0. Above-average marks were given for the question “Would you recommend Geberit to others?” and for the company's innovative ability and its competence, its technical documentation and the quality of its products. In a satisfaction survey among Dutch wholesalers of sanitary technology, Geberit was ranked first, while BSS Industrial in the UK chose Geberit as the supplier of the year for the second year running.