Customer Experience: “Simple & Friendly"
An interview by Alessandra Zocca
PWI – “Customer experience” has become a very commonly used terminology in recent years, but it is not that easy to find a clear, commonly-held definition. Pascaline, how would you define “Customer experience” at Belgacom?
Pascaline Dubois, VP Customer Experience & Operational Excellence, Consumer Business Unit at Belgacom
Ms. Dubois – I would say that customer experience is not really a definition, but it’s a way of living. Three years ago we decided at Belgacom to put the customer at the centre of our strategy by launching a long term transformation program which covers several company processes (from billing, IVR, etc.), but also focuses on culture change and on building engagement in all the employees.
In 2011 we ran a large project called “Live my life”, which provided 1.000 Belgacom employees (including our top management) with the opportunity to spend a day with a technician, an operator, a salesperson or in a shop in order to experience the job of the front-end colleagues and above all the needs of the customer. I am proud to state that “Live my life” had an extraordinarily positive feedback from the people involved.
PWI – How do you measure customer satisfaction at Belgacom?
Ms. Dubois – We have surveys at several levels (after customer interaction with our call centers, after sales in the shop). Some of these surveys are performed immediately after the interaction and some after a few days and they include questions to measure the customer perception. We also make street surveys that address the feeling/perception of the competitors’ customers, so we get a broader picture.
Of course, to measure customer satisfaction we have specific Key Performance Indicators, which we can split into two main categories:
• The external KPIs – called Care -that measure customer satisfaction after contact or support by our personnel
PWI – As emotions are a big part of an experience, how do you address them?
• The operational KPIs – called Ease - that measure the internal process efficiency and that help us identify what we need to improve to achieve the external KPI targets.
PWI – Which are the more difficult customer needs to satisfy - the conscious or unconscious needs?
| Ms. Dubois – We made a project in which we analysed the worst complaints with the technique of a storyboard on the wall, where we detailed the different steps and highlighted the process (with the relevant issues) and the customers’ emotions at each step.
For some colleagues having evidence of the customers’ emotions/feelings was really like “opening their eyes”. As a consequence of this analysis, we were able to put together a significant training program to create awareness within the process manager community and help them understand the impact of our service process steps on the customer perception.
We also implemented another project, called “Simple & Friendly” to increase the awareness of how to behave and how to show their empathy to the customer.
We printed out and distributed to all our call centres and shops a charter, listing behavior rules to follow with the customer. Awareness for front-end employees means for example: communicating to the customer that they understood the issue and their worry, that they will try to find a solution and that they will follow up with the customers.
Ms. Dubois – Actually the needs of customers are quite basic/simple, normal and logical; they want to be served, to get prompt answers/solutions to their problems and to be treated nicely. Our challenge is to propose easy solutions despite the complexity of telecom technology and the impact of external circumstances. For example, the weather conditions of last year’s summer have caused severe outages and delay in our repair & installation operations.
Another example is the pack including fix and mobile products: it is great for the customer to have access to internet everywhere but complex to manage “behind the scenes”.
We are constantly working on our internal processes and on the integration of our legacy systems to mitigate these risks and to improve our services.
In 2012 we want to provide customers with an improved service in our shops, which will better meet their expectations and make it simpler for them.
PWI – By listening to your customers you can learn about their requirements. How do you manage the “unsaid”, often even more important requests?
PWI – Could you tell me more about your function and operational excellence at Belgacom?
|| Ms. Dubois – I have to admit that so far we did not focus much on the “unsaid” because we concentrated our efforts into the “said”.
We began last year with the program “Simple & Friendly” to improve the atmosphere of active listening and emotional bonding with the customer that allows us to hear their unsaid requirements, but it is a work in progress.
Ms. Dubois – The focus for 2012 will be on the theme “first time right”. This campaign is meant to decrease errors and therefore reduce the calls to the customer services for complaints. This implies reviewing all our behind the scenes processes end-to-end and trying to simplify them as much as possible. We have set new ambitious targets for improvement in our processes, to become “simpler” (internal efficiency) and to improve the interaction with the customer (Friendly areas).
| Short Biography
|Pascaline Dubois holds a Master’s degree as a Commercial Engineer (Catholic University of Leuven) as well as a teaching certificate.
She has over 30 years of diverse business experience mainly in the audit, finance, general management and customer experience areas.
She started her career at Goodyear as an Information System Analyst in the European IT center.
Two years later, she joined the De Smet Group where she held various functions from Financial Analyst to Managing Director of an affiliate company.
Pascaline Dubois joined Belgacom in 1993. During the past 18 years at Belgacom, she has held various top management functions. First as General Audit Manager and three years later as Associate Member to the Executive Committee. Subsequently she became Group Controller of Finance in 1998 and in 2000 she became Director of the Directory Information Services department. In September 2009 she was appointed as the Vice President of the Customer Experience & Operational Excellence area for the residential market.
VP Customer Experience & Operational Excellence
Consumer Business Unit
Koning Albert II laan, 27
B 1030 Brussels
T +32 2 202 21 64
Disclaimer - Any views and opinions presented in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Belgacom, nor do they constitute a legally binding agreement.