De Bijenkorf has been a strong brand for over 140 years. The Netherlands’ best-known department store has 3000 employees and flagship stores in Amsterdam, The Hague and Rotterdam. There are also branches in Utrecht, Amstelveen, Eindhoven and Maastricht. Together, the stores, advertising , range and employees communicate the Bijenkorf identity: customer-oriented, inspiring, stylish and premium. The mission: De Bijenkorf is the most inspiring, surprising and creative department store, where everyone feels special.
In order to pursue this mission, three pillars have been identified in the area of customer service: Increasing customer satisfaction, increasing efficiency and minimising risks.
How do you make sure the service is in line with the mission 'where everyone feels special’ and how can you really help and pleasantly surprise customers? “This can be achieved by, for example, making sure all the systems are correctly linked and that the service agent is fully aware of the customer's situation, so that the customer does not have to explain everything,” says Odile De Vito, Senior Business Consultant at de Bijenkorf. “The target group is becoming increasingly digital, so Bijenkorf has to respond to that, for example by offering more self-service options. We also see this reflected in the channels used to contact the customer service department; WhatsApp and web chat are increasing strongly, whereas other social channels are decreasing”.
“If you want to help your customers as quickly and as effectively as possible, first time and through the customer’s preferred channel, you have to increase efficiency. Because the customer shouldn’t have to wait. By automating more and requiring them to perform fewer actions, service agents can concentrate more on customers and spend less time where it isn’t needed.”
Minimising risks has everything to do with technology. Increasing customer satisfaction and efficiency calls for reliable systems and ongoing development so that they keep up with the latest developments. The systems that were in use were no longer fit for purpose either functionally or technically. They no longer enabled Bijenkorf to work flexibly and they were no longer future-proof.
In order to achieve these goals, Salesforce Service Cloud, Social Studio and Social25 were purchased to replace the previous systems. All the service channels are clearly displayed in user-friendly consoles, allowing service agents to work more efficiently. “Messages received through public social media such as Instagram and Facebook are handled by the service department in Social Studio. Through social listening, we know what is being said about de Bijenkorf, on which channel, by whom and what the sentiment of the message is. That is very valuable information. Social25 enables us to respond in real-time from the Service Cloud to all messages received via social direct messaging such as Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp and Twitter DM.”
In order to achieve a 360-degree customer view and to make sure the right information is available to the service agents, we have integrated BPM, the order management system, the data warehouse and the website. “Integrations can be a tricky business, but building the integrations with de Bijenkorf systems passed off without a hitch. The integrations were completed within the space of two weeks. This was partly due to Salesforce and partly to the expertise of de Bijenkorf and Gen25. We were well prepared, which resulted in a good outcome”, says Odile De Vito.
“In the future, we don’t just want to be reactive in the service department, we also want to proactively inform customers in order to communicate the 'surprise' element of the mission even more strongly and to provide an even better service.”