During these times of digitization, it's essential to inspire customers across every channel of the customer journey. This is why the DPV, a complete subsidiary of the German publishing house Gruner + Jahr (G+J), has developed a new online service portal for G+J. With this portal, the DPV can increasingly shift inquiries from the customer service department to an online self-service environment. With personalized content for their subscribers, this portal helps deliver a more convenient and helpful customer experience.
In order to create this portal, the DPV needed a new, Java-based Content Management System that was flexible enough to integrate with their existing IT infrastructure.
The company found the solution in the Bloomreach Digital Experience Platform. This platform brought a foundational layer of Content Management functionality, along with the personalization tools, native behavior measurement, and open integration capabilities that is helping DPV to build an entire customer experience.
Using the Bloomreach DXP, the DPV not only improved the efficiency of customer service, but also optimized working processes like data entry, administration, and made full use of customer information.
A Portal Geared Towards Optimizing Customer Service
To equip G+J with an online service portal that provided a 360-degree view of their customers, the DPV needed a flexible and open CMS. Unlike the usual CMS projects, the firm didn't just want to launch a classic website. Halfway through the planning stage, aspects related to transactions and other processes steered the DPV towards development of a fully fledged customer portal, comprising of FAQs, online forms and other useful customer tools.
Via this portal, customers can change their delivery address themselves, provide a temporary holiday address, and pause their subscription. The key driver behind this project was to improve customer service and unburden the customer support team.
The Wish for a Java-based CMS
The DPV and G+J began their CMS search with some key requirements. They knew they wanted a tool that fit nicely into their Java stack - a replacement for their previous PHP-based content tool. "Some of our teams already work with Java," explains Karsten Reichel, the Team Lead of Digital Distribution Systems at Gruner + Jahr, "by standardizing, we wanted to make it easier to exchange data and information."
It was also important for the two companies that the solution had an open source edition, with an active community, next to the enterprise edition. "Since our requirements were very special, we wanted to first extensively test the CMS," recounts Reichel. They were looking for a highly intuitive system that facilitated content creation and maintenance.
The CMS needed to be multilingual and able to support multiple clients and multiple sites. Additionally, of course, the CMS must be able to integrate with the existing IT infrastructure with minimal effort.
Support was the Deciding Factor
The DPV and G+J started their search at the beginning of 2015. After evaluating 20 options, they decided on the community edition of Bloomreach’s CMS. "What convinced us was the fact that the CMS is not built in a strictly hierarchical way and already showed the first signs of personalized content," comments Karsten Reichel.
The outstanding support we received from Bloomreach was the deciding factor that caused us to later switch to the enterprise version of the software.
The implementation was carried out together with Bloomreach partner, Satzmedia, and rolled out in the summer of 2016. Gruner + Jahr moved to the enterprise version of the Bloomreach DXP in the start of July 2017.
The big advantage this platform offers is its open interfaces which allow developers to make changes independently and have a more flexible way of working.
Outstanding Assistance from the Project Partner
In the project scope, the switch from the existing IT infrastructure to a cloud- and Java-based system was well worth it. "We examined the new platform rigorously that was, at that point, unknown to us," remembers Reichel. "But our six developers quickly understood the platform's operating principles - which was also thanks to the excellent webinars Bloomreach offers for developers."
During the implementation, the developers from DPV, Gruner + Jahr, Bloomreach and Satzmedia came together perfectly. Because the structure of the DXP was relatively simple, and the fantastic support received from the partner, the implementation went very smoothly.
One Platform Unlocks Many Possibilities
After only two months, the twelve regular users of the platform - seven developers and five content creators - were able to get the hang of the platform and really come into their own.
They found the module-based platform intuitive and easy to understand. They were able to intuitively work with the platform without requiring heavy training. Today, Gruner + Jahr is preparing to launch the online service portal for its end users.
As well as a more efficient way of doing customer service, the portal can also serve up personalized messages and offers to customers, and therefore tap into the targeted marketing capabilities. This possibility promises further revenue potential from the portal and makes the BloomReam platform even more appealing.
Self-Service Well Received
The expectations set by DPV and Gruner + Jahr have been met by their choice of content platform, and the self-service concept has been received well by customers. "We are investing in the future with the DXP and we want to continually increase the functionalities of the online service portal.
For example, adding the option to extend subscriptions that are nearing their expiration date," Reichel elaborates. "With this platform, it's finally possible to display our services online and save our customers the hassle of reaching out to the support team."