Closer to the customer? Start with yourself …

Published on 15/06/2015 in Inspire

Closer to the customer? Start with yourself …

“ Timing is crucial. The customer knows what he wants and he wants it now. If something online does not work, the company loses its customers in just one click.”

The road to a solid customer relationship starts at home, with motivated and productive employees. How can a company boost the satisfaction of its own employees? Geert Rottier, Corporate Market Director at Proximus, tells us.

It’s always about relationships between people; we should never lose sight of that. A company that focuses on the customer does it by organizing points of contact with the customer as well as possible. So you automatically end up considering your own employees. They are the ones who serve the customer via those contact points. The employees must have the right tools for this, with access to the necessary applications and data. The Proximus Engage Packs, for example, also provide simple management and security for employees’ devices (read the article on the Engage Packs on p.7). We offer Packs for Employees too, so they can be online at home and in their free time. So company employees are always connected, via a solution tailored to their specific needs.”

Always collaborating
“Equipping employees is just the first step. They must also learn to work together better. The technology today allows one to work independent of location. We work at the office, but just as well at home or en route. In that new context it’s important to really be able to work ‘together’. Proximus supports that via an offer based on unified collaboration, like tools for videoconferences and meeting services. The essence of the matter is that employees know when others are available and via which communication channel they can most easily be reached at that time.”

Customer satisfaction
“That collaboration is important because the customer’s decision-making process has fundamentally changed. Previously the customer called on the supplier to gather information. That first step constituted the start of the actual sales process. Today the situation is completely different. The potential customer gathers information online, looks up and compares prices, and knows via social media how satisfied other customers are with the product or company in question. The differentiation, therefore, no longer lies in the product or service, but in the customer experience that you as a company offer. If you want to ensure customer satisfaction in that context, you must offer the customer more than he or she expects.”

On- and offline: it works
“Specifically this involves, among other things, digital and analog services that must be integrated. The customer sees a nice coat online, but still wants to come try it on in the store. What if the coat isn’t available in all colors there? Can the coat in the desired color be delivered to the customer at home the next day? Those are the sorts of issues companies face today. We also see the integration of digital and analog in banks, among other places. The customer is now accustomed to banking online at home. For some services, however, he would rather go to the bank in the neighborhood, where he can also talk to a specialist at bank headquarters via videoconference. The success of that integration stands or falls on the availability of the various services. Timing is crucial. What the customer wants, he wants now. If something online happens not to work, the company loses that customer in literally one click. Proximus offers solutions to guarantee operational reliability and business continuity. Data protection is also, of course, very important in this.”

Rapid innovation
“The battle for the customer is taking place on new terrain. Innovative business models rely on new technological developments like mobile, cloud, big data and the Internet of Things. Companies don’t always have the time and resources to develop expertise in all technical fields. Consequently, we at Proximus make various solutions ‘as-a-service’ available to the client’s business processes, for example for the capture and analysis of big data. Here too the time factor plays a major role. The market evolves too quickly to develop and test something yourself. As a company you must be a part of it right away. Proximus offers the infrastructure on which a lot of those services are immediately available.”

Geert Rottier is Corporate Market Director at Proximus. He started his career in the 1990s at several IT start-ups. He then worked for 17 years at HP, where he became managing director of HP Belgium.


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