“Ziggu simplifies a lot, we can work more efficiently. It gives us and the customer a clear overview.”
No-nonsense, straight to the point, quick and swift. At Ablimmo nobody beats about the bush. They prefer a clear and transparent way of communicating. “With Ziggu we can do exactly that”, says general manager Maarten Brantegem. “Ziggu’s platform helps us to communicate simply and efficiently both internally and externally.”
Maarten gives March 13th, 2020 as an example. “The day Belgium went into a sudden lockdown because of COVID-19”, he remembers. “And there you are as a developer. What now? We talked to our buyers very honestly: ‘look, our projects will fall behind on schedule, but we’ll keep you posted’. I was happy we could make that kind of announcement via Ziggu. One channel to inform everyone. Not going back and forth with hundreds of e-mails, but efficient and swift communication
Better communication with customers, that’s exactly the reason why Ablimmo shook hands with Ziggu in early 2019. “We were in touch with customers during the sale and during the delivery phase of the project. But the road in between was quiet”, Maarten says. Too quiet, Ablimmo’s team realized. “We’re building and selling apartments and houses every day. For us it’s the most normal process in the world. But for our clients, it’s not. They buy a home once, maybe twice in their lifetime. Of course they want to know what’s happening on the building site. With Ziggu we can now inform them perfectly.”
Ziggu’s platform matches well with Ablimmo’s philosophy to always be on the lookout for innovative tools. “We only sell new-build homes, so we have to convince potential buyers of something that hasn’t been built yet. That’s why we use various digital tools to show people what it’ll look like, what they can expect. We’re always open to take it a few steps further and keep an eye on new innovative ideas that can help us to better facilitate the customer. When we got to know Ziggu, it seemed to fit perfectly in that vision.”
“We’re building and selling apartments and houses every day. For us it’s the most normal process in the world. But for our clients, it’s not.”
But Ablimmo is not a one-man show on Ziggu’s platform. The developer is in perfect tandem with contractor Juri. “We do a lot of projects together with Juri”, Maarten explains. “For us, it’s not just a contractor but a real partner. We’ve been working together for five years now – or maybe it’s six by now? Anyway, just to say: we know each other well. Whenever there’s something one company can help the other with, it’ll happen. Juri takes care of our customer support via Ziggu during the building process of a project.”
A beautiful collaboration between developer and contractor on Ziggu. And a logical one too, claims Maarten. “The contractor is the one who’s most in touch with the customer during the building process. Juri knows what needs to happen, what decisions need to be made, and when. So Juri taking over customer follow-up for us is the most efficient way to work. We trust them, we know they’re doing a good job because our vision is the same.”
What’s that vision about? Making sure the buyers can close the door of their new home, happy and content. Sofie of Juri’s customer support team plays a big part in that. She and her colleague accompany Ablimmo’s customers every step of the way during the wild ride of a building process. How do they do that at Juri? “For us, it starts with our ‘Welcome email’ to new customers. We explain that we’ll keep them posted about plans, decision moments, offers, and invoices on Ziggu. But also that they can get in touch with us via the platform”, Sofie explains. “I always include my email address and telephone number in that email, but I notice that people very rarely use it. When they have questions, they send a message via Ziggu. They don’t email right away anymore. In that way, this client portal really comes into its own.”
Juri tries to support Ablimmo’s customers as much as they can. “We’re close to going with them to the showroom to choose a kitchen”, Sofie jokes. “ Obviously we don’t do that, but we do send all the plans and measurements we have saved on Ziggu to the specific showroom. And if we have an inkling, we also share what kind of style the customer might prefer. That’s our way to help make those decision moments go smoothly.”
For every offer or invoice Sofie and her colleague upload onto Ziggu, the customer gets an alert. Messages from customer support or photos and videos of the construction site are easily found on Ziggu’s platform. But Maarten from Ablimmo doesn’t see Ziggu just as a great communication tool. For him, it’s also handy to keep an overview of administration. “We don’t have a lot of people here, just about five or so. But we handle some thirty to fifty projects at the same time. That’s a lot of paperwork. Before we worked with Ziggu, we definitely had a lack of clarity. There wasn’t really a good overview.”
Maarten remembers a particular incident from a few years ago. “All of a sudden, someone in our team said: ‘This customer has a bunch of unpaid invoices’. Well, apparently the bills were sent to a head office where barely anyone showed up. It was just a full letterbox. That doesn’t happen to us anymore. All the invoices, offers and documents are uploaded to the same platform at the push of a button.. Our customers find everything they need, and so do we. That simplifies things a lot, we can work more efficiently. It gives us and the customers an overview.”
“At Juri and Ablimmo we try to help our customers as quickly as possible, and Ziggu does the same”
What do Ablimmo’s customers think of Ziggu? “Transparent”, is the word Maarten hears most. “When I ask clients for their opinion, I notice they’re often surprised. They didn’t expect that our communication would run so smoothly and easily via a customer portal. The system is also user friendly, people get used to it quickly.” Sofie agrees that the platform is easy to use. “Implementing Ziggu in our own team went very well. We got a great introduction about how Ziggu works and what we can do with the platform”, she says.
Ziggu’s team is always ready to answer questions, Sofie adds. “I always get a quick response from their customer support. We appreciate that. At Juri and – if I may speak for Maarten – Ablimmo we always try to help our customers as soon as possible, and Ziggu does the same. It’s good to know that we’re on the same page.”
Matching the level of customer experience to the high-end homes GLAM Living offers has always been important for Chris Carmichael. “We don’t want to sell you a £750,000 house and then leave you out in the cold,” he says.
Will Newett, founder of Newett Homes, explains why an exquisite home in a great location isn’t enough anymore. Homebuyers in the UK are more demanding than ever and expect a smooth customer journey from beginning to end. Digital tools to offer a better experience have become the way to differentiate as a home builder.