The whole of the Netherlands at the kitchen table

Harm Nomden, contact specialist


"I see that pensions call for an individual approach and reasonably in-depth discussions. Contact about the content, that's still what I like best. There's more of that with a pension administrator than in the commercial world. In that world a service call is rock-solid sales: it has to pay off.


When I was studying Communication, I worked a few hours a week at APG as a temp. I didn't know anything about pensions, but it interested me straight away. It came fairly naturally to me to express complex issues in simple terms. I learned to listen between the lines. There are uniform guidelines, but there's no call script. There is space for my own input, to level with the person on the other end of the line. Empathize, share a joke. That's what sets us apart from a robot.

In the morning, on go the headphones. My work schedule is made on a daily basis and revolves around the customer's questions. I log in at fixed times speak to people every day, by phone, e-mail and via chat. I really enjoy it. The questions are varied. They range from 'how do I change my bank account number?' to 'I’m logged in to My Environment and see this amount, but what does it mean?’ Customer contact also means reassuring people and - if you’ll pardon the cliché - telling them how it really is. That our aim is to organize everything properly for the customer without behaving like bureaucrats or money grabbers. That's an image that sometimes prevails.


I have the whole of the Netherlands on the phone and while working at home at the kitchen table. I talk to about fifty people a day. Sixty-somethings, forty-somethings, members asking questions about current events, from construction workers to cleaners, from teachers to judges. Customers with their own personal story. Someone who has lost their job or their partner. Someone who is getting divorced or has been disabled in an accident. I hear the real story, the vulnerability of people, including those who seem to have made it. That makes this work incredibly meaningful."



Customer contact also means telling how it really is