We opened our Customer Service Center in Ludwigsburg in the final year of the last millennium – in 1999 in fact. Since then, my colleagues and I have been dealing with enquires from around the world and the remotest corners of the earth. Over the years, I have experienced some curious things – but more about that later. First let me explain what our Customer Service Center actually is.
First-class service for our customers – this is our motto. We aim to create this by being accessible, answering any question competently and providing reliable information. Our customers (not only from the aftermarket sector) can reach us weekdays from 07:00 to 17:00. During these hours, we not only respond to all queries from workshops and distributors but our team also answers questions from private individuals. The Customer Service Center cannot be compared with a call centre – we do not simply accept and forward calls, we provide comprehensive information and to a certain extent give advice which requires in-depth knowledge of filtration.
All colleagues in the Customer Service Center have a defined customer base in the aftermarket or manage orders from specific countries around the world. I, for example, am responsible for Greece, Cyprus, United Arab Emirates, Egypt, Iraq and Africa.
It is particularly time-consuming to research and cross-reference filters for vintage cars or old tractors which have been operating for 50 years and are thus no longer listed in current catalogues. For me, this means a trip down to the archives. Catalogues dating back to the 1950s are stored there, enabling me to compare drawings and study technical features. Old stock lists from the 1970s are still very helpful today. It is nearly always possible to solve the problem, even though some reconstruction of the filter may occasionally be necessary. Receiving the right support to restore old vehicles – this is what customers really appreciate. We answer everything, however strange the question.
Now and again, something really unusual crops up, such as the query from an elderly couple in Bietigheim who had chosen to spend their twilight years in the warm Florida sun, and wanted to restore their 45 year old Porsche Targa. Using the old documents, we were able to find suppliers for the correct – and long obsolete – clamp on the air filter housing. They were most impressed and pleased with our helpfulness.
Another curiosity in the Customer Service Center is the letter from a car repairer in the Sultanate of Oman, written in German. A mechanic there was requesting old car magazines, VHS videos and CD-ROMs, which he wanted to use as training material for students in his workshop. Fortunately, we still had an old VHS video which gave a brief company profile and showed production of our filters.
Activities in the Customer Service Center are never monotonous because something new and unexpected can happen at any time. Contact with different cultures also spices up our daily working routines.