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Customer Story - vanHaren

Many shops are experiencing online growth, partly due to the corona year 2020. At vanHaren, this happened both physically (in Belgium from 20 to almost 60 stores) and online. However, expansion also means increasing customer traffic. Specialist Sound of Data joined forces with the shoe retailer.

vanHaren Click to call with Talk

F.l.t.r.: Thomas Hazelaar (Sound of Data) & Michel van Gent (vanHaren).

Michel van Gent has been employed by vanHaren for almost a year now. As an IT manager he often works together with Sound of Data. Van Gent saw his company grow rapidly and says: It should not matter via which channel a customer wants to buy shoes from us. We want to provide the same customer service both physically and online. Questions must be answered at all times. We now see that there is a much greater need to ask questions about delivery times or specific products. This increases the pressure on us. With a partner like Sound of Data, we can overcome that pressure and better service the customer.” 

Customer contact solutions

Sound of Data, a company specialized in telecommunications and with a focus on customer contact, was happy to help vanHaren. Thomas Hazelaar, technical operational director, explains what they can do for a company like vanHaren: “We assist companies with our customer contact solutions expertise. If they cross borders, but also if they simply want to expand. When the volume in telecommunications increases, we can help to steer that development in the right direction.” 

Use new techniques

Van Gent: “Sound of Data monitored our process and what we encountered. They analyzed our needs and what they could add. Of course, you always want to be accessible, but you also want to use new techniques. These new techniques should not stand in the way of the older techniques. The old way of calling must not be lost in our urge to innovate, for example.’ 


Hazelaar adds: “That’s where we jump in. As soon as the customer picks up the phone, he disappears from your online customer journey, so you want to prevent that. That’s why we’ve implemented the Talk click-to-call solution at vanHaren. This is simply a button on the vanHaren website that fits seamlessly into the online environment. With this button the consumer can call customer service from their mobile, tablet or laptop. The call then takes place via the internet instead of the phone network. This way callers stay in the online journey. As soon as the caller hangs up, he or she is still in the vanHaren online environment and can continue where he or she left off. There’s no difference for the contact center, they receive the calls in the exact same way as regular calls.” 

Valuable addition

“Another advantage of Talk is that the caller can immediately fill out a quick survey after the call”, continues Hazelaar. “Brands sometimes ask about this over the phone, but most callers have hung up by then. In Talk, callers can simply give a rating (1 to 5). This lets brands know how the caller feels about the call. It is much easier for the caller and thus yields much more response. Besides asking if callers feel they have been properly serviced, you can also ask other questions about the brand itself. This is a valuable addition to your telephone channel.” 

Easy implementation

Van Gent also sees the potential: “A survey per email is quickly ignored a day later. If you have the momentum, and the conversation is still fresh in the caller’s mind, the willingness to answer is much higher and more valuable. It is a big advantage that it is all very easy. Implementing sounds very complicated, but Sound of Data’s service and expertise makes it easy. We received the button quickly and it works perfectly. We can now monitor everything in one online environment. As a result, we have more call data, which gives us more insight.’ 


After the successful collaboration with Talk, vanHaren came up with a new case for Sound of Data. Specialized in expanding abroad, they were able to provide all new vanHaren stores in Belgium with a business telephone number at the same time. All Belgian stores now have a generic number. Migrating to another party was no problem at all.

“The migration was done in the middle of the day,” says Van Gent. That seems like a complicated step, difficult to just do it in between. But after fifteen minutes all telephone numbers in Belgium had been changed. We have had no complaints and Sound of Data took care of everything in one go. They also called all numbers to check if they were working. We received an accurate report about the migration, including a note of shops that did not answer. Those appeared to have been closed at that time. We received a fast service, there was aftercare and control. This migration makes a huge difference in costs for us, so it’s really a win-win situation. Without us having to make any effort.”  


Sound of Data and vanHaren are happy about the collaboration and are also looking ahead. Hazelaar: “There are always things we can do or better provide in the future. Even if it becomes complex or international, we can handle it.” Van Gent, who is most involved with this technical collaboration at VanHarensees a bright future: “What is new today, will be common tomorrow. Sound of Data continues to evolve and look ahead. We are happy to think along, provide input and take small steps towards progression. We are happy to cooperate with partners who deliver and always have a solution. 

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