‘Every time we are satisfied they set the bar higher’

In the space of just a few years, the role of Social Media at OHRA has grown from “a nice little extra” to a fully fledged business channel. Iris Wezenberg – former Social Media Manager and now Online Service Manager at Ohra – explains how that came about. “From a few pioneers we’ve become a movement.” 

“I remember as if it were yesterday, when, with zero budget and all by myself, I scoured the organisation looking for people who were prepared to work together on this. True, we had some people keeping an eye on and responding to Facebook and Twitter posts, but that hardly made Social a serious channel.” Wezenberg was convinced that it could all be so different. So in 2012, together with a few colleagues, she started experimenting. Serious webcare, for example, and the use of Social Media to support campaigns. “Then we reached the point where we realised we really had to deal with it much more professionally.”


OHRA asked ITDS to carry out a Social Media check. “That was a real eye-opener for us. To put Social on the map, as it were, we simply had to take bigger steps. That’s why we decided to collectively make the transition from Social Media to Social business. It all started with a sound strategic plan. “However, ITDS is well aware that a plan by itself is almost worthless, which is why we went to our own organisation in search of concurrence and support. Meanwhile we continued to deliver practical things. It immediately became clear that this was serious.”


All these efforts led to the creation of a Social Hub: a flexible team populated by people from departments that ranged from marketing to communication and from online to customer service. “To ensure that Social became a channel that is broadly supported throughout the organisation we had to involve everyone. Fortunately, both we and ITDS like to take the bull by the horns, so to speak, working together as equals. There were many presentations, pilots were started, project plans were drawn up and the right people were found and recruited. All this created a flywheel effect; once it was up and running the energy of the team provided the momentum to keep it all moving along.”

“I didn’t dare hope that we’d achieve so much impact so quickly”


Today Social Media is part and parcel of the organisation. “I needed support strategically and some help, but what ITDS has actually done is help me to start a transition. In this respect the Social Hub has served as a breeding ground and catalyst. Take customer contact through WhatsApp, for example. We realised that there was a need for it among our customers so we started up a pilot with one employee to do the webcare. Now we have a large number of trained contact-centre agents to respond to WhatsApp messages. And that just typifies our current approach: everything we do with Social Media revolves around our customers. Naturally, marketing is also part of the equation, but our customers are always leading.


So how would Wezenberg describe ITDS? “As effective achievers who really know what they are doing, people who understand what I mean, colleagues almost. And that’s the impression others had too. All the ITDS people who visited us got on really well with our employees. In fact it was a shame they left. But at the same time they still keep us sharp, thanks to a unique combination of professional expertise and a far-reaching knowledge of the industry. Every time we are satisfied they set the bar higher: ‘look what’s happening out there, there’s more work to be done’. In this way they constantly encourage us.”


And where is OHRA now? “Social Media has become an intrinsic part of everything we do, from advertising to customer service. I think it’s fantastic now to hear people talking about how Social must be a part of what we do. But we have to remain sharp, stay abreast of developments and not miss any opportunities. What’ll be the next step, for example? What can robotisation do for us? That’s why it’s so good to have a partner like ITDS. When I look back now I think ‘wow, this far already’ and that’s a feeling that must stay. Everything’s possible if you put the effort in.”

What opportunities do you see?

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