With your head in the stars, and your feet on the ground.

Positioned at the crossroads of inspiration and operations, Innso Day brings together business issues and technological innovations. This annual event is an environment for the discovery and discussion of new ideas, an arena for sharing digital transformation challenges and success stories. It’s about solving customer service issues and untangling root causes, and identifying best practices from the field.

So on Thursday September 19, 2019, 70 brands, professionals and experts in customer service and technology gathered for the second edition of Innso Day, with representatives from IBM Watson, TotalEnergies, Orange, Edenred, Crédit Agricole, Ernst & Young, and Direct Assurance among them.

Combining feedback, round tables, and collaborative product construction workshops, presentations dealt with the technologies of the future without giving way to premature enthusiasm. How? By giving pride of place to concrete applications of customer service innovations. Let’s take a look at testimonies from Orange and TotalEnergie.

In the face of complexity, the strength of a simple tool.

One year after innso’s Go Live at Orange France, Jean-François Oberhauser, Customer Service manager, takes stock. It’s a most positive assessment.

The Orange group was formed by traditional telco France Telecom, ISP Wanadoo and mobile provider Orange, and their combined legacies led to a great diversity of IT systems, Oberhauser explains. Five challenges result: harmonizing back office business; improving the customer experience; optimizing performance and resources; professionalizing talent; and finally, simplification.

Deploying the innso platform was a real Big Bang for the leading French telco, explains Ana Athayde, innso’s Managing Director: “It was a radical transformation for the operational teams who left one work tool on Friday and came back to another one on Monday morning.”

The objective was to pool the management of cold flows from all regions—40 internal contact centers with 750 advisers—to better manage activity at the regional, national and local level, she continues. Previously, each region processed its own data, Oberhauser details, making for 40,000, even 50,000 tickets per month. Streamlining this process was a challenge successfully met, thanks to the simplicity of the innso tool, whose integration and adoption was carried out smoothly and required no downtime.

The other challenge was to launch the application rapidly respecting an agile Time to Market (TTM). Yet, a decisive characteristic of the innso solution is to erase integration constraints with existing IT systems, constraints which otherwise slow down a project.

“After a series of pilots in different regions, we realized that innso was the answer to our challenge. But we also had to change the habits of our customer service agents,” adds Oberhauser. So the innso and Orange project teams traveled across each region, training managers of the contact center teams; those managers then cascaded training to their agents. Finally, on launch day and during the post-launch period, a technical support bridge was open for managers, all day every day. “Launch went well, and today innso is part of our way of life.”

Fast forward to today, and Orange and the innso teams are developing approaches to improve customer experience through conversational channels. “I strongly believe in this,” Oberhauser insists. “Conversational SMS will be managed by back office agents, streamlining the entire customer experience. Customers will no longer find themselves having to make multiple calls to different services. At the same time, we will upgrade the skills of our back-office advisers, positioning them for relational processes that add greater value.

Channel effectiveness stems from strategic use.

“Integrating this type of channel to improve a customer journey is not just a technical project,” says Ana Athayde. A channel’s effectiveness  stems from its strategic use. “That’s why we must start with solid use cases.” In addition to leaning on their own technical and functional expertise, innso’s consultants work closely with Orange teams to identify areas of discomfort. Together, they define how and when to implement a channel, determining the KPIs that measure effectiveness; we want to know how well it works and where improvements can be made.

Yet “a channel may not be suitable for every situation or all activities,” she tempers. “It is important to operate in a ‘test and learn’ mode, taking the time to analyze operational terrain, and engaging advisers. Then there’s no need to abandon a project because of a lack of support.” In other words, innso is more than a customer service tool to deploy. Innso is supported by a holistic deployment method.

This is a method that has proven its worth at TotalEnergies. Among its seven European subsidiaries stands AS 24, which provides gas station refuelling cards to haulage companies’ fleets. This challenge was a different kettle of fish.

“You need to keep a few things in mind,” explains Daniel Korb, Head of Subsidiary Support for Total in the European Cards Department. “We have 500,000 customers and 14,300 service stations in Europe, for whom 3.5 million cards and 80,000 electronic badges are active. Forty advisers are working on this activity, which represents 40,000 calls per year, and these calls can take place in four different languages, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.”

Since the introduction of a heavy goods vehicle tax in several European countries, including France and Belgium, drivers are subject to severe penalties if it turns out that their card or electronic badge no longer works. In these instances, they can rightly implicate Total.

This changes AS 24’s business in a critical way: “Calls are becoming more complex. It is no longer just a matter of card processing and opposition. Instead, we have complaints and urgent inquiries relating to issues around cards, terminals or electronic badges.” With the kind of penalties incurred, AS 24 must intervene immediately. “Very quickly, you have to identify the card number, vehicle registration, and driver, knowing that the latter may be speaking to the agent in French, Dutch or Spanish.”

Support for the advisor and the client.

Thanks to the innso front-office solution, agents benefit from a “web services” tool that allows them to access AS24’s Information Systems. In this way, they can quickly find the customer from an ID code. Additionally, this code can be sent by image, so the driver doesn’t have to spell it out, and avoiding associated errors and delays. Once the customer and badge have been identified and a diagnosis made, the tool offers dynamic agent guidance scripts, further supporting both agent and customer.

Furthermore, in a sector where staff turnover can be a factor, source information must be kept within the tool, aiding transfer of knowledge.

The deployment of innso opens up other perspectives, in particular messaging. This is a tactical channel that enables customer services to create a close relationship with the customer. It’s an accelerant to the treatment process for inquiries that can occur anytime from anywhere. For example, a simple URL linking to a video tutorial, transmitted over WhatsApp, for example, replaces a long and complicated explanation of procedure. It’s another way to solve problems and reduce errors.

That’s reassurance and satisfaction for drivers who, at 3am, in the middle of nowhere and facing a hefty fine, know they can rely on improved service that is rapid and responsive; one does not come at the expense of the other. In addition to feeling better taken care of and the knowledge that they are always connected to a personalized, single point of contact, they appreciate the professionalism of the counselors’ approach, thanks to dynamic scripts that evolve and enrich themselves and the conversation. As for agents, they benefit from a smoother and more personally rewarding professional experience; Total’s brand image is positively reinforced for both customer and employee.

Want to practise your business French (or take advantage of machine subtitling)? Daniel Korb and Jean François Oberhauser spoke to Ana Athayde at Innso Day 2019 to dissect “The Challenges of a Successful Unified Approach in Transformational Contexts”. Watch the replay here or at youtu.be/1pgb5l7La3g.