Fixami: Scaling up and professionalizing in e-commerce
Erik Bouwer | Ziptone
Fixami, better known as Gereedschapcentrum.nl, is a successful and rapidly growing e-commerce player with customers in the Netherlands, France, Germany, and Spain. A few years ago, the company had all the characteristics of a startup, with a website, an order system, a phone center, and Outlook as its basic infrastructure. Currently, they are working hard to further develop their CX (Customer Experience) and customer contact strategy. Frontline Solutions is assisting Fixami in formulating a roadmap and implementing suitable solutions in the right phases.
The startup nature of Gereedschapcentrum.nl was also reflected in its customer service technology until recently. The company could be reached through multiple contact channels, but they were managed separately. Nicole Verspeek, Customer Service Engineer at Fixami, reflects on the situation: “For handling phone calls, we had a hunt group, which was sufficient for the slightly more than ten customer service representatives for a long time. WhatsApp messages were handled through a separate WhatsApp Business account. And all emails ended up in Outlook, where they were manually categorized and distributed. This often resulted in cherry picking, causing complex or old issues to be neglected instead of receiving priority.” Colleague Melissa Vos, Teamlead Customer Service, adds, “Another consequence was the lack of management information regarding efficiency, quality, accessibility, and who is responsible for what.”
Challenges: Fixami’s growth
Fixami expanded its operations to Belgium (2016), France and Spain (2019), and Germany (2021) in a relatively short period of time. This resulted in receiving thousands of emails per day from customers through web forms on the various websites. Verspeek explains, “Not only has the number of orders increased, but French and Spanish customers also reach out more frequently. They ask more questions per order, which is also related to logistics. Shipping from the Netherlands to France or Spain is more complex and takes more time. Customers want more frequent updates.”
In short, Fixami had to undergo a significant professionalization process to effectively manage further growth. Just before the outbreak of the pandemic, they decided to invest in a comprehensive, cloud-based customer contact platform – Genesys Cloud 3. This platform allows them to handle all calls, emails, chats, and WhatsApp messages from a single omnichannel platform. This decision also enabled Fixami to quickly transition customer service representatives to remote work when the company, like everyone else, faced the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. For Fixami, this meant even more busyness as many consumers turned to home improvement projects instead of going on vacations.
“E-mail is an important channel for our customers”
“Our customers, especially professionals and semi-professionals from different countries, communicate a lot and frequently through the web form on our websites. Email is, therefore, an important channel for us, with a substantial volume of around 14,000 emails per week. Our goal is to provide our customers with a response within one business day,” says Verspeek. “With the introduction of Genesys, we were able to address many basic issues. Genesys ensures that emails are placed in different queues based on languages, departments, and priorities, so that they can be handled in the right order and by the appropriate staff member. This also put an end to cherry picking and made both the workload and priorities fully visible.”
However, searching for a related series of emails within a queue remained challenging. Vos explains, “A replied email ‘disappears’ from Genesys, while often additional follow-up actions are still necessary afterwards, for example, because a customer calls about it or sends a message, or because follow-up actions are needed for different individuals or departments.”
This led Mandy Spiegels, the customer service manager at Fixami, to search for a solution within her network. This is how she started a conversation with Kim de Boer from Frontline Solutions, who immediately recognized Fixami’s challenge.
Implementation of Frontline Mail Manager
“Together with Frontline Solutions, we have added Frontline Mail Manager to Genesys Cloud. This allows a staff member not only to be presented with relevant customer emails to process (the push function), but also to specifically search for email messages within a mail thread (the pull function),” explains Verspeek. “The latter saves a lot of time for the back office, where, for example, returns are handled. The corresponding email can be easily retrieved.”
“Our sales team also uses the pull app in their communication with suppliers, enabling them to search for the right email within a thread. Think of companies placing purchase orders or discussing credit purchases,” says Vos.
Since Frontline Mail Manager works closely with Genesys Cloud, the customer service team at Fixami can add email addresses to Mail Manager themselves and then define a flow in Genesys to recognize and route the emails. This is highly relevant considering their ambitions to expand operations to more countries within Europe.
Kim de Boer says, “With Genesys Cloud 3, Fixami has a state-of-the-art customer contact platform with extensive functionality. From Frontline Solutions, we see it as a great opportunity to help Fixami develop a roadmap for customer service technology, aiming to leverage the capabilities that best align with the developmental stage of their customer contact.”
With the interventions in the approach to email communication, both customer service, sales, and the back office have regained control and have access to clear management information. This enables the departments to better steer towards results, which is also noticeable for Fixami’s customers.
Verspeek says, “The response time for emails addressed to customer service is now a maximum of 1 business day. Previously, depending on the queue, this could extend to 5 business days. Mail Manager provides clear signals, filters spam, and speeds up the handling process.” In addition, customers have fewer questions about emails, which has improved the telephone service level: previously it was 80% within 6 minutes, which was not always achieved, and now it is 70% within 30 seconds.
Verspeek expects that these improvements will also be reflected in the upcoming customer satisfaction survey.
“We have regular contact with Frontline Solutions. We have monthly meetings regarding tickets and service levels. The advantage of the solutions we use is that we can do a lot ourselves. If I can’t figure something out, I can submit a ticket, but for something small or even something big, I can simply send a quick message to the Frontline Solutions team. Besides having direct lines of communication, they also proactively think along with our customer contact strategy – such as how to measure first-time fix – and come up with suggestions and ideas on how processes can be smarter or better organized, often by leveraging the existing functionality already available – you can they are Genesys specialists. They often come up with a script even before we have thought about it.”
The customer service team at Fixami is now playing on two chessboards simultaneously. On one hand, they are working hard to formulate a solid customer contact strategy, including a roadmap for technology. On the other hand, the team is actively engaged in making processes more efficient and customer friendly. “We are improving the customer journey with the systems we currently have,” says Vos. “In doing so, we want to do as much as possible ourselves to quickly adapt to changes and be less dependent on IT specialists.”
The team aims to work on customer recognition so that customers seeking contact can be optimally routed. “One of the key objectives for the upcoming period is to increase the percentage of first-time fix. We like to do things right, but they also need to be resolved correctly on the first attempt.”
About Fixami and Gereedschapcentrum.nl – The origin of Gereedschapcentrum.nl dates back to 2007 when founders Luuk Schormans and Bram Mutsaers started offering (second-hand) tools through Marktplaats, a popular online marketplace. In September 2009, Gereedschapcentrum.nl was launched. In 2016, the company expanded its operations to Belgium with Fixami.be. In the same year, the company received a prestigious Gouden Gazelle (Golden Gazelle) award in the FD Gazellen Awards as the fastest-growing (medium-sized) enterprise in the southern Netherlands. In 2019, the company reached the 75th position in the Twinkle100 ranking, and a year later, investor Foreman Capital joined the company. Fixami currently employs 250 people and has a turnover of approximately 100 million euros.
The company serves its customers with 30 customer contact specialists in four languages from its contact center in Tilburg. With Frontline Mail Manager, an average of 14,000 emails are handled weekly. The name Fixami, derived from the company’s parent company, is based on the French word for “handy companion.” To learn more about Fixami’s services, visit their website: https://www.fixami.com or