The rationale behind choosing a high-touch and high-cost route to serve our customers – Interview with Matthias Murin


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Today’s interview is with Matthias Murin, Group Manager Customer Service at DocMorris, a Dutch online and mail-order pharmacy that provides medicines primarily to customers in Germany. Matthias joins me today to talk about DocMorris’ approach to customer service, the challenges of delivering a great customer experience over the phone and via email and why they have opted to go down a high-touch, high cost route when the industry wide trend is to try and reduce the cost to serve and increase levels of self service.

This interview follows on from my recent interview – Is it time to stop talking about employee engagement?– and is number 196 in the series of interviews with authors and business leaders that are doing great things, providing valuable insights, helping businesses innovate and delivering great service and experience to their customers.

Here’s the highlights of my interview with Matthias:

  • Has been leading customer service for DocMorris since 2012.
  • Here’s an overview of DocMorris:
    • Europe’s largest Mail-Order Pharmacy (market share of approx 30%),
    • They have up to 180,000 health products in stock at any one time,
    • They handle up to 20,000 orders per day from more than 3 Million Customers,
    • Sales in 2015 were over Euros300 million,
    • They have more than 500 employees, and
    • They business is split into two areas:
      • 1. Non-pharmaceutical customer service, and
      • 2. Pharmaceutical customer service, where they have a highly qualified team of pharmacists and technical pharmaceutical assistants to deal with everything from general enquiries about side effects, the application and dosage of medication and the development of individual care programmes.
  • Traditionally, they have delivered customer service over 4 channels: Phone, Chat, Email and by Post (Letters).
  • Three years ago, DocMorris started to think about and develop new technology as they were struggling to deliver the service they wanted to their customers and were finding that their traditional channels were not facilitating the conversation that they needed to have with many of their chronically ill customers.
  • As a result, from early 2014 to mid of 2015 they started to develop a video chat solution in Partnership with Deutsche Telekom with the target of making things easier for their customers to understand and also to enable their agents to better handle any customer enquiries.
  • They launched their “VideoBerater” (VideoCounsel) service in middle of 2015.
  • However, it’s not just a simple video chat solution but agents can also share tons of content like pictures of products, presentations regarding the correct application of certain drugs, product brochures etc etc. All of which the customer has the option to download at the end of the conversation so that they can use it for future reference.
  • This is an expensive route to go down and seems to run counter to the industry trends which are largely focusing on trying to reduce the cost to serve and increase levels of self service.
  • However, DocMorris found that the implementation of this solution allowed them to both raise the level of service they provided to their customers an improve their efficiency in handling customer enquiries at the same time.
  • They also found that the introduction of this solution has proved to be a real competitive advantage.
  • Matthias notes that the implementation of this type of solution is really helped by the fact that DocMorris has a very innovation-driven board.
  • DocMorris’ customers have been very enthusiastic about the new service across all age groups (their oldest user is 86 years old).
  • Following their Beta phase, the adoption rate was quite slow but they worked with marketing to help promote awareness of the new service as well asking agents to offer this option to customers during phone call or email consultations.
  • The video chat solution is free to customers and non-customers alike.
  • Overall, the impact of the introduction of this new channel has been very positive and has delivered competitive advantage, higher customer loyalty, a greater degree of advocacy and their customers are now better equipped to deal with their diseases and ailments.
  • In the face of increased mobile use and rising expectations, DocMorris’ next big challenge is how can they further transform their service from being reactive into being more proactive, where they are solving customers problems before they occur and the customer understands and recognises this.
  • Matthias recommends the following if you think you have found something that will help improve your customer service and make your customers happier: Do everything to get the budget and realize it!
  • To help deliver wow service/experience, Matthias believes that we have tons of data at our disposal on buying behaviour, complaints etc etc. So, companies should use this data and act more proactively to reduce,mitigateor solve the problems before they show up on the customer side.
  • When asked what he would like to ‘plug’ Matthias encouraged everyone to take a look at the inspiring work being done and the events that are being run by 2b AHEAD ThinkTank (, Germany’s most innovative business think tank.

About Matthias

Matthias MurinMatthias Murin has been responsible for the customer service business unit at DocMorris since October 2012. He directly reports to the management board and is responsible for operational and strategic customer-related service areas.

Mr Murin brings to the table more than 22 years’ national and international call centre experience. His first few years has been focused on traditional call centre services and were followed by many years working on the development of expanding in-house or sector-specific solutions.
 In the last 16 years he was principally involved in health care e.g. Pharmacy Benefit Management, Telemedicine, Ambient assisted living and health-based mail order solutions.

You can find out more about DocMorris at, say Hi to them on Twitter @docmorris and connect with Matthias on LinkedIn here.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Adrian Swinscoe
Adrian Swinscoe brings over 25 years experience to focusing on helping companies large and small develop and implement customer focused, sustainable growth strategies.


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