Heineken, a distinguished Dutch brewing titan established in 1864, commands an expansive network of over 165 breweries spanning 70 countries. Renowned for its diverse portfolio of 250 international, regional, local, and specialty beers and ciders, Heineken’s influence extends through a dedicated workforce of around 73,000 individuals. As Europe’s premier brewer and one of the world’s volume leaders, Heineken’s legacy stands as a testament to brewing excellence.
A case study conducted by KPN in partnership with Polly.Help.
To cater to millions of discerning consumers, robust systems are imperative. However, Heineken’s meteoric rise in (inter)national prominence strained their existing systems. Rising to this challenge, Heineken sought to redefine their support experience to elevate customer service while streamlining operational expenses. The goal was clear: implement intuitive smart wizards that catered to both customers and internal staff across all brands and departments.
Heineken seamlessly integrated Polly.Help as the cornerstone across various communication channels, empowering contact center agents with consistent responses and precise operational guidelines. This collaboration also introduced dedicated self-service portals for enhanced customer experiences during seasonal events like Amstel Gold Race and Vrienden voor Amstel Live.
Polly.Help’s innovation extends beyond convention through the integration of advanced chatbots, serving both B2B and B2C sectors, thereby ensuring comprehensive service coverage. The commitment to excellence is further solidified by the implementation of Single Sign-On (SSO) and System for Cross-domain Identity Management (SCIM) integration, enhancing security, access efficiency, and user experience.
The collaboration between Heineken and Polly.Help yielded remarkable results. Across a spectrum of communication channels, including self-service, a cohesive and consistent response strategy was enacted, leading to a significant reduction in escalation instances. Notably swift outcomes materialized – within a mere three months, a substantial return on investment (ROI) was realized. Self-service efficiency experienced a remarkable surge, characterized by a noteworthy 60% reduction in inbound contacts.
Moreover, employee satisfaction and confidence within Heineken soared by +40%, while employee efficiency and the First-Time Fix (FTF) rate witnessed an impressive improvement of +30%. Notably, even during peak periods like seasonal events, Polly.Help adeptly managed surges, effectively eliminating the need for additional staffing.
60% decrease in inbound contacts
30% increase in employee efficiency
Knowledge management is increasingly becoming central within many organizations. The registration and effective management of knowledge play a critical role in enabling both employees and customers to access the right information quickly, irrespective of location.
Heineken, a globally recognized Dutch corporation, stands as one of the largest organizations in the country. Anja Buitenman and Yvette Beliën are key members of the Consumer Services team at Heineken, responsible for managing all customer interactions with consumers.
Their responsibilities encompass all brands falling under Heineken Netherlands, as well as those under the soft drink producer Vrumona. Within Heineken Netherlands, this includes a variety of well-known names such as Heineken, Amstel, Brand, Texels, Desperados, and Birra Moretti. Vrumona, on the other hand, includes brands like Pepsi, Lipton Ice Tea, 7up, and Sisi.
In this interview, Anja and Yvette discuss how knowledge management has transformed their team’s way of working.
Anja: “The customer service department manages all interactions with consumers. Consumers can get in touch with us via phone, contact forms on the website, email, and occasionally through written letters.”
“In addition to this, the team serves as the first line of response for private messages on social media channels. Our primary focus lies in addressing product-related queries and complaints, and we have cultivated expertise in this area. Our objective is to stay out of the headlines and resolve issues efficiently. We achieve this with an experienced team, many of whom have long tenures with the organization, resulting in a high level of customer satisfaction, which we take immense pride in.”
Yvette: “The inquiries we receive range from complaints about our products, such as taste or glass breakage, to inquiries about events like ‘De Vrienden van Amstel Live.’ Large-scale Heineken promotions that have a nationwide presence also generate questions that our team handles.”
Both Anja and Yvette have extensive experience working at Heineken. They shared insights into how knowledge was accessed in the past.
Yvette: “Previously, Heineken outsourced its customer service, and I was employed by the outsourcing provider. During that period, each employee had a folder containing printed knowledge documents with instructions, phone numbers, website links, and related information. When Heineken decided to bring the customer service function back in-house, I literally walked in with that folder of printed documents, which I humorously referred to as my ‘bible.'”
“At the initial presentation of Polly.Help, I immediately recognized that Polly.Help’s knowledge base was a missing piece of the puzzle within my team.”
Anja: “The desire to enhance the digital experience for both Heineken employees and customers had been a longstanding objective, but I was unsure about how to accomplish it. In 2018, a consultant from Polly.Help, in collaboration with our telephony supplier KPN, conducted a demonstration at Zoeterwoude. Heineken was already utilizing Genesys’ omnichannel platform, which Polly.Help’s knowledge management platform could integrate with.”
“At that juncture, knowledge primarily resided in employees’ minds or was documented in Microsoft Word files. During the presentation, I immediately grasped that Polly.Help’s knowledge base was a critical missing link within my team. Subsequently, in conjunction with KPN and Polly.Help, we developed a business case, and the project commenced.”
Anja: “During the project, a consultant from Polly.Help spent several days at our office. During this time, he assessed our requirements and offered guidance on configuring our knowledge base. Interestingly, the project coincided with preparations for ‘De Vrienden van Amstel Live’ that year, which provided us with a solid starting point by employing Polly.Help’s knowledge base.”
“We initiated the project by configuring the internal knowledge base. Subsequently, we established connections between the knowledge base and various websites. Finally, we integrated the chatbot from our ‘Out of Home’ department with Polly.Help’s knowledge base. Once the chatbot ran successfully in that capacity, we extended its usage to other websites within the Heineken Group.”
Anja: “Internally, the knowledge base has significantly enhanced our operations by making knowledge items more easily and swiftly accessible to our employees. This integration, coupled with Polly.Help’s presence on our website, has proved to be an invaluable combination.”
“Our telephone call volume has notably decreased as customers can now independently locate the information they seek on our website.”
Yvette: “This has made the job more enjoyable for our employees. We now have more time and bandwidth to focus on specific product-related complaints from our customers. Presently, our employees concentrate fully on this aspect, allowing them to take the time, when needed, to collaborate with colleagues and devise the most appropriate responses.”
“Another notable advantage of Polly.Help’s knowledge base is our continuous expansion of knowledge items. Whenever we encounter a question that hasn’t been previously addressed, we promptly add both the question and its answer to the knowledge base. This empowers all employees to respond to the same question more expeditiously in the future.”
“It’s particularly advantageous that all information and knowledge remain consistently up-to-date since we maintain control. We no longer require the intervention of an IT department, eliminating the waiting time associated with information updates.”
Anja: “During customer interactions, our agents can directly access Polly.Help’s knowledge base from the Genesys omnichannel platform. This streamlined process eliminates the need for agents to open additional windows, enhancing the efficiency and intuitiveness of our solution.”
Anja: “Polly.Help dedicated substantial time to assist us in making the right configuration choices. This support was highly beneficial given our lack of prior experience in this domain.”
Yvette: “Polly.Help eased our transition by assisting us in creating new articles. Existing Microsoft Word articles were seamlessly imported into the knowledge base. Additionally, the consultant aided in configuring decision trees, which guide employees and customers to appropriate answers.”
Yvette: “Whenever we had inquiries regarding the platform or new requirements, Polly.Help remained easily accessible and promptly addressed our needs.”
Anja: “Our collaboration with Polly.Help can be aptly characterized as good and flexible, marked by a genuine willingness to provide assistance. I feel like a valued customer!”
“Polly.Help has translated into a 60% reduction in standard queries. This significant reduction occurred immediately after implementation, which is quite remarkable.”
Anja: “During the pandemic, all employees were compelled to work from home. Remote work makes it less convenient to consult colleagues, underscoring the importance of employees being able to independently access the right answers quickly.”
“Polly.Help has also led to a remarkable 60% reduction in standard queries immediately post-implementation. Prior to implementing knowledge management, these standard questions were largely handled by hired students. The deployment of Polly.Help allowed us to reduce the number of student hires from 4 to 1.”
“With regards to customer satisfaction, a few years ago, we set the goal of raising our customer satisfaction rating from a modest 8 to a steady 8. In 2023, thanks in part to the knowledge base, we are almost at 9!”
Anja: “In 2023, we plan to roll out the chatbot for all our brands. As we intensify the usage of the chatbot, we also aim to enhance the interaction between the knowledge base and the chatbot. We see substantial room for optimization in refining this interaction.”
Anja: “No, the concept of operating without knowledge management is inconceivable for us, as it would essentially be a regression of 50 years.”