Online reigns supreme: Otto Versand recently announced that it will no longer publish print catalogues – the very foundations upon which this mail-order company was built. The company waited a long time to take this step – and it was not alone in this regard. Up until very recently, any external customers who wanted to order products such as brake components and drive units from DB Fahrzeuginstandhaltung were directed towards the print version of the product catalogue. This frequently became a long and complex process. It is therefore not surprising that an online solution was needed to optimise this process. “We want to provide an online platform that simplifies the entire process and gives customers tangible added value”, says Stefan Selders, project manager for the new eService at DB Fahrzeuginstandhaltung.
The goal is to enable customers to request maintenance services such as component testing and reconditioning online via our new eService.
This new and modern eService platform, which was launched at InnoTrans 2018, was developed jointly with DB Systel and is gradually undergoing further development. In addition to clearly presenting our maintenance services to our customers, this platform also enables them to request product-related services directly online. “Imagine something similar to Amazon”, suggests Selders. “However, unlike the marketplace of an online retailer, the eService is presently a request portal only. The goal is to enable customers to request maintenance services such as component testing and reconditioning via our new online eService. In future, they will also be able to track the current status of our service provision.”
The DB customer portal, which already provides the basic functions and technical foundations as standard, was the basis for the new eService.
The DB customer portal, which already provides basic functions and the technical foundations as standard, was the basis for the new eService. This is why, in just ten months, we were able to implement a new portal that satisfied the requirements of DB Fahrzeuginstandhaltung and then go live at InnoTrans in September 2018, showcasing all required features. “We were lucky that the interfaces for the requisite data sets already existed”, concedes Markus Birnbaum, product owner of the DB customer portal, DB Systel. “The online catalogue itself is maintained by colleagues in DB Fahrzeuginstandhaltung. Consequently, we were able to utilise the existing technical contents of the catalogue and, by doing so, implement this product quickly.”
All information at a glance
The eService of DB Fahrzeuginstandhaltung is now live and available to customers for a range of standardised products. In addition, the new portal provides up-do-date status information for product enquiries as well as master data relating to the customer’s vehicle. Customer feedback indicates that the new online customer portal, which contains the product catalogue, request option and status tracking, has been well received because it considerably simplifies what once was a purely manual process. Other benefits: Customers can view a large pool of information at a glance. What’s more, they can now perform targeted product searches online and no longer have to leaf through the pages of a print catalogue.
DB Fahrzeuginstandhaltung is also reaping the rewards of having an online platform that supports its Sales division by facilitating more direct and efficient communication with customers. Even though the eService portal already offers certain benefits in this current expansion stage, it will continue to undergo further development in 2019. At present, it is mainly a tool for customers to submit requests. “In a later expansion stage, contract processing and invoice tracking will also be available to customers”, says Selders. Very soon, the portal will be available to customers in multiple languages. Furthermore, a greater selection of products will be available in the product catalogue.
Using the DB customer portal to develop the eService is yet another example of how digitalisation is advancing within the DB Group – the outcome of which is increased customer satisfaction through digitalisation and connectivity.