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A conversation with iBOOD: "The phone gives us a face"

Interview with Robert Jonker, Manager Customer Service, iBOOD

In the past 8 years, iBOOD has grown to become Europe’s largest online one day deal platform. In the common tongue: a web shop which offers one new product per day at a very low price. The website has been named ‘Website of the Year’ in the E-Commerce category for the 5th year in a row. iBOOD has grown by word of mouth, and therefore, good customer experiences are extra important.
‘The phone makes our service personal,’ says Manager Customer Service Robert Jonker. ‘And with the contact center solution by Mtel, we have the tools to further improve that service.’

Calling remains important

The phone helps customers of iBOOD to get a better picture of the company. This is very important to a provider that is only available online. ‘You might say that the phone gives us a face. Because we only work virtually, it is easy for people to wonder who is actually behind all of it. The fact that they can call us instantly makes it a lot more personal and generates more trust. That is why the phone remains an important means for iBOOD to interact with customers, in addition to channels such as e-mail, Twitter, and Facebook.’

Missed call, missed opportunity

When Robert started working at iBOOD, the Customer Service department only had access to regular phones. He wanted to implement a solution that allowed him to really understand the quality of service as quickly as possible. ‘We had no means of measuring anything; for example, we did not even know it if we had missed a call. For us as a virtual provider, that is definitely a missed opportunity, because you run the risk of people wondering whether anyone is even really working there. You instantly lose the customer’s confidence.’

Only 0.005% abandoned calls

With Mtel’s contact center software, Robert now knows exactly what is going on. ‘For example, I can now see that 80% of calls are answered within 10 seconds, and that our customers need no more than 20 seconds to get through the selection menu. The reports also show that I do not need to worry about missed calls, because that number is negligible. Per week, we only have about 0.005% abandoned calls.’ Another demonstrable positive effect is the reduction in workload within the department. ‘I sometimes say: happy at work, happy on the phone. And if the people on my team feel good, this ultimately results in satisfied customers.’

Patience and understanding

Due to its unusual concept, with the lowest prices for customers and a quickly growing and changing organization, iBOOD is a challenging party to work with. Even so, Robert experiences mostly patience and understanding in his relationship with Mtel. ‘There is absolutely no pushing by Mtel. They understand how we work and that we are constantly building, which can cause schedules to change very quickly. They do not consider this a problem and react to this in a flexible manner. Even if we, for example, need to postpone a planned expansion.’

‘The contact center reduces the workload within the department. This ultimately results in more satisfied customers.’

No pushing

In addition, Mtel is not trying to sell a Ferrari. ‘It has been clear from the beginning that we must always try to find the right balance between the costs and the possibilities of the system. We offer our customers the lowest prices and therefore, we must pay attention to every investment we make. My contacts at Mtel think along the same lines and consider the long term as well. They do not push me to expand the system when I am not ready for that yet.’

Homework

Robert is someone who does his homework. As such, he could paint a fairly complete picture of the system he had in mind. Based on his internal inventory, he knew that iBOOD wanted to choose a cloud solution. ‘Part of our philosophy is that you should mostly be concerned with what you are good at. That is why we want iBOOD’s own IT department to be focused on what matters to us, such as the website, the ordering process, and order processing. With an SaaS solution, we can, and maintenance is handled by the right specialists. That saves us not only worries, but manpower as well.’

Personal connection

Obviously, iBOOD went to multiple parties with the request for a new customer service telephone system. Eventually, three potential providers remained which were pretty close to each other in terms of technical possibilities. What eventually made Robert decide was, in addition to the costs, the personal connection with Mtel. ‘Besides the fact that the Mtel team really unburdens us, that we have a single point of contact, and that they react very adequately, we notice that communication occurs very naturally. We can be honest with each other and they really listen to our questions. They are a genuine conversation partner. Moreover, just like us, they have a hands-on mentality, which ensures that any problems are resolved quickly and effectively.’

Four or more stars

‘We focus on good customer experiences so that positive reviews stimulate word of mouth publicity. As such, we can keep our marketing budget low and keep our pricing low for our customers. My mission is to always score four or more stars on the well-known review sites. This is done by being even more helpful to customers on the phone and thereby avoiding online complaints. The possibilities of the service will certainly help us with that, even if we decide to expand in the future.’

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