Digitisation has been an important theme in education for many years. MBO webshop responds cleverly to this. Wendy: "MBO webshop has been around for four years now. We already offered software packages via web shop Slim.nl, where students could buy their licenses at student prices. In cooperation with IT-Workz we went to schools to offer this through them as well. Schools also wanted to have books added, so we built a portal that offers more than just software.
MBOwebshop.nl is a platform on which the school itself compiles the lists of educational resources. After logging in, the student immediately sees all the resources he needs. Not only books, but also licenses, lockers, excursions and supplies for practical training. From chef's hats to barber supplies, you name it. In this way MBOwebshop.nl forms an intermediary between schools, their students and the large number of suppliers".
With such a wide range of products and services for the high school student, the support desk of MBOwebshop.nl receives all kinds of questions from students and their parents. Especially in the high season from July to September, in the run-up to the new school year, there is a storm. "In November we have about two to four support staff, but in the high season there are ten."
Students can file a report on MBOwebshop.nl. This can be anything from 'When will I get my delivery?' to 'I want a payment arrangement'. Wendy: "The report will end up in our student portal, where students can follow the status of their report. We do the same with e-mail. Students e-mail us, and we import those e-mails into our system TOPdesk. This way, they are kept informed via e-mail and via My Reports." And of course there is also telephone contact. "Although students don't like to call, that was still our main channel. But phone contact costs our employees a lot of time." So this summer MBOwebshop.nl introduced a new communication channel: WhatsApp.
Last year MBOwebshop.nl grew by 25%. "With this growth, it is important to firmly organise the foundations of your service provision. Good service is one of our foundations. Our clients are students, and they like to chat!" Students prefer WhatsApp over a phone call. That's why MBOwebshop.nl has looked into the possibilities of adding WhatsApp as a channel. Wendy continues: "The WhatsApp Business solution is still quite new, so there aren't many companies we could learn from. Sometimes it's just a matter of trial and error. It’s from my instinct and experience with students that I said that we should use WhatsApp."
Initially, MBOwebshop.nl was cautious about rolling out WhatsApp, so they started with only one school. "In the end, we did use WhatsApp support on a wide scale, but have not yet promoted it widely. After all, you have to be sure that everything is set up properly and that you are not lagging behind with the WhatsApp conversations. Only in mid-August we added the option to contact WhatsApp on our support page and put this on email confirmations."
When asked if a lot of technical support or training was needed for this, Wendy answers firmly: "It was only a matter of logging in, creating accounts and getting to work. It's very simple, anyone can do that. Although the way of communicating on WhatsApp may take some getting used to. They're not necessarily as polite on WhatsApp as they are on the phone," Wendy laughs.
Since the introduction of WhatsApp, MBOwebshop.nl has seen a change: "We can already see that we have quite a lot of WhatsApp messages, and we get less mails. Especially when it's very busy on the phone, they will app."
WhatsApp appears to be more efficient than calling, "because with WhatsApp, for example, you can send standard messages. Like "What is your order number? On the phone, you have to wait until someone has looked up their number. Thanks to WhatsApp, you can help someone else in the meantime." At the moment, most of the communication still takes place over the phone. "Of course, we also have to deal with the parents of students. We see a clear difference in this. Parents often pick up the phone, students prefer to chat."
All questions now coming in via WhatsApp will be answered by live agents. "We are in the process of developing categories with possible standard questions. For example, there is a difference in questions per season. It starts with 'I can't log in', followed by 'Where are my books?', and then 'I can't activate my licenses'. In September and October, most questions are about returns. With this experience, our standard answers for the support staff are increasingly being fine-tuned. But before we can transfer some of these questions to a virtual assistant, we need more experience. We expect to take the first steps in this next year in combination with WhatsApp".
With the knowledge and experience from this WhatsApp pilot, MBOwebshop.nl can already set up WhatsApp more efficiently. Wendy: "The great thing about WhatsApp is, of course, that you can have multiple conversations at the same time. In the long run, I will certainly be able to adjust the required employees downwards. Then you can, for example, broaden the times when you can be reached. But it's especially true that if you're involved in technology as we are in education, you're chronically lagging behind without WhatsApp. Apart from the fact that WhatsApp is efficient in terms of support, not offering WhatsApp is no longer up to date either!
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