"A lot of information gets lost with traditional systems, but not with Ziggu. We are now much more involved with our customers’ experience"
For property developer Volus, construction projects are part of everyday life. It’s routine. For the homebuyer, it’s anything but that. Volus understands this very well. That’s why the developer puts a lot of emphasis on customer care. “Customers should get a complete journey from the moment of purchase up to the moment of delivery. It should be fun for them, a true experience”, Volus’ director Ken Alleweireldt says. “Ziggu helps us create just that. We can now streamline our communication with everyone involved and run our projects more smoothly.”
Customer satisfaction is at the heart of everything Volus does. That’s why the company works side by side with its contractor Van Tornhaut. Van Tornhaut is a part of VT-Invest Group, just like Volus. “Even before we submit the building permit, our teams get together to make sure that everything – from price to construction – is flawless. The earlier we get the contractor involved, the better”, Ken says, speaking from experience. “We value our close collaboration immensely as it allows Volus to keep track of the building process more easily. We want to get the best result possible and keep quality high, and for us, working with our own contractor is the way to go. All with the intent of making the customer happy and satisfied with their purchase.”
Beautiful architecture, a beautiful location, and a beautiful customer journey: this is the trifecta of every construction project by Volus. “We take care of the first two elements”, Ken says. “But for that last one, we’re glad to be working with Ziggu. Our customer support was never bad, but keeping track of every decision homebuyers made was a difficult task for our customer advisors. We had found our own way of working in an Excel sheet, but to be honest: it didn’t run very smoothly.”
Elisabeth Ingelaere and Lise Vanwalleghem couldn’t agree more. The former works for Volus, the latter for Van Tornhaut. But both of them take care of the customers. “I missed the right tools to handle the practical side of every project”, says Elisabeth. “Every offer, every conversation with customers and subcontractors now goes through Ziggu, and it increases our efficiency. There aren’t as many e-mails going back and forth.”
But the customer advisor adds another important point: “We can now involve the homebuyer in the actual goings-on of the construction site much better than ever before. In the past, customers didn’t know much about the state of affairs. Now, I post photos and updates every two weeks on Ziggu’s platform. People say they really enjoy that. We’re going to focus on this aspect even more. We have other stories ready – like an interview with our architect or one of our construction workers – that we’ll publish soon on the platform. That’s how we keep people engaged in the story of the project.”
“Those colors indicating the state of a decision help customers make their decision faster”
A convenient tool to use from beginning to end, as Lise puts it. Not just to engage customers but to organise internal processes as well. “We can follow up on everything successfully now”, says Lise. “We have a great overview of every decision homebuyers have to make and how far they are in this decision process. For example, the color green tells us that the customer has approved a proposal for, say, the kitchen. Yellow means that the subcontractor has uploaded a proposal, but the customer hasn’t yet decided. We have a view on the state of affairs, which gives us the ability to quickly see when a customer is about to miss a deadline to make a decision. That’s an opportunity for us as customer advisors to reach out to people and guide them through the decision-making.”
Kevin Cosijn, project leader at Van Tornhaut, has noticed that the colorful overview is very beneficial for the overall project. “Those colors indicating the state of a decision help customers make their decision faster. I feel like they’re triggered to proceed in the decision-making process quicker. As a project leader, that’s important because I need all those decisions on time so that everyone can prepare and start the next phase in the construction process. Projects run smoother this way.”
“The to-dos are clear and transparent; everyone knows what’s expected of them. So yes, we avoid errors that we sometimes made in the past”
Volus and Van Tornhaut can also follow the conversations between customers and subcontractors on Ziggu’s platform. An important feature, according to Lise, because this gives the customer advisors the chance to stay in the loop and jump in the conversation if necessary. “If that conversation would be happening via e-mail and neither party has put my e-mail address in copy, then I wouldn’t know anything about agreements, changes, or other decisions made. With Ziggu’s platform, we as customer advisors are always in the know.”
Not just Volus and Van Tornhaut are kept in the loop, but every other party involved has a view of the latest approved choices and plans. “The electrician has access to the kitchen contractor’s documents, for example”, project leader Kevin mentions. “In the past, every time a customer made a change, our customer advisors had to resend the right documents to the right people. When you have to take care of eighty or more homebuyers, it’s no wonder something went wrong every now and then. It happens; we’re all human. But the chances of making those kinds of mistakes with Ziggu are basically non-existent.”
Elizabeth agrees that the margin of error has declined in different ways now that the teams are using Ziggu. “In a mailbox, you miss things sometimes. Or you accidentally delete an e-mail. A lot of information gets lost with traditional systems, but not with Ziggu. All documents are in the same spot and are visible for all three parties involved: property developer, subcontractors, and customers. The to-dos are clear and transparent; everyone knows what’s expected of them. So yes, we avoid errors that we sometimes made in the past.”
“If it’s up to us, we continue working with Ziggu the way we’ve always done: very closely”
This is how director Ken puts it: “Ziggu positively influences the way we work together with customers and the smoothness of our projects. If it’s up to us, we continue working with Ziggu the way we’ve always done: very closely. Volus also tests new features that Ziggu’s developers are creating; one of them is a finance tool that’ll help us calculate additional work done for some homebuyers during construction.”
For Ken, it’s important to be involved in such developments. “Ziggu likes to be close to the property developer to know how we work so that they can continue to develop the platform in the best way. An excellent attitude, in our opinion, because that’s how you create the best tools that work for everyone. And that’s how we all get better, Ziggu, Volus, and Van Tornhaut.”
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