Communication revolution with the customer

Published on 26/05/2020 in Innovate

Communication revolution with the customer

In a fascinating interview, Dominique Buyse introduces us to a totally new form of business communication where customer engagement takes an increasingly prominent place. As Co-founder and Managing Partner of Addestino, he assists companies with this technological transformation process.

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The use of Unified Communications (UC) in the business world means that people everywhere can work together more efficiently via computer, tablet or smartphone. The term UC means merging communication tools such as IP telephony for voice calls, chat, web and video conferencing, sharing desktops, voicemail and more.

Restructuring business processes

Dominique Buyse: “The concept behind UC is nothing new, but the technology has matured. As a result, some companies have finally scrapped their old heterogeneous, complex communications infrastructure completely because of the low level of user-friendliness and the high price tag. With UC, they migrate to a totally new application platform that not only cuts costs but also enables uniform applications and simplifies the complexity.

In addition, companies are opting for other forms of cooperation in order to boost productivity. The need for remote working during the coronavirus crisis is a good example of this. A trend that goes a step further than this is business process re-engineering, where internal operating processes are fundamentally restructured.”

From Customer Experience

For customers, these new forms of cooperation lead to a better customer experience. It is no longer necessary for a customer to visit a traditional contact center. Customers are put in contact with the right person straight away because companies know the exact profile of their staff and therefore their expertise. Moreover, companies can be reached outside office hours, as the physical presence of staff at the office is not required.

Customer experience is not the same as customer engagement right away.

Dominique Buyse, Managing Partner, Adddestino

To Customer Engagement

According to Buyse, a good customer experience is not the same as customer engagement right away. “For that matter, this term has various meanings. Customer engagement refers to all on- and offline channels through which customers come into contact with a company. But it also means the cooperation with customers when co-designing projects, process automation, which in turn is in line with the business process re-engineering previously mentioned.

There are also other interesting technological developments that reach much further than pure UC. “Not all sectors catch this technological train at the same time,” Buyse goes on. The telecom operators and the banking and insurance sector have always been early adopters of technologies like AI and machine learning.”

How does this change process work?

Buyse: “Clearly, the application of new technologies in a company is not self-evident. So first we prepare a cartography of the current operating situation. With this ‘map of the world’, we chart who the staff are. In other words, we look at the age profile and find out what functions they have in house, whether everyone works in the office or staff are on the road some of the time, how many FTEs the company has, whether there are joint ventures, etc.

On the basis of the insight this provides, we divide the users up into a number of personae who often have fundamentally different communication needs and user patterns. Then we examine the technological landscape (telephone lines, e-mail extensions, data network, cloud, etc.), along with the financial aspect. We also involve the customers in the change process.”

We map four different aspects for the client: the staff, the proces, the technological and the financial aspect.

Dominique Buyse, Managing Partner, Adddestino

Towards a new approach

Once we have shared the results of this cartography with the customer, we start work in phases. First we suggest four fundamentally different options to the customer, each time showing the effect on the three areas mapped out (the staff, the proces, the technological and the financial aspect). In a second phase, we present the solutions worked out to the management, together with an assessment.

On the basis of this, we come to the eventual solution, usually a mixture that suits the company. Finally, we determine precisely how we need to assist the users with the transition, because this is a process that should be carried out in stages – and above all with common sense.”

Dominique Buyse

  • Master of Science in Electrical Engineering, UGent
  • Executive MBA, Vlerick Business School
  • Project leader from The Boston Consulting Group, 2000-2003
  • ICT executive in innovation and transformation in Europe, North America and China
  • Co-founder and Managing Partner Addestino

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