Professor Bachmann, we have seen that the customer-brand relationship can be compared to interactions with other people. A brand can be considered an old friend and a good sport or an amorous adventure. Brands are sometimes even likened to dealers who feed the customer’s addiction. What kind of image does WÖHRL have among its customers? In your experience, how do you think WÖHRL is perceived?
The results of the comprehensive customer survey carried out by the German Institute for Service Quality in 2012 on behalf of the news channel n-tv showed that WÖHRL is the best-loved fashion outlet in Germany. We are proud that our customers give us and our staff such excellent testimony. This high estimation spurs us on to continue developing our specific strengths, with quality commitment at the fore. We have been successfully asserting this commitment in a fiercely competitive market for nearly 80 years. These results show that WÖHRL’s quality is and always has been on the right track: we are an appealing brand that stands for first class, individual advice and a good quality-to-price ratio as well as having a reliable instinct for the latest fashion trends. This is how we want our customers to perceive us both now and in future.
Do you think customers and customer needs have changed over the past few years? If so, can you think of a specific example that demonstrates the effect of these changes?
Digital mass media and mobile devices mean customers are better informed now than ever before. This has created more demand for fashion, a demand that must be met by retailers. In today’s world, it is becoming increasingly important to offer the customer a comprehensive shopping experience. This entails providing them with a competent advisory service and a feel-good shopping atmosphere. To this end, we came up with a new store design concept last year, which has already been successfully implemented in three of our locations.
Has customer contact also changed, in your opinion?
Today’s customer contact doesn’t just rely on ads and brochures. It is done interactively, through digital channels such as email and social media. Customers can log on to Facebook to see our latest promotions, for example. The ability to contact customers directly is particularly important to us, and we use Facebook as a kind of service platform for their questions and comments.
Today’s WÖHRL customers wish more than ever to have their needs taken seriously and satisfied. For this reason, our team of qualified staff do their very best to create a personal and individualized shopping experience in our stores, and to optimize communication with customers so that they feel at ease throughout.
Just two personal questions to finish off: people say women have a particular relationship with shoes. Do you think men also have an affiliation to a certain piece of clothing?
I think men actually use the tie to show if they’ve got style. Personally, I always try to combine a tie that has trendy colors and patterns with a classic business suit.
Can you also tell us whether you have a favorite item of clothing and what kind of special meaning it has to you, if any?
For me, fashion has a lot to do with quality of life. This is why I’m so interested in it and enjoy shopping so much – which is perhaps unusual for a man. I actually really enjoy it! It’s fascinating to discover new trends and browse new collections. My personal preferences are really nothing special, though. I prefer a classic style that would probably be seen as rather conservative in relation to others. I tend to set store by good quality, high-grade material and long-lasting items.
Thank you for your time!