Customer Centricity

Digital CX management in action

In this article, we explain the digital customer experience management methodology used in the enterprise business unit of Proximus. The methodology is firmly based on a thorough definition, measurement and understanding of all our priority digital customer journeys – i.e. the ones that matter most to our customer, the future success of our business.

There’s not a single digital product feature that goes on the development backlog without having passed through our evolving customer experience design process, nine out of ten times involving co-creation with customers. All digital capabilities are launched with the underlying analytics and metrics in place to drive continual digital business optimization afterwards.

The key learnings so far are that it is essential to have dedicated teams for customer journey design and digital experience measurement; and that connecting this new way of working with the old way of working takes repeated and consistent leadership to support.

1.       Delivering superior customer experience

Delivering the Proximus 2017/18 ‘Fit for Growth’ corporate strategy required a focus on radically improving the customer experience and accelerating the business towards becoming a leading digital service provider.


1.1        The customer experience lifecycle model

We defined a detailed customer experience lifecycle model consisting of five main lifecycle stages:

  1. Consider and discover existing Proximus solutions on offer
  2. Find and buy the right solutions
  3. Get ready to use the solution
  4. Use and manage the solution
  5. Cease or renew.


1.2        Prioritizing the customer journey

Within this customer experience lifecycle model, we defined a number of key customer journeys (see picture below). Our Voice of the Customer (VOC) program and customer surveys helped to identify and prioritise three important journeys:

  1. Find, buy, first bill
  2. The support journey
  3. Getting insight in the invoice


1.3        Customer journey mapping and redesign of key touch points

For each of these journeys, a complete customer journey description exists in the form of a sequence of touch points – see picture below. These journeys have been discussed with a customer panel (‘voice of the customer/VOC’ program), and pain points are known and documented.

1.4        Linking customer experience design to drive improvements in NPS

To ensure we were factoring in the reality on the ground, we took into account the extensive feedback from our 60,000 enterprise customers (surveyed at least once per year). See an example below.

2.       The customer-centric design methodology

Fundamentally shifting the organisation to a new way of working is not a walk in the park.  With over 2,000 employees in the Proximus Enterprise Business Unit, we needed a clearly defined and easily understood methodology, and in parallel we engaged everyone in the organisation with a tailored customer experience (CX) training program.

Our Customer-centric design methodology is now making sure that customer experience is an integral part of everything that is developed. See picture below for the different stages in the methodology.

Value proposition

The first, and evident, steps in the methodology are defining the value proposition for the customer, and how this is placed in the overall product portfolio. Once this is understood and agreed by all stakeholders, including the servicing part (SLAs, reactive and proactive care, monitoring, etc.), customer experience design can start.

Customer experience design

Every generic customer journey has an owner. A product manager (wanting to launch a new solution in the market) will work with the journey owners of the generic journeys to come up with a product-specific set of target customer journeys. These journeys are then looked at from a digital customer interaction point of view, and this exercise generates a backlog of digital features to be developed by the various product owners of the impacted online systems, such as the self-care portal and the underlying self-care applications.

Continuous improvement and user adoption

Every new digital feature has a purpose – a value for the customer and/or an internal efficiency saving. These benefits need to be made measureable, and then measured. Those analytics are the foundation to continuously improve the digital customer experience and the customer adoption.

3.       Digital optimization

The mission of the digital customer experience manager is to improve the digital customer experience across relevant customer journeys and touch points.  Our objective is to become a ‘leading digital service provider’ in the eyes of our customers, whereby digital becomes the preferred way for them to interact with us.

We are using a number of KPI’s to track performance and help us to improve.  One of our most effective and simple KPI’s is to monitor how our customers shift channel from incoming calls and mails, towards digital self-service.

The team for continuous improvement of the digital customer experience (or ‘digital optimization’ in short) is being set up, and consists of the roles shown in the picture below.

In Q1 2018, this dedicated team is prioritizing the optimization of following key journeys:

  • The onboarding and use of the new online bill presentment and analysis capability.
  • The registration of existing customers to the MyProximus self-care portal.
  • The support journey, which covers the FAQ/knowledge centre capability, and the downstream request for help if self-help is not possible.

4.       Key learnings so far

The background, culture, digital/CX maturity, and the specific project context in which we operate usually determine the key learnings. Within Proximus, the Enterprise Business Unit is currently going through significant and rapid transformation change across core systems, processes and its’ target operating model. As owners of the ‘digital layer’ – we must bind all these new and disparate underlying systems together.   Not only are we defining the top-level customer experience; we are also designing and surfacing the optimal digital experience and information requirements to meet the needs of our customers.

With this in mind, we pulled out a few key learnings that are worth some consideration:

  • Customer experience design – If done well and presented to internal stakeholders in an easy-to-understand “touch-point design/journey map”, this does help to close the gaps between project teams and departmental silos. It creates a freedom to collaborate and co-create – which was not so prevalent before.
  • Vision – The customer experience design serves to set the right path from the start, ensuring everyone is heading in the same direction and can visualise the future. This moves it beyond words to pictures and key ‘moments of truth’ (that everyone can focus on).
  • Leadership – Support from higher management in the continual promotion and investment in the Customer Experience team is critical. The team needs to embed themselves across all areas of the business. Without the required support from above; it makes it much harder to embed customer-centric thinking across the organisation.
  • People skills – Finding the right people for key profiles: digital user experience (UX), web analytics, personalization, conversion rate optimization and the transformation becomes a whole lot easier. Critical mass is also important, as you bring on more specialists you start to see the network effect and momentum developing.
  • Digital team – And within it, the CX team and Optimisation team – must design, iterate and optimise end to end journeys, cutting right across the business. Therefore, there are many occasions when people “could get confused” as to their role and decision-making remit. Clarity on roles and responsibilities upfront, so that all participants can play their effective part in the transformation is important. For example – is it clear how the following roles all should work together?: Business Owners; Product Managers; Product Owners; Customer Journey Owners; Project Managers.

This article was written in conjunctions with Alastair Birt, Principal Digital Practice, Infosys Consulting.


    About The Author

    Head - Digital Customer Experience, Proximus

    After obtaining his Master in Electro-mechanical engineering and a PhD in micro-electronics design optimization techniques from KU Leuven (Belgium), Francis joined the R&D team of Belgacom (now Proximus) in 1994. As R&D manager, Francis’ main activities were software engineering methodologies and network management system architecture. Some years later, he moved to the technology department of Belgacom as responsible for the network management architecture. As manager of a team of experts, he contributed to the launch of VoIP and digital TV. In 2006, he moved from the technical side to the business side, joining Product Management. He launched the first Belgacom-branded residential home gateway in the market, managed the ICT product catalogue, and redefined the servicing portfolio for the ICT business of Proximus. His current mission is to drastically improve the digital customer experience of Proximus’ professional market customers.

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