I once had a problem with an electronics outlet. The argument was about an insurance issue. Every time I enquired about the progress of my case, the customer service department had lost my file. Each time they asked me to re-send the documents. “We cannot find your file. Could you please tell us what’s the problem?” Do you recognize these kind of remarks? Fortunately, everything ended well. But did it had to go this way?

Slowly but steadily we come to understand that only organizations with the right level of customer intimacy will survive the economic crisis. Customers expect their suppliers to know what is going on in the relationship between themselves and their suppliers. They expect their suppliers to respond quickly – perhaps within a few minutes. They expect suppliers will help and advice their customers proactively. But many companies miss opportunities here. Or worse, let problems with customers take their course. I think you recognize these issues, or maybe you’ve experienced them yourself like me. You might have read them on Twitter or Facebook, or seen them on television. Companies can’t hide for taking responsibility for treating their customers badly, because their actions are instantly published on social media. If a customer doesn’t feel satisfied, it’s twittered and re-tweeted. The carefully built image of a company or organization is gone in a wizz.

In this day and age customers expect organization to have a complete view on all data kept about that customer. Instantly. Because there’s no time to collect the customer data from different, disperse systems. In the internet age rapid responses are required. And customers expect their data to be treated with the appropriate level of confidentiality. This applies not only to structured customer data, but also to unstructured data: documents, forms, mail, telephone calls and all communications over social media.

Many organizations have their documents stored in so-called silos. These silos are linked to applications for ERP, CRM and so on. Each application has a collection of its own documents, all created and stored in its own peculiar way. Documents can be found on file servers, document management systems and many more. Because documents are stored in many places on different systems, it’s difficult, if not impossible, to obtain a complete view on all customer documents from all those document stores. For example: when client documents are stored in a CRM system, an ERP system, and on disk, the customer service department can only collect the documents with difficulty by searching and merging them manually into a (virtual) customer file. Obviously, we have the same issues with structured data. Here too, it is difficult to collect and merge data from various sources into a single view. When organizations don’t have a complete customer view, built from both structured and unstructured information, these organization cannot get to the level of customer intimacy they so desire.

With the advent of technical standards (CMIS), and other new Enterprise Content Management (ECM) functions, documents from all silos can be merged into one single view. These documents can be unlocked, viewed and managed from one system. Without replacing the document management functions of the existing systems and silos, which is often technically impossible. This can be done with applications on the desktop, where the data from different sets are joined together on the screen. But it can also be done with a document management system that collects documents from other systems and unlocks them from one single point. The documents themselves can be moved to, and stored in, the document management system. But you can also choose to only collect the metadata and pointers to the documents. The documents remain on their source systems. In either way, collecting all customer documents real-time or in advance, customer files can be made ​​complete and presented when needed. These files can be used within the customer service systems or be processed by a case management system. In this way you know what happened with the customer case: you know who did what when and what decisions have been taken. When your customer calls, mails or tweets, your service team knows immediately what the client situation is. You can quickly and efficiently be of service to him.

Capgemini offers you the solutions that will provide you with a complete view on your customers. So you will be able to offer your customers better services.