Customer relations: From interaction to conversation


We are witnessing, in numerous areas of daily life, a dematerialisation and cross border flow of data. From disks, we have moved on to mp3 files stored on our computers, to today, where live streaming reigns. This cloudification impacts customer relations, and while the transformation may not yet be complete, hard copy is slowly but surely making way for digital.

It is already often possible to consult one’s account and its activity directly online using a PC or tablet. Nonetheless, change is slow and the quantity of data visible on the client interface is not always satisfactory. Intelligent information must, in the future, be available to the client, and cloudification must allow bilateral information sharing. In summary, it must put the two stakeholders on an equal footing. This means one single dossier, complex or simple, that is understandable from one end of the chain to the other. For example, on my telephone operator’s site, I can see my invoices, my current consumption, and my monthly fee. But why don’t I have a clear view of my contracts (Internet, mobile, tablet) or the history of my requests, as opposed to telephone consultants from call centres? From our side, it is not always easy to reconstruct the complete chronology of our activities. An electronic health record is one example, and although this is not yet a fait accompli, it is a step in the right direction.

Consumers and clients want transparency, so might this not be the time for companies to make the leap? The availability and collection of personal data are currently under debate, and will continue to be so. With the sharing of information, a simple interaction becomes a real conversation. There is less need to call on intermediaries and clients are in possession of all information, with one goal: improved understanding for smarter decision-making. For companies taking up this challenge, it will not be easy: they must deliver a maximum of information, in a concise and pertinent manner, without revealing their internal mechanisms and competitive advantages. With a shared data system, misunderstandings are minimised. Only information relating to the process and management will remain on the customer advisor side to avoid overloading the customer with technical information.

We already know how to create, with technologies like CloudView, not just readable information from raw data, but real intelligent information using the same data. This is enhanced information that is not only readable, but that can be used in a decision-making process by highlighting key points for the client and the client record.

If cloudification enables the display and modification of data in real time, why can we not imagine completely transparent and shared information? This idea means going above and beyond simply accessing the same information. It means having the same interface on the client and employee side with a view, for the client, to accessing all the information that concerns it without the company’s approval.

It means dealing with a transparent company that restores the same data for its advisors and its clients. If certain companies were ready to cross this threshold, they would need tools to manage the wealth of information available on their clients: to find, aggregate and present the data in a way that highlights pertinent information. We can also imagine servers equipped with semantic technology able to understand questions asked in a natural language by the client, and presenting clients with a document, a contact or link addressing client concerns. The issue of IT system security would become more important… as would, of course, the performance of the IT systems themselves.

The technology exists, the need is there, we just need to make the move. There is still of course much to think about with respect to our core businesses. We have recently been asking ourselves about the outlook for this year. We must also prepare ourselves and think about what comes after.

What is your feeling on this? Don’t hesitate to reply here directly or via our Twitter account: @ExaleadOneCall.