Is outsourcing customer contact good enough these days? A while back, NIBC Direct decided that the answer is “No.” In the face of the rise of multi-channel services in the savings and mortgages sector, the financial service provider wanted to minimise the distance to its clients in order to be able to respond to changes rapidly and keep the customer experience under control. As the end of the outsourcing contract was approaching, NIBC opted for managed insourcing of its customer contact centre. Drastic measures and the right course of action allowed the bank to design, set up and begin operating a new customer contact centre in just four months.
For years, the financial service provider had been outsourcing its customer contact centre to an external party. The lack of direct contact and management led the organisation to feel a lack of control in terms of speed, customer-friendliness, clarity and service quality. On the floor and among NIBC’s management, the desire for in-house management of customer contact was growing. The fact that the outsourcing contract was ending proved to be the turning point. For two months, the bank – assisted by an external contact centre adviser – considered its options. Eventually, managed insourcing became the solution of choice: the customer contact centre is physically located in NIBC’s office building, while an external party is responsible for staffing and management.
This decision meant that the new centre had to be fully operational in just four months. There was a lot of work to be done. Gerben Jonkman, who has worked at NIBC in various positions on the cutting edge of operations and commerce since 2002, reflects on the process: “Being a financial institution, we could not afford to have such a project fail. We therefore began by setting up a customer contact centre that offered the same functionalities as the old one. However, by making use of modern technology, the new centre is future-proof.” In this case, “modern” means a contact centre based on Anywhere365 for Skype Business and Lync, while the mid- and front-office bank processes in Service Cloud by Salesforce are fully integrated within the rest of the environment. Besides all incoming contact traffic (telephone, email, mail), it also includes creating and forwarding cases in the back office, executing mutations such as moves, terminating a deposit and all manner of administrative tasks. For the first two years, an external party will handle staffing and management. In time, NIBC hopes to take full control of the contact centre itself.
For the execution of this project, the bank contacted Jan Heuthorst, principal consultant and partner at Quint Wellington Redwood. He and Jonkman received full support from NIBC’s CEO. In the project’s first phase, the two began by detailing the business processes that were initially only described as “requirements.” With the idea of working with standard plans and SaaS as much as possible, the processes were translated into so-called user stories. These contain brief descriptions of what users do or should do as part of their activities. The user stories are not particularly detailed and intended to fit on a sticky note. “User stories create quick connections to suppliers’ workshops,” Heuthorst explains. “We wanted to work together closely with suppliers and that worked out wonderfully. Before long, we had acquired all technical data for the integration of the systems.” With the help of the user stories, it was decided which functionality should go with which plan. That ultimately led to an architecture – and quickly, too. “No matter what we did or whom we spoke to; speed was everything. At the same time, we strove to do the right things in a smart manner. That typifies the entire project, really.”
“Whether it concerns technology or people, we can now switch rapidly”
NIBC’s new customer contact centre became operational on the scheduled date in early August of 2015. Nine months later, there have been no problems and objectives have been achieved. Jonkman is therefore very content with the chosen solution of managed insourcing and what it has offered the organisation so far. “One thing we have discovered already is that we have much more control because of the high quality of our contact centre employees, the short lines and the high degree of insight into whatever is going on. Whether it concerns technology or people, we can switch rapidly. That is wonderful for us.” At the same time, NIBC’s consumer market manager adds on a critical note, certain components are yet to become ingrained and more experience has to be gained. “This is not yet the Netherlands’ most well-oiled customer contact centre, but I think we are getting there. The basic principles still stand and I fully believe that this approach is paying off. On top of that, the new technology used in our contact centre is far more advanced than what we were using before. That makes us flexible and ready for the future.”
The customer contact centre is currently in its optimisation phase. The desired chat function has gone live. The integration of the knowledge centre with the bank’s public website is currently being worked on with the goal of bringing even more knowledge into the game. With the existing implementation of Salesforce Marketing Cloud, the financial service provider wants to create the opportunity to manage several outbound email activities via one system. There are other plans as well, including a 360-degree client overview, marketing analysis, KPI management etcetera. NIBC is convinced that it can stand out on the market in terms of its customer contact. How? By offering immediate clarity at all times: about products, services, the possibilities of buying a new house and so on. “This offers clients a ‘Yes’ moment, even if the ultimate answer is ‘No,’” Jonkman believes. “This approach is reflected everywhere: in our products, our employees, our services, on social media and on our website. By setting up all channels like this, we activate new target audiences and motivate existing clients to achieve their dreams.”