A Dutch provider for Belgian and Luxembourg customers?
Naima seems somewhat suprised by this question. ‘Yes, of course. Why not?’ It is clear that cultural differences do not play any role for the system and the provider. This is precisely thanks to our personal support. ‘We have never had any problems before in this regard. This is absolutely not an issue. Once something went wrong with special characters, such as accents, which appear frequently in the French language. S4Dunning resolved it without any issues, and quite quickly as well.’
The impact of the Corona crisis
Whereas the Corona crisis had a strong impact on many companies, Somfy was able to benefit from a number of measures imposed. They clearly felt the impact of the staycation. ‘Can’t go on holiday? Or to a restaurant? Then we will invest our money in our home so that we can spend our lockdown as comfortably as possible. 2020 was quite a good year, both in terms of turnover and results.’
With regard to customer payment behaviour, Somfy also has nothing to complain about. ‘Through good collaboration with sales, a sophisticated procedure and the effectiveness of our reminder programme, we succeed in limiting the number of invoices that are paid late.’
Naima says that they have 3 types of customers: key accounts, smaller contractors / retailers and private individuals. The key accounts are major customers who repeatedly make purchases for large amounts. They are mostly industrial companies that incorporate Somfy products into their own product range. The smaller contractors / retailers work directly with the end customers. They also (fortunately) buy regularly, though the amounts are considerably lower. Private individuals can make purchases via the webshop. Because of this, there are no payment issues with this type of customer.
Somfy has a large showroom in Zaventem. There, private individuals can see the products in action and in this way be won over by their quality. The showroom is also used to provide intensive training to B2B customers. Somfy prides itself on the fact that its service only begins where the service of other vendors ends. This contributes to a successful result.
The key account customers form the proverbial 20% that account for 80% of turnover. Because the turnover for these customers is so high, it is essential for our cash flow that they pay us on time. Fortunately, that is usually the case. For all late payers, large or small, we fortunately have S4Dunning to assist us.”
It was remarkable how smoothly the implementation went. Naima has nothing but praise.
Right from the beginning we received strong support from Jeroen Jansen. He is still our contact person. We can always rely on him whenever we have questions. Jeroen is perfectly familiar with us as a customer and knows what we want. He easily resolved problems and also helped us further to adapt and optimalise our system. In response to the current crisis, we now want increasingly to adapt our procedure to our customers. He helps us think about how we can do this. Even our external consultant, a specialist in the field, was impressed by his expertise.”
It is not only the project manager who plays a central role in providing support. The help desk is also quite fast and efficient. ‘We ask a question via a ticket and it is quickly resolved – quite effectively too.’
Collenda thinks ahead
In the short term, Somfy wants a more segmented approach, one that is not so much regional – Belgium and Luxembourg are combined in terms of follow-up – as based on customer size and risk profile. The economic situation due to Covid prompted us to do that.
The point of departure remains that all customers are important. However, further developing the procedure based on amount and customer type is under discussion. When a minor customer does not pay or, even worse, goes out of business, the consequences are miniscule. When a major customer, a key account, does not meet his commitments, it can be difficult, especially for a company the size of Somfy.