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KBA CEO Helge Hansen on the importance of great customer service

Published on January 25, 2010

Interviewer: Hi, Cary Sherburne and Senior Editor at WhatTheyThink.com and I'm here with Helge Hansen, who is President and CEO of KBA. Welcome. In our previous conversation, we spoke about some of the things that KBA has done to keep the company strong as a strong supplier to the industry. Maybe you could talk to us just a little bit about what you were doing now in terms of helping customers get through this difficult period.

Helge Hansen: Well our strengths carry these directly linked to the strengths of our customers. Unless we have good and solid customers, we cannot survive. So to that extent, their issues are our issues. How do we handle these affairs today? Most certainly, number one is, we need to continuously work on productivity in our eyes. And how do we do that? Through continuous innovations. There is no way other than that. I would rather guess that you can easily call us the world leader in innovations when it comes to in particular sheet fed printing technologies. So, this is an issue. Even during these troubling days, service is cost intense. We know that. Very recently, Cary, we have engineered a program called Service Select, which to our minds is an excellent contribution to customers, to help them through troubling waters in particular when it comes to –

Interviewer: And how does that work? How does that work?

Helge Hansen: -- time and maintenance. It’s a particular guide through a service of ours on an easily calculable cost basis.

Interviewer: So, it really helps the customer decide what’s the best – you work with the customer to decide what’s the best service program for them. Yeah. Okay.

Helge Hansen: It’s basically a cost saver for them.

Interviewer: That’s great.

Helge Hansen: So, saving of time, or improving on time. And that is, to my mind, number two which we need to focus on. Number three, how do we improve the customer situation? I mean, productivity of print equipment is very much linked to make ready times. And when it comes to make ready times, regardless of what kind of print system you see from us, all of them have one thing in common. We consider ourselves to be make ready champions in the world.

Interviewer: That’s great.

Helge Hansen: Since that always used to be our focus and continues to be our focus.

Interviewer: You know, I talk to printers all the time that say, “I’m not really in the printing business, I’m in the make ready business because  links are getting so much shorter.

Helge Hansen: Getting back to your question, what do we do in order to help our customers getting through these difficult times? There is certainly one  which I would love to mention. Customers these days need financial help here and there. They need some flexibility to get through their markets. And whenever you have a vendor who is financially strong, which is the case with us, you will find more response than.

Interviewer: And so you are able to help them through financial flexibility as well.

Helge Hansen: Where ever we can, we do.

Interviewer: And then the final thing, of course, is training because if they’re not – if the pressman isn’t operating the machine right, I mean, that’s an issue too.

Helge Hansen: Training, this is what we offer worldwide. We offer that through our local organizations, we offer that through the factory itself, out of Germany, as you well know. And training to my mind has never been an issue with us. It is common sense with us and is to my mind, highly appreciated and our customers really want it.

Interviewer: That’s great. Thank you very much.

Helge Hansen: Pleasure.

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