Humanitas Childcare: Connecting customers and providing services online

The case
Kinderopvang Humanitas
Kinderopvang Humanitas (Humanitas Childcare) is the biggest non-profit childcare provider in the Netherlands. Together with Humanitas, Betawerk developed an online mission and a new website focusing strongly on service orientation, the Humanitas centres, parent experience, flexibility, and user-friendliness. With one goal: to become a leading online force in both presentation and service provision
Project description
Every week, nearly 18,000 children attend just under 300 childcare centres, out-of-school care centres, and nurseries run by Humanitas. Good communication with parents is therefore essential to ensure effective provision of information, planning of appointments, and other vital elements. However, the organization's online communication system was no longer fit for purpose. The website didn't do justice to the individual Humanitas centres, it was difficult to find important information, and the process of making appointments (e.g. for an introductory tour) was complicated.

In the future, Humanitas wanted to use the internet as its primary method of attracting new customers, providing services, and communicating the organization's passion and vision in an exciting and modern way. In short, they needed a digital revolution!

"As well as developing a new website, we also wanted to find out how we could communicate with our clients in new and innovative ways. With these instructions at heart, Betawerk set to work," says Leon Sevriens, ICT Manager at Humanitas.

Humanitas is a large organization, providing work to 2,000 members of staff, and it was vital that these employees were involved in this process. By using the Service Design Thinking method, Betawerk identified the most vital elements that Humanitas's online communication had to incorporate. Together with a 15-strong task force representing all sections of the organization, interviews were conducted with Humanitas's clients as well as other parties. They found that practical information, such as location, visual impressions, fees, availability, and registration, were the most vital issues to clients. This perspective then became the key focus of Humanitas's online communication.

Based on this perspective, the following online mission was formulated: to boost the loyalty of clients by simplifying the organization of childcare for parents and actively supporting them in raising their children.

The heart of the new online communication strategy – i.e. the website – was designed with service orientation, the Humanitas centres, flexibility, and user-friendliness as its central pillars. The site is heavily visual in nature, with the images reinforced by clear and concise text. Each of the 300 centres has an individual landing page that prominently displays its distinctive characteristics and features buttons for its main activities. It is important that the website offers plenty of opportunities for parents to contact Humanitas directly and in person. Parents must also be able to calculate the price of childcare at the centre of their choice.

Another unique feature is the excellent search engine on the Humanitas home page, allowing parents to quickly and easily find a nearby centre. The search engine is linked to Google Maps, which allows users to view the most relevant childcare centres on a map and see how far away they are. The name and address of each centre should be displayed first, together with the distance and the USPs of the centre in question. The visual element is also important here: a striking photo immediately gives the user a good impression of the centre.

According to Leon Sevriens, there have been very enthusiastic responses to Humanitas's new online vision and website. "The parents are reporting an excellent level of user-friendliness. Employees have also said they feel more connected with the website as the managers can now present their own centres more effectively."
Technical challenges

* Price calculator: a complex calculation enables users to generate a tailor-made cost overview for the childcare centre of their choice.

* Storage of user details: prices are automatically calculated for other centres based on the specific fees charged by the centre in question.

* Effective editing tools to enable unique presentation of each of the 300 individual centres. It is possible to edit specific groups of centres as well as individual centres.

* Image sliders were also incorporated for each centre. At the moment, standard content is used for each centre, although each centre has the opportunity to customize their content.

* Users in any location can quickly and easily find a nearby centre.

* Search engine: effective search engine sorted according to distance.

* Humanitas also offers parents the opportunity to register for lunchtime childcare service offered by schools. If a parent has already registered their child for one or more Humanitas services, then upon registration for lunchtime childcare, most of the registration form will be filled in automatically. This functionality – enabled by a link to the internal system – can save parents a great deal of time and hassle.

* Betawerk is currently working together with Humanitas to further integrate the website with the organization's CRM systems.


* The main challenge was to update Humanitas's digital structure. However, it's a large organization operating at the national level. To help move the entire organization towards a new online mission and eventually a new website, Betawerk applied the Service Design Thinking method.

* This process found that user-friendliness and service orientation were the biggest priorities to Humanitas's clients, so these elements were the central pillars of the new online identity. In concrete terms, this meant that the technology used for the site, much of which is extremely complex, had to be condensed into a simple and intuitive user interface. The result of this was an easy-to-use website with powerful capabilities.

* Another challenge was to balance the corporate vision and identity of Humanitas with the unique identities of the individual centres. The centres all share the Humanitas vision, although at the individual level, they express this vision in different ways. It is important that these individual elements are reflected by the centres' online profiles. The CMS enables the Humanitas editorial teams to easily add content to the centres' individual landing pages, especially photographs. This allows every individual centre to create a powerful visual presentation for itself online.
Community contributions
The Geocoder module converts the addresses of Humanitas centres and the user's location into coordinates that are then displayed on the map, enabling users to find nearby centres. The map featuring the centres was created using the Leaflet module, and all self-service forms were created using the Webform module with customized validations added for the lunchtime-childcare form. In addition, the Webform Encrypt module was used to encrypt the data sent via the lunchtime-childcare form.