Swiss Account Management
Reliability and empathy are the key
After a short break in our “What is so Swiss about Schaerer?” series, we are back with a new instalment. This time around we asked Cyrill Salzmann, member of the Executive Board of Schaerer AG and Vice President of Global Account Management (GAM), about what traits he thinks are typically Swiss and what they mean for Schaerer as a company. In his role as Vice President of GAM, he and his team are responsible for developing international business as well as advising customers and partners who operate on a global level. This means he travels all over the world, so he knows first hand why partners and customers value Schaerer: it is because we are reliable and we focus on our customers and solutions.
With Global Account Management, we have created a department through which we can provide our international customers and sales partners with more comprehensive support and advice than ever before. The 12 members of the GAM team, together with the 15 staff from the Export department, deal with everything – from sales, consulting and training, right through to technical support, logistics and, of course, on-going customer care. We work closely with the Product Management, Development, Global Service and Digital Solutions departments plus, needless to say, with the Regional Sales Managers from the various sales regions (Europe, Americas, APAC and China). This means we can meet the specific needs of global companies perfectly. And by the way, it makes no difference whether we are tailoring Schaerer coffee machines to individual customer requirements – which can extend from tweaking a colour to developing the customer’s very own machine – or harnessing the full might of Groupe SEB. Because another special feature of GAM is that we work across all brands and are able to rely on the powerful range of machines and the wealth of expertise found within the SEB Professional division and the Schaerer, WMF and Curtis brands in order to achieve the best possible result. All in all, therefore, the GAM team offers an all-round, worry-free package that is tailored precisely to our customers’ individual needs.
I would say reliability is a typically Swiss trait. For example, Switzerland is a byword for stability on the international stage – the country’s politics and society are seen as steady, while the franc is a stable, and therefore reliable, currency. This boosts confidence in Swiss companies, their products and services. What also marks us Swiss out from my point of view is our solution-oriented mindset. This is about more than just keeping an eye on the big picture when making decisions and taking a wide range of different ideas and opinions into account. It's also about having the creativity and courage to follow an unconventional path to reach the best solution and daring to try something new.
For us at Schaerer, reliability means always giving our customers the reassuring feeling that we are on their side and ready to help. And that applies both to small matters and to big challenges such as developing, producing and rolling out several hundred machines. We want to make our customers happy and keep surprising them over and over again. And we are delighted that this is how our customers see it too, as they tell us through their feedback. They tell us that the dedication shown by our employees and our large network of experts and direct contacts is something really very special, for instance. Plus, they often single out our employees’ willingness to help as a positive aspect. If someone calls us, then whoever takes that call will deal with the matter – even if they are not responsible for that area at all. This surprises our customers in a good way and gives them even greater confidence in us. Alongside this reliability, it is our strong customer focus combined with the solution-oriented mindset so typical of Schaerer that is the bedrock on which our customer relationships, some of which are extremely long-standing, are built. We have been working with many of our customers for 20, or even 30, years. Some started with just one site and now run branches nationwide, while others have expanded from their domestic market and now have an international presence. Of course, there will always be new challenges to overcome. To keep on being successful together over such a long period requires curiosity, inventiveness and courage. Anyone who is familiar with us will know that “we’ve always done it that way” or “that’s not possible” are statements you will hear from us in only the very rarest of cases. Before we do say that, you can rest assured we will have pulled out every stop in an effort to make the impossible possible for our customers.
Without a doubt. But if you ask me, there’s another aspect to it: good, trusting customer relationships are based on everyone speaking the same language – and I mean that figuratively, not literally. In sales and customer support especially, it is incredibly important to have a feel for the other party’s wants or, indeed, needs. I think that Switzerland’s cultural diversity puts Schaerer at an advantage here: it helps us to understand our international customers and partners better and to support them with both empathy and professionalism.