Customer experience is strong in the Netherlands. Amongst the leading brands, mastering the basics of CX is regarded as a hygiene factor rather than a differentiator; a significant number are conscious of the value that carefully cultivated experiences can bring.
This year’s research shows that customer expectations are escalating in The Netherlands; many customers will enjoy a first-class interaction with one particular brand and then expect the same standard to be maintained elsewhere, perceiving ‘excellent’ to be the norm. And whilst this puts pressure on a number of organizations, the overall result has been a favorable one, with the pillar of Expectations seeing both increased importance and increased performance in 2019.
However, for Dutch organizations, it is the pillar of Personalization that drives loyalty and advocacy the most. Personalization remains one of the key building blocks for offering a great CX and customers are collectively embracing higher levels of Personalization throughout the different sectors.
"With the digital economy continuing to grow in NL, NL CX champions stand out because they succeed in balancing the phygital model with extreme focus on the customer."
Nienke Wichers Hoeth
Customer Advisory Lead,
KPMG in the Netherlands
But of course, the market continues to face challenges. One of these is knowing how to create the optimal ‘phygital’ experience – that is, a CX that combines the best of both the physical and digital channels to the customer’s advantage. A strength in one area alone is insufficient; the strongest organizations should be able to integrate digital considerations into the physical setting.
For companies such as Lush, which is the third highest ranking brand in the 2019 Netherlands research, CX best practice is exemplified through the pillar of Empathy, with its score standing at 13 percent above the market average. The cosmetics retailer trains all employees to ask diagnostic questions to build a deep understanding of an individual customer’s unique situation and needs.
And as a retailer that specializes in hand-crafted products – all of which are created in ways that respect the environment and the animal kingdom – Lush is an organization that operates with a clear brand purpose, and one that seemingly extends beyond the simple need to ‘make money.’ As a result, its score for the Pillar of Integrity stands 8 percent above the market average and is among the highest in the market.
“My favorite shop!” said one consumer in the Customer Experience Excellence research. “They care about animal and environment-friendly products and always ensure personal attention and service, no matter how busy it gets in the shop!”
In second place in the Netherlands 2019 rankings is retailer and marketplace bol.com – a company that scores highly in the pillar of Integrity, with a result that’s also 8 percent above the market average. In the words of one respondent to the research, “bol.com understands what an online shop should do” and “they never let me down in the service they promise.”
Speed and efficiency are also key components of its CX best practice. One of bol.com’s greatest strengths is in its optimization of the digital experience, and respondents have commented on the simplicity and seamless nature of its website platform. Bol.com is also the frontrunner in quick and easy ordering and delivery, offering a range of sameday delivery services - even a 2-hour delivery service in some postcodes - for shoppers who need items within a short timeframe. And to ensure minimal impact on the environment, the retailer uses electric delivery tricycles for its fast delivery service.40
The Netherlands’ CX leader in 2019 is the travel brand Van der Valk Hotels, which has risen four places in the last year.
Van der Valk aims to deliver a customer-centric experience. The family-run business states that “hospitality is in our genes” and that it renews itself constantly, emphasizing its commitment to finding new ways to surprise and delight.41 Arguably, this is one of the qualities that’s necessary for a country leader - an acknowledgement that CX management never stands still, and that continual awareness of the changing customer is essential. As one respondent stated: “They listen. They support. They care. Van der Valk delivers every single time.”
For the Netherlands, these shifts will become all the more apparent as the digital considerations continue to evolve. With 98 percent of the country’s homes having access to the internet, it’s the most connected country in the European Union.42 And with an economy that is still growing, the Netherlands finds itself with a customer base that truly is king, with a voracity to see its high expectations met. The challenges are many, but in 2019, a number of strong organizations are rising ably to them.
Van der Valk Hotels
Eye Wish Opticiens