Colin Phillips is Marketing & Sales Manager at Essent Belgium and one of the architects of this unique solution. “We had insufficient insight into the way in which potential customers of Essent Belgium were called by the facility contact centers we worked with,” he says.

That situation was undesirable. Essent Belgium does want to make as many acquisitions as possible, but new customers must be won on the basis of the specific values that the energy company promotes.

The innovative, sustainable energy supplier is part of the pan-European Innogy. “This includes being honest and correct with our customers. With respect for the Do Not Call me list. Without unnecessary sales pressure in the acquisition,” Phillips says. “It is important that a new customer really chooses us with conviction and that the sales process has a positive experience.”

Scalable and flexible

Essent Belgium has outsourced outbound calls to various facility contact centers. Each contact center deploys a maximum of 50 seats to perform cold calling. All seven centers now work with the Steam-connect platform, purchased by Essent Belgium and implemented by the supplier within two weeks. This can be done so quickly because Steam-connect has a Software as a Service (Saas) model. This means that the package runs in the cloud on remote servers and is also maintained there. The agent who works with Steam-connect is logged in to the platform without the software on their own computer. The result is maximum scalability and flexibility.

According to Phillips, Steam-connect was the only package that has a standard link with the Belgian Do not call me list, one of Essent Belgium’s requirements.

Win win situation

“Thanks to Steam-connect, we can now follow exactly how the telephone recruitment of our customers is progressing. The partners we work with know our quality requirements and know that they should not make mistakes. They are, as it were, in a straitjacket and have to follow the path that we have mapped out for them. They don’t mind at all. On the contrary. They now have the certainty of a long-term commitment with Essent Belgium, because of course we are not going to invest in connections with Steam-connect without having long-term contracts with such Closing a facility contact center offers these contact centers the opportunity to invest in personnel instead of software or hardware. This creates a win/win situation.”

Making use of data

Opting for this unique form of uniformity at all external contact centers has even more advantages. Thanks to the shared software platform, the French-speaking contact centers can work in Morocco or Turkey, for example. In the old situation this was too complex and therefore undesirable. Now the outbound calling agents of different contact centers have one shared database of CRM data. It has therefore become a lot easier to deal more efficiently with the data collected in the sales process.

“Does anyone want to be called back later? Does someone say that their current contract with a competitor will expire in six months? Would someone rather speak Flemish or French? We can now centrally record and use all that data,” said Philips. Incidentally, Steam-connect meets the European requirements for data security based on ISO 27001. The servers are located in the Netherlands and Belgium.

Philips expects to recoup the investment in Steam-connect after three years, mainly because of the increased effectiveness in the sales process, which means that Essent Belgium will acquire more customers than without the use of Steam-connect.

Integrated calendar

The main reasons for choosing Steam-connect lay in the link with the Do not call me list and the integrated calendar solution. “And of course it had to be a cloud solution,” said Philips. “But there are several of them. The extra functionality of Steam-connect was the deciding factor.”

In the foreseeable future, he wants to have the agenda planning of his account managers done by the agents of the facility contact centers. With Steam-connect, they are able to create a schedule that makes optimal use of time and distance, so that account managers can do more appointments in a day than they do now.