South Africa

  • Chaotic workflows
  • Undefined query assignment and responsibilities
  • Clunky, inflexible software solutions

About Van Schaik

Van Schaik Bookstore is one of Southern Africa’s oldest and most recognized academic bookstore chains with more than 70 stores located in South Africa, Botswana, Swaziland and Namibia. The organization has over 100 years of experience in supplying academic books to students, parents and other professionals. Van Schaik’s expertise has been acknowledged by prestigious industry awards such as the Sefika Academic Bookseller of the Year Award from 2012 to 2017. 

Tackling chaotic workflows

As an influencer of education, the customer has always been the focus for Van Schaik. However, agents were unable to deliver the level of service they wanted with their shared inbox system. The clutter was becoming impossible to manage and the need for a more streamlined process emerged. The organization was also weighed down by an inadequate chat solution and clunky CRM software. With ineffective workflows slowing them down, Van Schaik began to look for a better solution.

Optimizing experiences with Freshworks

Rudolf Visser, CIO brought in an external consultant to help Van Schaik help their customers ‘sooner, rather than later’. Tasked with finding a more sustainable approach to customer service, they arrived at the Freshworks customer engagement suite.  With the Freshdesk platform, Van Schaik was able to segregate agents with defined responsibilities and assign tickets with a systematic structure. With clearly segmented query tracks (like payments, orders, couriers etc.), agents were able to significantly enhance their efficiency. They were even able to get more productive by easily distinguishing junk mail from queries that needed their attention.  

The company also switched out their legacy chat solution for Freshchat (now Freshdesk Messaging) along with the Freshdesk integration. This helped them add to the channel mix they were offering customers, with context enriched conversations. 

As they were streamlining their processes, Van Schaik also found significant shortcomings with their legacy CRM system. The most important one was that it was not online. It made perfect sense for the organization to then switch to Freshsales -  Freshworks’ cloud-based solutions accessible across global devices. The organization brought around 30 members of their sales team on board. 

The Freshworks impact

With the Freshworks customer engagement suite, Van Schaik was able to clear the clutter, define responsibilities and create order. Agent productivity became easy to track and build upon. Productivity features like canned responses helped agents tackle repeat queries like requests for bank details and store timings swiftly. The organization also successfully leveraged chat to provide incremental support to its customers. Van Schaik also streamlined their inquiries from Freshsales by integrating it with Freshdesk. 

The company achieved its mission of enhancing processes and elevating customer support with Freshworks.  They were able to stay on top of their workflows, track response times and manage staff with greater efficiency. Most importantly, Van Schaik was able to reduce service complaints drastically. The company also saw an influx of positive social media comments from customers. 

The way forward

Van Schaik is exploring an alternative to its inflexible legacy voice solution with (Freshcaller (now Freshdesk Contact Center)). The organization seeks to continue simplifying its customer support efforts with a user-friendly alternative like (Freshcaller (now Freshdesk Contact Center))’s modern cloud-based phone system.