Customer experience (CX): all about technology AND people. Takeaways from the event of 12 May 2020.

Customer expectations are often high in our hyper-connected world. So how do technologies and concepts like chatbots and the digital customer experience fit in with an omni-channel approach? How can you use them to meet your customers’ demands for immediate yet personalised service? And what are the watch outs for implementing such tools?


During this session we had a look at solutions and their potential obstacles. We learned from Dropsolid about how the digital customer experience can help our organisation stay competitive. Then we heard 2 real-life cases: Proximus's journey to a human-centric 'Digital Assistant', and how KBC implemented chatbots in their customer helpdesk, including do’s and don’ts.


The presentations from this X-change, and a link to the recording of the event, are available for our members (after log-in).




How to use digital customer experience as a competitive advantage?


Analysis has shown that customer experience leaders often give a better shareholder return, explained Leen Penders, CMO at Dropsolid. In a digital marketplace, you are just one click away from your closest competitor. So you must swiftly and adequately respond to customer requirements.


When you're not an online-only organisation, the integration of the offline and online experiences must be seamless: ‘one and one whole’.


Leen believes in Open Source as an opportunity to survive and thrive in this environment. It offers organisations:


She then introduced a metric to measure customer experience: the Return on Experience. While not straightforward, it is a great base and can support a business case, relying on the following three pillars:

The final goal is to achieve a frictionless customer journey.


Also take into account the cost of the opportunity and the cost of employee acquisition: a good customer experience is always a combination of good technology and people (slide 21).


All efforts should lead to a Digital Experience Platform: a rationalised, integrated set of components on which websites, portal sites and mobile apps can be built, deployed and continually improved. This platform provides a uniform foundation for all customer engagement and interaction. Couple this to a Customer Data Platform to get a single customer view. Both can help connect your people to your technology, to build a long-term customer experience strategy (slide 29).


The complete process of customer experience involves not only content, but also data. The right digital tools can offer plenty of valuable data to feed your customer journey even further. Having all relevant customer data available at any touchpoint requires the right technology AND the right people. You need unified customer profiles. And that is where a Customer Data Platform comes in: a software package that creates a persistent, unified customer database, accessible to other systems. Main functions of such a CDP include:

(slide 35).


To wrap up, Leen emphasised that building a long term CX strategy doesn’t involve just a few roles in the company. You need company-wide support and strategy for succeeding, proper tooling and both technology AND people.



Case: Proximus builds a digital assistant in a human-centric way


When thinking about improving the customer journey at Proximus, Corinne Vogeleer, Customer Journey Designer at Proximus, made the best use of two methodologies to really put the customer at the centre of the company: customer journeys and design thinking.


In recent years, app development has been all the rage. It is predicted that in the near future, bot development will be the focus, with about 50% of companies investing in it. Some projections foresee that by 2022, nearly 85% of customer interactions will involve bots.


Proximus developed its bot, the Proximus Assistant, using a five-stage process:


The last step now is the maturity phase – which of course takes time. It includes the adoption of the bot by the Proximus clients, and having it act as a partner for both clients and agents.



Case: Kobe, the KBC helpdesk chatbot


‘Kobe’ from KBCs helpdesk rounded out the day's session, bringing along his colleagues Bart Ghesquière, Digital Transformation & Quality Manager, and Robin van Pul, Chatbot Expert & Analyst at KBC. Bart showed us the first chatbot ever, Eliza from MIT, launched in 1966(!). Bart then delved into the development journey for Kobe.


The banking sector, as always, faces challenges in many areas:


These prompted the need to develop Kobe. KBC chose to do the development entirely in-house, giving their own staff the opportunity to explore new terrain. The experience turned out to be completely different compared to developing 'regular' software. KBC also learned that introducing a chatbot implies introducing an additional customer-facing channel, resulting in additional questions.


With Kobe now in place for two years, it has achieved 75% autonomy. Concretely, this means that only 25% of questions need to be escalated to a human agent.  Obviously, this also has an impact on the workload of the human agents, who can focus on more complex questions and tasks.


20% of the chats take place outside office hours, allowing KBC to be available for clients 24/7. Customers often don't realise they are talking to a chatbot (although KBC is open about that in their communication), which makes their experience even more pleasant.


After the introduction to the how and why of Kobe, Robin and Kobe engaged in some role-playing to demonstrate Kobe's capabilities. Words are unable to do this sparring session justice, so we suggest you take a look the recorded session yourself (this interaction occurs around the 1:16:32 mark). Please respect KBC's request to not make a screenshot of their presentation.

















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