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Appo is a national player in pharmaceutical services, active in the Netherlands. Parent company Appo includes four physical pharmacies and pick-up points at general practitioners, plus Nationale Apotheek: an online pharmacy that delivers throughout the country.
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Appo uses Freshdesk as growth catalyst

"Freshdesk is very important for us: without this tool we would not have grown the way we did."

The challenge

Appo is anything but a traditional pharmaceutical company. Monique van Poppel, pharmaceutical process manager at Appo: "Appo has a strong focus on digitalization. It allows us to provide the best possible service to our customers and it also significantly enables the growth of our business."

Appo has a diverse customer base. Firstly, there are patients with questions about prescriptions, for example. Then there are the health insurance companies and healthcare providers, who liaise with the various pharmacies on a daily basis.

About two years ago, when Appo acquired National Pharmacy, customer service was operated through telephone and Outlook - which worked quite well. After the acquisition, however, the company grew so fast that Appo realised they would need to digitize and automate the customer service process.


The solution

Together with g-company | part of Xebia, platinum partner of Freshworks, Appo started investigating what software solution would suit their needs best. "We went for a uniform approach across all branches, with some flexibility here and there to make it manageable and practical for everyone involved." Scalability was an important requirement, because of Appo's growth strategy. Van Poppel: "And also because we envisioned from the beginning that our employees should be able to work location-independent." It didn’t take long for Appo to choose Freshdesk Omnichannel to bring their innovative vision to life.

An important step towards this digital approach was the development of the so-called customer support center. In it, both customer advisors and pharmaceutical customer advisors (pharmacy assistants) work - in contrast to traditional pharmacists where usually only pharmacist assistants work (alongside the pharmacist). They are two very different specialties, both of which are of immense value to the business. Van Poppel: "The first line of contact is handled by our customer advisors. They receive and resolve about 85% of all questions. Furthermore, they arrange for tasks such as the registration of new patients and the handling of packages with PostNL, our local delivery service. The other 15% of the questions, which are substantively pharmaceutical, are passed on to the pharmacy assistants." This kills several birds with one stone. The customer is usually helped at the first contact, the advisors can focus on the bit of advice they specialize in, and all employees are deployed in the right places.


The result

Appo utilizes Freshdesk Omnichannel to centralize customer contacts on the central dashboard. A ticket is automatically created for every question that comes in via e-mail, telephone, chat or contact forms on the website. Those tickets are then automatically aligned to the right employee - i.e., either a customer advisor or a pharmaceutical customer advisor - using the feature 'scenarios'. Another frequently used functionality are 'standard answers'. "A lot of our customer queries are pretty standard," Van Poppel explains. "So, for example, receipt confirmations or standard information about the 'Stop Smoking' campaign, are all sent automatically through this feature. And where necessary, we can still personalize those messages." Chat, part of the Freshdesk Omnichannel suite, is also highly adapted. On the Appo website, this is deployed via a widget, and Nationale Apotheek has chat functionalities both on the website and in its dedicated mobile app. Through the latter, customers can request medications, send in a prescription or request a change, for example. These requests all come in as a ticket in Freshdesk, and are then handled by the team.

Soon after implementation, Appo started noticing the many benefits of working with Freshdesk Omnichannel. Most importantly, the enhanced customer experience. Van Poppel: "Customers are pleasantly surprised when they call us. Our customer advisors immediately see who they are and then say for example: 'Ah, I see that you rang us yesterday and that this and this was agreed, the package is indeed ready for you.' They are then completely surprised that they don't have to give their date of birth, for example, or repeat their query again."

"Soon after implementing Freshdesk, we noticed our customers were pleasantly surprised when they called us."

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