Customer contact of the future

Innovation of customer communication into highest gear

VodafoneZiggo connects. By phone, apps and email we bring you into contact with the world. Your connection with ús should be perfect, too. The programme 'Future of Conversation' is shaping the future of this contact. Programme lead Sanne Nolet lets you in on tomorrow's conversations.

12.5 million times. That is how often VodafoneZiggo was contacted last year by customers having questions. In 84 percent of the cases by telephone, the remainder through email, messaging and chat. "That amount of callers must drastically decrease", says Sanne Nolet. "At least to 50 percent." In order to realize that, Sanne leads the Future of Conversation programme. It consists of ten teams, each working on innovative solutions for the future of customer communication.

Completely different
But, what’s wrong with a simple phone call? "Calling is time-consuming and inefficient, for the customer and for us. No-one enjoys being in a queue, but four million customers are no match for any call centre. And once you actually start the conversation, you are still losing a lot of time. Especially due to retrieving all kinds of data. In other channels this can be done so much faster, better and cheaper." When asked what the customer contact of the future looks like, her eyes light up. "Completely different! It will be personalized, omni-channel and digital first. Don't worry, I'll explain it to you."

Personalized: tailor-made approach
"Let's assume your internet connection breaks down. Possibly, your modem has already sent us an alert about a failure. In your area no network maintenance or repairs were carried out, but last week you also called us about a similar problem. Based on this information, we can skip a lot of the standard questions and go straight to a personalized advice. Maybe even before you contact us, by sending you an app with the message: 'Please install this update'. Such a tailor-made approach will give you a much smoother customer experience."

Omni-channel: seamless dialogue
"One time you use your smartphone to contact us, the next it's your tablet or laptop. No problem. But what if you switch from one device to another halfway through? Often enough you have to enter all your customer information all over again. Frustrating. With an omni-channel solution we ensure a seamless dialogue, irrespective of the kind of device you use to contact us."

Digital first: software comes to the rescue
"Speaking about entering customer details, you don't need a live agent on the phone to do that, do you? Computers collect your details much faster and more efficiently. Digital first means that you leave all the standard things to software. The agent you subsequently talk to in person, has all the relevant background information at his or her disposal and also the most likely answers."

Self-supporting and together
These three themes determine the Future of Conversation course. Sanne: "We have three goals. Improved service for customers, more convenience for our agents and lower costs. At least until 2022, this will be the focus for the more than ten teams now. Always in short, productive sprints, so fully agile. This means that the first results will see the light in a month’s time. For the rest, the teams decide for themselves how they plan to realize their goals, in a fully self-supporting way. But by bringing them together into one programme, we expect all of them to end up on the same page."

Options and suggestions
"We see lots of opportunities to further improve customer contact. Let me give you a few examples. We are working on the voice that leads you through a menu when you call us. This will be a much smarter system than the current one, and visual as well. Think of buttons on your screen, that we can use to refer you to other channels like an app or our website. At the same time we use predictive software to show you some relevant suggestions for additional services. Our FAQs are becoming better and smarter, our site is anticipating your needs and so on. There is so much more still in the pipeline."

Interaction between man and machine
Will only robots take the floor in future? "Digital has the future, for sure. Chatbots and other software will relieve our agents of a lot of work. But whether they will take over completely, I'm not so sure. What we are aiming for is an optimum interaction between man and machine. Smart software to quickly achieve results and human contact for complex and personal interaction. That is how I envision the Future of Conversation."