Bencom Group’s portals have set the bar for simple comparisons for the consumer. Such a position can only be attained through constant innovation. The question for the Bencom Group is always the same: how can we further improve our service for our visitors?
An innovative user experience on the Internet implies constantly investing in and applying new technologies and development methods. Therefore, it doesn’t come as a surprise that as much as 85% of the employees of the Bencom Group are working on Research & Development on a full-time basis. R&D is the core business of our firms and enables us to excel. The innovative nature of the Bencom Group was also recognized by the jury of the King Willem I prize. In 2010, Bencom was one of the two final contestants in the small and medium-sized businesses category (companies with fewer than 250 employees). In April 2018, we participated in the largest Blockchain Hackathon in the world. And we were rewarded! We won the first price in the energy transition category and the project was praised in terms of technical performance and received the price for the quality of the written code.
The Bencom Group has been innovating in three areas since the very start:
- Innovative websites with an optimal user experience
To guarantee an optimal user experience, constant attention is given to developing new functionality and the user interface itself. An example of a new function is the RekeningScan (InvoiceScan) on Bellen.com, which has existed since 2010: instead of answering lots of questions about your telephone usage, you can simply upload your latest invoice as a pdf and a personal advice will be generated immediately. In this way, savings are made accessible for more and more people. This is a good example of the way in which the Bencom Group innovates.
- Making the market more transparent
Because of the popularity of the comparison sites, operators provide their tariffs at an early stage. The result: the different operators simplify their pricing structure to do better in comparisons. Some big players in the telecom and energy market have licensed Bencom’s comparison technology. They use it on their own site to show consumers their competitive offers. The comparison engines of the Bencom Group are that innovative.
- Applying new ‘cutting edge’ techniques
As pioneers in the field of Internet business, it’s important to gain and retain a constant technological advantage over other businesses. As one of the first big companies in the market, the Bencom group has moved the complete processing of the websites to the cloud, giving extreme flexibility in capacity and management. Because of this, big spikes in traffic can be handled in an efficient and sustainable way. After all, the Bencom Group’s technology does need quite a bit of computing power. Generating a personal advice through the Belwijzer (our tool for telephony comparison) means that our servers do more than 11,553 calculations in less than a second!
Besides the data that the Bencom Group receives from providers, so-called ‘spiders’ are being used. These spiders search for new tariff data without requiring any human intervention. This enables us to always keep the info up to date.
In the hotel market, LookingforBooking.com offers a great comparison of hotel prices. Room prices of dozens of different booking websites are stripped to the core, which allows us to present prices to the visitor that are actually comparable. This seems simple enough, but it’s a goal that cannot be realized without developing extremely complicated ‘data cleansing & enrichment algorithms’ that have to process the “spidered” data very quickly as well.
Innovative products of Bencom
In April 2018, we were able to participate in the largest Blockchain Hackathon in the world. And we won the first price in the category energy transition.
New comparison of car insurance with the crash test. By entering a few details with a cause of damage, you can see which insurance policies are still advantageous after a claim. Insurers don’t tell that in advance, but we do!
Gaslicht.com has had its own app since November 2013, making it the first app for comparing energy. In January 2018, Bencom launches the Bencompare app. An app for smart savings on insurance, contracts and subscriptions.
At Gaslicht.com it has been possible since 2015 to include the supply of energy in the comparison. If you have solar panels on the roof, you can fill in the number of solar panels with us and the comparison will take into account the way in which the various energy suppliers deal with the generated electricity and how much you will ultimately get in return. For solar panel owners, Gaslicht.com is the only comparison site in the Netherlands that provides reliable advice that is also relevant to their situation.
To make it easier to fill in the Belwijzer, we have developed the RekeningScan, which is able to read the visitor’s invoice in full as a Pdf file. This allows a visitor to know exactly what he or she would have paid for any other subscription from any other provider. In addition to the original RekeningScan on Bellen.com, Gaslicht.com also offers the RekeningScan, this time for analyzing the financial statements of the energy contract.
The Belwijzer is a unique tool that can find the most suitable subscription for mobile telephony on the basis of user data of the visitor. The Belwijzer simulates all the different subscriptions available in the Netherlands, taking into account the different ways in which providers charge for minutes, messages and data.