Royal FloraHolland: A blooming collaboration.
Ingrid Wong | Genesys | Customer First
How do you modernize the customer contact center at a cooperative where the owners are also the customers to a significant extent? This is the story of Royal FloraHolland, one of the oldest companies in the Netherlands, which has grown into a multi-billion-dollar company, in part through mergers. As the flower trade becomes increasingly digital, customer contact is also moving to the cloud.
n the summer of 2020, Arja Boele started as Manager of the Customer Contact Center at Royal FloraHolland. “The most important assignment I received was to centralize the customer contact and find a good WFM solution. The company has many different activities and locations, and therefore many service desks. Planning employees became too complex to continue doing in a spreadsheet. Additionally, my predecessor indicated that it would be nice to have a ‘layer over CRM’ that would allow everyone with customer contact to easily access that information.” Royal FloraHolland is a cooperative that connects growers and buyers so that they can get the most out of the market together. In order to facilitate trade via the Royal FloraHolland marketplace, not only is there an enormous logistics system for delivery, pricing, sales, and delivery, but also cold storage rooms and storage spaces are rented out.
“An important reason for centralization is the need for information on how we perform.”
This also leads to thousands of customers regularly asking questions about, among other things, prices, invoices, import and export regulations, the delivery of crates and carts, and the rental and maintenance of spaces. “Part of those questions already come in at the Customer Contact Center (KCC), but there are still many separate service desks. The intention is to gradually add them to the KCC,” says Boele. “An important reason for centralization is the need for information about how we are performing. At the moment, there are few to no reports available on the important KPIs. In many places within the organization, they actually can’t say how many questions they are processing, let alone what they are about and whether we are doing well.”
From WFM naar cloud contact center
A WFM solution was the most urgent and that’s why the RFP was started. Frontline Solutions is one of the potential suppliers. The first introduction was extensive to understand the customer’s situation and needs as well as possible. We also briefly discussed the Genesys Cloud solution, for which we are a partner and which Arja already had good experiences with.
Shortly thereafter, permission was also given to search for a new, modern telephony solution for customer contact at Royal FloraHolland. Boele: “We were mainly looking for flexibility and scalability. We also want to be able to do more in-house and be less dependent on IT for things like adding employees and skills or adjusting an IVR or welcome message.” After a thorough selection process from five parties, Genesys Cloud with Frontline Solutions as our partner was chosen. “In addition to functional requirements, the personal click played an important role because ultimately successful implementation depends on good collaboration with the different partners. In addition to technical knowledge, you want partners to understand how a KCC works, what is needed for that, and to think along with you. That happens plenty in our collaboration with Frontline Solutions.”
Step by step
“Because Royal FloraHolland is the result of multiple mergers, many systems are not yet or barely integrated,” explains Boele. “That is why we are gradually centralizing customer contact on Genesys Cloud by gradually adding service desks. The functional design is almost complete. We are just waiting for some technical network adjustments. The whole project is complex because you are essentially taking a piece of customer contact out of the existing network. In addition, we are taking into account the peak period around Mother’s Day in various countries.”
All in all, WFM and the cloud platform should lead to even more focus on quality. Royal FloraHolland has little turnover among its customer contact employees. Boele says, “The training already takes six to eight weeks before you can even answer the phone. We’re going to make that a little easier by focusing more on specialists in the first line with specific skills and the existing knowledge base for other questions. We want to be able to answer 80% of questions correctly the first time and the remaining 20% will go to the second line. At the moment, we have no visibility into answering and progress, but we’ll link specialists together for that.” Measuring is knowing and that will soon be happening a lot. “The customer contact needs to move to the next phase. First, there’s the baseline measurement: how is first-time-fix going, how many customers are actually calling and when and what about? Then we can adjust the use of employees and steer channels, for example, by blending email and phone.
Our customers use social media sparingly, you don’t find them in large numbers on Twitter. But they do easily use WhatsApp, which they experience as low-threshold, personal, and easy. The ability to attach a photo or video to the question helps to get a quick answer. For us, it’s a full-fledged service channel. However, a small percentage of our customers still don’t have a smartphone and continue to rely on their ‘old’ mobile phone because ‘it still works fine’.”