"The Ziggu platform has shown us sore points in our day-to-day operations that even we didn’t know were there. We were able to fix those elements and improve our customer experience"
Enough room to breathe, smart layouts and plenty of greenery. Triple Living doesn’t just build apartments; the project developer does so with great attention to sustainability. That word is at the heart of their philosophy for a reason. After all, Triple Living extends sustainability from their projects to their customer support. Or how customer experience manager Jens Thirion says: “In our buildings, we go for experience and quality, in our customer support too.”
From his Triple Living office, Jens Thirion looks out on the many apartment buildings the project developer is creating in Nieuw Zuid, the new sustainable residential and working district in Antwerp. “When you see the buildings every day, you kind of get used to their splendour,” admits Jens. “But now and then, I suddenly get an epiphany. I literally see a building in a different light or from a different angle, and I think, ‘damn, it's quite impressive what we’re doing here’.”
This is what Triple Living is doing in Nieuw Zuid: developing thirty-nine residential buildings at the edge of the centre of Antwerp, next to the river Schelde and yet surrounded by lots of greenery. It’s Triple Living’s flagship and an example of sustainable and high-quality living in the city. Half of the buildings have already been constructed in the past seven years; the other half are still being planned and built. Some of architecture’s biggest stars, such as Max Dudler, Stefano Bouri and Vincent Van Duysen, bring architecture and sustainability together in their designs; Bas Smets has created a green environment with large squares and parks between the buildings.
Experience and quality go hand in hand in Triple Living’s projects. And the property developer takes on the same approach when it comes to customer support. “Each apartment is presented to the homebuyer with its basic layout, but that’s just a starting point for us. Together with the architect or engineer, we look at how we can adapt the layout and techniques according to the customer’s wishes. Our buyers also get plenty of freedom in terms of finishing touches and choice in bathroom or kitchen, without sacrificing quality. Because we want them to be able to experience their apartment the way they wish.”
Triple Living appoints one or two customer advisors to each apartment building. They guide the buyers in their choices and decisions. “Each building has its own DNA, its own characteristics. So to help homebuyers as best as we can, our customer advisors have to know the specifics of the building like the back of their hand. That way they can translate the homebuyer’s wishes and needs to the possibilities of the building.”
“A few years ago we realized we had to start using a digital platform, so that our customer advisors could work more efficiently and communicate more smoothly with homebuyers”
So no standard apartments with the same layout for Triple Living. Every customer gets their own unique experience during their customer journey. But moving away from the standard and giving plenty of choices to homebuyers means that a mountain of information and documents is continuously going back and forth between Triple Living and homebuyers. It also means there are more things to discuss directly with homebuyers.
Thus, the workload of the customer support team is considerably higher than it was, let’s say, ten years ago, says Jens. “A few years ago, we realised we had to start using a digital platform so that our customer advisors could work more efficiently and communicate more smoothly with homebuyers. We initially planned to develop our own portal, but we quickly realised that it would be a difficult feat. Then, in our search for an already existing tool, we came across Ziggu; it was exactly what we needed.”
Jens sums up a few things about Ziggu: “All documents are centralised, we have an overview of the status of our buildings at all times: we know who has already received which information, who has already made a decision, and so on. It’s a handy follow-up tool for our customer advisors. They have a better overview of what’s going on and can pick up on what still needs to be done.”
But the features included in Ziggu’s platform are more far-reaching than just an excellent way to share information, and so are the possibilities to give a good customer experience to homebuyers. “In the past, we noticed people felt a little left out regarding the status of the building process. Yes, you can send photos and updates about the construction site via email, but you have to invest a lot of time to do that properly. With Ziggu, people get a nice overview with updates, news messages and photos. It comes across much more powerful than via email. Honestly? Those news updates are like candy for homebuyers; they love it”, Jens smiles.
It’s a small effort for customer advisors to create a news message — “It's quick and easy to make a draft and publish it” — but these updates make a world of difference to customers, Jens notes. “It’s a big commitment for them to buy an apartment off-plan. It's truly an adventure," he says. “And some may have done that before and know more or less what to expect, but for other people, it's a completely new experience. So naturally, they have a lot of questions and comments about the building process. Fair enough! It’s up to us to guide them through the process and reassure them as best as possible.”
“The Ziggu platform has shown us sore points in our day-to-day operations that even we didn’t know were there. We were able to fix those elements and improve our customer experience”
With Ziggu, Triple Living implemented a platform that can be used immediately. “We planned to launch the platform step by step for our employees and customers, but Ziggu's backbone was so strong that we implemented it for everyone right away,” says Triple Living's customer experience manager. “Ziggu is a plug and play tool; you don't need months of preparation time to start using it.”
The possibility for a quick implementation was a pleasant surprise, but the flexibility of Ziggu as a platform and partner was a must for Jens. “Customer support is a branch that’s hard to define. A lot of flexibility is therefore necessary. With Ziggu, we have found a partner who’s eager to learn and is always looking for opportunities to make things even easier for our customer advisors and homebuyers.”
Homebuyers' expectations and needs are constantly changing. Jens is convinced that Ziggu is necessary to continue to tailor Triple Living’s customer experience to these changes. “When we started using Ziggu’s platform, it showed us the sore points in our day-to-day operations that even we didn’t know were there. We were able to fix those elements and improve our customer experience. Now still, we continue to improve and evolve because the experiences customers want, evolve too. Ziggu is vital for us to take our customer experience to an even higher level in the future.”
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Since ION and Ziggu first shook hands three years ago, a lot has changed for both companies. Projects have gotten bigger, features were added. One thing remains the same: they both go for 100% customer satisfaction and refuse to accept anything less.