“I often supervise two large projects on my own. In the past, this was quite difficult and complex, but Ziggu makes it much easier now”
DCA has been a fixture in the Belgian construction sector for 52 years. What once started as a company that specialised in paving and sewerage work has grown over the years into an organisation with almost 600 employees that tackles infrastructural, public and residential construction projects. In other words: a big player in its industry. But that doesn’t mean that customers are left to find the way on their own. On the contrary, customer advisor Mieke Mertens emphasises: “We are a confidant for customers, we are ready to help them at all times. But that level of guidance is only possible because Ziggu makes other tasks so easy.”
When the teams of DCA Residential Projects start working on a new construction project — as a developer of their own projects or as a contractor for others — one word always returns: respect. Respect for the environment where the new apartments will be built, for those living in the vicinity of the construction site and, of course, for homebuyers.
Mieke Mertens and her four colleagues are responsible for the latter. The team of customer advisors personally guides every homebuyer through the entire construction process. “As soon as someone buys an apartment, we as advisors listen very carefully to their wishes and needs,” says Mieke. “It doesn't matter to us whether the buyer is an investor or a future resident of the project; we believe that everyone should receive the same possibilities and high-quality guidance.”
“People give a lot of money to their homes; I think it should be a top priority for us to make them feel comfortable and reassure them”
This high-quality guidance is undoubtedly mainly because Mieke and her colleagues try to be a confidant for every homebuyer. “We always listen very carefully to people; they know they can come to us with anything. So if I see an opportunity to help a customer, I do it. People spend a lot of money on their homes, so I think it should be a top priority for us to make them feel comfortable and reassure them.”
Keeping homebuyers informed and taking them along through the building process is a big part of that. Until two years ago, DCA sent out a newsletter to buyers every three months to keep people in the loop. “But that was quite a hassle”, Mieke laughs. “It was a struggle to draw up and send out that newsletter. We put photos in it, the project leader wrote a little something, maybe someone from the communications team too. But by the time we finished that newsletter, the photo and the information were no longer relevant.”
With this newsletter, Mieke and her colleagues were unable to keep customers well informed at all times about any developments. Was DCA’s internal portal a solution to communicate better with customers? “We indeed had our own platform where we collected all the approved documents from customers,” says Mieke. “But it had only a few functionalities, and it was becoming quite outdated. It turned out to be too complex to expand this platform ourselves, so we started looking for something else. We started working with Ziggu because their portal met the needs we had as customer advisors.”
The Newsfeed on Ziggu has now completely replaced the newsletter. “A quick update or sharing a photo with our customers is now much easier and faster, which means we do this a lot more. Homebuyers can monitor the building process much better and no longer have to go to the construction site every week to see how things are going,” says Mieke. “Even our communications team occasionally uses Ziggu to share something more general about our company or a particular charity we support.”
“Thanks to the quick approvals via Ziggu, we, and other teams, can immediately move on to something else. Ziggu has definitely made our work more efficient”
But Ziggu is not only an easy communication tool; it is also ideal for sharing documents between customers, subcontractors, site supervisors and any other party involved in the construction process. “We upload documents, customers approve them on the Ziggu platform, and we immediately get a notification that everything is signed. The site manager and subcontractor are also automatically informed. So everyone always has the correct, approved document in their hands.”
Mieke notices that customers approve documents faster. “If I upload a bunch of documents right before the weekend, I usually have most of the signatures by Monday. That's because it's very user-friendly for our customers; in any case, we get a lot of positive reactions from them about this. And these quick approvals allow us and the other teams to move on to something else immediately. So Ziggu has definitely made our work more efficient.”
Mieke and her colleagues use Ziggu throughout the day. “I open the portal at the start of my workday and only close the tab at the end of it,” she says. Mieke is currently responsible for two projects — one with 42 apartments and one with 37; both projects are almost entirely sold out. In other words: she has many customers to guide through the building process. “I supervise these projects on my own. Having multiple projects to keep up with at the same time, is nothing new. But in the past, this was quite difficult and complex. Ziggu’s efficiency makes this easier and gives me room to focus on more than just the administrative side of things.”
Mieke can now help her homebuyers in a much more personal and in-depth way. “Because the administrative tasks go so smoothly with Ziggu, there is indeed more time to really listen to people. We have more room to explore with them the different options of their wishes or to help them more personally if there is a problem with a payment or if they have a concern.”
“We want to give our customers the best experience, something that has become crucial today. It’s nice to have a partner who understands that and helps us to improve that experience”
DCA has been working with the Ziggu platform for a year and a half now. In that time, the Ziggu platform has not stood still. The team behind Ziggu regularly releases new features so that the portal can grow together with the needs of customer advisors. “They provide functionalities that are actually useful, which show that they have listened to their customers,” says Mieke.
According to the customer advisor, when DCA provides feedback to the Ziggu team, “we also notice that we get an answer quickly". “They use our feedback or at least listen to us. We want to give our customers the best experience, something that has become crucial today. So it’s nice to have a partner who understands this and helps us to improve that experience.”
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