The gold standard for customer relationships

Article: The gold standard for customer relationships

07/2021 - DB Cargo wishes to improve customer service through the rollout of Salesforce and, by doing so, is relying on an established standard solution in customer management.

Customer service employees at DB Cargo deal with thousands of customer-related business transactions every day, from order to billing. Since 1998, these have been processed using the custom CRM solution KUSS. Essentially, this was a precursor to Customer Relationship Management (CRM) – a term that was not in use over 20 years ago. Today, this once ultra-modern development is no longer state of the art. The demands placed on a user interface are advancing rapidly due to digitalisation, and KUSS is barely able to meet them. So it's time for something new – introducing DB Systel's Salesforce Delivery Team!

The current demands on CRM systems are as varied as the companies that use them. Moreover, the rollout and deployment of a CRM system always involves changes to the respective business processes. DB Systel has been providing CRM solutions to its DB Group partners since 2018. What's more, DB Systel itself has been using the full functionality of Salesforce since the very beginning. "With 1,000 users, we were our first major customer. This enabled us to gain a great deal of experience in the rollout right from the very outset," says Janina Fäßer, Product Owner of CRM Unit and CRM Portfolio Manager at DB Systel. "Prior to implementing the system in lots of other business units, we wanted to iron out as many teething problems as possible." The expertise we acquired in this way can therefore be shared directly with these business units. "As a result, our partners within the DB Group do not have to encounter these issues again."

The best CRM solution for ensuring better customer service

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A dashboard example in the field of logistics


Perfect conditions for DB Cargo: The customer service and sales application, known as casa for short, is currently being developed in a close and collaborative partnership involving a cross-business-unit team of specialists. Its two main components are the Salesforce solutions "Service Cloud" (service desk) and "Sales Cloud" (a customer management system for Sales), which will improve customer service and internal customer management throughout Europe. Service Cloud will deploy new digital channels to deliver excellent customer service to DB Cargo's end customers, while Sales Cloud will enable DB Cargo's employees to have all relevant information available at a glance – at any time, for any customer and for any business transaction. "To achieve this, all 15 existing systems need to be integrated with Salesforce," says Michael Fleischer. "By the end of 2023, a total of 1,200 customer service employees and 800 sales employees will have made the gradual switch to casa."

"In the preliminary study, Salesforce managed to impress on almost all fronts."

Michael Fleischer, IT Project Management Sales and Customer Service, DB Cargo

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However, the decision to choose Salesforce as the cornerstone was a lengthy process. When making the choice, needs-oriented consulting was a priority. "For the CRM portfolio, we opted for software as a service (SaaS) and the market leader Salesforce, among others," explains Fäßer. "Therefore, instead of custom solutions, we chose to rely on standard solutions that are well established in the market." "In the preliminary study, Salesforce managed to impress on almost all fronts," says Michael Fleischer, who is project managing the rollout and integration of Salesforce at DB Cargo. Salesforce also came out on top in the final evaluation of all instances and in the proof of concept.

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The partnership between DB Cargo and DB Systel provides the basis for the success of the project casa.


Creating synergies within the DB Group

And not just there: Within the DB Group, six different CRM projects of varying sizes are currently being implemented in parallel, with each business unit benefiting from one another's experience. DB Systel is not only providing hundreds of DB companies with Salesforce licences, it is also taking care of consulting and implementation as well as process design – always with regard for the strict compliance rules in place. The Salesforce Delivery Team is building CRM communities across business units and sharing its knowledge for greater flexibility with these business units, thereby creating more and more synergies within the DB Group. Casa is the largest CRM application to be developed to date.

"Outside callers can no longer ascertain whether they are talking to DB Cargo or DB Systel."

Janina Fäßer, Product Owner of CRM Unit and CRM Portfolio Manager, DB Systel

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Casa is being developed in a collaborative partnership between the sales and delivery teams as well as the business units at DB Cargo. Live demos of the product were used to jointly evaluate requirements implementation. From consulting through to first-level operation, everything is available from a single source. The partnership is also economically beneficial because significant price effects are obtained through central portfolio procurement. As Deutsche Bahn's digital partner, DB Systel brings its extensive railway knowledge to the table, which is vitally important in compliance issues. Furthermore, a collaboration based on mutual trust is key, especially in difficult situations. "We've always had a very close relationship," says Janina Fäßer. "Outside callers can no longer ascertain whether they are talking to DB Cargo or DB Systel."  Michael Fleischer adds: "Without the trusting, close and collaborative partnership we enjoy with DB Systel, it would not be possible to implement a project of this size to such a high quality."

Tailored CRM solution for your company

Of course, not every CRM project is of this magnitude. For many different reasons, however, it's always worth the effort. The system is scalable, allowing it to grow according to demand and capacity. Trouble-free operation is ensured because the data centres are located in Europe. A data protection pre-audit is already conducted at the tender stage. Furthermore, immediate availability eliminates long development times. New partners can conveniently order the CRM solution from the DB Digital Portal, which provides hundreds of Deutsche Bahn companies access to DB Systel's entire CRM portfolio, ranging from consulting and implementation of CRM solutions through to process design and Salesforce licences.

Further information is available on DB Systel's CRS page.