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Implementing a frictionless customer experience

Anjali Pendlebury-Green talks to Robert Brillhart on how Capgemini’s Digital Customer Operations portfolio integrates humans and machines to drive a more meaningful, productive, and frictionless digital customer experience.

Anjali Pendlebury Green: Welcome Robbie. First of all, as a returner to Capgemini, what was it about the opportunity to initiate the North America Customer Operations practice that excited you?

Robert Brillhart: Thanks for having me, Anjali. I initially left Capgemini to drive the area of the contact center environment encompassing remote agents. I grew those operations to about 8,000 work-at-home agents and then sold that over to another company. I continued to work with Capgemini during this time, forging a close relationship with the company.

What was really exciting about coming back to Capgemini was being given the opportunity to grow our Digital Customer Operations (DCO) offer beyond a commodity-type business and drive true transformation across the customer lifecycle; so, putting the customer first, driving innovation with technology and intelligent automation, and expanding the portfolio from just customer interactions into sales and content marketing operations.

How do Capgemini’s DCO solutions help organizations drive an enhanced, frictionless customer experience?

Customers are at the heart of business operations and any kind of technology implemented is there to drive a frictionless customer experience across an organization. While much has changed since the start of the global pandemic, and remote ways of working have shifted things considerably, the future of digital customer operations is looking very bright.

Our DCO portfolio focuses on integrating humans and machines to deliver nuanced services and platforms:

  • Customer Interaction Operations – provides customer experience excellence through implementing a digital contact center that delivers frictionless customer interactions
  • Connected Marketing Operations – delivers frictionless, digitally-augmented, data-driven marketing operations that drive more agile connections and a seamless experience with our clients’ customers
  • Digital Sales Operations – drives improved sales and rapid growth through designing and implementing a touchless, data-driven sales journey tailored to our clients’ market segments.

In turn, this enables our clients to drive a more meaningful, productive, and frictionless relationship between their customers and employees.

How do these three offers support Capgemini’s customer-first ambition?

Our DCO portfolio of offers enables us to complete the full customer value cycle. In marketing operations, we attract the customer. While we’ve already achieved some amazing things in this space, bringing these solutions and services out to the market is long overdue and that’s just the beginning of that lifecycle.

The interaction operations space, modeled on the old digital contact center – a blend of front, middle, and back office – is where we delight and retain the customer after successfully attracting them, helping to drive our clients’ revenue and growth.

Finally, with sales operations we’re looking to expand our clients’ customer base and grow revenue. This stage then loops back to the beginning of the same customer value lifecycle.

What part does intelligent automation play in the creating a frictionless customer experience?

The front-office area is primed for automation transformation. A customer experience agent’s job can be made easier by creating shorter interaction times to get to the heart of what’s needed and removing repetitive tasks. This establishes a foundation for frictionless interactions with the end customer.

Our clients come to us for help, looking beyond IT to solve their problems. They are searching for true transformation driven by an IT partner that operates – and this is exactly what DCO provides.

We’ve built a contact center modernization offering as a subcomponent to our interaction operations that drives the transformation platform for our clients. This comes in three main components. Firstly, a cloud-based and agile omnichannel interactive platform such as Amazon Connect with the ability to interlock with client systems and other systems we bring in the tool set.

Secondly, consolidating the client’s chosen case management tool, which might be a SAP or Oracle solution. The third component is our cloud-based as-a-service transformation platform – such as Amazon Connect and Zendesk – where we not only take care of the system’s integration, design, deployment, and transformation, but also support that model continuously.

Of course, we’re continuously looking for future opportunities in the environment of contact center modernization to bring additional value to our clients.

How are the outcomes businesses are expecting from customer operations changing?

We don’t usually start with a full outcome-based model – that takes a very mature client. If they are not at the far end of that maturity curve, they need to start in one of the typical environments such as fixed fee. Here, we guarantee outcomes around quality, cost-to-serve, and customer satisfaction via a net promoter score or a customer satisfaction survey.

We have clients that are moving towards a subscription-based support model, and this is the model we would like to prioritize in our business endeavors. In essence, if we receive a component of that subscription as our revenue, we’re directly tied to their growth. This creates a symbiotic relationship whereby growth in our client’s topline as well expansion of their customer base, benefits both them and Capgemini.

We also have a number of clients where we do major transformation projects, committing to the outcomes on customer satisfaction, total cost-to-serve, and going further and creating transformation and innovation offices.

What are some of the challenges and changes we’re witnessing in this new remote era of work life?

When we look at some of the major disrupting factors, we would be remiss if we didn’t bring up the global pandemic that changed the way businesses operated overnight. At Capgemini we organized 250,000 people to work remotely in just a few days – and we never defaulted on our service delivery commitments for our clients.

One of Capgemini’s differentiating factors is that we are humans in a technical loop, in which the technical component of driving interactions with customers and employees is fundamental to positive business outcomes. Moving to a virtual environment caused frenzy in companies trying to catch up, changing how they interact with their customers.

The digital shift was so sudden that it tested their infrastructure and ability to be agile and the companies that flourished the most were the ones that were already on the digital path. E-commerce components increased, walk-ins decreased across the board, and all their talent inside customer engagements shifted.

Capgemini has been a remote workforce in the past and we were able to leverage that, as well as our industry knowledge and expertise to bolster the shift. We’ve been driving the progression of technology with two personas in mind – the end customer and the employee. The employee must be engaged with technology in a way that embraces the ongoing changes and be an integral part of the solution.

Despite the global pandemic, and the challenges in the earlier way of working, the economy is booming across the board – but it’s booming in a different way. It’s changing the way that customers are interacting with companies and changing the way companies are working with their employees in a remote environment. It’s exactly this – the new normal and our clients’ needs that are driving our ambition to deliver contact center modernization and transformation.

What does the future look like for Capgemini’s Digital Customer Operations?

2022 will be the year that will solidify the customer lifecycle. What I look to accomplish with our great DCO team is to elevate the conversation about how the lifecycle can be managed with our clients, so that we can begin discussing the values that can be created by connecting those lifecycle elements.

By the end of 2022, we will be engaged in several conversations where we can bring this best-in-class model to several clients and really showcase it in the marketplace. This will set us up for even more growth in 2023.

Robert Brillhart, Digital Contact Center Head, Capgemini’s Business Services
Robert Brillhart, Digital Contact Center Head, Capgemini’s Business Services

Robert Brillhart is an experienced executive skilled in operations management, transformation, customer relationship management, transformation, IT strategy, workforce management, intelligent automation, and contact centers.

Anjali Pendlebury-Green, Global Head of the Digital Customer Operations Practice, Business Services Capgemini
Anjali Pendlebury-Green, Global Head of the Digital Customer Operations Practice, Business Services

Anjali Pendlebury-Green is an expert in the field of HR outsourcing and transformation. She specializes in delivering HR solutions that leverage global outsourcing platforms, leading edge technology, stack offers and process standardization.

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