Delivering a joined-up Customer Experience Through Digital Innovation and AI

“I didn’t realize you were French” – that’s what the satellite engineer said to me as he finished hooking up my satellite TV in my new house. Now anyone who knows me (especially my team in France) will know that, being Scottish, sometimes even English is a challenge (search “Scotsmen trying to get to floor 11 in a voice activated elevator”). When I replied that I wasn’t, he asked why he had hooked up my TV to French satellite TV. I explained that really I should be asking him that question. “It’s what my job card says” was his response.

Satellite providers don’t hold the monopoly for poor customer service. Some broadband providers are equally challenged. When we moved to London, I knew that of all services, the most important one was internet access. My 12 year old threatened not to move down without it, while promising to use all her mobile data on day 1 as an alternative (costing me a fortune in doing so!). So broadband was the priority.

I put the work in upfront, scheduled the engineer, double checked her visit, but unfortunately my hub hadn’t arrived prior to her arrival. When I phoned, I was told not to worry as the engineer would have “lots of spares”. The engineer duly arrived and explained, “We haven’t carried spares for years”. So I am back on the phone requesting that it be immediately shipped to me. However, in their infinite wisdom, even though the whole point of the install was to support my move from Scotland to London, they decided to ship the hub to my old address… in Scotland.

I know that the engineers and others were just trying to do the best that they could. In my opinion, they were let down by the lack of joined-up systems to support their work. According to Forbes, today’s agents are hindered by system overload. They’re working in ten different systems. Not only is this terrible for the employee experience but it’s terrible for the customer experience too. The same article states that customers’ number one frustration with customer service departments is constantly having to repeat themselves.

An increased use of digital innovation to break down organizational silos is a prime means to improve customer experience. Digital transformation enables new organizational models, new technology and most of all, provides an opportunity for a new mind-set in relation to the customer. Within this structure, Artificial Intelligence has the potential to deliver value by uncovering new insights thus creating better customer intimacy and the opportunity to create more successful interactions.

Getting a single view of the customer and a single version of the truth is a key focus area for our Dell sales team. We are working hard to improve this year after year to ensure our scores on this area in our Tell Dell employee survey rise every time. Our people too need joined-up systems to be able to do what they need to do.

With regards to our customer experience at Dell I am delighted to say our latest customer NPS scores for global customers have improved 20% since we became Dell Technologies. Part of the improvements are down to the “customer first” focus of the global customer team, but also we are seeing improvements as the merger continues to mature.

I am convinced of the fact that most customer service managers are already taking major steps to improve their services to become more customer centric. But I must conclude after my recent experiences that we are definitely not all the way there yet. The digital transformation of customer service departments isn’t done in a day. But it will be worth the effort. Both for the customer service agents and for future movers.

As a footnote, I am happy to say my TV is in English but I still don’t speak French. Don’t ask me about my parking permit, gas supply, water supply, etc. My broadband now works and so my daughter is looking for the next thing for me to focus on (anyone got any tickets for KSI v Logan Paul fight in NYC? Anyone actually knows who they are?).

About the Author: Steve Young

Steve has worked at EMC for over 15 years in a number of customer facing roles focused on working with DELL EMC’s largest customers, especially in the financial services, energy and life sciences industries. Prior to EMC, Steve was Regional Director at PTC and worked with Global Manufacturing clients to deliver world class product design and manufacturing. In his previous role at EMC, Steve ran the Global Customer Business in the UK and Russia partnering with global banking clients to deliver transformational, outcome based proposals which aligned to business needs. As an EMEA Vanguards financial services board member, Steve supports the delivery of best practices and development programs to the EMEA team. In addition, Steve provides mentorship to start-up businesses in the UK through Entrepreneurial Spark, the UK’s largest new business incubator. Prior to this role, Steve managed the EMC business with major global banking customers, building strategic partnerships and sales teams in NALA, EMEA and APJ. As Vice President, Steve is responsible for the DELL EMC EMEA strategy for global customers and works closely with the EMEA executive leadership team and global customers to ensure DELL EMC is a strong, trusted partner and adviser. With the recent acquisition of EMC by DELL, Steve will continue to develop the strategically aligned business propositions (DELL EMC, VMware, Pivotal, Secureworks) to ensure they provide maximum business value to global customers. Steve is a strong communicator, internally and externally, which is reflected in strong executive client relationships combined with high work place satisfaction and retention.