‘What am I paying this premium for?’, ‘Why am I receiving this notification?’ and ‘What exactly is the VBG?’ – the team from Sandra Noordmann, who heads up the customer dialogue department, regularly receives such queries. And they’re not always in German. In fact, they’re increasingly sent in English. The reason being that the majority of billing departments of large companies are often located abroad. In order to continue to competently respond to such enquiries, the VBG customer dialogue team has trained five of its 23 employees in English. The selected employees handle international customers as and when the need arises.
Regular courses for competent English language skills
‘For several years now, we’ve noticed an increase in the number of calls and emails in English. Given that not all our staff speak good English, we made the decision to establish a team in 2015 that is regularly trained to respond to such enquiries,’ says Noordmann. The English learnt at school is not sufficient to explain complex terminology and speak confidently on the phone. It’s the reason why an external trainer has been brought on board to conduct courses at regular intervals. The 90-minute classes cover current topics that are tailored to the requirements of both the VBG and its member companies.
Sending of enquiries via email
Every member of the English team is also equipped to handle enquiries sent via email. ‘We typically receive general questions about the services and purpose of the VBG, the contents of the notifications regarding premiums and the mandatory reporting of recompense,’ explains Noordmann. ‘The members of the English team have been actively involved in a dialogue with customers for many years now. They also respond to all incoming emails in English, including those received on the general email addresses of the central administration office, the correspondence of which is also managed by the customer dialogue department.’
In fact, all the employees of the customer dialogue team have a basic knowledge of English and can answer phone calls as well as set up callbacks. This is an important customer service feature, especially in the first half of the year when numerous calls are made to notify recompense and confirm premiums.
General information on statutory accident insurance can be found in English on the website of the umbrella organisation for occupational safety and liability associations and accident insurers – German Social Accident Insurance (DGUV) e.V.: https://www.dguv.de/en/