A conversation with Knab: 'The phone is our heartbeat'

A conversation with Knab: 'The phone is our heartbeat'

Interview Don van Arem, Manager Service Desk at Knab.
The online bank Knab was founded from the idea that things should be completely different in the financial world. This also includes customer service, which is why upon contact you are immediately transferred to an employee, seven days a week. Thanks to the Mtel Cloud Contact Center, Service Desk Manager Don van Arem doesn't need to worry about accessibility.

Direct connection to employee, without selection menu

You can also see this other mindset in the manner in which clients are helped and advised. You are able to directly contact a Knab staff member seven days a week, fourteen hours a day, without having to go through a selection menu. 'Press 1 for this, press 2 for that ... before you know it you have done ten different things to reach the wrong person or a recorded message' stated Don. 'We noted that people have a great need for personal contact, especially when they have just become clients. Then you must make sure that you are there, definitely as an online bank. This is why we consciously decided to answer directly at all times.'

From Traditional to Cloud

Since August 2015, Knab's service desk has been working with the cloud-based Online Contact Center (OCC) from Mtel. Before this, the bank used a so-called on-premise switchboard. Why the move? 'In the end it appeared that our old solution was not flexible and scalable enough for our wishes and requirements. I want to make changes quickly, without needing the assistance of a supplier or of our IT department. It was clear that we needed a different solution and a different partner.'

React Quickly

One of the main reasons for choosing Mtel was that Mtel supplies an OCC from the Netherlands. 'If something is wrong, I need to be able to react quickly' Don explained. 'I therefore want to know whether I can immediately reach people in the area or if I have to make a call to India. Not that they will not understand matters, but distance does not work for us. As a financial service provider, Knab always wants to retain control. And the urgency of a problem is always easier to express when you are sitting next to each other.'

Customer Contact via all Conceivable Channels

Don and his team have contact with existing and potential customers approximately five thousand times per week. Although Knab, as an online bank, obviously offers the option of asking questions via, among others, chat and social media, calling still remains popular. In more than half the cases people just simply dial Knab's number instead of opening a browser or using Twitter or Facebook. 'Even in the case of an innovative bank such as ours, the telephone cannot be wished away. To put it even more strongly, we frequently say that the telephone is our heartbeat. So we certainly did not leave anything to chance when we were confronted by the option of establishing a new system. Because we really wanted to be a hundred percent sure that it is going to work better for us'

“Even in case of an innovative online bank such as Knab, you cannot simply wish the telephone away.”

Proof of Concept

The decision to work with Mtel was therefore not only based on a proposal. Because what looked good on paper, Knab first had to see proven in practice. That is why Mtel received the request to create a "proof of concept" - a first version of the OCC in accordance with the wishes and requirements of Don and his team. 'We extensively tested this version for a month. Only when we were completely satisfied did Mtel start setting up the new system. Parallel to this, our existing system kept running, so that we could dot the i's and cross the t's in the background. Because we knew that everything would work, we switched the system in one go. That went so smoothly that I can remember very little about the day in question.'

“On paper, Mtel's proposal looked good, but they had to prove it in practice with a "proof of concept".”

A Relief

'What particularly strikes me is that I am still surprised by the options of the OCC. For example, I recently asked Mtel for a specific report and this already seemed to be a default option. A relief if you come from a situation where it required an additional package or an adjustment in the back end for specific functionalities. By default, OCC already offers so much in the area of management information, that our analysis improved a lot in only a few months' time.'

“I am still surprised by the number of default options available in OCC.”

Innovative Thinking

The inventive character of the service desk is not only expressed in the way in which the employees deal with customers. Behind the scenes, Don and his team gladly keep abreast with innovations that can further improve the service level. Mtel contributes and helps Knab achieve their ideas. ‘We have introduced a so-called "gamification" platform for our employees. We can for example post messages there and offer a Q&A, but we also have a point system with which we reward daily activities. For example, you receive one point for a recorded call or ten points for a compliment from a customer. With a good incentive in the end, such as a dinner for two or an afternoon at a spa. When we presented this to Mtel, they were immediately enthusiastic and started to work on connecting the OCC to our platform. This way, you can soon see in real-time how many points you've gotten per contact.'

Innovation and Routing

Finally, another look at the future. Where does Don want to go with his team? 'In the meantime, we have proven that we, as a bank, despite the negative sentiment, can positively surprise people with our service. But, things can always improve and we therefore keep on innovating. To keep achieving the same or, preferably, an even higher level. One of the biggest challenges is how we can route the calls without being forced to use the selection menu. Because, in the end, we want the easy questions to go to our new employees and the more complex questions to go to our more experienced workers. A proper puzzle, in view of the variation in products and questions. One that Mtel badly wants to solve, to make sure that Knab can continue offering the best service.'

Ask your communication partner in customer contact

Are you interested in the Cloud Contact Center possibilities for your industry and do you want to know how we are going to take care of your customer contact puzzle? Contact an Mtel consultant via the contact form or call +31(0)88-428 31 11.

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