For CEO Stéphane Jedele of ARPA SAS and his team, customer focus is the be-all and end-all. From needs analysis to planning and installation, ARPA is a service provider and supplies complete household appliances – including stoves, built-in hobs, baking ovens, and exhaust hoods, which are sold under the brands of well-known manufacturers and trading companies. Their needs and wishes require flexible and prompt implementation. So, what could be more logical than to use a comprehensive customer survey to find out just how satisfied they are and where there is still potential for ARPA.
The results of the first survey from 2021 are impressive. ARPA has done brilliantly in terms of a key satisfaction indicator, the Net Promoter Score (NPS). This KPI measures the extent to which customers would recommend a product or service. With 83 % customer satisfaction and an NPS of 28.4, ARPA is in a good range, statistically speaking. Going forward, NPS will be surveyed annually as a measure of customer satisfaction. While ARPA customers are generally very satisfied with the appliances, services, and employees, two areas were identified as needing improvement: logistics and product differentiation. While the former is largely related to supply chain issues during the pandemic, the latter is due to competition between customers. Thanks to new, exclusive product features, they are now able to better distinguish themselves from each other.
KNOW WHAT THE CONSUMER WANTS
ARPA sees itself as an advisor to its customers. Last year, the largescale consumer research program “Cookin’Sights” already investigated what really makes kitchen enthusiasts tick and which innovations in household appliances have a good chance of asserting themselves in the market.
And also what other criteria are important to end customers. Sustainability is at the forefront: in addition to new product features, consumers primarily want durable, resource- and energy-saving household appliances.
In order to keep up with the times, ARPA will continue to regularly investigate consumer behavior through “Cookin’Sights”. ARPA customers can benefit directly from the results in a partner program. Consumers’ social media interactions are analyzed, for example. In addition, co-creation workshops with selected consumers help to develop new, unusual services. Including and especially for the emerging concept of the kitchen as a living space.
With the support of Parisian consultant Philippe Goetzmann, the ARPA team carried out a strategic analysis on the basis of the consumer and customer survey and developed ideas for future business models. What if ARPA did not sell kitchen appliances, but offered their use for a service fee, the French team wondered.
Business models in what is known as the service economy promise environmentally friendly operation by significantly reducing the consumption of resources. Because instead of selling products, a company’s profitability depends on their longest possible service life. But how can service life and use be increased and additional benefits created? By making the product only a partial aspect of the overall offering.
MORE THAN JUST ELECTRICAL APPLIANCES
A significant additional benefit lies, for example, in the digital networking of household appliances, e.g., stove and exhaust hood – and control via smartphone. Many additional functions are conceivable here, from control tools and internet-based maintenance, to automated cooking of recipes.
In order to extend the service life of the appliances and make service and maintenance particularly convenient, a repair platform on the Internet would be helpful: including online fault diagnosis, ordering, and delivery of spare parts, provision of local service technicians, consumer chat, etc. This would also meet consumer expectations for sustainability. In addition, we will continue to work on product customization, so that the glass-ceramic cooktop panel matches the buyer’s personal taste or interior design, for example.
COMPETENCE AND DEVELOPMENT CENTER
ARPA also responds organizationally to the requirements of its customers: With its “à la carte” business unit, which deals with the best possible integration of parts from suppliers, it will in future be possible to offer even more different product combinations.
ARPA engineers are also advising on the development and design of new, exclusive kitchen appliances in the new Incubation Projects department. This business unit is a kind of outsourced development department for customers. ARPA is thus gradually expanding its range of customer services while remaining true to the idea that the products are only part of the range.
After globalization and digitalization, the corporate world is facing the next challenge: Green Business. But this is nothing new for BLANC & FISCHER Family Holding. Beyond greenwashing and fads, sustainability has been actively tackled in the Oberderdingen Family Holding companies for more than 90 years.