Last week CSC hosted its annual Barometer event on Customer Experience and Intimacy in Paris as part of its I.D.E.A.S program (Inspiration, Debate, Executive, Annual Surveys). CSC publishes a number of “barometers” every year presenting analysis and findings on key IT trends and perspectives for different members of the boardroom (CIO, CFO, CMO, HR Director, Procurement director). The results of these studies are revealed during much-anticipated events around the world by senior managers (Paris, Madrid, Milan, Brussels, etc..).
Most impressive about CSC’s event last week in Paris oriented toward the CMO was the number of A-list French top executives in attendance. The range of industries represented was also notable. Round table participants included:
- Arnaud Deschamps, Director General of Nespresso
- William Koeberlé, President and CEO, Marionnaud
- Jean-Bernard Mas, Director General, Crédit Agricole Services
- Frank Heimburger, Director of Savings & Protection, AXA
- Mohamed Soltani, Director Corporate Strategy EMEA, Schneider Electric
- Cyrille Giraudat, Marketing Director, PMU
- Franck Suhit, Marketing Director, Lyreco
- Didier Zoubeïdi, Director Marketing, Edenred
In many of PAC’s vertical industry reports published recently we have cited the growing importance of customer intimacy and the need to engineer both internal and external communications to better service customers. This need is ever more pressing when growth is stagnant and keeping customers loyal and doing more with the ones you have is critical to survival. With all the new technologies at a company’s disposal to support greater customer intimacy and the rather obvious business cases for them it seems only a matter of senior leadership focus and budget to drive projects on the topic as illustrated by CSC’s round table participants.
Megan Shaw, CSC’s Marketing & Communications Director speaking of the Paris customer intimacy event said, “The 2013 Customer Intimacy Barometer highlights the necessity of ensuring the convergence of online and offline channels in order to optimize and genuinely differentiate the overall customer experience. This new trend is forcing leaders to rethink the role that every channel can – and must – play in the mix.”
In support of CSC’s findings, these captains of French business all mentioned the need for multichannel interactions with customers to be managed centrally, accessible instantly to management no matter the channel (customer service, online, mobile, or in the store). With customer intimacy there is always room for improvement the Nespresso’s CEO said in order to compete against all luxury brands. Essentially competition for non-necessity spending effects all consumer goods brands and retailers to such an extent they are competition not with similar brands but grabbing that additional consumer spend in a slow or near zero growth market. Managing a brand now requires the right technology platforms to insure consistent multichannel client experience and customer engagement. PAC has found these projects are driving relatively small in terms of budget but more frequent integration projects in the medium term.
For both AXA and Crédit Agricole the topic is even more transformational, multichannel interactions with customers will now allow them to shift control over customer relationships from agents or bank branches to more frequent and increasingly meaningful direct interactions. Leveraging digital for banks and insurers for example is driving a significant shift in how these companies think about doing business today, especially when reducing operating costs is so critical.
Marionnaud president Koeberlé, head of a leading cosmetic store chain across Europe, was keen to insist that introducing tablets into every store was not just driven by fascination with the latest gadget. There was also a meaningful business case behind their introduction not just to drive greater customer intimacy, loyalty, and improved customer experience in the store but also as a way to empower employees with tools to improve their performance and eventually loyalty to the company.
Post by Megan Dahlgren