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Vitens

Integrated Contact Centre Platform increases customer satisfaction

Europe | Netherlands | Energy and Utilities | Customer Experience

Improving customer satisfaction through a process-based operating model to deliver customer benefits

Vitens achieved increased customer satisfaction scores with integrated front- and back-office processes which streamlined customer response, reduced costs, and increased operational efficiencies.

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Challenge

Vitens needs to replace their complex and costly to maintain contact centre system with one that can be integrated with business tools.

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Solution

Implement a single platform for their contact centre and telephony system, and integrate it with Vitens’s workforce management system.

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Result

Reduce operating costs by 60 – 70%, return on investment is realised within a year, call volumes decrease and customer satisfaction score increases to 8/10.

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Challenge

Better than bottled: focus on quality

With a 31% market share and 5.4 million customers in the Netherlands, Vitens is the country’s largest supplier of drinking water. The organisation extracts, purifies, and delivers drinking water to public taps, private households, and businesses in six provinces.

Household contracts are registered when someone moves into a new home. Vitens also supplies water used in the production process to manufacturing organisations in the provinces in which it operates. Both private and business clients contact Vitens’ customer service department to open and close accounts when moving home or premises, to query their bills, and to report any incidents relating to the quality or supply of water.

A publicly owned company, Vitens is committed to providing its customers with the best quality water, at the lowest cost. Vitens aims for a customer satisfaction score of 8/10 – an important indication that the organisation is fulfilling its promise and is on track to achieving its strategic goals.

Household contracts are registered when someone moves into a new home. Vitens also supplies water used in the production process to manufacturing organisations in the provinces in which it operates. Both private and business clients contact Vitens’ customer service department to open and close accounts when moving home or premises, to query their bills, and to report any incidents relating to the quality or supply of water.

A publicly owned company, Vitens is committed to providing its customers with the best quality water, at the lowest cost. Vitens aims for a customer satisfaction score of 8/10 an important indication that the organisation is fulfilling its promise and is on track to achieving its strategic goals.

Vitens 2.0 programme to improve customer satisfaction

To help achieve this score, the organisation launched a project called Vitens 2.0 which focused on ways of improving customer service. ‘At the time, it was difficult to resolve a query in one call,’ explains Geuje van Dijk, Transition Manager – Customer and Billing at Vitens. ‘We had a customer- facing contact centre to take calls relating to accounts, billing, and fault reporting.’ Vitens also ran a separate, internal contact centre for its maintenance engineers.

'Our front-office and back-office operations were segmented and largely activity-based,’ says van Dijk, ‘so a customer query, even a process as simple as registering a new account, could sometimes involve many departments ... and result in a backlog of work.'

Vitens wanted more customers to make use of its Internet self-service facility for simple requests and queries, for example to log a fault, or activate an account when moving house. ‘We also wanted to increase our “first-time fix” rate for customer queries,’ says van Dijk.

Closing the gap between front-and back-office

To close the gap between its front-office operations which included the contact centre – and back-office functions, Vitens decided to move to a process-based, matrixed operating model. The front and back office were therefore merged into a single, customer services department. The department would manage three processes: transfers (opening and closing water accounts when customers moved home/premises); customer relations; and billing and collections. Employees were trained to perform a number of activities in each process.

A business process management system and workforce management tool supported this new structure, allowing for better planning, monitoring, and management of resources and workflow.

Existing technology doesn’t support new operating model

Vitens needed to integrate its customer contact centre system, which at the time ran on a dedicated platform, with this new, process-based model and workforce management system. ‘We needed to determine the best solution for our requirements, at the right cost,’ says van Dijk. ‘Our existing system was nearing end-of-life and was complex and costly to maintain. It would also be expensive to upgrade, especially considering that we weren’t making use of all the functionality it offered.’ says van Dijk. ‘We wanted a solution that would match costs with benefits.’

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Solution

Single platform integrated with workforce management system

Dimension Data proposed upgrading the telephony system and integrating it with the contact centre system used for maintenance contractors. This consolidated platform would link the contact centre system with the workforce management system, giving Vitens the functionality it required, at a lower cost: the organisation would not have to pay for upgrading to a system that had excess functionality, and it would need fewer resources to support the single platform.

Dimension Data advised Vitens to select the Avaya Aura® Contact Center. The integration with Avaya Aura® Workforce Optimization to support Vitens’s back-office processes was key to the success of this project.

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Result

H2OK

60–70% reduction in operating costs, ROI in one year

Vitens now has a single, Avaya platform for its contact centre and office telephony systems, which are linked to the organisation’s workforce management tool. They’re able to use the same workforce management system for all processes, which means they can plan better and allocate resources more efficiently. This has also enabled them to reduce the number of teams in the business from 14 to eight.

Call volumes down 23%, customer satisfaction up to 8/10

‘There’s been a great improvement in our first-call resolution rate,’ says van Dijk, ‘and with IVR (interactive voice response) we’re able to direct more customers to the Internet self-service facility. We’ve seen a 23% reduction in calls so far, from about 697,000 a year to about 539,000.’

Most importantly, customer service has improved since the new system was launched. The organisation’s customer satisfaction score increased to 8/10. Van Dijk states that the biggest benefit of the Vitens 2.0 programme has been the ability to plan activities using the business process management system.

‘Integrating the contact centre platform with our workforce management system has been crucial in enabling our process-based model,’ he concludes, ‘and delivering the benefits we’re seeing as a result.’

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