The story of Willems

Debtors can also ask Willems questions in the evening

Chatbot Willie answers pressing questions from debtors in a light-hearted way, even more important because of the serious and complex subjects. Barry den Blanken (Senior Debt Collection Specialist) and Ryan Wagijo (Project Manager) discuss the digital help of Willems Gerechtsdeurwaarders & Incasso.

chatbot Willems Watermelon
chatbot Willems Watermelon

Willems Gerechtsdeurwaarders & Incasso was founded over 50 years ago. An innovative path was taken in 2015, with the acquisition of Klaas Soellaart and Ignace Feringa. Willems is always on standby when it comes to clients and debtors, now and in the future. The ability to always ask questions and quell unrest fits in seamlessly with the mission to reduce the group of 'people in debt'.

Willems and chatbots stand for FAST

Willems stands for FAST, thinking fast, acting fast and completing fast. FAST stands for: Firm, Adaptable, Simple and Timely. Using a digital helper on the website to increase accessibility seems to be the right direction. Barry: 'We are constantly innovating and we want to move with the times. Increasing accessibility is definitely part of this. Especially in our industry it is important to be accessible at all times'. Ryan adds: 'If you come home in the evening from a tiring working day and you see a collection letter on the doormat, you might want to ask something about it right away. To prevent sleepless nights, it's comforting if you get an immediate answer to your question'.

chatbot Willems Watermelon

User friendly chatbot builder

It quickly became clear, a chatbot is going to help debtors with the pressing questions they have. Barry started the project and started building Chatbot Willie: 'After a kick-off with our Customer Success Manager I got to work. I didn't immediately have a structure. Fortunately, the platform speaks for itself because of its user-friendliness. In the chatbot builder you choose how you want the conversation to go by clicking simple buttons. Then you simply add the content.

After it was handed over to Ryan, he helped develop the conversation trees: 'It's nice to think about the conversations that need to be formed. When you have a conversation on the phone, you unconsciously know how the conversation is going to go. By building a chatbot, you start thinking very consciously about a conversation and its ramifications, in which your experience and professional knowledge comes in handy.




Conversations automated monthly



Barry den Blanken Willems

“In the chatbot builder you choose how you want the conversation to go by clicking simple buttons. Then you simply add the content.“

Barry den Blanken - Senior Incasso Specialist

Chatbot Willie

Chatbot Willie helps Willems’ website visitors by means of a simple menu to the right information. The chatbot is mainly used by debtors who have questions about, for example, debt or an attachment. Despite the fact that these are quite heavy subjects, Chatbot Willie has been kept light-hearted. The light-hearted tone is in line with our core values: Simple and Adaptable. Our business is serious business, it's important that we keep it simple and fun. A chatbot with an occasional wink fits in perfectly with the subjects we're dealing with,' says Barry.

chatbot Willems Watermelonchatbot Willems Watermelon


Ryan: 'It takes a while to get the project up and running, but when it does, you can count on a digital aid for the long term. In order to have little to worry about. The different features of Watermelon ensure that the optimization process runs more effectively. With the notification preferences, I get an email when I have new conversations, so I can immediately follow how a conversation is going.I check the extensive statistics every week to see how the chatbot is used and where visitors drop out of the conversation. I then simply adjust the content, the optimizations are made so quickly. This way we have a centralized place where we can analyze how our conversation process is going and what the type of issues are'.

Not just in the evening

The questions are expected to come mainly in the evening, but Ryan noticed that this is not the only moment: 'Strikingly enough, there are also questions in the morning. I expect that these are often people who are on the road, on the train for example, and still have a question in their head, but don't have the opportunity to call. It's great that we can help these people as well'.


Conversations build





Point on the horizon

Chatbot Willie is now mainly consulted by debtors and to a lesser extent by other target groups, such as creditors, clients and lawyers. More ways to better serve these other target groups are also being considered, focusing on how they can make more use of the chatbot so that their questions can be answered. Ryan says: 'We are thinking about how we can also serve our clients with the chatbot. These are mainly complex issues. By constantly optimizing the current chatbot, we get more of an idea of how we can deal with this in the future. I look forward to implementing and rolling this out in our team as well'.

chatbot Willems Watermelon

Chatbot Willie exceeds expectations

The goal of increasing accessibility has been achieved, Barry concludes: 'We are answering more questions than we thought, and this only shows how important accessibility is at different times. We strive to be at the forefront of innovation and using this chatbot is a great addition to our company to achieve that goal'.

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