The more you invest in technology the more you have to invest in human beings – Interview with Arnaud de Lacoste

Human capital

Today’s interview is with Arnaud de Lacoste, Chief Marketing Officer of Sitel and Founding Partner of Group Acticall, a world leading provider of customer experience management & business process outsourcing solutions. Arnaud joins me today to talk about data, big and small, causation and correlation, the use of AI, the impact on insight and what brands should be doing to better connect with their customers.

This interview follows on from my recent interview – The Future Of Work, Workforce Experience and Being Digital – Interview with Erica Volini – and is number 242 in the series of interviews with authors and business leaders that are doing great things, providing valuable insights, helping businesses innovate and delivering great service and experience to both their customers and their employees.

Highlights from my conversation with Arnaud:

  • Data is becoming a form of social currency between brands and consumers.
  • With the advent and use of big data, we are now entering the age of context, where brands are better able to deliver contextual and meaningful value add experiences to their customers.
  • There is a risk that marketers get the idea of causation and correlation mixed up when analysing data.
  • We are at the beginning of this new age and in the coming 2 years we will see a lot more maturity when its comes to the handling and analysis of data.
  • However, there are still some outstanding issues that need to be addressed surrounding issues like privacy and security.
  • Data leaks will cause consumers to question how and if they want to share their data with brands.
  • Consumers will start to realise that their data can be used in both good and bad ways but also that their data has a value.
  • And, we will see more and more governments creating legislation to protect their people and their data.
  • In this context we could start to see companies doing more to build trust with their consumers and adopt a duty of care around how they operate.
  • Increasingly, we will see brands having to expose what they know about their customers to their customers in terms of the data that they hold on them.
  • And, that will start to empower customers to start to choose what data brands can keep and what they can’t and should clean from their databases.
  • Right now data is a kind of ‘black box’ and brands will have to start to explain what data they have and how they are using it.
  • Arnaud cites Capital One’s Second Look, which monitors spending on a customers card and alerts them by email or via their app if there is a possible mistake or aberration in their spending patterns, as an exemplar initiative.
  • The more data you give to your employees the more digitally fluent they need to be in terms of the service that they deliver and whether the customer will deem that acceptable or not.
  • There are many in Silicon Valley who believe that we are beyond an age of privacy and much of the data issue is a non-issue. Arnaud disagrees and believes that privacy still belongs to us.
  • There is a need for training both of customers and employees on what is the best way to deal with data and privacy.
  • We don’t really understand our service or experience until the extreme cases happen.
  • We are all talking about big data, AI and other technologies right now but humans matter more.
  • The more you invest in technology the more you have to invest in human beings.
  • Many people are talking about the death of the contact centre, with the advent of these new and advanced technologies, but Arnaud’s vision is the total opposite of that.
  • We are not at the stage where technology will replace human beings but rather we are in an age of collaboration between humans and technology.
  • The key word when we talk about AI should be accuracy and we are not really there yet.
  • Right now AI is working quite well for low accuracy projects.
  • If you are thinking about launching an AI project that requires high accuracy then you need to be careful about managing your expectations.
  • Arnaud wrote a book recently: Le seigneur des robots : Et si l’intelligence artificielle nous rendait plus humains? (Lord Of The Robots) around all of these issues. For all of you non-French speakers, don’t worry but watch this space as it will translated into English in the coming month.
  • AI’s role is not to destroy jobs, it will enhance us.
  • Wow service/experience for Arnaud is all about proactivity. If you want to delight your customer, being reactive is no longer enough.
  • Check out the work of Sitel here and Acticall here.

About Arnaud

Arnaud de LacosteArnaud de Lacoste assumed the newly-created role of Chief Marketing Officer in January 2016 in the new combined organization that is Acticall and Sitel as they continue their commitment to reshaping the Customer Experience Management industry for the future and to transforming the industry.

As a founding partner and shareholder of Group Acticall, Arnaud de Lacoste assumed this role of Chief Marketing Officer to focus on enhancing the global marketing of the organization and designing a robust marketing strategy.

Prior to the acquisition of Sitel by Group Acticall in September 2015, he had founded over 20 years ago the French start-up company Acticall with his two partners in France: Laurent Uberti and Olivier Camino. He held the position of Chief Marketing Officer and has been instrumental in the development of Group Acticall’s business and in designing an efficient and consistent marketing strategy.

Mr de Lacoste is a graduate of SKEMA Business School Sophia Antipolis in France where he met his two founding partners.

Find out more about Sitel here and Acticall here, say Hi on Twitter to Sitel, Acticall and Arnaud on Twitter @Sitel_WorldWide, @acticall and @arnaud_delacost and connect with Arnaud on LinkedIn here.

Thanks to Pixabay for the image.

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