Mijn IB-Groep: transaction portal for students (Mijn IB-Groep)

Published on: 11/06/2007
Document

In the mid-nineties the IB-Groep was as a typical government organisation with lots of red tape. It was slow and difficult to reach.The IB-Groep solved the problem of poor accessibility by relieving the pressure on the labour-intensive channels (desk and telephony). The organization was able to tie in with a prevailing social trend in the form of increasing use of the internet. Customers – mainly students in secondary and higher education – are now using this new channel more and more intensively. The My IB Group portal allows customers to see and alter their own details so they do not have to resort to the official channels. Multi-channel management was implemented to realise the strategic goals. Approximately 50% of customer contacts (4.5 million contacts) are now conducted via the electronic channels, as opposed to approximately 25% two years ago. Added functionalities and the convenience of this electronic facility have led to an exponential increase in this trend. The investments that have been made have already been largely recouped. The traditional channels are once again providing the agreed level of service and customer satisfaction has improved.

Policy Context

Commissioned by the Dutch Ministry of Education, Culture and Sciences, the IB-Groep carries responsibility for a number of tasks, including the payment and collection of study loans and grants. In order to be able to serve more than 1.000,000 individual customers satisfactorily (much better then in the past), we decided a few years ago to introduce a multi channel approach, promoting the use of the Internet. In order to succeed, we spent a great deal of time and effort developing Internet applications. In the Netherlands, as in other countries, there is a tendency amongst government services to promote the use of electronic channels in contacts with citizens. A case in point is the programme “Andere Overheid” (a different government), which focuses on developments in the field of electronic communication. Another project is concerned with streamlining basic data. In this project, back office data exchanges must ensure that citizens no longer have to supply the same details time and again. Essential in the electronic contacts between citizens and their government is the issue of security, which must be customer-friendly whenever possible. Within this framework, efforts are made to create a single digital method of access for all government sites in the Netherlands. This identification, DigiD, relied at first on a low level of security, namely a password and a user id. For a higher level of security, which enables more customers to do seriously online business with their government, the ICTU* introduced the text messaging access facility the IB-Groep developed for Mijn IB-Groep. Millions of Dutch citizens (5 million of 16 million inhabitants) have registered with DigiD – the national Digital Identity authentication system. Most IB Group customers are among them. * ICTU is the Dutch organization for information and communication technology in the public sector. .

Description of target users and groups

The IB-Group is the principal national supplier of student loans (and grants) in the Netherlands. The organization deals with three main customer groups in three corresponding stages of service: - User group 1: Students to be. These people have finished secondary education and wish to enrol in higher education. In most cases they can also apply for a student loan. During a short period of time they have very intensive contact with the IB-Groep (150,000 students). - User group 2: Students. This group consists of students in college who rely on the monthly payments of their loan. They need to inform the IB-Group about relevant changes in their personal situation (500,000 students). - User group 3: Former students. Many former students must pay back their loans. When they have problems doing so, there is a possibility to get an alternative payment plan (350,000 students). Especially students and students to be have frequent contact with the IB-Groep. Besides answers to their questions, they also want alterations to be processed. The Mijn IB-Groep portal, complete with online alteration options, was developed with these two groups in mind: 650,000 customers in total. User group 3 (former students who are paying back or have yet to pay back their loans) is growing in size and there has been a huge increase in the interaction of this group via the My IB Group portal. As a result MIBG is now dealing with more than 1 million customers.

Description of the way to implement the initiative

The introduction of My IB Group was not an isolated event. In order to improve the traditional service it was necessary to reorganize the backoffice, to shift the focus from product and process to customer. The idea was that if the customer could see online data from eight different legacy systems on one screen, the employee whom the customer had called with a query should be able to supply the information required. During the time that My IB Group was being developed, the organization went through a change and adopted a working method that was consistent with the idea of complete customer care (one stop shop). Key point was that employees needed sufficient expertise in order to be able to handle the majority of customer questions independently. Reorganization was essential to synchronize the service in traditional channels and electronic developments. E-government projects are based on standard methods (Prince2), with follow-up and accountability via the INK method. Organisational changes are initially implemented top-down. Most people do not embrace change and have to be encouraged to change with a combination of incentives and prompting. An intensive HRM process and a sound training for staff and management were extremely important. We enlisted external expertise provided by reliable and professional partners for both the technical change process and the organisational change process. A Multimedia Process Management Department was set up to handle development and management at an operational level, and the Multi Channel Management department handled the channel management, having the necessary line authority to do so. Trends are predicted with the aid of CRM applications and field research, schedules are drawn up with the aid of Masterschedules and data mining provides input for business cases, especially in order to gain an insight into the Return on Investment. Multi-channel issues: The IB Group implements a multi channel management strategy that focuses on a number of drivers. These drivers (efficiency, image, customer satisfaction, effectiveness) differ per channel and per customer group to allow for the implementation of different service concepts. The priorities in the use of a channel can differ per sector and per customer segment. The success of this management strategy is confirmed by both quantitative and qualitative research. Extensive qualitative customer and staff satisfaction surveys are combined with quantitative surveys of channel volumes. The principle of our channel management is that customers must be served as efficiently and effectively as possible. This may mean that we prefer to serve customers with complicated problems or language difficulties at the counter while we encourage Higher Education students to arrange everything via the internet. This customer segmentation is not static. We are continually working to refine this approach on the basis of signals from staff and comparisons of customer bases. This concept has produced the following results (among others): • In 2006 90% of the changes in student details were submitted electronically – as opposed to 25% in 2004. • In 2006 there were 10% fewer telephone calls than in 2004. • 75% of the people who visited one of our service offices in 2006 fell within the primary target group for which we have the counter – as opposed to 45% in 2004. • The number of visits to our internet portal increased from 308,000 in 2004 to more than 1 million in 2006. • There has been a radical improvement in the image that our client (ministery of education) and customers have of the IB Group in recent years.

Main results, benefits and impacts

Over a period of three years the IB Group has influenced the ratio between electronic and traditional customer contact in favour of electronic communication. Just over half of all customer contacts are now conducted electronically. The results of the Customer Satisfaction Surveys show that customers are satisfied with the service provided by the traditional channels. And, in addition to this customer satisfaction, the IB Group can also inform its client that the traditional channels are now meeting hard key performance indicators. For example: A customer awards a score of 7.5 for customer satisfaction with the traditional channels and the IB Group succeeds in achieving its indicator for the standard of telephone service (80% of the customer dealt with within 120 seconds). In terms of benefits: - Satisfied client (ministery of education) - Satisfied customers (results of the Customer Satisfaction Survey 2004-2005-2006) - Maximum insight into customer satisfaction and the factors that determine customer satisfaction - Greater efficiency (saving €1,682,805 in 2005 and €4,051,173 in 2006) as a result of fewer traditional contacts and more cost-effective electronic contacts. - Fewer complaints - Fewer errors in processing - Shorter telephone conversations because customers are better informed in advance - Increased staff satisfaction: more responsibility and more independence. - Outlook: within the next five years we expect to move towards 80% electronic, 20% traditional. In terms of costs: - 4 million euros initial project costs - Annual management and ongoing development costs of approximately 1 million euros Investment and maintenance costs have already been recouped. We are now operating at a profit and can meet savings targets set by the client. For more insight in impact and results, we refer to the attached documents. There are two. In the pdf document of this case there are at par.2.4. two graphics tot support the case. We could not copy and paste these in this webform. It´s realy important to look at them, because they support the desired insights. This attachments supports this webform. it´s textually the same, but the graphics are presented there which could not be shown in this. Innovation: • We are the first organisation in the Netherlands to use mobile phones on a large scale as an authentication token to secure an internet portal. The main advantage of using a mobile phone as an authentication token is that the customer is not issued yet another card and can communicate with us online not only from home and from the university but also from internet cafés. We have developed a user-friendly and highly cost-effective (both for us and for the customer) relatively advanced security system which was transferred to DIgiD, the organisation that provides national access to electronic government services, at the start of 2007, as a national medium-level security system. • The creation of an internet portal is just the start. Customers also have to use the portal. Because we were not able to offer customers who used the internet a financial advantage and our client did not want us to shut down any of the traditional channels, we developed a unique concept of multi channel management. Through information (on all of our paper documents for example), incentive (your changes will be processed more rapidly if you do it via the internet), advice issued by staff (it is best to do that via the internet), discouragement (paper amendment forms are more difficult to obtain) and quality (good information and maximum availability) we managed to bring about an exponential increase in the use of our electronic channels. Because the electronic channel has proved so successful, customers who run into difficulties can now be assisted without delay at the counter or over the telephone. Customers who take part in the annual Customer Satisfaction Survey say that they are happy with our service and channel management.

Return on investment

Return on investment: Not applicable / Not available

Track record of sharing

As we mentioned, the DigiD national Digital Identity authentication system has replaced the previous medium-level security system. The system was developed for DigiD and the IB Group phased out its own separate system once the system was transferred to DigiD. The Dutch tax authorities have since adopted this SMS authentication system and are DigiD’s largest customer. Needless to say this has endorsed the use of the system and all of the parties involved have benefited as a result – the IB Group and the tax authorities because a jointly used system that provides the requisite level of security is more cost effective and more reliable, and DigiD because the IB Group and the tax authorities provide services that citizens use on a large scale, so citizens have been encouraged to start using DigiD as an authentication system (image and upscaling). A win win situation. Furthermore, the software supplier that supplies the basic software for this form of authentication supplies the software as open-source software, which lowers resistance to use. Commercial organisations (such as the Postbank, www.postbank.nl) have also started using SMS authentication and allow their customers to access their details using exactly the same method of authentication. The IB Group is also involved in the development of a single national portal – the so-called Personal Internet Page (http://www.e-overheid.nl/sites/pip//) – that will enable citizens to view and (in due course) change all of the information that the government has on file for them. Functionalities developed within My IB Group will also be available within this national portal, which will be secured by DigiD medium-level security. The IB Group is also involved in establishing benchmarks and conducting scientific research, in which the leading role that the IB Group has played in implementing Multi Channel Management has been emphasised on several occasions.

Lessons learnt

• Work from the outside inwards. Cut up the process and earmark the aspects that are most relevant to the customer. Then complete the process by realising those aspects that are not immediately visible to the customer, provided of course that this is possible. For example, only few customers knew that the changes submitted through the change application on the Internet were processed manually. To customers it seemed to be an automatic process. The changes thus received, however, were processed quicker to emphasise to customers the advantage of reporting changes online. The group of customers who used these applications were, in principle, the first customers who later switched effortlessly to the portal to submit changes which are now being processed automatically. Select a security facility that is in line with the target group. Nobody is waiting for an other bank-type card or chip card (with reader). Where possible, use facilities with which customers are already familiar. What has made Mijn IB-Groep such a success and, particularly, the degree to which customers promote it to others, is mostly due to the text messaging access security facility used. In other words, thoroughly analyse your target group and see how it communicates. • Involve staff with expertise and experience to contribute their ideas to the project during its implementation. They know the questions customers have, they know what irritates customers. Their input is often highly relevant. Moreover, its advantage over a customer survey is that they can often relate the problems to the existing systems and the regulations to be implemented. In addition, (virtually) all staff members are Internet users. As customers of numerous other organisations they have lots of pointers and tricks. • Having dealt with the technical implementation of the system or application it is essential to maintain and manage the system in a systematic way. From the point of view of business, it is also essential to keep monitoring the effectiveness of the services provided. The return on investment must be as high as possible and everything needs to be tightly and competently managed. If something is not sufficiently productive, phase it out. Without sufficient customer contact volumes there is absolutely no reason for the existence of any electronic service whatsoever.

Scope: National