The Dutch Chamber of Commerce (Kamer van Koophandel in Dutch) is an official governmental agency in the Netherlands. The CoC (KvK) registers companies, plays an informing role and gives advice and support. Their main task is to maintain the official Commercial Register, as this is compulsory in the Netherlands for every company and every legal entity. Aside from that they aim to help entrepreneurs with their journey.
Companies can consult with the Chamber's advisors if they have a question, need to request information or have a complex problem and seek advice.
There are two departments which handle the massive amounts of questions the Chamber gets every day: a general customer service and a special advisory department. Incoming questions first arrive at the general customer service. If they determine the query too specific to answer on the spot, they expedite the request to the special advisory department. This department consists of advisors with expertise in particular topics.
These specialized consultations can be a phone call or a follow up face-to-face meeting during working days from 08.30 until 17.00. To help entrepreneurs fast and to avoid long waiting times, the special advisory department has continuous shifts without gaps. On top of that, the department needs to make sure there are plenty of advisors available at any time. Which means scheduling needs to be on point.
"We enjoy working as advisors for the Chamber of Commerce, but the scheduling process was too much for our line of work. Soon enables us to schedule according to our desired way to work."
A flexible solution
Given the close link between the customer service department and the special advisory department, the scheduling was originally taken care of by the customer service department. This made sense as they worked closely together, however, the process was too strict for the special advisors to optimally perform.
The variety of different tasks they need to perform during the day was too hard to combine with the more rigid shifts as scheduled by the customer service department. Up to the point where the schedule started to affect the satisfaction and motivation to work.
This led to a desire for more control over the shaping of time and working activities. As well as a need for better communication, since the team is spread over 8 locations throughout the country.
The Chamber of Commerce had to find a solution to this problem, so they started to search how to act on this matter. Through survey and communication with advisors, they found out more about the preferences of the advisors. This is where Soon got involved with the special advisory department of the Chamber of Commerce.
Soon as self-scheduling software
We showed the possibilities of our software and how it could match with their preferences and desires. Through further collaboration with the Chamber of Commerce in the following period, their desired process was turned into a practical reality in Soon.
The outcome is the ‘self-scheduling method’, which quickly became a success within the special advisory department.
The self-scheduling solution addresses virtually all preferences of the advisors of the Chamber of Commerce. Chief among them: it offers much more flexibility and variety in the daily schedule. The method puts the scheduling responsibility on the employees themselves rather than having the managers or planners make decisions about when people work and which tasks they should perform. The schedulers just decide the boundaries.
In the current setup advisors are able to schedule themselves 8 weeks in advance. They can apply for all the shifts which are made available to them. When this is done, the coordinator checks if there are enough advisors as required. In case there are any incomplete shifts this is discussed with the team so those too will be filled.
Due to the preferences of the advisors, the self-scheduling system works with 2-hour shifts. An advisor can work as few or as many shifts as they want, as long as it fits within a working day. It is also possible for advisors to apply for different skills (if they possess them), which can bring some additional diversity to the working day.
These 2 hours shifts make it possible for the advisors to design their schedule based on personal preferences and appointments. This self-scheduling system offers more freedom and control, which adds to an overall better atmosphere to work in.
Practicality of Soon
Soon helps the coordinator by making sure overstaffing on shifts is not possible. Each shift can be given a maximum and minimum capacity.
When the required amount of advisors on a particular shift is reached, this shift will automatically no longer be visible to the rest of the advisors. So everyone will only see shifts that are still available to pick up.
After applying for a shift, it is always possible to withdraw the shift by dropping it. This allows another advisor to pick up the shift. The coordinator can decide within what time range an advisor is allowed to drop the shift. So this will not cause problems at the last minute.
The advisors can also trade shifts between themselves. The only prerequisite is that the advisors have the same skill. Skills involve knowledge about a particular subject, for example, Finance, Innovation, and Foreign trade.
Finally Soon also allows the advisors to request a leave to either report they're sick, file for a training day or ask for a vacation. The team manager and/or coordinator will need to approve of any leave requests to have them take effect.
Benefits of Self-Scheduling for the Chamber of Commerce
- Custom process – The Chamber of Commerce is able to implement its own scheduling procedure.
- Time-saving – Planners need less time completing the schedules.
- Fewer responsibility – The advisor and the planners are responsible with the self-scheduling system, which divides responsibility.
- Higher organizational productivity – Happy employees equals higher productivity.
- Lower absenteeism – Self-scheduling reduces voluntary absenteeism because employees are more committed.
"Soon is customizable to support our situation and gives a good overview for the whole department."
Benefits of Soon for advisors
- Based on needs and preferences – Through self-scheduling Soon combines the needs of the business while maintaining personal choice.
- Enhanced collaboration – Soon provides a centralized overview of all communication related to scheduling.
- More satisfaction – Deciding their own schedule makes the advisors more happy.
- Full control – Advisors have total control over their own schedules and can make their schedules more diverse.
The next success story
Soon is a creation of our belief and commitment to “make better experiences”. We have vast experience with customer support centers, web care teams, order desks, and conferences.
We are looking for new opportunities to make a true impact at all times. Do you run or work at an advanced thinking company? And want to level up your team experience through the way you are scheduling and managing your workforce? Let’s talk!