VGZ – from big binders to digital dialogue support
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Nowadays in customer service, answers to your questions are given almost instantly. Making a quick call, writing an e-mail or asking your question via chat on the website -- your answer will be provided in no time. This doesn’t happen through magic. There is an intricate system supporting it, and that system was developed for many years in order to make it as efficient as possible. VGZ’s application Dialogue Support is a good example of such a well-developed system. Team lead of knowledge management, Henk Jansen, and team member, Ton Nouwens, play a major role in making VGZ’s customer service as efficient as possible.
From big binders to digital dialogue support
With around 4 million customers, VGZ encounters many questions to be answered. As you might have experienced yourself, the variety of insurance companies and their terms of conditions can be overwhelming sometimes. In order to answer this large number of incoming questions as accurately, satisfactorily and quickly as possible, VGZ uses the application Dialogue Support.
“The application Dialogue Support, also called DO (an abbreviation for the Dutch name “Dialoog Ondersteuning”) is built with WEM,” Henk explains. “All information necessary to provide a good and quick answer during a telephone dialogue can be found in DO. This is very different compared to how we worked twenty years ago. Back then, there were big binders and huge piles of paperwork on our desks. You needed to quickly sort through the paperwork or even know the answers by heart.”
Henk remembers, “As you can imagine, the information shared wasn’t always as accurate and up to date as it should’ve been. In 2005 a digital knowledge system became available. It wasn’t as well equipped, but it was useful. At a certain point there was no denying that all information soon would be digitalized. Finally, we cleaned up all paperwork from the desks.”
The knowledge management system that was used from 2005 on wasn’t initially built in WEM, but by using HTML code. During that time, there were different variations of the system for the different brands of VGZ.
Ton doesn’t miss the old systems that were built in HTML: “Imagine maintaining all content with codes! That was very labor-intensive and time-consuming.” Therefore, in 2009 VGZ decided to develop one system in which all necessary information would be centralized for all VGZ brands. This would provide a clear overview in which all information needed would be easily available to customer service.
“We were looking for a solution to build the new system, so that it would support the dialogue between customer and service employee in the best possible way,” says Henk. “We had experience with different software solutions for those type of systems. But WEM turned out to be the best match for our needs: a platform in which we could build an application in a well-organized and structured way. An application in which content could be easily adjusted, without touching the HTML.”
Today, the DO application supports about 800 VGZ customer advisors during their calls with customers. Henk says: “DO became an essential system for our customer service.”
A stable basis and future opportunities
Ton is part of VGZ’s knowledge management team: “We only need a small team, because WEM makes it easy to maintain the application. Even non-IT people can adjust content in WEM. For us, that’s the biggest advantage of the platform.”
Another change for VGZ’s knowledge management team is that team members no longer have their own fixed offices with desks full of computer equipment. They work at one of the many flex work spaces available at the VGZ head office in Eindhoven. That’s only possible because they maintain the WEM software online.
“Every now and then we get together as a team to brainstorm and have meetings. That’s very different from how we used to work,” says Ton. “You were stuck at your desk, which was packed with computers and monitors. Now, the team is only physically present at the office two days a week.”
A solid basis offers opportunities
“Having contact with the helpful staff of WEM is very pleasant. If we get to a point at which we don’t know how to proceed, or we want to create something that we didn’t see as a possibility before, they will customize it for us,” Ton says with satisfaction.
“They know us very well, because we’ve been working together for years. We appreciate that they do not only support us, but also think with us. We talk to each other daily and if necessary, they come by our office right away.”
Henk and Ton are very positive about their future advantages with WEM.
“We went from complex and time-consuming coding to a clear and visually attractive application,” says Henk. “The structure and stable basis offers many opportunities for the future. Currently, we only use the Dialogue Support system for our call service. Soon, we also want to build dialogue-supporting systems with WEM for our chat and e-mail service, as well as using it for maintaining our website content and knowledge management.”
VGZ and WEM have great future plans together. The smooth partnership they maintain on the Dialogue Support application makes that possible.