Thierry Moussu is the Head of Digital Relations at Direct Energie, overseeing the company’s digital strategy and innovation for digital interactions with customers/prospects. He has over 15 years of experience as a digital marketer. Direct Energie supplies electricity and/or natural gas to more than 3 million customers – individuals, businesses and companies and local authorities – with offerings adapted according to the needs of each: savings, renewable energies, fixed prices, assistance, energy savings certificates (CEE), and more.
Can you introduce yourself and tell us about your background?
I have a rather atypical background: an engineer by training, I spent 15 years in a marketing research institute before switching to digital marketing after a stint in a digital communication agency. For the past 3 years, I have been in charge of Direct Energie’s digital relationship, in charge of the group’s social networks and innovation in digital interactions with customers/prospects.
What’s the importance of Customer Experience for companies?
It is fundamental, it is the main foundation for the sustainability and growth of a brand! Direct Energie has always focused on the quality of customer relations, whatever the channel – oral or written, and it is no coincidence that more than 100,000 of our customers sponsored at least one relative in 2017. In my opinion, loyalty and recommendation are at least as much linked to the quality of the Customer Relationship as to the quality of the product/service delivered by the company.
What’s the most significant change in terms of customer behavior you’ve observed lately?
The growth in the use of (instant) messaging by customers, at the expense of email – even if it is still very strong. In less than a year, we have doubled the number of interactions with our customers on Messenger and via the messaging system of our mobile application. Even professionals no longer hesitate to contact us via these “new” channels!
Can you tell us about the best Customer Experience you’ve ever had? And the worst one?
My best experience was a few years ago: the photo-sensor on my iPhone 5 – still under warranty – had become defective. I went to an Apple Store to have it fixed at the end of the day. No one being present at the workshop at that time to replace the sensor, the Apple employee simply replaced my phone with a new one!
My worst experience is much more recent: an airline company misplaced my luggage on the flight to my holiday destination this summer. After finding it, the company was unable to have my luggage delivered for quite obscure reasons (it seems that the driver did not find anyone when he came to return the luggage to me… he had 3 telephone numbers at his disposal, which he did not call, and we were there on the day of the meeting). I was only able to pick up my luggage on my return flight. And I’ve been fighting ever since with their customer service to get even minor compensation. They have lost a customer for a long time.
According to you, what will be the key Customer Service trends for the next 12 months?
In my opinion, Customer Care chatbots will take up more and more space on the “new” digital channels (Chat/Messenger, WhatsApp…), both to answer the simplest/most common questions from customers 24/7, and/or to pre-qualify customer requests before transmission to a call centre agent, for faster and more efficient processing afterwards.
I also believe strongly in the continuity of Customer Relationship Management between desktop channels such as Chat and mobile channels such as In-App Messaging, following the “universal” format of Messenger in particular. What a comfort for the customer to be able to start a discussion with a chatbot or an agent on his computer and then continue it on his mobile or vice versa!
Chatbots are one of the topics you talk about regularly. What do you think are the best practices for chatbots to provide a good customer experience?
It is better to start by focusing on a few key areas (for example, those on which satisfaction is lower than average, or on which clients regularly express strong support needs, or those that require a 24-hour response) rather than wanting to “respond to everything” but badly. By analyzing the reasons for contacting its customers in terms of volume and putting them in perspective with customer satisfaction, it is quite easy to make an initial selection of the paths that deserve to be taken care of as a priority.
When designing it, it is necessary to think about the modularity and ease of administration of the chatbot, so that it can evolve easily and quickly, and make sure that these evolutions can be carried out directly by “business” employees rather than by developers. The administration interface must allow you to add/modify a route on the fly, via a clear interface that is easy for everyone to learn.
Finally, particular attention must be paid to the chatbot/agent articulation (when the bot raises its hand to an adviser because he does not know or does not answer the customer’s question), so that it is both fluid and easily identifiable by the customer, who must know at all times whether he is talking with a bot or with a human.
In your opinion, what role will voicebots play in customer care?
Unlike chatbots, for which any “general public” company now seems to be eligible, at least on its own “written” customer contact channels, voicebots (Customer Relationship Management) linked to connected speakers/voice assistants will, in my opinion, be reserved for certain fields of activity. Especially those who have (very) regular contacts with their customers, such as e-merchants, on specific usage cases (if only because it is necessary to remember the key sentence to pronounce in order to activate the voicebot of a particular brand).
On the other hand, I think that callbots – able to understand a customer question in natural language rather than by successive keywords to guide the customer or meet his needs – will become widespread quite quickly on the telephone channels of Customer Relationship Management, they will eventually replace the current IVR and their sometimes very long and tedious navigation.
To what extent can interactions on digital channels help to enrich customer knowledge?
Provided that you have a global view of digital interactions with your customers (once their identities have been reconciled on internal and external digital channels), you measure the satisfaction of the various contact points. it is possible to determine major trends in terms of changes in customer behavior, and thus adapt the Company’s internal processes and the skills of the teams dedicated to Customer Relations, but also to determine at an individual level the best channel contact them if necessary, according to their habits.
What would be your top advice to deliver a remarkable Customer Experience
Think first of all of the customers before thinking about the Company’s internal problems. It is necessary to start from the need of customers/prospects, and not to try to impose a path only because it is easier/less expensive for the Company. Customer First!
Originally published Jan 17, 2019, updated Mar 09, 2020