A conversation with Prénatal: "Parents want an answer right away"
Interview Willie Brouwer, Prénatal Sales Coordinator
Prénatal is the specialist for pregnant women and parents with young children and offers the most complete and affordable range tailored to the needs of the customer. The customers of the number one destination for (future) parents are therefore more critical, ask a lot of questions, and want to receive an appropriate response right away. Moreover, each generation of parents is different, and Prénatal needs to be able to respond to that. This is why Sales Coordinator Willie Brouwer chose the reliability and growth opportunities of Online Contact Center Software by Mtel.
‘At Prénatal, we do everything we can to stay in our customer’s hearts,’ Willie states proudly. ‘This means we do our utmost to unburden parents during and after pregnancy, with good products and good advice, but also with an answer to any questions they might have.’ Willie intentionally uses the word ‘any’ here, because the questions the Customer Care department receives sometimes go beyond their own range. ‘For example, it may happen that a mother-to-be calls us about the hair dye she bought at the drugstore. Even then, we help her and see whether she can safely use it during pregnancy.’
Listening and taking time
‘In communication, it is often forgotten how important listening is,’ Willie stresses. ‘By listening well, we are better able to understand what our customers want.’ Since the switch to Online Contact Center (OCC) by Mtel in 2012, Willie can really see that this approach is working. ‘With the old system, we worked without management information. Now, whenever I want, I can receive an overview of our KPIs.’ This way, Willie now knows that the department has a ‘first time fix’ (customers who received the right answer the first time they called) percentage of 96% and only 3% ‘abandoned calls.’ Impressive scores, given the fact that Prénatal handles approximately 35,000 contacts annually with a Customer Care team of only five (part-time) employees. In addition, she sees that calls can be as much as 5 minutes long. ‘That may seem long, but it does ensure that the customer is better understood.’
"With our old system, we worked without management information. Now, whenever I want, I can receive an overview of our KPIs."
Square block, round hole
Implementing a new system for the Customer Care department of Prénatal did not happen overnight. ‘In 2010, we faced having to choose a new provider and making a serious investment’ Willie says. That is why they followed a postgraduate training to upgrade them and the organization. ‘From the thesis I had to write, I went ahead and made a business case for Prénatal.’
It benchmarked several providers, and eventually concluded that Mtel was the winner. ‘Some providers are like children who try to push a square block into the round hole of their wooden shape puzzle. By that, I mean that they are trying to ‘force’ their system into your business process, and that does not work. Mtel understands that very well, and you might say that OCC is perfect for us. Mtel was a good partner in that sense.’
No colorful stories
Prénatal and Mtel match not only on a technical level, but on a personal level as well. ‘Our companies both have a no-nonsense culture. Mtel treats its customers with respect, just as we do. We were properly and honestly advised, and we were not coaxed to purchase a package we really did not need.’ Another important reason for the pleasant cooperation with Mtel is that technical issues are explained in a comprehensible way. ‘When our Customer Care employees have a question about OCC, the people at Mtel take their time to help them and do not become impatient when something is not immediately understood,’ Willie explains.
Built on entrepreneurship
The Customer Care department at Prénatal works differently than those of other retailers. For instance, its employees have had months of training before starting to handle phone calls and e-mails by customers themselves. Furthermore, they are expected to demonstrate entrepreneurship. ‘The contact center solution by Mtel is a perfect fit for our way of working,’ says Willie. ‘Because it is an SaaS (Service as a Software) system, we have the flexibility we need and we can assign our employees skills and capitalize on experiences in practice.’ In addition, OCC contributes to the optimization of business processes. Not only through the reports, but also by linking the system to our customer database. ‘It is very important for the Customer Care department to be able to record its experiences and provide feedback to the organization. This allows us to better respond to the needs of our customers. Moreover, it is good for colleagues who do not have direct customer contact, as it gives them a much better picture of the target audience.’
Growing with generations
Prénatal is always dealing with new generations of parents who do things in a different way. ‘At Customer Care, we need to take into account the means of communication our customers will be using a few years from now,’ Willie explains. ‘Because in addition to phone and e-mail, there may very well be 2, 3, or 4 other channels we need to operate on. The solution has been designed to grow with our wishes and demands, and those of our future customers. In that sense, too, the solution by Mtel fits perfectly with the business operations of Prénatal.’