Homefashion Group succesfully redesigned its customer contact center with the Microsoft Digital Contact Center Platform

The Net Promoter Score (NPS) increased by 10 points and cases are handled no less than 20% faster. Read more about the optimization and integration of the Customer Contact Center of this well-known home furnishings retailer.

The Homefashion Group is the umbrella company of two well-known home furnishings retailers in the Benelux: Leen Bakker and Kwantum. Together they have 272 physical stores and four online platforms, attracting more than 2 million online visitors per week. In addition, they perform 400,000 services at customers' homes every year.

Given the high number of customer interactions - around 16,000 per week - involved, Homefashion Group faced a challenge: "How can we unify and optimize the way the customer contact center (CCC) of both Kwantum and Leen Bakker work, so that we can help our customers faster and in a more proactive way?"

Moving towards an integrated Customer Contact Center

Homefashion Group thus consists of two brands, which previously functioned as separate companies, each with its own organizational structure and technical set-up. Paul Vandalon, Customer Service Manager at Homefashion Group, explains, "We previously partnered with HSO for our digital transformation and implementation of the Microsoft platform. At that stage, we chose the 'Microsoft-first' principle."

"For the CCC, Leen Bakker and Kwantum were using separate systems. Now it was time to make the switch to Dynamics 365 Customer Service and the Microsoft Digital Contact Center Platform." Thus, data and communication from the past are brought together with current data of, for example, current orders, to be able to inform customers as well as service employees in the best possible way.

16,000 contact points per week

"Our 130 Contact Center employees are incredibly busy," Paul explains. "Every week they handle about 7,000 customer contacts at Kwantum, and at Leen Bakker the number is even 9,000. Think of emails, phone calls and webcare interactions."

"When customers are not experiencing problems, there is no reason to contact us. But as soon as there are, for example, questions about the delivery date or issues such as complaints and damages, then of course there is. Our goal with this project is to serve our customers even better, so that they feel the need to contact us less often."

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Successful launch of the new application

It became a comprehensive digital transformation with multiple projects for CRM, front-end development, master data and data warehousing. Paul: "We chose a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) approach for the first release. The new application had to include at least the basic functionalities we already had, such as calling, emailing, registration and customer history viewing, supplemented by a concise knowledge base." For the second release, we looked closely at optimizing the MVP and what value it would bring to the business.

"Despite multiple integrations, including links to Outlook, front-end web forms, product and order databases, and the ERP system for insight into order data, the technical development was completed earlier than the organizational preparation. Therefore, going live took place in two phases: first the data migration and then the training of employees in a test environment."

Rollback scenarios were in place for the launch, and the team worked through the weekend to go live on Monday morning. "During this crucial phase, there was daily 'hypercare' from the HSO team," Paul explains. "Every morning we had a standup, after which programming, adjustments and adjustments were made the same day. If there were issues, they were immediately addressed or scheduled for the next few days. While no launch is 100% flawless, this went very well. HSO responded quickly and resolved any issues effectively."

"HSO is a trusted partner in our digital transformation"

Homefashion Group already worked with HSO on their digital transformation. That choice was based on HSO's extensive experience with projects in the retail sector.

As one of Paul's colleagues noted earlier, "You need a party with a certain maturity. A party that sees what you need and thinks along in it. For us, that's HSO." What further distinguished HSO was its combination of business knowledge and expertise in Microsoft technology. Including the proven, process-oriented way of working, keeping their promiss and focus, made HSO once again the preferred choice for this project.

A hands-on, dedicated team and an Agile approach

For this digital transformation, the strategy was first carefully determined. This was then translated into a clear process that included both the product owner and the key users. This 'process thinking' was crucial to give structured attention to all implementation issues. And to make the translation to appropriate (Microsoft) technology.

"For many within the Homefashion Group, the approach to such a comprehensive digital transformation was completely new," Paul indicates. "This required a steep learning curve from our employees and HSO guided us well in this. For example, HSO's team trained us in Agile and Scrum and the creation of user stories."

"Furthermore, the HSO team members are very approachable and pragmatic professionals. When faced with a problem, they first look at what is going on and then focus on the solution. Of course capturing a problem is important, but their primary focus is on the content of the solution, without getting too caught up in a formal process. This ensured that problems were solved quickly and effectively."

"This was especially noticeable after implementation. With the first release, we had scheduled two weeks of hypercare, addressing the larger issues in the second week. With the subsequent release, only one week of hypercare was needed. Everything went much more smoothly: a learning effect was clearly visible, allowing everyone to act more efficiently."

Uniform and standardized processes and practices

With Dynamics 365 Customer Service and the Microsoft Digital Contact Center Platform, Homefashion Group enriches the customer view with additional data, allowing Customer Center employees to quickly get a clear picture of the customer and his needs. Also, processes are now centralized and standardized. Other applications are no longer needed, and because employees use fewer different applications, they can be much more efficient. And this, of course, saves on licensing costs. Homefashion Group went from five suppliers for telephony, to one central solution.

Paul: "Thanks to the new systems we get a better insight into the performance of the Customer Contact Center. We have also improved the basic processes, which has led to 7% fewer contact moments and e-mails. That's around 1120 fewer customer contacts per day. In addition, the average handling time has been reduced by 20%. Another added benefit is that we are seeing 15% less turnover of our customer service staff."

By standardizing working methods, Homefashion Group will be able to allocate its employees more flexibly, for either Kwantum or Leen Bakker.

Succes by the numbers

Homefashion Group: "Thanks to the new systems we get a deeper insight into the performance of the CCC. This allows us to steer more accurately, with good results!"

"Within a year, we saw an increase in Net Promoter Score (NPS) of 10 points!"

"At Kwantum we are currently at an average score of 50, while Leen Bakker is also showing steady growth. Our ambition is to end up with NPS scores of 60 and 70. And that will certainly be achieved, it's only a matter of time."

"What is helpful is that we now have a clearer picture of where the bottlenecks are in the customer journey. Whether it's communication about delivery times, measurement errors or other purchase-related problems, everything is now captured more effectively. The various system integrations also provide new insights for improvement efforts. Where previously only customer service worked with the CRM system, now finance, interior designers and stores also use the system. With all the data collected, we can perform thorough analyses to make further improvements."

More use of AI and more integrations in the future

"Currently, the Leen Bakker and Kwantum customer service teams still operate independently of each other and in different locations," Paul says. "Our ideal vision for the future is for them to work together as one team in one building, supporting both brands."

"We are also planning various technological integrations to offer our customers more self-service options. For example, an online scheduling tool that allows customers to reschedule their own appointments. And we want to link our webcare tools and track-and-trace. Of course, these features should also be visible within the CRM system for a 360-degree customer view with every interaction."

"Of course, we are also considering how to give AI a more prominent role in our processes," Paul concludes. "The deployment of Microsoft 365 Copilot and AI will make customer contacts more efficient. In addition, AI will be integrated to automate certain tasks, such as converting phone calls to text, which will simplify work for employees. Complementing our new systems, we just know that this is going to help us further optimize customer service for both Leen Bakker and Kwantum."

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