Customer excellence according to Helen

At home with us

Wherever colleague Helen de Smidt-Klaren is, there is movement. With her spontaneity and compassion, Helen is the driving force to get things done and make them even better. Or in her own words: “I like to help others, I pay attention to details and come up with appropriate solutions to achieve a good end result.” With her practical, creative and organised nature, no job is too much and she always wants the best for the customer. This makes Helen the ideal match for VanWonen and the role of sales coordinator is right up her alley. How does Helen ensure customer experience excellence in her daily work?

In my role, I am always trying to make a difference for our customers, but also for my colleagues. Being customer-friendly, both internally and externally, is in my nature. Just seeking that connection, with attention that is sincere and personal, such as with a handwritten ‘thank you’ or ‘congratulations’ card. Because of my studies in Customer Experience Management, I have learned even more to strive for ‘beyond expectation’. This experience creates trust and more loyalty. For me, communication is the keyword; explaining what someone can expect during the entire process of purchasing a newly built home. For each project, customers have their own personal online environment: My VanWonen. Here, customers can follow each step in the customer journey and access important information.

Over the years, we have gained a good understanding of the customer journey. We want to realise wonderful homes and deliver customer experience excellence in doing so. And in order to learn about the wishes of customers and how they experience our services, we research 5 moments in the customer journey. This gives us useful information, which we use to assess whether what we do contributes to the positive experience of the customer. Always guided by the vision of being involved from A to Z. And this is where my creative qualities come in handy: thinking about where we can surprise the customer and make a real difference.

How do you strive for customer experience excellence now with Covid-19?
Whereas we normally would have physical meetings, we are now using a variety of digital tools. The first thing we have done is ensure that various contracts can be signed digitally. This has enabled us to make a significant (efficiency) leap forward in order to continue to serve our customers optimally.

We have also organised several digital meetings. And we have launched digital customer panels for some projects in the pre-sale phase. These panels allow customers to contribute ideas about the design, colours, materials and layout of a home. We normally do this physically but it is great to see how we can also involve customers in the design process remotely. We receive many enthusiastic responses and people often pre-apply for a specific construction number. After all designs have been finalized, customers are further informed, for example through a webinar, and are one step closer to obtaining their dream home.

What is an experience you’ve enjoyed most recently?
When construction starts, we normally organize a ‘start of construction celebration’, during which future residents can meet each other. Because of Covid-19, we have found a new, creative way for this. We film the official opening ceremony at the location, usually performed by the alderman, and we also record the speeches. We then send the future residents a festive package with sparkling wine. At a later date, all future residents can meet each other digitally. They are kept up to date with information and can watch the compilation of the ‘start of construction celebration’ from their living room. Together they can toast to their future home. You can tell that the project team too is enthusiastic about this temporary new way of meeting each other.

We want to take away our customers’ worries and keep them well informed. With personal attention and by going the extra mile. That way we can achieve truly satisfied customers. That’s what I do it for!”

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