Defining a Customer Care Vision at Schneider Electric

Brent Cogswell, Vice President Customer Care Center, Schneider Electric North America, and Zurica D'Souza, Director of Digital Care, Schneider Electric North America, discussed what it takes for a business to develop a successful customer care strategy in their keynote presentation to Argyle's CX membership at the 2016 Customer Experience Leadership Forum: Fall Event in New York on Nov. 2. In their presentation, "Digitizing Customer Care @ Schneider Electric, Transforming How our Customers Are Supported in the Future," Cogswell and D'Souza provided insights into how Schneider revamped its CX strategy and used this plan to define its overall customer care vision.

According to Cogswell, Schneider initially consisted of disparate groups of employees. These siloed departments rarely, if ever, would collaborate, which would make it difficult for Schneider to achieve it CX goals.

Ultimately, Schneider modified its CX strategy and focused on utilizing digital tools and technologies to streamline its customer support. By doing so, the company was better equipped to foster collaboration among departments and ensure employees could work together to help the business accomplish its CX aspirations.

"Digitizing and leveraging technology is a core tenet of our company program. We want to digitize not just for our customers, but also for our employees to enable us to be more efficient so we can improve the customer experience," Cogswell said.

Schneider also remains committed to driving long-lasting partnerships with customers, and as such, is ready to do whatever it can to enhance its customer interactions day after day.

"We've gone from focusing on average handle time to focusing more on relationship and value conversations during each interaction."

Cogswell pointed out Schneider has emphasized revenue growth as part of its CX efforts. This focus has helped the company evaluate the impact of CX and ensure its CX efforts are delivering meaningful business results.

"We've been evolving the way we drive support to not only solve the stated need that a [customer] calls in about but to drive lead and revenue generation," Cogswell stated. "That's delivered quite a bit over the past several years."

Furthermore, Schneider recognizes the importance of CX as a value generation and profit center. As a result, the company is committed to ensuring customers can reap the benefits of superior support, and the business can provide customers with the support they deserve every day.

"We've really changed from a cost center to a value generation and profit center," Cogswell said. "We've gone from focusing on average handle time to focusing more on relationship and value conversations during each interaction."

Innovation remains a top priority for Schneider – something that will continue into the foreseeable future.

As new technologies become available, Schneider will continue to evaluate the impact of these technologies and work with employees and customers to enhance its CX strategy.

Today, self-service represents a key part of Schneider's CX strategy as well.

"When you have a significant channel strategy … you can drive efficiency through any channel if you can move some of those interactions into self-service."

D'Souza said Schneider collects data about its customers and uses this information to tailor its CX strategy to fulfill their needs. Plus, this data enables Schneider to provide value across multiple channels, including self-service.

"The area where you really have the most touchpoints is where you can drive the most value," D'Souza noted.

With self-service, both Schneider and its customers benefit, and for good reason.

Self-service empowers customers to identify and resolve problems on their own. It also enables Schneider to save both time and money that can be reallocated to other areas of its business.

"We drive efficiency through our business with self-service," D'Souza stated. "When you have a significant channel strategy … you can drive efficiency through any channel if you can move some of those interactions into self-service. Then, you can take those additional resources to drive revenue."

Self-service often helps businesses overcome talent gaps as well.

At Schneider, the company was able to implement a self-service platform that enabled the business to automate some of its customer support capabilities. The platform ensured customers could get consistent support for a number of problems without requiring Schneider to attract, hire and retain new customer care staff.

"The talent pool doesn't get built overnight," D'Souza pointed out. "Digital platforms can really step in to automate some of those capabilities."

How a business evaluates its CX strategy in conjunction to its customer care plan may impact the company's short- and long-term success.

If a company is committed to innovation as part of its CX strategy, it may be able to discover unique ways to foster trust with its customers. On the other hand, if a business focuses solely on maintaining customer support as a cost center, this company may struggle to gain ground in a highly competitive global marketplace.


Zurica D’Souza is Director of Digital Care in the Schneider Electric Customer Care Center. She is working to transform the customer engagement experience with the smart use of technology and people, developing intuitive tools that quickly and reliably provide optimal results in the customer’s preferred format. Zurica is a strong promoter for the idea that customer experience must be understood to maximize the effectiveness of digital resources. Her background includes product management, as well as managing the development of a multi-product configuration tool, and her education includes an EE and an MBA.