To offer the best possible service, existing and potential customers must be able to contact Feenstra easily at any time. Appointments with service engineers and advisers are planned centrally at the head office in Lelystad, where a team of around 100 call centre employees is available between 8 a.m. and 9 p.m. To make the appointment scheduling process as efficient as possible, a planning tool was developed six years ago. It allowed the team to schedule home appointments to provide advice about central heating installations, solar panels, home insulation and home security.
Three generations of the tool have been rolled out during this period. The first version of the planning tool allowed appointments for the sale of central heating installations to be made nationally for the first time. The second version enabled other products to be added, such as appointments for the sale of solar panels, home insulation and home security. The second-generation tool was also considerably faster.
"There has been a visible improvement in our customer satisfaction. They are able to access clear information, are helped sooner and always deal with suitably qualified experts."
Avanade helped Feenstra develop and implement the new tool and worked closely with the company to design, prepare and roll out the upgrade. At the start of the process, the first task was to gain a clear insight into Feenstra's requirements. The final aim was to plan appointments as efficiently as possible, so customers and potential customers would receive the best possible service and so advisers could maximise productivity during their work days.
The tailor-made solution was developed by Avanade based on Microsoft Azure, which is Microsoft's cloud solution. "We recommended Azure because it is a scalable platform. The main advantage is that you are not responsible for hardware and hosting, or the related depreciation. This helps to significantly reduce monthly costs," explains Vincent van Baak, Project Manager at Avanade.
The latest version of the planning tool was implemented with the help of Avanade. This version builds on the foundations established by previous generations. The system is used to plan appointments for around 20 field agents working day shifts. During the winter season, which is the busiest period for Feenstra, the team is expanded to 120 employees planning the activities of 55 agents working day shifts. In addition, employees are available seven days a week to schedule appointments.
The latest tool has helped improve productivity. "The solution allows staff to process customer requests faster than before and to schedule appointments more efficiently based on the skills and region of advisors," says Vincent van der Slot, Functional Manager at Feenstra. According to van Baak, the simplified interface, which is more user-friendly than the previous system, is another benefit. "For example, advisers can now use the same login details for every application," he explains.