BeSolar founder Bram Klaassen went from installing solar panels himself to becoming CEO of an upcoming scale-up that grew turnover by 7x this year, more than doubled their store count in 2022, and has even greater ambitions for the future. While his home is already completely independent of fossil fuels, with BeSolar he is now helping others to go green with their household’s energy management without compromising on comfortable living.
We spoke with Bram about BeSolar’s journey and their unique growth strategy focused on personal advice and exceptional customer service.
Opening stores while the world goes online
All around us, we see physical shops closing while online experiences and subscription commerce grow like never before. Counterintuitively, BeSolar doubles down on the exact opposite path as a growth model for their business, and it’s working. With 12 stores at convenient locations whose main challenge is to keep up with consumer demand, the team has found a unique way to deliver their service that resonates well with the market.
“In the end, the BeSolar Store concept is not a new invention or a groundbreaking innovation. It’s simply a direct response to what the customer wants. We’ve seen their challenges and heard their questions. Providing exceptional store experiences and tailored, personal advice is how we can support them best. And nobody else is doing that.” says Bram Klaassen, CEO at BeSolar.
The search for a solar solution is also often just the starting point of successful collaboration. In conversations with customers in their stores, the BeSolar team gets a greater context of what exactly a customer wants to achieve, compared to what would be possible in a transactional online sale. They can then make sure the offered solution is perfected to the last detail and expand the offer with heat pumps, chargers, and more when needed - all installed by the same company.
Keeping a growing team focused on the customer
The BeSolar team has gotten several things right when it comes to exceptional customer service. More than 500 customer reviews per year with an average rating of 9,2 are the fruit of their labor and don’t simply happen overnight.
To keep their growing team focused on the customer needs, every single review coming in is shared with the entire team to make everyone aware of what clients do or don’t value. Continuous feedback travels through the organization and the team stays on top of what their clients expect from them. A customer’s advisor will also remain their direct point of contact during the entire project, becoming a trusted source of support.
“For us, it’s not about pitching projects or striking deals. We know we’re doing well when we are getting more solar panels on people’s roofs and the reviews are confirming the service that we are promoting. We’re obsessed with the customer journey and feedback, so we can craft a compelling offer and provide better service.” says Bram.
Improving store experience through digital technology
Just like the energy transition, where hardware and software come together, the team at BeSolar uses digital automation and smart CRM technology to ensure the in-store experience is on point. Their internal process is mapped out according to the actual steps a customer goes through, creating one integrated customer journey. This leaves little room for error and helps everyone to complete their tasks on time.
Maximizing support from the Koolen Industries group
Bram opened his first store 2 days before the COVID lockdown was announced in 2020. Things were stagnating, but the belief that in-store service would deliver better customer results was high. And that laser-sharp focus on the customer is how the collaboration with Koolen Industries came together just 6 months later.
Next to financing, Koolen Industries actively supports all group companies with its diverse network and deep industry expertise. While supply chains collapsed during the pandemic, we worked closely with BeSolar so that they could still deliver solutions when other companies failed to get the needed solar panels into the country. And when we asked Bram what his most valuable lesson is from Kees Koolen and the Koolen Industries team, one thing came to mind immediately:
“Always take the time you need to make a sound decision. You shouldn't let yourself be forced into a direction by others." Kees Koolen.
If you want to stay up to date about BeSolar’s journey, visit their website or sign-up for the Koolen Industries newsletter.