"Customer relationship manager" is one of those long terms that you have to read word by word. But when you sit across from Anton Schlee, you understand his job immediately. He radiates calm and kindness and says: "For us, the customer is at the centre of everything we do." Who could better represent the value "Open-minded" in our series with the corporate values of the Stiegelmeyer Group?
Because open-mindedness is an important virtue for a customer relationship manager. He must have a fine antenna for the concerns of our customers worldwide. These concerns reach us in Herford in different ways – "through reports from our field staff, through our market observation or directly through calls to our service hotline," explains Anton Schlee. Whatever the topic and whatever the mood of the customers, one thing is clear: "We offer them a positive experience," says Mr Schlee.
As customer relationship manager, he has been a reliable contact person since March 2023, coordinating the development of a solution within our company, especially in the case of complex issues. Mr Schlee talks to all the committees and departments involved and has a "unanimous resolution" in mind as the goal. This is a solution that all experts in the Stiegelmeyer Group agree on and that optimally meets the needs of the customers and the company. During this process, Mr Schlee is always available for the customers and keeps them informed about the status of the matter. He coordinates international enquiries together with the export department and our local subsidiaries.
A good example of his work is the topic of durability of machine-washable hospital beds. Stiegelmeyer models are intensively tested in this respect and convince with durability over many cycles of use. However, automated reprocessing is an area where it is important to pay close attention to all details - and these also depend on the specifications of the AK BWA (The German Working Committee on Bedstead and Trolley Decontamination Systems) and the mode of operation of the respective washing system.
"When a customer contacts me in such a case, I discuss their concerns with them and, if necessary, arrange an appointment on site. I go there myself with a colleague from quality management or service. We examine the washing process and compare the parameters with the prescribed values. With the help of this analysis, we draw up a report with recommendations on how to adjust the process," explains Mr Schlee. This method is successful because often the critical detail can be found – for example, a pH value outside the specified range, which can be corrected by optimising the water quality.
After half a year in his new position, Anton Schlee is in a positive mood. On the one hand, the products of the Stiegelmeyer Group are proving themselves well in everyday use, and on the other hand, the exchange with customers is also friendly and agreeable. "Customers should have the good feeling that their concerns are in safe hands with us," says Mr Schlee.
Open-minded – how do you become that? What are the tips of our customer relationship manager? "It is very important to be really empathetic. The person you are talking to has to feel that you understand their problem," says Mr Schlee. Before moving to the new position, he had already worked in the Burmeier sales department and gained a wealth of experience in contact with customers. His plan for the future is to build up a knowledge database of all customer concerns piece by piece to help find solutions.
A crucial sentence in our corporate vision is: "Every encounter with our brands is positive." Mr Schlee works on this with great energy.