PostNL - Positively and proactively using direct messaging channels | Gen25

Conversational service to improve efficiency

PostNL is The Netherlands’ largest postal service and the undisputed market leader in parcel delivery. Because of the strong growth in e-commerce, PostNL is more visible every day but behind the scenes too, it sets trends through innovative digital platforms for senders and receivers, for example. Customer satisfaction is a major driving force within PostNL.

To improve on that customer satisfaction, which was already high, PostNL sought to deploy its social channels to inform customers proactively and handle queries faster. To that end, the company contacted Gen25 to profit from their extensive experience in the field. The fact that Gen25 is a Salesforce partner was important: most customer-directed PostNL systems are Salesforce-based.

The business objective

PostNL sought to improve the efficiency of its customer contacts via social media, while offering customers more self service.

“At PostNL we like working on good customer relations”, says Joshua Geerlings, responsible for the collaboration with Salesforce and Gen25 at PostNL’s online department. “We aim for customer satisfaction. It’s quite high already but there’s always room for improvement. In 2016, we focused on increasing the use of our social media. One important driver was our desire to provide added value for clients. Not simply responding to questions and complaints but also utilising social media positively and proactively. Our parcel delivery status updates were perfect for this. Clients could already stay informed via the website, e-mail and our app, but getting information via social media is even more direct. Internally too, we wanted to push our efficiency to a higher level. We saw agents at our Leeuwarden call centre receive a lot of questions of a self service nature via social media. They had to refer back to the organization, which resulted in a lot of internal communication, even though these were simple questions. In addition, they were working with several screens simultaneously, having to copy paste information from one to the other. It was much wasted effort while an integrated customer view was lacking. Gen25 proved they could help us in all those areas.”

The technical objective

PostNL’s customer service staff were working with a tool that was no longer meeting the company’s requirements. Social25, a new console by Gen25, did. Making the transition from old to new, Gen25 did have to take into account the complex IT at PostNL.

“Our existing tooling isn’t growing with our requirements”, says Geerlings. “Social25 does a better job, especially in supporting our staff. If you can use WhatsApp, you can use Social25 – it’s that simple. We are now in transition with our tooling and it’s a demanding process, because Social25 has to accommodate some 100 employees. As soon as Social25 is fully implemented, we obviously want more than push notifications and automatic track and trace for parcels. The parcel-related service does account for the largest volume, but we have many more services to integrate, making Gen25’s job that much harder.”

How we work

The collaboration with Gen25 started at the beginning of 2016, but took some time to develop. After the first exploratory talks it was decided to start with optimising social servicing and automatic parcel updates, together with employee support.

“We were keen on delineating the project upfront so we would be able to handle it”, says Geerlings. “The delay helped us do that as Gen25 had, in the meantime, developed its console Social25 which fit our needs perfectly. Moreover, Social25 is fully integrated within Salesforce, so there was no need to invest in links with existing software.”

How we collaborate

After initial sprint plans, PostNL and Gen25 are working towards a more structured collaboration.

“In the beginning, we still had to find the right form of collaboration. The size and complexity of our organization was a factor”, explains Geerlings. “That’s why we really appreciate Gen25’s super flexibility. We also like the roadmap they envision, as it mirrors our own. In addition, Gen25’s extensive Salesforce expertise was a reason for us to choose them. Many parties understand just fine what social servicing entails, but only a few can link that understanding to all that Salesforce has to offer. That’s the strength of Gen25.”

What more will Gen25 do

The first step for PostNL is the introduction of Social25 as the new console for staff, including push notifications via social media. The big change will come once PostNL can work in full integration with Salesforce.

“Much of our customer-oriented tooling is already present in Salesforce”, concludes Geerlings. “We aim to complete this integration process in 2018. We left the chatbot functionality out at first but are now working on including that too. At this point, our staff are busy 30% of the time on activities that can easily be automated. In a while, they will have much more time for real one on one customer contact, which is precisely what they are good at: understanding what the problem is and offering solutions that make consumers happy.”

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