BsGW, a Dutch Tax Cooperation for Municipalities and Water Boards, embarked on centralizing and optimizing information to enhance tax payment processes. With a commitment to efficiency and effectiveness, Polly.Help’s knowledge management platform emerged as the transformative solution.
Polly.Help introduced an API-based self-service solution, seamlessly integrated into their Content Management System. This comprehensive solution addressed BsGW’s complex challenge by offering both general information and municipality-specific content. It skillfully guided customers through intricate inquiries, such as assessing eligibility for tax exemptions. This tailored approach not only significantly improved customer experience but also resulted in cost reductions by minimizing unnecessary applications for specific arrangements.
Additionally, internal knowledge portals were seamlessly embedded into Verint, leveraging auto-suggestions and auto-classification for ticket context. Lastly, the platform’s flexible licensing empowered BsGW’s entire workforce to support customer service during peak periods, guided by the knowledge base and intelligent scripts.
The impact of Polly.Help’s implementation has been profound, evident in reduced customer inquiries, elevated customer experience, and significant cost efficiencies. The self-service solution intelligently navigates customers through intricate processes, optimizing the overall customer experience and effectively reducing 30% in unnecessary application submissions. This positive shift is highlighted by a marked decrease in customer inquiries, showcasing customers’ improved ability to easily access information on the website.
Moreover, the integration of automation for standard inquiries resulted in an increase in average conversation time, allowing staff to allocate more time towards addressing complex and personalized queries. Notably, the after-call work time witnessed remarkable improvement, decreasing from approximately 4 minutes to just one and a half minutes per conversation, illustrating enhanced operational efficiency.
In addition, employee training has seen a significant enhancement. External call center employees now achieve proficiency in a mere one day, thanks to their ability to efficiently navigate Polly’s comprehensive knowledge base, ensuring accurate and timely responses to inquiries. This combination of reduced inquiries, improved efficiency, decreased after-call work time, and enhanced employee training demonstrates the remarkable impact of Polly.Help’s knowledge management solution at BsGW.
30% reduction in inbound volume
66% reduction in after-call work time
BsGW, short for the Municipalities and Water Boards Tax Collaboration, is an autonomous partnership dedicated to the collection of municipal taxes, water board taxes, and the administration of the WOZ Act. The core objective of BsGW is to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of tax collection processes.
In this interview, Polly.Help engages in a dialogue with Joyce Zaat-Tillmans, a senior employee in the KCC, and Sjoerd Ottenheim, a service advisor, to delve into the pivotal role of knowledge within the organization, the advantages ushered in by knowledge management, and their forward-looking perspectives.
Sjoerd: “BsGW operates on behalf of 29 municipalities and 1 water board, covering nearly the entire Limburg region, with only two municipalities outside our purview. Our journey began in 2010 with a single municipality, and over the years, our scope has expanded to encompass our current clientele. Rather than seeking to extend the number of municipalities we serve, our focus lies in the proficient collection of taxes and levies for our existing clients. This is a responsibility we take seriously because taxation is mandatory for citizens, not a matter of choice. When queries arise, citizens should have a reliable source for prompt and accurate responses.”
Sjoerd: “This varies according to the specific needs of each municipality or water board and can include water board taxes, dog taxes, parking fines, WOZ assessments, and more. In 2022, we dispatched 741,000 tax assessments, not only to individuals but also to businesses.”
“Our aim is to consolidate these assessments into a single invoice whenever possible, simplifying and streamlining the process for citizens, so they only need to make one payment, file one appeal, or request exemptions.”
Joyce: “Annually, the KCC handles around 120,000 customer interactions via phone and 15,000 via email. Additionally, BsGW offers a ‘my environment’ where customers can seek answers to their questions. The KCC is tasked with efficiently managing this customer contact, with a primary goal of successfully resolving as many queries as possible during the initial interaction. Polly.Help’s knowledge base significantly assists us in achieving this goal.”
“One particularly appealing aspect of Polly.Help’s solution is its dual application for both our website and internal operations.”
Sjoerd: “Within BsGW, we had information articles scattered across various locations and systems. Maintaining these articles across these dispersed locations, along with implementing effective version control, proved to be cumbersome. This prompted us to explore ways to streamline our knowledge management processes. We looked into specialized knowledge management providers and ultimately found Polly.Help. What particularly appealed to us about Polly.Help’s solution is its adaptability for use both on our website and within our internal operations.”
Sjoerd: “In the past, each municipality had its unique tax rates. Consequently, when questions arose concerning tax rates, an employee had to delve into an Excel file to locate the applicable rate. This was a time-consuming process for the employee and prone to errors. Moreover, when tax rates changed, updates were necessary in both the Excel file and on the website. This posed a challenge as responsibility for these updates often lay with the municipalities, resulting in multiple individuals managing the same tax rates in different locations.”
Joyce: “In our current setup, an employee simply queries the knowledge base using keywords like ‘tax rates’ and selects the relevant municipality to access the rates. Information available to internal employees and on the website originates from a unified source. Consequently, maintenance occurs in one central location, ensuring consistent access to accurate information.”
Sjoerd: “Our primary objective was to enhance user-friendliness for both KCC employees and administrators, granting the business greater control over implementing changes. Previously, every change necessitated a ‘change request,’ which took an average of 3 working days to process. This turnaround time was deemed excessively long.”
“Additionally, we sought to use a single type of software to maintain up-to-date information across different locations. This objective has undoubtedly been met. It has significantly simplified operations for KCC employees and external customers alike. Information is now accessible from multiple sources, all originating from a single authoritative repository.”
Joyce: “Ultimately, our goal is to consistently provide well-informed responses to our customers.”
Sjoerd: “The implementation proceeded remarkably smoothly. Communication between BsGW and Polly.Help was highly satisfactory, thanks to clear and efficient channels. Incidents were promptly addressed and resolved.”
Joyce: “Integrating knowledge base management into the organization is essential to ensure ongoing access to the right information. While it doesn’t consume hours daily, it does require continuous effort and vigilance to promptly update information whenever changes occur or new information emerges.”
“After work time has been reduced by more than half, from approximately 4 minutes to 1.5 minutes per interaction.”
Joyce: “We have noticed a decline in customer queries via the ‘my BsGW environment,’ demonstrating that customers can readily find information on the website themselves.”
Sjoerd: “Interestingly, the average duration of calls has increased, primarily because we’ve successfully automated a significant portion of routine inquiries. The remaining calls predominantly involve more complex, customized questions that demand additional time for resolution, and we are now better equipped to allocate that time.”
Joyce: “The time savings in looking up and documenting answers in our customer contact system, thanks to Polly.Help’s knowledge base, are significant. Previously, an employee spent roughly a minute per interaction on this task, whereas in the current scenario, it takes only a matter of seconds.”
Sjoerd: “Furthermore, external call center employees, who are primarily trained on frequently asked questions, can become phone-ready within a day due to their ability to search Polly’s knowledge base. Instead of memorizing responses as in the past, they learn how to efficiently use Polly to find answers. Consequently, they can independently locate answers to queries and trust in the accuracy of those responses.”
“Through Polly, we have gained a much clearer understanding of the most frequently asked questions, allowing us to provide new employees with a targeted ‘top 50’ list of frequently asked questions. Besides reading through this list, it’s crucial that employees know where to find answers. Consequently, an employee who may not be well-versed in payment arrangements can still effectively respond to 8 out of 10 questions about payment arrangements. This development is immensely valuable to us, particularly during peak periods. It has reduced onboarding time from several days to just one day.”
Sjoerd: “We aim to introduce the ‘chat’ channel (including a chatbot), enabling us to further automate question and answer interactions. This will help alleviate the KCC during peak periods, as many of the questions are standard and can be handled by a chatbot.”
“It’s becoming increasingly challenging for BsGW to handle peaks and troughs in workload. On average, the KCC operates with 12 employees per day, but during peak periods, we need 60 employees just to handle phone calls. This is a huge challenge!”
BsGW sees a significant role for Polly.Help’s Knowledge Base in this regard, as it will be integrated with the chatbot.