25.8.2022 • Behind the scenes
Questions about traditional recipes for certain baking mixes regularly keep the team busy. One such example is the story of the lady whose nut cake with the special cinnamon glaze was such a hit with her friends that they asked for the recipe, but she did not want to admit that it was “only” a baking mix. That lady could be helped with a one-to-one recipe developed by the experimental kitchen.
The core business of the department is of course the recipe and product advice. Starting with “How do I prepare a cooked pudding so that it does not clump?” Up to complaints, which are then often processed in conjunction with quality assurance. Franziska Tollkühn takes every customer complaint as a positive challenge: “If the consumer is dissatisfied with a product, then we try to clarify it with a qualified complaint processing. Competence as well as a high level of empathy play an important role. But even if it’s not always easy, I’m all the happier if I finally satisfy the customer,” she says..
If the consumer is dissatisfied with a product, we try to clarify this with qualified complaints processing. Technical expertise plays a role here, but so does empathy.
Yvonne-Nadine Schmidt, Consumer Service Representative
One of many “stories” that not only Bettina Prims could tell. Everyone in the team has some anecdotes ready. All are united by the passion for their job. “You need that and of course, the necessary expertise,” says Prims. The training and study paths of the thirteen-member team are surprisingly varied. The spectrum includes ecotrophologists, confectioners, industrial clerks, food technologists, certified auditors and quality managers to food managers and business economists to Germanists, Anglists and media scientists.
Martina Glasebach (l.) and Martina Herrmann in conversation
That is a good basis for the range of consumer inquiries. But Prims emphasizes that the knowledge required for the job can not be acquired through study or training, but rather through experience and collaboration with colleagues – assuming you have a basic interest in baking, cooking and dessert preparation. “Psychological sensitivity is also an advantage,” she continues. We very often have callers who are simply looking for someone to talk to or callers with whom you start a conversation due to a question that they have.
In order to be able to offer competent advice, the colleagues also carry out small practical tests themselves.
Allergies and intolerances, as well as many diets that may have a religious background or that reflect an attitude towards life, raise consumer concerns about the ingredients and contents of products which they can contact Consumer Services about. Here, Research and Development provide colleagues with detailed Information about each Dr. Oetker product. Questions like “Is this vegan?” or “Can I eat this with my gluten intolerance?” can quickly be answered by Ingeborg Macke, who, among other things, remembers a mother who was a little overwhelmed by her son’s diagnosis of gluten intolerance.
All consumer requests are recorded in a management system to manage the data digitally. It is there that you can also read the typical seasonal themes: In the summer, everything to do with jam production is strongly represented. “If there are 20 jars of jam in the kitchen that have not set properly, that can lead to despair for quite a few people. We then carefully ask questions to determine the cause. For example, the fruits were so finely chopped using a food mill, that their consistency is simply no longer strong enough to produce a firm jam,” explains Daniela Binder. In the summer it is jam, in the fall, it is raised pastries, “for many a real mystery,” says Silvia Fehlow. More than 100,000 inquiries are received by the consumer service every year. "Our goal is to answer each of these inquiries satisfactorily," says Bettina Prims. Just today, employee Yvonne-Nadine Schmidt received an e-mail of thanks for her friendly, fast and competent advice: "It's always nice when consumers are so happy about our help," she says. This is a great motivation for us to provide the best possible response to the next 100,000 inquiries.