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Retail & Commerce

Retail Trends to Look Out for This Holiday Season

With Black Friday around the corner, retailers are busy preparing for a holiday season unlike any other. This is the time of year when sales soar and at any given moment, you can expect crowded malls, long lines at the department store register, and Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas” following you from store to store. But what we can expect to see this season is a lot different than last. This year we anticipate that many in-store shoppers will be checking off their wish lists from the convenience and safety of their homes. Last holiday season, the retail sector pulled in an estimated 729.3 billion dollars in the U.S., contributing to the industry’s 5.5 trillion in total sales for the year. In 2019, holiday ecommerce sales grew at a rate higher than that of total retail sales. In fact, Cyber Monday 2019 became the biggest online shopping day in U.S. history, hitting record online sales of over 9.4 billion dollars. And this year it’s projected that ecommerce sales as a percentage of total holiday shopping will significantly increase compared to the previous year.  Even with the growing popularity of online shopping, many consumers still prefer the traditional brick-and-mortar retail experience. With stay-at-home advisories and social distancing protocols in place, retailers are exploring ways to meet the touchless needs of their customers both online and in-store. Let’s take a look at these five contactless solutions you can expect to see this holiday season. More mobile ecommerce Mobile retail sales over the next two months are projected to amount to 71.3 billion U.S. dollars, accounting for a significant share of holiday season retail ecommerce sales according to Statica. Retailers who’ve invested in a mobile application are steps ahead of their competitors in preparing for the future of touchless retail. Brands that focus on mobile engagement and drive customers towards their mobile apps will unlock additional business opportunities, such as push notifications, app-only discounts, loyalty programs, as well as mobile check-ins for customer support. Frictionless in-store experiences Just as important, customer-centric brands are empowering in-store employees with mobile capabilities that will allow them to better serve the customer. With ecommerce the center focus this season, customer-facing personnel should be able to view and honor the same promotions and offers presented to customers online to ensure a consistent and personalized experience. Brands should consider solutions that will allow them to assist shoppers without them having to wait in lines or even visit a register. At leading retailers, like Walmart, Apple, Nike, and Walgreens, customers can check out on the floor with a store associate using their mobile wallet, self check-out using their phone and mobile wallet, scan desired products for more information using their phone’s camera, and use a brand’s mobile app to redeem rewards and offers in-store. Loyalty programs and subscription services As app-based digital-first services become the norm, brands should encourage customers to join their loyalty program. Offering a contactless way to scan for in-store point collection and reward redemption through mobile or app-based loyalty cards will help brands bridge the gap between online and offline activities. By gathering insights into the purchasing behavior of your most loyal customers, loyalty programs can help brands better understand their customers, identify cross-sell opportunities, and deliver more personalized experiences. Offering a subscription service for frequently purchased items is another great way for retailers to drive brand loyalty and appeal to customers trying to minimize return trips to the store. Omnichannel fulfillment capabilities Critical at this time is the ability to offer your customers contactless payment and fulfillment options. Services like buy online, pick up in-store, and curbside delivery offer both security and convenience. Brands that haven’t implemented these capabilities should consider adding these services to remain competitive in today’s new marketplace. Agile service solutions With the rise of online orders and home deliveries, it’s important that your customers have access to the information they need to proceed with their purchase with full confidence. This is important for customers choosing to do their holiday shopping online for the first time this year. Including a knowledge base on your website that’s easy to manage will not only help shoppers along their journeys but make it easier for you to deliver new policies and updated safety protocols during these turbulent times. And if a customer experiences an issue with their online purchase, providing shoppers with a quick and painless way to reach your customer service team and manage their order is paramount to repeat business. Conclusion Today’s leading brands are reinventing themselves for the connected consumer by adopting new technologies such as virtual in-store experiences and more self-service options. While maintaining the health and safety of associates and customers remains priority number one, these trends indicate the shift towards touchless retail might outlast the pandemic for reasons beyond public safety. Touchless retail solutions offer shoppers trust, comfort, and more immersive experiences that make in-store shopping smarter, safer, and more enjoyable. Learn how you can embrace touchless technology here.  Click here to discover Oracle CX for Retail and Consumer Goods in a quick tour.  

With Black Friday around the corner, retailers are busy preparing for a holiday season unlike any other. This is the time of year when sales soar and at any given moment, you can expect crowded malls,...

Retail & Commerce

The Secret to How Startups Scale and Customers Innovate

Integration Spotlight: Snap Vision and Oracle CX Commerce One perk of being a startup that works with Oracle is the ability to integrate with Oracle Cloud solutions, specifically application suites like Customer Experience (CX), Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), and Human Capital Management (HCM). When a startup builds on top of our cloud solutions, that integration complements Oracle’s cloud offering, enhancing capabilities for our global customers while providing the startup scale and exposure. “Oracle offers a huge variety of products and services, so it can offer technology and industry expertise in whatever market a startup might be targeting,” said Doug Henschen, Principal Analyst at Constellation Research. “Oracle also has a huge base of customers around the world, so Oracle can help open doors that startups would have trouble opening on their own.” Many of the startups who are part of Oracle for Startups already have integrations with our Oracle Cloud Applications and are part of the Oracle Cloud Marketplace.  Let’s examine one of these fast-growing startups and its integration with Oracle CX Commerce. Snap Vision: World-class visual search and commerce for retailers and publishers Snap Vision is an AI-based visual search platform that can take any image and match that image to similar products available to buy online. Say, for example, you’re flipping through Vogue or Marie Claire and see a must-have item. Or you’re on a retailer’s website and the item you love is out of stock in your size. With one tap of a button, Snap Vision finds you something similar. As you might imagine, the use cases for retailers and publishers are plentiful.    It’s that versatility that attracted a huge amount of interest from some of the biggest names in retail and publishing. Snap Vision says customers are seeing impressive results, including more than a 100% increase in time spent online and a 33% increase in conversion rates.  To help them deliver those results, Snap Vision migrated to Oracle Cloud infrastructure after joining the Oracle for Startups program, noting a 40% cost savings and 5X faster deployment.   “When you’re a search engine, every millisecond counts,” said Jenny Griffiths, CEO, and Founder of Snap Vision. “OCI allowed us to push our boundaries and accomplish things we didn’t think were possible.” With a solid infrastructure in place, Griffiths turned her attention to how her unique AI solution could integrate and complement Oracle’s CX applications and deliver more value to Oracle’s retail and commerce customers.   The integration: What, why, and how The integration was essentially a three-step process: Map out the integration, build it, and then take it to market. The goal was to develop an extension of Oracle CX Commerce that gave users a stand-alone element that could be easily added to the Product Details Widget layout. The stand-alone element utilizes product information to conduct a visual search on the Snap Vision API and then displays the results as similar products based on the shape, color, and texture.   “The integration increases product discoverability and conversion rates,” said Neil McHugh, Senior Product Manager at Oracle CX ISV. “Snap Vision’s technology can showcase similar or alternative products, giving consumers the content they really want to see and engage with, resulting in 33% higher conversion rates.” From planning to publishing, the integration process took approximately six weeks to complete, and breaks down into four main phases: Mapping and planning: Snap Vision engaged with the Oracle CX ISV team, which is the team within CX Product Management that works with new and existing ISV and startup partners, to bring integrations to the Oracle CX platform.    Solution proposal: A standard solution proposal was crafted, outlining the use cases and high-level technical aspects of an integration of Snap Vision’s technology into Oracle CX Commerce.   Vetting and refinement: The solution proposal was then vetted and refined through collaboration with Snap Vision, the CX ISV team, and Inbound Product Management for Oracle CX Commerce.   Development and publishing: Once the solution proposal was completed and vetted, a development environment was provided and the integration was completed. The technology was then published in the Oracle Cloud Marketplace.  The benefits: How Snap Vision, Oracle, and our customers win Snap Vision works with Oracle for Startups and Oracle ISV on go-to-market strategies and other activities to help evangelize their solution and the benefits of using Snap Vision with Oracle CX Commerce. For Oracle, these integrations enhance and complement our products, which benefit our global customers. “Working with partners, especially cutting-edge startups, allows us to continually deliver solutions and innovations to our global customers,” said Katrina Gosek, VP of CX Product Strategy. “The Snap Vision integration will help our customers embrace digital commerce in a new and engaging manner.” For startups, these integrations provide an awareness, reach, and scale they couldn’t otherwise achieve on their own. “The partnership with Oracle gives us a reach and credibility that helps us scale our business,” said Griffiths. “We’re leading in the visual search space and this integration will allow Oracle customers to drive better customer experiences and increase revenue.” Interested in learning more about how Oracle is working with startups and vice versa? Check out Oracle for Startups.

Integration Spotlight: Snap Vision and Oracle CX Commerce One perk of being a startup that works with Oracle is the ability to integrate with Oracle Cloud solutions, specifically application suites...

Customer Experience Strategy

Personalized Services vs. Personalized Marketing: Which One Converts More Customers into Brand Evangelists?

There is nothing more powerful—and useful for your brand—than converting your customers into brand evangelists. These are customers who will take every opportunity to recommend your business to their friends, families, business partners, tennis coach, and anyone else who will listen. Unfortunately, the process of creating such evangelists has long been something of a mystery. In the absence of a clear plan, many digital marketers have become overly reliant on incorrectly received wisdom. They’ve known for a long time, for instance, that digital marketing increases online engagement and that marketing automation makes this process even more efficient. Yet, recent research indicates personalized content marketing—on its own—is less effective than we might think for creating brand evangelists. Instead, it appears, personalized service is what counts: providing a unique, relevant experience for each customer. These systems can be implemented via an automated segmentation system, or simply through motivated customer advisors, but they all aim at the same thing – making sure that each customer gets exactly what they want from your organization. In this article, we'll take a look at this research and think about what it means for companies looking to create brand evangelists. Personalized service vs. personalized marketing Take a quick look through recent research on personalization in marketing, and you'll immediately spot a slightly curious trend: Customers seem to be responding to personalized marketing.  The recent Gladly 2020 Customer Expectations Report gives a more nuanced picture. In this survey, 79% of respondents said that personalized service is more important than personalized marketing. In other words, personalized ads are still important, but their impact is minuscule compared to the personalization of services. If "personalized service" is a new concept for you, this insight might need a little extra explanation. Think of it like this: once upon a time, cookies revolutionized online marketing. They allowed brands to offer highly personalized online experiences to all of their visitors. Today's data acquisition systems allow the same level of personalization to be offered throughout the marketing, purchasing, and nurturing lifecycles. To see how this works in practice, it's worth going back to basics. In the early days of content personalization, brands would use data analytics platforms—typically deployed on their websites—in order to gather key information on their potential customers. These customers were then "segmented" into "personas," which described their typical behavior and which products they were likely to buy.  Until recently, the primary use of these personas involved sending customers personalized emails or showing them personalized social media ads. The challenge today is to extend this level of personalization to customer service itself. Based on their persona, different customers may be offered a radically different experience.  For instance, how customers shop varies hugely between people. Some customers prefer to browse and compare many items before making a purchase, while others rely on expert recommendations. The type of site that converts the former persona will be radically different from the one that is effective for the latter, and brands should therefore offer each a different site to meet both groups' needs. There are many examples of this level of service personalization. It’s no secret that preferred payment methods vary by persona and that brands should therefore offer varied, easy ways to accept payments, which should be tailored to the known preferences of individual customers. Lifelong relationships The same Gladly report as cited earlier goes on to give further details of what personalized experience means in practice and how brands can work toward it. In the process of doing so, this research directly challenges some of the axioms of digital marketing that have come to be unquestionable. For instance, brands only have mere seconds to make this first impression. However, recent research revealed that our long-term relationships with brands are also important in generating sales. In other words, first impressions remain important in encouraging new customers to make their first purchase, but it is a quality, personalized service that will turn these customers into evangelists for your brand.  Above all, this means ensuring that every interaction you have with your customers is professional, efficient, and effective. Research indicates that 72% of people will switch brands after just one or two bad experiences, after all. In terms of your approach to customer service, this insight indicates the importance of treating every customer as an individual. From the perspective of your customer service software—and maybe even from your customer service agents' perspective—it may seem that every interaction with a customer is a discrete event. However, this is not how the customer sees it. For them, every interaction they have with your brand is part of an ongoing, developing relationship, and they will remember the aggregate impression of these interactions far more clearly than you will. In practice, this means smart brands will spend more time with each customer to offer the level of personalized service their customers expect. That might sound expensive, but don't worry. Research also shows that eighty-four percent of customers will “go out of their way” to spend more money to get a great experience. Creating evangelists Spending the time to understand your customers—and tailor their experience to their individual needs—may dramatically improve your business's profitability.  This is because the old ways of generating customers are still the most effective. While there are certainly benefits to marketing automation, the “traditional” ways of generating sales still provide the best ROI for most businesses. As an example, email marketing has an average ROI of 4300%, far outperforming more "sophisticated" forms of advertising. For most brands, achieving this level of personalized experience requires a combination of different approaches. Ensure that you hire well-trained employees who can understand your customers and keep them motivated. Invest in a software system that allows you to track interactions with your customers across multiple channels. Above all, take the time to research your customers' personas, and understand their needs. Marketing is just one integral part of CX If there is one key takeaway from this recent research, it's that content marketing might not be as important as you think. While it's certainly crucial to reach out to your customers with content that is relevant and inspiring for them if you want them to recommend your company, it’s also important to apply the same level of insight, and the same level of care, to every interaction they have with your business. Discover how Oracle CX can help turn your customers into brand evangelists.  

There is nothing more powerful—and useful for your brand—than converting your customers into brand evangelists. These are customers who will take every opportunity to recommend your business to their...

Customer Experience Technology

The Rising Importance of Visual Engagement During COVID-19

As the world continues to grapple with the global pandemic and social distancing guidelines, companies of all sizes are identifying innovative ways to keep their employees, customer service representatives, and end-users seamlessly connected to ensure business continuity and growth.  As a result, there’s been a rapid shift in mindset among business leaders across industries, emphasizing the need to expand remote collaboration, ensure contactless delivery of services, and reduce physical presence at local banks, offices, and stores. A vast majority of companies are looking to adopt visual engagement solutions that not only enable modern real-time digital and visual engagement with high-efficiency at low cost, but also retain that seamless omnichannel customer experience. What is Visual Engagement? Visual Engagement is a powerful real-time collaboration concept that combines video, co-browsing, screen sharing, and/or screen annotations experiences. The augmentation of visual channels to a customer experience (CX) platform enables agents to drive personalized, precise, and rapid problem resolution with end-users. Let’s explore various industry use cases that are driving the need for remote collaboration using Visual Engagement tools and how Oracle Cloud CX addresses this market demand. Industry drivers for visual engagement initiatives In the financial services sector, many banking firms are now keen to transition to processes that let them verify their customers through facial ID verification software. Once verified, banks can provide invaluable services and complete transactions for customers using video, screen sharing, and e-signature. Banks see this as an important measure to prevent health risks for both employees and customers. This enables the banks to remotely and visually assist with account registration, loan applications, wealth management, portfolio guidance, retirement plan rollovers, home or group lending plans, and funds transfers while ensuring security and compliance for all shared content.  In the retail industry, stores and online retailers are striving to maximize remote support to prospective buyers, and remote support to customers for the assessment of damaged goods or for the return of merchandise. Thankfully, these online services can be executed effectively through the combination of video and screen sharing too, enabling visual assistance and quicker inventory walk-through. The end goal? To ultimately limit the need to physically visit the stores and encourage in-home delivery or curbside pickup. In the high-tech and manufacturing industries, customers often need remote support for electronics repairs. Additionally, field technicians are frequently required to visit sites to perform complex diagnostics and repairs for high-tech machinery and large equipment. For field technicians, particularly, reducing service time at the remote site is imperative during COVID-19. The good news is that remote support for customers and field technicians can efficiently be handled by in-house agents through video. Using powerful tools like visual annotations to pinpoint problems over video and drive faster diagnostics limits exposure and reduces overall service time and cost. In the healthcare industry, demand for telehealth soared during the pandemic. Patients now frequently exercise the option to schedule video appointments with healthcare service providers and doctors, using visual engagement methods to discuss questions on prescriptions or medical reports. In the public sector, state and local agencies now actively provide residents of local municipalities with online mental health services during the pandemic to manage stress and anxiety, provide social security services, resolve home or office space concerns, and process online applications for funds from unemployment claims. Visual engagement can play a vital role in providing remote support for these critical needs. And finally, as is already widely reported in response to COVID-19, most companies are facilitating virtual employee communication and collaboration through online meetings, video, and chat without the need to aggregate at the physical workplace, and serving as an effective replacement to the physical conference room. Oracle Cloud CX empowers digital and visual engagement Oracle CX’s modern real-time digital and visual engagement solutions not only enable powerful remote collaboration with consumers but also quicker agent-to-agent and agent-to-supervisor communication. As part of Oracle CX’s omnichannel suite, these solutions provide a unified, seamless, and connected experience, and ensure that service and sales engagements are personalized and precise, helping companies navigate and adapt to the new normal.

As the world continues to grapple with the global pandemic and social distancing guidelines, companies of all sizes are identifying innovative ways to keep their employees, customer service...

Customer Experience Strategy

The Subscription Model: The Way Forward for Every Business

The subscription economy, consisting of the recurring payment for products or services, has been around for ages and is more prevalent now than ever before. When we talk about subscription, what may come to mind is online streaming, newspapers, cable service, and our milkman. The subscription model is not limited to retail or media. It’s used to drive revenues across many different industries. If your organization uses a traditional one-off purchase model, it's time to evaluate the benefits of recurring subscription models. What makes subscription services a successful and thriving model is how it can be adopted by any business to create connections with customers. Salient features of subscription models  Smart brands appreciate the many features of subscription models, such as: Sustainability: Subscription models give the organization a steady volume of recurring revenue, which helps management plan into the future with a certain level of confidence. The sustained relationship with the customer gives organizations an edge in understanding their customers' needs and behaviors and consequently allows them to serve their customers better and form deeper bonds. Scalability: Armed with a better understanding of their customers and the ability to accurately predict customer lifetime value, organizations can upsell and cross-sell with a higher success rate. Subscription models provide organizations the right data to gauge customer interest for new offerings and new price models.  Convenience: Subscription models give customers greater control over what they use, altering their service plans as needed, and choosing the desired offerings from a wide variety of options.  Challenges subscription models face The subscription model's inherent flexibility brings with itself complex challenges that organizations should plan for while deciding on the scope and features of their offerings.  Customer experience: Customer inclination towards subscription can be partly attributed to its flexibility in browsing the various plans, selecting what fits them best, and personalizing the offerings. To continuously maintain a premium customer experience can prove a daunting task.  Revenue management: As the service offering moves from one-off transactions to recurring and consumption-based transactions, accurate billing challenges increase. Different rates for different tiers of usage, overage fees, and custom plans make tracking and billing difficult to manage with outdated billing systems or spreadsheets.  Contract management: Subscriptions can be renewed, suspended, and amended by customers at any time during the billing cycle for a particular product, service, or for the entire subscription. These changes must be incorporated in your billing and revenue recognition solutions.  Finding the right technology partner  Subscription models impact customer-facing systems, billing solutions, invoicing, and order fulfillment systems. This calls for a shift in how customer lifetime value is identified, and what parameters should be tracked to define business success. The technology systems in place to handle subscriptions must provide complete sales information to billing support by assisting in:  Customer experience: A self-service solution where the customer can easily select and start subscriptions, modify products, term, and frequency, and upgrade & after subscription easily in one place is needed. Organizations should be able to check on usage and performance of different offerings and determine the lifetime value of customer Revenue management: Complete control of your billing and revenue recognition by having an automated invoice creation mechanism and consolidated revenue recognition. The system should be capable of handling the complex pricing logistics of subscriptions. Organizations need easy access to reports on recurring and consumption billing to have better control over revenue. Contract management: Amendments, renewals, and suspension logic are enabled in the system to allow flexibility to customers. Automated renewal creation capability ensures that no revenue is lost and the sales rep’s time is not consumed in looking for working for direct renewals. The system must allow organizations to view pending contracts and review current subscriptions. Conclusion Subscriptions have seen continuous revenue growth in recent years and have stood the test of the recent COVID-19 crisis. While choosing the right subscription model, organizations must be mindful of: • The customer-centricity and experience of the offering • The financial impact of price flexibility and billing complexity • Having the right technology ecosystem in place to support creation to fulfillment flow Organizations require a partner that understands the complexity of moving from an ownership model to subscriptions. Learn more about Oracle’s subscription management solution here.

The subscription economy, consisting of the recurring payment for products or services, has been around for ages and is more prevalent now than ever before. When we talk about subscription, what may...

Sales

Why Your Rep Needs the New CX Sales Mobile Application

Recently, Oracle partnered with Denis Pombriant, founder of Beagle Research Group and prominent CRM analyst, to unearth the perspective of more than 500 sellers in the U.S. 90% of those sellers reported that parts of their jobs take longer than they should, and one of the top culprits was entering notes in their CRM. The respondents also let us know that they take sales calls in very unlikely places, and because of that, they need tools which support them: On vacation (50%) At the dinner table (40%) At a social event (33%) In the bathroom (30%) At the gym (24%) On a date (16%) If sales reps’ top complaint is that entering notes in the CRM takes too long and that they are virtually all over the place while doing their job, it sounds as if they need a robust mobile application to support them —an intuitive mobile application that enables them to make CRM updates in fewer clicks.    Introducing the Oracle CX Sales next-generation mobile application: Oracle CX Sales Mobile is built in our new Redwood User Experience designed to boost productivity. It’s now available for all CX Sales customers to adopt, free of charge, so all users can update records instantly. Here are just a few of the enhancements making that possible: Signing into the mobile app is a breeze utilizing face or touch ID. At sign-in, sellers are welcomed each day with a daily sales briefing pointing them to the tasks, opportunities, and appointments that need their attention the most. By leveraging saved search history and actionable infolets across web and mobile, sales reps can get to what they need faster and take embedded actions.    Native device integrations with camera, notes, and contact lists make it simpler than ever to add contacts, notes, and upload files to CX Sales, like scanning a business card or importing notes taken while on a sales call in the bathroom. The opportunities are endless. For those of our customers currently leveraging the Oracle CX Cloud Mobile application, we’ve ensured that moving to Oracle CX Sales Mobile will be an easy transition by providing you a mobile migration assistant to move your customizations over.   To get started, we recommend watching our Best Practices Session: Getting Started on CX Sales Mobile. Additional Resources: CX Sales Mobile Implementation Guide  CX Sales Mobile on Cloud Readiness Doc  CX Sales Mobile App Feature Kit

Recently, Oracle partnered with Denis Pombriant, founder of Beagle Research Group and prominent CRM analyst, to unearth the perspective of more than 500 sellers in the U.S. 90% of those sellers...

Customer Experience Technology

Vodafone, Oracle, and Accenture Explore How to Innovate, Engage, and Transform for the Experience Economy

This is a syndicated post; view the original post here. This discussion gives an operator, system integrator, and vendor perspective on where we are headed and what needs to happen to speed innovation and revenue in a bold new digital world full of opportunities and challenges. In case you missed our recent webcast, luminaries from Vodafone, Accenture, and Oracle discussed challenges and opportunities presented by 5G, emerging multiparty business models, and competitive disruption from webscale companies. Jason Rutherford, senior vice president, and general manager of Oracle Communications, Applications, led the discussion about IT and operational agility. He explored what CSPs need to rapidly launch and monetize services while simultaneously ensuring agents and customers get the best customer experience possible over any channel, any time. IT and operational agility are top of mind for Vodafone’s Carlos Valero, IT strategy and architecture director, who offered insight into “Tech 2025 Transformation,” an ambitious strategy for evolution from being a traditional telco to a “technology communications company” — every aspect of which will be viewed through the lens of data-driven, cloud-enabled Digital Experiences. The goal is to bring B2B and B2C customers new ways of working and engaging through scalable platforms and digital-first products and services that span all channels and to become a platform company with the scale to be a true global player. Both Jason and Carlos agreed that interoperability requires a big push to the cloud, as well as open APIs and standards. Both discussed Vodafone’s move toward Oracle Cloud Infrastructure and the collaborative work they are doing around Open APIs and Open Digital Architecture (ODA) as part of the upcoming TM Forum Business Operations Systems Catalyst. There’s no question that interoperability is a major focus as operators move apps to the cloud, a compelling trend evidenced by Carlos' prediction that approximately 80 to 90 percent of Vodafone’s apps will exist in a public or private cloud, with 60 percent of that total predicted to be cloud-native by 2025. This marks an aggressive move to drive its core business beyond connectivity and toward the full potential of 5G and the IoT.   As CSPs push beyond traditional industry boundaries, they will have to find ways to fully capitalize on the troves of customer data often trapped in silos across their IT infrastructure. They will have to decouple systems of record from the experience in order to increase agility and interoperability. For too long, innovations in customer experience have been hampered by the mission-critical applications that handle everything from charging for services to fulfilling orders, billing, and other revenue-dependent tasks. During the webcast, Jason gave a closer look at Digital Experience for Communications, explaining in detail how a cloud solution can free CSPs to decouple the experience layer from mission-critical systems of record to more rapidly innovate and speed time to innovation and revenue. In fact, the solution demonstrates how a cloud solution can bring CSPs the best of both worlds—verticalized/telecom-specific customer experience management on top of Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (and all that comes with it like autonomous services, integrated security, and serverless compute), not to mention leading data platforms and cloud applications. Unlike other solutions that offer only a portion of the stack, the API-first, ODA-standard architecture gives operators the flexibility to build and operate either their entire business or portions of their business on a cloud platform, bringing them the ultimate in flexibility, operational excellence, efficiency, and reduced costs. And as Jason called out in the conversation, Digital Experience for Communications was architected by the same person who built Netflix’s Emmy-award winning recommendation capabilities, Pritham Shetty—now a group VP of CX industry solutions for Oracle. Pritham and his team designed the solution to be agile and easy to use through certified open APIs that enable the experience layer to be decoupled from the systems of record. In fact, he noted Oracle has the number-one position on the TM Forum leaderboard for certified open APIs. The consequent interoperability and agility mean the experience layer can be decoupled from the systems of record so that CSPs can tailor new agent desktop experiences, new digital assistants, and AI-based recommendations without the traditional constraints of underlying mission-critical systems. This is critical as CSPs increasingly compete with webscale and over-the-top competitors that can rapidly roll out new experiences, hence disrupting operators’ revenue streams and profit margins. Additionally, this interoperability and flexibility provide a path to transformation, as described in the webcast by Oracle’s Siebel expert George Jacob, group vice president, CRM apps.  He explained how Siebel customers can keep what they have without a rebuild and instead layer on new CX innovations in specific apps, cloud-ready interaction channels, big data, and machine learning. For example, starting with Siebel as the customer master (or, in the front office, the product catalog and order master), adding different aspects of Digital Experience for Communications’ “Launch,” starting with the product catalog to speed product offer processes, then moving on to “Care” and then to “Omnichannel” for end-to-end order management (see sidebar, below). That frictionless evolution is largely due to the use of standard data models for cleansing and normalizing customer-, product-, audit- and asset data. The data integrity and consistency of DX4C translates into best-in-class intelligence, helping CSPs proactively assess the lifetime value of customers, drilling down to see which ones will likely renew or churn, and assessing what types of customer engagement will make sense at different points in each customer’s journey. Additionally, it allows for customer segmentation and sophisticated CX algorithms that help CSPs further drill into data for more specific, highly targeted campaigns that provide contextual customer engagement and interaction.  This type of personalized engagement will be increasingly important, according to Accenture managing director Andrea Cesarini, who explained during the webcast that our “new normal” has been an accelerator to the need for a “new currency” of combined customer experience + resilience + trust. As he explained, COVID-19 has pushed the adoption of digital channels and consolidated 10 years of transformation into six months, forever changing customers’ lives and perceptions. Andrea believes telcos are in a very good position, citing the strong correlation between technology and this new currency as operators invest in 5G, fiber, and the IoT. With the power of the cloud, CSPs will rapidly adjust to accommodate the needs of evolving customer expectations today while ensuring they have the agility and scale they need for what’s to come tomorrow. Visit our new Digital Experience for Communications website to learn about Oracle Digital Experience for Communications and how it enables service providers to deliver relevant and personalized offers, service packages, and care using in-depth knowledge of each customer’s unique buying behaviors and preferences. Feel free to contact us at oraclecomms_ww@oracle.com.

This is a syndicated post; view the original post here. This discussion gives an operator, system integrator, and vendor perspective on where we are headed and what needs to happen to speed innovation...

Customer Experience Technology

Communications Service Providers: 11 Simple Steps to Releasing a New Offer

Oracle’s innovative Digital Experience for Communications solution provides state-of-the-art capabilities to help marketing and product managers easily create, modify, clone, launch, and retire offers.  All types of offers comprised of simple and complex bundles can be created within minutes enforcing rules and terms. You can now launch new offers to market within days vs. the several weeks or months it typically takes today. Discover how you can quickly review, clone, modify, and publish an existing offer in just 11 steps by following a simple guided procedure: Step 1 - Browse available offers The first step in ideation is to make sure you know what offers are currently in the market and see how they’re performing. The most efficient way to do this is to have one source of truth to review each offer's status and performance and see how they stack up against each other. Here’s an example of a dashboard view that enables this kind of discovery:   Step 2 – Select the offer that closely matches your needs Once you’ve got a good overview to reference, drill down to view details of any specific existing offer and get even further into its composition and performance.  The more you know about what works and doesn’t work, the more successful your future offers are sure to be! Step 3 – Review the selected offer It’s important to note at this stage, an offer can have multiple components, such as device and service bundles, and that each of those bundles might have several sub-components.  For example, a device bundle can have different phone models, and a service plan can have talk and text, data plans, streaming options, and more.  You can view pricing, terms, and eligibility rules as you drill down into the offer details at a granular level. Step 4 – Clone the offer If your existing offer has all or most of the required characteristics you want in your new offer, you can simply clone it and then modify it to create a new offer for launch to market. This eliminates the work that goes into building a new offer from the ground up- it’s just the click of a button within the existing offer.  Step 5 – Modify bundle details Now that you’ve successfully cloned the old offer, you still need to update and modify it with the new details.  Through a guided procedure, you can easily retain or update existing bundles and plans and add or modify bundle components as necessary. Step 6 – Modify bundle components Throughout this process, you’ll have access to a single master catalog that conveniently lists all the offer components available to your offer model. That means you can delete components that didn’t serve customers well or may not be relevant anymore or add new ones that will help increase the offer's value. Step 7 – Revise pricing Pricing is a key component to your offer's success, and there are multiple applications of pricing to consider.   You can update the pricing of any offer component in one place, whether it’s one time and/or recurring charges, usage-based consumption, or a combination of any of these.   It’s simple to implement when you have a clear view of all aspects of the offer at your fingertips: Step 8 – Revise terms When addressing the terms of the offer, consider holidays or special occasions that might influence the offer's launch date and length of time it’s made available. Think of things that are important to customers like New Year offers or Independence Day celebratory offers. You may want customers to commit to the offer for a specific length of time to qualify for the offer and its special pricing.   All of these can easily be updated in the TERMS section: Additionally, you can add penalties to terms if customers break agreements. This component of terms is efficiently communicated to the customer when considering offers, and it allows you to set proper boundaries within your offers that protect your business. Step 9 – Revise eligibility rules The next step is to define the audience and the eligibility for your offer. Who do you want to extend this offer to? Anyone and everyone? Or, is it only for consumers who meet certain criteria?  Here’s where you can define a variety of rules to establish criteria so that the offer gets promoted to your ideal set of consumers who meet the eligibility rules for this offer. Step 10 – Review the offer to be launched As with anything, make sure you check your work. You can easily review the entire offer and verify that all the updates and modifications are accurate and good to be released. If everything looks good, submit for final approval so that it can be released to your customers! Step 11 – Submit the offer for approval and publishing Checks and balances are important in ensuring everything you’ve created is correct and that this offer will be appealing and add value to the consumers you serve.   If you’re satisfied with everything, submit the offer for a final review and publication market with just one click: Immediately after you submit the offer for review, it’s sent to the review manager. When the offer is published, it gets automatically distributed to any application that needs the update – such as your provisioning system, billing system, sales catalog, store catalog, etc.  With automation delivered by Oracle, the offer gets to market quicker, and customers can reap the benefits while you’re able to monitor offer performance and continue this process again and again. Learn more about Oracle Digital Experience for Communications here.

Oracle’s innovative Digital Experience for Communications solution provides state-of-the-art capabilities to help marketing and product managers easily create, modify, clone, launch, and...

Customer Experience Technology

How CRM Improves Customer Service and the Customer Experience

The terms customer service and customer experience (CX) are often confused and used interchangeably. Although they’re two different concepts, they’re related. Customer service is the support provided to customers by brands and customer experience is the sum of a customer’s total interaction with your brand. How do we bridge the two effectively? Customer relationship management systems (CRM systems) help brands to support customers and provide the experiences that keep them loyal.  Let’s take a deeper look into what exceptional CX looks like today, how it impacts customer service, and how you can leverage CRM and CX software to streamline and optimize your customer interactions. CX is the new battleground More companies are paying attention to the customer experience than ever before. In fact, Gartner finds in their 2019 Creating a High-Impact Customer Experience Strategy Report, “95% of business leaders believe CX teams must deliver a superior or world-class customer experience.” How can you frame customer service vs. the customer experience for conversations within your organization? Customer service is a critical function within organizations—resolving customer issues, answering questions, and shaping brand perceptions. However, customer service is just one part of the larger CX. The customer experience is the sum of all touchpoints that a customer has with your company, including sales, marketing, training, customer service, and more. Analyst Jordan Bryan writes, “The quality of support a customer receives fundamentally affects customers’ perceptions of brands. Customers evaluate the overall value proposition of service providers on an ongoing basis, especially as they are presented with competing offers. Given these realities, customer service leaders must focus on and demonstrably improve their part in customer experience.” How CX has changed the way we look at customer service If your brand’s CX is the total result of every brand interaction, that throws customer service into a new spotlight. In many ways, customer service works on the front lines to build your CX. According to McKinsey, many companies have looked at customer service as a cost center, rather than a source of competitive advantage. “Until recently, the majority of the discussions around customer care focused on reducing labor costs by optimizing service levels, implementing lean practices, and achieving the optimal mix of offshoring.” CX has become a more vital lens through which to view the business, putting customer service within the context of the larger CX journey. Optimizing CX and customer service with CRM For businesses that turn an eye toward improving their CX, focusing on quality customer service is an important part of the equation. In fact, organizations that are designing their CX can benefit from paying close attention to customer service, says McKinsey. “As the natural owner of a large part of the customer journey, customer care can provide invaluable insight by helping to define journeys, identify pain points, and spur collaboration across functions. Such actions can produce additional benefits: an end-to-end redesign of the customer journey can not only transform the customer experience but also reduce operating costs in customer care.” Providing your customers with the best CX means optimizing every customer interaction. Most organizations achieve this by adopting CX tools such as CRM software to collect customer data and use these insights to deepen the relationships. It allows customer-facing employees to streamline engagement and deliver the experiences that keep customers coming back.  To learn more about how to leverage technology to manage your customer relationships, click here.

The terms customer service and customer experience (CX) are often confused and used interchangeably. Although they’re two different concepts, they’re related. Customer service is the support provided...

Customer Experience Technology

5 Mobile Design Best Practices for Apps that Keep the User in Mind

According to the Pew Research Center, as of 2019, 96% of Americans owned a cellphone of some kind, and approximately half of U.S. adults own tablet computers or e-reader devices. Marketers have long known that they must account for mobile in their campaigns. A report in February 2020 from the CMO Survey found that the percentage marketers put into their mobile budgets has grown to 13.5%, up from 11.2% a year ago. The mobile experience, however, must keep the user in mind. A savvy designer remembers this when creating a mobile app, as the mobile experience differs from that of other channels. It aims to be simpler, easier to use, and more intuitive. This calls for a mobile design that incorporates these five best practices: 1. Put the user’s needs first A mobile app can’t be complicated or too hard to use. If it is, a user will just quickly move on to another app. This means making the navigation as simple and easy to understand as possible. A designer can achieve this by: Using recognized design layouts and icons that users are familiar with. For example, users tend to be familiar with the hamburger interface as a navigation menu. Users are also accustomed to a bubble icon for chat. By using recognizable designs and icons, you make the app more intuitive to use. As with any cross-channel experience, smart designers are tasked with creating a seamless, consistent look and feel across devices, such as a mobile app, mobile website, and desktop website. Design elements and content should mirror each other (but optimized for their specific channel). This makes it easier for people to navigate channels and reinforces your brand. Considering what a user’s goals are and making them easy to achieve. For example, when viewing a restaurant’s app, a user probably won’t want to see everything, only the menu, location, contact information, and delivery or takeout options. Therefore, those are the features the designer should make easy to find and use. 2. Reduce clutter and personalize Personalization should direct users to the content they’re most interested in. It helps streamline the experience to only what is useful to the user and keeps messaging and design consistent. Smart brands reduce options so they won’t clutter the experience. Giving a user too much information overcomplicates the design and navigation of an app. Experienced brands keep things simple and personalize the content. 3. Make the app fast and responsive Users don’t want to wait for the content and information they need. Apps need to be fast and responsive avoiding long page load times and bad user experiences.  If users have to wait too long, they might abandon the app to get what they want quicker somewhere else. 4. Don’t send too many push notifications Keeping in touch with users is important, as is getting users to return the app again and again. Push notifications help in share updates on the app and news users might need. However, be careful not to bombard users with too many push notifications. When a user receives too many push notifications in a short time frame they may consider disabling them. Remember quality is more important than quantity. Leverage push notifications only when the content is relevant and timely. 5. Check how everything looks on mobile Whether it’s an email, app, or website that's being optimized for mobile, smart designers check to see how it looks for themselves. Because it looks different on a smaller screen than on a desktop, mobile design calls for tighter, more concise copy, broken up into small, easier-to-read chunks. A good designer uses white space to draw attention to the most important features, content, and elements of a design. White space also helps to make everything more readable.   Check out “Quick and Sharp: 5 Pro Tips for Optimizing an Email for Mobile.”

According to the Pew Research Center, as of 2019, 96% of Americans owned a cellphone of some kind, and approximately half of U.S. adults own tablet computers or e-reader devices. Marketers have long...

Ask the Experts

5 Aces to Overcoming the Pandemic for CMOs

The global pandemic has changed nearly everything for CMOs, forcing them to scramble as consumers shift even more to online shopping. Meanwhile, CEOs are pressuring their marketing chiefs to find strategies for recovery.  At our recent CX Virtual Summit for Asia, I had an insightful conversation with Jojo Concepcion, CEO of our customer Concepcion Industrial Corporation (CIC), about the intersection of customer experience software and the need for businesses to make decisions more nimbly. CIC has been incredibly successful at striking the right balance, especially during a very challenging year. The Philippines-based appliance distributor has managed to give customers what they need when they need it while creating new business opportunities.  What’s helped CIC are the “five aces” that CMOs must establish in their companies while leveraging – with intention – critical emerging technologies to modernize their interactions.   The five aces are:  Adaptability: The world has changed, but businesses still need to keep going, whether through finding new ways to reach cash-strapped households or helping customers visualize products from the comfort and safety of their homes. Marketing organizations must become comfortable with change. Accountability: Businesses expect marketers to help deliver quantifiable business impact with the help of modern technology. As the measurement of campaigns has become more sophisticated, CMOs must embrace accountability.  Authenticity: Modern marketers need to know and use data they collect from customers to engage them in highly personalized communications across their devices, print, and broadcast media.  Action: Customers expect companies they do business with to respond quickly and at all hours. Meeting them on their terms helps foster brand relationships.   Alignment: This doesn’t just mean coordination between sales and marketing; it also means aligning the organization so that customers’ needs dictate the businesses’ activities.  Jojo and I agreed that experiences are everything – we know they’re often more important than the product or service we’re delivering. Uncertainty and not knowing how the world will evolve creates a huge opportunity for marketers to define their companies. There’s hard evidence behind the proscriptions. 83% of 260 global CEOs surveyed by management consultancy McKinsey last year said they expect marketing to be a major driver for their companies’ growth. To do so, marketing departments need to move faster, collaborate better, and focus more sharply on customers.  Yet McKinsey estimates making such changes can cut 10% to 30% of marketing costs while adding 5% to 15% to sales growth. And about 23% of CEOs say marketing isn’t delivering on the growth agenda. Often, executives pour time into a few initiatives, “then grow frustrated when the promised value doesn’t appear,” according to the study.  CIC is consolidating sales, customer service, and e-commerce systems with its back-office software to understand its customers better. That’s helping the air conditioning, and refrigeration company simplify online ordering, sell directly to consumers, and forge new business models -- such as renting cool air time “as a service,” rather than selling an appliance outright, Jojo said.  “For 90 days, we had no place to sell our products – stores were closed nationwide,” he said. “Manufacturing, distribution, and most e-commerce stopped for three months during the pandemic’s height this year. CIC adapted by emphasizing products for kitchens tailored to people staying and cooking at home and developing new ones for those who wanted a cool environment without the upfront cost”.  Vince Abejo, chief sales and marketing officer at property developer Filinvest Land, spoke during our conference about capturing data points during and after the sale of a house or condo so the company can retain buyers it sells to over time. Filinvest is holding online house tours, inspecting properties by drone aircraft, and courting prospects to ensure the pipeline stays stocked after the pandemic ends.  Not only is the company attuned to its customers’ needs, but it has also adopted its behavior to stay authentic. “Booked sales are now back to pre-Covid levels,” Abejo said. These are just a few fresh ideas that can be brought to life using the five aces and modern cloud technology. I’d love to hear directly from you about other ideas you might have, so be sure to reach out to me in the comments to let me know how I can help.  To learn more about the trends impacting marketing leadership today, visit the CMO Corner. 

The global pandemic has changed nearly everything for CMOs, forcing them to scramble as consumers shift even more to online shopping. Meanwhile, CEOs are pressuring their marketing chiefs to find...

Customer Experience Technology

3 Benefits of Oracle’s Browser User Interface for Customer Service

Oracle CX Service’s agent Browser User Interface (UI) is the next-generation agent experience for B2C service environments. The browser UI delivers a modern, streamlined, and user-friendly experience to scale and grow with the demands of your contact center. It’s accessible to agents through any platform, on any browser, regardless of whether they’re on-site, remote, in a retail store, or in the field. Let’s explore three of the benefits regarding browser UI for customer service. Lower costs with increased efficiency You lower your costs every second your system performs faster. With Oracle’s browser UI, agents can log in, load screens, and save records faster to reduce agent handle times. They can also use AI to configure workflows and predict which workspaces to load. Plus, when you migrate to browser UI, you can update and manage the workspace real estate to remove the ancillary, distracting clutter from legacy systems, like unused fields and unneeded add-ins.  Simplify your user experience Similar to the old joke about how many “whoevers” it takes to screw in a light bulb, how many applications does a customer service agent typically toggle between to answer a single customer inquiry? The browser UI unifies and connects all the front- and back-office data an agent needs into a single interface, so they don’t need to waste time and energy toggling between screens and systems. With all of the applications streamlined within one place, they can access the full customer record and history, from any modern device to drive customer loyalty.  Adapt to flexible working environments The last several months challenged customer service environments to adapt and change. Browser UI offers the agility you need while ensuring the security of your data at all times. Migrating from a traditional agent console to the browser UI is a quick, easy win for customer service leaders, particularly during these challenging times when contact centers needed to go remote within days, while onboarding and ramping up new agents in remote environments.  Almost every service leader wants to improve agent productivity and make the agent’s user experience as simple and seamless as possible to drive revenue and reduce costs. And it’s never been more important than now to enable an agile, adaptive environment. Learn more about Oracle CX Service or Oracle’s Browser User Interface.

Oracle CX Service’s agent Browser User Interface (UI) is the next-generation agent experience for B2C service environments. The browser UI delivers a modern, streamlined, and user-friendly experience...

Ask the Experts

Here's What Happens When You Ask Sales Reps What They Want from Their Sales Tech

Hint: Sales reps want better sales tech – so much so that 66% would rather clean their bathroom than update their customer relationship management (CRM) system, which is supposed to make their life easier. I’ll get to that in a bit. Let’s start here, and for full disclosure, I’ve never had a job in sales.  However, when I started my career in marketing, I worked in media relations. I spent all day, every day, calling and emailing reporters trying to sell them on something newsworthy my clients had done to earn coverage. Back then, I had a media database application that was supposed to keep track of the most current email address and phone number for each journalist which helped me keep them organized in different lists based on their geography or the types of news they covered. Phone numbers were often wrong, and emails often bounced. We also had newswire services that could tell us who we had emailed press releases to, but there was no way to tell who had opened them or read them. The one thing that always failed: "Hi Joe, I was just calling to see if you got my email...." Click. To successfully sell the news, I had to build personal connections with reporters and media outlets - and that required legwork. Researching recent articles, following journalists on Twitter (I'm talking early Twitter!), and if you were lucky, you'd occasionally get someone on the phone for five minutes to ask them what they and their readers cared about. But mostly, it was a lot of guesswork and intuition. Even just deciding which person on my list to call first required a Jedi master level of awareness. It was a tough job. Mainly because reporters are incredibly busy, and to get their attention, I had to develop the skills to build common ground with them in a matter of seconds (assuming I was speaking to the correct person in the first place, of course). Tell me what you want, what you really, really want After speaking with and learning from a lot of sales reps across different industries this past year, I believe my experience in media relations is similar to what sellers experience while prospecting. Especially for the reps we call digital sellers - the individuals with titles like SDR (sales development rep), BDR (business development rep), inside sales, telesales, and so on. With many sales organizations switching to remote sales models, it’s a challenge that's relatable even for one-time field reps turned virtual sellers. It's their job to find a common interest and build common ground with potential customers, despite being just one voice in a crowd of many vying for a prospect's attention. Our job as a sales technology vendor is to make it easier for them to build those connections with customers. Luckily, we have direct access to customers using our CRM and sales force automation (SFA) applications - so we don't have to rely on intuition to guess what technology they need to be effective at digital sales. We can just ask them. So we did. And we spent hundreds of hours observing how they work. We learned that digital sellers need a sales application that works on their behalf and works how they work. What they don’t need is a clunky CRM designed for field sellers of decades past. And they don’t need a cumbersome SFA solution that they’ve figured out how to work around instead of selling better. In addition to asking and observing our customers, we also partnered with a well-known CRM analyst and founder of Beagle Research, Denis Pombriant, to survey more than 500 inside sellers to understand their perspective of modern sales technology. We learned again just how frustrated sellers are with certain elements of their jobs (86%!) and we reaffirmed that our fresh approach to the selling experience is the right direction. Here are a few interesting findings (and check out the full report here): 90% of sellers complain parts of their job take longer than they should. The top areas listed were entering notes in the CRM system (35%) and updating or working in multiple systems (34%). Less than half (47%) use their CRM system regularly, and only 40% use it as intended. In fact, sellers rely on an average of eight tools to do their daily jobs, and the CRM isn’t in the top five. 85% of sellers have made potentially embarrassing mistakes due to faulty CRM data. The top mistakes identified by sellers include calling the prospect by the wrong name (33%) and having the opposite idea of what a prospect wanted (29%). The CRM system has become such a burden that 66% would rather clean the bathroom, stand in line at the DMV, or be nagged by their significant other than update their CRM system. Finally, inefficiencies of CRM systems are hurting sellers’ productivity, and their work-life balance is suffering. Sellers are taking calls on vacation (50%), at the dinner table (40%), in the bathroom (30%), and on a date (16%). So, I’ll say it again – sellers need an application that works on their behalf, and works how they work. Here’s what they need: They want help remembering what needs to be done but not to be distracted. Notifications are only great if they can help a digital seller quickly assess what needs action now and what can wait until later (and there's a mechanism for reminding them about those things to do later.) Notifications are next level if they can actually help a rep pinpoint the exact right timing for sales follow-up. It's up to us to provide context-aware notifications. They hate wasting time building to-do lists, but they need to know how to work on leads and opportunities and avoid wasting time on the duds. Almost every rep we talk to spends the first part of their day constructing a to-do list - even those that like and rely on their SFA to manage their day. Something’s missing that's forcing them to do extra admin work when they could be building relationships with prospects. It's up to us to build those lists for them and take them step-by-step through a prioritized workflow. They’re frequently interrupted; they’re rarely able to finish every step in the sales outreach process and document the next steps before they must quickly pivot to the next thing. The reps we speak to know how important it is to finish call logs and schedule follow-ups. The problem is that these processes are really tedious to complete in the CRM, and oftentimes an email or call from a prospect they've been waiting to hear from comes in that deserves their attention instead. But they need to document everything so they have the right context for their next conversation. It's up to us to automate follow ups, appointment setting, and capturing notes. They don't have time to do the CRM's work in addition to their own. This one takes me back to my old media relations days. I used to send requests to our media database vendor to update phone numbers and email addresses once I had found the correct info on my own. Digital sales reps don't have time to validate account details or regularly update contact info, and they certainly don't have time to do this on everyone else's behalf. It should be automatically and continuously verified, and updates should automatically filter out to their entire selling organization. It's up to us to provide connected account intelligence. They wish they could know what emails have been opened, what links have been clicked, the latest company news, and what products their prospect wants information on. Trying to guess is the fastest way to waste their time and the customer's time. Knowing what a prospect actually cares about means they'll always be armed with a relevant conversation starter. It's up to us to put all that information in their sales tool - not leave it buried in their inbox. They often spend more time searching for contact information, previous interactions, past emails, and doing online research than actually speaking with a prospect. It's nearly impossible to make every sales engagement personalized - which they know it should be if they want to be successful - and still get hit their high-volume sales metrics. They need their sales technology to help them be highly relevant, responsive, and personal. It's up to us put everything they could want to know about a lead or opportunity on a single screen in a chronological timeline. They're sick of managing multiple windows, multiple monitors, multiple applications, and multiple communications channels. Is it really so hard to put everything in one system or at least into a single user interface? It's up to us to build communication channels into their sales technology so that phone, email, and video chat live inside the process and not separately. They need useful guidance on what outreach is working, and what's not. It’s really easy to get caught up in thinking you're successful when you’re hitting metrics like emails sent, calls made, and appointments set. Those metrics are useful indicators, but they don't necessarily translate into sales results. Digital sellers need better insight into the strategies that are working for their peers and fresh ideas for making sure their daily tasks are actually advancing deals. It's up to us to provide performance intelligence that's useful and easy to interpret. Armed with this direct feedback, we've been asking ourselves some questions about creating a purpose-built application specifically for digital sellers. What if we designed sales technology with digital sales models in mind instead of adapting the standard CRM to fit their processes? What if we helped digital sellers fulfill their purpose instead of just hitting their metrics? What if we could help them operate at both a speed and scale previously unheard of? There would be no more "Just checking in" or "Is now a good time?" They would always know when the time was right for sales outreach and exactly what to say. Process and data entry for the sake of process and data entry would never slow them down again, yet the right information would always be there when they returned to a lead or opportunity. They wouldn't have to struggle to build common ground with customers amidst so much noise. We recently announced this new approach to digital selling and will continue to refine it in the months to come. Be sure to subscribe to the blog for the latest updates on our Digital Sales solution. For more insight into the challenges and frustrations facing inside sales teams today, download the Beagle Research report, "Getting Past the Breaking Point of Yesterday’s CRM.

Hint: Sales reps want better sales tech – so much so that 66% would rather clean their bathroom than update their customer relationship management (CRM) system, which is supposed to make their life...

Customer Experience Technology

Larry Ellison Joins the Oracle Cloud CX Virtual Summit on November 9

Calling all sales professionals! If the Experience Economy has taught us anything, it’s that every customer interaction matters. How are today’s successful sales teams leveraging data to engage their customers, and what can we learn from their expertise? Join us online Monday, November 9, at 12:00p.m. PT for our free Oracle Cloud CX Virtual Summit event. Hear from Oracle Chairman and CTO, Larry Ellison, industry thought leaders, and global companies, as they talk about the future of CX and how to harness data to deliver the right message to the right customer at the right time. CLICK TO REGISTER FOR THE CX VIRTUAL SUMMIT HERE Here’s more detail on what attendees can expect during the Oracle Cloud CX Virtual Summit: 12:05    The Future of CX: Larry Ellison and Rob Tarkoff, EVP of Oracle CX and Data Cloud, open the event with a fireside chat on how connected data across organizations empowers employees to manage customer needs and expectations effectively. They’ll discuss the future of CX and how Oracle is helping various industries apply data in new ways to drive innovation and compete in the Experience Economy. 1:05    The Shift to Digital Selling at Ricoh: Samantha Mohr, VP of Inside Sales at Ricoh, and Katrina Gosek, VP of CX Product Strategy at Oracle, discuss how Ricoh is shifting to digital selling and redesigning the experience for their sellers and customers. 1:25    Women in Leadership Panel: Optimizing Online Experiences to Address Accelerating Change: In this panel discussion, Lisa Joy Rosner, Senior VP of Brand and Content Marketing at Oracle, and Susan Andreeff, Senior Manager and Agile Product Manager of Digital Commerce at Motorola Solutions, Inc., and Susan Fisher, Senior Manager of Global CRM & CPQ Platform Development at Hyster-Yale Group talk about strategies for responding to changing customer needs and how they’re optimizing their organizations’ performance to thrive in this new normal. 1:45     Buying Signals and the Future of Sales and Commerce: In this panel discussion, Katrina Gosek, VP of CX Product Strategy at Oracle, Kamyar Seradjfar, VP of CX Sales Product Management at Oracle, and Ian Davis, VP of CX Commerce Product Management at Oracle share their thoughts on the future of sales and commerce, and COVID-19’s impact on human behavior and our reliance on technology. 2:05    Visualize Your Path to Sales Excellence: Michelle Brusyo, Director of CX Sales Product Strategy at Oracle and Douglas Wise, Product Marketing Manager of CX Sales at Oracle, discuss how companies can unify and enrich their customer data across sales, service, marketing, and finance, and reveal how customers are successfully increasing sales in these challenging times. 2:05    Visualize Your Path to Digital Commerce Excellence: Jeri Kelley, Director of CX Commerce Product Strategy at Oracle, and Shad Stallians, Senior Product Marketing Manager of CX Commerce at Oracle, explore common stages of digital commerce maturity, highlighting how thriving organizations are continuously evolving to connect their customers to all of their goods and services using intelligent, buyer-specific experiences that can be deployed anywhere. CLICK TO REGISTER HERE to join Larry Ellison at the Oracle Cloud CX Virtual Summit on November 9, 2020.

Calling all sales professionals! If the Experience Economy has taught us anything, it’s that every customer interaction matters. How are today’s successful sales teams leveraging data to engage their...

Ask the Experts

Jumpstart Your Community with Oracle Permitting and Licensing

Government organizations at all levels are under pressure. The private sector’s ability to deliver digital experiences 24/7 widened the “digital divide” between the private and public sectors, creating new expectations for how people want to consume government services. Under normal circumstances, government departments balance demands to create new and improved services and increase transparency and accountability while eliminating inefficiencies. But as we’ve experienced in the past several months, these are not normal times. The COVID-19 pandemic disrupted the in-person, brick-and-mortar model of delivering these services. Nonetheless, constituents still need their government and elected officials to provide leadership and information to help their communities decide how and when to reopen. Even after reopening, other health threats loom, such as Legionnaire’s Disease, mold, and lead and copper contamination. These threats can necessitate additional precautions from the property and building owners and require community development organizations to enforce new types of compliance. Compounding these challenges is the reality that America’s cities may also face unprecedented fiscal consequences that may take years to recover. In a recent report, the National League of Cities describes the possibility of taking years for local revenues to bounce back from the impacts of COVID-19 when compared to prior recessions in 2007 (5-year recovery), 2001 (6-year recovery), and 1990 (almost 13-year recovery).  These times require leadership, collaboration, and creative solutions. Community development organizations will play a vital role in the reopening process. Those solutions will require modern capabilities to optimize their effectiveness. Here are some specific COVID-related use cases where modern Community Development capabilities can help resolve them. Oracle Community Development is differentiated with the following capabilities: Cloud-native: Our applications were built for the cloud, and all run on a complete stack of Oracle technology. New Data Model: We built our product from the ground-up and designed it to be purpose-built for land use, permitting, inspections, code enforcement, and licensing functions. Packaged integration with commonly used applications such as ESRI ArcGIS and BlueBeam to speed time to implementation. Easy-to-use configuration tools empower end-users to maintain the application, reducing the dependency on IT or contractor resources; Quarterly enhancement releases deliver continuous value and innovation to customers. Modern solutions can overcome many of the collective challenges facing governments.  Oracle is excited to help modernize community development organizations and do our part to help to jumpstart their communities. We invite you to follow our journey and learn more. Click here to read more about how to power modern community development in a changing world.

Government organizations at all levels are under pressure. The private sector’s ability to deliver digital experiences 24/7 widened the “digital divide” between the private and public sectors,...

Customer Experience

Balancing Agility and Stability in Mission-Critical Systems

The challenge of greater IT and business agility is addressed by TM Forum's Open Digital Architecture, which we have embraced in our DX4C solution. It’s a classic communications service provider dilemma: how do I attain the agility to respond quickly to change while simultaneously ensuring I have robust, scalable systems that power my communications business? The answer is getting easier thanks to newer approaches to designing systems, such as the TM Forum’s Open Digital Architecture (ODA), for which we have been an advocate along with CSPs champions like BT, Deutsche Telekom, Telefónica and Telenor. Service providers have so-called systems of record, which are the powerful applications that handle everything from charging for service to fulfilling an order. These systems are deeply entrenched in a service provider’s IT ecosystem, accomplishing mission-critical, revenue-dependent tasks. As such, they tend to evolve in a careful, risk-averse manner over long time frames. At the same time, service providers have systems of engagement that provide customer- or employee-facing experiences. They need the agility to create and tailor these experiences frequently. For example, a service provider may want to create a new agent desktop window, a new digital assistant skill or a new recommendation. Historically, service providers have been agility-constrained by the inability to change experiences without impacting the underlying systems as the two have traditionally been quite tightly coupled. Meanwhile, their webscale and over-the-top competitors, which don’t face those constraints, have quickly rolled out new experiences and in many cases disrupted service providers’ customer relationships, revenue streams and profit margins. The ODA addresses this fundamental challenge by decoupling the experience layer from the systems of record and thereby delivers much greater IT and business agility. This enables service providers to change experiences at digital speed while systems of record may evolve on their own timeframe. No need to rip and replace: reap the benefits of modern experiences while leveraging existing systems. Open APIs are fundamental to this architectural approach. The TM Forum has defined more than 50 APIs that expose the systems of record and facilitate interoperability. Oracle has embraced the ODA and is a signatory to the Open API and Open Digital Architecture Manifesto. By adopting the TM Forum Open Digital Architecture and Open APIs across our applications portfolio, we are providing operators with the business and IT agility to compete in fast-changing markets. Oracle’s Digital Experience for Communications solution is uniquely built to align with the TM Forum’s ODA using the DX4C Industry Fabric. This is critical to providing both IT and business agility and helps applications act more like microservices: service providers can design the customer and user experience by picking and choosing the underlying components and assemble them into an integrated experience. Similarly, DX4C uses TM Forum Open APIs to maximize interoperability. These open APIs are the language of DX4C’s Industry Fabric architecture as evidenced by the face we have achieved certification on five open APIs in areas including product catalog management, party management and account management. In addition to delivering agility by decoupling the systems of record and engagement, the DX4C Fabric, in adherence with the ODA, is designed to manage and intelligently master the flows of data between the systems within a service providers’ IT environment. Data management can be very complex when you consider customer data, product data, order data, asset data – across multiple systems. DX4C normalizes data across the enterprise using industry standard data models. This ensures that data is both accurate and consistent across all participating apps. Service providers can then apply intelligence to that data to drive more better customer interactions. Normalized and validated data is presented to business intelligence platforms to provide executive dashboards as well as to the experience layer in real time, where AI and ML can make the experience smarter, more personalized and relevant. Continuing its decades-long tradition of contributing the TM Forum industry standards, Oracle is currently participating in a catalyst project focused on further developing the ODA. Led by Vodafone, Orange, Telenor and China Unicom, this catalyst advances business operating systems and features a contribution from Oracle in integrating cloud native applications – namely Oracle Communications Billing and Revenue Management (BRM) – with SaaS applications like DX4C – with pioneering work in developing an ODA SaaS proxy to facilitate such smooth integration between SaaS and cloud-native components. In tandem with these innovations, Oracle Communications is adopting Open APIs across its DX4C, monetization and orchestration portfolio including BRM. This agility imperative is even more critical as we enter the 5G era. The stakes are high: service providers must embrace solutions and operational models designed for agility, or risk spending heavily on network investments only to be marginalized by disruptors. Previous eras were primarily driven by clear use case requirements, but the paradigm has now shifted. With the wide-open possibilities of 5G, no one yet knows the future killer use cases and so maximizing the ability for service providers and their partners to quickly explore new opportunities and deliver new services and experiences is more important than ever before. And this must be done against the backdrop of quickly and constantly changing customer expectations and vertical industry requirements. The TM Forum Open Digital Architecture brings to life the capabilities of Oracle’s DX4C Industry Fabric so that it accomplishes the twin goals of maintaining stability of mission-critical systems of record and delivering the agility to rapidly provide modern, connected digital experiences. To learn more about digital transformation in the 5G era, read “Attaining Agility and Beating Disruptors at Their Own Game,” and watch our new video about increasing agility and monetizing new business models. Also please subscribe to get our quarterly newsletter!  

The challenge of greater IT and business agility is addressed by TM Forum's Open Digital Architecture, which we have embraced in our DX4C solution. It’s a classic communications service provider...

CPQ

Oracle Named a Leader in Gartner Magic Quadrant for CPQ Application Suites 2020

Gartner recognizes Oracle in the 2020 Magic Quadrant for Configure, Price and Quote Application Suites. Click here to download the report. What’s the best experience you’ve ever had making a purchase? For me, it was the last time I changed car insurance providers. Kind of surprising, right? It was so fast and the options were so clear every step of the way, it was practically painless (and I saved a pretty decent chunk of change). Most of us have a story that sits in the back of our minds, even if we don’t typically think about it much. I’d be surprised if you didn’t, because if you’re anything like me, when you have a lousy experience, you probably think something along the lines of “Why can’t I just do it this way?!” We don’t always categorize our purchasing experiences as great until we’re confronted with a frustrating one. It’s during these moments where we recognize how things could be easier, more intuitive, and more personalized, because we’ve experienced easy, intuitive, and personalized before. This is particularly true when we encounter larger or more complex purchases with multiple variables. The more we have to consider, the more we crave clarity and guidance. Yet often, it’s this kind of purchase where we tend to get the opposite of what we need: too many details to process, limited information about the impact of each choice, and no advisor to help us sort it all out. And when we are advised, it often comes packaged with a high-pressure campaign to make specific choices that force us to neglect our own best interests. Despite how we may feel about these experiences as a user, it’s not always fair to blame the company we’re dealing with for these challenges—at least not entirely. As competition continues to increase and customer expectations evolve at breakneck pace, companies often struggle to break out of the status quo. Doing so requires business leaders to find ways to solve some really big challenges. The challenges require answers to: What tools can I give to my sellers that improve our outcomes without creating more administrative work for them? How can we make self-service a reality when our products are highly configurable and our processes require complex workflows? How do we make better use of the core systems we rely upon today? At Oracle, we hear from these leaders regularly about the realities of the challenges that they face. In fact, we’ve had to overcome many of them ourselves, which has given us the opportunity to focus on helping change the status quo by enabling organizations with solutions designed to make sense out of the confusion. That’s why we’re thrilled that Oracle has once again been recognized as a ‘Leader’ in this year’s Gartner Magic Quadrant for Configure, Price and Quote Application Suites. By centralizing product and pricing data, business rules, contract management and more, CPQ solutions have long been used as the bridge between CRM and ERP to improve process efficiency for sellers and the operational teams that support them. Increasingly, though, these same tools have become pivotal to providing customers with more self-service capabilities, finally democratizing ecommerce for a wider variety of B2B organizations that previously considered the channel infeasible or incompatible with their existing sales model. This comes at an important time, too, because as lines continually blur between work- and personal-lives, so too do your customers’ expectations. Today, customers expect B2C-caliber interactions with every company they engage with. (Remember what I said about comparing great and frustrating experiences at the top?) As you look to recalibrate your sales and operations beyond this undeniably tumultuous year, it’s important to identify the adjustments that can have the greatest impact to your organization’s success. How will your sellers be more attentive to every customer while also being more efficient? What will your resellers and partners need to be more successful? What opportunities exist to make customers more self-sufficient and improve their satisfaction? Put these into the context of financial performance to better illuminate the opportunity that lies ahead. What can automating and personalizing cross-sell and upsell tactics do to drive more revenue growth? How can new business models like subscriptions provide revenue stability and enable greater accuracy in forecasting? How will margins be protected and deal profitability be maximized every time? Oracle believes in the unmatched value that CPQ provides as part of an incremental investment strategy, which is why we are Oracle CPQ’s largest customer. Through the unification of existing technology across the front and back office, organizations can gain greater return on investment through increased revenue, improved sales and operational efficiency, and more satisfied customers. We’re honored by Gartner’s recognition of Oracle as a ‘Leader’ in the Magic Quadrant for Configure, Price and Quote Application Suites 2020. We believe that our consistent recognition in this report shows our strong commitment to supporting organizations faced with the challenges of continuously evolving market dynamics. Want to learn more? Download the 2020 Gartner Magic Quadrant for Configure, Price and Quote Application Suites. You can also contact us to learn more about how the Oracle CX Sales and CX Commerce suites can help achieve greater success on your digital sales channels and revenue goals with connected real-time data at scale. Note: This graphic was published by Gartner, Inc. as part of a larger research document and should be evaluated in the context of the entire document. The Gartner document is available upon request from Oracle. Gartner does not endorse any vendor, product, or service depicted in its research publications, and does not advise technology users to select only those vendors with the highest ratings or other designation. Gartner research publications consist of the opinions of Gartner's research organization and should not be construed as statements of fact. Gartner disclaims all warranties, expressed or implied, with respect to this research, including any warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose. Gartner, Magic Quadrant for Configure, Price and Quote Application Suites, 28 September 2020, Mark Lewis, Dayna Ford

Gartner recognizes Oracle in the 2020 Magic Quadrant for Configure, Price and Quote Application Suites. Click here to download the report. What’s the best experience you’ve ever had making a...

Customer Experience Strategy

3 Reasons Salespeople Won’t Use CRM and How to Change Their Minds

Why do sales reps refuse to use their CRM systems? How can you ensure that they use customer relationship management (CRM) effectively?  Two very valid questions with answers that aren’t all that clear. Sales is very people-oriented, and all people have very different approaches, viewpoints, likes, and dislikes. However, with a little digging, three reasons your sales team won’t use CRM will bubble to the surface. So let’s take a look. 1) Manual data entry, dirty data, and CRM A salesperson’s job is to sell. Sell more, improve margins, make more money. They’re not paid—at least they and their bosses don’t see it that way—to sit at a desk and manually enter data. They get paid to reach out to accounts, email and call prospective customers, and schedule appointments. If selling is their business, is it any wonder they delay logging into their CRM system to input data? Procrastination leads to missed and forgotten data points. For example, if you sat down after work and tried to document every conversation you had that day, could you remember what you said to every co-worker? Today, almost every aspect of business is data-centric. The more you know, the better you perform. But if customer data is manually, sporadically inputted, no one really knows the whole customer—that all-important 360-degree view. In addition, once it becomes evident that incomplete or bogus data resides in the CRM, the sales team and other stakeholders will begin to lose trust. That forces them out of the CRM system and into some very inefficient and non-productive work habits. 2) CRM system is too difficult to use Call it complicated, not intuitive, or just plain hard. The bottom line is that if a piece of software isn’t easy to use from the get-go, it won’t be used. Our personal expectations of simplicity have seeped into our work lives. If I download an app to my mobile phone and begin using it immediately to track my activity, scan a document, or buy groceries, then my customer relationship management (CRM) system better provide me the same level of instant gratification or immediate value as well. If CRM is hard to use, sales teams won’t use it. They’ll procrastinate running reports or providing sales forecasts because they can’t remember which icons to click. They may also revert back to downloading data from the CRM and then manually entering that data into spreadsheets. We all know copying and pasting data into spreadsheets can lead to errors. Mistakes grow exponentially so that sales forecasts are inaccurate, pipelines are impossible to track, and customers receive the wrong quotes or bids. 3) Customer relationship management (CRM) provides no value Many sales reps see no value in entering and managing the data in a CRM, because it doesn’t help them connect to customers and prospects. It isn’t a communication device like phone or email. Anything that’s seen as providing value will be used. But that brings up the question – ‘what is value?’  Does the definition differ between management and sales? One of the main reasons given for adopting a CRM system is growth. Everyone likes growth, but does it help sales team members do their jobs? The fact is there’s a gap between what sales and other stakeholders see as value. Growth doesn’t equal value for every CRM stakeholder, but nearly everyone sees the value in simplifying processes. Chances are that if a CRM solution can simplify processes, especially the very human-oriented, non-structured sales process, then sales teams will rally around it. CRM can simplify the sales process with functionality that gives sales teams the power to know more, act quicker, and focus in a way that accelerates and closes more deals. There’s value in being able to: Expand the total addressable market and create ideal customer profiles Pinpoint who within an account is the best person to talk to Make better assessments about opportunities and reduce risk Identify and prioritize the best sales opportunities Take the next-best actions learned from past efforts and outcomes Always be in-the-know with updated smart talking points Identify gaps within an account and make product recommendations More insights on making your CRM smarter. How to get sales reps to use CRM For sales reps to see the value, they need their CRM system to do the following three things. Support mobile CRM. Sales reps want their CRM to be where they are. They need a CRM system that’s accessible and usable across mobile devices, including laptops, tablets, and smartphones. Whatever the mobile tool of choice is, the CRM must be usable—either through a simple user interface, a chatbot or email client, or integrated into another tool—and available to the salesperson. Provide situational context and make appropriate recommendations. “Situational context” is an unpleasant sounding phrase for an honestly simple concept. As humans, we apply context every day. Don’t know what a word/phrase means? Pay attention to non-verbal cues and listen to the words around the unknown word. Context provides the 360-degree view that helps you figure things out and see the bigger picture. But what if you didn’t have those other words or couldn’t grasp non-verbal cues? You would have no context, and the situation would be pretty hard to figure out. And that’s why a CRM that provides context for that 360-degree view is important. It allows you to truly understand your customers, and with this insight—and a little AI and machine learning thrown in for good measure—your CRM can provide “next best step” recommendations, create ideal profiles for better opportunity targeting, and generate relevant talking points to keep conversations going. That is value. Highlight what’s important and shorten sales cycles. With AI-enhanced lead scoring and opportunity assessment, sales reps can focus on those accounts that have the potential to close the quickest and be the most profitable. By identifying product gaps, your CRM system can provide upsell and cross-sell recommendations as well as relevant talking points, all to help keep conversations progressing and push opportunities down the funnel. On top of this, if the CRM system can unearth opportunities (based on an ideal customer profile, for example), then the value is very apparent, and your sales team’s job has become a lot easier and much more scalable. Learn more about how to choose the best CRM your sales team’s needs. Learn more about CRM systems, the benefits of customer relationship management, and key functionality that will provide value and make your sales teams want to use your CRM. And Oracle can help. We have the tools (to make CRM easy to use), the data (to create ideal customer profiles and to fill in data gaps for current customer profiles), and the integrated CX solution to help provide a complete customer history for a personalized sales experience. To learn more, check out the Nucleus Research CRM Technology Value Matrix.

Why do sales reps refuse to use their CRM systems? How can you ensure that they use customer relationship management (CRM) effectively?  Two very valid questions with answers that aren’t all that...

Customer Service

How One Manufacturer Transformed Their Customer Engagement

AirBorn is a manufacturer of specialized connectors and electronic components based near Austin, Texas.  Their products are used for mission-critical applications across many industries including aerospace and space exploration. NASA, Raytheon, and Lockheed Martin are just some of the customers that leverage AirBorn’s technology for use in planes, satellites and other spacecraft. With hundreds of thousands of different product variations, AirBorn faced a challenge in making it easy to request quotes and configure and submit purchase orders.  AirBorn’s parts builder system didn’t integrate with their production and pricing systems, leading to a lot of manual steps and unnecessary delay for their customers. After evaluating both Salesforce and Oracle solutions, AirBorn chose Oracle Cloud Customer Experience (CX) due to its richer capabilities to streamline their customer interactions. With a combination of Oracle CX Service, Oracle CPQ, and Oracle CX Commerce, AirBorn has been able to fully automate the configuring, selling, and servicing of their complex product portfolio. Their customers can now configure products, request quotes, and submit orders without any human interaction.  Deploying Oracle Cloud CX has also led to a dramatic reduction in both time and order entry errors. The quote creation process went from taking up to 2 weeks to only a few hours, and order input times went from days to just minutes. At the same time, order creation and order processing errors have both decreased by 70 percent. "With Oracle CX Service, Oracle CPQ, and Oracle CX Commerce, we’re able to take billions of different parts combinations and help guide a customer, in a very easy way, to the right set of products they need.” - Mike Kramer, Director of Software Integration and Web Applications, AirBorn For more details about the many benefits AirBorn has achieved by moving to Oracle Cloud, read this Oracle Cloud CX success story. For additional info about the many solutions Oracle has developed for manufacturing and other industries, visit oracle.com/industries.  

AirBorn is a manufacturer of specialized connectors and electronic components based near Austin, Texas.  Their products are used for mission-critical applications across many industries including...

Customer Experience Technology

Oracle Extends its Cloud CX Ecosystem

In March, Merriam-Webster made the fastest update in its history. In just seven days, the term “COVID-19” – along with others that have become common in our dialogue such as “social distancing” and “contact tracing” –  became a defined word in the English language and gave us guidance to refer to what our world was facing. In the business world, the term “stay-at-home stock” is also new. Wall Street and everyday investors are betting on companies and technologies that are enabling our daily lives. Examples of these so-called “stay-at-home stocks” include home-office companies that help employees connect and collaborate while offices are closed, and consumer tech and fitness companies that entertain us as gyms, movie theaters, and recreational businesses shuttered worldwide. These stocks largely advanced because they helped businesses meet a new set of customer demands, and I’m proud to say several of our ISV partners are at the forefront of accelerating these changes. Zoom: As our founder and CTO Larry Ellison recently said in our earnings call, Zoom has become one of the fastest-growing companies – and the company name is already being used as a verb. Surely Zoom needs no explanation, as its service has penetrated both our professional and personal lives as we seek new ways to engage with colleagues and family. Today we announced new integrations between Oracle Fusion Cloud Customer Experience and Zoom that help sales, marketing, and customer service teams seamlessly incorporate video and collaboration tools into existing processes and workflows, in order to make every customer interaction matter. Sprinklr: It’s tougher than ever for brands to convert online customer interactions to sales. A recent Accenture survey found 50 percent of people are frustrated with a recent buying experience, and according to a Baymard Institute study, 69 percent of online shopping carts are abandoned. In order to build brand loyalty, organizations have to make every customer interaction matter and meet them where they are, when they are there. Sprinklr helps organizations reach, engage, and listen to customers across 23 social channels, 11 messaging channels, and SMS, in addition to blogs, forums, and review sites. With Sprinklr, we announced new integrations with Oracle Fusion Cloud CX to help marketers reach audiences on social media and other messaging channels at any point in the customer journey, and help customer service professionals resolve service requests more efficiently. At Oracle, we are also working to enable the next generation of business with our customer data management platform (CDP) – or as we like to call it, a customer intelligence platform, Oracle Unity. The more information customers can have at their fingertips, the more informed decisions they can make that are best for their businesses. We introduced several updates to Oracle Unity to help predict and personalize customer interactions, eliminate customer blind spots, and enhance compliance and time-to-value. As a part of this effort, we have also collaborated with leading companies to integrate with Oracle Unity and help our mutual customers optimize the B2B experience. SourcePoint, a leader in establishing consumer consent and choice as the new standards for all digital experiences, has integrated its Consent Management Platform with Oracle Unity. This will help our mutual customers maintain consent records that are quickly and easily accessible in real time. OneTrust, one of the most widely-used consent and preferences technology platforms, will integrate with Oracle Unity to help customers achieve privacy compliance goals. It does this by enriching end user profile data with opt-ins, cookie consent, communication preferences and more, to help ensure customer choices are honored throughout marketing systems. I’m proud to lead the team that is dedicated to developing partnerships with companies that are charting new paths and helping brands adapt to rapid change. We know we are better together in delivering solutions and value to our customers. As our Oracle Fusion Cloud CX ecosystem continues to see remarkable growth, we hope to help customers grow alongside us, as they create memorable customer experiences across every touchpoint, every time.

In March, Merriam-Webster made the fastest update in its history. In just seven days, the term “COVID-19” – along with others that have become common in our dialogue such as “social distancing” and...

CPQ

10 Obvious Signs It’s Time to Consider a CPQ Solution

As a leading vendor of configure, price, and quote (CPQ) solutions, we at Oracle see what triggers companies to begin investigating and evaluating new solutions. These signs are consistent across industries and company sizes. At some point, organizations pause and re-think how to address current challenges and pave the way for the future. If you’re on the fence about adopting a CPQ solution, here are 10 obvious signs you’re ready to commit: Profit margins are eroding. Internal processes are getting more complex over time. Error rates on quotes are increasing. Pricing and discounting practices are inconsistent. It takes too long to create a quote and present a solution. Getting a new sales rep up to speed and productive is difficult. Sales reps are spending less time face-to-face with customers. Sales productivity is declining. Introducing new products or promotions is difficult and complex. Adding new sales channels with defined prices and product availability is challenging. You don’t need complex data analysis to recognize these signs. You see the challenge, but where do you start? If you’re ready to take the next step, Oracle has a proven method that delivers a clear path forward. We call it Breakthrough Opportunity Analysis (BOA). The purpose of this comprehensive, day-and-a-half workshop is to: Map your current processes and supporting systems. Provide a holistic understanding of the business process flow. Identify opportunities for improvement and streamlining. Engage all organizational functions associated with sales processes. We’ve led hundreds of these workshops to help organizations overcome transformation challenges. You’ll emerge with a clear understanding of what’s contributing to your challenges and a sensible path forward, supported with a solid business case based on industry standards, best practices, and existing customer references. The next move is up to you. Don’t stop there! For more information visit: Oracle CPQ Why do you need an Oracle BOA? Financial Impact of Selecting the Wrong Configure Price Quote (CPQ) Solution Exec Paper

As a leading vendor of configure, price, and quote (CPQ) solutions, we at Oracle see what triggers companies to begin investigating and evaluating new solutions. These signs are consistent...

Ask the Experts

Effective Data Management for Service Isn’t Easy, But it’s Worth It

This article is adapted from the Oracle CX Cloud Virtual Summit interview with Chris McGugan, Senior VP, Oracle CX Service and Jeff Wartgow, VP, Oracle Product Management. My “why” for working at Oracle is simple: data. The world runs on it, especially for the future of service and customer experience design. Every day, we’re exposed to thousands of targeted ads based on the mountains of behavioral, demographic, and geolocation data companies own. Yet when we reach out to a contact center, we’re transported to the Stone Age. We have to repeat the same basic information every time we interact with someone new. Even if we’re transferred, we usually have to go back to the beginning. Many businesses have led customers to believe this is just “how it works” when the truth is they don’t have the right level of customer data management that could support the customer intelligence needed to deliver incredible service experiences. Nothing’s impossible when you have that elusive golden record of customer data. Businesses can better anticipate market shifts, reconcile high value customers, predict customer churn, and create more authentic customer service experiences all while improving business performance. This is the future of service, and successful organizations understand it’s “do or die.” What does providing great service look like? When a customer—let’s call her Ashley—calls her pet products supplier’s customer support number, the agent should already know who she is, her address, her purchasing history, and that she’s most likely calling about a delay with her automatic shipment of cat food—all before the first “hello” is spoken. AI-based screen pops should appear on the agent desktop, offering relevant information such as why the delay is happening and an offer for a 20% off discount code for Ashley’s next autoship. With this information readily available, Ashley can have a real conversation with the service rep. A more authentic connection is created. This is what customers want. They’re looking for brand relationships that feel less robotic and more real regardless of what they’re purchasing or how they’re engaging. This is just the tip of the iceberg of how companies can leverage customer intelligence with effective customer data management (CDM).  Let's take a look at another example. Imagine you’re the CIO of a large grocery chain that has an active recall of baby food. With hundreds of stores across the country, it doesn’t take long until your contact centers start getting flooded with calls. What if you could proactively engage with affected customers based on a massive pool—one consolidated source of actionable data—at your fingertips? Your customer service agents could immediately identify if an incoming caller is a recall-affected customer to anticipate their needs (i.e. “I see you bought Healthy First Baby food. Yes, we can confirm there’s been a recall and it’d be best to throw it out. Here’s a credit of $10 towards a new purchase”). What could customer service look like in the future? Customers have been calling your contact center about this recall, but you also need to alert every customer who's still unaware. Research shows that most major U.S. grocery chains need to do a better job of notifying customers about recalls. You can be the one who steps up and uses data to deliver a better customer experience (CX). What if you used that sample of people who contacted you about the recall to generate key insights? What if you looked at demographics? You might learn that most of those customers are females aged 25 to 32. You might see that they also live in specific neighborhoods. You could use this data to find other “like” customers and proactively notify them using their preferred communication method—text, email, or phone—that if they recently bought that brand of baby food to check into it (including a link to learn more on your website). With the right data strategy, you can piece together accurate profiles of individual customers based on their interests and attributes, and you can use that information to your advantage. Consider the telco industry. Imagine knowing off the bat that an incoming caller is a young mother who lives in a Texas suburb and being able to route her to a customer service agent who is also a young mother living in a nearby city. Imagine a screen pop appearing on the agent desktop informing her there’s a 75% chance of that customer canceling her service within the next 30 days and that she is authorized to offer one free month of Disney+ to keep her satisfied. Would that make for a better customer service experience? This is the power of data- and AI-driven customer intelligence for the future of service. How to build a customer service team based on data I know what you're going to say. If it was so easy, everyone would do it. The more monolithic the technology gets and the more that’s needed to understand it, the more difficult it becomes. It feels like scheduling yourself for open heart surgery. But that’s what digital disruption is. In today’s digital economy, data is the most important kind of capital. This new role for data has significant implications for competitive strategy and the future of service, and that’s why I chose Oracle as my next professional endeavor. Data is in the DNA of this company. It’s what we do best. No one has a bigger database nor a more effective management system for the level of integration and analysis needed to leverage customer intelligence and enable the future of service. And what a bright future it is. --- During the Oracle Cloud CX Virtual Summit, Chris McGugan, Senior VP, Oracle CX Service and Jeff Wartgow, VP, Oracle Product Management talk more about the importance of real-time intelligence, their favorite streaming TV binges (Cobra Kai vs. Outlander), and what it all means for service leaders and practitioners in the Experience Economy. Watch the full interview from the CX summit here.

This article is adapted from the Oracle CX Cloud Virtual Summit interview with Chris McGugan, Senior VP, Oracle CX Service and Jeff Wartgow, VP, Oracle Product Management. My “why” for working at...

Ask the Experts

The Key to B2B Service Excellence is Internal Collaboration

Your customers have already completed their digital transformations. One only needs to look at today’s grocery delivering robots to realize how quickly consumers embrace new technology to satisfy their thirst for instant gratification. While some businesses are quick to capitalize on these new innovations, many are struggling to keep up with their customers’ ever-evolving expectations. In fact, in an Oracle survey, 82% of customers report having disappointing experiences with brands. This is especially true for B2B organizations. According to McKinsey, B2B customer experience index ratings significantly lag behind B2C – a gap that will grow as B2B expectations match their B2C counterparts. Why? For many B2B organizations, the pace of digital transformation is slowed by the very way we work. How the pace of B2B digital transformation can be slowed by inefficient work processes When your B2B customers have a question about their accounts, they want the answer quickly. Conditioned by B2C brands, they’re used to getting answers in seconds. And their job performance might hinge on that information.  “As a result, they aren’t likely to tweet at you or search for a resolution on a FAQ page,” explains Danette Beal, Oracle B2B Service’s senior product manager. “Instead, they may pick up the phone to call the person they have a relationship with – the account or sales rep they met when they began doing business with you.” Therein lies the trouble. The person who answers that phone call might not have access to the context needed to respond to the client at the drop of the hat. So, they rely on the tools they have – email, phone, and messaging – to get those answers from their colleagues. But these tools are inherently slow and don’t provide the instant gratification that your customers are looking for. How to deliver superior B2B service experiences To deliver excellent B2B service experiences, effective businesses empower their internal teams with digital collaboration tools. Everyone at your company plays a different yet vital role in nurturing customer relationships – but they don’t always have a 360-degree view of each account. By providing your internal teams with modern tools, they can seamlessly communicate with coworkers across lines of business – from sales and field service, through to parts, warranty, contracts, and billing. In the latest 20C release, Oracle CX Sales and B2B Service integrated Slack collaboration software into the agent experience. Slack is the leading channel-based messaging platform, used by millions to align their teams, unify their systems, and drive their businesses forward. The Slack platform helps break down the walls between siloed business units, encouraging faster and digital communications between teams. This allows companies to resolve customer inquiries faster and with richer context, and to personalize interactions regardless if the customer is a top account or new account. Traditionally, service requests were stuck inside the agent desktop. Conversations via email, phone, or messaging weren’t easily recorded as part of this experience. Now, they can be within Oracle’s CRM. When service request (SR) agents use Slack’s collaboration software as a communication channel within an SR, they can add additional details to the account. Information captured by digital collaboration tools like the Slack platform can provide leadership with insights about which knowledge articles need to be created or updated, or how to better train team members in the future. When combined together, this information can indicate customer health. During the course of the contract, a customer might give many signals about their unhappiness with a service or product, but because they interact with a large number of team members those clues may go unnoticed. By interpreting these signals, service teams can proactively work to ensure that the customer renews before their contract is up. Internal digital collaboration is key to building account relationships With internal collaboration tools, every team member can respond to a customer inquiry armed with updated knowledge and a 360-degree view of each account. As a result, customers can begin to shift their trust in and reliance on one relationship within the company to the entire business. By providing reliable, consistent, and personalized communications, B2B companies can begin to digitally transform and consumerize their experiences while fostering deeper account relationships. To learn more about delivering collaborative and brand-building B2B service, download the latest Intelligent B2B Service eBook.

Your customers have already completed their digital transformations. One only needs to look at today’s grocery delivering robots to realize how quickly consumers embrace new technology to satisfy...

CPQ

3 Ways CPQ Drives Peak Sales Performance

Modern Configure, Price, Quote (CPQ) cloud solutions start where CRM ends—accelerating sales strategy where it makes the biggest impact. Modern sales organizations are designed to help reps support customers as buying behaviors evolve. CPQ is the key to centralize and automate product, pricing, discounting, contract renewals, and business rules. CPQ makes data available in real-time so sales reps have everything at their fingertips to respond to customer needs, faster. Let’s take a look at 3 ways CPQ technology helps maximize sales performance. 1. Perform better Work smarter, respond faster and delight customers To drive productivity in this new sales environment, leaders can build a powerhouse sales force to establish relationships with savvy buyers. However, according to the Docurated State of Sales Productivity Report, most sales reps only spend a third of their time actually selling. The report also states the remaining two-thirds is spent on administrative tasks, searching for sales information in spreadsheets, and configuring and pricing products manually. If 50% of deals go to the vendor that responds first, then non-selling activities are costing sales organizations major business. Smart sales teams gain competitive advantage by providing accurate quotes while on the go, seizing up-sell potential and creating new opportunities. With 86% of customers willing to pay more for a great experience, it’s critical that sales teams deliver an authentic, emotional connection to customers. Historically, sales reps relied solely on relationship building and competitive offers. Today, the focus has shifted to reps helping fulfill their customers’ needs and solve their problems. Successful sales leaders transform their reps into experienced ‘A’ players who can suggest the right products and offers automatically, without intensive training. One way forward-thinking sales leaders reduce friction in their workflow is by using CPQ technology to eliminate manual processes. By removing the need to manually update spreadsheets and disconnected CRM and ERP systems, sales reps can deliver accurate and customized quotes in minutes. Through guided selling, sales reps are also more empowered to quickly quote common product configurations with little-to-no help from product experts, further streamlining the sales process. To maximize face-to-face selling time, the most modern CPQ solutions provide advanced mobility, machine intelligence capabilities, and new adaptive intelligence applications. This allows reps to create the most precise and tailored proposals and offers to customers at the right time, on the right device, and through the right channel. This reduces the heavy lifting for reps, enabling them to focus on customer engagement and sales development. The key to closing complex deals faster is responding quickly, accurately, and supportively to advance the interest of your customer. With the right CPQ technology, you can provide the power your team needs to perform better. 2. Fuel profits Does the fear of not hitting your number keep you up at night? You’re not alone. 57% of CSOs report not attaining set sales quotas.  Factors like disconnected channels, pricing and quoting errors, and rogue discounts put the sales practices of many organizations in jeopardy. To differentiate themselves and increase profitability, sales teams are challenged with finding new ways to increase sales velocity, respond faster to customer needs, and exceed shareholder expectations. Eliminate quoting errors The quoting process for complex deals requires gathering data from multiple sources and channels, increasing the chance for errors. By eliminating pricing books and spreadsheets and automating this process with CPQ, modern sellers are making workflows systematic. They draw on the elements of approved proposals and pricing models to yield more accurate orders, drive higher win rates, and help reps hit their numbers. Don’t leave value on the table Many customers who have committed to a sale expect the salesperson to offer additional guidance for the purchase. This is an opportunity. Next-generation sellers take advantage of this with CPQ and empower their teams with real-time upsell and cross-sell capabilities. By making it easier for reps to make the right product or service recommendations, you’ll close bigger deals and increase margins. Control maverick discounting behavior Most businesses maintain multiple price lists depending on geography, volume pricing, or channel partner pricing, which complicates the pricing process with various discounting business rules. Top sales teams facilitate pricing controls with CPQ, saving them from either loss of revenue or a lost customer when price lists or discounts are incorrectly applied. The pressure is on to move more deals through the pipeline faster. Having CPQ technology at the center of your sales process helps you drive productivity and fuel profits. 3. Regain control Grow faster at scale by reducing friction and eliminating errors With new customer expectations and higher quotas to meet, sales reps feel the pressure. They may pivot on price because of a competitive offer. Or, they may issue a discount based on gut feeling, a one-size-fits-all model, or an outdated analysis. Sales practices reach a new magnitude of complexity when you add a new subscription or revenue model, partner trainings, and a lack of visibility into transactions.  This drains resources and puts organizations at risk. Modern sellers don’t leave profitability and productivity to chance. As leaders in sales excellence, they’re taking advantage of CPQ to control sales practices and behaviors. Take the guesswork out of selling Staying on top of regulations and their impact on product configurations is an uphill battle. By ensuring that rules and procedures around product, pricing, discounts, and offers are followed, CPQ technology helps sales teams take a right-the-first-time approach. This means all channel users are aligned with both corporate and national regulations. Exceptions to standards are governed and auditable. This transparency gives sales leaders peace of mind and reduces exposure to claims and financial penalties if something is disputed. With nearly 35% of sales teams churning every year, replicating top performers is not only difficult, it can be very expensive. The average cost of replacing a sales rep is nearly $100,000 and takes more than 6 months.  By deploying a CPQ solution, organizations are able to standardize  “A Player” behaviors with guided selling, discount governance, rules-based configurations and appropriate up-sell or cross-sell options.  By enabling the sale team to have the right information readily available at all times, you free them from administrative burdens that limit opportunities for their success. Oracle CPQ, your winning edge Whether you sell through direct sales teams, channel partners, or online stores, it’s evident that sales processes are becoming more complex as customers demand and expect a personalized buying experience. A CRM system will help you stay in the game. But, to compete and win, you need the added power of an advanced CPQ solution. Oracle CPQ is the only end-to-end CPQ solution that empowers your team with new capabilities and sets them on a path to peak sales performance. With Oracle CPQ, you can generate 100% accurate orders in minutes, reduce sales cycles, increase rep selling time, and achieve higher margins. Oracle CPQ seamlessly bridges the gap between your CRM and ERP systems, further increasing efficiencies, profit margins, and sales success. Oracle CPQ is used by over 600 well-known brand names (including Oracle itself) and by more than 600,000 employees. Most importantly, Oracle continues to invest in CPQ’s long-term success with a robust development team and four releases annually. For more information click below: Oracle CPQ What is CPQ? What Can CPQ Really Do For You

Modern Configure, Price, Quote (CPQ) cloud solutions start where CRMends—accelerating sales strategy where it makes the biggest impact. Modern sales organizations are designed to help reps...

Customer Experience Technology

Oracle Helps Customer Service Teams Embrace Change

Over the past few years, customer service organizations have undergone significant changes to meet evolving customer expectations, and the events of this year have understandably accelerated many of those trends. If 2020 has taught us anything, it’s the importance of being resilient in the face of constant change. The pandemic turned service departments on their heads, shutting down at a moment’s notice and reopening with remote workers. At the same time, many service departments had been overrun with requests and have had to rethink how they operate in order to answer customers when and where customers want. As service professionals look to the future – and in many cases, consider reinvention of their entire service departments – Oracle is here to help. To guide customers through these shifts and prepare them for the future, we have introduced a series of updates to Oracle CX Service within Oracle Cloud Customer Experience. New Digital Customer Service Tools: Context and understanding are everything in today’s environment. To help customer service teams meet these demands, we have introduced a series of new digital customer service tools. Automated Service “Digital Trifecta”: Helps service teams deliver accurate service at scale by automating service 24/7 through the integration of our Knowledge, Intelligent Advisor, and Digital Assistant products. Intelligent Advisor: An enhanced advisor helps enhance the customer experience with visuals such as uploading an ID, seeing a house on a map, and more, while also helping agents come to decisions faster with new real-time insights. “Service at the Point of Need” Inlays: New inlays or “pop-ups” monitor digital behaviors to read signals when someone might need service, and then offer service proactively. Inlays are context sensitive to ensure personalized and intelligent interactions. New Service Center from Home Capabilities: As service departments stay remote during the pandemic – and look to maintain increased work-from-home programs afterward – we have introduced a series of new remote work tools. Agent Experience Upgrades: To help service teams operate from anywhere and maintain productivity at scale, we have improved agent experience in the Oracle CX Service browser user interface. This allows agents to provide service from home or any location, via any browser or device, through an intuitive and customizable system. New Slack integration: A new Slack integration with Oracle CX Service gives agents a familiar tool to collaborate and resolve customer cases faster. Teams can drag and drop cases and stay better connected with teams while remote. New Field Service Capabilities: Field service is vital in maintaining essential infrastructure (power, water, internet, etc.) as well as lifesaving equipment (MRI machines, ventilators, etc.). To help organizations enhance field service capabilities, we have introduced new collaboration, digital assistant, and advisor capabilities.    New “Where’s My Technician?” feature: Helps customers follow the progress of their service appointments and engage directly with the field service teams in a style similar to an Uber app experience. Customers will also be able to confirm and change appointments, watch a vehicle pull up on a map, and more. New Field Service Digital Assistant: A new digital assistant helps customer service teams save time by answering questions for technicians in the field. New Customer Data Management Enhancements: Customer service data is a critical source of customer information that is often inaccurate and difficult to share with the rest of the organization. New features in B2C Service Customer Data Management validates and de-duplicates customer data to ensure accuracy and completeness, while making it easier to share customer data across the organization. New Knowledge Management Capabilities: To help agents navigate massive knowledge databases and quickly discover the best content, we are introducing artificial intelligence advancements. New artificial intelligence capabilities will proactively show agents the best answers, as well as help agents write and search for informative articles. To learn more about how the latest updates to Oracle CX Service help make every customer interaction matter, please tune into the Oracle Cloud CX Service Virtual Summit where I'll be joined by industry influencers Jay Baer and Shep Hyken as well as customers Razer and Badger Daylighting.

Over the past few years, customer service organizations have undergone significant changes to meet evolving customer expectations, and the events of this year have understandably accelerated many of...

Customer Experience Strategy

Making a Sales Legend with Data Driven Selling

Being a sales rep is hard. Don’t let anyone tell you differently. But when you're good, you're not just good - you're a sales legend who keeps the entire business running. There’s both an art and a science to establishing yourself as a trusted advisor to your customer, from positioning your product as the best fit over competitors, to negotiating terms and conditions that work both for your customer’s organization and your own, to keeping a deal alive when the budget is lost or a decision maker leaves the company. Plus, there’s the challenge of hitting a quota that can feel extremely unrealistic, even when these obstacles aren't popping up throughout a deal cycle. Then there’s the most difficult set of challenges that sellers face today: data challenges.  There's a popular sales saying, ‘Time kills all deals.’  Well, there should be an additional saying, ‘Bad data kills all opportunity.’ Once a seller realizes they’ve been working off of bad CRM data, irrevocable damage has been done.  Bad CRM data is a fast route to rejection Basing customer outreach on bad CRM data—whether duplicate, inaccurate, or incomplete data—sets sellers down the quickest and surest path to rejection. I faced a fair share of this rejection during my first stint in sales. Once, I called a customer to pursue what I thought was a good up-sell opportunity. But because their install base information was inaccurate in the CRM, my customer asked me, “Shouldn’t you know that we already own this product?” Another time, I sent the Director of IT at my top account a well-crafted persona-based email. But because my CRM wasn’t up to date on his not-so-recent promotion, I was embarrassed when his email reply read “Not interested” with “Chief Information Officer” in the signature. I lost my one chance to get to the decision maker.  I once received a call back from a customer I was very excited to finally connect with. The excitement was short lived when she told me she was already in a deal cycle with my colleague. “Do people at your company even talk to each other?” she asked. I knew for a fact I had checked her record in the CRM and there were no recent interactions with her. Must be another duplicate contact, I thought. From then on, I was forced to incorporate some very inefficient habits into my workday. After all, I wanted to at least have a chance to try and sell something. I began to always double check customer contracts and spend data in systems outside of the CRM before reaching out.  I made sure to cross reference CRM job title data with LinkedIn before prospecting. I triple checked every contact for duplicate records to make sure no other reps at my company were selling into the same prospect as me. After too many email bounces and unsuccessful dials to contacts with missing phone extensions, I stopped relying on the CRM for customer information altogether. It became just a place I was required to log my activity. All the time I spent validating CRM data left me with little time to personalize my outreach. I began sending generic, cookie cutter emails, and resorting to questions like “What’s keeping you up at night?” when I finally got a prospect on the phone. Back then, I wondered why our company didn’t just buy us a new CRM already! Knowing what I know now, I understand that wouldn’t have fixed the issue. Instead, what my company needed was a new customer intelligence strategy. We definitely could’ve benefited from the four-step approach Oracle has designed for its customers. Oracle’s outcome-focused approach to customer intelligence for sales: 1. Data quality The first step to true customer intelligence is setting a solid data foundation. Oracle CX customers leverage built-in capabilities to clean and de-dupe customer data and create a single Golden Customer Master Record for their front and back office systems to work from. The record continuously incorporates the best attributes from the strongest sources. 2. Data enrichment Once the data is consolidated and clean, it’s enhanced with continuously refreshed second-party and third-party data at both the account and contact levels, as well as validated postal addresses.  3. Data analysis  What sets Oracle’s AI strategy apart is that it’s fueled by clean, complete, and accurate data. The result is intelligent customer data analysis and segmentation. 4. Data action  Finally, the business can now act on this high-quality data, delivering contextually relevant information and prescriptive actions to sellers. The result of Oracle’s customer intelligence for sales strategy is an experience far different from the one that I had as a seller. Sales reps no longer need to deal with duplicate accounts and contacts in the system. They have access to all of the strongest attributes collected by marketing, service, commerce, and finance right inside of their CRM. Profile elements like job titles, phone numbers, addresses, and emails are constantly refreshed so reps never have to spend time validating this data in other internal or external systems.     Because this clean, complete, and accurate data is fueling Oracle’s AI, sales reps can be confident that the prescriptive recommendations they’re given in the CRM will set them down the right path. And real-time company news signals and smart talking points enable sellers to keep their outreach as personalized and relevant as ever, never being forced to ask their prospects “What’s keeping you up at night?” again. Learn more about Oracle's customer intelligence solution for sales, and schedule time with your account team to discuss how our approach can benefit your business.  

Being a sales rep is hard. Don’t let anyone tell you differently. But when you're good, you're not just good - you're a sales legend who keeps the entire business running. There’s both an art and a...

Data Utilization & Analytics

How Clean Is Your Sales and Marketing Data?

A Complimentary Data Health Scan for Oracle Sales and Marketing Customers Today, nearly 52% of data in the CRM is inaccurate and 40% of all B2B leads contain bad data.  If someone asked you to quantify just how accurate the data residing in your sales and marketing systems is, would you be able to?  Are you aware of how unreliable data in your systems is affecting your sales and marketing teams? Ask yourself: Do your sales reps spend a lot of time doing their own manual research on prospects? Do they have to use other systems to validate your CRM data?  How much more effective would your marketing be if cleaner, more accurate, and complete data fueled your segmentation efforts?  The complimentary data health scan is available in the Oracle CX Sales forum in Oracle Cloud Customer Connect. Join here.  One of the main reasons brands have erroneous data is that they’re not aligned on an enterprise customer intelligence strategy. This starts with a customer data mastering solution, like Oracle Customer Data Management, which works to fuel a business’ front and back office applications with a single golden customer master record that’s complete and correct.  Without a customer intelligence strategy in place, invalid and incomplete data is pervasive, starting with errors and oversights made during manual data entry and continuing over time as the data in sales and marketing systems decay, eventually becoming obsolete.  Our customers are solving these challenges by leveraging the built-in CDM capabilities of Oracle’s CX solutions, and by tackling data quality both at the point of creation and long term:  Smart Data auto-completes data as it’s being entered into the CRM, drawing from trusted and validated third-party sources. Address enrichment keeps customer location data fresh and accurate over time.  Oracle DataFox enriches account records with real-time event signals. Account and contact enrichment via Dun & Bradstreet completes the customer profile with continuously refreshed second and third-party attributes. Oracle and Dun & Bradstreet Data Health Scan When it comes to building a customer intelligence strategy, you can take it one step at a time. A great place to start is by understanding and quantifying the state of your data today. This is why Oracle has teamed up with Dun & Bradstreet to provide a complimentary data health scan to allow customers to do just that.  Every Oracle CX Sales and Oracle Eloqua customer is invited to utilize the Oracle & Dun and Bradstreet Data Health Scan for free. The scan provides our customers with the following insights:  Summary of data quality:  Identify the number of duplicates. Get a glimpse into the amount of records missing key attributes. Flag out-of-date business records. Summary of potential account data enrichment:  Identify the percentage of company records that could be enriched with accurate third-party data. Assessment of the completeness of the enriched corporate hierarchy: Receive an analysis of company data and how entities are legally linked within a company.  Analysis of data: global coverage, industry, employee size, revenue:  Understand data coverage and enrichment by geographic region, industry, employee size, revenue, and several other attributes. Oracle remains committed to equipping sales and marketing professionals with tools they’ll use and love. A big part of that is having clean, accurate, and complete data to fuel those systems and that sales reps and marketing professionals will trust.  This offer is available in the Oracle CX Sales forum in Oracle Cloud Customer Connect. Log in to learn more. 

A Complimentary Data Health Scan for Oracle Sales and Marketing Customers Today, nearly 52% of data in the CRM is inaccurate and 40% of all B2B leads contain bad data.  If someone asked you to quantify...

Ask the Experts

From Concept to Constant Innovation: The 7 Steps Behind Oracle’s Journey Into Community Development

The decision to enter a new market is often not easy to make. It requires a thoughtful approach of research, planning, and analysis while taking into consideration the ideas and opinions from a team of folks with diverse professional experiences. All of this comes together in a final crescendo, where hopefully there’s an overwhelming consensus behind the decision being made. Several years ago, Oracle considered entering the market for community development products.   After initial research, the question quickly shifted from if Oracle should enter the market into how would we enter the market and deliver innovative products that would best meet customers’ needs? That approach drove our decision to enter the market and is at the core of our product strategy and the ability to constantly deliver value to our customers today. We call this thought process our ‘Journey of Innovation’ and believe these principles uniquely qualify our products in the market today. Oracle’s Journey Of Innovation Into Community Development   Historically, Oracle has entered new markets through acquisitions, so we researched existing vendors.  When we began our research in the community development market, we noticed two things. 1. The market was comprised of mostly medium and small vendors with point solutions. These solutions often utilized outdated technology, had complex integrations or architecture, and relied on an outdated data model. 2. Larger vendors offered platform products, but they required a high level of technical expertise to implement and maintain due to required customization and scripting. Oracle decided to build, not buy. We wanted to create a modern, highly configurable solution that meets the diverse needs of Community Development organizations now and into the future. Once we decided to build a solution from the ground-up, Oracle made significant investments in the team responsible for bringing these products to market. They have backgrounds in community development organizations, architecture and engineering, technology vendors, and strategic advisory firms. This diverse set of experiences informs our product strategy and design. We started with a new data model to ensure our products would accommodate the diverse needs and use cases of all organizations involved in community development. Our data model provides customers productized capabilities and fully configurable table structures – delivering the extensibility these organizations demand. Investing $6 billion annually, Oracle’s products leverage digital assistants, artificial intelligence, machine learning, and natural language programming. These technologies promote customer self-service and ease of system configuration, reducing the time agency users spend responding to public inquiries, enabling faster response time to changing business needs. Oracle’s Community Development product was designed to be purpose-built, providing one integrated platform with shared capabilities to fit the uniqueness of the respective business lines – Permits and Inspections, Planning and Zoning, Code Enforcement – and user needs. We’re driven to keep pace with evolving business demands with an easy to maintain solution so that users with business analyst-type skills, not technical expertise, can perform many administrative functions such as updating fees and application forms through configuration, instead of complex scripting or customization. The key to delivering on our promise is the commitment to continually enhance our community development solution to increase the extensibility of the application and meet future demands. Product updates are delivered in three-month intervals and include new functionality, performance enhancements, as well as solution packages (application types, pre-built forms, and reports).  These principles represent our “Journey of Innovation” for Community Development. We’re excited about the path ahead and committed to building a better future together. Follow our journey and learn how you can transform your organization, here. Read more about the Oracle Public Sector Community Development solution by clicking here. Learn more through our Quick Tours here: Permits and Inspections Planning and Zoning Code Enforcement    

The decision to enter a new market is often not easy to make. It requires a thoughtful approach of research, planning, and analysis while taking into consideration the ideas and opinions from a...

CX News & Events

Oracle Named a Leader in the Gartner Magic Quadrant for Digital Commerce 2020

Gartner recognizes Oracle in the Magic Quadrant for Digital Commerce.  Click here to download the report.  If you asked me to define the last decade in one word, my gut reaction would be “disruption.” Unlike few other times in history, the rapid influx of startups flush with capital and fresh ideas mixed with new and maturing technologies like cloud computing, mobile devices, and IoT, forever changing the landscape of what we view as possible. Did we step into the future The Jetsons predicted? Not quite, but as it turns out, the show was set 100 years into the future—2062—so we’re making pretty good progress. Sure, our cars don’t fly, but they're undeniably smart—guiding us to our destinations efficiently, self-diagnosing their issues, and even enabling purchases through conversational interfaces. When I actually take a moment to consider the last decade, though, (and pause to do a web search for “top technology innovations of 2010”), I’m less convinced that disruption properly summarizes that period of time. Looking back, “evolution” might be better. Sure, many incumbents fell, and Uber, Venmo, and Yelp are now so ubiquitous that they’ve transformed from proper nouns to verbs, but as a whole, the last decade was largely characterized by new ways of solving old problems. Of course, that was until 2020 really set in. This year feels disruptive in a way that nothing from the last 10 years has (yes, even more than when Netflix started producing its own content). Now, every business is looking for new ways to solve new problems. Fortunately, when it comes to commerce, the investments and innovations made over the last decade into ecommerce platforms have helped mitigate many of the challenges that might otherwise have been disastrous—not just for individual businesses, but for the entire global economy. At Oracle, we’ve been invested in understanding the barriers that companies face in successfully bringing complex products and processes online, and providing solutions that enable them to navigate those challenges successfully. That’s why it’s an honor that Oracle has once again earned recognition as a ‘Leader’ for Oracle CX Commerce, Oracle’s cloud ecommerce solution in Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for Digital Commerce 2020.” As companies accelerate their digital transformations to execute in months what they had initially planned to do over the course of a few years, there are a few questions that remain top of mind. First and foremost, what is business-critical at this moment? Second, how do we continue to respond to our customers’ needs in real-time? And finally, what do we want to be able to achieve leveraging our existing investments, once we’ve made it past this hurdle? Customers are adapting to their own changes and relying on the businesses they work with and trust to provide an easy path forward. They need to be able to make the purchases they need and manage their account and order history without the constraints of timebound operating hours or gatekeepers. Oracle is helping companies solve these challenges by providing ecommerce solutions that enable organizations to use all their data more effectively. We call this Responsive Selling and it’s our unique approach to the entire buying and selling ecosystem. By seamlessly connecting front and back office data, we enable companies to deliver self-service capabilities with buyer-specific personalization in real time, using all of the customer data available, past and present. This goes well beyond using merely the CRM as the system of record. This approach also enables companies to bring highly complex products and workflows onto their digital channels so that customers have greater access to the entire catalog of goods and services that they need, whenever they need it. And it bolsters the ability to leverage new subscription business models that generate predictable revenues, while improving the management of this process. Companies that use these capabilities will develop competitive advantages that will enable them to achieve greater agility and solve new challenges faster than ever. Although it’s extremely difficult to predict what the world will look like and what technology will help us achieve in the coming years, if you ask me to define what the next decade looks like from here, I would say “transformative.” I know it might sound trite given that the word has been buzzy for nearly as long as “disruption.” But honestly, the urgency of today didn’t exist just a few short years ago. This is why Oracle will continue to invest in and innovate our solutions to help our customers be successful for whatever comes next. We're thrilled with Gartner’s recognition of Oracle as a ‘Leader’ in the Magic Quadrant for Digital Commerce 2020. We believe our consistent recognition in this report shows our strong commitment to innovation in our enterprise commerce platform and self-service capabilities that are built to help companies withstand the kind of change the world is experiencing today. Want to learn more? Download Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for Digital Commerce 2020. You can also contact us to learn more about how the Oracle CX Commerce suite of products can help achieve greater success on your digital sales channels and revenue goals with connected real-time data at scale. Note: This graphic was published by Gartner, Inc. as part of a larger research document and should be evaluated in the context of the entire document. The Gartner document is available upon request from Oracle. Gartner does not endorse any vendor, product, or service depicted in its research publications, and does not advise technology users to select only those vendors with the highest ratings or other designation. Gartner research publications consist of the opinions of Gartner's research organization and should not be construed as statements of fact. Gartner disclaims all warranties, expressed or implied, with respect to this research, including any warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose. Gartner, Magic Quadrant for Digital Commerce, 25 August 2020, Mike Lowndes, Jason Daigler, Sandy Shen, Penny Gillespie, Yanna Dharmasthira

Gartner recognizes Oracle in the Magic Quadrant for Digital Commerce.  Click here to download the report.  If you asked me to define the last decade in one word, my gut reaction would be “disruption.”...

CPQ

Oracle’s Own Case Study Experience with CPQ

When Oracle set out to create a fast, simple way for companies to buy its services, it asked “what would success look like?” With that in mind we developed a working model and transformed our internal operations to offer customers the best possible purchase experience. Oracle also realized we needed to re-engineer the sales organization so our sales reps could better serve our customers As we transformed from being a product company to a cloud services company, we also drove efficiency improvements that required dealing with the various siloed systems and processes that served niche sets of needs. We had to break down various silos and get individual departments onboard to buy into the overall process. Much of the buying experience at Oracle is based on our own CPQ implementation.  It serves as a logical bridge solution for those various systems and fulfills our strategic vision for offering products, services, and pricing while providing sales governance. CPQ improves the productivity of our sales organization and liberates them from as much of the internal process complexity as possible. Oracle transformed the sales rep experience by increasing deal velocity with simplified ordering of documents and agreements, streamlined approvals, and self-service quoting. In short, we reimagined the purchase process using our own solutions to deliver the best customer experience possible. Judging by the positive impact on the business, CPQ is a stunning success. Results with CPQ We increased the volume of self-service quotes from sales reps from 2% to 79%. These fully automated transactions don’t require any internal admin support. If you remove the more complex deals that require extra careful attention, the volume pops to 95%! Average deal velocity, the time it takes to create a quote and get it accepted by the customer, improved 2X. Reps can now create a quote in less than half the time. Guided selling functionality in CPQ means that 100% of the deals created also position value-added services to the core products, maximizing the opportunity to increase the average size of each deal.  Because Oracle is an acquisitive organization, improving the time it takes to introduce new product offerings is crucial. With the sales process including CPQ, we had a 4X reduction in time and effort to release new products with ease as buying behaviors evolve. Modern Configure, Price, Quote (CPQ) cloud solutions start where CRM ends—accelerating the sales strategy where it makes the biggest impact. CPQ centralizes and automates product, pricing, discounting, contract renewals, and business rules. It makes real-time data available so sales reps have everything at their fingertips to respond to customer needs, faster. We experienced a 10X improvement in order accuracy because CPQ centralizes product, pricing, discounting and business rules, making data available in real-time. Orders that progress downstream respond to customer needs faster. This improved order accuracy has had a dramatically positive impact on provisioning efficiency and set-up.  From our own experience, we know the power of using CPQ for transformational change within a company. Oracle used CPQ to improve the sales experience by simplifying the process, offering guided selling, streamlining approvals, and enabling greater levels of self-service quoting. All this allowed Oracle to transform the customer’s buying experience.  Oracle CPQ is used by over 600 well-known brand names and by more than 600,000 employees. Internally, we have over 41,000 users and more than $20 billion dollars of company revenue flowing through the tool. Most importantly, Oracle continues to invest in our CPQ’s long-term success with a robust development team and four releases annually. Interested in more information? Check out the following: Oracle CPQ Financial Impact of Selecting the Wrong Configure Price Quote (CPQ) Solution Exec Paper How Oracle Transformed the Customer Buying Experience to Automate 70% of Transactions with Oracle CX Cloud What Can CPQ Really Do For You  

When Oracle set out to create a fast, simple way for companies to buy its services, it asked “what would success look like?” With that in mind we developed a working model and transformed our internal...

Customer Service

When Being at the Right Place at the Right Time Is Critical for Field Service

Gartner recognizes Oracle in the Magic Quadrant for Field Service Management.  Click here to download the report. The pandemic is a magnifying glass on what business processes are and aren’t working; service strategies included. New business challenges are quickly replacing old ones as the pandemic reveals where organizations lack intelligent processes, or the ability to pivot and be agile at critical moments. This is especially apparent as businesses position their service departments on the front line in solving urgent interactions with customers or citizens, across all lines of business. As a result, support teams are experiencing an unprecedented increase in inbound inquiries and service requests. To adapt, service models are shifting to accommodate digital and remote support options. The same goes for field service. When it comes to supporting customers in-person, field service teams are realizing that they need to adapt in an agile way to continue supporting customers and their needs during these uncertain times. Field service is vital in maintaining essential infrastructure–like power, water, internet, and other utilities. Field service teams are also the first to ensure the lifesaving equipment–like MRI machines and ventilators–at hospitals and care facilities are working properly, especially if these facilities reach capacity. In these cases, being in the right place, at the right time, with the right tools and parts to solve the problem can not only avoid frustrated customers–it has the ability to save lives. When everything is changing around us so quickly, how you support your customers and your employees in a safe and healthy way is critical. Investing in a solution that has the flexibility to quickly meet these changes head-on in the field is essential. Oracle Field Service was built natively in the cloud, so that if your employees have to work from home they can do so seamlessly, and still provide the same excellent service as if they were in an office. Because field service is so important to emerging business models and customer relationships, it’s with great pride that I can announce that Oracle has, for the seventh consecutive time, been named a Leader in the latest Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for Field Service Management. We're honored for Gartner’s recognition of Oracle’s based on completeness of vision and ability to execute. We’re proud to be able to support our customers around the globe. We continually want to build on this momentum and build leading tools to help field service organizations. If you’re looking for a partner to help you overcome obstacles and exceed customer expectations, we’d love to hear from you. To learn more about Oracle’s position in this year’s Magic Quadrant for Field Service Management, click here to download the full report. Gartner does not endorse any vendor, product or service depicted in its research publications, and does not advise technology users to select only those vendors with the highest ratings or other designation. Gartner research publications consist of the opinions of Gartner's research organization and should not be construed as statements of fact. Gartner disclaims all warranties, expressed or implied, with respect to this research, including any warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose. Oracle acquired TOA Technologies (TOA) in July 2014. TOA Technologies as a Leader in Magic Quadrant for Field Service Management 2012; TOA Technologies as a Leader in Magic Quadrant for Field Service Management 2013; TOA Technologies as a Leader in Magic Quadrant for Field Service Management 2014; Oracle as a Leader in Magic Quadrant for Field Service Management 2016; Oracle as a Leader in Magic Quadrant for Field Service Management 2017; Oracle as a Leader in Magic Quadrant for Field Service Management 2019; Oracle as a Leader in Magic Quadrant for Field Service Management 2020. Gartner, Magic Quadrant for Field Service Management, Jim Robinson | Naved Rashid, 06 July 2020

Gartner recognizes Oracle in the Magic Quadrant for Field Service Management.  Click here to download the report. The pandemic is a magnifying glass on what business processes are and aren’t working;...

Customer Success Stories

3 CX Marketing Lessons from the Legends of the Chicago Bulls

When I introduce myself to new people, I make sure to include the phrase born and raised in Chicago as I’ve always felt pride in saying that. It acknowledges that I’ve grown up knowing what makes a pizza superior, and I never complain about 94-degree weather in August because I know what a negative 30 windchill feels like in winter. And I also know, without a doubt, that the 90’s Chicago Bulls remain the greatest sports dynasty with the greatest basketball player of all time. I recall being a youngster cramming on the couch next to my siblings with a 2 liter bottle of Mountain Dew, a bag of Flaming Hot Cheetos, and turning on our family TV to watch Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen score outlandish amount of points against the Utah Jazz. I relished Dennis Rodman dominating the paint, sporting hot pink hair. These childhood memories have infiltrated my wardrobe even as a 30-something woman as my inner voice says, “another day, another Bulls jersey.” Let’s just establish that if I ever do randomly run into Dennis Rodman, the odds that I’ll be wearing his jersey are very high. When I joined the Oracle CX team and found out the Chicago Bulls, were a customer through Chicago Bulls Kid Nation, my heart skipped a beat! This excitement led to finding out why and how the Bulls are using Oracle CX Marketing. Bulls Kid Nation leverage Oracle CX Marketing in a very similar fashion that the 90s Chicago Bulls played, and here’s how. Aside from collecting championships, the 90’s Chicago Bulls were known for 3 things: 1. Differentiation Before Michael Jordan joined the Chicago Bulls in 1984, they had faltered as a team and as a franchise. From 1975-1984, the Bulls had only made the playoffs twice. They had never won a championship title before Jordan. At the time that “Mike” Jordan was drafted after leaving UNC early, the NBA was dominated by players who played center. The big guys ran the show. Jordan was a guard, so there were many who questioned his abilities before they saw him play. There’s no question that drafting Michael Jordan was instrumental in differentiating the Chicago Bulls into franchise greatness. Just watch this compilation video from his rookie season. Before using Oracle CX Marketing (Eloqua), Bulls Kid Nation realized that many teams had “too playful” of a design that was geared more towards kids than parents. Now they use Oracle Eloqua to deliver differentiated content and experiences. Their design is clean, information is easy to enter, and for parents signing up their kids, it’s quick and efficient. Oracle Eloqua gives their marketing team full control on how items function and it’s been a win-win for both customers and internal users. 2. Personalization Every individual on the Chicago Bulls team had a specific gift that elevated the team’s play as a whole. Dennis Rodman didn’t care about the glory that the offense got. He was a true believer that defense won the game. He often sacrificed his body to win a rebound. Scottie Pippen is an all-time great along with Michael, but he was always seen as Jordan’s right-hand man. He put himself in Jordan’s shadow for the greater good of the team. Steve Kerr’s decisiveness at point-guard was pivotal in shooting and scoring the winning shot that earned the Bulls their 5th title in 1997. The marketing team knows that their fans all have distinct talents and likes. Therefore, building unique ways to communicate with them is critical. When gathering data from their fans to access in Oracle Eloqua to better understand their likes and interests, they go beyond asking the simple and mundane questions such as name, birthday, and gender. They also collect insights from answers by asking fun questions such as favorite player, do they play basketball, have they attended the United Center - all to communicate with them more effectively. This helps deliver a stronger message that adapts and grows with the child as they continue in the youth fan funnel. 3. Branding We’ve talked about the distinct players for the Bulls, their attributes, and what they brought to their team in terms of talents. But what we can also establish is the unique ability that each player contributed to the very brand of the team. The Bulls franchise went from being valued at $18.7 million to over $105 million in 1985. Forbes has estimated the Chicago Bulls value to be over 3 billion dollars. Much of this can be attributed to the 90’s Bulls, the championships they won, and the characters on those teams. Branding isn’t merely a logo but is the perception of the sum total of every interaction a brand has with its customers. Feelings, thoughts, and insights that are evoked when someone in a room speaks your name is the true worth of your brand. If you were a Chicago-suburban kid in 1996, you’d venture into the city via the Kennedy Expressway. As you entered the city limits, you’d be greeted by a 75-foot mural that often featured Dennis Rodman’s distinct hair color of choice. This mural caused so many motorists to brake, that traffic jams stretched for miles, sometimes causing accidents. As traffic increased on the expressway, the mural had to be taken down, only to be brought back up after the Bulls clinched their fourth title.  Rodman and the Bulls built the brand from the ground up. They were exceptional at what they did, which was more than just play basketball. They had a level of authenticity that was inspirational. Who else had leopard print hair in the NBA in 1997? Who else starred in a little-known movie featuring Bugs Bunny and the other looney toons? Speaking of Space Jam, check out their website that hasn’t changed since 1996, in anticipation of the sequel coming in 2021. In marketing, the customer doesn’t care about the tools being utilized when interacting with a brand. They care about the experience. And that experience with the customer is what builds the brand. Falter with the experience, you’d just as easily lose your customer. Continue to progress with your organization’s brand, the more you’ll see your pipeline expand, which is exactly what Chicago Bulls Kid Nation leverages Oracle Eloqua to do for them -  deliver a constant and seamless customer experience, from when the parents first sign up their kids and input their information to when they get their first Kid Nation package in the mail. This experience is heightened, individualized, and customized making their brand of singular importance to their fans and members. The next time a youngster tries to tell you about an up-and-coming new player being drafted in the NBA, make sure you remind them of the greatest NBA franchise of all time. Want to learn more about Oracle CX Marketing? Find out more here.

When I introduce myself to new people, I make sure to include the phrase born and raised in Chicago as I’ve always felt pride in saying that. It acknowledges that I’ve grown up knowing what makes a...

CX News & Events

Oracle Named a Leader in the 2020 Gartner Sales Force Automation Magic Quadrant

Oracle’s SFA Vision Looks to the Back Office For the fourth year in a row, Oracle is a Leader in the Gartner Magic Quadrant for Sales Force Automation. Gartner evaluated our CX Sales product, part of our CX Cloud suite that includes Service, Commerce, CPQ, and Marketing applications. Click here to download the report.  In the 2020 Magic Quadrant, Oracle is recognized for its completeness of vision and ability to execute. For omnichannel sales, we believe Oracle CX benefits from a rich ecosystem of applications, shared services, connected data, and common infrastructure. We go beyond point-to-point integrations that other vendors need to rely on; and instead deliver functionality that transcends application boundaries so our customers can run their business efficiently. Our vision for the entire buying and selling ecosystem is what we call Responsive Selling, and it has its roots deep in our platform, connecting the entire customer experience across the front and back office: Sales Force Automation that includes Sales Performance Management, Partner Relationship Management and Customer Data Management.  AI applications that run on a full range of enterprise data to deliver actionable insights to sellers at every phase of the sales cycle. Conversational interfaces that incorporate selling success into a complete employee success strategy, as the same enterprise virtual assistant can help with sales automation, answer questions about incentive compensation or expense reports, access knowledge, and more.  Sales Planning, built on Oracle’s market-leading Enterprise Planning Management platform, that leverages ERP financial data alongside CRM pipeline data for predictive analyses and accurate sales forecasting that will help customers run their sales with forward-looking information instead of lagging indicators.  Customer Data Management that consistently draws the best attributes from the best sources across the organization to maintain the complete and accurate customer golden master for all parts of the business to engage with.  Data enrichment to provide the latest information about customers, their business, challenges, and successes. Applying intelligence and machine learning to identify new opportunities with existing customers and new markets. Subscription management to enable businesses to grow recurring relationships and transition to more predictable revenue models. Configure, Price, Quote capabilities that connect Sales and ERP for optimizing discounts, better inventory forecasting, and managing complex quotes and orders.   A complete Commerce platform with integrations to CX Cloud, which can serve multiple business models and quickly generate online presence and revenues. Content Management to ensure everyone can collaborate on providing the right content to internal and external stakeholders during all phases of the customers’ lifecycle. Partner Relationship Management to manage and grow channel sales at any scale.  Oracle’s vision is to drive digital transformation and optimization for our customers by connecting front and back office processes, tied together with clean and complete data, to deliver the right value to the right customers in the right channel at the right time, every time. Check out a great example of an Oracle CX Sales customer that has been through this kind of transformation journey in our Oracle Customer Spotlight featuring Aon.  Gartner Magic Quadrant for Sales Force Automation, Theodore (Tad) Travis, Adnan Zijadic, Ilona Hansen, Melissa Hilbert, 28 July 2020 Gartner does not endorse any vendor, product or service depicted in its research publications, and does not advise technology users to select only those vendors with the highest ratings or other designation. Gartner research publications consist of the opinions of Gartner's research organization and should not be construed as statements of fact. Gartner disclaims all warranties, expressed or implied, with respect to this research, including any warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose. As a Leader in Magic Quadrant for Sales Force Automation – 2017-2020 As a Visionary in Magic Quadrant for Sales Force Automation 2016

Oracle’s SFA Vision Looks to the Back Office For the fourth year in a row, Oracle is a Leader in the Gartner Magic Quadrant for Sales Force Automation. Gartner evaluated our CX Sales product, part of...

Customer Service

8 Things to Expect at the Oracle CX Cloud Virtual Summit on Intelligent Service

Calling all service professionals! We’re coming to you live on September 17, 2020, from 9-10:45 AM PST. For “one morning only,” Oracle executives will team up with industry gurus and leading CX Service customers to talk about customer service in today’s Experience Economy. It’s no secret that consumer and buyer expectations have evolved dramatically over the past year. We’re bringing the experts together to help make sense of these changes and leave you with actionable takeaways along your path to success. Register for the virtual summit.  Here’s what you can expect: It wouldn’t be a CX event without Jay Baer! Our host will keep you entertained with industry expertise and commentary while taking you through the morning’s sessions. Rob Tarkoff, EVP Oracle CX and Data Cloud, will kick things off with an executive keynote. Rob will discuss the impact that COVID-19 has had on CX and what we’ve learned. He’ll also share inspiring stories about how Oracle CX has helped customers deliver critical and unforgettable experiences during this unprecedented time. The event will have two tracks: customer service and field service. In each, Oracle executives will discuss the future of service and Oracle’s vision. You’ll learn tips to overcoming today’s challenges and how to prep for tomorrow. In the customer service track, CX expert and author, Shep Hyken, will discuss the top 10 trends impacting CX professionals, and how you can tackle them. He will also interview a few Oracle CX Service customers like Razer, Inc. If you’re into gaming, then you know Razer–a leader in gaming hardware. Ernest Lu, Razer’s VP of Customer Advocacy, will give customer service track attendees tips on how to win over Gen Z with an authentic and intelligent service ecosystem. Badger Daylighting, an expansive non-destructive hydro-excavation (hydrovac) services company, will join the field service track. Badger will explain exactly what a hydrovac truck does and why Oracle Field Service is so important to their business. You’ll hear how this company transformed from a paper-based system to a completely digital approach and the lessons they learned along the way. A morning of inspiring content. We’ve jam-packed just over 90 minutes with service expertise, visionary discussions, and actionable takeaways that you can bring back and implement in your CX journey. Did we mention it’s free? Check out the detailed event agenda and save your virtual seat by registering today! We’ll see you on September 17.

Calling all service professionals! We’re coming to you live on September 17, 2020, from 9-10:45 AM PST. For “one morning only,” Oracle executives will team up with industry gurus and leading...

Customer Service

How I Fell in Love with My Cable Company in the Time of COVID-19

I have a confession. I’ve fallen in love with my cable company. Over the last six months, I’ve become increasingly dependent on my internet connection. It’s become absolutely fundamental to my work-from-home, social-distanced existence. Without my WiFi, I couldn’t work, given that my office is now in my home. And if I couldn’t work, I wouldn’t be able to pay my bills and buy food. Without my WiFi, I couldn’t watch all of those shows and documentaries everyone is talking about around the proverbial Zoom water cooler every Monday morning (although did we all really need to watch Tiger King?). Like any good love story, though, our relationship had a moment of doubt. When my cable company sent me a letter and an email to say that my modem would be proactively disabled on July 16, I panicked. To replace the old modem, they would send a new one that I would self-install. I began checking my mail daily for the package. As the days ticked by and I hadn’t received my modem, I started to worry. Let the affair begin As July 16 came and went, I couldn’t wait any longer. I reached out to their service team across every digital channel I could think of. I went to the website and engaged with the virtual assistant and scrolled through their knowledge base. I only found general information that wasn’t specific to my case. So, unwilling to pick up the phone (because who really wants to use the phone?), I went to the social sphere and direct messaged them on Twitter. And wouldn’t you know it, within minutes, I had a response. The rep confirmed that my package had been shipped on July 2, and they had emailed me with the tracking number. Something was obviously amiss, but I couldn’t go back and forth endlessly knowing that impending doom was near because my modem was going to be disabled and my virtual world would come crashing down any moment. Understanding the urgency of the situation, the cable company’s Twitter rep suggested they send a field technician to install the new modem free of charge that very afternoon. BINGO! I was given a one-hour service window. As the appointment time approached, I received a text message with a link to track my technician. The app showed an estimate of how long it would be until the technician arrived. It also had a map so I could watch in real-time as he got closer to my home. It was genius. Lo and behold, the technician arrived at the top of my one-hour service window, armed and ready with my new modem in hand. Bet you didn’t see that plot twist coming. Within 20 minutes of his arrival, I was back up and running with my new trusty modem. No downtime…no waiting…no disconnection from the outside world. I could watch Tiger King on repeat, if I wanted. Instead, I celebrated that night by streaming Hamilton for the third time. What are you streaming now? Learn more about Oracle Field Service.

I have a confession. I’ve fallen in love with my cable company. Over the last six months, I’ve become increasingly dependent on my internet connection. It’s become absolutely fundamental to...

CX News & Events

Reimagining the Seller Experience to Meet Buyer Expectations

Gartner recognizes Oracle in the Magic Quadrant for Sales Force Automation.  Click here to download the report. Just seven months ago we were celebrating the dawn of a new decade and looking forward to what this year would bring. Today, 2020 looks very different than anyone envisioned. One profession that has been turned upside down and inside out is sales. This year has redefined the core of what it means to be a seller. Buyers' expectations and behaviors have not just shifted – they've been doing that for years – but have fundamentally changed due to a large portion of our lives taking place online. We've all become extremely reliant on digital experiences to engage with one another, even for major life events such as new jobs, baby showers, and graduations. Sales leaders are facing this change head on. With any kind of travel now at a minimum, buyers are doing extensive research online and are already a majority of the way into their buying decision before they connect with a brand. As a result, sellers need to be ready to have the right discussion wherever the customer is in the buying journey. Always having relevant conversations with the buyer is a huge ask and requires that sellers have the right information at their fingertips. With this in mind, we at Oracle, have been re-imagining the seller experience. And the key ingredient is data – not how much data you have, but how you use it. Our primary goal is to provide recommendations to a seller to make their day-to-day experience better. We want to enable any seller to take action on the best data surfaced to them by automation and intelligence in the way it makes the most sense for how they do their jobs. Data is at the foundation of our vision for the entire buying and selling ecosystem. It’s how we developed our unique approach, Responsive Selling, which is based on seamlessly connecting front and back office data to provide sellers with a complete view of their customers, past and present. It’s also why we’re proud to say that Oracle CX Sales, part of our CX Cloud suite, has been recognized by Gartner we believe for both our strong vision for the future of selling and for our ability to execute for our customers. Click here to download the report. The 2020 Gartner Sales Force Automation Magic Quadrant is an assessment of 15 Customer Relationship Management (CRM) vendors, and Oracle was one of the five vendors named a Leader. 2020 is the fourth consecutive year Oracle has been named a Leader in the Gartner Magic Quadrant for Sales Force Automation. While we're proud of what we've achieved, we’re not slowing down and there’s a LOT more to come. I hope you had the opportunity to join us at the digital Quest Insight event on July 14 and 15 where our product experts shared the latest news on innovations across sales, commerce, and CPQ, but if not you can still check out those presentations on-demand at https://commercepros.org/insight. Some of the most exciting examples of companies embracing our Responsive Selling strategy are now on display as the winners of our 14th annual Markie awards were announced on August 4. Tune in to see how these companies are driving revenue with their innovative approach to Sales.  Gartner Magic Quadrant for Sales Force Automation , Theodore (Tad) Travis, Adnan Zijadic, Ilona Hansen, Melissa Hilbert , 28 July 2020 Gartner does not endorse any vendor, product or service depicted in its research publications, and does not advise technology users to select only those vendors with the highest ratings or other designation. Gartner research publications consist of the opinions of Gartner's research organization and should not be construed as statements of fact. Gartner disclaims all warranties, expressed or implied, with respect to this research, including any warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose. As a Leader in Magic Quadrant for Sales Force Automation – 2017-2020  

Gartner recognizes Oracle in the Magic Quadrant for Sales Force Automation.  Click here to download the report. Just seven months ago we were celebrating the dawn of a new decade and looking forward to...

Customer Success Stories

4 Lessons From the 2020 Markie Awards

Every year brings a new crop of nominations for the Oracle Markie Awards, now going on its 14th year, and there’s very little that makes me prouder than reviewing the dozens of nominations in the many categories within sales, marketing, service, and commerce. Not just because the nominees are Oracle customers, but because of their eagerness to push innovation and to share the best practices they’ve developed through these awards. These best practices refute the idea that marketing and sales are more of an art form, driven by intuition, inspiration, and creative genius, than a structured way of doing things with a right way and a wrong way. The nominees for the Markie awards exemplify how the best companies use data – not hunches -- to drive decisions. George Anders, a senior editor at LinkedIn, makes the point that our intuition “can be wrong as much as 90% of the time.” 1.) There’s a science to sales and marketing The Markies are a celebration of the idea that there’s a science to sales and marketing – that there’s a right way to use real-time segments, a right way to use audiences, a right way to design and measure campaign effectiveness, and to use machine learning to prescribe next best actions for marketers or sellers. The more automation is used in marketing, and the more our customers experiment with machine learning and other emerging technologies in the context of sales and marketing, the more they’re discovering patterns of success that are as recognizable in the front office as they are in the back office. 2.) What do you do when your customer is the innovator? It has become a truism in our industry that customers are the innovators – but where does that leave the enterprise? Today, there is no shortage of signals coming from our customers – they’re telling us with every mouse click, email open, survey response, purchase – and decision not to purchase. They could be telling us, for instance, that they want to book two hotel rooms at a resort, and that they have two children under 10 years of age. They’re also telling us they don’t want to travel very far from home because they’re not willing to take an airplane. They may have told us in the past that they weren’t interested in outdoor activities like camping and hiking, but given the current environment, they’ve changed their mind. The resort company’s job is to suggest someplace within driving distance, with nature trails and kayaking nearby, and a very hygienic hotel suite with adjoining rooms so the adults can have some alone time while still keeping their kids within earshot. In other words, the company’s job – it’s only job – is to curate an experience based on the signals it gets from the data its customers are giving it. For the privilege of giving us access to their data, customers are telling us they expect exceptionally personalized service, and that’s something only possible at scale with the right application of technology. 3.) Borrowing from across the hall Another lesson I’ve observed is the sudden disappearance of the “not-invented-here” syndrome. Organizations tend to mimic (not to say copy) from their peers, which makes sense if you buy into the idea that your particular industry offers experiences that are dramatically different from any other. But that’s seeing the issue from the inside out; seen from the outside, consumer experiences are homogenous across the board. Did the company understand my needs? Did the person I dealt with help me solve my problem immediately, in a single interaction? Did the recommendation they made correspond to my needs? What we’re seeing today is that organizations are looking at the best ideas for solving problems and providing service, irrespective of the industry that is adopting it. And this makes sense as customers, like employees, don’t see themselves as retail customers or hospitality customers or education customers. They see themselves as individuals, and the organizations that treat them as individuals are likeliest to build a long-term relationship with them, irrespective of their industry. 4.)  It takes a village If it takes data to make smarter decisions, you can probably guess that it takes a multitude of tools to get this science right. It takes inputs from a variety of sources, including traditional outbound marketing campaigns, reams of data coming in, the ability to store and analyze that data, and the ability to analyze and to make suggestions in real time. That requires an effective suite of applications all working together, creating the kind of efficiencies that today’s market requires. It also requires an effective network of partners, which is why this year we’ve added two new categories to our awards, as a shout-out to the great Independent Software Vendors and Systems Integrators in our industry. In congratulating the finalists and winners (you can see them listed here), I can say that I’m already looking forward to next year and the furtherance of science-based marketing. Click to see the winners!

Every year brings a new crop of nominations for the Oracle Markie Awards, now going on its 14th year, and there’s very little that makes me prouder than reviewing the dozens of nominations in the many...

Customer Success Stories

Elsevier Optimizes Oracle B2C Service and Creates a Data Warehouse to Serve the Entire Organization

Ever wonder how a world-leading company keeps track of all customer interactions at each stage of the journey? How do multiple systems connect to provide a smooth, integrated experience? Here’s an exclusive, behind the scenes snapshot. Find out about the Elsevier Customer Service Solutions team’s data warehousing project from two of the software engineering professionals driving it.  Marc Grant is a Software Engineering Manager at Elsevier whose team looks after Oracle B2C Service. Dom Smith is a Software Engineer at Elsevier.  Their team supports the Oracle B2C Service users (e.g. agents, managers), plus the data and analytics tools. This is their team’s most complex data warehouse project to date, albeit not their first. Marc and Dom wanted to improve on past experiences, so read on and learn how they approached this ambitious project and what benefits they’re seeing.  Marc Grant, Software Engineering Manager, Elsevier The mandate was to break down the silos! Elsevier use multiple systems to gather customer data, including Oracle B2C Service (part of Oracle Cloud CX). Different stakeholders in the company needed different data sets and views. Before, when stakeholders needed data, they went to the different teams who owned the systems. Once they received the data, they had to sync it with data from other sources and work with the resulting spreadsheets. This required a lot of manual labor and effort from various teams and results were prone to human errors and delays. Elsevier had years of valuable data in Oracle B2C Service, but they struggled to run historical reports due to the huge data volumes and the complexity of their implementation (e.g. many custom objects). Also, the underlying problem behind these performance issues was that Elsevier relied on Oracle B2C Service to be part of the data warehouse solution, not optimizing it as the transactional system, like it’s designed to be. To top it off, they needed to comply with policies like GDPR while still keeping historical data to support the massive keenness around the globe for people to do long-term trend reporting. In summary, Elsevier’s technical systems were building up—not breaking down—those organizational silos and were undermining the different Elsevier teams’ ability to make clear data-driven decisions to reach business goals. The process brought systems together to deliver actionable data  Marc, Dom, and team embarked on a year-long project to fix and improve how Elsevier’s data from different systems could come together and support the various stakeholders of the organization.  The project goals were to: Establish a single source of trusted Customer Service data. Improve Elsevier’s ability to access and report on data. Contribute to Elsevier’s business goals through product improvements, reduced inquiries, and increase CSAT in a reliable, streamlined manner. Enable their data analysts and scientists with complete data sets to support their distinct use cases.  Gain more and better insights from Oracle B2C Service by optimizing it as a transactional system, not a data warehouse or reporting system. Comply with GDPR while anonymizing and storing historical data. Dom Smith, Software Engineer, Elsevier Dom said the overarching goal was to, “increase trust with senior leadership teams and internal customers. It was about providing them with the answers. We have the data and the solution, so you can make the decisions you need based on improved data.”  The solution - design a system to deliver trusted data across the business Before coming to a decision, Elsevier engaged its reporting teams from around the world and asked them what data they reported on, and to what end. For example, “How are we going to improve NPS for a product with this data?” They gathered and analyzed the reporting requirements for each team over four cycles to produce the final version. This iterative process was crucial because every global team had different KPIs. One team counted incidents that came in for 24 hours while another looked at a 48-hour window. Elsevier realized it was treating customers differently. This thorough process also informed compliance decisions. Just because someone had access to certain information didn’t mean they needed to or should have access to it.  Their diligence paid off. They trimmed the Oracle B2C Service data set by 30% from the original requirements. This gave a big performance advantage and uses less storage. The project also kicked off very important discussions. Looking back on their journey, everyone involved in the Elsevier data warehousing project committed to working outside their comfort zone. The Elsevier team moved into designing and delivering their solution with a focus on providing a holistic view of the customer, their organization, and their history with Elsevier.   Elsevier use Oracle B2C Service and the API to run custom reports for extracting the support data, and then feed that through Talend to the different reporting audiences—data analyst and data scientists. Talend is the software that goes to both Oracle B2C Service and other applications, extracts the data from those sources, and does all the processing before passing the data to these other pipelines.  Previously, there were separate support groups for Oracle B2C Service, Talend, and others that would do separate bits of the work. Marc and Dom were keen to have the skill set within a single team deal with those requests. “We were very conscious of trying to avoid a siloed support structure for the data warehouse and widened our skills accordingly,” said Dom. “Now, they are responsible for all the technology until they hook that data up to the reporting server. From this point forward, reporting teams around the globe and analysts build the data sources in the way they wish and come up with dashboards and reports for product managers, marketing managers, and others.” “At the end of the project, we were able to publish the Customer Service data sets to the Elsevier data lake, which other systems can publish into as well: marketing, sales, customer service, or product. These stakeholders can come with their data shopping list, put what they want into their shopping trolley, and report on it. We’ve seen things really move from having that siloed, team-by-team reporting approach to the joined-up trend reporting across the whole of Elsevier,” summarized Marc. By having a single source of trusted data, Elsevier is starting to break down technical and business silos and give everyone the same view.  Trusted data empowers proactive support While this type of work is never quite complete and is always an ongoing evolution, Elsevier is reaping significant benefits with their new technical system and updated processes. A new customer 360 dashboard: This provides Elsevier with a clearer view of how customers engage and signals if they should be proactively and intentionally changing how they interact and serve different customers.  Identifying duplicate issues: Elsevier can now quickly identify people who experience the same problems and put a process around fixing those issues. Look ahead to predictive analysis and machine learning: Marc explained, “At the moment, an agent takes a call, they assess what category it is, and they fill that in. We have our agents take that step for reporting, but if we can leverage predictive analytics based on our historical dataset to dynamically generate those categories and take that onus away from the agents, then that would be fantastic!” Of course, there is still some fine-tuning to do and they have other datasets to bring into the fold, but they’re very conscious to avoid a siloed system or support structure for their data warehouse. Advice for others starting a similar project For other organizations launching into a similar initiative, their biggest advice is to start by working across other departments and teams to understand the data that people need. Dom explained, “You really need to understand what data you’re bringing in and why you need it. Don’t just take a list of fields and put it in the database without understanding what they’re going to do with it on the other end. Expect your job, team and processes to evolve. View this as a growth opportunity. Get used to being outside of your comfort zone and set that same expectation with others on the project.” If Elsevier’s story inspired you to make the most of your company’s data, find out how your organization can benefit from implementing state-of-the-art customer service with Oracle.  

Ever wonder how a world-leading company keeps track of all customer interactions at each stage of the journey? How do multiple systems connect to provide a smooth, integrated experience? Here’s an...

CPQ

Oracle Named a Leader in the IDC MarketScape: Worldwide Configure Price Quote Assessment for Commerce 2020

Oracle is delighted to be named a 'Leader' in the IDC MarketScape CPQ for Commerce Vendor Assessment for 2020. According to the report, “customers IDC interviewed rated Oracle above average when asked about value and customer satisfaction to CPQ clients.”  Oracle’s position as a Leader in the IDC MarketScape report reaffirms the strength of our CPQ offering as fully scalable, powerful and streamlined. The mention of Oracle CPQ’s value is a nod to our limitless platform capabilities, AI-driven Deal Management, CRM agnostic capabilities, Price Optimization, point-and-click administration functionality with upgradable extensibility and our ability to increase deal profitability through definition of price parameters, including discount level to maximize margins. Oracle CPQ is sold standalone, but is often packaged with Oracle CX Sales, CX Commerce, Subscription Management and ERP Cloud. The support of the full suite of Oracle CX products to enhance CPQ provides the added benefit of being architected on a robust platform with capabilities around Adaptive Intelligence, analytics, extensibility, collaboration and seamless integration. It is also important to note that Oracle CPQ is CRM agnostic and can be tightly integrated with Salesforce’s CRM offering, in addition to many other CRM products. Key Benefits of an Oracle CPQ Solution include: Increased Deal Profitability: Define price parameters, including the discount level to maximize margins. Streamlined Approvals: Automatically bypass approval process by pre-determining quoting restrictions and triggering managerial approval parameters. Standardized Contracts: Merge contracts, highlight differences in two contract versions, store contracts with accounts. Evolves with your Business: Easily roll out new products and services as they become available. Scalability: Seamlessly adapt to change and future-proof your business Generates Renewals: Accept, modify or terminate contracts using a Subscription Ordering interface. The value of introducing a CPQ solution can impact various parts of an organization, meaning choosing the right one can be critical to not only the success of the program, but also to the growth potential and bottom line of the business. Implementing the wrong CPQ solution could have a negative financial impact on the organization and lead to costly and highly-visible project failures. The below report highlights the importance of ensuring organizations choose the right CPQ solution from the beginning. Download a Free Excerpt Copy of the IDC MarketScape Report Oracle CPQ Web Site Click to read "Financial Impact of Selecting the Wrong CPQ Solution." Interested in learning more? Contact us. We’ll be happy to show you how you can leverage Oracle CPQ to improve your bottom line. IDC MarketScape vendor analysis model is designed to provide an overview of the competitive fitness of ICT suppliers in a given market. The research methodology utilizes a rigorous scoring methodology based on both qualitative and quantitative criteria that results in a single graphical illustration of each vendor’s position within a given market. The Capabilities score measures vendor product, go-to-market and business execution in the short-term. The Strategy score measures alignment of vendor strategies with customer requirements in a 3-5-year timeframe. Vendor market share is represented by the size of the circles. Vendor year-over-year growth rate relative to the given market is indicated by a plus, neutral or minus next to the vendor name.    

Oracle is delighted to be named a 'Leader' in the IDC MarketScape CPQ for Commerce Vendor Assessment for 2020. According to the report, “customers IDC interviewed rated Oracle above average when...

Ask the Experts

Oracle and Accenture Partner on CX Solutions - 2 Podcasts

Accenture understands that data drives personalized individual experiences. Customers are found in virtually every channel and the only way to stay relevant is to use automation to find them, serve them and personalize for them. Exploring the steps companies need to take to understand their customers better, bring together and manage a vast array of data sources, and get the right kind of insights out the other side, these podcasts highlight why CX matters more than ever – and why data is the secret to meaningful modern customer interactions. In the first of two podcasts, Oracle's Honora Handley interview's Accenture's Nelson Bernabe about how customer journeys have changed with today's digitally empowered consumer.  What helps businesses better engage with their customers is the fact that customers expect much more from the brands they engage with. Bernabe discusses customer journeys, data, and the challenges brands have with curating and assembling data to engage customers with the right message and channel in a "hyper-personalized" fashion wherever that customer is in the journey process. They also discuss the importance of teams working in sync to provide the best possible customer experience and why Accenture is partnering with Oracle. 14 minutes. The 2nd podcast, Handley interviews Oracle’s Joe Fuster on using data to spot key CX signals, build customer graphs, and drive revenue. Joe talks about connecting data at scale, knowing individuals on a deep, meaningful level in order to properly serve them precisely what they want and need.  21 minutes.   Listen to Accenture’s Nelson Bernabe on mapping hyper-personalized journeys and avoiding CX blind spots. On the same page, listen to Oracle’s Joe Fuster on using data to spot key CX signals and build customer graphs. Read the Oracle blog, "Path to CX Excellence."

Accenture understands that data drives personalized individual experiences. Customers are found in virtually every channel and the only way to stay relevant is to use automation to find them,...

Customer Experience Technology

Oracle Intelligent Advisor Helps Brands' Agility to Handle Any Situation

In the past, organizations would carefully develop strategies for any given new product or service offering. But in these new times today, where situations are rapidly changing and evolving, this may not be so possible. You might be losing out to your competitors if they’re taking a more agile approach. Why agility is an important business characteristic Organizations have been changing from where department functions were traditionally rigid and defined, management was hierarchical, and teams operated in silos with little collaboration among them. A recent McKinsey report compared organizations to living organisms. As an organism, the company’s “backbone” develops slowly over time, giving it stability while at the same time, the backbone supports dynamic movement and is adaptable to external forces. This combination of stability and agility enables businesses to create, test, and execute strategy — with minimal risk. Oracle Intelligent Advisor Solution Overview Key aspects of agile companies Enterprises that adopt agile practices can become faster, more productive, and more responsive to customer needs. Faster time to market. In times like these, it’s important your organization can adapt to dynamic business change – such as contact-less delivery, social distancing, and virtual communications. Ability to deliver exceptional customer experiences. It’s vital that customer experiences are personalized. An organization that adopts an agile approach needs technology that enables them to make changes quickly to all their channels (e.g. self-service, agent, chat or digital assistant) while maintaining personalization. If you are looking to immediately meet customer’s needs, Oracle Intelligent Advisor, part of Oracle CX Service, can help enable organizations to; Quickly adapt to changes. Intelligent Advisor empowers business users to configure powerful advice experiences, without any programming background. Enabling you to quickly and easily automate decisions and complex calculations within service workflows as situations change. Be more responsive to customer needs. Intelligent Advisor interviews automatically understand which policies apply to a customer based on their particular circumstances, so every customer gets right advice tailored to their unique situation. Offer each customer a personalized experience regardless of the channel they use. Intelligent Advisor empowers you are to provide consistent personalized advice and decisions, across all channels, in any language. Intelligent Advisor ensures you can grow customer loyalty no matter what situation you organization faces! Click to learn how Oracle Intelligent Advisor is a considered a strength by Forrester to help meet your needs - The Forrester Wave™: Customer Service Solutions.        

In the past, organizations would carefully develop strategies for any given new product or service offering. But in these new times today, where situations are rapidly changing and evolving, this may...

Customer Experience Strategy

Digital experience: ‘being digital’ is not enough

There’s no doubt carriers sit on a veritable treasure trove of customer data but figuring out which data is actionable to unlock value is where true ‘digitization’ starts to differentiate itself from just “being digital.” It’s the difference between just putting a digital version of a bill online or really diving into a customer’s usage in an online channel to tailor an offer that provides real value. As I wrote previously, COVID-19 has accelerated the drive to digitization to meet the demands for remote working, telemedicine, emergency services and the very human need to connect to socially distanced family and friends. Self-installs to keep technicians out of people’s homes, or expanding online bill pays have also led to a new way of thinking. In a recent TM Forum “Hard Talk” debate, we asked the audience whether telcos can deliver a valuable digital experience (DX) to consumers—on the customer’s terms, in a manner that is relevant and meaningful to the customer. We discussed whether CSPs can leverage what they’ve accomplished recently to possibly accelerate transformation to DX. By the end of the debate it was determined that more needs to be done. Digitization should really be about creating an experience that will drive customers to a digital app and to an interaction that will deliver the value of resolving an issue faster or getting a reward otherwise unavailable through non-digital channels. This means the customer experience can no longer be “stovepiped” in legacy systems that have become ’baggage’ to carriers competing against each other and against new entrants. More established players, which traditionally lacked the type of customer interaction prevalent in banking, retail and other industries, will have to increasingly work to create simplified, contextual, easy-to-understand digital experiences. This is very possible in our increasingly automated, mobile industry, but to succeed, they will need robust ecosystems and forethought about the ways in which people, processes, devices and things interconnect and affect one another. It’s no longer enough to just get the customer to download a mobile app to check data or credit. It’s important to really engage customers in a meaningful way, with a proactive DX that opens the door to cross selling and upselling, as well as reducing overall retail footprints and costs. It has to become a big enough priority that investments are made not only for cost reduction, but also to create a fantastic user experience in which customers can fulfill and manage service automatically. Over the next few years, the industry will make strides in going digital, and we are striving to help by working with customers to leverage TM Forum’s Open Digital Architecture and  including open APIs in our OSS as an early step to enable an omni-channel, compelling customer experience. To learn more, watch a replay of the debate here and check out Oracle Digital Experience for Communications and our new eBook “Modernizing CSP Back Office Operations with Agility, Cost and Control.” Feel free to contact us at oraclecomms_ww@oracle.com.  

There’s no doubt carriers sit on a veritable treasure trove of customer data but figuring out which data is actionable to unlock value is where true ‘digitization’ starts to differentiate itself from...

CX News & Events

Registration is Now Open for Oracle User Group Conference, Insight 2020, July 14 and 15

Insight has gone digital this year with two jam-packed days of educational learning on Tuesday, July 14 and Wednesday, July 15. We’re bringing you the same great content and the same great people but all from the comfort of your home office. And, this year we’re joining forces with Oracle CPQ and Oracle CX Sales to bring you the Total Commerce & Sales event of the year. Join us from July 14 – 15, 2020 for over 30 deep dive sessions across these three CX product pillars. For all of you CX Commerce Cloud and On-Premise (ATG and Endeca), CPQ, and CX Sales users, don’t miss out on this opportunity to learn from other Oracle customers, partners, and product experts. Also, get practical experience from CX Commerce practitioners who are utilizing our solution daily and be inspired by the strategies they’ve implemented to leverage buyer signals, boost customer engagement, launch new revenue streams, and drive business forward. Here’s a little taste of what we’ve planned for the CX Commerce track: CX Commerce Innovation Roadmap 2020 and Beyond Commerce in a Changing World – a customer panel with Ferguson, Motorola Solutions, Carolina Biological Supply, and Vermont Country Store Better Together: How CX Commerce and JD Edwards ERP Create a Robust Customer Experience for McElroy Metal Create New Revenue Streams with Your Existing Commerce Platform, a use case from Terex The Modern Developer: Your Secret Weapon How Zebra Created a Next Gen B2B Shopping Experience with CX Commerce and CPQ Put Data to Work and Personalize the Commerce Journey For the full list of sessions, please visit the CommercePros website here: https://commercepros.org/insight/commerce We’ll also be hosting a feedback session on Wednesday, July 15 at 1pm ET with Oracle CX Commerce’s product management team. Participate in this session to see early designs and provide input on product requirements. Email so.young.park@oracle.com if interested in joining. (Open to CX Commerce customers only) Back by popular demand, don’t miss the fourth annual Insight Conference. For those of you who are CommercePros members, your Insight 2020 passes are on us! If you’re an Oracle customer, register at a discounted rate of $150 with promo code: ORCCSTACQREG20.  

Insight has gone digital this year with two jam-packed days of educational learning on Tuesday, July 14 and Wednesday, July 15. We’re bringing you the same great content and the same great people but...

CX News & Events

Empowering Women Leaders in Sales and Marketing

Experiences define us. Everything we do—as individuals, as consumers, as employees—is made up of a series of interconnected experiences. They shape our identities, set our expectations, and inform our decisions. And I am not just saying this because I have spent the last 21 years of my life helping technology vendors market and sell customer experience management products. I am saying this because the experiences I have had in my personal and professional life have made me the person I am today. Growing up as a middle kid of seven – a brother, two sisters, a step brother and two step sisters – shaped my thinking and approach to everything in my life. And I am fortunate that the lessons I learned about diversity and inclusion throughout my childhood have been reinforced by great mentors in my career. In my new role at Oracle, one of the first things that struck me was the focus my team – and Oracle as a whole - places on creating a culture of equality. In fact, it’s one of the reasons I knew for certain that I had made the right next step in my career. From reflecting diversity on the big stage at Modern Customer Experience, to placing female leaders on the CX Strategy Council, to our Women in Tech series, Oracle Cloud CX has always championed diversity and inclusion in the workplace and to build on that commitment, we recently started working with Women in Revenue, a non-profit organization for leaders in sales, marketing, and other revenue-impacting roles.    Women in Revenue is a group of leaders and up and coming leaders in sales, marketing and other revenue-impacting roles. Founded in San Francisco in 2018, Women in Revenue is focused on education and awareness of diversity and inclusion in the workplace, giving back to women through mentorship programs, opportunities and access to resources, and helping members advance their careers. If you would like to learn more, visit the Women in Revenue website to find out more about the work they are doing and see how you can join, whether as a volunteer, mentor, or participant. You can also register for one of their upcoming events. The next one is about Cultivating Your Superpower and takes place on Thursday, June 25th.    

Experiences define us. Everything we do—as individuals, as consumers, as employees—is made up of a series of interconnected experiences. They shape our identities, set our expectations, and inform our...

Customer Service

Oracle Named a Leader in the Gartner Magic Quadrant for CRM Customer Engagement Center for the 9th Year in a Row

Oracle is proud to be named a 'Leader' in the Gartner 2020 Magic Quadrant for Customer Engagement Center, based on our ability to execute and our completeness of vision. For service organizations, there has never been a more important time to deliver the right service at the right moment to keep customers happy and engaged. Today, marketplace differentiation has shifted away from merely standing out based on the goods or services you sell, to distinguishing yourself based on the quality of the experiences you deliver at each customer touchpoint. In today’s “experience economy,” customer expectations could not be higher. When customers have the need for service, it’s critical they get the right support at the right time, in the right manner. Partnering with the right technology vendor to achieve this type of class-leading service experience is critical to driving your business growth. We're honored for Gartner’s recognition of Oracle’s track record of continuous delivery of innovations, with a focus on predictive service, which is an area we believe will become a central focus across multiple brands and industries. Customers also expect to interact with brands over the channel of their preference. Delivering high quality interactions across an ever-growing number of channels requires an intense focus on service consistency. Oracle offers a stable, cost-effective path to adopting new channels of engagement, while ensuring consistency of experience through a unified agent desktop, knowledge management, and automation. Customer loyalty is the foundation for long-term business success, and one of the best times to build long-term customer relationships is when customers need your help. Oracle is happy to be recognized for our continued determination in helping great brands deliver exceptional service experiences. Tackling a wide variety of unique challenges energizes us and drives our leadership and innovation. If you’re a service organization looking for a partner to help you overcome obstacles and elevate your customer experience, we’d love to hear from you! To learn more about Oracle’s position in this year’s Magic Quadrant, click here to download the full report.      

Oracle is proud to be named a 'Leader' in the Gartner 2020 Magic Quadrant for Customer Engagement Center, based on our ability to execute and our completeness of vision. For service organizations,...

Customer Service

Service is the New Battlefield of Marketing

The Times They Are a-Changin’ … sang Bob Dylan 57 years ago, in a time of uncertainty and change. In such trying times as we’ve seen in recent months, uncertainty thrives and business leaders have questions about how to navigate their organizations through these dire straits. Just about every business sees their digital transformation initiatives being greatly accelerated. Now is the time to ensure business continuity, react with agility, and pivot to the new normal. In the last few months, business transformation has happened with unprecedented speed. However, we had already been in a transformational shift the last few years where the basic rules of competition have changed. In what Oracle calls “The Experience Economy”, companies increasingly compete on the quality of customer experiences, and less based on price, packaging and brand identity. While experiences are a very visible, hands-on outcome, not much has been written about the building blocks that make it possible to deliver these experiences. The key to sustainable differentiated experiences in the experience economy is how well you as a business collect, manage and activate data. Evermore data for personalization Customer data takes many forms. Marketing, CRM, loyalty, back-office ERP, Assets and IoT, website behavioral data, geo location, different devices, 3rd party data, social, credit cards, point of sale systems, and on and on. Through consolidation and activation, we're getting to the point where unprecedented levels of customer intelligence are becoming available. This is super exciting because this enables the holy-grail of marketing: personalization at scale. The more you know about your customer, the better you can serve them. Over decades, organizations have been growing the number of data points, but very few companies successfully manage and use it to offer personalized experiences. These businesses that do it well have been tremendously successful. McKinsey found that personalization can lift revenue by 5-15%, increasing your marketing efficiency by 10-30% and reducing acquisition costs by up to 50%! How it Works It’s actually simple, although perhaps not necessarily easy. When you combine a rich customer profile with 1000s of customer attributes - like Customer Life-time Value, Age, Channel Preferences, Gender, Brand affinity, and more - with real-time event triggers - clicks, add/drop shopping carts, likes, shares, downloads, etc. – one can craft personalized, timely messages to the customer. The personalized message can then be orchestrated and distributed across all available channels, whether a personalized landing page, an email, a text message, a push notification or an ad on a webpage. Of course, you could do this manually with the right data, but that’s not really feasible on the scale of B2C with many millions of customers. This is where Oracle CX Unity comes into play. Human Personalization I want to focus this conversation on the question Who is better at delivering a personalized message to a human being than another human being? Personalization is something that needs to go beyond event-based marketing, mar-tech and ad-tech. It should include authentic human-to-human interactions that occur in customer service. No matter how perfect your personalized marketing messages, it only takes one bad service experience to throw all that investment away. Customer Service engagements are data-rich. Service typically involves a digital interaction generating rich behavioral data. This is often followed by human interaction, from which even more insight can be derived. Machines have their place, such as analyzing data sets and deriving insights. A human can bridge gaps in understanding that data just can’t provide. Think about how humans pick up subtle cues from language, tone and body language from a regular conversation. Customer service is often the most intimate moment the business will ever have with the customer across the entire customer lifecycle. A conversation with a contact center agent is so much more personal than any email, push notification, or SMS will ever be. Human service offers a tremendous opportunity to personalize the experience with authenticity and persuasion.  Yet, many marketers still do not see service as part of their realm. We at Oracle declare that now – right now – is the time to start seeing Customer Service as a prime distribution channel to deliver personalized marketing messages. If data is the life-blood of marketing, then service is the battle-field of personalized marketing. How Can Customer Intelligence be Used for Personalized Service Experiences? 1. First, there’s service segmentation. ‘Segmentation’ may be more associated with marketing than to service, but think about it. Why do the overwhelming majority of organizations still treat their customers as “the customer” without consideration of the value that that customer brings? Whether you’re a top 1% spender, or that notorious person who just loves contacting Customer Service 5 times a week, you are going through the same service processes and queues. It’s time to start segmenting your customers for customer service. 2. The second area is about responding to service signals. Just about everything we do as consumers generates data. As described above, these events are activated for marketing purposes, but customers emit just as many signals regarding service requirements as purchase intent signals. Think about a customer downloading a manual and browsing the same pages repeatedly. He is fruitlessly searching for answers on your help page. He isn’t using an app anymore. It is important to always be there where the customer needs you. 3. The third area is to drive more sales via service. The idea of transitioning the contact center from a cost-center to become a profit-center is decades old. Everyone likes the idea, but it’s difficult to do. We have now arrived at an inflection point where different technologies, economic shifts to digital business and other factors are creating the opportunity to pivot and use service as a revenue generating channel. What this all now means is that by blending a 360˚ customer view with real-time behavioral data insights and digital personalization technologies with a seamlessly connected enterprise suite of CX applications  - nothing is blocking customer service agents to now become trusted sales associates. It’s as simple as that. Service Segmentation, Responding to Service Signals and Driving Sales from Service are key components for success in a strategic shift to extend your marketing channels to include customer service. Where do you see most opportunities for Customer Intelligence in Service in your business?          

The Times They Are a-Changin’ … sang Bob Dylan 57 years ago, in a time of uncertainty and change. In such trying times as we’ve seen in recent months, uncertainty thrives and business leaders have...

Customer Experience

New! More Oracle CX Customer Webinar Series for July 2020

In the era of the experience economy, customer service is a key success factor in building sustainable relationships, optimising time to value and facilitating the dialogue between the customer and the brand. In times of change, this is more true than ever. Organisations are providing advice in challenging situations, guiding information search and facilitating important decisions for individual customers at the same time as they are adopting new ways of working in a dynamic business environment. Oracle is collaborating with thousands of companies globally around service excellence and we are here to support with advice, inspiration and open dialogue. Please join our CX Customer webinar series, focusing on today’s relevant topics and discuss the role and importance of customer service in an ever-changing world. Join this webinar series to: Hear about timely topics in the domain of service and customer experience Discuss with service experts and other CX Service customers on best practices, challenges and solutions Get advice on where to turn for support and answers to your questions Click here to learn more and register for the webinars you want to attend. Augmenting the Service Center with Conversational. How to leverage chatbots and other conversational interfaces to drive dialogue and value. Date: 17 June, 2020 Start Time: 1:00 PM BST Duration: 45 mins Delivering Effective Advice through Personalized and Timely Solutions. How to enhance customer self-service and personalized, automated solutions to timely questions. Date: 1 July, 2020 Start Time: 1:00 PM BST Duration 45 mins: 45 mins The Shift to a Digital Business Model. The role of service in the digital customer journey. Date: 15 July, 2020 Start Time: 1:00 PM BST Duration: 45 mins Field Service in a World of Social Distance. The role of intelligent logistics, remote fixing and diagnostics, and predictive intelligence in a service model. Date: 29 July, 2020 Start Time: 1:00 PM BST Duration: 45 mins Click to learn more!

In the era of the experience economy, customer service is a key success factor in building sustainable relationships, optimising time to value and facilitating the dialogue between the customer and...

Customer Experience Strategy

Top 3 Trends from a CX Nerd

If I’ve captured your attention by this title, I’ll do my best to keep it. How do “CX” and “Nerd” come together? I’m obsessed with helping companies create better customer experiences and using Oracle’s technology to drive these experiences.  It’s just CRM, right? I’m a huge nerd at heart. I’m curious about trends around business, technology and may have a special hoard of electronics that I’ve collected from years of being an “early adopter.” Remember the Palm Pilot, with its stylus? When I got one, I thought I was the coolest kid on the block when I attached it to my belt. When I pulled out my electronic notebook with a pensive look on my face, I was ready to conquer the world. I feel that same way about CX today. The reality is that CX is not just CRM. Some of the largest companies around the world have evolved the very definition of what CX is by not just acquiring technology for its own function, but are also paving the way to lessons learned and best practices - much like my Palm Pilot on my belt. These CX decisions and strategies have made a huge impact to the business’s revenue and are driving the pace of innovation in our digital world. How cool is that? From one CX Nerd to another, I give you 3 top CX trends. 1.   Siloes Be gone. Collaboration, welcome. It used to be about being a leader in your own business department. It’s no longer just about marketing, sales, commerce, and service with successful technology, and shining as the king of our own island. CX Leaders see value in integrated solutions across the entire organization. Leadership, visibility and collaboration allow for teams to work together. This can make all the difference between winning and losing. Imagine the seamless experience of being able to understand a customer with a 360 degree view from each interaction whenever the customer engages with the business. Contextual conversations and relationships grow because of what resonates and helps the customer within that moment. It’s a win, win. 2.   Data with Intent. Data is like bacon. If you’re a vegetarian, it’s tofu steak. It’s no surprise it’s valuable. What matters is what you do with it. First of all, you have to ask, “Is the data we currently have as clean and rich as possible? Are there duplicate data on contact? Do we have as much real-time data about an individual as possible?” Then, do you have ‘actionable’ data? It’s one thing to have that bacon, but how can you really savor its value? Reimagine how you can personalize and grow your customer relationships by truly understanding who they are and making recommendations based off of “actionable” data. There has always been excitement about AI, but it’s only really powerful if the data you have in your front and back office is clean. You need to continuously enrich it with context to personalize relationships, delight the customer at every moment while building lifetime value. 3.    Employee Experience for people like you and me, a modern day work boss. We’re living in this new digital world where there’s a blend of day time and night time activities. When we log off from our day, we likely turn on our “night time” activities that involve instant gratification for whatever our heart desires - food deliveries, streaming movies, video games, virtual workouts, you name it. We’re so fortunate to live in such a technologically advanced era. Now, when we wake up and log back into our “day time” activities, we expect the same digital urges to be satisfied in our careers. Messaging and video-calling my co-workers, mobile access to my tools, and whatever makes my work life easier, productive, and simple - that’s a nonnegotiable hot commodity. The blend of day time and night time activities is enhanced at the pace of digital innovation.  Providing the right tools for an employee experience has to fit the needs of the employee who works with them every day. Automating and consolidating workflows, sales strategies and pricing models and customizing user experiences will empower your teams to provide superior customer experiences to the end customer. Your co-workers do this all the while singing along to their favorite playlist because the key to this ignition is- they’ll actually enjoy using the tools. Enter the nerdy conclusion; Collaboration and Connection for full visibility, Data with intent for building relationships, and Digital employee experiences that are impactful and important because they deeply transform the business. These 3 things are attractive to the business because they increase retention, lower cost and drive growth. Meanwhile, the value of customer experiences is increasing because experiences, both positive and negative, are unforgettable. Time is unreturnable. Moments matter. If I think back to my top purchases, I think of how long the process took, who advised me with my decisions, and if I got joy out of the entire experience. If you’re a CX nerd like I am, you understand this. I give you a virtual high-five for being a part of an exciting mission and dare I say it, “early adopter” of prioritizing and putting customer experiences first. Oracle CX has been transforming technology as our digital, personal lives are changing before our very eyes. Some of our latest changes revolve around building a connected CX across every customer touchpoint, embedding intelligence with actionable data, and executing on a fresh design and user experience for the Redwood branding exercise, which I’m excited to be a part of. Find out why Oracle is being recognized to have “expressed strong interest in expanding its presence in business applications which bodes well for future product investment. It’s already one of the most mature on the market, with a strong roadmap that is toward the leading-edge of CRM innovation.” –2020 CRM Technology Value Matrix, Nucleus Research To learn more, click here to read my blog about The Path to CX Excellence for Service Organizations. Click here to check out the April 2020 Nucleus Research report. It discusses how CRM systems have innovated hyper-personalization, automation and have the ability to connect data with customers across all devices and channels. Oracles in named a leader.      

If I’ve captured your attention by this title, I’ll do my best to keep it. How do “CX” and “Nerd” come together? I’m obsessed with helping companies create better customer experiences and...

Customer Experience Strategy

Responsive Selling Takes You From Sales to Sales Legend

As buyers, we’re always dropping breadcrumbs about what we want to buy or not buy - signals about our preferences for when and how we want to spend money. Good sellers – whether direct sales, inside sales or online sellers – know how to interpret our scattered signals and make sense of them all. Buyers and sellers need to be on the same page in a whole new way so that buyers are better understood and sellers know exactly where to focus their energy. When a business creates a system focused on helping its sellers master these kinds of purchasing signals, everyone wins. That’s the approach Oracle calls "Responsive Selling" – providing the right value in the right moment in the right channel to every buyer. But, as most sellers can attest, those signals have gone a bit haywire over the past 2-3 months... Personally, I’ve been inside my home for about 3 months now, with two elementary school aged children to guide through “virtual learning” every day. I’m sure the signals I’m dropping via my online activity paint a pretty colorful, albeit inaccurate picture of who I am as a consumer. I mean, I wish I were a back-yard-composting, sourdough bread-baking, Fiji-vacationing, Ferrari-buying, shipping-logistics expert. But alas, I am just an overloaded mom searching for a distraction from math I don’t understand.  Well, for businesses that have mastered Responsive Selling, these signals are part of a much bigger picture from which sellers can easily separate real opportunities from noise. A business driven by Responsive Selling knows me. It knows who I am, what I’ve bought before, what I’m likely to buy next, and when I’m most likely to want to talk about buying it. That business uses signals, data, and machine learning to respond with real-time insights and guidance for me and only me. There’s only one way to be a responsive seller. Now is the time to focus on a new alliance between sellers and machines. This is how sales legends are created. And just what is a sales legend? It can mean something different in every industry, at every company, and even in every sales team. But, there are some common threads that when sewn together, make sales legends the revenue backbone of every successful organization. They are experts at interpreting and expertly responding to buying signals.  They’re driven by leadership that puts them on exactly the right path to success. They treat their CRM like a resource, not as a nuisance. They see the big picture among marketing, sales and service. They keep the tools and intelligence they need at their fingertips, so they can move deals forward at exactly the right moment. They value their alliance with technology and use it to its full potential What does being a sales legend mean to your brand? Here’s what some of our sellers here at Oracle had to say about what makes a sales legend: Click here to read the blog "The Path to CX Excellence for Sales Professionals." Learn more about responsive selling and Oracle CX Sales by clicking here.    

As buyers, we’re always dropping breadcrumbs about what we want to buy or not buy - signals about our preferences for when and how we want to spend money. Good sellers – whether direct sales,...

Customer Experience Strategy

Subscribers Are the Priority - Can Your ERP Support It?

The popularity of subscription models fixate on popular B2C businesses—Stitch Fix, Netflix, Apple Music and Disney+ for example.  However, product-as-a-service and a pay-as-you-go model are permeating the B2B world as well. B2B companies are leveraging IoT, machine learning, and the reams of data at their disposal to devise innovative ways to add new, stable pricing models, add-on services, and utilize their products’ technical underpinnings. In this realm, subscribers, not products, are becoming a main priority for many B2B businesses. The right systems to support a subscription model are fully integrated, scale, and manage a complex range of plans and terms. For example; Otis Elevator Company has been in business since 1852. They sell elevators, escalators, and moving walkways. With an average product lifespan of 25 years, you can’t find a more “on-off” product sale. However, Otis now sell a subscription service that includes analytics tools and leverage IoT to identify irregular sensor readings that link unusual door closing and opening times. Alerts get sent to appropriate parties. Services now make up the majority of their revenue! HID Global sells a variety of access control products—cards, smart card readers, networked access products, card printers, encoders, and the software to run them all. So when you start a new job and get issued a badge to gain access to your office, there’s a good chance that it’s an HID Global product. They’ve taken the technical underpinnings of these on-premise, certificate-based authentication solutions and now offer them as a cloud-based subscription service. Subscription Management, ERP, and CX In what Oracle calls the “Experience Economy”, a subscription-based model works with today’s demanding digital buyer in a close, recurring relationship that rewards both the customer and the business. But it’s also potentially daunting for the Finance team because subscription pricing can be complex, with several iterations and bills that can be hard to process quickly. Companies that handle payments on a recurring basis and deal with revenue recognition ASC606 and IFRS 15 compliance may have finance teams that feel like they’re playing with fire. Supporting the complete, subscription-based customer lifecycle may require reworking internal systems and processes. ERP is for billing, renewal cycles, revenue recognition, and compliance. Customer Experience (CX) systems span marketing, sales, service and commerce systems, and play just as big of a role in the entire process as a subscription management solution. ERP and Subscription Management With subscription pricing, customers can add and remove products, upgrade, downgrade, renew service, cancel service, or start and end service mid-cycle. Brands must be nimble and offer flexible pricing, whether yearly prepayments, monthly or annual subscriptions. Quick and accurate billings are the norm to; Reduce churn and build longer-term relationships, Provide customers with options and a higher level of convenience, and Provide a level of predictability to assist with planning and forecasting. With a variety of pricing models comes another layer of complexity in terms of compliance and reporting standards around ASC606 and IFRS 15. With subscription-based models, revenue has to be recognized when it’s earned. This can present quite a challenge. As subscriptions continuously roll in, each one has its own unique revenue recognition challenge requiring real-time adjustments. In sum, a recurring revenue model is fast-moving and can dynamically change. For example, ERP is critical software, and is vital for a subscription pricing model. But, it has to support new functionality such as pricing tiers, product bundles and timed promotions in order to accurately recognize and report revenue and comply with accounting standards. The subscription side of a B2B business can’t depend upon spreadsheets and manual workarounds. When it comes to regulatory compliance, companies can’t afford slow processes and mistakes. Oracle Revenue Management, part of Oracle Cloud ERP, addresses the regulatory requirements of ASC 606 and IFRS 15 by automating these processes. It comes with built-in reports for compliance and provides a full audit trail of the lifecycle of revenue recognition activities. It’s integrated with Oracle EBS, Oracle Cloud ERP, and other ERP systems, as well as Oracle CX and Oracle Subscription Management. Subscription Management, CX, and the Customer Promise Most companies have come to realize that subscription management can’t be an isolated process. It’s not enough to have the customer-facing feature. Full integration between back-end  and front-end, customer-facing solutions provides the data needed to provide customers the right bundle of products for their particular needs, and handles renewal cycles. With complete integration, businesses can continually tap into customer sentiment to gauge their satisfaction and upsell them as their lifetime value grows. With complete integration, and full functional support, businesses can; Manage a variety of hybrid product and service/subscription business models Support mixed order fulfillment for services and physical assets Maintain accurate billing and timely revenue recognition processes Effectively manage contract changes and the sharing of that new data to customer-facing applications. Provide visibility for an entirely new set of KPIs, such as churn and customer lifetime value Want more information on the power of Cloud ERP and Subscription Management? Check out these blogs and articles. 3 Ways That Subscription Management Impacts CFOs You Can Build a Subscription Business Model, But Can You Measure Its Success?          

The popularity of subscription models fixate on popular B2C businesses—Stitch Fix, Netflix, Apple Music and Disney+ for example.  However, product-as-a-service and a pay-as-you-go model are permeating...

Customer Experience Strategy

The Path to CX Data Excellence

Excellence is a lofty goal. With that in mind, we’ve been publishing a series of blog posts on CX excellence. We started in January with The Path to CX Excellence (very aptly titled), and followed that in March with The Path to CX Excellence for B2B Marketers and The Path to CX Excellence for Sales Professionals. In April, we featured The Path to CX Excellence for Field Service and The Path to CX Excellence for Service Organizations, and then May brought Path to CX Excellence for B2C Marketers and Path to CX Excellence – Commerce Edition. These posts provide a roadmap for B2B and B2C companies of all sizes and industries to navigate the challenges and opportunities of providing great customer experiences. This blog builds upon all of the preceding ones and stands on its own. Data proficiency will help a company excel across multiple functions of marketing, sales, service, and commerce. Brands that lack this can create embarrassing public relations disasters. Whether winners or losers, contenders or pretenders, every company has a chance to mine and refine their data to drive improvements in the speed and accuracy of doing business with their customers. The Path to CX Excellence Requires a Solid Data Foundation Per Gartner, 90% of CX leaders agree that if they don’t improve their customer experience, their organization will lose business to more customer-centric competitors! It was noted by Forrester that the brands most successful at differentiating on customer experience are seeing 5X revenue growth relative to their competitors. Data is the foundation of CX effectiveness. This foundation is built upon solid data collection, management and activation capabilities that produce intelligence, enable better decision-making, drive better customer outcomes, reduce churn and maximize customer lifetime value. Today, there’s more data customer data available than ever before, and it’s important for companies to try to get customer data management right. Customers expect more from your brand than ever before. They want consistent experiences across every touchpoint, while also expecting you to remember your past interactions with them. They demand that you respect their privacy... but also wish you would understand and treat them as unique individuals. The traditional, linear customer journey is extinct. Therefore, the congruence of messages your customers receive is more important than ever because today’s consumers engage whenever and however they choose. They always expect a relevant and timely experience. A single view of the customer is necessary to delivering a consistent, exemplary experience across the entire customer journey.  This view is based upon a deep, meaningful understanding of the customer. However, every customer touchpoint - sales, service, marketing, commerce – produces siloed data that makes a single view of the customer impossible at the moment it’s created. What to do? Convert Strangers into Friends CX leaders can start building in-depth customers insights by understanding their priorities, needs and preferences. This begins when your audience is anonymous, well before they’ve developed a relationship with you as a brand. This relationship continually evolves as they engage across various channels throughout their customer journey. To accomplish this, CX leaders need a data-first approach to unifying all customer data. After all, customers don’t care that you have various marketing, sales and service departments.  These systems should be invisible to the customer while anticipating their needs. At the moment when the customer is about to engage with the brand, all these systems should be orchestrated to serve the customer whatever they need, whenever they engage with the brand - on their terms and channel of choice. Just as with the other CX areas where we published a Path to Excellence post, the idea is that each company is at their own, unique spot and can make incremental progress. We want to help you demystify this path to excellence, identify where your company is and what can be done to make progress. The path to data excellence in what Oracle calls “The Experience Economy” relates to a company’s actions in several areas of data maturity; Data collection and connections, Customer data management, Intelligence and decision-making, and Data utilization and activation. Step 1: Different functions in an organization, especially large enterprises, are siloed. Different technologies work separately from each other and often draw on and potentially maintain their own separate data, assets, and other repositories.     CX professionals who operate at this level seek to improve results and move to the next stage. On average, companies use 17 technology applications for customer data with an average of 28 different data sources for customer insights and engagement. - Deloitte Step 2: The cross-channel stage key focus is data enrichment for better usage. This propels a company to a more accurate data set factoring in 2nd and 3rd party data.  Customer data management is now an area of focus. According to Gartner, the average annual cost to an organization due to poor data quality is ~$15M! A move to the next stage of data maturity, the data-driven stage, means that a company is utilizing automation when working with data. This stage features segmentation and activation of data, typically across marketing and at least one other function of the company. An underlying  concept is data being used to drive decision-making. 86% Of customers would pay up to 16% more for better customer experience. – PwC Step 3: In this data-driven stage, data accuracy is no longer an issue. Decisions are based on historical as well as real-time data to understand what happened in the past and why it happened with diagnostic/casual/ad hoc analysis with some individualized data. The next step toward data maturity, the intelligence-driven stage, means that a company has intelligence truly activated, with the data used to make predictions across the entire ecosystem. The data impacts all functions within the company, towards the goal of delivering a consistent and responsive brand experience at each customer touchpoint. 91% of customers say they are more likely to shop with brands that provide offers and recommendations that are relevant to them. - Accenture Step 4: In this data-driven stage, data accuracy is rarely an issue to perform identity matching for centralized IDs across the enterprise. Decisions are based on historical and real-time data and intelligence to understand what happened, why it happened and what will happen in the future. In the Experience Economy, a brand’s experiences matter more to customers than the products or services that are sold. Brands who collect real-time data signals, and use that to build the most authentic and relevant experiences, will be the ones creating emotional connections and lost-lasting relationships with consumers. Now is the time for CX leaders to position themselves at the forefront of the longer-term shifts in consumer behaviors that result from this crisis. Data is the foundation that can allow you to orchestrate a truly consistent, connected brand experience for customers and achieve the type of long-term hyper-growth that the elevated experience makes possible. Click here to read about Oracle Unity, Oracle's customer intelligence platform for real-time customer experience. We’ve developed an assessment tool to help companies determine where they’re at on the path to data excellence and we encourage you to check with your Oracle CX sales representative to discuss where you’re at on the path to data excellence and what steps could be taken to progress.                

Excellence is a lofty goal. With that in mind, we’ve been publishing a series of blog posts on CX excellence. We started in January with The Path to CX Excellence (very aptly titled), and followed...

Customer Experience Technology

Introducing Hearing Scheduler - A Seamless Way for Public Planners to Schedule Hearings

Urban Planners manage multiple responsibilities. They prepare planning reports, review planning applications and meet with the public to provide them information regarding zoning ordinances and the preparation of planning reports. What they do daily varies from planner to planner but a typical underlying motivation across planners is to make their community a better place. Cities and counties in the United States host public hearings in which the residents of a neighborhood are informed of any new residential or commercial development in their city. This forum allows residents to voice their concerns, if any. Planners schedule these hearings to achieve their overarching goal to serve community needs. Making sure they do this seamlessly became our goal. Using Oracle Public Sector Hearing Scheduler, planners can view the hearings scheduled for planning applications quickly. Each application is displayed as a card. Applications that need to be scheduled are listed in the left pane. Planners can easily drag and drop an application card to the date slot of their choice. From our research, we discovered that hearings are not scheduled on all days. Hence the scheduler displays only the days when the hearings are conducted as configured by the city/state agency. Applications can be rescheduled as well using drag and drop. More details of the application can be viewed by expanding the card. Related actions are also available for planners to take quick action for the application. Aside from Hearing Scheduler, Public Sector Community Development also supports the management of additional hearing activities such as Hearing Decision Updates and Appeal. Interested to know more about the Planning and Zoning solution? Click through here to watch this Quick Tour.      

Urban Planners manage multiple responsibilities. They prepare planning reports, review planning applications and meet with the public to provide them information regarding zoning ordinances and the...

Customer Service

How Trine Larsen Found Her Passion in Support Using Oracle B2C Service

How often were you asked as a kid, “What do you want to become when you grow up?” Quite a few times, I’m sure. If you are one of those lucky few who always knew what they wanted to do, kudos to you. As for most of us, well, the answer didn’t reveal itself right away.   This is a challenge Trine Larsen faced growing up. “I never really knew what I wanted to do in life, which was annoying when I was growing up because everyone, and I mean EVERYONE, would ask me all the time. It didn’t make it any easier having a younger brother who was pretty much born with a wire stripper in his hand, so everyone knew he would grow up to be an electrician.” With no specific dream job in mind, she knew she wanted to do something fun and engaging. Trine started out working in hospitality. After a few years, she moved into a customer service position at NRGi, one of the largest electricity suppliers in Denmark. A New, Complex Project Provided the Stepping Stone Trine’s first role with the company revolved around answering customer’s requests via email or phone. She advised them regarding their energy consumption or their bills. Not long after, she was assigned a service stakeholder, responsible for implementing a new Oracle billing system along with Oracle B2C Service, part of Oracle CX.   She made the most of this opportunity to learn more about NRGi’s business and how Oracle B2C Service could help. “This is where I used Oracle B2C Service for the first time. The more I learned the more fun it got,” she commented. “My job now is to help and support all users, including the agents in front by making sure Oracle B2C Service is as good as it can be, to help them deliver the best possible service,” Trine described. An important part of her work still involves talking to people, just like earlier in her career, when she worked in the frontline of customer service. The difference is that now her customers are her colleagues using Oracle B2C Service. With her advanced knowledge of the system, she supports the internal and external users of Oracle B2C Service, making sure her solutions work in real life, not just in the test environment. “I like to describe my role as the ‘voice of Oracle B2C Service’ inside NRGi, balancing agents’ requests with business needs and Service Cloud functionalities. I like bridging the gaps between developers and users in the real world and translating the Oracle B2C Service lingo and capabilities to outsiders and the other way around,” she said. Using Oracle has also helped Trine discover her passion and career goal. “Using Oracle B2C Service taught me a lot about myself and my strengths. It challenges me and pushes me to do better. I never knew I was an IT kind of person, but it turns out that I am! I’m a nerd and proof that you can accomplish your goals if you work hard,” she said. Her project assignment has evolved into a fulfilling and exciting career. To continue growing, Trine is preparing to get certified on Oracle B2C Service, which will increase her expertise and guide her projects at NRGi. She also hopes it moves her towards her dream of working one day as a consultant to help other organizations across different industries transform their businesses and optimize their processes, plus help her travel the world.      Trine’s Proudest Accomplishments with Oracle B2C Service at NRGi Being the main architect behind the Oracle B2C Service system at NRGi from its creation, Trine has helped establish a strong foundation. Here are a few of her milestones: Created custom agent workspaces: Six months into using the system, she wanted to apply initial learnings and optimize the way agents worked. The out-of-the-box workspace had primary fields and functions scattered over multiple tabs. She wanted to remove or hide fields that weren’t needed to help agents avoid unnecessary clicks and going back and forth between tabs in the incident workspace. Trine gathered the remaining fields in a column, giving agents an immediate overview of the incident thread, as well as fields relating to either the incident, or the contact itself. NRGi still has tabs in the workspace, but all relevant fields are always visible to make sure agents don’t have to go back and forth between tabs. This way, Trine removed 2-3 clicks per incident being handled. It’s been more than two years, and they’re still using those workspaces. Optimizing the knowledge base for NRGi’s digital self-service: Two years after launching Oracle B2C Service and a year after launching the customer portal, Trine tackled optimizing their knowledge base. Up to that point, their knowledge base was a copy of the Q&A from their previous support site. She leveraged Oracle best practices on knowledge base search effectiveness and a knowledge base tune-up checklist that she found in Cloud Customer Connect. She applied the new information to optimize search words and restructured all the content in the customer portal, making it easier and more effective for users to find information. Her disciplined approach paid off. In the first year, 22% of visits to their support site ended in an incident being submitted. After she optimized their support knowledge base, that number dropped below 8%. Answer efficiency increased from 82% in the first year to 91% in the second year. Visits to the portal more than doubled during this time. Setting up chat: In 2020, NRGi soft-launched chat for one of their three brands to offer real-time support to their customers and gather some knowledge before broadly deploying it across sites and brands. Taking this type of phased rollout allows the company to make iterative improvements and help train the team on supporting chat while gathering data to guide the decision on investing in chatbots. For the first phase, Trine handled most of the changes in the test environment while the third-party partner reviewed and deployed. Her efforts helped complete this milestone before the deadline. Advice for Others Looking to Make an Impact and Find Their Passion For individuals who are working the frontlines and looking to grow their career, Trine recommends, “First, stay curious. If you see something that doesn’t make sense to you, ask. Then, offer your help, even for temporary, non-essential tasks. It will help you learn and build relationships within the organization. Finally, take responsibility. This doesn’t mean you can’t fail. You just have to own it if you do.” For others who are stepping up to manage a business-critical support system and take on a bigger leadership role in support, Trine encourages them to embrace working with multiple stakeholders. When she works with other teams, she recommends, “Always challenge the requests and needs, with a smile. No matter how urgent a request might be, you need to understand why this exact thing is needed. There might be a better, or easier way around it.” Connect with Trine on LinkedIn. If you’re an Oracle B2C Service customer, join the Oracle CX Hero Hub to connect with her and other Oracle B2C Service advocates.  

How often were you asked as a kid, “What do you want to become when you grow up?” Quite a few times, I’m sure. If you are one of those lucky few who always knew what they wanted to do, kudos to you....

Data Utilization & Analytics

Transforming to Customer Intelligent Marketing Part 2

Marketers need to lead their enterprise in using more customer attributes to deliver exceptional customer experiences. Those that do will become the future winners of their industries while those that don’t will likely wither and fade.  To read part 1 of this series, click here. To leap-frog the competition, marketers need to help move beyond today’s world of batch and blast or basic personalization (messaging based on a few attributes) and become like Amazon, Google, Uber, Netflix, etc. This requires breaking through a wall of complexity and making personalization possible on hundreds - to - thousands of attributes. The new data intelligence technology all comes around to how you do personalization. These are two very simple steps to think about at a high level: Get serious, even fanatical, about capturing every facet of your customer’s interactions with you - their interests, intentions and desires. Load these signals and customer attributes into machine-learning decisioning models to deliver hyper-personalized experiences. Then, continuously experiment and iterate on the attributes used while refining your decisioning models to deliver exceptional personalized customer experiences. Your marketing can grow in phases as you add additional attributes and decisioning capabilities. Think about starting by personalizing your messaging using segments and rules-based dynamic content, and the number of available segments will grow as you add more attributes. You can then begin to blend customer specific content such as product recommendations to produce truly personalized content. The Key Systems and Components to Transform Marketers have always had the goal of sending the right message to the right person at the right time. We can now execute on this vision by collecting data on the customer’s micro moments, in real-time, to make in-the-moment decisions and orchestrate the delivery of that message across channels. To break through the wall of complexity, consider addressing each of the four key technical components you will need to develop. You don’t have to take each of these steps at once, but when combined, they become the architecture that will power your ability to deliver exceptional customer experiences. When done well, you’ll see incremental gains in your marketing performance as each of these components are implemented. Get serious about the customer profile. The ability to unify, enrich, segment and analyze your customer profile data in real time is essential to enabling your ability to engage with your customers on their terms. Capture customer interaction events and signals across your web sites and mobile apps. Pair these events in real-time with the appropriate content and offers to capitalize on personalized retargeting opportunities. Remember, it is not enough to collect massive amounts of data. You must also put that data into context, derive meaning or understand customer intent from it, and use it to produce an actionable output. Develop a library of content and content components and tag each content item within your content management system. This will allow you to perform rapid experimentation to deliver the content that drives the best results. Match machine learning and AI-based decisioning tools with your profile data and content management system to enable real-time personalized messaging that combines intelligence from customer attributes with the context of customer interactions. Use machine learning, customer preferences and engagement history to determine the right channel (or channels) and timing for best results. Use customer engagement to determine the appropriate cadence, timing, and channel mix for additional follow up messages to deliver a delightful customer experience and turn your loyal customers into brand advocates. If you have not already started your journey to customer intelligent marketing, it’s time to get started. Your goal should be to start with a firm foundation based on quality customer profile data. Deriving context and customer intent from that data, combined with automated content and a cross channel delivery system will enable you not just to grow your business, but to develop brand champions as well. Click here to read the blog "Defining the Customer Intelligent Platform - and Why You Should Care."

Marketers need to lead their enterprise in using more customer attributes to deliver exceptional customer experiences. Those that do will become the future winners of their industries while those that...

Customer Experience Technology

The Wait Is Over - Enhanced Business Rules Are Available for CX B2C Service Customers!!!

If you’ re looking to further automate your business processes and reduce manual work and errors, you are really going to like the Enhanced Business Rules feature.  In this blog post, I will go over the CX B2C Service Enhanced Business Rules feature and address: What it is, The challenges it solves, and What we've done to help you automate business changes - easily and with no coding needed. What are Business Rules? Business rules are lists of statements that tell you whether you may or may not do something, or give you the criteria and conditions for making a decision. A business rule defines or constrains some aspect of business and always resolves to either true or false. Business rules describe the operations, definitions, and constraints that apply to an organization. A business rule is simply an “if-then-else” statement: If these conditions apply, then take this action. For example, if a customer has a billing question, then route the incident to an accounting staff member. If a new contact is from the East Coast, then send an automated answer from Knowledge Base, send surveys etc. Business rules can also include an Else clause. If the conditions of the rule are not met, the Else clause specifies the action that should be taken. For example, if a customer has a billing question, a rule can route the incident to accounting. If the question is not about billing (that is, the incident does not match the rule’s condition), you can add an Else clause to route it to technical support and escalate if needed. The ‘Business Rules’ feature is one of the most used features of B2C Service. What are Enhanced Business Rules? With the Enhanced Business Rules, we have addressed all the challenges that you had with the legacy business rules feature in .NET console. We have incorporated your input to address your needs. Here are a few key challenges that we have solved: You can now create business rules for custom objects, custom attributes. You can export and import rules from any instance via Element Manager. You can benefit from easy search options. You can benefit from exporting rules (including states, functions, variables) into csv. You can benefit from various usability enhancements. You can leverage advanced auditing information. You can find a complete comparison in the visual below: How do I access Enhanced Business Rules? Please note that the Enhanced Business Rules are accessible only from Web Client / Browser User Interface. From Browser UI - After assigning required permissions to the user, they will be visible in the navigation set. Upon clicking the Rules link, you will be taken to the dashboard that you can use to manage rules for the supported object. See it exemplified in the caption below. If your site is not enabled for this feature, please follow this page to get it enabled. Migration from Legacy to Enhanced Business Rules: If you access the Rules option in the Browser UI for the first time, you will be prompted for migration.  Please refer to the below image for more detail: Upon your confirmation, the rules will be easily migrated as per below image: After the successful migration, please verify all your rules, states, functions and variables. Here is an example screen shot from Enhanced Business Rules UI, with rule summary. What are the Objects supported in Enhanced Business Rules? Incident, Contact, Organization Custom Objects Answer, Opportunity, Task Chat (20C) The Wait is Over! If you are looking for configurations over coding, it's time to migrate to Enhanced Business Rules. Managing and Configuring business rules will no longer be a concern. Migration from legacy is just a few clicks away. Avoid all manual errors, with the advanced auditing capability and diagnosis Import/Export Business Rules from one instance to another instance or interface is just a few clicks away within your own process. Automate and save lots of time that would normally be spent on manual work. For more resources, please visit: Customer Connect - Webinar Recording (registration/password required) Presentation / Document Examples: References We are really interested in hearing your thoughts about this feature. Please leave your comments and suggestions on our customer connect forum. Thank you!

If you’ re looking to further automate your business processes and reduce manual work and errors, you are really going to like the Enhanced Business Rules feature.  In this blog post, I will go over...

Customer Service

5 Critical Considerations in the Wake of COVID-19

Co-authored by Thu Nguyen, Five9 We’ve been hearing for years that digital transformation is crucial for business success. But, with COVID-19, that need has accelerated because stay-at-home mandates have forced organizations to get remote teams up and running, allowing them to engage with their customers and internal teams. How will this transition permanently impact workflows, applications and communications? How can you plan for the next emergency and help your customers feel more secure? Here are five areas where companies should focus to ensure they’re ready for the next emergency so they can continue delivering outstanding customer service. 1 - Think Connected During a crisis such as COVID-19, corporate policies change rapidly. This impacts an organization’s entire technology stack – from commerce sites to service experiences, all the way through how a company maintains its financials. For example, because travel and physical retail businesses were almost completely shut down, many companies have waived fees, allowing customers to cancel trips or return items they didn’t need. These changes not only had to be communicated to customers via websites, social media and public relations, but also internally. Employees and systems need to learn how to execute these new changes despite major operational disruptions. Maintaining a collection of siloed, best-in-class solutions may have once been an economical strategy. But, when a wide variety of business processes suddenly change, it can be difficult to achieve speed and consistency. Having an end-to-end integrated solution from the front office to the back office will ensure you can rapidly evolve in response to any changing environments. 2 - Plan for a Crisis Customer service has evolved very rapidly the past 20 years, with technology playing a critical role in a customer service strategy. Automated processes and a system that "just works" helps the human side focus on customers’ needs. However, during a crisis, processes may change. Understanding where these changes may impact automated and manual processes is critical. Invest resources into creating and maintaining technology blueprints and design documentation will allow you to quickly identify where processes need to be temporarily changed throughout your organization. It may seem costly to include infrastructure security, Computer Telephony Infrastructure (CTI) and Interactive Voice Response (IVR) solutions as well as Work Force Management (WFM). However, these investments become invaluable when managing a crisis. 3 - Lead with Knowledge and Engage Intelligently A well-balanced digital strategy allows customers to engage with a brand anytime, anywhere. Balancing various digital channels or channel mix during an emergency can help relieve overloaded contact centers and lessen customer and agent frustration. At the core of every customer service engagement lies proper knowledge management.  Well-curated knowledge articles are your biggest allies during an emergency response. A sophisticated knowledge strategy will ensure everyone throughout the organization, from top executives to those on the front-lines, have consistent and current information. A well-designed knowledge management system can often answer 80% of customer inquiries, eliminating large volumes of requests into service centers. Although knowledge is very effective, many customers need more personalized answers and prefer to engage directly with the company, rather than search knowledge articles. In those cases, Intelligent Advice can help lead customers to the right personalized answer. Digital Assistants are smart enough to act as an agent and an integrated digital assistant can leverage the same knowledge and back-end systems as an agent. A well devised and integrated digital assistant strategy that leverages knowledge and intelligent advice can be pivotal to your emergency service action plan.  4 - Focus on the Right Real-Time Channels Once knowledge and automation are in place, identify which channels require the most attention. This is key to an emergency action plan. This mix will vary depending on each organization’s unique service ecosystem. Base your balance on the skillset of your agents with the channels that require the most resources. Keep in mind, customers will intuitively shift to channels that require the least amount of effort, even if it's not the channel of their choice. For example, If your IVR system is telling a customer there will be a 6 hour wait, they may decide to engage via chat or a messaging channel instead. But, this risks overwhelming that channel. Act early by launching an emergency resource plan to staff the right real-time channels and turn off hard-to-resource channels to provide better experiences and help manage service request volumes. 5 - Leverage Your Partner Ecosystem Rapid response and mission critical pivots come at a benefit and price. Scaling teams to react to a crisis may not be possible if the emergency limits the ability to hire and train new staff. Have service experts available on speed dial to create the momentum needed to react swiftly. Companies, like Five9, have quickly turned up customers with their contact center platform solution. Five9 has the ability to quickly migrate contact centers to the cloud. Some companies made the transition in under 48 hours. Five9 offers a transition plan that minimizes any business continuity risks, and enables employees to stay working, connected and safe. This type of response not only helps businesses react but can even save lives during the Covid-19 crisis. Understanding customer signals all the way through the customer journey and executing on those signals through technology will allow your organization to devise a business strategy that can survive and prosper in a crisis and help your prepare for the next one. Learn more about how Oracle CX Service and Five9 can help with your digital transformation.  

Co-authored by Thu Nguyen, Five9 We’ve been hearing for years that digital transformation is crucial for business success. But, with COVID-19, that need has accelerated because stay-at-home mandates...

Data Utilization & Analytics

Transforming to Customer Intelligent Marketing Part 1

Rapidly evolving technology and the effect of the mobile internet on daily lives have had a pretty profound impact on customers, who have developed new habits of exploring, discovering, connecting, and buying on the go. Customers now expect deliveries within 1 day, the same day or hours - answers within micro-seconds. In today’s world, it is not brands but consumers who are the real innovators, because they’ve embraced digital technologies to craft custom, personal experiences that conform to their lives.  All in real-time. In any order. On a whim. Standing in line. Any time of the day or night. Welcome to what we at Oracle call "The Experience Economy." Customer journeys are not linear. They switch moment to moment as they experiment fearlessly with your products and services and expect you to respond. The experience a brand provides its customer within this moment of engagement is more important than the actual product or service itself. Winning companies embrace this view. Transforming Your Customer Experience While marketers understand the customer’s expectations of a personalized experience, most struggle to ingest the amount of available customer data but have an even bigger challenge acting on that data. Most Marketers Generally, most marketers are segmenting and personalizing using about 5 customer attributes. The result is that every customer is treated the same and the brand experience is unremarkable. Think about buying a suit that comes in three sizes – small, medium and large. Consumers will only know that these brands “exist.” They see it. Maybe they try it and form some early opinion about it, but that’s all. Much like meeting a new person at a party, customers quickly lose interest and leave in search of a brand that offers a more meaningful relationship. To a customer, at best, they know that your brand exists. No big deal. Top 10% Marketers The top 10% of marketers use about 20 customer attributes to segment and personalize the marketing message. However, classifying customers using this relatively small number of attributes does not provide an accurate nor personal view of the customer. The human connection can fall flat. This is a suit that comes in more sizes, but is still purchased “off the rack”. For the top 10%, there is a chance for a customer relationship to develop. Consumers begin to attach deeper meaning or think about the brand in certain ways. Loyalty may be fragile, but is beginning to develop. Top 1% Marketers The top 1% of marketers are fanatical about data & customer attributes to always strive to make the “human” connection magical. In addition to capturing customer engagement and interaction data, these top 1% use identity resolution to accurately connect purchase, service, lifestyle and life-stage data to increase the number of usable customer attributes. These marketers use 100s of customer attributes and while these marketers start with segments similar to the data-driven marketer, they can enhance their use with advanced decisioning tools and predictive models to produce even more personalized human-connection messages. For the top 1%, customers might incorporate a business or a product into a part of their lives, or think of the brand as something that shapes or defines them. This is the fitted suit, tailored to exactly fit the customer. The World's Best Marketers The world’s best Marketers are always increasing the use of customer attributes to continuously delight their customers in new ways. For the world’s best - very few companies (or people!) are able to take the relationship beyond that. The brand is indispensable and would be forgiven no matter what happens. To customers, these brands are their first and only choice. These world-best class marketers use 1000s of attributes per customer in their decisioning tools and delivery systems to deliver superior experiences with massive, intelligent data. These marketers orchestrate marketing messages to produce contextual and nuanced communications that deliver exceptional customer experiences in a seamless and highly relevant context across advertising, marketing, commerce, loyalty, service and support. Customers develop strong feelings based on their experience and will actively defend and promote the brand. This is the tailored suit, but now customized with personal accessories to deliver a unique experience. The biggest predictor of brand success is the number of customer attributes used intelligently to deliver exceptional customer experiences! Your job as a brand is to accelerate the use of attributes to be able to thrive and win in your designated industry. Now More than Ever To say that the pandemic has changed our world seems cliché, but the impact on marketers is very real.  The stay-at-home orders and the closure of businesses had a sudden and immediate impact on marketing communications.  Notices of store closures and shifting policies replaced promotional messages overnight.  Customer behaviors changed as well.  There was a shift to online shopping, increased interest in home supplies, demand for delivery services and no-touch retail.  Brands who were already using AI and machine learning to determine best send time and product recommendations were able to identify and react to changes in customer behavior in real time.  Marketers who have more inputs and customer attributes will be able to learn faster.  This allows the marketers to spend more time focused on preparing for the next event – a return to business – and other more strategic marketing communications.  The marketers using the one-size-fits-all approach are scrambling to catch up, unable to meet the opportunity in the moment, before it's gone. Consider how many customer attributes you are really using in your marketing efforts and the customer experience you're creating.   If you are using about 5 attributes, you're not alone.  Can your business transform to provide exceptional customer experiences?  Look for my next blog post on developing your transformation action plan to learn more. Click to read - Oracle was named a leader in The Forrester Wave™: Email Marketing Service Providers, Q2 2020 Click here to learn more about Oracle CX Marketing products.

Rapidly evolving technology and the effect of the mobile internet on daily lives have had a pretty profound impact on customers, who have developed new habits of exploring, discovering, connecting,...

Customer Service

Don’t Keep Your Customers Waiting - Provide Answers Right Now!

Tips for leveraging Knowledge Management to provide answers and guidance to your customers during a time of crisis, when resources are strained. Is your company struggling to navigate the impact COVID-19 is having on your support organization? Depending on your business, customers probably have a lot of questions, such as “Is your company still open?,” “Can I order online?,” “How long will delivery take?,” “Can I do curbside pickup?,” and “What are your safety handling procedures?” Your support organization is probably feeling overwhelmed with these incoming requests, and might be dealing with resource restraints as well. As an Oracle Knowledge Management customer, you already know how dynamic the Oracle solution is in allowing you to deliver answers to your end-users as quickly as is necessary. But, you might not know about a few key features that could help you get answers to your end-users and customers even more effectively and with fewer support resources. Let’s look at five B2C Knowledge Management features that allow customers to solve their own product issues and answer their own questions which could help reduce the overall volume of requests. 1.    Fix at Top: Using the Display Position in Knowledge Foundation, you can choose Fix at Top. This will fix the answer at the top of the list regardless of the search being done. This feature could allow you to display the most important COVID-19 related answers you want your customers to see first when entering your support pages. This can increase customer satisfaction because how quickly a customer finds answers significantly impacts the customer experience. 2.    Knowledge Inlay: The new Top Answers Inlay lets B2C customers that use Knowledge Foundation access their knowledge articles from virtually anywhere. Place the inlay on a web page to let end-users search and view articles within your web site without requiring customers to enter the customer portal. The inlay is similar to the customer portal widget that displays popular answers, except, the inlay can be placed on any web page, and it only displays the top 10 answers. Providing a good service experience on any webpage means customers won’t need to navigate away from the buying experience to answer simple questions. This can lead to a competitive advantage and increase sales by providing a good service experience on any webpage. 3.    Ask a Question: Due to stay-at-home orders, large contact centers may have fewer agents available to answer the phone. Enabling the Ask a Question feature allows you to route questions to email that can be answered more easily by remote agents at any hour of the day or night. Allowing agents to respond to customer service requests through different channels improves efficiency, productivity, and provides a better customer experience. 4.    Smart Assistant: If you enable the Ask a Question feature, don’t forget to enable Smart Assistant. This will automatically search the knowledge base for answers to customer questions, and could result in quicker responses to avoid unnecessary escalation. Smart Assistant suggests answers based on the content analysis and questions. Reducing support workload and costs through self-service tools that allow customers to solve their own product issues deflects incoming calls, reducing the overall volume of requests and costs to the contact center. 5.    Standard Response: Configure a rule that can automatically send a standard response with knowledge base answers to the customer when they email you. This gives customers the opportunity to get an answer to their question quickly. Additionally, for assistance requests submitted through the Ask a Question page, you can have a standard text response display directly to your end-user when they submit the request. If the assistance request matches the rule criteria, then the standard response displays right on the web page, making it  easier for your customers. Implementing any or all of these features could help your organization address the challenges you face in delivering accurate, timely and consistent customer service during this time. Check out this quick read on Tips for Delivering Effortless Knowledge. Additionally, click here to check out our Help Center resources for more information on the features mentioned above.    

Tips for leveraging Knowledge Management to provide answers and guidance to your customers during a time of crisis, when resources are strained. Is your company struggling to navigate the impact...

CX News & Events

Oracle CX Customer Webinar Series

In times of change, customer service is in a prime position to provide advice, guide customers in their search for information, and to facilitate important decisions for individual customers. At the same time, customer service professionals are adopting new ways of working in a dynamic business environment. Oracle is collaborating with thousands of companies globally around service excellence. We are here to support with advice, inspiration and open dialogue. Join our CX Customer Webinar Series to take part in discussions around timely topics where we can provide advice on your questions, and the role and importance of customer service in an ever-changing world. Hear about the role of service in times of change: service driving business, new work environments and innovation of solutions addressing current challenges Discuss with service experts and other CX Service customers on best practices, challenges and solutions Get advice on where to turn for support and answers to your questions Click here to learn more and select the webinars you want to register for. Service in a Changing World. Customer service in time of high pressure and change 20 May, 2020, Start Time: 1:00 PM BST, Duration: 45 min Delivering Exceptional Customer Service when Working from Home - The New Normal. Trends, best practices and advice on working effectively, and leading business from home 3 June, 2020, Start Time: 1:00 PM BST, Duration: 45 min Augmenting the Service Center with Conversation. How to leverage chatbots and other conversational interfaces to drive dialogue and value. 17 June, 2020, Start Time: 1:00 PM BST, Duration: 45 min Learn more!

In times of change, customer service is in a prime position to provide advice, guide customers in their search for information, and to facilitate important decisions for individual customers. At the...

Customer Service

3 Approaches to Customer Service in a Time of Crisis

For organizations that are inundated by customer service inquiries due to COVID-19, it’s critical they understand what’s working and what isn’t, because they have to quickly pivot their customer service approach. Organizations need to rapidly respond to changing information and ease the shift from the contact center to provide remote service. Companies that can support new and unpredictable customer inquiries are those with flexible knowledge management solutions, configurable service center infrastructure, and have the ability to quickly automate rules and workflows. Here are three approaches organizations should consider: 1 - Provide Service Everywhere. Get information to your customers quickly. Start by frequently revisiting customer content to provide meaningful responses and interactions. Go beyond traditional service departments to provide knowledge content across the organization, not just the service center. Next, enable digital service channels. Include contextual knowledge that’s readily available on corporate sites and e-business processes. Also, leverage analytics to learn what content is effective and which isn’t working. 2 –Enable all employees to serve customers.  Move to an “all hands on deck” strategy. Enable employees in every department to react quickly to handle any call. It’s imperative to have a technology infrastructure that can easily transfer calls from your organization to anywhere, including employee’s homes. Remove the stress from your employees by helping them respond to customers with empathy and accuracy. Do this with simple, easy and effective employee experiences that empower them to answer inquires with little or no training. 3 - Automate and create new service experiences.  Automate the right experiences. As more organizations start their digital transformation, the importance of automation has accelerated.  Organizations that have already started are ahead of the game and better poised to adapt to this new way of operating. A good approach will determine which requests should be automated while making sure they don’t frustrate customers further. At Oracle, we're working with our customers to replicate the success of existing customer experiences and service departments and helping to apply those best practices across an entire organization. For example, Artificial Intelligent (AI) Solutions include conversational service via chatbots to answer questions 24/7 while reducing incoming chats and calls. Oracle Digital Assistant can help answer basic questions such as, “Where is my delivery?”, leaving your employees to concentrate on the more difficult customer inquiries. For customers seeking more personal advice, such as “Can I defer my payment this month?” – Oracle Intelligent Advisor can deliver tailored advice and decision automation consistently across channels. For organizations, Intelligent Advisor provides the agility for business users to quickly create rules that deliver personalized service to customers. It’s a big role to play. But, customer experience and service professionals can lead the way to ensure empathic, innovative and proactive approaches to service that help ease the challenges during and after a crisis situation. This blog is part of a series of blogs that will offer strategies, insights, best practices and tips to help organizations respond to customer questions and reduce frustration.  Click here to read "Work from Home will Become the New Normal: Are Your Prepared?"  

For organizations that are inundated by customer service inquiries due to COVID-19, it’s critical they understand what’s working and what isn’t, because they have to quickly pivot their customer...

Customer Experience Strategy

Path to CX Excellence – Commerce Edition

For better or worse, I’m what’s colloquially known as an elder millennial. I’m not part of the oft derided group that grew up staring at screens. I’m the part of the generation that came just before. My coming of age straddled the cusp of technology’s proliferation to the extent that we experienced the before and after effects rather uniquely. For example, before college, I had computer classes, but not computers in class. And when students started to use laptops as their personal computers in college, many educators resisted their use in the classroom due to uncertainty about how this emerging technology fit into the existing experience. Determining guiding principles such as recommendations, resources, and roadmaps should have been the responsibility of the institution, yet all too often individual teachers were left to fend for themselves. But, once more cohesive strategies finally emerged, the collegiate experience evolved quickly. The inclusion of technology shifted the use from supplemental resource to a requirement for homework, classroom activities, and even exams. By the time I graduated, some courses were held entirely online. What was once a siloed, variable mess, matured into something intentionally integrated and consistent, allowing students, educators, and institutions to benefit. This is one example of this shift, but it isn’t unique in the modern human experience. The continuous push to integrate technology holistically over the last few decades has helped mitigate the impact of unpredictable disruption, such as the current health crisis. This pull—or the abrupt shift to new instruction models—has been far less disruptive than it could have been had the necessary tools not already existed and been implemented. It’s more evident than ever that every type of organization must adopt new strategies as quickly as possible to continue to deliver consistent value to their stakeholders. The Evolution of Digital Commerce Digital commerce implementations have been on a similar three-decade long arc—some piecemeal, some strategic. While B2C organizations have dominated digital commerce growth and learned to develop it as a primary revenue generating channel, B2B organizations have been akin to the educators who were uncertain about how it fit into their existing experience. Without a unified vision for an enterprise-wide strategy, many B2B companies have generally tinkered around the edges of their digital experience without fully addressing their underlying challenges. The result is that their customers—B2B buyers—are increasingly frustrated with friction they view as unnecessary in the purchasing experience. They crave the familiarity and buyer-centric usability they are used to as consumers. This is forcing B2B organizations to adopt digital transformation quickly despite any entrenched complexity that makes it difficult to sell digitally. Looking forward, as B2B organizations catch up to their B2C counterparts, capabilities, maturity, and even customers for both business models will begin to converge. As part of our series on The Path to CX Excellence, we’re digging into each of the pillars of modern CX to examine how businesses that push to integrate technology more holistically across the customer experience are more prepared to adapt to unpredictability that would otherwise catch them on their heels. We’ve covered B2B Marketing, B2C Marketing, Sales, Service and Field Service. In this blog, we’ll lay out the Path to Commerce Excellence as it applies to any business model, whether B2C, B2B, or B2B2C. #1 Foundational Commerce is the most important stage to ensure sustainable future success. While short-term fixes may address immediate needs, intentionally or not, those once quick fixes frequently become deeply embedded over time. The long-term result is a complex, cobbled-together legacy technology stack that hinder a business’ ability to adapt to change in real time. Just as a unified approach to technology has supported the successes of modern higher education, companies must similarly move beyond siloed, use-case-specific solutions. Otherwise, the cost to customers is similar to that of the student experience mentioned—inconsistent, disconnected, and often unpleasant. The difference is that customers can go elsewhere easily. Many companies face an internal struggle that leaves them unable or unwilling to change. This stalemate is most clearly represented by the fact that 70% of CIOs want to keep existing solutions in place as long as possible, but 75% of C-suite executives understand the dire consequences of failing to update their technology. But without the appropriate foundation, the ability to adapt and keep pace with competitors is limited, and the cost of future changes will only increase. As the most interconnected element of the customer experience, addressing commerce technology may sound daunting, but the solution doesn’t need to be. Companies need two key elements to build the foundation that will enable future success: Scalable, agile technology Connected data, which is important to the customer experience and internal efficiency #2 Transactional Commerce shifts from technology capabilities to generating revenues from a new digital channel. At this stage, companies must strive to build trust and minimize friction in the customer experience to improve conversion rates and decrease customer acquisition costs (CAC). For a customer, efficiency starts from the moment their search begins helps determine whether or not customers can find your products. Once they land on your site, how do they move around? How do they find similar or complimentary products, or even different categories altogether? Robust search and navigation tools and product recommendations are critical capabilities for success. For complex products with variable selections like size, colors, or materials, customers should be guided through an intuitive flow to make those selections easily. Inventory should clearly indicate product availability and out-of-stocks to the customer, so they don’t make purchases that can’t be fulfilled. Friction is the enemy of conversion, so companies must root it out everywhere. A/B testing helps identify where customers fall off in the process and provides valuable insight to address it. Some customers get all the way to the end of an experience with a full shopping cart and then click away, making reengagement strategies vitally important. When 70% of carts are abandoned before a purchase is completed, a lot of investment is wasted if left unaddressed. Companies that view every click as an opportunity to gain or lose a customer will be better prepared to create value and build loyalty with each customer. As the transactional stage becomes more operationalized, companies can start optimizing their investments. #3 Optimized Commerce is where digital channels start to pay dividends. The site experience gets continuously better, and all the pieces align to move faster. But, the work isn’t over. When optimizing, companies are doing more with their existing investments to provide enhanced capabilities and expand into new markets and product categories, reaching more customers as a result. It’s important to note that any point solutions still being utilized are likely providing diminishing returns as a result of siloed data. Many companies that successfully navigate the first two stages with point solutions may suddenly find their growth limited. Optimization can only be achieved with fully integrated data across the front and back office applications, which enables companies to build more personalized experiences around the customer. Redefining Commerce For successful optimization, companies must evolve digital commerce beyond single transactions to a complete resource where customers come to research, purchase, subscribe, and manage their orders and accounts. This is how they build lasting mutual relationships that create more value for their customers and capture the returns as revenue. In the optimization stage, the scalability and agility of the foundational architecture becomes an undeniable competitive advantage as companies can launch new brand or country sites with ease using existing resources. Additionally, with a vast trove of connected customer and purchasing data, companies can identify other products and categories that may fulfill unmet customer needs. If the foundational stage is building the right machine, the transactional stage is putting it to work, and the optimization stage is getting the most value from those resources. As that value climbs, the door opens to innovation. #4 Innovative Commerce is when companies shift from standard value creation to highly differentiated customer experiences to tap into new growth opportunities and business models. Market leaders and disruptive trend setters are positioned to grab greater market share as 60% of those under 40 are more likely to buy from companies that invest in unique experiences. By its nature, innovative commerce is far less defined than previous stages, instead allowing for experimentation to surface new opportunities. Key KPIs at this level should be around the customer – recurring relationships, interconnected personalization that extends across the lifecycle, and commerce experiences on emerging channels. Like the education example at the top, innovation is where companies push the boundaries of their existing dynamic. By taking a proactive approach to identify how customer expectations are evolving, these companies spend far less time trying to catch up when it matters most. Making the Path Your Own At Oracle, we know that the Path to Commerce Excellence isn’t linear. Many of our customers experience different levels of success and maturity at each stage of this path all at the same time. But we use this progression as a framework to help our customers understand how to look at the opportunities ahead of them and what to prioritize. There’s never been a better time to ensure that your company is prepared to quickly adapt to the evolving ways that goods and services are bought and sold. Click here to find out more about how Oracle can help you leverage digital commerce to your advantage.    

For better or worse, I’m what’s colloquially known as an elder millennial. I’m not part of the oft derided group that grew up staring at screens. I’m the part of the generation that came just before....

Customer Experience Strategy

3 Ways that Subscription Management Impacts CFOs

Humans are hardwired to view uncertainty as a risk. It’s called the fight-or-flight response, and it’s part of our genetic make-up. This survival mechanism is brought on by a combination of stress as a reaction to life-threatening situations. Over the course of humanity, we have evolved in a variety of ways, but the fight-or-flight response remains. It’s part of the human existence. Our stress triggers have changed greatly, but to adapt to this response, we have also evolved to add a planning component to our lives. From planning meals as hunters and gatherers, to planning all aspects of our children’s lives, their education, we sacrifice while searching for ways to make sense of the changing world around us. But, there is no resisting the changing world. Our world is in constant motion, and if we want to survive, we have to adapt. These adaptations take on new nuances in the business world, especially when talking about how customers are consuming and wanting to make purchases. In the era of The Experience Economy, the idea of ownership is no longer viable. We have entered a new era, that is depicted in a recent blog post, “The End of Ownership.” What thrives in this new era is the power of recurring relationships through subscription management. When subscription management is brought up in a discussion, whether personal or business in nature, it always means a change in buying behavior. There is no one more interested in the impact buying in a business setting than the CFO. Subscription Management Means a Shift to Recurring Relationships. As a CFO, much of your job revolves on planning and forecasting. As you know, when buying relationships shift to subscriptions, you can no longer simply look at what closed this month or this quarter. You have to shift your view to fully look at all avenues of the future. This impacts how you allocate and spend money as you better understand what’s to come in the future. Below are three ways that subscription management impacts CFOs. ERP is the gold-standard system.  As CFO, your ERP system forms the basis of your company’s revenue existence. If any upstream inefficiencies or inaccuracies arise, and they aren’t stopped before they go downstream, this impacts the data in the ERP system. Thus, it’s vital that correct revenue recognition is kept in your organization’s ERP, not integrated through complex models outside ERP. These complex models fuel inaccuracies and hard-to-decipher integrations. It’s also important as a CFO that you not only have a clear view of the correct financial numbers and data but that you are also complying with all financial tracking regulations that investors require. Again, revenue recognition needs to be contained within the confines of the ERP. Maximize revenue through new relationship paths. As your business builds new types of relationships—those brought on by recurring revenue— you’ll need to understand which levers to pull to get maximum value from your goods and services, just as you did in a traditional model. By understanding and investing in the long-term life-time value of a customer, you are establishing pricing and contract terms with your sales team that will get the most value not just for you, but for your customers as well. New challenges will always arise. Certain complexities will always appear when adopting new business models, and this is especially true for those managing complex changes around subscriptions. These complexities in subscription management manifest as mid-month cancellations. Those types of cancellations can create chaos in financial systems if not handled correctly. For those just starting out with a subscription business model, they may turn to a simple offline model for tracking and monitoring, believing that this will be the easiest way to manage these challenges. However, chaos will rear its ugly head soon enough.  The best way to alleviate these challenges is to take an automated approach. Automation and supporting workflow can help sort out the cancellations and make sure the customer is billed correctly. In these challenging times of uncertainty, customers are making decisions to reduce anxieties and investments that can be difficult to validate. This influences many to take a subscription-based service that will give them the flexibility to scale up or down with the evolving needs of their business. There is no resisting the constant motion of the changing world. Adaption by forecasting and planning is the only way to truly evolve alongside uncertainty. To learn more about Subscription Management please visit here.      

Humans are hardwired to view uncertainty as a risk. It’s called the fight-or-flight response, and it’s part of our genetic make-up. This survival mechanism is brought on by a combination of stress...

Ask the Experts

Invalid Postal Addresses Impact Your Sales Team!

How are decaying postal addresses affecting your business?  One obvious answer is that your business is wasting budget on shipping and mailing to invalid addresses. Consider the following 3 stats according to the US Postal Service: 7% of Americans change addresses annually 45 million people move each year Approximately one out of every six families move each year What's less obvious is the critical impact invalid addresses have on your sales organization. Your sales teams heavily relay on precise location data; Accurate sales territory designations and assignments Sales and marketing driven campaigns Precise customer communications i.e. account statements, billing, rewards Key customer demographic information, including address data, is the fuel to built-in artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning tools Oracle Customer Experience solutions like CX Sales are fueled by a real-time global address verification solution, Loqate. I recently spoke with Ashley Hillard, Key Account Manager at Loqate, GbG's Location intelligence unit, and briefly asked her about the solution and why businesses should focus on accurate postal address data. Q: Tell me about Loqate and its partnership with Oracle. A: We’ve been an Oracle Partner for over 10 years and we’re the leading developer of global address verification solutions. We curate and develop premium global location reference datasets and verification technology engines. Our partners use Loqate to continuously update, standardize and enrich addresses across their applications. We have a seamless integration with Oracle CX Sales and integrate with other third-party applications via REST APIs. Q: How does Loqate address verification work? A:  Our global data platform contains location reference data for all countries and territories in the world. We aggregate multiple reference data sources into a consistent and reliable single-best-record. To provide the full global coverage that our customers rely on, Loqate continuously curates official postal authorities, mapping, geospatial data sources and other relevant data sets to create our premium reference data. Q: What benefits does it bring to your customers? A: Bad data costs time and money. Accurate address data is a critical component to creating a complete view of data entities throughout your enterprise. Critical customer demographic information impacts businesses across all verticals. For sales organizations, address verification helps solve issues sales teams face with inaccurate CRM data, reduces time spent on manual data entry and optimizes territory planning and management. It also helps prevents incomplete and non-standardized data from being entered into your CRM. For example, at the point of record creation in Oracle CX Sales, ‘type ahead functionality’ ensures sales reps enter a valid postal address. As a result, businesses have found a reduction in data entry errors by 20%! Type ahead functionality and real time address verification allow reps to spend more time selling and less time entering data into their CRM – resulting in a reduction of data entry time by 78%. Sales organizations also need quality address data to ensure their sales territory plan is balanced and create the most opportunities for sales teams to succeed. Address verification can optimize the sales territory map, providing accurate location of customers and prospects as well as options for data-driven insights. Quality data enhances and improves the mapping process, resulting in a 30% enhanced targeting effectiveness. For more information on how your business can leverage Address Verification by Loqate with your CX Sales environment visit here.  

How are decaying postal addresses affecting your business?  One obvious answer is that your business is wasting budget on shipping and mailing to invalid addresses. Consider the following 3 stats...

Customer Experience Strategy

Content for the Sake of Content...Really!

In today’s Experience Economy, customers expect a seamless brand experience across all channels.  To meet this demand, companies are investing in their digital customer experience strategy. However when it comes to content, 84% of companies struggle to manage content across the enterprise. A scary question to ponder is ‘How much does bad content cost companies and damage brand reputations?’  As customer expectations continue to increase, companies must prioritize content management in order to meet the demands of their customers. Content is everywhere It’s chaos! Across marketing, commerce, sales, and service, business users are all asking the same questions. “Why is what I want so hard to find? Where’s the latest version? Is this content approved? Will this work on mobile?” That’s just the beginning. In 2019, over 140 million smart speakers were sold across the world. This is driving the production of more content, as experiences are no longer bound by a website. They are channel-agnostic and pageless. Unify content for consistent engagement When developing a content management strategy, companies need to be equipped with a single content hub that simplifies the way content is created, syndicated, and distributed. Oracle’s content management solution, CX Content, enables companies to deliver a seamless brand experience across all channels through a centralized platform that is connected across the enterprise. Leveraging state-of-the-art AI and machine learning, companies can now spend less time searching for content, and more time creating. Read why Oracle is a Leader Oracle’s Customer Experience is the most complete CX Suite on the market. Built on a common API first platform, companies using Oracle CX are able to unify experiences across the enterprise. Click here to find out why Forrester named Oracle as a Leader in the 2019 Forrester Wave for Digital Experience Platforms. See the 10 providers that matter most and how they stack up so you can make the right choice.    

In today’s Experience Economy, customers expect a seamless brand experience across all channels.  To meet this demand, companies are investing in their digital customer experience strategy. However...

Customer Experience Technology

Oracle Government 2.0 Helps Constituents and Business During Crisis.....and When We Return to Normal

Shelter-in-place orders are making it difficult for governments to continue operations at a time when citizens and businesses need more support and services than during normal times. Government agencies at all levels are facing several daunting challenges. Oracle Government 2.0 provides a state-of-the-art digital framework for modernizing government operations and citizen engagement that includes these key capabilities: Real-time information creation and distribution from all levels of government to the right citizens at the right time via all the right channels Easy and accurate personalized guidance on complex issues leading to specific actions and accurate information intake thereby reducing dependency on government employees’ time Streamlined Emergency Operations Center planning, coordination, and communication with automation and intelligence Effortless work-from-home planning, execution, and tracking with web and mobile based applications Elastic and reliable infrastructure that can reliably handle sudden huge spikes in work and communication demands Significantly lower noise and distraction generated by traditional communication tools such as email, tele-conferencing, Slack, etc. Several of our forward-thinking public sector customers have already embarked on their Government 2.0 digital transformation journeys with Oracle CX and Oracle Technology solutions, helping them rapidly adapt their operations and manage the necessary challenges without disruption. Oracle worked side-by-side with customers to quickly develop and launch solutions to assist governments in managing the COVID-19 situation and enable agencies to function effectively from remote locations. Through a combination of intelligent self-service automation, remote work orchestration, smart knowledge sharing, and guided assistance solutions, Oracle Government 2.0 solutions are designed to help government employees serve the needs of their citizens and businesses both in times of crisis and through recovery: Digital Response for Constituents: By rapidly responding to citizens’ needs, governments can build trust and deliver the assurances their communities need most in times of crisis. Oracle Digital Response for Constituents simplifies government communication with a solution that citizens can rely on to get instant, personalized advice that is up-to-date and consistent. Easy to administer and quick to deploy within days, Oracle’s solution eases the burden on government employees by redirecting constituents to intelligent self-service portals for complex issues, while enabling delivery of government services and guidance 24x7 via a multitude of digital channels. Government Service Continuity: Large and small government entities are challenged to function efficiently as more employees work remotely. To do so, it is becoming increasingly important to break down silos across various departments within the organization. Rising to this challenge requires new collaboration tools that enable prioritization, assignment, tracking, and execution of different workstreams. Oracle CX enables employees to function virtually using simple yet powerful service request, workflow, knowledge management, and intelligent advisor solutions. Learn more about Oracle’s “Virtual City Hall” solution recently launched for cities. Agile Recovery: Oracle Agile Recovery supports crisis recovery programs and processes end-to-end. Real-time, personalized advice across channels (including web, mobile, chat, among others) help constituents understand what support and benefits are available to them. Sophisticated applicant data verification helps to determine eligibility, calculate payments, and eliminate fraud and error. And, outcome analysis ensures initiatives are meeting intended goals, while case management assures unique long-term cases are managed effectively. By deploying these programs at scale, governments can assure constituents will receive what they need to recover quickly.   Oracle’s solutions can be delivered very quickly to assist with the pandemic crisis.  Oracle’s secure Cloud platform offers best-in-class security, compliance, elasticity and performance guarantees to ensure governments continue functioning effectively in normal and crisis environments. Learn more about how Oracle’s Government 2.0 solutions can help by clicking here. Click here to learn about Oracle's Virtual City Hall solution    

Shelter-in-place orders are making it difficult for governments to continue operations at a time when citizens and businesses need more support and services than during normal times. Government...

Customer Experience Strategy

Path to CX Excellence for B2C Marketers

My colleagues and I have recently been writing about “The Path to CX Excellence,” and the importance of brands thinking differently about their customers’ experiences (CX). One point of view we share is that brands today need to think about customer experience as the key point of differentiation to successfully attract, retain, and grow long term customer relationships. How every brand can have best-in-class experiences and set itself apart is unique for each organization. Leading the product marketing team for Oracle’s B2C CX Marketing solutions, I spend a lot of time speaking with marketers about how to improve their customer experiences and their ability to outcompete. Brand Evolution in the Experience Economy As business trends change and evolve, so do the expectations and reactions of the modern consumer. In today’s Experience Economy, customers expect brands to know them better than they know themselves! Customers expect seamless and personalized digital experiences across any channels at any time of day. Brands have always understood the value of deep customer relationships but more recently, they’ve been understanding how important a consistent, relevant, and timely experience is to retaining and growing their best customers. From the consumer point of view, the experience itself likely matters more today than the product or service being sold when deciding which brand to do business with. Customer data is the foundation of delivering a differentiated customer experience and boosting the brand’s revenues. The question for a brand is, “Where to start?” Marketing is highly complex and made up of dozens, if not hundreds of systems and touchpoints. If every engagement must be improved, how do you break down the problem so a successful plan can be built and executed? We understand how overwhelming this can be, and Oracle and our partners are dedicated to helping our customers navigate these complex paths and plans. One of our recent innovations is a maturity model that helps marketers assess the current state of their marketing, and create a defined vision for how to improve.  This “Path to Marketing Excellence” is the unique journey we see all marketers take when trying to achieve their goals by improving their customer engagements. Stage 1-  B2C Broadcast Marketing Every marketing practitioner wants to drive the best results for their business in the most efficient ways. Some of the highest returns for marketers beginning this journey is to increase their marketing efficiency through automation. Most marketers start out trying to increase their audience reach in well-established channels such as email. This leads to “batch and blast” one-size-fits-all emails with volume as the primary goal.  Many brands that exist in this state still find success in their campaigns because email outreach remains a primary and productive means of engaging consumers, and they can use marketing automation to increase their production efficiency and ROI. Marketers at this stage commonly experience difficulty scaling broadcast marketing initiatives over time.  Focusing only on increasing production efficiencies and growing your lists, leads to issues with sender reputation, opt-outs, and SPAM reports. As volume increases but relevancy doesn’t improve, more consumers are turned off by your messages and engage less over time. For this reason, marketers who have been operating at this level look to improve their results by moving to the next stage. Stage 2-  B2C Responsive Marketing Today’s consumers drive innovation and for them, every moment matters. Marketers must strive to build customer relationships in the narrow windows of time that consumers engage with your brand. Customers live on email, social, web, and offline channels, providing marketers multiple opportunities to increase engagement, improve conversions, and shorten the buying cycle. An email-only outreach method falls short with customers when you limit your engagement to only this single facet of their lives. Your customers expect you to engage with them across any channel of their choosing. Once you improve your baseline efficiencies in your primary marketing channels, you must branch out to engage in all possible channels a consumer might choose. In Responsive Marketing, a team evolves beyond simple marketing automation and begins to focus on improving conversion rates and optimizing customer journeys. The winning marketing teams I speak to find multiple paths to making marketing more responsive and in tune with consumer needs. One of the first ways is to add segmentation to transform batch and blast marketing. Segmenting target audiences allows marketing to tailor experiences that fit more closely with the specific interests of the consumer, rather than a one-size-fits-all engagement approach. CX can improve by making those segmented campaigns adaptive, and allowing different paths for different consumers based on their activities and interests. Expanding the outreach across all of the channels that matter helps consumers feel closer to getting exactly what they need at the right time and channel. Triggered marketing and behavioral re-targeting can be deployed to re-engage the consumer at the moment they show interest, and respond in a relevant and beneficial way. Many successful marketing teams at this level are engaging consumers across the channels that matter, and run sophisticated tests to optimize experiences. So, what motivates a marketing leader to continue pushing forward? The consumer and their expectations remain the motivating force. Consistency is a big factor for customer satisfaction with their brands. Consumers expect their experiences to be ever more tailored and relevant over time. Finding different offers, advice and information as they traverse email, mobile and web, leads to disconnected experiences and dissatisfied, less trusting consumers. The potential for disjointed messages across time or channels is the primary reason for marketing to keep pushing forward. “Customers don’t care if you claim you have omni-channel or multi-channel capabilities. They only care that they can connect with you, the way they want to connect with you, and when they want to connect with you. They go through the channel that’s easiest and most convenient for them.”  (Shep Hyken, Forbes) Stage 3 – B2C Relationship Marketing Relationship Marketing is the level where the success of consumer engagements are judged by how well they promote or detract from building long-term customer relationships. A chief part of the challenge at this stage is how to scale up the personalization already underway. This is where humans may struggle to keep up with the scope and speed of the information needed to understand and adapt to consumer behavior and context. Marketing begins to view success not just with KPIs such as ‘open’ or ‘conversion rates’, but in more holistic, consumer-specific metrics such as ‘repeat purchase rate’ and ‘customer lifetime value.’ Consumers expect brands to know them across every interaction and channel. Therefore, marketers need real-time data streams and solutions such as AI and machine learning to process and activate data fast enough to keep up with consumer expectations and actions. Brands that execute at this level understand the best consumer marketing experiences will determine which brands retain and grow their valuable customers. So, what would motivate a marketer to keep progressing? The answer, once again, lies in consumer expectations. Consumers don’t understand or care how the structure of your organization impacts their experiences. They just expect that whatever the context of their interaction with your brand, they’ll receive a consistent, relevant, and beneficial experience. If they engage with your support teams, they expect your marketing messages will reflect the context of their engagements. If they buy from your web site, they expect your loyalty program to be in tune and aware of their actions. Marketing must continuously evolve and improve, connecting across marketing, sales, loyalty, and service to fully understand the individual consumer experience and optimize it in real-time to changing customer conditions. The brands that  do this best will maximize revenue and customer lifetime value and build long-term customer loyalty. “To the customer, it’s all one big team: Customers don’t care which department they talk to when they need help. They just want to get their questions answered and their problems resolved.”  (Shep Hyken, Forbes) Stage 4- B2C Lifecycle Engagement Delivering a unified brand experience across all consumer touchpoints is the ultimate goal for almost every organization. This reduces customer churn and maximizes customer lifetime value by delivering a relevant, consistent, and timely experience at every interaction. Central to this stage of the journey is a data-first approach to understanding each individual consumer across every part of your organization. You must bring together information from their front office digital footprints, with other relevant information within your back-office systems. This data-centric, lifecycle focus, enables brands to continuously optimize experiences by gaining a deeper understanding of each person through all of the data signals they leave behind. To achieve this lifecycle awareness requires a complete and comprehensive customer profile, seamlessly connected in real-time across all touchpoints. An advanced orchestration layer must activate this information in real-time to deliver the most personalized, relevant, consistent, and timely experiences at any time or place a consumer wishes to engage. Brand loyalty is built not from short-term offers or discounts, but from a collection of beneficial experiences that add value to a consumer’s life. The most advanced marketers and business leaders understand this shift and the need to be at the leading edge of how brand differentiation and distinction is changing. The winners will be the brands who build trusted and loyal customer relationships where the customer experience itself sets the brand apart from the competition. “Delivering a meaningful and effortless CX can create and sustain customer satisfaction, loyalty and advocacy. It also increases customer lifetime value and improves profitability because it can cut customer acquisition costs and boost revenue.” -Gartner    

My colleagues and I have recently been writing about “The Path to CX Excellence,” and the importance of brands thinking differently about their customers’ experiences (CX). One point of view we share...

Customer Experience Strategy

Work from Home Will Become The New Normal: Are You Prepared?

Coauthored by Joe Testa, OpenMethods As organizations and government agencies grapple with work from home (WFH) strategies for their employees, often customer service agents, one thing is certain: these strategies will play a significant role in the future of the customer experience. While COVID-19 has forced many organizations into a WFH strategy – and a crash course in digital transformation – some organizations were already on this journey. As we move past COVID-19, organizations must prepare some form of full or partial WFH strategy. Or, at a minimum, be prepared to respond to the inevitable next disruption. Regardless, there is no going back to the old ways of doing business. As organizations think about the long-term viability of sending their agents home to work, consider these benefits that might lead you to adopt this strategy permanently: Business Continuity & Flexibility – Many contact centers struggle with addressing real-time variances in forecasted incidents and have limited capabilities to manage the impact on their customers. WFH strategies allow organizations to think about business continuity differently. This approach, for example, can reduce time associated with commuting or provide flexibility for part-time scheduling, giving organizations the ability to respond to staffing impacts more quickly. In Case of Emergency (Or Disaster), Break Glass – As organizations rethink how they respond to a significant business impact, WFH is set to become the standard to address call center disaster recovery needs or responses to major dislocations. With disbursed or distributed workforces, organizations can better manage specific geographic locations and provide a network of agents to support when customers need it the most. Talent Acquistion and Retention – WFH is becoming more of a necessity for some organizations to attract and retain a workforce in the gig economy. We’ve seen organizations that move to a WFH model significantly reduce employee turnover and increase job satisfaction. Furthermore, organizations can often attract a more skilled set of agents by broadening recruiting, allowing for more targeted searches and more accurate profile matching. This is particularly important for retailers looking for seasonal hires. By using a “just in time” model, they avoid the cost incurred with larger lead times created by restricting geographic hiring pools around brick-and-mortar facilities. “One of the most positive impacts of a WFH strategy I’ve seen comes from my time running customer experience for one of the nation’s largest sporting goods retailers. Our only call center had previously been located in a Houston suburb and we had just rolled out our WFH program a few months before Hurricane Harvey struck. As a result, we observed absolutely no service degradation during a critical time when our customers needed us most (for Hurricane preparedness items). Not only were we there for our customers, but we were there for our associates who could continue to work and see a paycheck during a very challenging time.” With the above benefits, it’s also important for organizations to consider the strategic and tactical challenges of moving to this model. The following are some of the system and process changes to keep in mind: Compliance Automation – There will justifiably be concern over how an organization will manage quality assurance in a new WFH world. For example,when an agent works in a centralized contact center or in a brick-and-mortar facility, they manage compliance (performance, quality and policy adherence) in a specific way. In addition, an agent supervisor has the benefit of walking around, having centralized management and enforcing policies. A new WFH approach requires a novel way of thinking and a broadened sense of compliance automation as a strategic advantage. Organizations should turn to technologies that are best suited to increase process capacity and compliance by automating much of what an agent would otherwise do manually to reduce complexity, mitigate agent errors, and avoid deviation from policy and procedures. These capabilities include guided assistance, a unified agent desktop with enhanced data integration, agent usability, knowledge management and incident management. By automating manual entries and routing agents through correct workflows, organizations can enable agent compliance in a distributed environment and provide the best resolution for customer engagements. Communication Enablement – In a centralized contact center setting, there is typically an agency supervisor ready and available to assist as needed. There is also a command center resource to address any scheduling adherence in real-time and in-person. However, in a more distributed call center environment, communicating daily changes, such as store hours/closures, new protocols or time-to-ship expectations, can challenge an organization’s communication strategy. Enabling capabilities such as push notifications to all or select agents, while allowing real-time changes to prompts and messaging as a condition evolves can help address this challenge. In addition, robust workflow and scripting capabilities combined with knowledge management strategies can ensure organizations are providing agents with the most current and up-to-date information. Agent Training & Enablement – Organizations that develop a stronger usability practice that more deeply understands agent and customer journeys can reduce training time by combining usability practice with the use of world class automation and workflow capabilities. Supporting the real-time creation of intuitive and automated resolution journeys and significantly reducing the need for point and click training helps agents focus more on the customer and their needs. A WFH strategy can significantly improve your customer and employee experience. We’ve seen such benefits as: Reduced agent churn and increased agent tenure Improved employee and customer satisfaction scores by 40% Reduced operation costs by 32% When we reach the other side of the current pandemic, the world of work and customer experience will have dramatically changed. Click here to learn how Oracle CX Service and Open Methods can help you proactively transform your agent workforce and be ready for the next planned or unplanned disruption.          

Coauthored by Joe Testa, OpenMethods As organizations and government agencies grapple with work from home (WFH) strategies for their employees, often customer service agents, one thing is certain:...