Customer Satisfaction in the Business Applications Segment: IONOS

The number of fee-based contracts in the Business Applications Segment had risen to 8.78 million at the end of the reporting period (2020: 8.45 million; 2019: 8.15 million). Of this figure, 4.13 million (2020: 4.06 million; 2019: 3.90 million) were in Germany and 4.43 million (2020: 4.93 million; 2019: 4.25 million) were abroad.

Our vision at IONOS is to become the most customer-focused web hosting company. Customer satisfaction is our top priority. We analyze processes from product development through to contacts with our support services so as to make the customer experience intuitive, efficient, and motivating. We treat each and every contact as an opportunity to reduce customer effort by fixing and eliminating defects and adding value for them and for our company.

We focus on our customers in everything we do. In 2021, this approach led to IONOS winning the following prizes: the Spanish service award “Elegido servicio de atención al cliente” in the “hosting” category for the eighth time in a row, and the “Élu Service Client de l’Année” prize for the best customer service in France, also in the “hosting” category, for the fourth time. In Germany, too, IONOS’s customer service operations were awarded the accolade “Customer Service of the Year 2021” in the “hosting” category for the second time. Research institute ISG labeled IONOS a “Leader in the Market for Infrastructure as a Service.” In 2021, IONOS received a silver European Customer Contact & Customer Service Award for the best customer insight and engagement initiative.

STRATO was also honored once again for the quality of its customer service operations, being rated a “DIE WELT Service-Champions” in the “web hosting” category for the eighth time in a row in 2021. In addition, in 2021 Strato received the “Fair Customer Hotline” from “FOCUS-MONEY”. Its product quality has also been certified by a number of independent bodies.

Managing and Measuring Customer Satisfaction

  • NfS: Nonfinancial Key Performance Indicators
  • GRI 417
  • GRI 417-1

Customer satisfaction is one of our three top corporate goals. Our Customer Experience Management team submits weekly/monthly reports to the COO complete with recommended actions. The team works together on a regular basis with the IT and Product Management departments to develop solutions and measures, the priorities for which are set jointly together with all relevant Management Board-level functions. We have increased our net promoter score (NPS) – a key customer satisfaction metric – by 67% in the period since IONOS was rebranded.

In addition to tracking the customer NPS, our Customer Experience Management team has adopted a 360-degree approach to measuring customer satisfaction and quality, and to identifying ways of improving them. This includes the following:

  • The “YourVoice” customer survey portal: We regularly ask our customers to provide feedback on a range of specific topics (17 surveys in 2021). In 2021, for the first time, this included a customer survey on sustainability designed to establish which sustainability topics are material to customers.

  • Customer journey workshops: IONOS staff are encouraged to familiarize themselves with our products by taking part in tests, and to contribute ideas on how to improve our products and services.

  • Usability Laboratory: We invite local customers to visit our Usability Laboratory in Karlsruhe. We use eye-tracking and screen and voice recording technology to enhance our understanding of our customers’ needs and to identify potential areas for improvement. During the pandemic, we switched to virtual usability tests (three virtual events were held in 2021).

  • Gemba Walks: Gemba Walks are a way for executives and Management Board members to engage in regular, direct dialog with customer service agents on the ground. At present they are held using a video link because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • Artificial intelligence: We use artificial intelligence to provide us with real-time insights into qualitative customer feedback obtained via social media channels, allowing us to identify problems and pain points in all markets and languages.

The Personal Consultant concept

IONOS has not set itself the goal of reducing the number of customer contacts. On the contrary: We want to build close relationships with our customers and to help their businesses be successful. Many of them are small enterprises such as craft businesses that want a website but do not necessarily have in-depth technical knowledge in this area. Our personal consultants aim to provide these customers with the knowledge they need and to help them grow their companies.

We have worked continuously to extend and enhance this program right from the start and now also offer proactive consulting and assistance in everything from website layout to server configuration. We have found that customers have reacted positively to this service since the program was launched, with satisfaction scores and the NPS rising significantly.

We measure customer satisfaction at a number of different points in the support process. This helps us define specific optimization measure such as improvements to service levels and the percentage of customer queries solved or defects remedied. We have also set up a new omnichannel system to offer our customers additional ways of contacting us. Insights gained from the feedback given also help us to improve products, processes, and platforms in line with customer expectations.