PARTNERSHIP AgoraPlus and Traplace

“Agora’s core business is after-sales, they are the specialists” Koen van der Post Interview

PARTNERSHIP AgoraPlus and Traplace

Agora is proud to partner with Tradeplace since January 2019. Tradeplace has over 15 years of experience in providing a simple and fast way to exchange information between suppliers and retailers.  Koen van der Post, Operations Manager at Tradeplace, share with us some insight of this European collaboration in the After Sales Industry in a two part article.  

 

Koen Van der post

Could you describe your activities and your daily work at Tradeplace? 

At Tradeplace we provide e-business services to manufacturers and trade partners mainly in finished goods and product information. My job as the Operations Manager is to make sure that all business and operational aspects of the company are being covered. A big part of this is customer contact on the one hand with the trade partners, and on the other the manufacturers and software partners that are connected to our platform. Furthermore, we have several ‘central teams’ that are involved in the daily running of the company and I try to coordinate this the best I can together with my colleagues. We also have an operational core team at Tradeplace with colleagues located across Europe who work in a highly collaborative fashion with each other. Finally, our administrative office is in Amsterdam where we have colleagues taking care of admin and accounting which is part of my responsibility as well. At Tradeplace, as with all companies, the ‘team’ aspect is very important, even more so when you are dealing with colleagues that are located all over Europe.  

  

Could you describe your collaboration with Agora?  

From 2003 on, Tradeplace had successfully offered after-sales services to its customers in Europe. Since the after-sales business is a very specific service area, we reached an agreement with Agora in 2019 that they would provide our customers with after-sales services. There were several reasons for this decision, the major one being that Agora would in the long run provide a better, more specialized service to our customers as Agora’s core business is after-sales; they are the specialists. It takes a lot of investment and resources to run an after-sales service and where Tradeplace was offering finished goods, product information and after-sales services, having the after-sales services provided by a specialist company makes a lot of sense. Additionally, the set-up of our company structures is very similar which made the collaboration very easy from the beginning.  

Article Part II will be released in September…

Visit Tradeplace website

Learn more about the partnership

AGORA Customer Service

AGORA customer service: a Team of Talents

AGORA Customer ServiceAGORA works at the heart of the relations between the various After-Sales service players. Thousands of users worldwide, a vast range of products and a strong technicality, AGORA customer support is the central cog on which rests all the mechanics of the chain of customer satisfaction.

Multilingual and multi-skill customer support

Starting at 8AM, Vincent Anfosso, in charge of customer service, starts his day with a chat in Croatian. « I do not speak it, but I’ll do my best to answer in the user’s language. » In many cases like this, English is not an option. Vincent is used to responding in Polish, Swedish and Croatian. « We use our knowledge base and our resources and we always end up finding a solution. »

A multilingual and versatile team of five collaborators whose common point is their ability to get out of their comfort zone. « Curiosity remains the essential element in our business, because we have to know the products and be interested in the needs of each user » underlines Geneviève Brunie, Helpdesk & CRM manager. In fact, on the same day, employees will alternate between solving administrative questions, technical translations, user training and investigating specific technical problems.

Advanced expertise on AGORA products

« Professionals don’t have time to wait for an answer for more than an hour, » said Geneviève Brunie. « The specificity of a B2B customer support lies in the high demands of the users in terms of speed and efficiency of intervention. This is why AGORA did not choose an external chatbot or call center. »We are the entry point for all users of our products, reminds the manager, our mission goes far beyond support, we manage customer service” Manufacturers, wholesalers or technical stations are supported by the team at each product evolution. Currently, trainings for AGORA PLUS V3 are ongoing.

The collaborators thus maintain an advanced level of expertise on all product-related subjects. They capitalize this knowledge in the FAQs available on each portal. “Working within our department reveals talents,” sums up Geneviève Brunie. On a daily basis, Vincent, Martin, Esmeralda and Thomas surround professionals from all walks of life towards a single objective: the satisfaction of the end customer, the consumer.

 

Find our white paper on customer service management soon.

 

The French and repair

“The French and repair” Analysis of the ADEME study

The French and repair

The publication of the results of the repair survey* provides us with figures on the perception and practices of the French. The current trend, accentuated by the recent COVID-19 crisis, is confirmed: households are considering repair more. AGORA and the STARSAV network continue their awareness-raising mission by offering an analysis of the study data.

Repair costs less than buying: proof by the numbers

The number of French people who have a good image of the repair is increasing, going from 74% in 2014 to 81% in 2019. This perception is based on the will to work for ecology, save money and support local employment. In the event of a breakdown, 89% of respondents seek information on the repair. However, they are only 36% to repair or have repaired.

This difference can be explained by a restraint: the French continue to think that repair is more expensive than buying new products (53%). The ADEME, by quantifying the financial impact of the repair, allows us to quantify what we have been defending for a long time at AGORA. Repairing is often less expensive than buying for a wide range of household appliances. By extending the life of a washing machine by 5 years, a French household saves 29€ / year during the extension period, for a total saving of 145€.

The end of the speech on planned obsolescence in France?

The second obstacle for 51% of French people is programmed obsolescence. This message, conveyed by groups, which rely on individual cases to the detriment of the benefit of many, has lastingly weakened the repair sector in France. The numbers on repairs published in the study contradict this discourse that has been heard for too many years. While France has one of the lowest finished product prices in Europe, one of the highest labor costs, we are the only ones to have created a programmed obsolescence offense. The atmosphere of suspicion linked to these messages fuels a vicious cycle of purchasing products at low cost and unlikely to be repairable following an often repairable breakdown. We notice a decrease of 15% compared to 2014 in broken down devices,only 13% of those surveyed declared a breakdown in the last 2 years.

Encouraging the new repair reflex

The financial and ecological impact is demonstrated in the study. It is therefore often better to repair rather than buy, especially if the device is relatively expensive and relatively young. Indeed, the energy gains are no longer large enough to justify new and frequent purchases. It is therefore up to us to change consumption habits on the eve of the economic crisis.

Repairing not only saves, but also boosts local employment in SMEs which help stabilize the economic fabric of the regions. AGORA and STARSAV will continue to spread this positive message for our common future and will make available in the coming weeks tools that will help consumers in their choices.

*Link to the publication: www.ademe.fr/francais-reparation

 

 

Emmanuel Benoit, AGORA CEO

« The repair industry is preparing for a demand shock » Emmanuel Benoit, CEO of AGORA

Emmanuel Benoit, AGORA CEO
Emmanuel Benoit gives us his analysis of the way out of the crisis for the repair sector. The CEO of AGORA, the company at the heart of after-sales service for household appliances, draws on his cutting-edge expertise combined with AGORA PLUS data to explain the challenges ahead for the profession.
How did you follow up on the crisis in the repair sector?

We used our AGORA PLUS platform which manages the after-sales service of 6,000 qualified repair companies in Europe. In almost real-time, we are able to follow the activity of the repair sector by department in France. Starting in March, repairs fall from 80% to 90% compared to last year. Almost all technical stations close. At the end of April, we notice a recovery with interventions on priority devices (cooking and washing). Today, the entire profession is back in business, however this recovery will not be enough to reverse the decline of activity of the lockdown.

You mention a significant repair activity, is this the challenge for the coming months?

The French used their household appliances more during confinement. In the event of a breakdown, the majority of consumers have waited until May. Today, we end up with a stock of devices to repair 2 to 3 times higher than normal. The peak of activity will be reduced by August or September. The sector is not prepared to handle such large variations, we must expect a demand shock. The repair can be compared to a perishable commodity with a limited lifespan, in case of too long a waiting time consumers will opt for the replacement. Unfortunately, this shortfall cannot be balanced, there are no economies of scale in repair.

How will the sector manage this exit from the crisis?

We are looking for solutions to a completely exceptional situation. There is no jurisprudence yet on extending the time it takes to repair equipment under warranty in the event of a pandemic. Ditto for out-of-warranty devices, the profession is trying to arbitrate. For several years, we have been raising awareness of the repair reflex, I hope that this episode will not call into question the commitment to more sustainable consumption within society. Repairability remains a major issue, particularly in this context of multifactorial crisis. We will also continue our learning mission. It takes between six months and a year to train a young technician in the field. After this crisis, it is obvious that recruitment becomes vital for our profession. At AGORA, we continue to monitor the situation in order to regularly publish analyzes for the entire profession, public authorities and prime contractors.

CEO STARSAV_ Gilles Dagusé

“Repairer, an exposed profession” Gilles Dagusé, defender of the repair sector

CEO STARSAV_ Gilles Dagusé

Gilles Dagusé regularly speaks in the media to defend and promote the profession of repair. President of the national STARSAV network of approved repair companies, he is also the head of Clinique du ménager 25. Faced with the Covid-19 crisis, he evokes the implementation of tangible solutions for his technical station as well as for the entire sector.
How did you react to the announcement of the crisis within your company?

I started my business 20 years ago in Besançon, today we are present in 4 departments with a team of 13 collaborators. Repair has been a family business since 1966. Therefore, I am personally committed to the human aspect of this business. So we decided to close for a month and a half in order to take the time to assess the situation and get organized. Because unfortunately, we are in the East, the area hit hardest by the epidemic. 45% of the technical stations stopped their activity the first weeks.

Then very quickly, the board of directors of the STARSAV network and myself, put in place protective measures for the profession. We oversaw the purchase and free shipment of masks and visors to network members.

What was the most difficult challenge for the repair industry to overcome?

Returning to work without protection and safety measures was not possible. Indeed, the repair profession is very exposed, because 90% of repairs take place in the homes of consumers with an average of 8 interventions per day. In addition, a technician travels an average of 250 kilometers per day in a company vehicle, which increases the risk of contamination (see the video on good reflexes to adopt). My priority was first to communicate with my teams to prepare for their return by disseminating the security protocols implemented by the STARSAV network and shared with GIFAM, a group of home appliances (see the article STARSAV: the profession of solidarity repair in the face of the crisis)

When it reopened, I prepared a safety kit for each containing masks, hydroalcoholic gel and disinfection equipment. However, we opted for a gradual restart. In the beginning with a drive system. Then, at the end of April, we organized the return to work with a reduced number of home visits.

How do you assess the impact of the COVID-19 crisis?

The economic impact for my business is estimated in hundreds of thousands of euros in losses. Calls for repairs have dropped 75% since March. We also have to deal with longer delivery times for parts. It is expected to have an impact on appliance repair time over the next six months. This does not prevent me from hiring four new collaborators for my team!

I’m not worried, we are a solid sector with the advantage of being part of the STARSAV network. It brings together more agile medium-sized structures than large groups and more stable than craftsmen. That is why we were able to respond effectively and quickly to the crisis.

By keeping the sector afloat, we are continuing our mission with two major challenges: promoting the learning of young people and raising awareness among the general public.

 

Find advice on repairing by Gilles Dagusé on France Bleu in the program “LES EXPERTS” and replay the program on FRANCE 3 “Obsolescence programmée”

STARSAV, Independent professionals in household appliance repair

STARSAV: the profession of united repair faced with the crisis

STARSAV, Independent professionals in household appliance repair

The national network of independent STARSAV repairers has mobilized its 70 technical stations to deal with the crisis. Solidarity which made it possible to quickly respond to the difficulties of the members. AGORA, a historic member, manages a large part of this support campaign which aims both to limit the health and economic impact while providing solutions for tomorrow.

Effective crisis management against the risks of the breakdown assistance profession

The repair profession is particularly exposed to risk with dozens of home repairs per day. From the start of the crisis, the STARSAV network mobilized to find a solution to the shortage of masks in France. Members have activated their networks. The result: visors produced by the neighboring companies of the members. Each repairer received free of charge the equipment necessary to perform his work in the best conditions. Mutual aid does not stop at the repair sector and a set of visors has been offered to hospital services. Currently, hundreds of masks are also in production. This mobilization was a major competitiveness challenge. Responsiveness and support are at the heart of network operations.

STARSAV, business benchmark in the repair sector

The network has played a major role in supporting structures by ensuring the implementation of a protocol during repairs. This procedure, based on the results of scientific studies, was shared with GIFAM, which then relayed it to all stakeholders in the sector. In legal terms, STARSAV monitors and transmits all information on support measures to the entire network. In addition, the management of the crisis has brought out new practices among the members who are making the transition to digitalization. Exchange forum, videoconference, tutorials, bonds are strengthening and new projects are taking shape. Following the self-repair workshops and the repair day, the network is preparing to launch a website which will undoubtedly become the new post-crisis reflex of the French …

To learn more: www.starsav.fr

reparateurs.org, repairers directory

Reparateurs.org: find an open repairer during the lockdown

reparateurs.org, repairers directory

AGORA is committed to consumers and the profession to overcome the COVID-19 crisis by allowing repairers to update their exceptional working hours during the lockdown on the website www.reparateurs.org

Repairinghousehold appliances during the lockdown

The website Reparateurs.org connects repairers and consumers nearby. Just enter your address for an interactive map to locate all open and available repairers. As part of the COVID-19 crisis, all repairers’ schedules are updated to allow faster contact and repair. “Today, faced with the crisis, we decided to launch this operation to update the working hours in order to reduce the stress linked to a device failure.” explains Emmanuel Benoit, AGORA CEODuring the lockdown, it is essential for everyone to live in a functional home”.

Home appliance repair: the new ecological reflex

A broken washing machine? In a few clicks, I find the nearest authorized repairer who will repair my device. “We at AGORA believe that to preserve our resources and protect the future of our children, it is better to repair than to discard. We wish to use our know-how in the field of recycling and repair at the service of the greatest number” specifies Emmanuel Benoit.

Completely free for consumers, without creating an account or commitment, the website www.reparateurs.org aims to become the new good reflex of the French during and after the crisis.

Are you a consumer? Click here

Are you an AGORA PLUS member and do you want to update your working hours? Click here

New version – January 2020

Next week, a new version of Agora Plus V3 will be deployed. You will discover new features as well as improvements to existing features. The customers who already use Agora Plus V3 will be updated automatically.

New + Improved

Please note that some screens may differ depending on your country and the manufacturer you are working with.

Warranty report

This feature will only be available to customers currently using warranty reports.

The color of the banner at the top of warranty reports has been changed to better differentiate work orders, repair files and warranty reports.

Work Order:

Repair file:

Warranty report:

A link from the warranty report allows direct access to the repair file.

Call date display

The call date is an important piece of information that was not sufficiently highlighted or displayed consistently throughout the application. It is now present in the screens: Work order, Repair file and Warranty report.

Printing order details

During the ordering process we have improved the printing of the order details for which all the information present on the order is displayed.

Fixes

Exports Excel

The Excel export of the basket takes into account the filters / searches that are applied to the basket. All the information displayed in the basket is included in the export.

Copy order lines to the basket

The functionality for copying the selection has been stabilized.

Coming Next

The deployment of Agora Plus V3 is accelerating in all the countries covered. We are currently working on the migration of all the functionalities present on Agora Plus V2 into V3. Our goal is to migrate all of our users to V3 by mid 2020.

New release – November 2019

Next week, a new version of Agora Plus V3 will be deployed. You will discover new features, such as the notification manager and the user account management. This new version also includes some bug fixes and improvements. The customers who already use Agora Plus V3 will be updated automatically.

New + Improved

Please note that some screens may differ depending on your country and the manufacturer you are working with.

Notification

This feature will only be available for clients currently using work orders.

To visualize the important information you need to manage on a daily basis, we have implemented a feature to know at a glance if a new work order has been created.

This functionality will then be extended to other types of events such as orders or repair files.

A second screen displays all notifications and those which have not yet been viewed.

User management

To manage your users, we have deployed a feature that allows you to create user accounts and assign them different rights.

This feature is available from the « Admin » tab. You have access to this feature if you use your main account.

In this screen you can view all the accounts created and check the status of the accounts. Actions in the ribbon allow you to enable/disable one or more accounts.

You can create a user from the button :

To modify an account, simply click on the line :

You can modify the different user information except the user ID.

The permissions

This screen may vary depending on the features available for your country

You can give different rights to the accounts created:

Search for a repair file or a mission order by telephone number

We are constantly listening to you to improve existing features. The search did not allow an efficient search by telephone number on a mission order or intervention file. So we modified this search filter so that it ignores spaces for example:

The result of which is:

Copy a command line

In the same way, we received the request to add the possibility to duplicate one or more order lines from the shopping cart. A new action is now available from the ribbon when you are in the basket:

Fixes

This new version of Agora is a stabilization version in which we have included simple improvements which should allow you to gain in productivity. Many fixes have also been applied to improve the quality of the application.

Coming Next

In January a new version of Agora Plus will be deployed with new features while keeping the idea of improving existing features thanks to your feedback.

New version – September, 2019

Beginning of September, a new version of Agora Plus V3 will be deployed. You will discover the new design of the Agora Plus work orders and repair files process. This new version also includes some bug fixes and improvements. The customers who already use Agora Plus V3 will be updated automatically.

New + Improved

Please note that some screens can be different depending on the manufacturer and can change before the deployment.

Work order

This feature will only be available for customers currently using it and for some specific countries and manufacturers.

Now there is an important distinction between work order and repair file.

The work order corresponds to the query sent by the requester, a STA (Service Partner) cannot modify this information.

Once the work order has been accepted, a repair file is created, containing all the information of the work order. It is on this file that the repair process will be managed.

Status codes can be added to follow the repair process. If any information was not correct on the work order it can be modified on the repair file (product, consumer, symptoms). All this information will then be included in the warranty report, for more efficiency.

Follow-up of work orders:

Access via the menu:

All work orders, all statuses combined, are displayed in the default follow-up, from the most recent to the oldest.

A search panel is available, in particular to search for all new work orders.

It is also possible to save a search and launch it by default each time the work orders follow-up is loaded :

In the follow-up, we thought about displaying only the relevant information. New fields are available: Brand, Family.

New work orders are now displayed in bold, and those with a delay alert have a clock icon.

As in all AGORA V3 follow-ups, you also have filters on the columns :

Of course it’s always possible to accept and export work orders in bulk, but even faster since multi-selection is available by default.

Widget

A widget is available on the home page which also lists all new Work orders, which you can directly accept or reject.

Work order

When a work order opens, the same data are displayed as on the AGORA V2 version, it is just reorganized differently.

A summary of the information is available at the top.

For each category, the two most important data are displayed, but it is always possible to obtain the details by expanding the category.

 

Once the work order has been accepted, a repair file is created, which includes the work order details.

Notifications

Notifications will be also available with a new component, in order to be immediately informed of the arrival of a new work order (this component will be deployed in a future version)

Repair file

This feature will only be available for customers currently using it and for some specific countries and manufacturers.

The repair file is structured like the work order, but with a different colour for the header. A timeline will be deployed on a future release to help users view the repair file history. A timeline will be deployed on a future release to help users view the repair file history.

In the next version deployed a table will contain all status :

It is possible to modify the data, add new information and indicate the status codes using a convenient new component:

When adding a new status :

– You can select the status codes for which you know the name, simply by typing the beginning of it and Agora Plus will autocomplete (of the code or label)

– Otherwise, it is possible to access the exhaustive list via the option

The option to save the repair file has been significantly modified.

Now, to transfer the status codes to the manufacturers, it is necessary to save the file repair, which allows you to go back in case of a mistake.

If the repair file is not saved a bin is displayed in front of the unsaved status :

Finally, a new option for printing the repair file is available and includes all the information indicated in the repair file.

Follow-up of repair files

A follow-up of the repair files can be found by clicking here:

A search panel, with filters and the possibility to save searches, will be displayed on the right side of the screen.