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Swedish union Byggnads constructs modern member services

  • 5 min read

The Swedish trade union Byggnads complements the traditional customer meeting with digital alternatives to be available to their members around the clock. An agile and brave way of working has allowed them to quickly improve the service, as well as to achieve significant time savings. “We want to be perceived as a modern and innovative organization, rather than as a dinosaur”, says Nicklas Mattsson who manages the member service team at Byggnads.

Byggnads has more than 100 000 members and is a Swedish trade union for construction workers. Their mission is to achieve better pay, a safer work environment, as well as to negotiate with employers and offer advice and support to their members.

Nicklas Mattsson is the head of the 11-person strong member service unit. Two years ago, they set out on an innovative digitalization journey.

“We implemented ACE Knowledge in the summer of 2020 to make all information that we need in the meeting with the members available in one single location. Then we continued with a chatbot, voicebot and a robotization initiative.”

Limited resources prevented Byggnads from recruiting new employees to work with the development of the digital services. Instead, the new tasks were distributed across the current team members in a way that matched their personalities and skills. Nicklas means that you are narrow minded if you immediately conclude that you don’t have the competence you need in house.

“Our colleague Tommy is a great labour law advisor, but it turns out that his ability to listen also makes him great at training a chatbot. The same goes with Maria who is also a member advisor. She has succeeded with the chatbot without having any previous programming experience.”

Fast decisions for the greatest possible member value

The development of the digital services on the Telia ACE-platform at Byggnads has been managed by the unit for member service. Nicklas and his team received a strong mandate and can make most decisions on their own.

“That means that we stay in control, and can prioritize what will happen when, and who till do what.”

To get the most out of the investment budget, Byggnads chose to do as much as possible on their own. Nicklas says that Telia’s project manager Elin Olsson continuously has encouraged them to achieve a competence level that allows them to work independently, which allows them to spend their budget on investments that take them forward faster.

“Elin has been humble and supportive throughout the journey and really wants to share knowledge. It would have been devastating if she had kept the information to herself to maximize hours billed.”

Fast decisions for a smarter workday

Nicklas says that acting fast and not being afraid of making mistakes has a purpose of its own. Being in motion builds the collective experience and competence, which leads to better decisions over time. When they started exploring the robotization area, they identified possible time gains, and decided to move immediately. They had a workshop with Telia on Tuesday, made a decision a couple of days later – and got started making process maps of repetitive tasks with potential for automation.

“Sure, we have headed off in the wrong direction a few times. But we would not be where we are today if we hadn’t had the courage to throw ourselves out there. To get stuck in analyses is like pouring molasses into the system.”

Among other things, the robotization software has helped Byggnads to automate the administration of 90 percent of all the new member applications, and the total time savings of the seven automized processes is more than 70 hours per month. Time that they continuously reinvest in the development of new self-service solutions.

From vision to tangible results

So how did a busy team without programming or editorial experience create a cutting-edge digital customer meeting? Nicklas believes that the key is that the team had a common vision of what reality would look like two years in the future. They envisioned better service to their members, and workdays filled with more enjoyable tasks. Today they have achieved both. Nicklas says that the robot handles repetitive and “soul-killing” tasks and allows the staff to perform more meaningful ones. And the customer satisfaction for the chatbot and voice bot are pointing upwards.

“It really gives you a proper surge of dopamine seeing the results. Like the fact that the chatbot – our little baby – helps our members on its own. That gives us energy and motivation to make more improvements.”

Quick facts and the road ahead

  • Robotization via RPA-software saves 72 hours/month
  • 10–15% fewer emails
  • The voice bot handles 8% of the calls

Next step: A solution for secure digital login to the CRM platform that enables even more self-service solutions, and the service Agent Assist.