Materiality, Impact, and Risks
As an internet and telecommunications provider, we operate in an extremely dynamic market environment. The United Internet Group’s success is based on its core competency: the ability to early identify and systematically leverage customer wishes, trends, and hence new markets at an early stage. Our existing business relationships with millions of customers and users ensure we keep our ear close to the ground. In addition, our in-house product development capabilities, highly flexible approach, and powerful marketing and sales operations help us bring innovations to market independently – and in many cases more quickly than other players.
We focus on our customers in everything we think and do, and aim to provide compelling products and services.
Our relationships with our customers are based on trust. Data privacy, information security, and round-the-clock access to highly skilled contact staff all help to make us a reliable partner. The reason is simple: Customer satisfaction is a unique selling proposition and hence a core way of ensuring our competitive ability and long-term success. This is why we give continuously assessing and managing customer satisfaction a high priority – not only is it important to our customers, but it is also relevant for our investors and employees.
Potential risks in connection with customer satisfaction and the sales market include the possible need to make changes to our business model or our pricing policy (political or legal risks). In addition, new developments might hit the market too late, or might not be accepted as expected by the intended target group. Equally, new competitors entering the market could pose a risk to our market share, growth objectives, or margins (technology, market, or reputational risks). What is more, United Internet occasionally enters upstream or downstream markets when diversifying its business model or expanding its value chain. One example is its 2019 auction purchase of mobile frequencies and the construction of its own 5G mobile network.
The purpose of our management approach is to focus on our customers in everything we think and do, and to provide them with compelling products and services. By doing so, we aim to systematically and permanently increase customer satisfaction.
United Internet manages more than 67 million customer accounts worldwide. Since customers in the different segments have different requirements, customer satisfaction is measured using segment-specific metrics and performance indicators such as the customer sentiment score and net promoter score (NPS), and is managed by dedicated teams using specifically tailored structures and processes. We conduct regular customer surveys, market research, and analyses to obtain feedback from our customers. Our customer satisfaction figures are used in our executives’ performance reviews and variable compensation components.
What is more, the responsible segment board members are involved regularly and in detail in this issue. These executives generally report directly to the CEO of United Internet AG or the other company they work for.
In addition, customer service is extremely important to us. This function not only is strongly represented within the organization itself but is also assisted by approximately 4,000 external service agents who help provide customer care.
Other customer-related matters apart from customer satisfaction include health questions relating to mobile frequencies and youth protection. Details of these can be found in the “Product Responsibility” section of this chapter.
Please see the following sections on the individual segments for details of how we measure and manage customer satisfaction and other customer topics. Going forward, we plan to harmonize the indicators across the various segments so as to be able to report an overarching performance indicator at Group level.
Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation.
Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns.