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The customer relationship, a complex real-time “algorithm”

The customer relationship,
a complex real-time “algorithm”

Frédéric Vieren

Business Developer Merchant Services France

What is CRM and how has it changed the customer experience?

CRM (aka Customer Relationship Management) is principally used to collect customer data in order for a brand to be relevant when it comes to selling products and services. This data gathering, and their use, must of course be performed within the rules set out by the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation). One of the main goals of CRM is to facilitate the customer relationship: gather customer knowledge during each interaction while, at the same time, identifying them in a seamless and integrated manner through their mobile phone number at the call center, for example.

In addition, CRM has clearly changed the customer experience for the better. Indeed, the customer and its preferences are known and recognized through CRM, regardless of the channel. It enables an overall view of the customer path allowing brands and its salespeople to be more relevant in their interactions with customers.


What are the new challenges linked to CRM?

Customers are increasingly more demanding towards brands and active on every type of channel in terms of research and purchases. Additionally, a growing number of them starts their purchase on their mobile and finishes it either on the brand’s website or directly in one of its stores. Brands must therefore offer their customers a seamless, consistent and personalized experience. This consistency between the different channels must also take into account the real-time dimension.


How does Worldline operate on the market in regards to these challenges and for what type of clients?

Worldline is the expert in transactions and real-time which enables us to offer our clients solutions and services perfectly adapted to the complex context mentioned before. In addition, our expertise allows us to adapt our solutions for all types of client and market.

For example, we offer a loyalty solution to a major French supermarket chain, Groupe Intermarché, covering all their different brands, both physical and digital. Our platform enables this client to not only dispatch personalized promotions but also to manage and process large quantities of data across its European footprint.

We also provide McDonald’s France with an API platform which is capable of managing both the online ordering process and the data collection linked to these orders. The ultimate goal is to pilot targeted campaigns thanks to an interconnection with CRM. Additionally, the seamless integration of a digital wallet further simplified the ordering process. (To learn more about APIs and discover our expertise on this trending topic, read our article “Shifting to an API economy”.)

Finally, we just announced the launch of TOTAL eWallet, a 100% digital and connected solution developed for Total, effectively putting in place an at-the-pump payment system powered, in parts, by a digital wallet integrated in the Group’s app. Cards will be digitized within said app which will activate itself automatically as soon as customers arrive at the gas station, thanks to geolocalization. Customers will then just have to indicate their chosen pump, the needed fuel quantity and type in the app. Our platform will transfer this data in real-time to the Point-of-Sale in order for them activate the chosen pump and enable customers to fill up their tank.


Which CRM strategy should be put in place in order to improve the customer experience?

First of all, the customer experience’s consistency is crucial and can only be achieved through systems’ integration by means of a digital platform implementation notably. Besides, we are seeing an increase in demand for API systems from our clients in order to unify their channels and offer their customers personalized and relevant information on an ongoing basis and in near real-time.


How do you see CRM evolving in the future?

In my opinion, the first major evolution, which has already started, will be the capacity to be on each and every channel. Chatbots perfectly illustrate this; brands have to be where their customers are. One of the two most globally used chatbots at the moment is the Subway one, which is integrated in Facebook Messenger. It enables the remote ordering of sandwiches coupled with pick-up at your preferred Subway location. The second major evolution will be the necessity for brands to conduct a personalized conversation with their customers, similar to the one they could have with a sales person in a physical store, without being intrusive. Brands will therefore need to use artificial intelligence in order to identify, understand and answer their customers’ expectations.