Over the years, Valckenier has rapidly grown from Renault garage to one of the best-known mobility providers with several branches in Flanders, Belgium. At Valckenier you can buy, share, rent, and sell/buy used cars. Valckenier also has a specialised bodywork department named Valco.
As a fast-growing company, how do you maintain the personal family character? “At Valckenier, maximum customer satisfaction is key, whether you are an individual or a company. SMS plays an important role in this,” states Femke Valckenier, responsible for marketing communications at the company in question. We speak to Femke and her colleague Michaël Leus (ICT Manager) about the deployment of SMS. Read in the article below how SMS is making a difference in this fast-growing family business.
Valckenier: a passion for mobility for 3 generations already
Valckenier is a true family business. Grandfather, Bart Valckenier started a Renault garage and Seca petrol station in Welle in 1965. Three generations later, Valckenier has become a fixture in the Flemish car industry with a dozen establishments. Where it once started as a Renault garage, today Valckenier sells brands such as: Renault, Dacia, Kia, Opel, Peugeot, Citroën, Alpine and DS. Furthermore, customers can also come to Valckenier for used cars, rental cars and Car Sharing under the name of ‘Valckenier Share‘.
SMS is used in this broad offering, among other things, to facilitate the customer’s purchasing process, send automated service updates and offer low-threshold advice.
A partner with local expertise
In 2021, Valckenier made the switch from a North American messaging provider to Spryng. This was in view of ongoing developments in European GDPR legislation and data protection. “Our choice of Spryng was a conscious choice for a partner from Europe” states Michaël Leus. In addition, Spryng is a local player who knows the Belgian market well, so the switch was logical.”
Individual customer communication with Spryng
Spryng’s services are used to keep customer communication close and personal. For example, SMSs are sent in the context of repairs:
“Dear customer, the repairs on your car have been carried out. You can come and collect your car from 14:00 at Valckenier Lokeren. Thank you for your confidence. Your Valckenier team”.
Furthermore, great importance is attached to good follow-up after purchase. A “thank you for your trust” and “don’t hesitate to contact us” SMS are invariably part of this. In this way, Valckenier ensures that the customer knows they can always come to them for additional questions. In addition, Valckenier is innovatively using SMS to promote special events such as open days. KIA owners were recently invited to an exclusive event via SMS.
“Moreover, receiving an SMS is less intrusive than getting an unexpected phone call during a meeting, for example”: states Michaël Leus.
For Valckenier, a communication strategy combining e-mail and SMS is the ideal way to reach customers with personalised messages and general news. After all, e-mail has an opening rate of 25%, SMS has an open rate of 98%. An additional benefit to managing a good customer relationship using SMS? Huge time savings for mechanics. By communicating via SMS, mechanics save time and the customer can always be reached. After all, not everyone can always pick up the phone. This way, cars leave the premises smoothly after repairs.
Spryng: an easy-to-integrate partner
The start of the cooperation was seamless on a technical level. “The system is very easy to integrate with our own created system. In addition, Spryng is available in several coding languages, so anyone who can code a little can integrate it with ease”: says Michaël Leus. Valckenier itself uses the Java REST API to create the link. The integration into the system was very quick and easy – “the switch to Spryng was done in no time at all”.
Moreover, the reporting is easy to consult. This information is also additionally valuable for the various constructors (brands that supply the cars for Valckenier). Furthermore, the credit system is very user-friendly and transparent. You only pay for what you use at Spryng. The short lines to the support team without additional costs are highly appreciated. “There is always someone available who knows our account well. This is a big difference from the US party we used to work with”.
An ambitious future
With an extensive range of several mobility applications, Valckenier looks to the future with ambition. Yet family remains the central value in this story. Indeed, the youngest generation of Valckenier is well on its way to additionally integrating into the company. As a partner, Spryng also continues to monitor the latest developments in messaging and together we look at the added value for Valckenier and its customers. We from Spryng are therefore proud to contribute to this story and hope to grow this partnership with this unique company.
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