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Customer Experience Strategy

Loyalty Program Predictions for 2019

By Carrie Leader, Principal Product Manager, Oracle There is a stark dichotomy between the growth of loyalty programs and the steep decline of customer loyalty itself. Give many retailers credit for trying but they continue to struggle to differentiate on merchandising, pricing and promotions, and store design. As Forrester points out, “customer relationships are now the only remaining source of competitive advantage, which makes earning customer loyalty mission-critical in the age of the customer.” This highlights the critical importance of developing programs that help deliver on true customer loyalty. The Oracle Loyalty Cloud team collaborated with several of our application partners to forecast where the customer loyalty landscape is headed in 2019. The eBook titled, “Industry Experts Share Their Predictions for Customer Loyalty” features 7 loyalty trends that are sure to shake up the traditional points-for-purchases scheme. Here’s a preview of the predictions contained within: 2019 will see the unification of CX, digital transformation, and customer loyalty into a single strategy. Wifi-based loyalty engagement will be the easiest way to engage customers while they are shopping at your store. Nonpublished, “secret” tiers with highly valued rewards and experiences will be used to drive broader brand commitment. The consolidation of loyalty programs across retailers and service companies is coming as consumers become disillusioned by the sheer number of reward programs. Don’t miss a single prediction! View the full report here.

By Carrie Leader, Principal Product Manager, Oracle There is a stark dichotomy between the growth of loyalty programs and the steep decline of customer loyalty itself. Give many retailers credit for...

Data Utilization & Analytics

Selling Smarter and Evolving The Brand Relationship

Marketers have used brand advertising since the 1950s, when brands were established to create emotional value with consumers, signal better quality or value, and to differentiate a product or service from the competition. Simon Clift, the former CMO of Unilever said, “A brand is the contract between a company and consumers.” This brand ‘contract’ represents the feeling of trust that a consumer has in that a brand will deliver on its promise of value when that product or service is selected. If a company breaks that contract and violates the established trust, then consumers are free to take their brand loyalty elsewhere and buy alternative goods and services. Brand building has been a very large part of a company’s marketing mix since the “Mad Men” era of marketing drove ever-increasing advertising budgets that invested in building memorable brands. Marketers have followed this trend of brand investment to drive consumer awareness and the purchase decision. Even today, Coca-Cola spends around 4 Billion annually to build their brands and maintain their market leadership in the beverage category. Things Change Yet recent history has seen a dramatic shift in the relationship between consumers and brands. Digital engagements and the rapid rise of intermediaries assisting consumers in the purchase discovery phase mean that customers have less direct contact with brands in the buying cycle.  Therefore, the “brand contract” has become weaker, and brand relationships are less important to our purchase decisions and ongoing product relationships. Enter the Intermediary This shift away from the brand contract began with the rise of Internet search engines, and consumers’ desire to “self-serve” their way through product discovery and selection. We shifted from a world where marketers broadcast their message to consumers to where consumers actively sought out their own answers.  Marketers needed to shift from broadcasting generic messages, to figuring out how to be at the right place with the right message to answer consumer questions in the right manner.  As more of our consumptive behavior moved from the offline to the online world, new businesses appeared to help consumers find the right solutions for their needs. This led to the rise of intermediary, category-based search engines, designed to help us find the best products at the best prices. Intermediary price comparison sites are now a major part of most consumers’ process for deciding what to buy. From travel search engines such as Priceline.com or Kayak, insurance comparison sites like Compare.com and Nerdwallet, to more general shopping comparison sites like Google Shopping or Amazon, consumers use these sites to find the best deals and decide what to purchase. These intermediaries have changed the very nature of what consumers view as a quality customer experience in the purchasing process. Customers have shifted from valuing the most comprehensive information on solutions, to experiences that are the fastest to complete a transaction and have it shipped to the front door. Watch Oracle CX Cloud - Selling Smarter - B2C Data to the rescue So what’s a troubled brand, left out in the cold and distanced from their customer, to do? A brand remains connected to their customers by providing personalized and meaningful engagements, that’s what! To do that, brands need to harness their data. They do this by bringing together all customer data from across all systems and all points of interaction to get a complete picture of their customers. To turn that data landscape into improved customer experiences requires adding intelligence layers on top of the data, and connecting the resulting insights to action systems, the points at which the customer interactions actually take place. Competing in a world where powerful intermediaries own more consumers’ time and attention requires brands to take new approaches and leverage their unique strengths in data and customer understanding. Building exceptional, personalized customer experiences is the best means to: Win customers away from sites offering comparisons by the lowest price and fastest shipping and, Protect your business margin and build higher lifetime value customer relationships. If you’re concerned about your company’s brand value proposition with your customers, what are you going to do about it in 2019? Click here to take an Oracle Customer Experience (CX) Quick Tour.  

Marketers have used brand advertising since the 1950s, when brands were established to create emotional value with consumers, signal better quality or value, and to differentiate a product or service...

CPQ

What CPQ Can Really Do For You – No. 5: Guided Selling

One of the oft touted features of CPQ is 'guided selling’, a series of easily understandable questions about a customer's needs to the salesperson who is trying to configure a product or service. By answering these questions, the CPQ system will present relevant choices to the salesperson – sometimes just one clear recommendation of what to sell is made by the system. Contrast this with a typical configurator where all options are presented to the salesperson. It may be well organized, with a good UX and rules to prevent mistakes.  But ultimately, sales are able to choose anything for their customer. In this case, the freedom to choose may be a benefit, or it may be overwhelming. Guided selling is often best used where the range of products and services is large, and where there is a clear logic that can be defined, linking the customer’s requirements to the choice of products. For example, consider the experience as a consumer if you try to rent a car. Most car rental websites ask you to define your requirements before presenting you with any options. You’re asked when you want the car and where you want to collect it. Then you may be given a selection like ‘Economy Vehicles’, ‘Luxury Cars’, ’Dream Collection’ and so forth.  By making your choices in relevant terms, you‘re able to narrow down the choices available. This makes the final selection more practical and saves you sifting through irrelevant options. Freedom of Choice Many organizations use guided selling to simplify the choices of perhaps just the models that are available for selection. Within those models there are many detailed, unlimited choices available. The skill in a good implementation of guided selling is getting the balance right between simplifying the salesperson’s choices while not being overly restrictive. In some industries, the limitations can have further benefits. Consider the insurance industry.    Consider the insurance industry which (in the UK at least) is heavily regulated, and the selling of insurance plans has had a checkered history. In such situations where regulation and control is critical, guided selling can become the key to ensuring your salespeople follow due process, ask all the relevant questions, and only present valid options to the customer. Using a CPQ system to control the sales process can ensure that there’s a clearly auditable record of why a customer was sold a specific product or service, and can remove the possibility of mis-selling. Reduce mistakes where there are complex products and high churn. A further benefit of guided selling is found in environments where the salesperson turnover is high, especially if the product or service is complex or the range of choices is exceptionally high. This is often the case for Inside Sales or call center based sales teams. When the selection of products is based on a series of customer centric questions rather than deep knowledge of the product, the time for a new salesperson to become effective can be dramatically reduced, and potentially the cost of product training can diminish too. The reduced chance of mistakes in product selection will make salespeople more effective and prevent the wrong product being proposed, or worse, sold. We've seen great examples of guided selling setups where product information and explanatory material is embedded in the process all the way through. Fact sheets, selling guides, benefits guides, text and video explainers, competitive information and much more can be made available to the salesperson when they need it. For an Inside Sales team, this provides useful information while on a call. For field salespeople, it can be a great asset when preparing for a meeting or when following up afterwards so they have the necessary details. It's all part of the process of guiding the sale. Finally, one potential hidden benefit of guided selling is the impact on sales product awareness, and the retention of knowledge from training. If there is clear alignment between the materials used in sales product training and the information provided in the guided selling process, then it’s clear that the knowledge 'sinks in' more from repeated viewing. Seeing the training material in context helps it to be memorized and used naturally. Our advice to anyone implementing guided selling is to consider working with his or her training teams and to see the content in the CPQ system as an extension of the training approach. It's a great way for salespeople to learn, and might even liberate some budget! Overall, we like guided selling if used in the right situations. It's not for everyone, but where it's used wisely it can reduce mistakes, reduce sales training and preparation time and can increase effectiveness.     * Originally published on walpolepartnership.com

One of the oft touted features of CPQ is 'guided selling’, a series of easily understandable questions about a customer's needs to the salesperson who is trying to configure a product or service. By...

Customer Service

How Dare You Hang Up on Me!!! - My #1 Customer Experience Pet Peeve

We’ve all called a customer service line and been placed on hold for 10+ minutes or longer. When we finally hear the voice of a living human, the line is disconnected. Infuriating, right?  It happened to me.  Why does this drive us crazy with rage? And why is this one of the worst things you can do to your customer? Whatever the reasons, I’m frustrated and angry. Hanging up on me instantly affects my relationship with your company. Here’s why. The power of a hang-up triggers us emotionally.    We’ve all had angry exchanges with someone and stormed off in a huff. The digital universe is no different. Slamming down the phone down comes with a feeling of closure, but it also has a seriously negative connotation.  It’s a feeling of instant anger, not so much for the act of hanging up, but in the decision to hang up. We feel it when we are on the other end of it, regardless of it being done in anger or by accident. We see ourselves as blameless. In the “me first” society, we are never at blame. It’s always the other person's fault.  Even if it really is our own fault, I often hear people say “well, they should know who I am and call me back.” My time is more valuable than anyone else’s. If we’re hung up on, we’re mad that our time has been wasted. Oddly, if we get a human in under a minute and get disconnected, we don’t care all that much. But, if we waited on hold for a while or if we’ve been transferred to the void, we feel that our time has been wasted. Thus, we are incensed when we get dead air or a different human. Companies can’t defend themselves. The one who gets blamed is the one who can’t defend himself or herself. It’s a fact of life. He or she is a convenient punching bag for the masses when things don’t go correctly. I deserve a better experience. We expect that every experience we have should be excellent. If our expectations aren’t satisfied, we feel taken advantage of. The dreaded hang-up isn’t just a simple ‘cost of doing business.’ It’s an experience that needs to be proactively resolved. Here are some things companies can do to fix it. 1)   Empower your agents:. If a customer gets disconnected mid call, your agent should be able to call him back. Sounds simple and logical, right? Stand out from your competitors and instill the importance of customer/agent continuity with your employees.  Agents should have customer data in front of them.  If you don’t, you just perpetuate the problem. Your customer will once again wait on hold and rehash the same information again with another agent in customer experience hell. 2)     Practice and Cultivate Empathy. Training agents to empathize with customers goes a long way toward building trust with your customers. When a customer feels they are being helped, there is a positive emotional response and a partnership is forged on the call. 3)     Invest in your technology. Don’t be penny wise and pound foolish. If you’re using state-of-the-art tech in your contact centers, you have the ability to reconnect the agent with the customer. Analyze your contact center strategy. See if alternate channels with a higher fault tolerance for dropped calls could be better utilized. Those channels could include web self-service, chat, or instant messaging platforms. 4)     Listen to your agents. Your agents touch your customers more than anyone else in a day. If you dismiss their knowledge and ideas on how to provide a great customer experience, you have essentially failed. Agents know the issues your customer have with your products, your sales cycles, and your services. They hear every complaint, every issue, and they know more than you do. If you’re not an advocate for your agents, you should find another line of work. Even if you’re the CEO, the agents in your contact center know way more about your customer experience than you do.  Deal with it and learn to listen to them. 5)     Be your own customer. Test your processes and agent training. Make sure that the failure points are places where you can make a difference. If you can’t, learn to find new ways to approach the problems. Share the customer experience with your peers. Point out how your experience as a customer directly correlates to how you run your business. I never once had an executive yell at me for telling them what I, as a customer, felt like with my experiences. Neither will you. Your CX IQ, and how you deliver the CX promise your brand promotes is the real game changer. As soon as you address that, your business will be positioned to deal with the dreaded hang-up. What are you doing today to make your customer service experience better? How does your CX stack up?  Click here to take this one minute assessment to find out how you compare to your peers on current proficiency in and preparedness for the future of customer experience. You’ll be scored against hundreds of CX professionals to see where you stand and get an exclusive copy of the 2018 Smarter CX Insights Report.  

We’ve all called a customer service line and been placed on hold for 10+ minutes or longer. When we finally hear the voice of a living human, the line is disconnected. Infuriating, right?  It happened...

CX News & Events

Oracle Celebrates Customer Legends at Modern Customer Experience 2019

Modern Customer Experience is the conference for CX legends! We are putting together an A-list of presenters ranging from industry influencers and analysts to Oracle leaders and experts. Dozens of customers will also share their stories, successes and advice at every level of the conference. But the spotlight belongs to you—the leaders and practitioners within our community who are re-imagining the future and working on the front lines of CX. To help you make the most of Modern Customer Experience and recognize you for your success and expertise, we are pleased to announce our 2019 CX Heroes program. This year, we are expanding the program to include more activities and access to all conference attendees. So what are you waiting for? Begin your journey in the Oracle CX Hero Hub today. Get excited for Modern Customer Experience, network with fellow attendees, find opportunities to share your success and expertise, and have fun along the way. A few examples of activities include: Suggest or lead a Meetup with your peers. Show off your expertise, and see if you get selected for a video interview onsite; plus get a free, polished asset for your LinkedIn profile. Enter for a chance to meet the band or celebrity speakers. Participate in a virtual Vegas-themed “slot machine” scavenger hunt. And more! Your Hero Hub experience doesn’t end online. Our onsite CX Hero Hub lounge will be back by popular demand in Vegas. Stop by to get a professional headshot, connect with your peers in Meetups, sample delicious goodies from Oracle customers (including Lindt chocolates and Keurig coffee!), and learn more about the Oracle CX Hero Hub. The Oracle CX Hero Hub awaits you on Level 3 of the Mandalay Bay South Convention Center: Tuesday: 4:00pm - 7:00pm PDT Wednesday: 8:30am - 6:00pm PDT Thursday: 8:00am - 3:30pm PDT While the online Hero Hub and onsite lounge are open to all event attendees, we are excited to recognize and thank event attendees who are speaking at Modern Customer Experience or who were nominated for a 2019 Markie Award. We will notify them about their official CX Hero status and explain how to access exclusive opportunities within the Oracle CX Hero Hub and onsite prior to the conference.                          Join the Oracle CX Hero Hub today to get started. Still need to register for Modern Customer Experience? Use the promotion code CXINSIDER for a discounted rate of $1295 through March 1, 2019. We’ll see you in Vegas!    

Modern Customer Experience is the conference for CX legends! We are putting together an A-list of presenters ranging from industry influencers and analysts to Oracle leaders and experts. Dozens of...

Customer Experience Strategy

3 Ways to Use IVR to Drive Great Customer Experiences

Interactive Voice Response (IVR) systems were initially introduced as a cost savings measure. The voices were robotic, artificial, difficult to understand and often resulted in poor customer satisfaction.  Modern IVR systems have evolved dramatically. When used properly, they can be an effective tool for developing an omnichannel customer experience. 1) Call Deflection to Text-Based System Call deflection may initially sound like call avoidance.  But, when coupled with a Short Message Service (SMS), IVR can actually improve the customer experience and allow more customers to be served in less time. Most people are familiar with the call screening process that’s routinely handled by IVR systems. This process is called “call deflection”, in which calls are routed to the appropriate department or agent within a customer service department. Conventional call deflection is most often populated with prerecorded “context driven” messages that may include standard responses to frequently asked questions. The interactive SMS/IVR system works like this:  A customer calls into an 800 number. After indicating that the reason for their call is to check on the status of an order, they are asked if they would like to follow up via text. They are immediately sent a text from an automated bot that delivers the current status of all orders tied to their phone number. The resulting follow up process can be completely handled via text. If necessary, a link to a live agent can be clicked on from the text message. Since most millennials prefer texting to talking on the phone, they'll be satisfied with this interaction, freeing up your agents to work on more complex issues. 2) Surveys Using Dynamic IVR A second way to incorporate IVR into your strategy is to create a front-end information gathering system into your customer surveys. This front-end system uses voice recognition or tones generated by a customer’s phone to direct a customer to the survey that’s most appropriate for them. Again, more customers can be served faster and avoid the standard draw down associated with menu-driven systems. Questions can be tailored to the customer on the phone by linking to both internal and external databases. The survey system can be easily linked to previous customer interactions from CRM systems and DMPs to tailor the experience. The survey feedback is instantly available to other systems and service management teams who can use these insights to respond to individual customers or improve overall service levels. By using a ‘data dip’, the survey can even be modified in process. For example, if you are conducting a survey about a recent customer interaction, the IVR system can access all recent orders and ask questions about a particular product the customer recently ordered. If the product was returned, questions can be tailored to why the product was returned or how the return process worked. 3) IVR and Artificial Intelligence Artificial intelligence (AI) has evolved to provide much higher levels of customer service. Coupling AI with IVR, you can actually allow customers to solve many problems on their own with little human interaction required. Using an Application Program Interface (API) you can create “conversational assistants” to help your customers get what they want without ever actually talking to someone. Your customers call in to place an order and are greeted with an AI-driven IVR system that can draw on databases of information tied to a customer’s phone number that includes all order history. For example, if customers call to order a pizza, an IVR system can do a quick caller ID lookup to see that the customer last ordered a large thin crust pizza with pepperoni and onions. The IVR could ask the customer if they want to order the same pizza as last time.  If so, route the order directly to the kitchen with no human interaction required. If the customer wants to order something else, the IVR system can offer choices, allowing the customer to make their selections and deliver the order to the kitchen with no need for interrupting the counter person who is taking an order in store. How are you using IVR to create a superior customer experience for your customers? Come visit our booth at Modern Customer Experience in Las Vegas, March 19-21! * * A version of this was originally published on glympse.com      

Interactive Voice Response (IVR) systems were initially introduced as a cost savings measure. The voices were robotic, artificial, difficult to understand and often resulted in poor customer...

CPQ

What CPQ Can Really Do For You – No. 4: Error Free Orders

We've been taking a deep dive into the real benefits of Configure, Price, Quote (CPQ) solutions and what lies beneath the headlines. Now let’s shift focus to a benefit further down the 'quote-to-order' process. CPQ marketing materials often state that it can provide 'Error-Free Orders.' What does that really mean, and why should you care? Firstly let's look at where CPQ typically sits in the quote to order process:  CRM<>CPQ<>ERP/Order Management. One of the key jobs of a CPQ system is to deliver information to a downstream system that will execute the order whether that's delivery of goods, provisioning of a service, or any other deliverable in return for the customer’s order. Sometimes these downstream systems are highly structured and automated like an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system. Sometimes they’re simpler and often older order management or provisioning IT systems. They may be manual or paper based processes, or a collection of disparate systems. We've seen all kinds but for simplicity sake, we'll refer to them as 'the ordering system', whatever form that system takes. The ordering system requires inputs that are all the data elements required to make that order happen. They can be product detail, customer information, billing factors, service levels and more. Every organization and system is different. How does CPQ help provide Error-Free Orders? Configure - An integral part of a CPQ system is the configuration engine. One main role the configurator fulfills is to ensure that the salesperson or user can only generate a valid configuration, list of parts, or a valid service description. Configuration rules limit the choices that can be made. For example, if you’re selecting components of a car, you can't select rear electric windows on a 3-door car! In short, the configurator ensures that only a valid combination of parts or services are generated as part of the order. Price - The pricing element of CPQ typically refers to the commercial and contractual aspects of a deal. Rules are enforced at this stage of the process to ensure that all critical information is captured, regardless of the deal type. All customer information can be mandated, or even integrated with a CRM system. Billing terms can be specified and prices established. A good CPQ system allows for every element of your workflow to be defined and all critical information specified. One of the most important aspects of the commercial terms is the approval of pricing levels and any other non-standard elements of the deal. Discounts can be tracked and approved according to business rules.  Elements like expedited delivery or customer-specific terms can be checked and approved before the quote is finalized with the customer. Quote - In most CPQ systems, this refers to the ability to take the information that's been captured and to present it in the most appropriate way. This usually means customer-facing documents like proposals, quotes and contracts are accurate and well designed. Equally though, it can refer to the presentation of all the deal information in a structured way such that downstream systems can interpret it easily - either via direct integration, or at the very least, making manual re-entry as simple as possible. Why should you care? Think about the consequences of an order being generated with inaccuracies. After the customer signs off, there are two main potential problems. 1) Failed orders - At the simplest level, the order may fail at the point an attempt is made to push it into the ordering system. Most ordering systems have controls over what can be entered. Systems that are not designed with each other in mind may refuse to play nicely together. 2) Incorrect fulfillment - Some inaccurate orders may pass through validation in the ordering system and parts may actually be delivered before anyone realizes that they simply don’t work together. If you've ever gone grocery shopping for a meal, but then got home to discover you forgot a key ingredient, you'll understand this. Individually, all the items make sense. But, together, they don't give the desired end result. When we analyze these scenarios, the cost to the organization quickly mounts up. Orders that stop at the administration stage will often be delayed. This means missed shipment dates and in some cases, it can impact service level agreements (SLAs). Admin time to put things right costs time and money and inevitably, the sales person will need to provide input too. If this means going back to the customer to explain the error, it reflects badly on the salesperson. In some cases it can cost you the deal. Wait, there’s more! Sadly, this isn't the worst-case! When inaccurate orders aren't caught before delivery or provision, the customer will receive the wrong item, or a product or service that just doesn't work. This can range from a mild annoyance to severe dissatisfaction - especially if the purchase was something the customer was relying on for a mission critical process. The compound effects can be enormous and the cost of the mistake to reputation and credibility can be grim. With a well-designed CPQ system that implements well-defined business rules, all these problems can be avoided. Of all the benefits CPQ can provide, ‘Error-Free Orders’ is one of the most important, and with potentially the biggest impact to the bottom line! What does your organization have in place to provide error-free orders? * Originally published at walpolepartnership.com

We've been taking a deep dive into the real benefits of Configure, Price, Quote (CPQ) solutions and what lies beneath the headlines. Now let’s shift focus to a benefit further down...

CX News & Events

5 Fascinating Cross-CX Sessions at Oracle Modern Customer Experience

By Corie McHugh Oracle Modern Customer Experience 2019 will take place March 19-21 at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas, with 200+ planned sessions focusing on the hottest topics in customer experience. Over 25 of these sessions will focus specifically on cross-CX trends and technologies. **Ready to register for Oracle Modern Customer Experience 2019? Visit the registration page and use discount code “CXINSIDER” to get a rate of $1,295 on a full conference pass now through March 1, 2019.** Here are 5 of the upcoming, fascinating cross-CX sessions. You can also view the full cross-CX session catalog here. Bring Intelligent Chatbots and Digital Assistants to Your Business Breakout session featuring Joe Huang, Product Management, Oracle Digital Assistant and Mobile Cloud, Oracle and Suhas Uliyar, Vice President, Product Management, Oracle AI Bots and Mobile, Oracle Over the past few years, AI technologies have transformed the way we interact with systems and devices across multiple channels. Chatbots in customer service, ecommerce, and sales have become widely accepted and adopted. Oracle’s Sales Digital Assistant and Service Digital Assistant leverage AI and can do many things: initiate conversations, make recommendations, detect/process sentiments, and handle advanced conversations. Attend to this session to learn how your enterprise can benefit. Deliver Personalized Experiences with Oracle Content and Experience Breakout session featuring Kiran Bellare, Senior Director, Product Management, Oracle Content teams spend millions on manual authoring, curating, and targeting content, and yet fall short on driving engagement. Smart content is an initiative from Oracle Content and Experience that leverages artificial intelligence and machine learning to improve content management efficiencies by automating the authoring, curation, and classification of content. Attend this session and learn more. How Master Lock Adopted Oracle CX Analytics for Better Business Intelligence Breakout session featuring Alex Dye, Director Business Applications, Master Lock Company, Shantanu Goswami, Senior Business Analyst – CRM, Master Lock Company and Naren Chawla, Senior Director, Product Management, CX Analytics, Oracle Which Oracle tools can you leverage to solve your descriptive, predictive, and prescriptive analytics CX use cases to supercharge your business? What are the next-generation CX analytical business applications that you can adopt to deliver immediate value to business users? Attend this session to hear from Master Lock Company as they share their OTBI for Sales story. The session will also walk through real CX customer use cases and highlight ways to adopt your own business value through CX analytics. How to Be a Storytelling Marketer General session featuring Ellen Green, Director, Marketing Communications, GHA Storytelling is a powerful way to connect with customers. In this session, learn how to use marketing to tell a story to your customers that enhances your relationship. Understand how to leverage Oracle Responsys to tell that story through the tools and functionality in the platform, and find ways to create a conversation with customers to build upon the story. Oracle Customer Experience Unity: Connecting Tomorrow’s Customer Experience, Today Breakout session featuring Steve Earl, Senior Director Product Marketing, Oracle and Abbas Makhdum, Director Product Marketing, Oracle As the data fabric of Oracle’s market-leading customer experience cloud, Oracle Customer Experience Unity delivers timely intelligence about known customers in order to optimize their complete brand experience across marketing, sales, and service. Attend this session to learn more. **Ready to register for Oracle Modern Customer Experience 2019? Visit the registration page and use discount code “CXINSIDER” to get a rate of $1,295 on a full conference pass now through March 1, 2019.** Note that event details are subject to change. *Originally published on smartercx.com    

By Corie McHugh Oracle Modern Customer Experience 2019 will take place March 19-21 at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas, with 200+ planned sessions focusing on the hottest topics in...

Customer Service

Pave Your Path to Creating Memorable Brand Experiences at MCX!

In today’s world, memorable experiences differentiate your brand.  Each service experience must be personalized, consistent and seamless across every channel.   With smart technology and customers driving innovation, how can organizations adapt and keep up?  A great start is to attend the annual Modern Customer Experience Conference in Las Vegas March 19-21, 2019. Service enthusiasts from around the world will come together under one roof to network, see the latest technology, share ideas, and hear from award-winning customers and thought leaders. Attend this conference to see how artificial intelligence, augmented reality, virtual assistants, intelligent advice, machine learning and the Internet of Things are being leveraged by brands to adapt to customer expectations and drive unique experiences. Witness these innovative technologies in person through compelling keynotes, demonstrations, conversations with industry experts, trusted partners and your peers. Here are three reasons why you should attend: Get Inspired by the Keynotes – Join Stephen Fioretti and Jeff Wartgow, CX industry visionaries,  to explore a world so impacted by self-service and automation that we have been placed on the threshold of a new age of enthusiastic brand advocates. In this new age, the service center will be the place everyone wants to work. Learn from Like-Minded Individuals - The customer is always right! Hear from our customers that are in the forefront of providing memorable experiences.   Attend sessions to see best practices, strategies and advice on how service leaders should approach new service demands.  You'll hear case studies from global customers that are changing the game.  Click here to see more in our session catalog. Meet Experts & Influencers Face to Face - Learn new approaches on how to exceed customer expectations and attend sessions with industry analysts. Or, participate in pre-conference education, mini-theaters, and demonstrations in the exhibit hall.  You can also attend the unique Collective Learning-style sessions. These will be audience-led and interactive, facilitated group activities that apply the science of learning with an appreciation for the collective intelligence of multiple people. Last year, we asked you to be Legendary. This year, we want to be Legendary together! Don’t miss out. Hurry and Register for Modern Customer Experience 2019 using the promotion code, CXINSIDER, for a discounted rate of $1295 through March 1, 2019. Stay in the loop on social media before, during and after the conference and follow #ModernCX.  See you there!

In today’s world, memorable experiences differentiate your brand.  Each service experience must be personalized, consistent and seamless across every channel.   With smart technology and customers...

CX News & Events

Collective Learning Program at Modern Customer Experience 2019

Las Vegas, March 18-21, Mandalay Bay Convention Center Have you ever attended a conference and found yourself “tuning out”?  PowerPoint after PowerPoint, same old routine, anticipating that “ah ha” moment?  Join us for a new approach at the Modern Customer Experience in Las Vegas at the Mandalay Convention Center from March 18-21 where plenty of these “ah ha” moments await you! At Oracle, we decided to shake things up a bit and invest in our conferences to better understand what our customers are looking for and study how people learn. In 2016, the Oracle Global Events team, with support from some prominent academic institutions and agency, researched, surveyed and experimented at our conferences and the result was the ‘Collective Learning Program.’ The most striking discovery was that we know people learn by doing, with interactive methods and encouraged social interaction. Attendees retain more and are more internally motivated after participating in these collaborative sessions. As much as 90% of what we do we’ll remember, versus only 10% of what we’ve seen or read. And when I refer to “tuning out”, studies show that as much as 68% of information is forgotten just 48 hours after a lecture. With our Collective Learning Program formats, speakers take on more of a facilitator role to collectively extract knowledge, raise awareness of trends and issues and solve problems as a team. In some instances, there are even purpose-built Collective Learning Program rooms designed for learning. They have transparent walls with props, flip charts and come equipped with other tools and tactics in a casual learning environment suitable for team activities. One session leader hosted a Collective Learning Program styled session on sales performance management to emphasize the driving force behind incentive compensation. He wore a suit designed with dollar signs, then had the audience wear different hats so they could assume roles from their organization. They addressed traditional challenges and incentives, came up with new ideas and learned how technology such as sales automation and AI could make their teams more effective and focused. In another format termed “Burning Questions”, the presenter promoted the topic of interest and the entire session was led by questions from the audience. Participants have certain objectives in mind when they attend a conference, so this is a good way to help them with knowledge experts and other customers who face the same challenges. This format works well in shorter sessions such as the Theaters on the exhibit floor, which are shorter and require no pre-registration.  Flip It The “Flipped” style session turns a session upside down by starting with an experience such as a demo, visual, or other exercise. For instance, perhaps you want to show how leads pass from marketing through to sales and ultimately show ROI. After going through an initial experience, the audience dissects the process and solution. By doing so, learning is achieved with the added benefit of networking and sharing knowledge. Home Room Approach The “Home Room” is typically scheduled early on in the conference. This allows attendees to connect with the right session topics and thought leaders with some guidance from an event team member who knows intimately where and when things will occur, including keynotes, awards, receptions and of course, the featured band on the customer appreciation night. You will know that the Collective Learning Program ideology is being artfully executed when session leaders create their own format. It may be a hybrid of existing defined formats or something completely out of the box. For instance, in one case, a facilitator had 30 participants from the audience write their biggest challenges for product configuration on boxes. All of the boxes were then used to build a wall in front of the room. In the session, the group with the aid of the facilitator tore down the wall one brick at a time, addressing each issue, with enhanced with anticipated visuals or technology tools to elaborate on the challenges and to provide solutions. Not only was it fun, but everyone left with a sense of accomplishment and a complex topic was demystified. At Modern Customer Experience, watch for these tactics in your sessions and be ready to participate. Pre-register for one of the Collective Learning Program (CLP) sessions in the purpose built rooms and get the most out of your experience at Modern Customer Experience. Get your front row tickets to Modern CX 2019 with the code CXINSIDER for a discounted rate of $1295 through March 1, 2019. Join your marketing, service, sales, and commerce peers in Las Vegas, March 19-21.  

Las Vegas, March 18-21, Mandalay Bay Convention Center Have you ever attended a conference and found yourself “tuning out”?  PowerPoint after PowerPoint, same old routine, anticipating that “ah ha”...

CPQ

What CPQ Can Really Do For You - No. 3: Better Looking Quotes and Proposals

In this on-going series of blogs that dive deep into the benefits that CPQ can bring, we've looked at how CPQ can help your salespeople sell faster and how it can give your organization better control of margins. Now let's consider the 'Q' in CPQ - better looking quotes (and proposals). When I speak to salespeople about creating quotes and proposals, I always get conflicting stories. All of them value the impact that a well written quote or proposal can have. But, but many also resent the time they spend compiling and crafting a document, rather than being free to focus on relationship building and selling. The alternative is often to use a template developed by the Marketing department.  However, if it's too prescriptive, it can come across as bland and doesn't reflect the relationship that a salesperson has with their customer. Added to this, very few salespeople are good designers.  Even if they have those skills, assembling a well-designed document is a time-consuming task.  When salespeople have people to see and targets to hit, corners are often cut. When I asked our branding agency InnerVisions ID to describe some of the biggest 'crimes against branding' they see in customer facing documents, they told us to watch out for the following. Low-resolution logos and images downloaded from the Internet that pixelate when printed. Old logos or out of date branding still being used after a rebrand. Inconsistent use of branding guidelines.  Or, not having these established in the first place where it’s imperative to keep corporate colors, typefaces and imagery consistent across all output. Incorrect and inconsistent spelling of product names (especially in US/European markets where ‘U’s and ‘S/Z’s are inconsistent.  Poor layout - the main crimes are too much information on one page, or a muddled layout of information.  ‘Whitespace’ is vital so the reader is not overwhelmed. Documents that look 'cobbled together' from many sources - different typefaces, sizes, layouts, even the language used can be inconsistent. What’s a Salesperson to do? How can a salesperson create a quote or proposal quickly, without these errors, without copying boilerplate marketing collateral, and with an approach that’s tailored to your customer? A good CPQ solution will have a comprehensive document composition tool that solves this problem. Administrators can centrally set up templates with guidance from the Marketing department, or an external design agency. All the company branding guidelines and 'official' styled elements can be taken care of. Logos can be correctly placed and accurately rendered. Colors and fonts are precise and the overall look and feel can represent the company in a professional manner. Salespeople can use this properly designed template to generate a proposal that is unique to both the offer and the customer within the CPQ system with the press of a button. Conditional elements of the template can toggle on or off and this can be based on the content of a deal. For example, marketing information can be included, but only for products and services that are offered in that deal. Sections can be triggered by the salesperson too.  If you know your customer is particularly 'green', you could click to include your company's environmental fact sheet if you think it's relevant. Data from the deal can also be brought in directly. Often this is a pricing summary or the details of a quote. It's quick and easy to get accurate data, and you don't have to worry about the clash of formats that can occur between spreadsheets and word processors. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, sections of the proposal can be left fully editable by the salesperson. This allows them to add rich-text to proposals, giving them the chance to add cover-letters, executive summaries or any other content where their own style, their relationship and their personal knowledge of the customers situation cannot be replaced by a machine. By combining the voice and experience of the salesperson with accurate deal data and with corporate branding and content, you end up with a high quality, accurate, and personalized proposal that will meet your salesperson and customer's requirements. For once you really can 'have your cake and eat it' with quotes and proposals generated by CPQ. Read the 2018 Gartner Magic Quadrant for Configure, Price and Quote Application Suites report. * Originally published on walpolepartnership.com      

In this on-going series of blogs that dive deep into the benefits that CPQ can bring, we've looked at how CPQ can help your salespeople sell faster and how it can give your organization better control...

CPQ

What CPQ Can Really Do For You - No. 2: Five Ways to Control Margins

Profit Margin = Revenue - Cost / Revenue If we want control of our margins, we really need control of how our salespeople allocate revenue on a deal, and how it relates to our organization’s cost base. Let's take a look at how companies set their prices. Broadly speaking, the price of any product or service can be set as ‘cost plus’, or ‘what the market will bear.’ The latter generally involves some analysis or guesswork to establish a standard - often called 'List Price', MRP or RRP - and apply discount in certain circumstances. If you've ever visited a Moroccan souk, you'll know how arbitrary an opening price can be, and how extreme a discount level can get. Some companies set prices centrally based on one or other of these principles and allow no movement - Apple is a good example here. Others put partial or complete control in the hands of their salespeople - possibly backed up by pricing analysts or commercial specialists and bid teams. Whichever way your organization chooses to set prices, let's see how CPQ can help you control your margins. A CPQ system: 1) Ensures pricing is up to date Even if you have a simple pricing structure with pre-set prices that don’t budge from day to day, your salespeople need to know that they are using the latest price list. We regularly find companies who issue a new price list, perhaps on a spreadsheet, and somehow the salesperson forgets to save the new one. Now they're working with redundant information. If price changes are significant, a quote can be made that doesn't hit the profit figures required, or could even create a loss. By storing prices in a centrally managed CPQ system, you ensure that salespeople are always working from the latest price books. 2) Eliminates errors from financial calculations If you give your sales people authority to discount, this too can be fraught with risk. We regularly see errors in quotes from 'fat fingers' on a calculator through to 'deal calculator' spreadsheets with formula errors and out of date discount levels. A CPQ system lets your salespeople sell, and handles the financial calculations for them. If your deals are complex, this could be critical for margin control. 3) Assists in managing complex deals When we talk about complex deals, how well does your company manage pricing on things like temporary promotions, customer specific pricing and, if you deal globally, fluctuations in currency? These can all have a significant impact on margins if not managed and implemented well, and in a way that salespeople can easily apply. CPQ lets you deploy and control accurate and intuitive mechanisms for all these scenarios. 4) Safeguards margin calculations If you manage your pricing on a 'cost plus' basis, your cost-base is effectively exposed. It's necessary for the calculations. On one deal this may not be a big issue, but if you have spreadsheets or cost-books going around that hold this master data, it's a real security risk. Nothing will hit margins faster than your competitors knowing your costs in detail. With CPQ, you can store all the deal costs securely for use in margin calculations, but only expose them to authorized individuals. This way, they won't be easily downloadable or 'leave on a train'-able. 5) Guarantees stress-free pricing approvals Finally, let's consider a final critical element of margin control - pricing approvals. If you pass the final say on pricing to a manager or a specialist team, a CPQ solution can provide them with the information and analysis they need to do their job accurately. Re-keyed information can contain errors and takes time that could be spent on intelligent analysis. Centralized data on requested pricing and what was approved and won could be invaluable over time. We can give organizations a feedback loop on their set price and discount levels to understand whether they are effective or not, and to make improvements that benefit margins, sales effectiveness and efficiency. There are many other ways that CPQ can help with margin control. Feel free to suggest some more in the comments. Download Walpole Partnership's free eBook: The Complete Configure Price Quote (CPQ) Software Guide for Sales Professionals * Originally published on walpolepartnership.com

Profit Margin = Revenue - Cost / Revenue If we want control of our margins, we really need control of how our salespeople allocate revenue on a deal, and how it relates to our organization’s cost base. L...

Customer Experience Strategy

To Deliver World-Class Service Experiences, Focus First on Your Agents

The effortless customer experience has been the guiding mantra in customer service for the last decade. Yet, to meet rising expectations, companies are realizing that their biggest hurdle isn't the customer experience (CX) - it's the agent experience. So what's holding companies back from providing an effortless agent experience? At Pier 1, where I manage the Customer Relations department, we faced a number of challenges. After re-launching our e-commerce site six years ago, we realized we didn't have a sustainable service strategy to keep up with increasing demands. Instead of scaling for growth, we expanded our service team by 200%. But our associates were frustrated. They spent more time dealing with legacy systems and outdated technology than actually listening to their customers. In an effort to improve our CX, we had overlooked the crucial folks who differentiate our business from our competitors. Sound familiar? Over the last three years, Pier 1 worked to transform its service strategy. In doing so, we established ten principles of an effortless agent experience that focus on both the tools and the work environment in your contact center. Provide Your Agents with the Technology and the Tools Often, contact centers agents work with legacy systems that are too rigid to evolve with changing customer expectations. Take a moment to rethink your technology stack, with the user in mind. 1.    Integrated Systems and Single Customer Records: At Pier 1, our associates were accessing over 20 different systems and multiple sources of customer records. Our first priority was to consolidate and integrate these solutions, providing associates with one, 360-degree customer record using the CRM as the portal. By giving your agents a single source of truth, you improve their efficiency and ability to focus on the customer, instead of system navigation.  2.    Intuitive Technology and Modern Communication Channels: Consider the engagement channels you offer your customers and agents to communicate. Are they intuitive tools that help add value to the interaction? By adopting an intuitive and integrated CRM system at Pier 1, we decreased our new hire learning journey time by 50%. We also added modern contact channels, such as chat and text, that our associates use on a daily basis. These convenient channels have allowed our customers to better describe their needs with photos-arming agents with helpful context to quickly resolve problems.  3.    Knowledge Base: By consolidating all potential answers into one knowledge base, tribal knowledge and post-it-notes become a thing of the past. After building our robust Knowledge Base, Pier 1's associates no longer relied on that one 'Jedi Master' in the department to answer their questions. They felt empowered and were able to provide more detailed and consistent information to our customers. Provide Your Agents with a Great Work Environment It's nearly impossible to deliver outstanding customer service if your agents don't genuinely love their jobs. Infuse your contact center with brand culture, but don't forget to let your agents' individuality to shine through. 4.    Training: Give your associates the opportunity to learn about your brand, products, and services. At Pier 1, we don't hire experts in home decoration. Instead, we cultivate it with lessons on products and decoration principles. As a result, our associates have become valued customer advisors, sharing their brand inspiration with each engagement. 5.    Coaching and Recognition: Devise an agent-to-supervisor ratio that fosters development and opportunities for recognition. By removing operational tasks from supervisors and allowing them to focus on coaching and engaging associates, our customer relations team continually improves their skills and feels more connected to Pier 1 culture. 6.    Agent Empowerment: Arm your front-line associate with the tools and approvals they need to assist customers without the need for escalations. By empowering all associates to make necessary business transactions, regardless of their tier, you boost agent productivity. Even better, you avoid hindering the customer experience by transferring her from associate to manager.  7.    Leverage Individuality and Passion: Customers resonate best when interacting with authentic people. Embrace your agents' individuality and encourage them to be themselves when engaging with customers. You've hired them because they are passionate about your products or services, so let that shine through. Your agents will feel more at ease, and in turn, provide exceptional customer service. 8.    Eliminate Constraining Metrics: Consider removing (or concealing) KPIs, such as Average Handling Time (AHT), that measure the speed of customer interactions. These metrics put pressure on agents and ignore interaction quality. Instead, strive for quality improvements, keeping an eye on First Call Resolution (FCR), for example. 9.    Work from Home: By implementing modern, and easy-to-use cloud-based technology, you open the door to hiring remote associates. At Pier 1, over 80% of our associates work from home after an initial in-office training period. We've leveraged this as a recruiting tool, vastly broadening our talent pool to hire the best associates possible.  10.    Stay Connected: At Pier 1, we stay connected with video chat tools, webinars, and routine on-site visits to learn more about new products and service initiatives. Our associates look forward to pancake breakfasts, crazy sock weeks, and product giveaways whether they work on-premise or from home. These events help keep our associates connected with Pier 1's culture and build brand loyalty. These principles have helped us at Pier 1 cultivate a passionate service team of associates who are empowered to add value to each interaction. Outstanding agent experiences beget world-class customer experiences. While shoppers have unlimited choice in home décor, few brands can compete with our superior CX. *This post originally appeared on ICMI.

The effortless customer experience has been the guiding mantra in customer service for the last decade. Yet, to meet rising expectations, companies are realizing that their biggest hurdle isn't the...

Ask the Experts

What CPQ Can Really Do for You No. 1 – Sell Faster

I often read marketing copy for Configure Price Quote (CPQ) solutions that summarizes the many benefits that they can bring to an organization. I'll generally read something like "Sell Faster", "Eliminate Errors", "Close Deals Quickly" or "Improve Margins." We're guilty of it too - if you visit our website the headline reads, "Sell More, Sell Faster with a Configure Price & Quote system." I wrote that copy and agonized for days over how best to encapsulate the value of CPQ in a short, snappy phrase. It was a really difficult task because CPQ can benefit each organization in such a wide variety of very ways. But it got me thinking – I want to give those many benefits of CPQ more thought than my (admittedly catchy) headline. So, over the coming months, I'll continue to explore one positive attribute of CPQ at a time in a little more depth. First, let's take a look at one of the most frequently heard benefits that customers gain from implementing CPQ. Sell Faster For anyone in charge of generating revenue, the idea that you can speed up your selling cycles is exactly what you want to hear. If you can deliver the same revenue in less time, it frees up your salespeople to focus on the next big deal. So how exactly can CPQ enable this? In my experience, there are two main ways that CPQ can provide measurable improvements in the speed of the selling cycle. Reduce Wasted Time When your salespeople do any deal with a customer, there's a mixture of value adding time (generally time spent exploring the customer's issues or proposing and demonstrating solutions), and the necessary evil of the administration of a deal. CPQ solutions can never fully replace the interaction and understanding between a professional salesperson and their client. However, they can drastically reduce the time spent on administration between meetings and calls. They are able to do this by: Giving salespeople a straightforward process to set up the products or services that your company wants to propose (knowing that they can't make a mistake) Enabling salespeople to see the impact of pricing changes, with the possibility of a manager being notified immediately if they need to approve, and Offering salespeople the option to generate client-facing quotes and contracts at the press of a button. If the CPQ system is utilized to its full potential, your salespeople can minimize the time they waste on internal processes and shorten the elements in direct control of the critical path of the deal. 2. Build Momentum Of course, your customer has their own buying process and may have several steps to go through. Your deal is not the only thing on their to-do list. One of the biggest reasons a deal slows down is a lack of momentum. If you take too long to respond when a prospect requests a quote, or asks for information, then their attention can easily go elsewhere. Other tasks may seem more achievable and can take precedence. By the time they’re ready to focus on your proposal once more, the benefits that seemed so real to them in your meeting may have lost their impact and the way that your product or service solves their pain may seem less clear. In the worst cases, the prospect’s situation changes - think about the number of paradigm-shifting world events that have happened in the last year alone!  These events impact businesses and their planning, and what your customers can and can’t spend on. Introducing delays can leave the door open to more nimble competitors to turn your prospect's head. So, whether it's simply a reduction in the 'dead time' of your own tasks to prepare a deal, or, whether it's about keeping the energy of your deal flowing in your clients’ eyes, a well-implemented CPQ solution can absolutely help you "Sell Faster." There will be more focused explanations of CPQ benefits over the coming months. If there's any benefit you'd like us to focus on please let us know in the comments, or email me and we'll give it priority. Download Walpole Partnership's free eBook: The Complete Configure Price Quote (CPQ) Software Guide for Sales Professionals * Originally published on walpolepartnership.com          

I often read marketing copy for Configure Price Quote (CPQ) solutions that summarizes the many benefits that they can bring to an organization. I'll generally read something like "Sell Faster",...

CPQ

The 2019 CPQ Trends That Will Transform Your Sales

How can your sales reps sell more, sell better, and sell differently in 2019? Let’s explore the business environment and the latest solutions that give sellers an edge over the competition. B2B buyers’ attitudes are shifting. The vast majority prefer to do independent research to either validate what sales reps are telling them or, to completely bypass interacting with the sales rep altogether. According to an Accenture study, 94% of B2B buyers conduct online research at some point in the buying process. And these buyers also rely on peer information to influence the buying decision. Influitive data asserts that word-of-mouth recommendations from peers influence over 90% of all B2B buying decisions.  According to Forrester, 59% of buyers prefer to do research online instead of interacting with a sales rep. Today’s B2B buyers want a comprehensive buying experience. This is a spillover from the consumer space where we’ve all become accustomed to self-service interactions. Now buyers also want the power to access accurate information at any time of the day or night. They expect to be able to create their own configurations and generate sample quotes. They could use this information as the starting point for interaction with a sales rep, or not.  How should your organization evolve? For simple requests, like making a repeat order, businesses need to make the experience as easy as possible and personalized, with the customer’s buying history and product needs.  Enter Your Secret Weapon – CPQ To sell more, give your sales reps the assistance that they want when and how they want it.  Serve reps 24/7 with a comprehensive experience that includes configuration and pricing by creating sophisticated workflows that take advantage of lead generation activities, with seamless handovers to CRM processes. Or, offload low consideration purchases or repeat orders to free sales reps to work on more valuable opportunities. To sell better, B2B buyers must be able to identify what products go together with upsell or cross-sell options, as well as make sure that every order is accurate. This is accomplished with guided selling that prompts recommendations for configurations, and opportunities for upsell and cross sell. To sell differently, sales reps must have the ability to provide new revenue streams and monetization models with minimal effort. That means activating different channel or partner workflows that may have specific rules and approval chains, and control these workflows with simple point and click configuration. The same configurations can also be used to address specific user groups, regional differences, product availabilities, or any existing customer agreements. Sellers should also have the ability to explore any recurring revenue opportunities available with subscription services where the customer performs self-service activation and maintenance. The Bottom Line Organizations face increased pressure to find better ways to serve their customers and lighten the load for sales reps. One of the easiest ways to improve the selling process is to make it as flexible and easy to use as possible. This is where CPQ really shines. As the connecting bridge between front office and back office applications, CPQ helps break down the process silos that often create hidden complexities and unnecessary delays. CPQ enables your sales reps to “Sell More, Sell Better and Sell Differently”.

How can your sales reps sell more, sell better, and sell differently in 2019? Let’s explore the business environment and the latest solutions that give sellers an edge over the competition. B2B buyers’...

CX News & Events

Sales Professionals Tune In!

Sales Professionals Tune In! Here’s your opportunity to embrace change in the New Year by registering for Modern Customer Experience in Las Vegas, March 18-21, 2019! Attend MCX and interact with transformation leaders in the CX Exchange. Better yet, absorb everything about new trends or drill down in the conference breakout sessions. Hear from industry leaders including special guest Jacob Hayden at Parker Hannifin in the CX Sales general session as they share how they are optimizing sales strategies and explain how they’ve integrated sales with marketing and service to improve their bottom line. Experience cutting-edge features including visual Configure, Price and Quote integration from development partners, predictive sales planning tools, AI for Sales and Oracle’s new Digital Sales Assistant. Come away refreshed, re-energized, and ready to conquer the world after a week of making new friends, learning, and well, of course, partying in America’s hottest entertainment city!  Hear about global marketing dynamics and trends and then roll up your sleeves and get into the weeds to understand efficiencies for sales operations with a diverse array of CX Sales breakout sessions. What will our world of artificial intelligence and machine learning bring? How will you determine the proper balance of high-touch human interactions with the inevitable automation that surrounds us? We’re also bringing you some unique Collective Learning-style sessions. These are audience-led and interactive facilitated group activities that apply the science of learning with an appreciation for the collective intelligence of multiple people. Hear from Gerry Murray about the interaction between sales and marketing. Or, participate in “Make Your Case”, “Brain Snacks”, or “Flipped” sessions. We all bring knowledge and expertise to every interaction and Collective Learning harnesses the power of a group. Come a day early and take advantage of all that Las Vegas has to offer such as the Shark Reef at the host hotel, the Mandalay Bay. Experience one of its famous restaurants like the award-winning Aureole or the Rivera Las Vegas at the Delano by famous chef Alain Ducasse.  But before you dine, start the week with a Pre-Conference Education course to warm up your intellectual abilities and set the stage for a week of learning and professional networking. At these Pre-Conference courses, in smaller more intimate groups, you can get learn how to configure a report using powerful Oracle Transactional Business Intelligence (OTBI), or tailor your applications to your specific needs with the Oracle Application Composer, or maybe you just want to learn the basics of Engagement Cloud and see how sales and service are synergizing customer experience for reps and agents. There’s no substitute for being there in person, so register now for Modern Customer Experience with the code CXINSIDER for a discounted rate of $1295 through March 1, 2019. Claim your place at this premier conference in Las Vegas, without a doubt the entertainment capital of the world!

Sales Professionals Tune In! Here’s your opportunity to embrace change in the New Year by registering for Modern Customer Experience in Las Vegas, March 18-21, 2019! Attend MCX and interact with...

Customer Service

B2B Stands For Business to Battle - Use Field Service as a Decisive Competitive Weapon

It’s natural to fight to protect what we work so hard to achieve. But, that battle is exponentially heightened in the business-to-business (B2B) space. Acquiring new customers can be such a slow and complex process that it can take several years to build a well-stocked customer base. Yet the real challenge today isn’t acquiring new customers. It’s keeping them. If 80% of any given company’s profit comes from 20% of their best customers, if a handful of customers take their business elsewhere, it could damage growth beyond repair. To make matters worse, B2B customers are much more informed than they were 10 years ago and are able to switch vendors with the click of a button. In order to maintain healthy relationships with long-term clients, B2B executives are challenged to deliver an enhanced customer service experience. Without it, they might as well hand their customers over to the competition with a smile. The Customer Retention Warzone  So what critical service area should you review if you’re fiercely fighting to retain customers? Like any other battle in life, there is usually a location for it take place. Field service is one of the primary front lines for maintaining healthy customer relationships. Regardless of how great your product or service is, there will always be malfunctions or hiccups that need to be attended to. If you want to stand out from the competition and achieve field service success, you better make sure your troops are well prepared. Your technicians are only as good as the tools you give them. Mobility, communication and contextual knowledge are indispensable for teams to respond with speed and efficiency. Prioritizing and assigning jobs can get messy quickly, so having dispatch know who is best suited for the job ahead of time will reduce this complexity as well as the job’s time-to-completion. Implement proactive tools to encourage team collaboration, record technician profiles and skillsets, and optimize real-time routing. You’ll soon find yourself completing more jobs within the committed service windows while boosting overall customer satisfaction. Just as your technicians benefit from the tools you provide them, applications perform better depending on the platform they work on. With B2B customer expectations rapidly changing, you need to have the flexibility to add what you need, when you need it. So if you’re field service platform is developed in-house, you may wish to seriously consider moving to a 3rd party vendor. Home-grown platforms are not as quick to adapt, which stunts growth. Yet many companies would rather stick with what they created than learn something new. If you swallow your pride and investigate, you’ll quickly find that 3rd party vendors can offer you future-proof capabilities that both your customers and employees will appreciate. Look at Cincinnati Bell, a telecom company that outgrew their homegrown solution. They needed a solution that would continuously scale to meet their needs. After implementing Oracle Field Service Cloud, they saw an increase in productivity and became a trusted service to their partners and customers. Cincinnati Bell Dials in Field Service With Oracle Cloud Prepare For Battle Now that you have a general sense of what lies ahead, dive deeper into learning The New Rules of Field Service Management. Before reviewing new vendors or capabilities, you need to recognize the gaps within your own field service operations. Find what you and your customers value you most out of a service experience, and begin your march to victory in the field! Learn more about how Oracle Field Service can help your organization by downloading the following eBooks. The New Rules of Field Service Management The Future of Field Service and the Connected Mobile Workforce Your Guide to Choosing a Field Service Management Solution Field Service Management in the Cloud  

It’s natural to fight to protect what we work so hard to achieve. But, that battle is exponentially heightened in the business-to-business (B2B) space. Acquiring new customers can be such a slow and...

Customer Experience Technology

Rush Hour Routing - How Oracle Field Service Cloud Changes the Game

John Ranalli, Sr. Product Manager, Oracle When scheduling a mobile workforce, companies can encounter various obstacles while trying to get their field resources on site quickly and efficiently. They can be hindered by traffic, different driving styles, weather, and inaccurate route information. The resulting delays or cancellations can greatly impact a customer’s experience with your brand. Thanks to cloud-based and mobile technologies, companies can leverage innovations like artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, and predictive learning to ensure that customers can predict a mobile resource’s arrival within minutes. So, what exactly are these scheduling technologies? There is Predictive Travel, which takes historical traffic data, the time of day, and driving styles to accurately predict travel times. Real-Time Traffic uses available data from map providers (i.e. Google) to adjust travel times based on real-time traffic patterns. As well as Street-Level Routing, which is the method of using point-to-point drive time calculations, while incorporating turn-by-turn directions to accurately determine travel times. Each of these options are great on their own, but imagine employing a combination of these different scheduling technologies. Unique to Oracle Field Service Cloud is the flexibility to accommodate brands based on specific business requirements. This can play out in various ways. For example, a field service organization may have different scheduling requirements based on service locations (e.g. rural vs. urban). Oracle Field Service Cloud allows each group the best scheduling options for those circumstances. Or, different lines of business within the same company may need different scheduling requirements for their individual needs. Oracle Field Service Cloud can accommodate that. Whether your company has thousands of jobs to schedule a day, or needs a way to get the right person to the right place on time, Oracle Field Service Could has you covered.  Here’s a short video detailing Oracle Field Service Cloud’s unique approach to using any combination of Predictive Travel, Real-Time Traffic updates, and Street-Level Routing options.

John Ranalli, Sr. Product Manager, Oracle When scheduling a mobile workforce, companies can encounter various obstacles while trying to get their field resources on site quickly and efficiently. They...

Customer Experience Strategy

B2B Marketing and the Emerging Anadromous Buyer - Parables From Patagonia

Wading in the riverbanks of Bariloche, Patagonia Argentina, I had my first fly fishing experience. It ranged from several hours of nothingness, to continuous catch and release of beautiful rainbow trout. As every angler will claim, “I caught a big one!” I did, and a lot of them. I learned that these fish are anadromous, migrating from the ocean to breed in fresh water, making them highly adaptable to changing conditions. My challenge was to read the myriad of data accurately to anticipate their behavior and precisely execute the correct response. When I’m asked about the changing B2B marketing landscape, I compare the new, emerging B2B buyer to anadromous fish. The first hour I spent just looking at the horizon and waiting for the fish to come to me. Not a single bite meant there were few fish in the river, or so I thought. One look across the water and I watched my relatives reeling in sizeable fish. To catch some fish, I realized that this was going to require some serious technical applications of reading data, real-time pivoting, accurate timing and precision.   So, I began to develop strategies to read changes in the water and execute tactics for every different scenario. As a fly fishing evangelist, I encourage strategic thinkers to try the sport, and sharpen their skills of taking in changing data and improvisational tactics. With equal passion, I’ll tell any B2B marketer that now is the time for you to fully understand the new anadromous buyer and likewise, adapt. What’s changed? As a marketer, you’ve likely observed that customer journeys are dynamic. The B2B marketplace has a myriad of buyer personas with diverse appetites for product detail, contact with a sales rep, and many other attributes. More importantly, there is increasing variability in the modality, timing and preferences across any single persona. Non-linear customer journeys mean that B2B marketers need an integrated marketing platform from sales to service that’s highly adaptive to the individual buyer journey. Buyers are shifting away from a “find the lowest price” approach to “find the best fit through product discovery.”  Marketers need cross-platform data sharing that picks up buyer cues as they engage on multiple channels. They don’t want to drop the lead by intervening too soon, or too late. Corporate accounts have multiple buyers, any of whom may have slight or very different roles and personas. Marketers need the ability to collect and interpret individual journey data to make relevant suggestions and select appropriate content while connecting this data to a corporate account and interpret it in that context. Key Rewards For Focusing On The Experience At Oracle, we know that customers value good experiences. Gartner reports that 81% of brands expect to compete mostly on the basis of customer experience. Because the touchpoints of the buyer experience are now more complicated, what a B2B marketing strategy must now achieve is more complex. Some marketers give up and stick to what they know. Successful marketers use tools that enable them to address B2B buyer needs by shaping shifts in temperament, preferences and timing. The results are in the sales numbers. If your sales team is pursuing leads like I was chasing fish, you will lose and your competition will have won. Thus, what kind of B2B marketing successes do we see from our Oracle Marketing Cloud CX customers? They are: Implementing data strategies that provide Sales with a full view of customer interactions and preferences, enabling them to select the right approach and content for that buyer. Benefiting from increased web as a % of sales activity by eliminating the customer data disconnects by ditching CRM and eCommerce systems that operate in silos. Individualizing the buyer experience by replacing tone-deaf ABM tactics with best practices that only offer customers meaningful content using nuanced timing and channel placement. They’re ready whenever and however the customer wants to engage. Much like the fly fisherman’s plight, the B2B marketer must have the ability to manage the iterative process of determining the best content and timing and repeatedly delivering it with precision. You cannot rely on luck when dealing with anadromous creatures. They have an infinite variety of preferences and the conditions they react to are in constant flux. How well are you positioned to address this new B2B buyer? Read More - Oracle Attains Highest Score for Current Offering and Strategy Categories in The Forrester Wave™: B2B Marketing Automation Platforms, Q4 2018 Get your copy of the Forrester report here.      

Wading in the riverbanks of Bariloche, Patagonia Argentina, I had my first fly fishing experience. It ranged from several hours of nothingness, to continuous catch and release of beautiful rainbow...

Customer Experience Technology

My Story of Customer Service Misery and How CX Unity Would Cure It

Abbas Makhdum, Director, Oracle CX Product Marketing After relocating my family to a new state last month, I wanted to upgrade the furniture in our new house. After browsing a large global furniture retailer’s website, it displayed some relevant products.  Nice job! I added a couple of items in my cart, but got distracted and left the site. The next day, I received an email reminding me about the items left in the cart. Instead of ordering online, I decided to place an in-store order by going to a physical store location. All the items I wanted were in stock. Since some of the items were large in size, I decided to get everything delivered to my house. The store’s delivery department took the payment, processed my order, and gave me a receipt with delivery confirmation for within 3 days. Everything was going great, until I didn’t receive my delivery. I called the service number and gave the automated system my name, phone number, order number etc.  When the customer service representative picked up my call, he had no idea who I was or why I was calling! I repeated all my information so he could access my account. After holding for a few minutes, he told me the items weren’t delivered because my order was cancelled!! What! Who cancelled it? When was it cancelled? He told me he couldn’t see this information because it resides in a different system that he doesn’t have access to. Then he asked me to call back the next day because the morning people are the ones who can see it. I thought about this all night, getting angry. The next morning, I called back and went through the same rigmarole of answering the same questions to verify my info before finally getting a live agent. She made me repeat all my info yet again before she asked which store I placed my order from, since her system couldn't access stores' point of sale data. After holding for forty-five minutes, she told me that my order wasn’t cancelled, but it also wasn’t scheduled for delivery either. Finally, it took another fifteen minutes to schedule the delivery for the next week. In the meantime, I kept getting emails from the same retailer about items left in my cart, promotions, and some random new arrivals. How incredibly frustrating! Why did this happen? The marketing system did its job and personalized my digital experience. But, since it wasn’t integrated with the sales system, it didn't know that I’d already made a purchase in a physical store. Nonetheless, it kept sending me emails. The sales and commerce systems weren’t communicating with the delivery system. Therefore after the sale, the delivery system didn’t know to deliver the goods. All the systems were optimized, but they operated in their own silos, creating more siloed data. Imagine if that retailer could access all of my information across departments in one place?  What if… When I called, my phone number automatically identified me and the customer service rep who took my call knew about my recent purchase? The delivery system was automatically notified when a purchase was made and started to schedule a delivery? Marketing, sales and customer service all had access to the same data? What is a unified customer view? It's customers who drive business. They want to be understood and valued. That starts with the business having a unified view of the customer – a single, holistic view of that individual person, rather than a mismanaged abstract that lives in disparate systems across the organization. Having data integrated and centralized in one place enables a company to provide an accurate, timely, and complete view of their customers.  Different departments within the same organization, partners and channels would have access to all the information they need to support more meaningful and successful customer interactions. Benefits of a unified customer view When customer information is maintained accurately and holistically in one place, all facts and relationship facets can be common knowledge in the organization. While different views can exist, they would at least be aligned. The customer becomes a personalized and interactive multidimensional aggregate of characteristics that leads to common understandings and away from siloed views. This allows the business to shift their thinking from “what data do I have” to “what can I do with it.” CX Unity delivers better CX with a unified customer view This is a real-life example of what we are building CX Unity to solve. CX Unity enables CX Professionals to deliver contextually aware and highly personalized experiences that delight customers whenever and however they engage with the brand. The result is improved customer satisfaction and greater customer lifetime value. For more information on CX Unity, see CX Unity In Action  

Abbas Makhdum, Director, Oracle CX Product Marketing After relocating my family to a new state last month, I wanted to upgrade the furniture in our new house. After browsing a large global furniture...

Ask the Experts

Interview with TAISTech CTO - Discover the How and the Why of Cloud Migrations

Carrie Leader, Principal Product Manager, Oracle Cloud-based platforms are gaining in popularity as companies seek opportunities to become innovators, driving operational efficiencies and delivering on the promise of superior customer experiences. I asked TAISTech’s CTO Aman Bedi how companies should approach cloud implementations and for best practices on migrating from an on-premise platform, like ATG, to Oracle Commerce Cloud. Let’s start with why would your customers consider updating their on-premise commerce platforms to the cloud? Sure. The primary high level reasons are quicker time to market, flexibility, TCO, and responsiveness to business needs. The time it takes to purchase, configure, and install servers has gone from months or weeks to literally minutes or even seconds. With regard to SaaS, most of the heavy lifting on required functionality gets done by the platform itself, which means quicker time to market. Upgrades are simpler compared to on-premise because they’re automatically provided on a quarterly basis. And finally, Oracle Commerce Cloud provides flexibility in terms of architecture from API first to headless, which decouples the back-end services from the front-end UI, which provides the flexibility to use best-in-class frameworks based on the client’s preference.      Does the cloud offer similar capabilities to those that ATG customers have come to expect from commerce platforms? Yes. In most cases, their capabilities in the cloud are even more robust, especially around B2B functionality. Features, like AB testing, recommendations, and AI, are already pre-integrated and part of OCC’s single subscription cost. Additionally, Commerce Cloud offers full REST API coverage out of the box and integrates with other CX suite products already in place; whereas, these integrations require a custom build in ATG. Beyond these extras that are included with all OCC subscriptions, there is additional choice in implementation models. This is significant given that headless architecture has come to be expected in the commerce domain.  How does cloud development differ from on-premise development? On-premise development typically requires a lot of technical expertise around the ATG code base and requires ATG-specific Java experience. Oracle Commerce Cloud uses standards-based languages, such as HTML 5, CSS3, JavaScript, and NodeJS, which are abundantly available in the market and often at a much lower cost. ATG also requires a significant amount of back-end and front-end development. With OCC, much of the back-end development is streamlined, enabling developers to focus more on the front-end experience. OCC exposes much more of the back-end functionality through the admin configuration, which in ATG, has to be coded from scratch. A good example of this is ATG’s catalog structure, which can only be defined with the help of development in the XML repository. Alternatively, any OCC business user can update the catalog structure as long as they have access to the Admin console. Without the worry of custom code, merchants can instead focus on differentiating the experience through server-side extensions and on leveraging Oracle PaaS to test and deploy innovations faster. Finally, OCC comes pre-integrated with numerous 3rd-party applications (e.g., payment, tax, etc.) that can be easily configured from the admin console. With on-premise, the majority of these integrations need to be developed from scratch, adding time and cost. Taken together, the cloud has made great strides in easing the development process thanks to Oracle’s top-rated PaaS development cloud framework. From a security perspective, what do customers gain from moving to the cloud?   Regardless of whether or not a client has invested in security compliance, Oracle has invested heavily in setting industry standards for cloud infrastructure. These strict security measures are baked into all Cloud products and are implicitly available to all Cloud customers, so instead of managing PCI, GDPR, or whatever comes next, customers can rest assured that Oracle is handling it. How can organizations determine their level of cloud readiness? One of the most important activities a customer can engage in is a feature-to-feature mapping of OCC to their ATG installation. This provides a broad look at how much customization, if any, will be required. TAISTech offers a Cloud Readiness Assessment that reviews different aspects of a client’s technology ecosystem and how their IT team is organized. This Assessment includes a feature-to-feature mapping and an ATG to OCC data migration toolkit for product, pricing, inventory, and customer data. At the conclusion of our assessment, we provide customers with a score that indicates their readiness to adopt a cloud solution. Our experience is that customers are either ready, or we provide them with the services and information they need in order to be ready. How should a company with an on-premise solution prepare for a migration to the cloud? And how does TAISTech help to mitigate any migration risks? From the client side, they should have their business requirements well documented before taking on a cloud migration and should plan to have a Cloud Readiness Assessment conducted. Documented business requirements ensure that the Cloud Readiness Assessment accurately reflects what is required in order to move to the cloud and that the customer journey has been fully mapped out.  Additionally, TAISTech has developed an ATG Migration Toolkit that can transfer products, categories (in OCC they are called collections), and customer data. Developed by TAISTech’s expert ATG and OCC developers, this toolkit removes the need to develop a custom migration solution.  It also reduces the effort required for migration and will abridge the timeline. Configurations and customizations will still have to be refactored and added to OCC, but the extensibility of the OCC Web Services (API) layer is best-in-class and allows for fast integrations and customizations to the platform. Most organizations can have a complementary mixture of on-premise and cloud. How do your customers blend the two models as they consider moving to a cloud-based commerce platform? This will likely be the trend for several years to come as companies adapt and adopt more SaaS products. For example, we’ve seen ATG on-premise customers integrate with cloud-based personalization engines. We also have ATG on-premise customers who now use cloud infrastructure to support their business. Many clients temporarily find themselves with this blended model, which works well when integrations are planned and mapped out. We have also noticed that once they begin adopting cloud products, they continue migrating over to more SaaS-based applications, with the ultimate goal being to manage less technology, not more. Cloud is still new for many companies. What does the timeline and process look like? With the help of our accelerator, the timeline can be as short as three months. Starting with the discovery phase, TAISTech’s Cloud Readiness Tool Kit accelerates the process of determining business requirements. This is then followed by our ATG-OCC Migration Toolkit, which expedites data migration mapping from ATG to OCC. The majority of the implementation work then revolves around configuration and UI rather than back-end development, but the result post-implementation, is a website that requires fewer resources and a smaller team. A typical time frame is two to four weeks for Discovery, six to eight weeks for Development, and in parallel to Development, two weeks for Data Migration. A lot of companies debate internally their readiness for cloud with various business groups often having differing opinions. What have been the most effective arguments for migrating, and has the value proposition been fulfilled? The value proposition can differ by business user. For instance, the CIO may appreciate that SaaS solutions offer the ability to scale infrastructure in seconds; whereas, the benefit for the CFO may be in the TCO selling point, and for the CMO, a better user interface that doesn’t require developers. The value of a cloud-based platform for the business as a whole though comes from speed-to-market and the reduction in time and cost for upgrades. With more than 17 years of experience, TAISTech, a Mastek company, envisions, creates and designs digital commerce transformations across the globe. Clients rely on our strategic, innovative, and technical expertise to deliver exceptional customer experiences. Wherever there is a touchpoint, we help make the connection. TAISTech delivers a broad portfolio of products, including Oracle Commerce Cloud, Oracle Commerce, Oracle CX, and Marketing Cloud, among others. For more information, visit https://www.taistech.com/ and to learn more about migrating from an on-premise ecommerce platform to Oracle Commerce Cloud, listen to the replay of TAISTech’s latest webinar on YouTube.            

Carrie Leader, Principal Product Manager, Oracle Cloud-based platforms are gaining in popularity as companies seek opportunities to become innovators, driving operational efficiencies and delivering on...

Empower Your Agents So They Don’t Waste My Time!

When people once thought of the future, they pondered flying cars and Marty McFly. But those were the 80’s, when big hair and even bigger shoulder pads ran rampant. Nowadays, when people picture the future, they may be visualizing artificial intelligence, some sort of robot apocalypse or civilian space travel. If we take a good look at the developed world of today and appreciate the strides we’ve taken to incorporate future thinking into every portion of our lives, I believe the future is right now. When I order dog treats from Amazon with 1 click of a button, they arrive at my door in a few hours. I use AI every time I upload a new pic to Facebook, because Facebook facial recognition tells me whom to tag, saving me time because I don’t have to scroll through my friends to click on their names. These technologies are created and implemented from a time saving perspective. And luckily, they do save us time. And it’s this time that we try so hard to use as intelligently as possible. Anything that takes time away from us that’s not on our terms is viewed as a waste. As consumers, we don’t want to waste our time on things we don’t want to do. It’s that simple. For example, I didn’t want to be on the phone with my village office, trying to find a time that works for their field agent to see if my sump pump is compliant with village standards, but it’s what I did for 30 minutes last week. I wasted my time. Or rather, they wasted my time. A Mother’s Quiet Disturbed Why couldn’t I just quickly sign up for a time slot online?  When the field rep arrived, why didn’t he already know the dialog history that I had with the call center service rep? Better yet, why didn’t she ask me if I had any special requests?  Ringing the doorbell during my 1 year-old’s naptime is the worst thing he could have done! But it happened.  I wondered why Susan from the village office couldn't inform her agent of our discussion before he woke up my kid and disgruntled me? Seems simple, right? I’m certain she knows that calling segments of the 50,000 people that live in our Chicago-land village to set up agent visits is a waste of her time too. Imagine the time and the cost with this ill-constructed practice. It’s these simple ideas in theory that can become complicated to execute. But they don’t have to be. Service agents can be briefed on special requests and given allotted time slots at the convenience of the customer with the right tech in place, like with Oracle Field Service. With Field Service, Susan would be able to: Make sure that her field agent with the appropriate equipment and skills is routed to my house. Alert said field rep that nap time falls into their window of service, so don’t ring the doorbell and wake a sleeping baby. Understand the workload her agents can handle in a given time frame in order to focus resources on the most critical tasks. Give me choices and flexibility and alert me when the agent arrives. That way, if he arrives 15 minutes before scheduled, I can let him know if it’s time appropriate. See her field rep’s notes on whether or not my sump pump is compliant or if I need it serviced. And if I need to get it serviced, the village can supply me with individuals who can help me, or put an appointment on the CAL to do so – Engagement Cloud Check out this page for several examples of what Susan and her agents could do, if they used Oracle Service Cloud.... As I wrapped up the appointment with the village agent and day-dreamed of not having to participate in these tedious tasks, I took a breath, thanked the agent for his time, and wished him good luck on the rest of his appointments, knowing there were a variety of other ways that his time could be better spent. Look at how the City of San Jose is achieving their smart city vision.        

When people once thought of the future, they pondered flying cars and Marty McFly. But those were the 80’s, when big hair and even bigger shoulder pads ran rampant. Nowadays, when people picture the...

Ask the Experts

Oracle Commerce Cloud Roadmap Webinar Playback

Did you miss our recent Oracle Commerce Cloud roadmap webinar? Good news -- it's now available for playback! Gary Kirschner from the Oracle Commerce Product Management team recently presented the latest Oracle Commerce and Oracle Commerce Cloud Roadmap via webinar, brought to you by the official Oracle Commerce User Group, Pipeline Pros. For a limited time, you can watch the webinar playback for free here: https://pipelinepros.org/webinars/roadmapvideoplayback Our Oracle Commerce and Oracle Commerce Cloud roadmap webinar includes: What’s coming in the 11.3.1 release of Oracle Commerce On-Premise and beyond – from improved business user experience and unified tooling to search improvements, microservices, cloud migration, and more. CY2018 highlights from the latest features released in Oracle Commerce Cloud, including: Audiences for Personalization Shopper-Initiated Returns Back in Stock Notifications Loyalty Support B2B Punchout Dynamic Curation AI-Driven Search Results Ability for Agent to shop “on behalf” of the Customer Server-Side Extensions Native OBIEE UI for Dashboard and Reports A number of Storefront-related improvements for both B2B and B2C – from additional promotion and layout types to Quick Order and Purchase Lists to SEO and GDPR What next-gen commerce looks like as we continue to broaden the definition of commerce to include subscriptions, loyalty, CPQ, AI. Our key development focus areas and future initiatives, including our product evolution to support next-gen commerce - from continued investments in B2B and Service and Asset-based Commerce to Merchant Insights and Business Optimization. Watch the webinar playback here – available for a limited time. To get even more insights about what’s coming next in commerce and how you can best position yourself and your business, meet us in person next year! Registration is now open for two of our main Oracle Commerce and Oracle Commerce Cloud events: Modern Customer Experience 2019 will be held at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, Nevada from March 19-21, 2019. Register today and save 55% -- use code: CXVIP  This is the premier Oracle Commerce and Oracle Commerce Cloud event from Oracle and it's coming up quick, so make sure to register. Get learnings and insights directly from Oracle product management, customers, and partners. Speakers get free passes, so talk with us ASAP about being on a panel or presenting a session! Insight 2019: Oracle Commerce User Group Conference will be held at the Hilton Austin in Austin, Texas from August 26-28, 2019. Register today and save 20% off customer registration -- use code: CYBER20 This is a great way to connect with Oracle Commerce customers and partners at the end of next Summer and extend the conversations and learnings from our Modern Customer Experience event in March. If you’re an Oracle Commerce Cloud customer, get a free one-year membership! Email anna.taylor at pipelinepros.org for more info. Don't miss these two events!  

Did you miss our recent Oracle Commerce Cloud roadmap webinar? Good news -- it's now available for playback! Gary Kirschner from the Oracle Commerce Product Management team recently presented the...

CX News & Events

Six Ways AI Can Help a CEO and Other CX News You Can Use

Enjoy our weekly roundup of top news stories across the Customer Experience (CX) landscape. Oracle CX in the News: Giants Like Oracle and Salesforce Are Salivating Over Direct-to-Consumer Startups, but Insiders Say Winning Business Is 'Inherently Messy' by Lauren Johnson, Business Insider, 11.14.18 Advertisers are eyeing direct-to-consumer brands, and Oracle’s Dave Helmreich shares the importance of marketing strategies within these businesses. Realtor.com Creates 1:1 Experiences with Oracle Responsys by Oracle, 11.9.18 The online real estate pioneer needed sophisticated personalization to help customers find their dream homes. Using Oracle Marketing Cloud, Realtor.com designs dynamic campaigns that target customers on a singular level. Enabling the Enterprise in the Experience Economy by Rob Tarkoff, LinkedIn, 11.6.18 Oracle's Rob Tarkoff explains the Experience Economy, one where your customer is the innovator and their experience with your brand is inseparable from the value of the goods and services you provide. It's Not Me, It's Definitely You - Why I've Lost Patience With Sneaky Customer Service by John Katsoulis, Oracle CX Blog, 11.14.18 We've all had frustrating customer service experiences. Yet delivering great service isn't about adopting new technologies, it's about harnessing the right set of tools to truly understand customers' needs. 6 Ways AI Can Help a CEO by Alice Park, Oracle CX Blog, 11.7.18 During the AI Summit in San Francisco, Oracle's VP of Adaptive Intelligent Applications, Melissa Boxer, identified six challenges that CEOs encounter when running their business and how "Pragmatic AI" can help.  Industry News: Physical Stores, Mobile Among Winners This Holiday Season by Marianne Wilson, Chain Store Age, 11.14.18 Omnichannel shopping experiences will reign this holiday season, as shoppers prefer the ability to visit both the digital and physical retail outlets of a company. Improving Customer Experience Strategy With Digital Tweaks vs. Transformation by Albert McKeon, TechTarget, 11.14.18 Aligning an organization’s customer experience strategy with consumers' digital practices may only require incremental steps instead of a complete overhaul. Why Embracing New Technology Is a Good Thing for Retailers by Andy Tow, Retail Customer Experience, 11.14.18 Instead of resisting digital revolution, retailers should embrace it to attract and retain customers through an enhanced shopping experience with cutting-edge technology. The Fine Art of Keeping B2B Buyers Engaged by Richard Adhikari, CRM Buyer, 11.13.18 By having open, authentic interactions with prospects and leveraging information sources buyers already trust, vendors can better engage with B2B buyers. While Tempting, B-to-B Marketers Need to Approach Emerging Tech With Skepticism by James Turner, Adweek, 11.13.18 When evaluating new technologies, B2B marketers should look at where they fit within sales and marketing strategies and how they will improve customer experiences.

Enjoy our weekly roundup of top news stories across the Customer Experience (CX) landscape. Oracle CX in the News: Giants Like Oracle and Salesforce Are Salivating Over Direct-to-Consumer Startups, but...

Customer Experience Technology

CX Unity In Action - Integrating Data Silos to Unleash Greater Customer Experiences

By Abbas Makhdum, Director of Product Marketing, Oracle Marketing Cloud Today’s empowered customer interacts with a brand on their own terms. As a result, the traditional (i.e. linear) customer journey is dead. The brand is no longer in control and in today’s competitive environment, creating a better customer experience is what distinguishes winning companies from the rest. If 81% of consumers are willing to pay for a better experience, what is your organization doing to please them? Solutions providers that claim to solve this problem through consolidated data have been overpromising and under-delivering for 30 years. Does this sound familiar?  “Don’t worry.  We’ll bring all your data together in an enterprise warehouse and that will fix your customer experience problem.” In the old days, getting a customer view meant merging your CRM list with your direct mail list. And now? The volume and variety of customer data has proliferated and made consolidation almost impossible. Today’s solutions do a decent job in optimizing customer touch points within a domain - marketing, sales, commerce, service, loyalty, etc. But, when every touch point creates even more siloed data, it has become increasingly challenging to get a single view of your customer and provide that precious, connected brand experience, no matter how or where your customer engages. The optimization of marketing or sales or service is no longer good enough in providing a connected customer experience. The Value of a Connected Experience CX professionals that want to increase customer satisfaction and grow customer lifetime value can’t do it with siloed customer data. Optimal customer experiences require a comprehensive view of your customer that connects data across every customer interaction. What if you could? Open new revenue streams by enabling service reps at each service interaction? Suppress marketing and sales communications to customers having service issues and avoid repeating yourself at every interaction? Show new and high-potential customers the benefits of loyalty programs instead of random offers? Move from issue resolution toward issue avoidance by using integrated, behavioral data to predict churn and proactively intervene? Seamlessly leverage historical loyalty information to optimize marketing offers to win customers back? These are just a few of the opportunities that Oracle CX Unity will make possible. Embedded in Oracle Customer Experience Cloud Oracle CX Unity is a customer intelligence platform that enables a connected customer experience across marketing, sales and service. And you don’t need data scientists to help you with that. With built-in AI-powered predictive intelligence, Oracle CX Unity will enable contextually rich personalized engagement by connecting customer intelligence across the entire customer journey, applying data-driven intelligence to determine the next best experience and activating those actions directly into Oracle CX Cloud and partner applications. What would a connected experience look like with CX Unity? Oracle has been actively investing for a while in solving the problems where today’s solutions fall short, i.e. helping CX Professionals deliver a customer experience that is timely, relevant and consistent across each and every brand interaction. CX Unity will do this in 3 core areas: Connected Customer Profile: It all starts with your data at the core. Integrating online, offline and 3rd party data sources into a single view of your customer Comprehensive Customer Intelligence: An AI and machine learning intelligence layer acts on the massive amounts of data to model, predict and prescribe the optimal audience for your business objectives.  Compelling Customer Experiences: The ability to activate the intelligence by connecting with marketing, sales and service applications to orchestrate the next best experience at the moment that is needed More than anyone else, Oracle has a history in helping companies to get more value from their data assets. Oracle CX Unity will take that to the next level, enabling CX Professionals to leverage data and intelligence to retain and grow their most profitable customers. CX Unity In Action This video demonstrates the value of a connected experience across marketing, sales and service at a fictitious company, TG Insurance. TG Insurance has a new liability insurance product that they would like to promote to their customers who have business insurance policies with them already. Because CX Unity will enable TG Insurance to create a comprehensive customer profile based upon all relevant interactions of their customers, they are able to leverage the built-in intelligence to ensure their customers receive an experience that is consistent, connected and timely. Oracle CX Unity is a Customer Intelligence Platform embedded within Oracle CX Cloud. Built for CX Professionals, CX Unity will redefine Customer Intelligence resulting in greater sales, improved customer satisfaction and greater customer lifetime value.  

By Abbas Makhdum, Director of Product Marketing, Oracle Marketing Cloud Today’s empowered customer interacts with a brand on their own terms. As a result, the traditional (i.e. linear) customer...

Customer Experience Strategy

It’s not Me, It’s Definitely You - Why I’ve Lost Patience With Sneaky Customer Service

By John Katsoulis, Senior Principal, CX Product Marketing I’ve a read a lot about customer service over the past month to try and better explain where service is heading. My natural inclination was to pepper in the latest buzzwords to get my point across.  But I realized that during that same period, I had personally engaged with some companies that I’m somewhat loyal to, and experienced different levels of satisfaction. One company I deal with on a monthly basis called me about a great deal for high speed Internet. They bundled in some cable channels and threw in a home phone – all for $99 dollars.  Sounds like a great deal, right? The customer service rep that called me, lets call her Sara, was very polite. Sara advised me that moving forward, she would be my “personal concierge” for any account-related issues. I decided to take her up on the offer, which by the way, cost $20 more than what I was already paying, prior to our call. Now I’ve dealt with this company for many years.  During that time, I’ve learned to expect what I call a “fine print” moment – a tiny detail that was conveniently omitted which would have completely changed my decision-making process. I’ll get to that in a moment. I booked the appointment for the field service technician.  A few days later, I realized I forgot to record the date on my Android device. After scanning my email, I realized Sara didn’t send me a confirmation email, and I had to call back. After a few minutes I spoke to Sara.  The issue was resolved.  I received the email and the field service technician did the installation.  All of my services were working.  So far so good. A week ago, I picked up my mail and noticed a package from this same company. Inside the package was a very informative welcome kit explaining everything from how to use my new home phone, the channels I had, how to use my new DVR and a host of other useful information. Hidden in the back of the package was a summary of the services I added, with a great discount, at a cost of $99, with a contract for two years. You're Fired! The next day, I cancelled all my services with this company. Extreme? I don’t think so. You see, my experience with other companies I do business with has changed my expectations on many levels. Take for example, an email provider I use that’s linked to a personal blog I use to privately post family events and pictures. My provider provides a seamless experience and has a simplified pricing model that is question free – no fine print. Not only that, but they use virtual assistants to handle simple inquiries which connect you to a live service person via chat functionality on their website. Anyone that knows me knows I prefer to call companies I do business with.   My email provider has found the perfect mix of live and assisted service that fits my needs. My cell phone provider is another good example of a company that is paying attention to me, and others like me. They don’t email or send me bills because I use their app. They realize that I don’t pay my bill every month because I prefer to pay it once every two months, so they send me a simple text message to nudge me. “Hey! Here is just a friendly reminder to pay for your last two months of cell service. If you need to reach us call….” If I was a gambling man, I’d be confident enough to bet my money on the fact that everyone has a personal frustration with a company they’ve done business with. Given my personal frustrations, I’m very happy I support a group of products at Oracle that I know will make a positive impact in B2C, especially pertaining to how consumers and companies engage with each other. For me, getting service right isn’t just about adopting new technologies. It’s about adopting the right set of integrated tools and applications that allow an organization to truly understand me and get my service needs right. It’s about adopting technologies that enable better interactions and are predictive so that you can provide best guess data-driven recommendations.   And most importantly, it’s about the developers and marketers I work with at Oracle who focus on providing the best CX products possible. Read  "Give Your Customers a Story Worth Sharing" about how a positive story travels fast and far, but so does a negative one!      

By John Katsoulis, Senior Principal, CX Product Marketing I’ve a read a lot about customer service over the past month to try and better explain where service is heading. My natural inclination was to...

CX News & Events

The Unexpected Ways IoT Will Change the Customer Experience and Other CX News You Can Use

Enjoy our weekly roundup of top news stories across the Customer Experience (CX) landscape. Oracle CX in the News: How Emerging Technologies Are Changing the Retail Shopping Experience by Bob Meixner, Retail Customer Experience, 11.5.18 Oracle's Bob Meixner provides insights into how emerging technologies such as AI, AR, and VR present new possibilities for engaging with customers both in stores and online. Great Customer Experience Shouldn't Be Rocket Science by Molly Ambrogi-Yanson, Oracle CX Blog, 10.16.18 AirBorn, a leading manufacturer of spacecraft components, adopted a customer-centric strategy that will allow the company to scale for growth and differentiate from its competitors. The Forrester WaveTM: B2B Marketing Automation Platforms, Q4 2018 Forrester, 10.15.18 Oracle is top-ranked in the Current Offering and Strategy categories with high scores in data management, lead nurturing, vision, go-to-market, product roadmap, innovation agenda, and support for global deployments criteria.  The Forrester WaveTM: CRM Suites, Q4, 2018 by Forrester, 10.22.18 Oracle is a leader in this report, receiving the highest possible score in SFA, CPQ, marketing, automation, customer service, field service, and customer journey support criteria. CMOs: Put Down the Journey Maps and Think Data First by Sasha Banks-Louie, Forbes, 11.6.18 Once the standard for web-based marketing campaigns, journey maps are being displaced by intelligent data platforms that do much more than prescribe responses.  Industry News: Not Dealing with Failure Demand Is Hurting Your Customer Experience by Adrian Swinscoe, Forbes, 11.8.18 The lack of effective responses to persistent issues is draining valuable resources and preventing brands from deploying those resources in solving more complex issues. Why Catalogs Still Have a Hold on Holiday Marketing by Cara Salpini, Retail Dive, 11.2.18 Many retailers are foregoing email marketing in favor of holiday catalogs in an effort to capitalize on the season’s sentimentality. Yes, Customer Experience Still Matters for Retail by David Clarke, Retail Touchpoints, 11.2.18 Amid rising consumer expectations and emerging technologies, retailers have a lot to consider. However, great customer experiences should not be pushed aside. The IoT May Change Customer Experience, But Not in the Ways We'd Expect by Alan J. Porter, CMSWire, 11.2.18 As IoT continues to evolve, how the technology will be used within customer service is expected to continue evolving as well. Professional Services Firms See Huge Potential in Machine Learning by MIT Technology Review's editorial staff, 11.2.18 B2B marketers in the professional services sector share strong convictions about how data analytics can help them understand and reach their customers.

Enjoy our weekly roundup of top news stories across the Customer Experience (CX) landscape. Oracle CX in the News: How Emerging Technologies Are Changing the Retail Shopping Experience by Bob Meixner,...

CX News & Events

Oracle is Named a Leader in Latest CRM Suites Evaluation by Forrester

By Kimberly Guillon Oracle is top-ranked in current offering category, receiving the highest possible scores in the sales force automation (SFA), marketing automation and customer service criteria Oracle has been named a leader in CRM suites by Forrester Research. The Forrester Wave™: CRM Suites, Q4 2018 gave Oracle the highest score of any vendor in the current offering category and cites Oracle’s ability to unify front- and back-office functions, noting that “Oracle's far-reaching vision is to enable the connected digital enterprise by integrating data, intelligence, and experiences across B2B and B2C customer journeys that span the front and back office.” According to Forrester, modern CRM strategies enable differentiated customer experiences “by leveraging vast amounts of interaction, behavioral and transaction data to enable contextual experiences that deliver value to the customer...” Forrester cites intelligence as a key differentiator, saying “Intelligence-driven engagement streamlines work and allows CRM users to focus on the tasks that matter most to business outcomes.” The report also notes “the value of CRM has shifted toward helping organizations better support customers in their end-to-end engagement journeys to garner their satisfaction and long-term loyalty...” “At Oracle we know there is no such thing as a static and predictable customer journey and that’s why we are focused on providing powerful and actionable insights in context, in motion and in real time across the entire customer experience,” said Stephen Fioretti, Vice President Product Management, Oracle Service Cloud. “We believe our position in the Forrester Wave for CRM Suites underscores our data-driven approach to helping organizations make every customer interaction matter.” For the report, 11 vendors were evaluated across 33 criteria, which were grouped into three categories: current offering, strategy and market presence. Oracle received the highest score of any vendor in the current offering category, and received the highest score possible in the product strategy criterion. Oracle also received the highest possible scores in the sales force automation (SFA), confi­gure price quote (CPQ), marketing automation, customer service, field service, customer journey support criteria, as well as the highest score of any vendor in the go-to-market approach criterion. Oracle (Customer Experience) CX Cloud is an integrated set of applications that empower organizations to take a smarter approach to customer experience management and business transformation initiatives. By providing a trusted business platform that connects data, experiences, and outcomes, Oracle CX Cloud helps customers reduce IT complexity, deliver innovative customer experiences, and achieve predictable and tangible business results. Download The Forrester Wave™: CRM Suites, Q4 2018 by clicking here.    

By Kimberly Guillon Oracle is top-ranked in current offering category, receiving the highest possible scores in the sales force automation (SFA), marketing automation and customer service criteria Oracle...

CX News & Events

6 Ways AI Can Help a CEO

In the past few years, there’s been a lot of talk about AI innovating and improving our lifestyles. Remember when Waze first came out and it shortened your commute? Siri is pretty cool too. As AI becomes more developed, it’s becoming less about “cool” new innovations and more about business impact.   I recently attended the AI Summit in San Francisco where Melissa Boxer, Oracle’s VP of Adaptive Intelligent Applications, gave her keynote on Practical AI. In her session, Melissa tapped into the perspective of the CEO by addressing 6 challenges of running her business and how “Pragmatic AI” can help. Are you in full control of your data? Customer trust is everything in today’s digital world.Hacking remains a major threat. As a CEO, the data you manage contains powerful customer insights but also carries a great deal of responsibility to ensure data privacy and security. Autonomous Cloud is an example where AI and machine learning automate processes that address security concerns and increase productivity so the IT department can focus on more important and bigger business decisions. Are you relevant to customers? It’s no secret how important customers are to any business owner. What we didn’t realize was how difficult it is to personalize engagements with customers across every interaction with us, in real-time. Oracle AI Apps provide convenient capabilities that help you deliver intelligent recommendations and interactions to Marketing, Sales, Commerce and Service teams to personalize each engagement with customers at the right time. Are your employees engaged? “It doesn't make sense to hire smart people and tell them what to do; we hire smart people so they can tell us what to do.” – Steve Jobs. As a CEO, leading an organization means leading people. However, hiring and retaining the best match remains difficult. With Oracle AI Apps for HCM, the goal is to help recruiters identify and rank candidates based on their likelihood to satisfy the requirements of the role, fit-in with company culture and ultimately thrive at the company over a long tenure. How effective is your salesforce? In a Harvard Business Review study, it was found that “Two thirds of sales people are average or worse.” Being a top seller is extremely difficult. When revenue growth is a top priority for a CEO, how can sellers, sell more? Today, Oracle AI apps for CX can minimize pipeline risk and drive deals toward closure with intelligent ranking of opportunities through AI-powered win probabilities, and recommended next best actions. Are you optimizing cash flow? Is your supply chain risky? Traditionally, supply chain was considered a connected, linear system that involved everything from planning to delivering a finished product. But in the digital age, supply chain has morphed into an” interconnected web, with the customer in the center”. As a CEO, you need to strategically look at your entire business at all times necessary. Oracle AI Apps for ERP uses AI to classify your supply base across a number of factors including strategic importance and financial stability as well as identifying organizations most suited to initiatives such as discount programs that offer early payment in exchange for discounts which in turn increases working capital. Are my teams efficiently developing AI innovations for my business? As the world continues to innovate and AI becomes a part of our realities, it’s important to remain competitive with leveraging technologies that will allow you to accelerate your business. As a business leader, investing in the right tools, frameworks and infrastructure can be the backbone to leverage machine learning quickly to drive positive business outcomes before your competition. As Melissa asked the audience these 6 questions, I realized how valuable AI can be to an entire business strategy. AI is not just “cool.” It is practical and touches the entire business. If you want to learn more about Adaptive Intelligent Apps, I would encourage anyone who’s interested to attend the AI Summit in New York on December 5-6. Further Reading Autonomous and Secure – Oracle magazine article discusses how Oracle technology protects your most valuable investment—your data.

In the past few years, there’s been a lot of talk about AI innovating and improving our lifestyles. Remember when Waze first came out and it shortened your commute? Siri is pretty cool too. As AI...

CX News & Events

The Debate on Gating B2B Content and Other CX News You Can Use

Enjoy our weekly roundup of top news stories across the Customer Experience (CX) landscape. Oracle CX in the News: 2018 SuperNova Award Winners Announced at Connected Enterprise by Courtney Sato, Constellation Research, 10.25.18 Oracle CX customer, Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA), took home the SuperNova Award for Next Generation Customer Experience given out by Constellation Research. Oracle OpenWorld 2018 - City of San Jose Reimagines the Citizen Experience with Oracle by Derek du Preez, Diginomica, 10.23.18 The City of San Jose is home to over a million residents. It developed an app using Oracle Service Cloud, which gives citizens visibility and control over what's happening in their neighborhoods. How Three Enterprise Leaders are Driving Personalized Customer Experience by Shalaka Nalawade, Martech Advisor, 10.31.18 Creating personalized, relevant customer experiences increases customer retention and benefits business outcomes. Oracle CX Cloud maintains a continued focus in this area.  3 Ad-Tech Stories You Need to Know this Week by Ronan Shields, Adweek, 10.30.18 Oracle unveils CX Unity to improve brand understanding. This article highlights commentary from Oracle’s Rob Tarkoff. Oracle Announces Oracle CX Unity, Skyword Merges with TrackMaven, More News by Dom Nicastro, CMSWire, 10.26.18 Oracle announced CX Unity to help marketers and customer experience professionals manage customer data and deliver experiences across all interactions.  Industry News: Rethink Customer Service Tools to Be the Solution, Not the Problem by Pete Slease, InformationWeek, 11.1.18 Despite the proliferation of new technology tools for customer service centers, companies need to identify and troubleshoot challenges in order to be effective. Customers Rank Trust Over Technology, LinkedIn Sales Report Finds by eWeek's editorial staff, 11.1.18 According to LinkedIn’s annual State of Sales report, establishing customer trust outranks technology in keeping and maintaining customers. B2B Content: To Gate or Not to Gate, That is the Question by Beth Negus Viveiros, Chief Marketer, 10.31.18 While gated content builds lead databases and proves the value of marketing campaigns, gating too often or too soon may drive away potential customers. Warehouse-as-a-Service Providers Address Ecommerce Fulfillment Niche by Mike O'Brien, Multichannel Merchant, 10.30.18 The growth of online sales, limited ecommerce fulfillment center space, and increasing customer demands are key drivers behind Warehouse-as-a-Service offerings. The Phone Is Still a Big Deal for Your Customer Experience by Blake Morgan, Forbes, 10.29.18 While connecting with customers via social media, chatbots, and email channels are effective and useful, customer service via phone is still a critical tool for customer service providers.

Enjoy our weekly roundup of top news stories across the Customer Experience (CX) landscape. Oracle CX in the News: 2018 SuperNova Award Winners Announced at Connected Enterprise by Courtney Sato,...

CX News & Events

Artificial Intelligence in My Life

I recently attended the AI Summit in San Francisco where Melissa Boxer, Oracle’s VP of Adaptive Intelligent Applications gave her keynote on "Practical AI" from a CEO’s perspective.  While her presentation got me excited about all the new developments and solutions from Oracle, it also got me thinking about how pervasive AI is in my life, and maybe yours too. We’re so busy with everything we do - whether it’s selling, marketing, or running a business, and all the while, catching up with life - dinners, exercise, Netflix and family time. The way most mass media portrays Artificial Intelligence, it would appear that it’s right around the corner and we should all start to prepare for it. But what most of us don’t think about is that AI is already happening – right now. Last week, I uploaded pictures on Facebook and it automatically recommended whom I should tag with photo recognition. Although this feature has been around for a while, every time this happens I think to myself, “This saves me so much time!” Guess what? This is AI. Related to this, Instagram announced they use AI to automatically detect and filter out bullying comments. Businesses that touch our lifestyles are using AI to automate processes, but also to improve the way we use technology. Then there are devices that have started to become a part of my reality. Before I go to sleep, I ask Alexa to set my alarm for 6am. Alexa wakes me up, and I ask her to play Spotify as I get ready. Then I ask her for the weather, or a traffic update. The possibilities are endless, trust me. The next time you come across Alexa, I dare you to say, “Alexa, Meow Meow.” Banks have also started using AI. Bank of America launched Erica, a virtual voice assistant. You can ask her about your balance, when your credit card is due, and other questions about your banking needs. This is all happening today. In the Marvel world, J.A.R.V.I.S. (Just a Rather Very Intelligent System), is Tony Stark’s artificial intelligence that can connect to Stark industries central database and Stark’s personal server to help fight evil as well as act as Stark’s voice of reason. Before I let my inner geek get carried away, theoretically, J.A.R.V.I.S. was connected as the central nervous system of everything that powered other systems to do, essentially, what Ironman can do. Now let’s get back to reality- where we have AI popping up in our lives. Alexa, Siri, etc. Imagine you are waking up and all these systems are connected together. To be able to do this, all this cool new technology would be connecting all of your data into all these different systems, leveraging AI based off of what they learn about you in real-time. AI is only good as the data that drives it In today’s lifestyles, these technologies are not yet connected to be our one and only J.A.R.V.I.S. to make our lives better. However, in business, it is possible for you to leverage AI now. If it all comes down to data and serving your customers, you need to have everything you can possibly know about a customer. Currently, Oracle is the largest 3rd party vendor of data that businesses can leverage with AI. Unlike other vendors, Oracle’s AI is built from the bottom up, to connect intelligence to each layer of applications- whether it’s for marketing, commerce, sales, HCM or ERP. As we start to leverage and invest in AI, it’s important to learn as much as possible about what this means to your business and how you can truly capitalize on a connected data-driven solution. If you want to learn more about Adaptive Intelligent Apps, I would encourage anyone who’s interested to attend the AI Summit in New York on December 5-6 or click here to read more about how Oracle 's machine learning cloud apps strategy.  

I recently attended the AI Summit in San Francisco where Melissa Boxer, Oracle’s VP of Adaptive Intelligent Applications gave her keynote on "Practical AI" from a CEO’s perspective.  While her...

CX News & Events

Oracle Unveils CX Unity at OpenWorld and Other CX News You Can Use

Enjoy our weekly roundup of top news stories across the Customer Experience (CX) landscape. Oracle CX in the News: The Big Story Podcast: Twitchy Trigger Finger by Ryan Joe, AdExchanger, 10.25.18 Oracle Marketing Cloud announced new positioning within the Oracle structure, along with a new go-to-market strategy for its customer data platform (CDP). Oracle CX Unity Unveiled at OpenWorld by Jess Scardina, TechTarget, 10.23.18 Signaling that it will dive deeper into the battle of CX improvement, Oracle launched CX Unity, which brings together data from Oracle's various cloud products, and also announced a subscription management software tool.  Oracle Announces A New Secure Cloud at OpenWorld 2018 by Sam del Rowe, destinationCRM, 10.22.18 At OpenWorld, Oracle announced CX Unity, Subscription Management, and a new SMB data solution for B2B marketers, along with a new secure cloud. Oracle Gets into the CDP Game with CX Unity by Tilde Herrera, AdExchanger, 10.22.18 Oracle launched a customer data platform (CDP) and Subscription Management service, highlighting insights from Oracle’s Rob Tarkoff.  Industry News: Artificial Intelligence Success Comes Through Growth, Not Labor Savings by Joe McKendrick, Forbes, 10.25.18 Seventy-two percent of AI leaders are expecting AI to increase their revenue in the next five years rather than for it cut costs through, for example, the elimination of a human workforce. Holiday Shoppers Open Up Their Wallets For Experiences by Marianna Wilson, Chain Store Age, 10.23.18 According to Deloitte, experience spending will account for 40 percent of shoppers’ holiday budgets this year, while gifts will account for 34 percent of their budgets. How AI is Blurring the Lines Between Martech and Adtech by Shalaka Nalawade, MarTech Advisor, 10.23.18 Many believe that MarTech is more about personalization, while AdTech is for media buys, however, AI is helping both groups achieve the same goal: customer experience. AI Sales Technology Trends for 2019 and Beyond by Bridget Botelho, TechTarget, 10.19.18 AI automation tools for sales technology have the potential to lead sales teams toward certainty in their decision-making, grow pipelines, and reduce risks. Invest in the Human Side of the Customer Experience Equation by Douglas Eldgridge, CMSWire, 10.19.18 Humans are a vital part of the customer experience process, whether in terms of human or physical capital, ultimately serving customers in the ways they want to be served.

Enjoy our weekly roundup of top news stories across the Customer Experience (CX) landscape. Oracle CX in the News: The Big Story Podcast: Twitchy Trigger Finger by Ryan Joe, AdExchanger, 10.25.18 Oracle ...

Customer Experience Strategy

4 Ways for Manufacturers to Go Direct and Build the Next CX Frontier

By John Katsoulis, Senior Principal, CX Product Marketing Consumer brands have a unique opportunity to leverage disruptive change to grow their organizations and gain market share. Direct-to-consumer eCommerce continues to be a disruptive force, as consumers increasingly want to know who and what is behind the products they buy. Brands need to work with their channel partners to create stellar customer experiences that drive positive win-win results. Digital Disruption is All the Rage When brands go direct; it's also good for retailers too. Better manufacturer sites improve both sales, and customer satisfaction across channels. As direct programs continue to drive positive outcomes with retail sales, new technology advancements are revolutionizing supplier-retailer relationships and sales models. Modernizing the customer experience to integrate service, commerce, and marketing helps to streamline the retail buyer’s experience, creates greater transparency, and opens up new opportunities that benefit the entire value-building chain. As marketing and supplier boundaries evaporate, both suppliers and manufacturers can better engage with consumers at scale for the first time. It’s changing how brands manufacture, advertise, and sell their products. This disruption has brands feeling uneasy about solely relying on traditional supplier channels and has resulted in them expanding their options to own a bigger piece of the customer journey. Selling to consumers involves a complex mix of players, each owning a distinct role in the management and execution of a brand's growth strategy. Previously, manufacturers and suppliers were more concerned with demand chain logistics, but digital commerce allows them to take more ownership of the customer journey and opens new opportunities for growth. This is where CPG marketers are making their top investments to meet company goals, and there are many examples of B2C organizations making similar investments. Commerce strategy is now top of mind with executive teams, as is investing in comprehensive technology platforms that can handle these complexities while streamlining costs and driving growth. What Customers Really Want Consumers want immediate and accurate access to information. Consumer demands for closer brand relationships is a top driver of why brands have gone direct. Over a third of consumers reported that they bought from a manufacturer’s web site in the last year. However, brands must determine what value they will deliver to consumers who buy this way, and how they can differentiate against other channel fulfillment options. Digital transformation is now at a stage where companies are looking beyond their traditional marketing, commerce, and service organizational silos to deliver the next frontier in customer experience. For their customers, this means being on the receiving end of a seamless interaction that demonstrates that both retailers and manufacturers understand them across marketing, commerce, and service interactions. Whether brands are creating a direct channel for the first time, or investing deeper in an existing program, understanding what shoppers want from a direct relationship is crucial and should be built around the following concepts. 1) Provide Customers with Channel Choices You’d think most brands would have gotten this right by 2018! But sadly, many still lag on this front.  When engaging with a brand, a customer won’t distinguish whether it’s a storefront, a website or a mobile experience.  Consumers crave authenticity and they want multiple options when they decide how to interact with a brand. Offering a variety of customer service resources such as chat, call center, self-service and co-browse service helps customers feel heard, builds trust and creates more loyalty. Brands should also create hyper-targeted marketing and service interactions such as how-to guides and other personalized content about using, caring for, or styling their products. Brands can also provide additional options for customers via social channels and personalized website experiences to drive customer intimacy. 2) Feed the Information Frenzy Consumers are experts at consuming information and they’re always hungry for more. Direct sites can address what's missing from crowded retail websites – specifically, rich and complete product content to catch the customer's eye. Most consumers use their mobile phones in-store while shopping to look-up information.  Therefore, product content that‘s mobile-optimized will help shoppers find what they need. And, brands should urge retail partners to use online content as a sales resource to help store associates who may be assisting shoppers. 3) Give Customers the VIP Treatment….. Always! Winning brands are reinventing their CX strategies to ensure they deliver an exclusive experience that shoppers can’t get anywhere else. They know their direct shopper has a higher customer lifetime value (CLTV), drives 70 percent or more of revenue, spends more to have their needs met and are the ideal upsell and cross sell opportunity. To delight them, brands should showcase their complete product range, with special “only available here” styles, colors, and models. Selling products exclusively on a branded site alleviates channel competition and serves as a platform to test new and limited edition products and reduces excess inventory with special sales. 4) Owning the Entire Customer Experience is all about the Data Marketing, commerce and service teams shouldn’t operate as individual business units when the end goal is to have happy, loyal customers. Marketing orchestration, customer service, commerce, and loyalty interactions should be part of a larger coordinated customer experience, linked at each step while taking advantage of mobile whenever possible. Companies that "go direct" with a focus on extracting value from each CX touch point will position themselves to be disruptors in a highly competitive market. Building the Next CX Frontier Without a doubt, one of the biggest challenges of digital transformation is finding the expertise and cultivating the talent necessary to take the brand through the journey. This level of organizational change requires executive sponsorship, the right technology partners, and clear goals. Digital transformation impacts many roles and systems. CIOs have critical responsibilities when a company’s future relies on digital growth and reliance on IT systems. The CMO has also evolved from being responsible for branding and advertising to being more involved with the entire product development and customer lifecycle and in many cases, driving revenue.  When executives guide teams through successful digital transformation, decisions are bold, change happens quickly, and the organization is focused on execution. Companies that evolve in a staged manner tend to hit more pitfalls than those that swiftly move towards major change. The three biggest pitfalls of digital transformation are siloed mindsets and behaviors, lack of a common culture across business units, and no common view of customers across the organization. How is your organization prepared to face the future? Read more about how to growth hack your business with Oracle CX    

By John Katsoulis, Senior Principal, CX Product Marketing Consumer brands have a unique opportunity to leverage disruptive change to grow their organizations and gain market share. Direct-to-consumer...

CX News & Events

The Cure for A Sales Leader’s Biggest Headache – The Sales Planning Process

By Fortune Alexander, Sr. Director, CX Product Strategy, Oracle As a sales leader, are you haunted by your annual planning process? Do you cringe when your CEO or CFO asks you when the Sales Plan will finally be ready? Does your Head of Sales Ops threaten to quit during the planning cycle? If so, you’re not alone.  Most sales organizations take weeks, even months, to produce their sales plans. In fact, only 28% of companies have incentive compensation plans, territories, and quotas ready on day one of a new fiscal year, according to a survey by WorldAtWork. When sales reps don’t get their plans on time, it stalls momentum and creates a drag on productivity.   The sales planning process is complex. The challenge is to optimize sales territories, quotas, and comp plans so that they can actually deliver on the overall revenue target. To do this, sales ops teams typically spend weeks cranking through complex spreadsheets with complicated formulas which are rolled-up across your Sales organization – several times over. These spreadsheets invariably get out of sync, take days to reconcile, and prolong the process.     To reign in the chaos, some forward-thinking sales leaders have started to invest in sales planning tools. These tools, collectively called sales performance management (SPM), make the planning process more efficient. But advanced sales organizations want more–they need a planning tool to help predict optimal outcomes.        Here’s the good news. Oracle just released a “next generation” sales planning solution that helps you build even smarter sales plans. Oracle Sales Planning uses advanced analytics and statistical methods to create predictive models that help steer your planning decisions. This prescriptive application enables your entire organization to work collaboratively throughout the planning process. And it’s pre-built using best practice planning methodologies, so it’s faster to get up and running. It also lets your power users access the app via Microsoft Excel.   Even better, your CFO will also love the fact that Oracle Sales Planning is built on Oracle’s EPM platform. This allows for seamless collaboration with your Financial Planning & Analysis (FP&A) team who are typically responsible for integrating the Sales Plan with the Annual Financial Plan. The end result is that you get rid of the sales planning nightmares and make your CFO a hero as well.  

By Fortune Alexander, Sr. Director, CX Product Strategy, Oracle As a sales leader, are you haunted by your annual planning process? Do you cringe when your CEO or CFO asks you when the Sales Plan will...

Customer Experience Technology

Oracle CX Unity Redefines Customer Intelligence

By Manoj Goyal, GVP Engineering for Oracle Marketing Cloud Let’s all repeat it together - the traditional “customer journey” is dead!   Consumer expectations have changed. The real way customers engage with brands is dynamic, unpredictable, and they expect to be served with a relevant experience in real-time, every time they interact with a brand. Thus, while the problem of understanding customers continues to get more challenging, the solution to serve them these appropriate, device-centric, contextually accurate experiences also gets more difficult. The reason for this conundrum is simple – data.  Rather, the issue is the inability of brands to make sense of all this data.  Do you realize that 2.5 quintillion bytes of data are created every day?  This includes an enormous amount of customer behavioral, transactional, financial and demographical data, most of which resides in siloes across many different organizational and geographic boundaries.  There are also various systems such as CRM, POS, Web Analytics, Service Ticketing, Marketing Automation, Commerce and many more. This separation of customer data and the inability to cultivate meaningful customer insights from it is the number one barrier preventing companies from delivering exceptional customer experiences. Today’s Solutions Fall Short Thousands of different marketing technologies promise a solution to this problem. And this, in itself, is a problem because the customer experience is not limited to marketing. Many of today’s solutions are too narrowly focused and do not consider the end-to-end customer experience across marketing, sales, service, loyalty, etc. Let’s consider CDPs (or Customer Data Platforms). CDPs are a solution category that is hot right now. In fact, they are at the top of the latest Gartner Hype Cycle for Digital Marketing and Advertising. Our viewpoint is that today’s CDPs fall short and do not go far enough in addressing the real concerns of CX professionals.  Today’s CDPs (along with data lakes and service providers) fall short in one or more areas.  1) they are limited in their scope to a few marketing-specific use case; 2)  are “data storage” centric; 3) struggle with stitching large amounts of data and profiles together and; 4) lack the artificial intelligence/machine learning capabilities that can make sense of the massive amounts of data. Further, they tend to have limited direct integrations to marketing, sales and service applications for using the data to influence the customer experience in a contextually rich way. But, CX professionals care about understanding their customers better and being able to use that as intelligence to engage with them in a more relevant way across every interaction. They do this with the objective of increased customer satisfaction, greater customer lifetime value and more brand loyalty. We have been actively investing for a while in solving the problems that today’s solutions have failed to address for our customers, i.e. helping them connect their data sources and enrich this data to deliver highly personalized experiences at every touchpoint of the customer journey. More than anyone else, Oracle has a history of investing in helping our customers get more value from their data assets. We are the best in the world at data management. A Shift in Thinking But how should brands think about really solving this big data challenge?  One thing they must do is shift their thinking from a customer journey-centric view to a data-first approach, where the customer is in the center. This enables you to change the dialogue you have with your customers from being very “CRM, predictable and transactional” to being incredibly “responsive and conversational”. Companies looking to transform customer experiences need customer data that is real-time, intelligent, and predictive in order to deliver the most relevant, in-the-moment and personalized customer experiences at scale.  Introducing Oracle CX Unity Oracle CX Unity is a new customer intelligence platform that will be embedded within Oracle CX Cloud. It will enable contextually rich individualized engagements by connecting data, intelligence, and outcomes across the entire customer experience. CX Unity applies data-driven intelligence to determine the next best experience by feeding those actions directly into Oracle and partner applications. For example, if a customer is interacting with a service agent to report an issue, it’s important the agent knows this is a high value customer who just made a major purchase, getting that information from the sales team. This approach enables the brand to optimize how they engage with their customers, helping to improve customer satisfaction and increasing customer lifetime value. Oracle CX Unity offers a unique approach to enable organizations to react and respond to the unknowns and optimize the way they engage with their customers at each and every interaction. Connected Data: CX Unity simplifies the consolidation of offline, online, and 3rd-party individual-level customer data from all disparate systems in real-time into a dynamic and connected profile. Connected Intelligence: CX unity leverages AI and machine learning to add an intelligence layer on top of the data to contextually derive the next best customer experience. Connected Experience: Because CX Unity is embedded in Oracle CX Cloud, it can activate individualized experiences across the entire customer journey from marketing to sales and service. We are excited about the value CX Unity will deliver to our customers and its ability to enable CX Professionals across all industries to deliver contextually aware and highly personalized experiences that delight their customers whenever and however they engage with your brand. For them, the results will speak for themselves – happier, more loyal customers who become advocates for their brand. Read the Oracle CX Unity press release by clicking here. Click here to learn more about Oracle Customer Experience (CX) Solutions        

By Manoj Goyal, GVP Engineering for Oracle Marketing Cloud Let’s all repeat it together - the traditional “customer journey” is dead!   Consumer expectations have changed. The real way customers engage...

Sales

Enhance Your Selling Through Storytelling

If you’ve ever been a corporate seller, then you’ve probably gone through some sort of training. You’re taught to listen to your customer’s pains, and then use your product and industry expertise to find the best offer to resolve their issues. This practical approach is called ‘solution selling’, a methodology that’s been a leader in selling best practices since the 1970’s. As a corporate seller, you’ve also probably had your fair share of getting rejected by prospects. I know I have. We’re trained to believe that people use logic and reasoning to make buying decisions; that the answer, or ‘solution’, is always right. So why do we often still fail to close a deal when the choice is clearly backed by facts? My worldview was enlightened by the innovative strategy for communicating with customers after reading Michael Bosworth and Ben Zoldan’s What Great Salespeople Do: The Science of Selling Through Emotional Connection and the Power of Story. The authors dove deep into solution selling’s origins, and how it was supposed to solve the “80/20” rule where 80% of the business was made by the top 20% of salespeople. They shared their findings through their own short stories, explaining why telling a story connects people emotionally and can be effective when you speak with a prospect for the first time. Empathy + Emotion = Connecting as People Bosworth has a deep understanding to the old approach of selling. In fact he published a best seller in 1994 called Solution Selling where he taught a methodology that uses a series of questions to uncover customer pains, then illustrates value propositions to portray the best vision of a product offer – exactly what we are trained to do today. The process has parameters however, as it requires the buyer to cooperate with the sales person and make decisions using logic and reasoning. It actually discounts the value of making an emotional connection with the buyer, or showing vulnerability, because there’s a perception that you are the all-knowing salesperson that has all the answers. Bosworth later realized that building an emotional connection was a key asset in winning over your customer. Zoldan experienced solution selling’s fatal flaw first hand in 2008 during his time as a sales trainer. After leading a workshop, Zoldan was asked to sit in on one of his student’s sales calls with their CEO. Excited to showcase his methodology, he was stunned to see the call sharply fall into chaos when the customer became irritated and unresponsive, building tension in the room. After an awkward moment of silence had passed, the CEO spoke up about an experience he had working at a different company. Within a few minutes, the mood relaxed. The customer opened up and started telling his own stories that mixed business with family, while the CEO listened with intent. Zoldan was amazed at how quickly the air cleared by something as simple as telling a personal story. Storytelling and High Technology Many have said that people make decisions with emotion and justify those decisions based on logic and rationale, but for a long time that was hard to prove. This book delves into the decision process directly in the brain, using anatomy and neuroscience to analyze behavior. It explains how and why stories are a better way to connect with your audience, rather than a series of directional questions to gain better understanding of their situation. This book educates the reader through exercises and examples told in story form that teach you how to build your own stories and relate to your customers. The high technology industry is accustomed to constant change. We frequently see technology evolve, but customer expectations speed past the industry and continuously raise the bar for how we as sellers engage with them. We need to let go of past paradigms for selling and innovate our best practices faster than we do our products. The customer-sales person dynamic has changed. Selling has become less about products and more about building relationships. Having a conversation around KPI’s and ROI is still important but irrelevant if you’re unable to emotionally connect with your customer. While showing vulnerability may be uncomfortable, it humanizes the customer’s perception of you and eases their defenses. If you’re looking to evolve your sales skills to the next level I highly recommend you try giving this book a read.      

If you’ve ever been a corporate seller, then you’ve probably gone through some sort of training. You’re taught to listen to your customer’s pains, and then use your product and industry expertise to...

CX News & Events

Where Will Customers Begin Their Online Holiday Shopping and Other CX News You Can Use

Enjoy our weekly roundup of top news stories across the Customer Experience (CX) landscape. Oracle CX in the News: Oracle Answers the Call to Help Cities Improve Citizen Services by Oracle, 10.16.18 Cities across the country have selected Oracle Service Cloud to rethink traditional 311 services and provide the best possible citizen experience. <<Click to Tweet. The End of Ownership by Des Cahill, Oracle CX Blog, 10.18.18 As consumers trade brand loyalty for new experiences, we're ushering in a new era: The End of Ownership. Oracle's VP and Head CX Evangelist, Des Cahill, talks about what this means for brands.  <<Click to Tweet.  How Long Will Your Customer Wait for a Field Service Technician? by Jeffrey Wartgow, SmarterCX, 10.18.18 The length of time a customer is prepared to wait for a field service technician and how he or she feels about a company as a result of the service depends on three factors. <<Click to Tweet.  Podcast: Consulting The Oracle by Zach Rogers, AdExchanger, 10.16.18 Oracle's Dave Helmreich discusses how Oracle Marketing Cloud aims to capitalize on customer data management as client organizations embrace greater accountability.  <<Click to Tweet.  Industry News: Here's Where Online Customers Will Begin Their Holiday Shopping by Deena M. Amato-McCoy, Chain Store Age, 10.18.18 According to CPC Strategy, 80 percent of holiday shoppers will start their search on Amazon this year, up from 72 percent last year. Channel Marketing Chat: What's Fueling the Growing Focus on Partner Programs? by Brian Anderson, Demand Gen Report, 10.17.18 Ongoing shifts in buyer behavior and rapid developments in technology are impacting the role of indirect channel partners in the B2B marketplace. Natural Language Generation Fuels Marketing, Decreases Time to Market by Michael Gerard, Chief Marketer, 10.15.18 By automating routine content creation tasks, natural language generation allows marketers to provide a higher degree of personalization, using data to their advantage. Privacy Is Your Organization's Most Valuable Resource, You Should Treat It as Such by Dana Simberkoff, CMSWire, 10.15.18 Companies should be making privacy and security a priority, utilizing a holistic approach to a robust and layered strategy. Voice-First, AI, AR: Three Technologies Race to Again Change how We Shop by Alex Berg, GeekWire, 10.13.18 While some emerging technologies are behind-the-scenes and others are upfront, voice-first, AI and AR are all impacting commerce in a unique way.

Enjoy our weekly roundup of top news stories across the Customer Experience (CX) landscape. Oracle CX in the News: Oracle Answers the Call to Help Cities Improve Citizen Services by Oracle, 10.16.18 Citie...

Customer Experience Technology

Oracle Engagement Cloud: The Evolution of a Name

It was Shakespeare who knowingly said, “what’s in a name? that which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” And while a rose, would certainly have the same smell no matter what name you’d call it – the truth of the matter is, in the world of business, names carry great weight. And sometimes a name needs to be modified to hold truth to the transition and growth of what it once was to what it is, now. For over two years, Oracle has been developing Engagement Cloud, the cornerstone of the CX suite, which unifies sales and service and builds in automatic connections to marketing, commerce, CPQ and more. And since Engagement Cloud includes all Sales Cloud functionality, it’s come to retire the Sales Cloud name in favor of the broader offering that encompasses sales and more. You may ask ‘Why not just leave the name, Sales Cloud?  Why are you changing it?’  Great questions. The answer is because our customers are also changing – they’ve evolved. These days, end user customers don’t differentiate between sales and service. They expect a seamless process through every engagement point. As Kate Leggett from Forrester states, “Sales and service organizations need the right data, information, and insights about their customers at the right time — and in context, so that they can focus on nurturing relationships instead of data entry.” Oracle Engagement Cloud is the solution that allows service and sales representatives to switch from requests and sales calls, bridging the chasm between their sales and service departments to create a unified customer experience. Oracle Engagement Cloud stretches far beyond the traditional settings of what was previously thought of as a sales inquiry or service request, to give Engagement Cloud users a way to: Deliver a Single CX – Unify sales and service departments to deliver an individualized and streamlined experience to every individual at every touch point on their journey with your business. Innovate Beyond Customer Experiences  - Give customers access to self-service and omni-channel experiences. Deliver beyond wants and exceed expectations to keep your business ahead of the competitive market. Create Intelligent Interactions at Every Touch Point - Leverage AI to make smarter decisions in real-time to gain guidance on how to win more business. Future Proof Your CX - Eliminate vendor fragmentation and complex integrations.  Allow your  organization to maintain agility and efficiency as it grows. Empower Visionary Engagement - Allowing employees to do their jobs more efficiently and more intelligently frees up organizations from inefficient and repetitive administrative tasks. Your customers aren’t standing around just smelling the roses, content to tolerate mediocre service.  Adapting to their needs and innovating is the only way to stay ahead of your competitors. Going to Oracle Open World and want to hear about the latest Innovations for Sales? Be sure to clear your calendar on Monday, October 22nd at 11:30 a.m. – 12:45 p.m. for the General Sales session and be sure to include plenty of Oracle Engagement Cloud session on your agenda, listed here.  

It was Shakespeare who knowingly said, “what’s in a name? that which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” And while a rose, would certainly have the same smell no matter what name...

CX News & Events

The End of Ownership

When I was a kid, there were three channels on TV. You had to be home in your living room to watch your favorite shows at the exact time when they were broadcast. Now? I can binge on Westworld, The Walking Dead, or Leave it to Beaver, whenever and wherever I want. There are hundreds of satellite and cable options like Hulu, Netflix, AppleTV and Amazon Prime offering something for everyone. NBA Channel, heck yeah! This explosion of choice is happening in practically every category and industry. Where once there was a narrow selection of vendors offering a limited range of products, we now have a seemingly endless selection of offerings with a vast range of consumption options. Buyers have embraced this cornucopia of choice with a healthy appetite to trial, test, and experiment. Brand loyalty is increasingly fragile and fleeting as buyers seek new solutions that specifically address their needs. This lack of buyer commitment is driving brands to offer new purchasing models such as pay-as-you-go service access, guaranteed consumption rates, individually configured bundles, and subscriptions that allow consumers to adjust consumption as their needs grow or change. It can also represent a source of recurring revenue for the vendor, which is an attractive business model for a number of reasons. The On-Demand Evolution This shift to on-demand buying preferences started with inexpensive retail goods like groceries and spread to luxury categories like women’s fashion. It then expanded to durable goods such as automobiles. Increasingly, we see businesses that sell to other businesses also adopting the subscription business model, even for complex machinery. Giants such as Rolls Royce let companies buy hours of jet engine usage. Medical device manufacturers charge for MRI machines on a per scan basis, and automotive companies such as Volvo and Porsche are driving full speed into monthly vehicle subscriptions.  As this trend evolves, subscription-based products and service offerings are set to dramatically increase. Subscriptions have exploded in recent years for everything from cosmetics to packaged meal kits. In fact, meal subscription services are expected to exceed $3 billion in 2018. It isn't just niche services that are taking advantage of this shift in buying behaviors. Fortune 1000 industrial names are exploring this game-changing development and rethinking business models to accommodate new ways to sell products and services.  We're entering an era of experimentation where consumers are questioning the very notion of ownership. Why should they invest in a product upfront when it’s cost-effective to access the service or output the product provides, and pay for it via a subscription that changes and evolves as needed? An entire generation of buyers is learning that they can have the convenience of almost any product or service, without the traditional cost and complexity that comes with ownership. We are seeing that the flexibility of subscribing trumps the status of ownership. It's the end of ownership.    By 2025 10% of all vehicle sales will be subscription based Sentury Tire is test marketing a tire subscription service starting $17.95 a month John Deere moves into high tech subscriptions with  JDLink FlexFlow offers on Demand Gas Subscriptions What it Means The opportunity to innovate business models and engage buyers in closer, recurring relationships is both huge and daunting. Organizations must rethink internal systems and processes to accommodate new ways of offering products and services to support the complete customer lifecycle including sales, service, fulfillment, invoicing, revenue recognition, customer satisfaction, and renewals. That means tightly integrating processes from the front office all the way through the back office. You can prepare your organization to meet these challenges by examining the end-to-end customer experience and planning how to provide customer facing personnel with the precisely the right data and information that empowers them to do their job with confidence and speed. Done properly, you enable your company to generate additional revenue from your goods and services and thrive as subscription consumption becomes the new normal. Welcome to the end of ownership.    

When I was a kid, there were three channels on TV. You had to be home in your living room to watch your favorite shows at the exact time when they were broadcast. Now? I can binge on Westworld,...

CPQ

Great Customer Experience Shouldn’t Be Rocket Science

Reinventing your customer experience (CX) strategy doesn’t have to be difficult. Consider the Texas-based manufacturer, AirBorn. AirBorn serves customers across a variety of industries, but they’re well known for building and testing innovative, highly reliable spacecraft components for NASA, Raytheon, and Lockheed Martin. Their components helped make the Apollo missions, the Hubble Telescope, and the Mars Rovers possible. Yet, AirBorn’s biggest challenge wasn’t fabricating products that can withstand the extreme temperatures and damaging orbital debris in outer space. Instead, after 60 years in business, AirBorn was challenged to re-address its CX strategy. To put this in perspective, AirBorn’s products are highly configurable. There are millions of possible part combinations depending on a customer’s needs and requirements. Many of these parts are configured for the first time, and thus are not detailed in their ERP systems. In the past, one inbound customer inquiry could spur 20 different internal emails in order to formulate an appropriate quote. It was a very high-touch, manual process that relied on spreadsheets, institutional knowledge, and in-house configuration tools. By the time a quote was ready, the company was already a week behind. AirBorn began its digital transformation with the service-oriented CRM solution, Oracle Service Cloud. This streamlines the influx of customer inquiries and gives sales reps a 360-degree view of these unique interactions. With the addition of Oracle Configure Price Quote (CPQ) and Commerce Cloud, AirBorn’s customers can self-serve through guided selling, finding the right part family and the right part number. Customers can build products and request quotes in just a few hours without involving the vendor’s employees– a process that historically took 3-10 days.   Self Service CPQ Process Improves Customer Experience This CX-trifecta of Oracle Service, CPQ, and Commerce Clouds works as a customer-facing overlay that’s agnostic to back office systems. Regardless of the products configured, each order flows seamlessly into AirBorn’s three different ERP systems, efficiently producing a bill of materials, determining costs, and planning production lead time.   Oracle CX Cloud and ERP Integration Boosts Customer Service This manufacturer of spacecraft components made it easier for customers to do business with them. It’s a customer-centric strategy–which will help scale for future growth and differentiate AirBorn from its competition in the industry. While digital transformation may seem like rocket science to some, AirBorn proves that it’s possible to deliver increasing value to your customers, despite organizational and product complexities. Learn more - Forbes - How to Build a Spaceship, the (Relatively) Easy Way    

Reinventing your customer experience (CX) strategy doesn’t have to be difficult. Consider the Texas-based manufacturer, AirBorn. AirBorn serves customers across a variety of industries, but they’re...

CPQ

CPQ is the Underrated CX Middle Child and Here’s Why You Should Love It!

Sitting in between a CRM and an ERP, a CPQ is the middle child of any great business! This is because while it’s vastly underrated by those who see it as a mere sales automation add-on to the more popular, front-facing CRM, a CPQ is actually indispensable. Just as a middle child is integral to connecting the family together, a CPQ does the same for a business. Complimenting the front office, a CPQ is the vital link that gives currency to the downstream fulfillment, the ERP. Without it, the accuracy of orders and dollars of your business are at stake. Don’t be mistaken. Having a CPQ can make or break your business. It may be the underrated, middle child, but you should love it more than all others. Let’s discuss why. As a middle child myself, I will try my hardest not to be biased. When explaining CPQ to a Sales VP, enablement of their sales force may dictate the conversation. Giving access to their reps to be able to quote faster and accurately while on the go is essential. Yet, while speaking to a CFO, or someone in the financial department, correct fulfillment, contract management and margin control may be top of mind. These are both accurate, but there is more. The solution impacts a variety of departments, often meaning different things to different people. CPQ is not just a one-layer solution.  Its dimensions impact finance, sales, service, marketing and commerce. CPQ is vital to streamlining the customer experience and Oracle’s CX suite serves a variety of industries with broad functionality.  Through CPQ, a business can leverage Oracle CX products to do the following: Service Cloud and CPQ to enable guided selling through complex service scenarios. Commerce Cloud and CPQ to provide self-service portals to dealers. Subscription Management and CPQ to sell tangible assets or subscriptions for services delivered. ERP Cloud and CPQ for 100% error-free orders and correct downstream fulfillment. Engagement Cloud and CPQ in order to connect the chasm between service and sales functionality seen in complex quoting and ordering. Any CRM and CPQ Cloud to enable sales reps to work smarter and more efficiently. These are just a few examples of how CPQ streamlines CX and holds business processes together. What can your business do with CPQ? Are you attending Open World? See how CPQ Supercharges Sales Productivity, Accelerates Sales, and Improves Margins. Whether you are the youngest in your family, oldest or 1 of 5, the middle child should never be overlooked or discredited, for it’s the vital glue that holds the family together. Click here to learn more about all of the CPQ sessions at Oracle Open World

Sitting in between a CRM and an ERP, a CPQ is the middle child of any great business! This is because while it’s vastly underrated by those who see it as a mere sales automation add-on to the more...

CX News & Events

The Advantage of Artificial Intelligence in the Cloud and Other CX News You Can Use

Enjoy our weekly roundup of top news stories across the Customer Experience (CX) landscape. Oracle CX in the News: Interview with Shashi Seth, SVP, Oracle Marketing Cloud by Sudipto Ghosh, MarTech Series, 10.10.18 Oracle SVP Shashi Seth covers his experience with product innovation, Oracle’s position within the CX market, and how CMOs can utilize recent innovations within the space. <<Click to Tweet. OK Google, What Does the Future of Marketing Look Like? by Shashi Seth, CMSWire, 10.10.18 Oracle SVP Shashi Seth discusses how voice assistants and AI-powered devices will impact modern marketing.  <<Click to Tweet.  The Customer Experience Advantage of Artificial Intelligence in the Cloud by Blake Morgan, Forbes, 10.8.18 AI helps provide personalized solutions in a more efficient way, highlighting how the Australian Red Cross manages donors with Oracle CX Cloud. <<Click to Tweet.  How Emerging Technologies Are Changing the Retail Shopping Experience by Bob Meixner, Retail Customer Experience, 10.5.18 Oracle Sr. Product Strategist, Bob Meixner, provides insights into how retailers can use emerging technologies to create, optimize, and scale for an immersive and customer-centric shopping experience.  <<Click to Tweet.  City of Albuquerque hires Alexa to Help with Service Requests from Residents by Brent Leary, ZDNet, 10.5.18 By integrating Alexa into its 311 Contact Center strategy, the City of Albuquerque is meeting its citizens' growing expectations. <<Click to Tweet.  Industry News: It's Time for Sales and Marketing to Put Aside Their Differences and Find Common Ground by Theresa O'Neil, AdWeek, 10.10.18 Marketing and sales teams need to align, as 60 percent of respondents believe misalignment is damaging to financial performance, according to LinkedIn and CMI. Augmented Reality: The Future of Field Service Management by Ryan Snellings, CIOReview, 10.9.18 Within field service, AR has the potential to lower costs, improve customer satisfaction, provide better technical support, and reduce in-house training time. This Holiday Message Creates the Biggest Conversions by Deena M. Amato-McCoy, Chain Store Age, 10.8.18 According to Yes Lifecycle Marketing, emails highlighting Cyber Monday generated the highest average conversion rate, 9.8 percent, among all holiday emails in 2017. Infographic: CMOs Are Leading the Charge as Customer Experience Increasingly Requires Collaboration by Erik Wander, AdWeek, 10.7.18 Marketers find that meeting customer expectations is taking unprecedented levels of collaboration across functions, technologies, teams, and partners. For Data-Savvy Marketers, There's a New Keyword: Intent by MIT Technology Review's Editorial Staff, 10.5.18 As more companies look to machine learning for insights, marketers need to use new tools and technology to engage potential customers at the right time and place.

Enjoy our weekly roundup of top news stories across the Customer Experience (CX) landscape. Oracle CX in the News: Interview with Shashi Seth, SVP, Oracle Marketing Cloud by Sudipto Ghosh, MarTech...

Customer Experience Technology

Take Control of Your CX with AI and Commerce Cloud

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is one of the most popular cutting edge technologies that has the potential to transform every industry. Allow me to describe how we at Oracle are incorporating AI across our line of CX solutions for commerce, marketing, sales, and service professionals. We call our AI-enabled apps “Adaptive Intelligent” applications. Our Commerce & Marketing apps helps digital leaders and their teams provider superior customer experiences because they; Optimize ad spend, Drive more traffic to their digital properties, Increase conversion with relevant offers, and Understand customers better by providing shopper insights with data from the world’s largest third-party data marketplace (Oracle Data Cloud). Best of all, CX leaders can tailor them to their specific needs by optimizing various offers at the category, brand, and product levels. Built into Commerce Cloud is the ability to set based on brand exclusivity, inventory, and price. It provides an unprecedented level of scale when creating personalized, relevant experiences while allowing merchandisers to intelligently recalibrate based on the appropriate level of customer engagement. Put Your Best First, on Top Creating experiences that inspire people to buy is both art and science. The most recent release of Oracle Commerce Cloud combines the science of AI with the art of curation with our new Dynamic Curation feature.  Today’s commerce sites require merchandisers to deploy multiple strategies across landing pages and search results to boost the right products to the top. Dynamic Curation helps merchandisers show their best products first. For example, a landing page for the Fall collection could prioritize new and most viewed products while a search for “black dresses” could prioritize best selling and in stock. Commerce Cloud puts merchandisers in control by giving them the ability to influence relevancy across several key retail metrics such as:  Analytics metrics – product views in last 30 days Sales metrics – number of purchases in last 30 days Inventory information – whether or not a SKU is in stock Catalog data – when the product was first sold, whether it’s on sale, product type Merchandisers can combine multiple criteria to best drive results with complex, dynamic data. They can also set up a default curation that applies to all result, and overrides where necessary to work more efficiently. To ensure accuracy, changes can be reviewed visually via preview.  These native capabilities are critical to an experience-driven approach to commerce. Oracle Commerce Cloud gives merchandisers a single tool to control site layout and product listing functions across browse and search. No more need to bounce around multiple tools or submitting a request to IT to modify the search index! Providing these capabilities in a comprehensive solution means our customers achieve faster time to market and reduce complexity by steering clear of disjointed point solutions. After all, isn’t it easier to create a unified customer experience if you have unified tools? Our customers think so. To learn more about AI and Commerce Cloud, attend the Trends and Innovation Highlights session at Oracle Open World this month in San Francisco.     

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is one of the most popular cutting edge technologies that has the potential to transform every industry. Allow me to describe how we at Oracle are incorporating AI across...

Ask the Experts

Cognizant’s Siebel Strategy of Co-Existence with Oracle CX Cloud

By Diganta Tah, Director for Oracle CX, Cognizant Technology Solutions Once I was meeting some important stakeholders of a telecom company who were planning to move from Siebel to the Oracle CX cloud applications. It was the final meeting before signing the deal and one of the key decision makers from the procurement team asked me “why doesn’t Oracle just put the Siebel application on the cloud? It could have made our lives so much easier.”   We educated the customer on the Siebel roadmap, a very important aspect to investigate before deciding to fully transition out of Siebel. A reasonable percent of customers that we speak with indicate that a “Cloud First Strategy” is why they want to discuss Siebel transformation. But if cloud is the only requirement, then we should be aware that Siebel CRM is already Cloud Ready, and can be deployed on Oracle’s Private Cloud (IaaS) infrastructure. However, for customers in specific industries, geographies, or with specific functional requirements and data regulations, Siebel On Premise or on the Private Cloud may be the best option. But where Siebel is replaced by or integrates with other CX applications, a strategy of co-existence may be the most pragmatic and practical way to build a customer-centric organization. Paraphrasing the Croatian professor Eraldo Banovac’s words “The essence of coexistence is quite simple: live and respect how others live.” I relate this by advising clients that we can help them deliver superior capability by leveraging the strength of Siebel as well as the next generation CX applications. Siebel CRM in the Cloud Coexistence Makes Progress with Minimal Disruption The practice of coexisting is to adopt functions incrementally at a pace that suits the organization. Oracle’s CX Cloud platform makes it possible for its modules to be integrated with other systems. Cloud applications can extend the capabilities of the core apps and augment existing product lines, allowing companies to modernize their investments as they see fit. By taking an incremental approach, organizations also minimize the risks associated with updating an entire system. This way, they can take advantage of new key functionalities without having to incur many of the disruptions that come with full-scale deployments. In the meantime, their core systems continue to be updated and supported, while the Fusion offerings are steadily improved and expanded As a best practice, organizations should follow this coexistence strategy. Otherwise, they should prepare for a comprehensive project rollout to migrate to a new system and part ways with the legacy completely. This means larger implementation costs and increased timelines. Co-Existence not only reduces IT investments but also enables organizations to build an implementation roadmap to adopt Oracle Cloud applications in incremental steps without going through a major overhaul. Most of the time a traditional requirements driven or a fit-gap-analysis approach might not suit the purpose. To produce the blueprint for the co-existence Cognizant follows a unique approach known as CLOUDMAP TM for CX. Oracle also recommends a similar approach to Siebel Evolution where they follow an “Extend, pivot, and transform” framework. Extend: Modernize your critical Siebel instances with Oracle’s CX ecosystem of leading applications by leveraging REST and preconfigured connectors to extend Siebel. Pivot: Seamlessly replace strategic Siebel functions with Oracle’s CX cloud, enabling agility and modernization with minimal disruption. Transform: Replace Siebel with an ideal CX footprint designed to business requirement with migration support The CloudMap to Your Siebel Evolution is Unique There might be no secret sauce for transformation nor there is “One Way.” It is a must to follow a time tested methodology that has the power to overcome the traditional challenges of any large modernization program. We need to ensure the change management aspects are taken care and all stakeholders work together. Think big but start small i.e., work in phases rather than a big bang release. Oracle’s CX Platform is the only option where you get these great “best-of-breed” combinations to choose from and extend your existing SFA capabilities in new areas like Oracle Commerce Cloud or “Configure, Price and Quote Cloud.” Similarly, you could extend your Service application into Oracle Field Service Cloud or Advanced Knowledge Cloud.” But of course the other most important thing that you need is a great partner to navigate the path along with you and choose wisely. So email me for immediate queries if you have questions about a Siebel Modernization journey. Come visit us at Oracle Open World in San Francisco and review the several sessions we will present. Click here to read more about Cognizant's CX solutions. Diganta Tah is Director for Oracle CX, for Cognizant Technology Solutions. Currently he is responsible for the CX practice at Cognizant, helping customers to transform digitally, leveraging technologies like Oracle Engagement Cloud, Oracle Marketing Cloud, CPQ and Oracle Service Cloud. Diganta has over 22 years of experience in the arena of Information Technology with more than a decade in Oracle's CRM products and Analytics. He has applied experience in Information Technology and verticals that include Financial, Pharma, Healthcare, Telecommunications, Retail, Logistics, Transportation and Travel Services.  Diganta holds a Ph.D in Decision Support Systems and has passion to conceptualize and deliver sustainable customer centric solutions.        

By Diganta Tah, Director for Oracle CX, Cognizant Technology Solutions Once I was meeting some important stakeholders of a telecom company who were planning to move from Siebel to the Oracle CX cloud...

CX News & Events

Will AR Bring Joy to Holiday Marketing? And Other CX News You Can Use

Enjoy our weekly roundup of top news stories across the Customer Experience (CX) landscape. Oracle CX in the News: Q&A: Oracle Adaptive Intelligence Strategy Pervades Apps by Mark Labbe, TechTarget, 9.28.18 Oracle's Melissa Boxer discusses the evolution, advantages, and future of Oracle AI Apps, noting AI use cases within the Oracle Sales Cloud portfolio. <<Click to Tweet. Empowering the Next Generation of Field Service Technicians with Augmented Reality by John Ranalli, Field Technologies Online, 9.25.18 Oracle's John Ranalli provides insights into how AR will captivate the field service industry and be key in training the next generation of field service technicians.  <<Click to Tweet.  Oracle Named a Leader in Gartner Magic Quadrant for CRM Lead Management 2018 by Andrea Tucker, Modern Marketing Blog, 10.1.18 In a recent report, Gartner evaluated 14 different vendors on their ability to manage the processes associated with CRM Lead Management and Oracle was named a 'Leader.' <<Click to Tweet.  Brazilian Retailer's New Commerce Platform in Step with 'Fast Fashion' by Sasha Banks-Louie, Forbes, 10.2.18 Learn how Carmen Steffens, an upscale Brazilian retailer, stays ahead of the country's fashion trends by powering its B2B and B2C websites with Oracle Commerce Cloud.  <<Click to Tweet.  Oracle Eloqua Innovations Accelerate Lead Generation and Increase Conversion Rates by Sudipto Ghosh, MarTech Series, 10.3.18 Innovations to Oracle Eloqua help marketers communicate with prospects and customers through new content creation, sales tools, and auditing capabilities. <<Click to Tweet.  Industry News: Customer Experience in 2018: Progress, But Still Room to Grow by Dom Nicastro, CMSWire, 10.2.18 As businesses focus on customer experiences, brand experience and social consciousness will be effective in connecting with the next generation of consumers. Frictionless Marketing: Retail's Next Frontier by Darren Ross, Chief Marketer, 10.2.18 Whether it’s due to the subscription economy or individual mobile payments, customers continue to expect an increasingly frictionless and convenient experience. Are Visual Chatbots the Next Step of the Conversational Interfaces Revolution? by Andrew Arnold, Forbes, 10.1.18 By enabling chatbots with vision capabilities and deep learning, chatbots may become full visual interactors capable of delivering exceptional customer experiences. Will AI Bring Joy to Holiday Marketing? by Dianna Christe, Retail Dive, 10.1.18 As the holidays approach, AR is expected to play a more prominent role across advertising, mobile shopping, and within physical stores. Buyer Enablement is the Key to B2B Sales by Sam Del Rowe, destinationCRM, 10.1.18 Buyers spend a considerable amount of time researching, increasing the importance of buyer enablement which leads to higher-value purchases and less purchase regret later on.

Enjoy our weekly roundup of top news stories across the Customer Experience (CX) landscape. Oracle CX in the News: Q&A: Oracle Adaptive Intelligence Strategy Pervades Apps by Mark Labbe, TechTarget,...

CPQ

If You Need a Breakthrough Opportunity Analysis, Then Read This

By Graham McInnes, Sr. Principal Product Manager, Oracle CX   It’s a pretty common business scenario when an organization grows by acquiring companies, changes their product portfolio, adds partners and sales channels.  But, what happens when they discover that the tools and processes that brought them to their current point of success may not take them to the next level where they need to go? In this situation, an organization that wants to adapt can get creative and squeeze more life out of their existing tools.  This may buy a little more time, but it ultimately won’t address the root cause of the process issue. I suggest that organizations seeking to evolve up the maturity scale should investigate how a Configure Price Quote (CPQ) solution can play a significant part in a wider company transformation. A great place to start this investigation is with a BOA workshop. Oracle Breakthrough Opportunity Analysis (BOA) An Oracle Breakthrough Opportunity Analysis (BOA) is a comprehensive two day workshop with the sole purpose of identifying opportunities for improvement in your company’s selling process. The goal is to carefully map current quote to cash processes, including all supporting systems, to provide a holistic understanding of the real business process flow. BOA workshops are typically part of larger ‘get well’ initiatives for many organizations because this is often the first time participants across the company map out the entire sales and quoting process including all parties involved, system challenges, approval points, wild card dependencies and commonly accepted process disturbances that may be unique to your organization. Armed with a concrete understanding of the process, participants can benchmark the value of potential changes CPQ may offer. There are many advantages of engaging Oracle to conduct a BOA. We’ve led hundreds of these workshops and uncovered millions of dollars of opportunity to transform sales teams and processes to fuel growth. That’s because we’ve worked through these challenges with many organizations and provided an invaluable perspective with innovative ideas that may not otherwise be considered. The outcome of a BOA workshop is building a quantified defensible business case for you to use based on industry standards, best practices and existing customer reference cases. What opportunities can we uncover for you? Read Financial Impact of Selecting the Wrong Configure Price Quote Solution Exec Paper Read what the leading analysts say - Gartner Positions Oracle CPQ Cloud as a Leader Learn more about Oracle CPQ Cloud  

By Graham McInnes, Sr. Principal Product Manager, Oracle CX   It’s a pretty common business scenario when an organization grows by acquiring companies, changes their product portfolio, adds partners...

Customer Experience Strategy

6 CX Habits That Will Fuel Your Customer Success

By John Katsoulis, Senior Principal, CX Product Marketing Consider a typical visit to a brick-and-mortar retail store. As you browse through the shelves and racks deciding what to buy, what kind of salesperson do you hope to find when you need help? Do you prefer someone aggressive and continuously asking if you’re ready to make a purchase? Or, can you even find someone when you have a question, no matter how hard you look? Most customers would say the perfect salesperson is ready to help and follows your cue. Thanks to years of shopping in stores, consumers know exactly what they want from a brick-and-mortar experience.  Savvy retailers train their salespeople to get this right. But what about a different shopping or service situation? What attracts or repels customers online? What should digital retailers and service providers do to compel customers to buy and remain loyal?  When customers call your service department to complain, are your service teams empowered to deliver seamless customer experiences that demonstrate you understand your customers and their needs? Modern consumers are fickle and they have choices, so they don’t need to put up with lousy digital experiences. They know exactly what they want. This has created a tipping point for B2C marketers. With so many new ways to engage customers, they need to find the perfect mix and get their digital handshake right. Build the Digital Handshake Around the Customer Establishing a great digital customer experience starts with the organization itself. Most companies are structured in silos, with teams put in place piece to support different stages of the customer journey, whether related to digital or mobile advertising, email marketing, service, commerce or the next big thing. This approach has proven detrimental. When fragmented teams work against each other instead of towards integrated consumer goals, customers get inconsistent messaging and interactions that are disorganized, and often frustrating. Managing the final customer experience means coordinating those teams around the audience itself. Service and marketing teams can better control the information they send out, so that consumers are neither inundated nor ignored. But that’s just the beginning. To get the digital handshake right, it's important to examine processes even further.  Developing and honing to precision these six practical habits will help put contending brands ahead. Prioritize the Mobile Experience – Just as Marketing teams make mobile a key component in each step of their content strategy, Service teams should deliver the same level of interaction and engagement while demonstrating an understanding of current service issues.  Customers won’t differentiate between your mobile site and website, so make sure they work together as part of a consistent experience.  Find the Right “Service and Engagement” Balance – Successful CX involves lines of business working together from a common strategy where whenever the customer chooses to engage, the brand is prepared to serve the right information at that particular touch point.  Understand Short-Term Goals Versus Long-Term Brand Equity – To create lasting brand equity, the new digital handshake involved teams collaborating on a long-term plan where short-term goals contribute to its success.  Create the Right Design Experience – What constitutes good design is constantly changing with evolving habits and new trends. The trick for B2C marketing and service teams is to find the mix of capabilities needed to support engagement where the customer experience is enhanced at each step. Regularly Test Engagement and Big Business Questions – The most successful organizations test robustly across customer touch-points, leveraging data to successfully deliver personalized experiences that are intelligently crafted at every touch point. Go Beyond Personalization – Personalization around marketing messages across channels and service interactions, supplemented by modern marketing capabilities, can improve the whole shopping experience. These details need to be continuously monitored and improved to stand up against the competition. Oracle Knows Data Brands that successfully transform their digital operations have linked their systems, tools, and teams to achieve a single view of the customer. The Oracle CX platform powers digital transformation for greater agility, efficiency, and visibility. Oracle is the number one analyst-rated Digital Experience Platform and is unique in its ability to power B2C eCommerce experiences for any organization. Our modern architecture makes it simple to leverage any Oracle, third-party, or homegrown system to grow in any direction the market and your customers take you. Oracle customers can select from a wide variety of applications and services as their needs grow and evolve. Click here to Learn How to Growth Hack Your Business with Oracle CX        

By John Katsoulis, Senior Principal, CX Product Marketing Consider a typical visit to a brick-and-mortar retail store. As you browse through the shelves and racks deciding what to buy, what kind of...

CX News & Events

Five Warning Signs of a CPQ Project Failure and Other CX News You Can Use

Enjoy our weekly roundup of top news stories across the Customer Experience (CX) landscape. Oracle CX in the News: Oracle Announces Updates for Eloqua, the B2B Marketing Automation Platform by MarTech Advisor's Editorial Staff, 9.26.18 New updates to Oracle Eloqua help marketers accelerate lead generation and increase conversion rates through content creation, sales tools and auditing capabilities. <<Click to Tweet. The Future of Commerce: Customer Experience by Michael Krigsman, CXOTalk, 9.20.18 Oracle's Katrina Gosek and Scott Silverman, principal at Scott Silverman Associates, talk about the importance of frictionless, fast service in this CXOTalk interview.  <<Click to Tweet.  Planning for Today and the Future With Oracle Engagement Cloud, YouTube, 9.20.18 Learn more about the benefits of giving sales and service teams a 360-degree view of the customer in order to deliver a better customer experience while driving more business. <<Click to Tweet.  5 Ways to Stop Wasting Your Customers' Time by Heather Foidart, Oracle CX Blog, 9.20.18 How your brand respects its consumers' time shapes their customer experience and their perception of your business. Read how you can stop wasting their time.  <<Click to Tweet.  5 Warning Signs of a CPQ Project Failure by Graham McInnes, Oracle CX Blog, 9.25.18 All too often, a CPQ evaluation is weighted in favor of the lowest licensing costs and ignores the importance of vetting a vendor and their implementation expertise. Here are five warning signs to look out for. <<Click to Tweet.  Industry News: Survey: 80% of Shoppers Plan to Spend at Least as Much as Last Year on Holidays by Erica Sweeney, Retail Dive, 9.25.18 A new survey revealed that consumers have a positive economic outlook. Eighty percent plan to spend the same or more than last year on gifts this holiday season. Customer Experience and Engagement Fuels the Most Progressive Digital Transformation Strategies by Brian Solis, Forbes, 9.24.18 As technology continues to drive shifts in consumer expectations, customer experience has become the catalyst for transformation and progress within enterprises. 5 Challenges of Interactive Content Marketing and How to Overcome Them by Vandita Grover, MarTech Advisor, 9.21.18 Common challenges in interactive content marketing include an imperfect understanding of human behavior, difficulty in creating high-quality content, and lack of budget. Big Bang Disruption: The Speed of Change in the Digital Era by Jamal Starr, Field Technologies Online, 9.21.18 Modern service businesses need to evaluate their viability, volatility, durability, and vulnerability as technological innovations disrupt industries at incredible speeds. B2B Customer Experience is Catching Up, But Still Has a Long Way to Go by Jason Michaels, CMSWire, 9.21.18 According to Accenture, forward-looking B2B organizations should focus on digital commerce, mobile strategies, and multichannel and omnichannel experiences.

Enjoy our weekly roundup of top news stories across the Customer Experience (CX) landscape. Oracle CX in the News: Oracle Announces Updates for Eloqua, the B2B Marketing Automation Platform by MarTech...

Customer Experience Technology

Oracle Recognized as Leader In Gartner 2018 Sales Force Automation Magic Quadrant

Originally published on SmarterCX View a complimentary copy of the full report. When it comes to customer experience, we tend to hear and read a lot about the ever-changing needs of the customer, shifts in both B2B and B2C buying habits, and the rise of the digitally-native consumer. Less talked-about but perhaps equally as important to creating a smarter customer experience are the humans and the technology on the other end of the interaction – including salespeople, sales enablement technology, and sales force automation technology. According to Gartner’s recently-released Magic Quadrant for Sales Force Automation, “The sales force automation market grew 15.7% to $6.2 billion in 2017, and embedded predictive analytics is now a common capability from the leading SFA vendors.” Defining sales force automation as “systems that support the automation of sales activities, processes and administrative responsibilities for organizations’ sales professionals,” Gartner evaluates 15 vendors in the 2018 Magic Quadrant for Sales Force Automation. View a complimentary copy of the full report to learn more. Gartner, Magic Quadrant for Sales Force Automation, Tad Travis, Ilona Hansen, Julian Poulter, Melissa Hilbert, 9 July 2018. 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.

Originally published on SmarterCX View a complimentary copy of the full report. When it comes to customer experience, we tend to hear and read a lot about the ever-changing needs of the customer, shifts...

CPQ

5 Warning Signs of a CPQ Project Failure

By Graham McInnes, Sr. Principal Product Manager At Oracle, we’re committed to improving your sales and business outcomes with our software. As a leading vendor of configure, price and quote solutions, it’s painful to watch a company select a CPQ solution that’s unsuitable for their organization. All too often, a CPQ evaluation is weighted in favor of the lowest licensing costs and ignores the importance of vetting a vendor and their implementation expertise. The results often cost millions of dollars and waste countless staff hours and ultimately fail to remedy the original challenge. Deciding when it’s time to draw the line and call a CPQ project a failure might be difficult. The initial price could have been low and the purchase process was fast and easy. But, just as soon as the vendor provisioned the software and provided user credentials, that’s when the challenges began. I’ll bet there were likely warning signs before the implementation even started. Here are some warning signs to watch for. Product Focused - If the vendor’s primary focus is only highlighting software capabilities and not on solving your organizational challenges, look for another vendor. The primary benefit of a CPQ solution is supposed to be the transformational impact on your business. Pilot Project - Sometimes limited-scope, proof-of-concept projects are leveraged to test the software against one or more use cases. This might seem like a good idea but POCs frequently spend money and time without rendering a definitive conclusion. Vendors that recommend POCs are betting on your escalating commitment during this artificial “honeymoon period”. Unless the vendor can satisfactorily outline one or more implementation options for your high-priority use cases during the sales process, seek another vendor. Promised Functionality - If your business challenges require the CPQ vendor to augment their roadmap with significant future functionality promised, this indicates either a solution deficiency or an imprecise understanding of how to solve your organizational challenges. Either way, this is a solid warning sign to look elsewhere. Re-scoping Efforts - When your CPQ implementation progress seems sputter or stop and discussions shift towards changing the scope of the project from the original plan, it’s a solid indication that it’s time to look for another vendor.  Vendor Churn - The CPQ vendor ecosystem is full of upstarts, tentative alliances, crumbling partnerships, mergers, and solid assurances. If you’re apprehensive about your CPQ vendor’s dependability, trust your instincts and look for another vendor. Oracle CPQ is committed to the success of its customers. For businesses finding themselves in situations where a CPQ project has not gone successfully, our methodology provides a clear path forward. We genuinely want to help you pick up the pieces and get back on track for a successful CPQ deployment. The path back to success starts with a comprehensive two-day workshop called a Breakthrough Opportunity Analysis, or BOA. The purposes of this workshop are to map your current processes and supporting systems, provide a holistic understanding of the business process flow, identify opportunities for improvement, and engage all organizational functions associated with sales processes. We’ve lead hundreds of these workshops to work through many different transformational challenges with other organizations. The outcome of a BOA workshop is building a sensible, supportable business case based on industry standards, best practices and existing customer reference cases. Picking up the pieces of a failed CPQ project is much easier with a clear path forward that a BOA provides, even if there are highly charged politics and emotions from the previous experience.  Oracle CPQ is trusted by over 600 well-known brand names and used by more than 600,000 employees. Let Oracle help you get back on the right CPQ track with a BOA. For More information Financial Impact of Selecting the Wrong Configure Price Quote (CPQ) Solution Exec Paper Gartner Positions Oracle CPQ Cloud as a Leader Read more about Oracle CPQ  

By Graham McInnes, Sr. Principal Product Manager At Oracle, we’re committed to improving your sales and business outcomes with our software. As a leading vendor of configure, price and quote solutions,...

CX News & Events

90% of Consumers Report Being Brand Loyal and Other CX News You Can Use

Enjoy our weekly roundup of top news stories across the Customer Experience (CX) landscape. Oracle CX in the News: Sales and Service Tech: Two Sides of the Same Coin? by Kate Leggett, Forrester, 9.17.18 According to Kate Leggett, evolving sales and service organizations need the right data at the right time to focus on nurturing customer relationships. CRM vendors, like Oracle Engagement Cloud, are making this easier by bringing historically siloed departments together. <<Click to Tweet. B2B Marketing: Gaining Multi-Channel ROI by Michael Krigsman, CXOTalk, 9.13.18 Shashi Seth, senior vice president at Oracle Marketing Cloud, and Neil Tolbert, director of marketing communications at Mack Trucks, share how companies can ensure ROI in B2B marketing using a multi-channel approach. <<Click to Tweet.  Go Beyond Sales Force Automation: 3 Reasons to Integrate Customer Service by Sasha Banks-Louie, Forbes, 9.19.18 Combining your sales and service applications will put your customer at the center of your CX strategy. Oracle's Stephen Fioretti and Fortune Alexander, as well as Forrester's Kate Leggett explain why. <<Click to Tweet.  You're Just a Brand - Enter Oracle Engagement Cloud by Jeff Wartgow, Oracle CX Blog, 9.12.18 Customers don't see sales or service organizations when they interact with you. To them, you're just a brand. Oracle Engagement Cloud is the nucleus for digital transformation, ensuring that you deliver modern customer experiences that blend both sales and service.  <<Click to Tweet.  Supernova Awards 2018: Recognizing Leaders in Disruptive Technology by Constellation Research, 9.13.18 Kenya Revenue Authority's Grace Wandera is a finalist for the Next Generation Customer Experience Category. Learn how Kenya is transforming its tax compliance system and improving public perception with Oracle CX. <<Click to Tweet.  Industry News: Survey Surprise: 90% of Consumers Report Being Brand Loyal by Greg Sterling, Marketing Land, 9.19.18 Over 90 percent of respondents to a Yotpo survey reported that they are more brand-loyal than a year ago, citing product quality as the leading factor. How Cultural Differences Impact Customer Experience by Karolina Kualch, CMSWire, 9.19.18 When analyzing foreign markets, consider cultural aspects such as everyday communication, internet usage, marketing and advertising, and ecommerce trust. CGOs Prioritize, Focus, Collaborate Differently Than CMOs: Study by Patty Odell, Chief Marketer, 9.17.18 Chief growth officers are reshaping the modern role of CMOs by defining the differences between gains and growth, connecting across functional silos and thinking like a CEO. Points-Based Rewards Motivate Loyalty Among All Generations of Shoppers by Bryan Wassel, Retail Touchpoints, 9.17.18 According to Kobie Marketing, analyzing generational preferences, considering a points-based program, and prioritizing convenience increases long-term customer interest. How to Build a Repeat Customer Base Through an Outstanding E-Commerce Experience by Fan Bi, Inc., 9.14.18 Providing a simple and outstanding buying experience, giving customers a voice, and offering a liberal return policy contributes to ecommerce brand loyalty.

Enjoy our weekly roundup of top news stories across the Customer Experience (CX) landscape. Oracle CX in the News: Sales and Service Tech: Two Sides of the Same Coin? by Kate Leggett, Forrester, 9.17.18 A...

Customer Experience Strategy

5 Ways to Stop Wasting Your Customers' Time

Warren Buffett famously said “It takes 20 years to build a reputation, and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently.” In today’s service economy, customer experiences can make or break a brand’s reputation in seconds via a flurry of re-tweets, shared videos, and hashtags. We value our time as a finite resource and in our connected economy we expect results with speed and efficiency. How your brand respects its consumers’ time shapes their experience and their perception of your business. We’ve all experienced a situation of mounting frustration when our time is wasted–being placed on lengthy holds, stuck in slow-moving lines, and even waiting for slow-responding websites. Yet businesses only measure time as it relates to how it impacts their own business. What if instead, we focused externally on the most precious and finite resource available–our customer’s time? If we view our customer’s time as an investment in our brand, how might we operate differently to protect that asset? To help us de-construct and dissect any business strategy that is long on innovation and short on end-user experience, we can coin the term “CX-Coin” to measure how your firm is valuing your customer’s time. Here are 5 ways you can increase the value of CX-Coin by investing in your customer’s time. Analyze the impact of the customer experience on every business decision. It is an oft-repeated axiom that customer service is the result of a bad customer experience. Yet the responsibility of delivering exceptional customer experiences no longer lies with just customer-facing departments. Instead, CX must factor into every investment decision. When a CX-first mindset is embedded into your company’s culture, it has the power to yield substantial financial results by influencing customer attitudes that drive behaviors. With every change to process or technology, consider how it impacts CX-Coin’s “investors.” Does the proposed change yield a definite benefit, neutral, or negative impact on the customer experience? Prototype, test, and validate proposed changes from an outside-in perspective. Focus on a holistic view of the customer journey. Customer Journey Mapping is an effective method to review behaviors and attitudes from the customer point of view. When you look at a continuum of interactions, consider how your customer’s time is being spent and how it impacts them individually. Time isn’t just money–it’s a finite and irreplaceable resource that the customer is currently investing in you. If you squander it, that time will be just as surely invested in your competition. Proactively deliver value in every moment. Buffett also reminds us that "Price is what you pay. Value is what you get." When technology and processes become investments in UX and CX, your brand’s value appreciates in the customer’s portfolio. Innovating from the customer’s point of view will deposit valuable currency into their wallets. Remind yourself often that what you think matters to your customer is worth a nickel. What actually matters to them is worth a dollar. Take the time to understand that disparity by asking your customers what is relevant and essential to them? In the value equation, empathy and listening are always free. When customers are engaged, they are willing to invest time upfront, where it can pay big dividends in the future. Incremental, bite-sized innovation can deliver substantial returns. It’s often the small things that yield the highest returns. The path to useful innovation is achieved incrementally. Bite-sized changes that invest in the customer experience compound over time to yield meaningful results. Like the stock market, there will be bullish runs and bearish downturns–both the peaks and the valleys can offer an opportunity. You can invest in fixing problem areas that are costing customers time, or double-down in the places that are already valuable differentiators in your customers’ eyes. Improve the ease of doing business with you. It’s human nature–we don’t invest in things we don’t understand (or at least we shouldn’t). Before engaging with you, prospects will do the majority of their research online. They expect personalized experiences and responsiveness. So, design your digital strategy with that buyer’s time in mind. Start with systems that let you innovate faster. By integrating data and systems to anticipate their needs, you can respond more intelligently, proactively, and rapidly.  Your customer’s time is precious, so be the brand that’s easy to do business with. You can inoculate your company against business cycle extremes by investing vigorously in CX across your organization. Be the next market “Unicorn” by issuing your own CX-Coin that signals to your customers a guaranteed return on a resource so precious that it is limitless in value–their time.

Warren Buffett famously said “It takes 20 years to build a reputation, and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently.” In today’s service economy,...

Customer Experience Strategy

Measuring the Value in a Customer Journey

With Christian Patrik Brands are struggling to understand experiences from a customer point-of-view, and how to invest strategically to maximize business potential.  Fragmented data and a web of point solutions make it difficult to measure marketing performance and customer behavior. Brands are forced to act reactively, wasting time, effort, and money without a holistic customer lens. Winning firms use customer intelligence to make every interaction count.  They constantly measure their actions in order to refine their strategies to increase customer loyalty, drive business value and increase their competitive advantage. Oracle offers world-class Journey Mapping and Value Study solutions to provide you with a customer-centric framework and methodology to drive your business evolution. Journey Mapping leverages design thinking so brands can prioritize investments that influence customer behaviors that deliver results. This is a practical approach to overcome the lack of priorities and specifics that are required to affect change. You’ll gain the perspective of your current customer journey versus the desired experience. In the workshop, the team will imagine solutions that deliver customer and organizational value, resulting in the vision, calls to action, ownership and accountability necessary to provide quantifiable value to your business and customers. We observe your customers’ journeys and review how your customers interact with you, evaluating touchpoints and linking valuable insights from the workshop to business justification.  Outputs are business cases that are actionable, board-ready and qualitatively and quantitatively supported. What is Customer Journey Mapping? The value study gathers critical data points on your current processes and associated metrics.  Then, we reference industry best practices, equivalent KPIs, and benchmarks to present analogous baseline data modeled against your current state. After validating initial findings, The Oracle Value Strategy Group presents a series of compiled recommendations, including a ROI-rooted business case and an actionable roadmap presented during an executive read-out to share the potential business impact as well as the methods to best measure that impact.  Through our integrated approach, your business can objectively engage the enterprise in developing actionable roadmaps that connect opportunity areas to business strategies and customer expectations to real ROI benefits. Read the brief "Measuring the Value in a Customer Journey"        

With Christian Patrik Brands are struggling to understand experiences from a customer point-of-view, and how to invest strategically to maximize business potential.  Fragmented data and a web of point...

CX News & Events

CX Sales at Oracle OpenWorld 2018

October 22-25 Moscone Convention Center, San Francisco Oracle OpenWorld 2018 is upon us!  Transformational technologies, the move to a subscription economy, Artificial intelligence, IoT and Data-Driven CX will be highlighted customer experience topics. Learn how systems throughout the customer journey can integrate seamlessly for a consistent customer experience. In addition to live conference Keynotes by Larry Ellison and the sensational customer appreciation event featuring Beck, Portugal.The Man, and The Bleachers, if you are a sales professional, use this useful CX Sales Track session guide to navigate the halls of Moscone Convention Center in San Francisco to attend the sessions that matter most. This year, CX is based in Moscone South with a CX Exhibit area located on the lower floor with sessions on floors 1, 2 and 3. The opening CX session is presented by Rob Tarkoff, EVP CRM/CX Cloud, Oracle. A next-generation approach to customer experience starts with a unified view of the customer, and real-time, AI-driven insights powering relevant interactions on any channel—chatbot, field sales, social ad, or WhatsApp conversation. In this session learn about these topics and how Oracle CX helps organizations build continual customer relationships. The Next Generation of Customer Experience [PKN6661], Tuesday, October 23rd, 11:15am-12:30pm, Moscone South, Room 153 Don’t miss the CX Sales General Session presented by Oracle and Tata Consulting Services where you can hear about the latest CX innovations for sales professionals and what impact this can have on your business. General Session: The Latest CX Innovations for Sales [GEN5787], Monday, October 22nd, 11:30am-12:45pm, Room 313.  We have two Roadmap sessions. The first will present the vision for Engagement Cloud, a solution that provides insights and recommendations for sales professionals, by combining sales and service functionality on a single platform. The second will present the evolution of the leading CPQ Cloud Service in the marketplace. Your Roadmap of the Future for Sales and Service [PRM5789], Tuesday, October 23rd, 3:45-4:30pm, Moscone South – Room 314 Future Evolution of Oracle CPQ Cloud Service: Roadmap and Development Horizon [PRM4535], Thursday, October 25th, 9:00-9:45am, Moscone South – Room 314 Listen to Oracle experts in these featured sessions as they discuss how they are using Intelligent Cloud Applications at Oracle to modernize business practices. Attend these sessions for a unique inside perspective. Oracle’s Journey to the Cloud [BUS3974], Tuesday, October 23rd, 3:45-4:30pm, Moscone South -Room 154 Oracle Sales Cloud at Oracle: How We Increased CDM Adoption by 100x with a PaaS App [BUS4057], Thursday, October 25th, 12:00-12:45pm, Moscone South – Room 313 Extending the Next Generation Engagement Platform with Partners [PRO5791], Wednesday, October 24th, 12:30-1:15pm, Moscone South – Room 314 Attend these CX Industry sessions on High Tech & Manufacturing, Communications & Media and Consumer Goods & Retail to learn how these companies are leveraging prebuilt applications for their businesses, saving on implementation time and addressing specific industry challenges with tailored solutions. High-Tech and Manufacturing Industries: Thriving in the Digital World [PRO6189], Monday, October 22, 4:45-5:30pm, Moscone South – Room 314 Communications and Media Industries: Winning the Digital Customer [PRO6188], Thursday, October 25th, 11:00-11:45am, Moscone South – Room 216 Consumer Goods and Retail Industries: Winning the Digitals [PRO6190], Thursday, October 25th, 1:00-1:45pm, Moscone South – Room 314 And there’s more! Additional sessions include Adaptive Intelligence, Business Intelligence and integration approaches that support sales organizations in the modern economy. The CX area at the Exhibit Hall will be in Moscone South, lower floor. There will be five featured always-on demonstration areas featuring some of the most dynamic and transformational technologies, featured demos at the CX Theater and plenty of opportunity to mingle with CX experts and advisors. The always-on demos include: Adaptive Intelligent Apps for CX – Adaptive Intelligent applications for marketing, sales, service and commerce IoT and Augmented Reality – Featured demos on Internet of Things and Augmented Reality Digital Assistants – featuring sales and service virtual assistants and a chatbot platform. Subscription Management– new product launch at OpenWorld! Data-Driven CX – presenting the new Customer Data Platform Don’t miss out on this year’s major announcements. Stay informed of the new, cutting-edge and sometimes unfamiliar. It’s your opportunity to learn, explore and network with fellow attendees at the conference! Visit Oracle OpenWorld 2018

October 22-25 Moscone Convention Center, San Francisco Oracle OpenWorld 2018 is upon us!  Transformational technologies, the move to a subscription economy, Artificial intelligence, IoT and Data-Driven...

CPQ

How Committed is Your CPQ Vendor?

By Graham McInnes, Sr. Principal Product Manager  “How committed is Oracle to CPQ?” is a logical question to ask, given the CPQ vendor market explosion in recent years.   Potential customers have to navigate through new unicorns, crumbling alliances, questionable partnerships and over-exaggerated, one-size-fits-all solutions. They want assurances the solution they select will serve their long-term needs.  Properly vetting a CPQ vendor is incredibly important because a CPQ project impacts many facets of an organization and a project failure could be be highly-visible and potentially career ending. So, is Oracle committed to CPQ? Yes! In fact, the largest known deployment of a CPQ solution is Oracle itself. As of early 2018, our CPQ solution is used by 41,000 Oracle staff for 90% of our total revenue, and about $34.2 Billion in revenue and counting. The solution supports thousands of offer variables with a global footprint that includes regional pricing and discounting rules. The organizational impact has been significant with KPI’s that include: 9x increase in volume of self-service quoting by sales reps. 10x improvement in order accuracy due to guided selling. 2x increase in the average velocity of a deal moving through the system. 8 weeks increase in sales time by eliminating quarterly blackout periods (less time pressure on more than $5.7 Billion of sales activity). 4x reduction in time and effort it takes to introduce a new product by minimizing the needs for IT or infrastructure teams. 2x improvement in customer satisfaction among CPQ users, including sales reps and channel managers. As a company, we employ CPQ to improve the productivity of our sales organization and to liberate them from as much internal process complexity as possible. Judging by the positive impact on our business, CPQ has been a stunning success. What are Oracle’s long-term CPQ Plans? Our lead in the marketplace is no accident.  We continue to invest in CPQ development. Our primary roadmap goal is to further enable customers' success with functionality that drives sales efficiency, simplifies administration, enables greater flexibility and provides performance at an ever-increasing scale.  Specific developments are based on prioritizing and selecting customer feature requests, helping us lead the CPQ marketplace. We’ve recently added Contract Lifecycle Management (CLM) and Subscription Management capabilities to the solution footprint. These additions to the engineering and product management teams serve to unite the Enterprise Contracts with the CPQ Development team. As a company with a broad portfolio serving many different industry verticals, Oracle sees the opportunity to leverage CPQ to provide functionality not available elsewhere for a growing number of front office customer use cases. Recent examples: Service Cloud + CPQ to enable guided selling through complex service scenarios.  Commerce Cloud + CPQ to provide self-service portals enabling customers to navigate, configure, and quote complex offerings. transportation logistics companies to configure, price, quote and plan a broad variety of intermodal, logistics and dedicated transportation solutions to customers. Investing in Success Most importantly, Oracle continues to invest in our customer’s long-term success. We realize that CPQ tooling is often employed as part of a wider transformational change within a company as organizations seek to evolve up the maturity scale. For that reason, Oracle makes significant investments to provide Breakthrough Opportunity Analysis (BOA) workshops that identify opportunities for improvements in your selling process. These comprehensive two-day workshops carefully map out quote to cash processes, including all supporting systems to provide a holistic understanding of the real business process flows. BOA workshops are often the first time participants across the company map out the sales and quoting process.  They involve all parties and address system challenges, approval points, wild card dependencies and commonly accepted process disturbances that may be unique to your organization. Participants can accurately benchmark the value of potential changes CPQ may offer.   Oracle CPQ is trusted by over 600 well-known brand names and used by more than 600,000 employees. Internally, we have over 41,000 users and more than $34 billion dollars of company revenue flows through the tool. You can trust us. We’re here for the long term. For more info, read - Financial Impact of Selecting the Wrong Configure Price Quote (CPQ) Solution Exec Paper                            

By Graham McInnes, Sr. Principal Product Manager  “How committed is Oracle to CPQ?” is a logical question to ask, given the CPQ vendor market explosion in recent years.   Potential customers have to...

CX News & Events

Online Holiday Sales to Increase 15% in 2018 and Other CX News You Can Use

Enjoy our weekly roundup of top news stories across the Customer Experience (CX) landscape. Oracle CX in the News: Future of Customer Experience by Michael Krigsman, CXOTalk Michael Krigsman interviews Oracle's Des Cahill about integrating data across marketing, sales, service, and commerce to improve the customer experience. <<Click to Tweet. Constellation ShortList for Field Service Management by R "Ray" Wang, Constellation Research Oracle Field Service Cloud was named to the Constellation Research ShortList for top vendors in the Field Service Management Category. <<Click to Tweet.  Forklift Maker Hoists Dealer, Customer Know-How by Sasha Banks-Louie, Forbes, 9.11.2018 Hyster-Yale, a global manufacturer of lift trucks, improves its customer experience with a scalable and comprehensive quoting process with Oracle CPQ Cloud. <<Click to Tweet.  Unforgettable Episode 7: Demonstrate Knowledge by Samantha Hausler, SmarterCX, 9.14.18 In this episode, Shep Hyken discusses knowledge and how to use it to build credibility and trust with your customers.  <<Click to Tweet.  5 Essential Service Sessions at Oracle OpenWorld 2018 by Jodi Warner, SmarterCX, 9.13.18 Oracle OpenWorld 2018 will take place October 22-25 in San Francisco. With over 1,000 planned sessions, don't miss these 5 essential service-focused opportunities. <<Click to Tweet.  Industry News: Online Holiday Sales to Increase 15%, According to Forecast by Marianne Wilson, Chain Store Age, 9.12.18 NetElixir predicts e-commerce growth of 15 percent this holiday season, up from 13 percent last year, with voice-search shopping making up 30 percent of mobile searches. B2B Marketers Lack Confidence in Data: D&B by Beth Negus Viveiros, Chief Marketer, 9.12.18 According to Dun & Bradstreet, half of B2B professionals lack confidence in the quality of their marketing data, hindering adoption of ABM to increase engagement. Customer Experience Metrics, Through A New Lens by Diane Gordon, CMSWire, 9.11.18 In addition to frequently used metrics, CX can be measured through the lens of acquisitions, engagement and retention frameworks. Effective Enterprise Communication: The Foundation of Strategic Field Service by Sarah Nicastro, Field Service Technologies Online, 9.10.18 Effective enterprise communication enables field service organizations to be more intentional and strategic in their service delivery. How Online Retailers Can Make the Most of Preorders to Maximize Sales by Olivier Schott, CRM Buyer, 9.10.18 Online retailers can take advantage of preorders to boost sales by properly marketing their products, preparing for online traffic, and creating enticing product bundles.

Enjoy our weekly roundup of top news stories across the Customer Experience (CX) landscape. Oracle CX in the News: Future of Customer Experience by Michael Krigsman, CXOTalk Michael Krigsman interviews...

Customer Experience Technology

You’re Just A Brand - Enter Oracle Engagement Cloud

Many of you have built robust service and sales organizations.  Your highly trained service teams stand by to answer any customer questions. Your sales teams are carefully organized by territory and industry to ensure that every customer gets the necessary attention they deserve. Partners are in place.  Your marketing campaigns are dialed in and every team works together smoothly like the gears of a Swiss Watch.  Sounds great, right? However, the customer only sees the face of the watch. The people, processes, technology and brilliant organizational engineering pass through unappreciated from engagement-to-engagement because to the customer, you’re not a well-oiled machine. You are just a brand…and that is how it should be! Customers should never have to build a watch to get the time. They shouldn’t have to connect the gears among marketing, sales and service, nor figure out how to “game the system.” They expect a seamless operation regardless of their point of engagement–whether they talk to your sales reps or your service agents, it’s all the same to them. This expectation is even more apparent as Generation Z now enters the workforce. These young digital natives are more financially savvy than their predecessors. They’re more willing to do their homework and research before making a purchase, and are less tolerant of poor customer service (just check #badservice on any social media site if you don’t believe me).   Their skyrocketing expectations place a tremendous pressure on service and sales organizations. Sales teams need to know when high-value customers have questions or unresolved problems. Furthermore, they need to act when important relationships are threatened. Service agents need to know what was promised and what was sold. Each department must share a 360-degree-view of the customer because every engagement is now a team effort. For many companies, meeting this expectation requires changing the gears of their customer experience watch. Blurring the Lines Between Sales and Service Fortifies the Brand Experience For the past two years at Oracle, we have been developing our Engagement Cloud product. This integrated sales and service tool is our nucleus for digital transformation. It’s a platform that allows service and sales representatives to switch hats on requests and empowers businesses to work continuously with dedicated sales and service teams. This new tool is designed to blur the lines and go beyond the needs of siloed departments to benefit the brand as a whole and deliver superior modern customer experiences. It’s a watch that tells the time no matter who is asking. Matching the pace of innovation set by today’s modern customers, Oracle is combining its CX Sales Cloud and CX Engagement Cloud brands into one unified product. This suite offers robust service tools and cutting-edge sales automation capabilities all on one platform. This combined offering sets the stage for continuous innovation, replacing a well-oiled swiss watch with a digital version capable of delivering new experiences that will further set the pace of the market. Heading to Oracle Open World in October? Join me in the CX Service General Session to learn how companies are re-thinking the strategic principals of of service and sales, for one immersive experience. And don’t miss Fortune Alexander’s General Sales Session, exploring the future of sales professionals, and how blending service and sales will not only add value, but transform businesses.              

Many of you have built robust service and sales organizations.  Your highly trained service teams stand by to answer any customer questions. Your sales teams are carefully organized by territory and...

CX News & Events

Consumers' Use of Grocery Apps Forecasted to Double and Other CX News You Can Use

Enjoy our weekly roundup of top news stories across the Customer Experience (CX) landscape. Oracle CX in the News: Advanced Technology Key to These Retailers' Success, Survival by Linda Currey Post, The Wall Street Journal, 7.26.18 The digital revolution is changing the retail industry, and Oracle customers like Moleskine, Murray's Cheese Shop, and Wiggle are employing innovative technology to get ahead. <<Click to Tweet.  HOPE Lingerie Builds Loyalty with Unified B2C and B2B Commerce, Oracle, 8.2018 With 180 stores, HOPE Lingerie needed a flexible, user-friendly platform to deliver engaging B2B and B2C experiences. <<Click to Tweet.  Unforgettable Episode 5: Be Convenient by Samantha Hausler, SmarterCX, 8.31.18 In this episode, Shep Hyken shares how convenience is the secret to taking your customer experience to the next level.  <<Click to Tweet.  3 Ways to Scale Customer Engagement as Your Business Grows by David Goltz, SmarterCX, 9.6.18 According to Harvard Business Review, customers engaged on multiple channels spend more in store and online. Here are three ways to stay close to your customers and scale simultaneously. <<Click to Tweet.  Industry News: Customer Experience Index Reveals Brands Lack Human Connection by Victor Milligan, Forbes, 9.6.18 Forrester's 2018 Customer Experience Index results show that companies are struggling to create and sustain a human connection with their customers. Social Media Marketing: Looking Beyond Reach by Pierre DeBois, CMSWire, 9.6.18 By monitoring message consistency over time and audience sentiment in response to messaging, marketers can better control the impact of their social media presence. 4 Simple Strategies That Will Help You Offer Excellent Customer Service by Toby Nwazor, Entrepreneur, 9.5.18 By getting to know your customers, fixing mistakes, being thorough and responding quickly to inquiries, companies are able to provide better customer service. Forecast: Consumers' Use Of Grocery Apps To Nearly Double This Year by Deena M. Amato-McCoy, Chain Store Age, 9.5.18 On-demand grocery delivery apps are among the fastest-growing app categories in the U.S., with 18 million adults using an app for shopping at least once a month in 2018. Tips For Aligning Digital Tech To The Retail Customer Journey by Julie Smith and Kristen Lenci, Retail Customer Experience, 9.4.18 Before implementing digital technologies for retail, businesses should be asking themselves how the technology can benefit their business and customers.

Enjoy our weekly roundup of top news stories across the Customer Experience (CX) landscape. Oracle CX in the News: Advanced Technology Key to These Retailers' Success, Survival by Linda Currey Post, The...

CX News & Events

How to Kick-Start Digital Transformation in Your Enterprise and Other CX News You Can Use

Enjoy our weekly roundup of top news stories across the Customer Experience (CX) landscape. Oracle CX in the News: 10 Ways to Create an Unforgettable Customer Experience by Shep Hyken, SmarterCX, 8.20.18 Today's customers are more demanding than ever. So how do you create an unforgettable experience that makes your customers want to do business with you and nobody else? <<Click to Tweet.  Industry News: How to Kick-Start Digital Transformation in Your Enterprise: 6 Tips by Alison DeNisco Rayome, TechRepublic, 8.22.18 According to a new Forrester report, a successful digital transformation project requires C-level support, change management skills, and the right mix of talent, among others. Customers Want Your Marketing to Be Personal. Here Are 4 Tactics That Really Work by Michelle Manafy, Inc., 8.21.18 As customers demand greater personalization, marketers must strive to provide accurate recommendations, invest in predictive analytics, and engage mobile channels. 4 Stumbling Blocks to AR ROI in Field Service by Sarah Nicastro, Field Technologies Online, 8.21.18 As companies implement AR within their field service initiatives, roadblocks to consider include issues with connectivity, battery life, wearables, and workforce resistance. 10 Examples of Customer Experience Innovation in Healthcare by Blake Morgan, Forbes, 8.21.18 Customer experience innovations in healthcare will include AR, AI, connected devices, big data, virtual networks, and telemedicine. Six Digital Trends to Stay On Top Of by Marianne Wilson, Chain Store Age, 8.20.18 According to eMarketer, mobile ad spending, smart speaker adoption, and augmented reality are among the six digital trends marketers should be keeping an eye on.

Enjoy our weekly roundup of top news stories across the Customer Experience (CX) landscape. Oracle CX in the News: 10 Ways to Create an Unforgettable Customer Experience by Shep Hyken, SmarterCX,...

CX News & Events

Tips from Customer Experience Experts and Other CX News You Can Use

Enjoy our weekly roundup of top news stories across the Customer Experience (CX) landscape. Oracle CX in the News: Oracle Named a Leader Again in Gartner's 2018 Magic Quadrant for Sales Force Automation, by Fortune Alexander, 8.13.18 Oracle's focus on business transformation encompasses both front and back office cloud apps and integrations, directly benefitting its Sales Force Automation solution. <<Click to Tweet. Weekly Tips for How to Provide Unforgettable Customer Experiences, by Jay Baer, Convince & Convert, 8.13.18 Jay Baer is partnering with SmarterCX and Oracle to produce Unforgettable: a multi-media education program featuring a rotating team of CX experts sharing modern customer experience excellence. <<Click to Tweet. Unforgettable Episode 2: One of Us Represents All of Us, Samantha Hausler, SmarterCX, 8.10.18 In this episode, Shep Hyken discusses why any one point of contact with a customer must reflect the whole brand. <<Click to Tweet.  Exelon Focuses on Delivering Enhanced Customer Experience, Oracle, 8.8.18 Paul Mason shares how Exelon, a leading North American utility company, uses Oracle Service Cloud and Oracle Utilities solutions to innovate and deliver better CX. <<Click to Tweet.  Industry News: 11 Customer Experience Experts: Here’s How To Get Customers Talking About Your Company by Dan Gingiss, Forbes, 8.16.18 By focusing on a great customer experience, companies are able to win more customer advocates who, in turn, will generate additional business. T-Mobile CEO John Legere Wants To Make Customer Service Something People Don’t Hate by Jonathan Vanian, Fortune, 8.15.18 T-Mobile announced that it is revamping its call centers to reduce the hassle of confusing phone trees, unhelpful chat bots, and uninformed human representatives. 3 Reasons Why CMOs Should Embrace Experiential Marketing by Steve Olenski, Forbes, 8.15.18 Lasting impressions, greater access to data, and gaining an active understanding of your own products are reasons why enterprises should invest in experiential marketing. Ask The Board: Laying The Foundation Of A Successful Customer Experience Initiative by Sarah Nicastro, Field Technologies Online, 8.14.18 To build a successful foundation for CX efforts, companies should create a customer success role, ensure company-wide alignment, and invest in appropriate technologies. Search Is At The Heart Of E-Commerce: 60% Of Shoppers Frustrated By Irrelevant Results by Bryan Wassel, Retail Touchpoints, 8.13.18 Accuracy and convenience are the most important aspects for online shoppers, meaning retailers need accurate search engines in order to boost conversions and deliver on personalization.

Enjoy our weekly roundup of top news stories across the Customer Experience (CX) landscape. Oracle CX in the News: Oracle Named a Leader Again in Gartner's 2018 Magic Quadrant for Sales Force Automation,...

Customer Experience Technology

Oracle Named a Leader Again in Gartner’s 2018 Magic Quadrant for Sales Force Automation

By Fortune Alexander, Sr. Director, CX Product Strategy, Oracle  Gartner has just named Oracle a Leader once again in its newly published 2018 Magic Quadrant for Sales Force Automation report. Gartner also published the accompanying Critical Capabilities for Sales Force Automation report in which it aligns each vendor’s capabilities against the five most common selling use cases. Oracle received the second highest Use Case scores in all five of the use cases: B2B Long-Cycle Sales B2B Short-Cycle Sales B2C Long-Cycle Sales B2C Short-Cycle Sales, and Indirect/Relationship Sales. Check out the report here. What I believe sets Oracle apart from other vendors is our focus on business transformation that encompasses both front and back office cloud apps and integration. Sales Force Automation is one of the key solution areas that benefits from this approach, enabling Oracle to deliver on the ability to execute and completeness of vision that makes us a recognized industry Leader. While this vision spans the entire spectrum of CX applications, we can identify five key trends that specifically drive our strategy and vision for Sales Force Automation: Moving Beyond Core SFA Oracle is helping brands deliver differentiated customer experiences that are fueled by connected data, insights and recommendations. Our solution features native integration with emerging technologies such as AI, IoT, virtual sales assistants, and chat bots. It also seamlessly integrates with other sales processes like Partner Relationship Management, Sales Contracts and Configure Price Quote (CPQ) to extend seller and partner productivity. By expanding beyond core SFA capabilities, Oracle’s solution combines predictive and intelligent insights with deal-specific recommendations to close more business, faster.   Using Adaptive Intelligence to Win More Deals Sales reps want relevant, contextual and optimized information in real-time. Oracle’s process-aware business intelligence guides reps through each stage of the sales cycle with recommended actions, relevant content, smart call points, and other machine-driven business intelligence. Turning all this data into actionable insights means businesses can close more deals, increase deal size, and speed up the deal process.   Improving Productivity Oracle Engagement Cloud’s voice-controlled Sales Assistant keeps reps and managers working on the go. With mobile access, email integration, and built-in guided learning tools, sales reps can work any time, from anywhere. And by contextually embedding social content, reps can better leverage social channels as a powerful selling tool.   Flexible Configuration Pre-configured industry-specific business flows decrease the need for customization and speed on-boarding. Oracle Engagement Cloud provides one single location where users can holistically modify experiences across channels like web, mobile, email, messaging and chat without the need for IT involvement. Integration with Partner Relationship Management, Sales Performance Management or CPQ modules is just a point-and-click extension away. Complete CX Suite for Completely Connected Experiences Customers don’t see the difference between sales and service departments.  They see just one customer experience. Oracle Engagement Cloud empowers sales and service reps with increased visibility to keep key accounts healthy, secure renewals, and identify ongoing upsell opportunities. These connected experiences result from optimized sales processes from modeling incentive compensation, territories and quotas to flowing leads from Marketing to generating quotes in CPQ to viewing order status in ERP. It’s exciting to see this vision and strategy come to life for our customers of all sizes and industries. For more information, click here to view the full Magic Quadrant report to learn more.   Recent analyst recognition for Oracle includes: A Leader in the 2018 Gartner Magic Quadrant for Sales Performance Management A Leader in the 2018 Gartner Magic Quadrant for Digital Commerce A Leader in the 2017 Gartner Magic Quadrant for Field Service Management A Leader in the 2018 Gartner Magic Quadrant for Sales Force Automation A Leader in the 2018 Gartner Magic Quadrant for the CRM Customer Engagement Center A Leader in the 2018 Gartner Magic Quadrant for Configure, Price and Quote Application Suites  Gartner Magic Quadrant for Sales Force Automation, Tad Travis, Ilona Hansen, Julian Poulter, Melissa A. Hilbert, 9 July 2018. Gartner Critical Capabilities for Sales Force Automation, Tad Travis, Ilona Hansen, Julian Poulter, Melissa A. Hilbert, 23 July 2018. 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.

By Fortune Alexander, Sr. Director, CX Product Strategy, Oracle  Gartner has just named Oracle a Leader once again in its newly published 2018 Magic Quadrant for Sales Force Automation report. Gartner...

CX News & Events

Three Reasons CX Initiatives Are Failing and Other CX News You Can Use

Enjoy our weekly roundup of top news stories across the Customer Experience (CX) landscape. Oracle CX in the News: Yamaha Revs Up Digital Strategy In Race For New Revenue by Clint Boulton, CIO, 8.6.18 Yamaha’s CIO discusses how Oracle software is used to aggregate, cleanse, and store customer information as Yamaha works to strengthen customer relationships. <<Click to Tweet. Unforgettable Episode 1: Balance Between Digital and Human Experience by Samantha Hausler, SmarterCX, 8.3.18 Shep Hyken, customer experience expert and bestselling author, discusses the balance between human and digital experiences. <<Click to Tweet. Victoria University Optimizes Its Campaigns with Oracle CX, 8.6.18 In this video, learn how a Victoria University uses Marketing Cloud automation capabilities to deliver more personalized, engaging, and timely communications to its students. <<Click to Tweet.    Industry News: 3 Reasons Customer Experience Initiatives Are Failing, by Sarah Nicastro, Field Technologies Online, 8.8.18 Common customer experience missteps within field service include the misunderstanding of customer input and the lack of focus on innovation. Study: Cumbersome Checkout Alienates Online Shoppers, by Deena M. Amato-McCoy, Chain Store Age, 8.9.18 Complicated online checkouts are taking a toll on digital sales, with 87 percent of shoppers abandoning their online carts due to long or complicated checkout processes. 61% of Consumers Will Share Personal Data for Personalized Marketing Communications, by John Koetsier, Inc., 8.8.18 According to a new study, 61 percent of consumers are willing to share more data with companies in exchange for more personalized and relevant communications. Top 5 Technological Innovations That Will Impact the Future of CX, by Vandita Grover, MarTech Advisor, 8.7.18 Digital experience platforms, voice of customer programs, cybernetic CX, and emerging technologies such as AR, VR, and IoT are expected to take CX to the next level. Natural Language Processing is Hitting Its Stride, by Erika Morphy, CMSWire, 8.7.18 As Natural Language Process (NLP) continues to advance, customer service chatbots, for instance, become more efficient and capable of more complicated tasks.

Enjoy our weekly roundup of top news stories across the Customer Experience (CX) landscape. Oracle CX in the News: Yamaha Revs Up Digital Strategy In Race For New Revenue by Clint Boulton, CIO, 8.6.18 Yam...

CPQ

Learn Lessons From 4 CPQ Projects That Failed

By Graham McInnes, Sr. Principal Product Manager, Oracle As a leading vendor of configure, price and quote solutions, we at Oracle see several constants in the industry. One is when starting to investigate CPQ, there are internal challenges that can’t be solved by repurposing existing tools. Another is using CPQ as a transformational change agent that’s been designed to evolve the organizational up the maturity scale. In both of these, it’s not unusual to see new executive leadership brought in to help guide the organization to the next stage of development. We see this all the time. The challenge is that new executives, often in a rush to affect an immediate outcome, may make hasty decisions. As the old saying goes 'a new broom may sweep clean, but an old one knows all the corners'. Hasty evaluations of CPQ solutions are typically heavily weighted in favor of minimal licensing costs while ignoring the important nuances of the implementation of the solution. It’s painful to watch a company select a CPQ solution that’s either not up for the challenge, or is unsuitable for the organization. Outcomes are often long, arduous projects costing millions of dollars, wasting countless staff hours, and ending executive careers.  Here are some examples. # 1 Communications Company - Scope Creep Drives Rising Costs After spending $3 million on a CPQ contract, they needed extra functionality to cover additional product lines. So, the CPQ vendor revised their development roadmap to accommodate them.  But after building that functionality, to cover the implementation of the solution, the vendor requested and was awarded an additional $4 million dollars! Three years later, in order to deploy, the vendor asked for an additional $500 thousand dollars to complete the solution for a single product! Cost: $7.5 million dollars direct spend. 36 months lost opportunity time and countless staff hours. Result was a quoting tool still unable to support multiple product lines. Lesson learned: Don’t count on promised roadmap functionality to solve challenges you have today. Go with the CPQ solution that offers the most robust product feature set and has a proven history of delighting companies, like yours. # 2 IT Technology Provider – Shape Up, or Ship Out Executives selected a niche CPQ vendor, expecting their company to be an important customer and receive greater levels of engagement. However, they didn’t anticipate overwhelming the vendor with their project that struggled for over three years before it ultimately failed. The executive team was fired and replaced. The new team rushed through a new CPQ evaluation and nearly selected the lowest cost vendor with an even smaller customer base than the first failed project vendor. Cooler heads prevailed when execs realized the career-ending potential of another lengthy project failure. Cost: Careers ruined for executive staff 40 months lost opportunity cost. 200 staff months wasted.    Lesson learned: The primary focus of a CPQ project needs to be the transformational impact on your business, not on nurturing and developing a CPQ vendor and their software. # 3 Industrial Manufacturer – Failing to Plan is Planning to Fail This firm ran a pilot project with a small, low-price vendor using a limited set of products in a minor division of the company. The pilot dragged on for 18 months before management pulled the plug. Ultimately, the selected configurator didn’t function nor did the integrations with their enterprise software. The organization re-scoped the project as a global solution with a heavy emphasis on thoroughly blueprinting their requirements, data needs and engagements.  Cost: 18 months of lost time 72 staff months wasted Lesson learned: Pilot projects can waste time and resources. If you're unsure of how product functionality applies to your particular needs, demand a series of demos showing solutions that are similar to your challenges and how they’d work in your business. If you’re unsure of the value of CPQ, commit to a vendor that truly understands your business and has a history of delivering successful projects.  # 4 High Tech Manufacturer – When in a Hole, Stop Digging This business created a CPQ solution by extending the configurator functionality of their legacy ERP system. The resulting process combined a series of disconnected tools in a manual workflow that used email for approvals. Rolling out a new product required arduous modeling of ERP product definitions. The user experience was terrible. To create a baseline quote, sales staff manually worked through 50+ different product parameters, many of which required pre-existing knowledge or training to set correctly. Frequently, the quotes generated by this system included expired SKUs, each of these necessitated manual troubleshooting and intervention.  Cost: Tremendous time invested to maintain the system The quoting solution was still ineffective and inaccurate. Lesson learned: To address a sales efficiency problem, focus on a CPQ solution designed to maximize the sales user experience. Can it present products in the way that a sales user and customers think of them? Does it allow you to define and govern what you want to sell so that only valid products are added to quotes? Does the solution provide automated rules-based approval steps to ensure that quotes are commercially validated before converting them to, and order? Oracle CPQ Cloud - Breakthrough Opportunity Analysis (BOA) In Conclusion Drawing the line and calling a CPQ project a failure is a difficult and painful organizational decision to make. For dozens of businesses that found themselves in this position, Oracle has helped them pick up the pieces and get back on track for a successful CPQ deployment. Based on these experiences, we have a proven methodology that delivers a clear path forward. Our preferred starting point is to organize a comprehensive two-day workshop called a Breakthrough Opportunity Analysis (BOA). The purpose of this workshop is to; Map your current processes and supporting systems Provide a holistic understanding of the business process flow Identify opportunities for improvement, and Engage all organizational functions associated with sales processes. We’ve lead 100s of these workshops to work through many different transformational challenges with other organizations. The outcome of a BOA workshop is to build a sensible, supportable business case based on industry standards, best practices and existing customer reference cases. The BOA provides a clear path forward so that picking up the pieces of a failed project can be much easier even if there are highly charged politics and emotions from the previous experience.  Let Oracle help you get back on the right CPQ track with a BOA. For More information   Read the executive paper - Financial Impact of Selecting the Wrong Configure Price Quote Solution Gartner Positions Oracle CPQ Cloud as a Leader Learn more about Oracle CPQ Cloud  

By Graham McInnes, Sr. Principal Product Manager, Oracle As a leading vendor of configure, price and quote solutions, we at Oracle see several constants in the industry. One is when starting to...

CX News & Events

Innovative B2B Marketing Strategies and Other CX News You Can Use

Enjoy our weekly roundup of top news stories across the Customer Experience (CX) landscape. Oracle CX in the News: Mack Trucks Proves B2B Doesn’t Have To Be Boring With RoadLifeTV Campaign, VR by Klaudia Tirico, Demand Gen Report, 8.1.18 Mack Trucks is leveraging offerings like Oracle Marketing Cloud in its digital marketing initiatives, including Mack Trucks’ latest launch of RoadLifeTV. <<Click to Tweet. In Kenya, Virtual Tax Services Improve Compliance, Boost Revenue by Sasha Banks-Louie, Forbes, 7.31.18 Kenya Revenue Authority is on a mission to build brand love and increase Kenya’s tax compliance with Oracle CX. Learn how they’re succeeding in doing just that. <<Click to Tweet. The Future Is Now! @ Oracle Marketing Cloud by Jeff Leroux and Shastri Purushotma, B2B Signals, 7.30.18 Technology is accelerating the pace of change within modern marketing and creating profound implications for businesses, according to insights from Oracle’s Shashi Seth. <<Click to Tweet.  Industry News: B2B Firms Now Embracing AR/VR As Powerful Sales Tools by Greg Nichols, ZDNet, 7.27.18 AR and VR demonstrations are becoming an essential tool in sales, providing customers with a virtual walk-through of a product rather than numerous, disjointed calls. Blockchain To Drive $164B In Efficiencies For Retail By 2030 by Dan Alaimo, Retail Dive, 8.2.18 Retail and e-commerce industries expect to see $164 billion in business value by 2030 as a result of cost savings and efficiencies from incorporating blockchain strategies. How Legacy Systems Stifle Marketing Analytics by Ross Benes, eMarketer, 8.1.18 According to Harvard Business Review, 36 percent of marketers believe that legacy systems prevent them from implementing real-time analytics with user data. How Predictive Content Marketing Can Drive B2B Marketing ROI by Sonali Datta, MarTech Advisor, 7.31.18 By identifying specific content that delivers maximum impact throughout the buying journey, predictive content marketing can enhance the B2B customer experience. AI Investments Will Hit $323B By 2025, But Businesses Don’t Plan To Cut Jobs by Alison DeNisco Rayome, TechRepublic, 7.30.18 About 40 percent of companies plan to increase their AI investment by at least 20 percent within the next three years, despite obstacles like a lack of talent and clear goals, says KPMG.  

Enjoy our weekly roundup of top news stories across the Customer Experience (CX) landscape. Oracle CX in the News: Mack Trucks Proves B2B Doesn’t Have To Be Boring With RoadLifeTV Campaign, VR by...

CX News & Events

Mobile Phone Consumers Demand a Better CX and Other CX News You Can Use

Enjoy our weekly roundup of top news stories across the Customer Experience (CX) landscape. Oracle CX in the News: Oracle Responsys Introduces SMS Public Aggregator Network, by The MTA News Desk, MarTech Advisor, 7.17.18 Oracle Responsys’ new SMS Public Aggregator Network (SPAN) enables customers to quickly find, order, and manage SMS services directly from the mobile aggregator of their choice. <<Click to Tweet. Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for Sales Force Automation, Gartner, 7.9.18 Learn why Oracle was named a leader in Gartner’s 2018 Magic Quadrant for Sales Force Automation. <<Click to Tweet. Fysiko Aerio Hellenic Energy Company Transforms with Oracle, 7.16.18 In this video, learn how a 160-year-old Greek company is transforming their customer experience with Oracle Service Cloud and Oracle Marketing Cloud. <<Click to Tweet.  42 Simple Rules For The Worst CX, 7.16.18 There is plenty of advice on how to deliver a great customer experience. But what if your goal is to offer bad CX? Oracle Service Cloud’s Outbound Product Management Team created a tutorial with simple rules to do just that. <<Click to Tweet.  Industry News: Can You Hear Me Now? Some Mobile Consumers Want Better CX, by P.J. Bednarski, MediaPost, 7.24.18 Mobile network customers ranked poor customer experience near the top of their list of irritants, along with price and choice, leading them to look into competing offerings. Four Predictions On How Retailing Will Evolve, by Marianne Wilson, Chain Store Age, 7.25.18 Global analytics provider Quantzig predicts that retail stores will evolve to eliminate long checkout queues, recognize customers, embrace a Millennial mentality, and more. Brands Value Quality Over Quantity When It Comes To Influencer Marketing, by Corey Brueggemeyer, Loyalty360, 7.25.18 Marketers are expanding their influencer marketing strategies, but in order for these strategies to be effective, customers must trust the influencers’ authenticity. Improving Digital Connections With Customers, With TGI Fridays CMO, by Blake Morgan, Forbes, 7.24.18 Stephanie Perdue, TGI Fridays’ CMO, offers insights to improve digital touchpoints with customers via initiatives like loyalty programs. When Should Marketers Use AR And When VR, by Barry Levine, MarTech Today, 7.24.18 When deciding between AR and VR, marketers should identify the overarching goal of their campaign and decide whether to fully suspend reality (VR), or simply add to it (AR).

Enjoy our weekly roundup of top news stories across the Customer Experience (CX) landscape. Oracle CX in the News: Oracle Responsys Introduces SMS Public Aggregator Network, by The MTA News Desk,...

CX News & Events

Influencers Make a Big Impact on Digital Marketing and Other CX News You Can Use

Enjoy our weekly roundup of top news stories across the Customer Experience (CX) landscape.   Oracle CX in the News: Forward-Thinking B2B Marketers Partner with Influencers to Create Cross-Channel, Long-Term Campaigns by Elise Schoening, Demand Gen Report, 7.18.18 As forward-thinking B2B marketers begin partnering with influencers, Oracle’s Andrea Tucker provides insights into the impact influencers have had on Oracle’s own marketing efforts. Click to Tweet   Oracle Helps Businesses Launch Mobile Marketing Faster and Easier Oracle, 7.17.18 To help marketers quickly and easily source the best operator for maximizing the ROI of their mobile campaigns, Oracle Responsys introduced the SMS Public Aggregator Network (SPAN). SPAN makes it easier for customers to find, order, and manage SMS services directly from their aggregator of choice.  Click to Tweet   The State of Ecommerce and Prepping for Holiday 2018 by Brenna Johnson, Smarter CX, 7.12.18 Oracle is surveying digital businesses and practitioners to learn how retailers are prepping for the ultra-competitive 2018 holiday season. We’re digging into the data, and need your input in this quick and anonymous 10-click survey. Click to Tweet   The New Social Landscape by Robert Preston, Profit Magazine, Summer 2018 Oracle Marketing Cloud’s Shashi Seth shares how Oracle Infinity and Oracle CX Audience will help marketers create more personalized and profitable customer connections.  Click to Tweet   City: Access to Amazon Alexa 311 Data is Limited by Marie C. Baca, Albuquerque Journal, 6.21.18 The City of Albuquerque was the first municipality in the nation to integrate its 311 nonemergency call center with Alexa during a time when technology companies are being heavily scrutinized regarding personal data. The response has been positive. Click to Tweet   Juniper Networks Makes the Complex Simple by Graham McInnes, Oracle CX Blog, 7.18.18 Juniper Networks, an Oracle Marketing Cloud customer, implemented Oracle CPQ to give their global organization the flexibility to scale as their business transforms. Click to Tweet   Industry News: 6 Reasons Influencers Should Be Part of Your Social Strategy by Charlotte McCleary, Chief Marketer, 7.16.18 Social media influencers are well-trusted, provide value-laden content, and stretch brand awareness, making them an integral part of digital marketing initiatives.   Make Customer Experience Your Competitive Advantage with These 3 Steps by Dave Angelow, CMSWire, 7.19.18 By developing an opportunity map and a better understanding of your competitors, you can build a better customer experience that differentiates your brand.   How Restaurants Like Chick-fil-A Balance Demand for Both Service and Technology by Alicia Kelso, Forbes, 7.16.18 In the service industry, consumers expect technology-driven experiences that enable speed, but not at the expense of better service and customer experiences.   5 Ways Machine Learning Can Impact Marketing ROI by Indrajeet Deshpande, MarTech Advisor, 7.13.18 Machine learning can improve marketing campaigns through personalization, customer service and support, customer churn predictions, and customer profitability forecasts.   Augmented Reality in Retail Transforms Customer Experiences by Christine Parizo, SearchCRM, 7.13.18 VR and AR help brands remove physical limitations from the shopping experience, and brands much consider this 360-degree approach to reaching the consumer in today’s marketplace.  

Enjoy our weekly roundup of top news stories across the Customer Experience (CX) landscape.   Oracle CX in the News: Forward-Thinking B2B Marketers Partner with Influencers to Create Cross-Channel,...

CX News & Events

Brands Look Ahead to Holiday Sales and Other CX News You Can Use

Enjoy our weekly roundup of top news stories across the Customer Experience (CX) landscape. Oracle CX in the News: Worldwide Customer Service Takes Cultural Sensitivity, by Sam Del Rowe, destinationCRM, 7.1.18 Companies need a consistent strategy across geographic boundaries when offering international customer service, according to insights from Oracle’s Daniel Foppen. <<Click to Tweet. The New Normal: Real-Time Customer Insight, by Des Cahill at Forrester CX NYC “Data is the new sexy,” according to Des Cahill. His presentation at the Forrester CX NYC event explores the evolution of data, AI and Chatbots. <<Click to Tweet. Your Engagement Center Needs More Than Just Traditional CRM, by Jeff Wartgow, 6.28.18 Traditional CRM systems no longer meet the needs of today’s organizations. Oracle continues to invest in complimentary tools to set its customers apart from their competitors. Read about it, and learn why Oracle Service Cloud was recognized as a Leader in Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for the CRM Customer Engagement Center. <<Click to Tweet.  Industry News: Customer Loyalty Is Key To Driving Holiday Season Sales, by Deena M. Amato-McCoy, Chain Store Age, 7.12.18 Retailers are boosting their customer loyalty efforts by safeguarding customer information and offering personalized discounts ahead of the holiday season. Luxury Marketing For The Digital Age, by Ariella Brown, DMN, 7.11.18 Luxury marketing for today’s digital customers should focus on providing the customer with exactly what they want, regardless of price, while minimizing time and hassle. 5 Reasons Podcasting Should Be A Part Of Your Marketing Playbook, by Erika Morphy, CMSWire, 7.11.18 Companies should incorporate podcasting into their marketing strategy in order to position their brand as an authority, add a customer touchpoint and more. How Can Businesses Adapt To Meet Future Customer Service Challenges?, destinationCRM, 7.9.18 To address evolving customer service challenges, companies must understand how their customers are changing in order to prepare for the future customer journey. Linking Machine To Technician: A Journey To Improving Service Profitability, by Scott E. Day, Field Technologies Online, 6.29.18 Technicians can increase efficiency and service profitability by linking machines and technicians in a holistic way through the use of AI and a structured IoT platform.

Enjoy our weekly roundup of top news stories across the Customer Experience (CX) landscape. Oracle CX in the News: Worldwide Customer Service Takes Cultural Sensitivity, by Sam Del Rowe, destinationCRM,...

CX News & Events

Mobile Is Taking Over the Customer Journey - and Other News

Enjoy our weekly round-up of top news stories across the CX landscape.   Oracle CX Social Content: .@YamahaMotorUSA is using emerging technologies like #AR and #VR plus @OracleServCloud for new insights into motorcycle mechanics, @WSJ http://ora.cl/bA26z #OSvC  Click to Tweet Congratulations to @MajidAlFuttaim Communities on the successful launch of Oracle Sales, Service and Marketing Cloud solutions! #OracleCloud  #OracleCX #OracleCustomers #CXC Click to Tweet More Than 1,000 #oow18 sessions live! Explore the catalog to see which will be of the most interest to attend: http://ora.cl/h51tM Click to Tweet Find out how to improve your #CX & ensure that #customers are always at the center of your #business strategy: http://ora.cl/IO3z4 by @nathanjoynt Click to Tweet Learn how you can give #consumers the personalized, relevant, and consistent #experiences they want: http://ora.cl/S3e4c via @OracleMktgCloud Click to Tweet   Industry News: Understanding The Role Of Artificial Intelligence In The Digital Workplace – David Roe, CMSWire, 6.28.18 Recent survey results show that while employees are excited about digital opportunities in the workplace, many do not believe that their digital needs are currently being met. Shopping Via Voice Gains Momentum – Dan Alaimo, Retail Dive, 6.27.18 26 percent of smart speaker owners have made a purchase via their smart device, with household items, apparel and entertainment as the most popular purchases. Sales Intelligence 101: Demystifying The State Of B2B Buying In 2018 – Sudipto Ghosh, MarTech Series, 6.27.18 Organizations can use sales intelligence tools to support better sales motions and sales conversations, which have become key to mastering B2B buying. Mobile Is Taking Over The Customer Journey – Brian Solis, Marketing Land, 6.26.18 While mobile capabilities are important, digital strategists must also understand how preferences, expectations and intent evolve and impact user interactions. 7 Keys To Global E-Commerce Success – Vivian Wagner, CRM Buyer, 6.26.18 To expand sales globally, organizations should first work out global logistics, learn the new markets, understand taxes and fees, and focus on providing good customer service.   Innovation: New Forbes Insights Report Details Framework For Deriving Breakthrough Value From IoT – Forbes, 6.25.18 The report details how the Internet of Things is creating game-changing breakthroughs in artificial intelligence and robotics. Due to growing momentum, IoT protocol ran out of its 4.3 billion addresses and was replaced with a new protocol. How The Internet Of Things Impacts Supply Chain -  Andrew Arnold, Forbes, 6.23.18 The combination of cloud computing, analytics and hardware advancements have created a new avenue for conducting delivery and fulfillment operations, powered by the Internet of Things.   Field Service: 5 Payment Trends in Field Service Creating Opportunities for ISVs -  Jay Ablian, Devprojournal, 6.21.18 ISVs that can provide an integrated payments solution in the field service market stand to rise above the competition and offer an end-to-end solution that is certain to grow business and profits exponentially.   Customer Service: How AI and social media can improve customer service and reduce cost -Dan Patterson, Techrepublic, 6.22.18 AI and machine learning are changing a number of industries, not to mention social media. Of course social media, but social media along with customer service. Customer Service Professionals Gather In Las Vegas For CEX ... And Much More - Shep Hyken, Forbes, 6.24.18 Great customer service is no longer a differentiator. It’s expected. Check out details from customer service professionals.

Enjoy our weekly round-up of top news stories across the CX landscape.   Oracle CX Social Content: .@YamahaMotorUSA is using emerging technologies like #AR and #VR plus @OracleServCloud for new insights...

Customer Service

Your Customer Engagement Center Needs More Than Just Traditional CRM

Once upon a time, assisted service ruled the world. Customers with questions called the contact center where customer service representatives relied on CRM systems and personal experience to solve the customer’s problem. Oh how things have changed! Today’s customers have an unbridled desire for self-service across almost every industry. This is coupled with an increasing demand for ease. Consumers want to solve their problems by pressing a button. The challenge for an Engagement Center is that while customers want things easier, service requests are becoming more complex. Tried-and-true CRM systems, the mainstay of customer service for the past 30 years, no longer meet the needs of today’s organizations. The state-of-the-art Engagement Center is now a sophisticated network of highly complementary applications, designed to assist in answering even the most complex support request, regardless of what channel it arrives on. Agents change their role on a whim, from service agent, to sales rep, to consultant. All have the goal of delivering one consistent and unique customer experience. Once again, Oracle is a leader in Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for the CRM Customer Engagement Center. For decades, Oracle’s core engagement center technology has been a mainstay of the CX software industry. However, as I mentioned before, to meet the expectations of today’s customers, organizations need more than just easy access to accurate customer records and workflows. Delivering an unforgettable customer experience that differentiates a brand requires investment beyond the fundamentals. In addition to Oracle’s Engagement Center products, our team continually invests in complementary toolsets designed to keep our customers on the bleeding edge. These investments include the development of scalable Knowledge Management Systems that provide customers and agents access to easily searchable answers. Oracle offers one-of-a-kind Smart Advice Systems, like Oracle Policy Automation, to assist in the most complex tasks. Our mobile and web self-service platform can scale to support millions of sessions per month, and our co-browse functionality is an option to deliver white-glove experiences. Finally, our solution includes industry leading tools, such as Oracle Field Service Cloud, that extend service beyond an organization’s walls directly to the customer site. Many of these offerings are critical to delivering a complete service experience in today’s digital era. Today’s empowered consumers expect that if they interact with your brand–through service, sales, marketing, commerce, or field service channels–that they will have a consistent experience. As a result, all systems throughout the customer journey must integrate seamlessly. Oracle Service Cloud is one piece of that integrated, customer experience. We hope you find Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for the CRM Customer Engagement Center  enlightening. And whether you are starting on a journey to modernize your engagement center, or shoring up a well-oiled machine, keep in mind how your needs may extend beyond core CRM offerings. Oracle Service Cloud and the broader Oracle CX Suite will put these tools at your fingertips, helping you differentiate your brand with exceptional customer experiences. Gartner Magic Quadrant for the CRM Customer Engagement Center, Michael Maoz, Brian Manusama, 16 May 2018. 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.

Once upon a time, assisted service ruled the world. Customers with questions called the contact center where customer service representatives relied on CRM systems and personal experience to solve the...

Customer Experience Strategy

Oracle and IDC Webcast - The Future of Customer Experience for Telcos

I recently participated in a webcast held in conjunction with IDC entitled, “The Future of Customer Experience for Telcos”.  Two experts in this field, Andy Hicks of IDC, and Elmar Rode, the Oracle communications industry expert for CX, joined me. The webcast followed an IDC InfoBrief, sponsored by Oracle, which looks at the future of CX. With the InfoBrief concluding that CX will become the main differentiator among Telcos - the key question addressed by the webcast is not if to invest in CX, but where to invest in CX to avoid falling behind. For those that missed it—here’s an edited transcript from the session – but you can always watch the webcast here (registration required). Neil Pridham: How is customer experience different in the telecom industry? Andy Hicks: When telcos began measuring themselves with Net Promoter Score (NPS), they discovered they were at the bottom. That was a real wake-up call, because they had traditionally focused on things that they knew how to assure, such as whether the network services were available or billing errors. They thought they were doing a good job. However, when they actually looked at the NPS rankings, they realized that there was an urgent need for improvement. They had to redefine what they meant by “customer experience”. Neil Pridham: Where should companies focus their efforts to improve NPS and subsequently, customer experience? Andy Hicks: You could pick almost any aspect of the telco organization and do something to improve customer experience. However, to achieve the greatest benefit, you should focus on business level KPIs, and make certain that everything in the organization is moving towards something that is measured on a business outcome. For example, if you want to increase the lifetime value of the customer, you need to make sure that they can easily execute transactions. That means your transactions platform has to be very easy to use and seamlessly integrated with other services. You also have to design enough additional services in order for them to have something to actually buy, such as content or a roaming package. Neil Pridham: Can you talk a little more about where CSP companies should focus their time investment to get the most out of their CX strategy? Andy Hicks: It’s all about next best investment. If customer experience is a priority, then you have to focus your new spending, your innovation spending, making sure that you get the best bang for the buck. A good example of this is customer care and retail stores. Previously, retail stores were not a focus area, and in some telcos, they were almost an embarrassment. But now, people are realizing that your NPS can be disproportionately impacted by face-to-face interactions. The retail store really is the front face of your brand. So, people are working on integrating the customer journey across channels. It’s back to omni-channel, but really includes every channel. You should be able to begin a journey on a telco’s website, and then physically complete it in-store. It’s all about identifying your top-level goals. If you want to reduce churn, then add predictive churn analytics, but you also use those analytics to identify sticking points in the customer journey. You need to examine how to improve your process—not just which customers will churn next month or in six months’ time. You need to make sure that you’re allocating money to the processes that will best improve your customer experience score, even if some other departments are getting less in terms of innovation funding than they used to. Neil Pridham: Finally, could you summarize the top three issues that telcos should focus on to improve their own customers' experiences? Andy Hicks: (Slide image to support) Define your CX KPIs clearly for the entire organization.  Set top-level customer experience goals at the company and ensure that everyone in the organization is working towards those goals. Design things from the customer's perspective. Really look at customer journeys throughout the organization, thinking about the customer's point of view. Too often people are designing based on what they can do, rather than thinking about what the customer actually requires. Future-proof your transformation. Because there will be services and use-cases that you haven’t thought of yet, you need to have a system that is integrated, digital, cloud-native, real-time, and flexible enough so that when you come up with these use cases, you can implement them without having to re-architect the whole platform. You can still check out the webcast here (registration required). And here’s a reminder of the original IDC InfoBrief, sponsored by Oracle.    

I recently participated in a webcast held in conjunction with IDC entitled, “The Future of Customer Experience for Telcos”.  Two experts in this field, Andy Hicks of IDC, and Elmar Rode, the Oracle...

CX News & Events

Great Customer Journeys Begin with the Right Tools - and Other News

Enjoy our weekly round-up of top news stories across the CX landscape.   Oracle CX Social Content: . @ESET ‏ swiftly grows pipeline with data segmentation through @OracleMktgCloud http://ora.cl/Xm6pI Click to Tweet Find out why companies on the @inc5000 named #CX as their key to #BizGrowth http://ora.cl/Dm8kf Click to Tweet .@Gartner_inc predicts that over 50% of companies will redirect investments towards #CX innovations in 2018. http://ora.cl/3FU5y Click to Tweet #ModernCX: Here's @Paul_K_Archer, @duel CEO, on unlocking #opportunities and turning #customers into super powerful sales books: http://ora.cl/lH6zu Click to Tweet Identify and rejuvenate your inactive customers. Discover how to understand & help them: http://ora.cl/3vB7H #CX #custserv Click to Tweet   Oracle Customer Experience Cloud Suite News: Oracle Provides Marketers with New Capabilities – Phillip Britt, DestinationCRM, June 2018 Print Issue MCX 2018 featured a roundup of new Oracle Marketing Cloud features in addition to Oracle’s Shashi Seth and his keynote on the changing marketing landscape.   Industry News: Customer Experience Is ‘Tipping Point’ For Choosing A Brand – Marianne Wilson, Chain Store Age, 6.20.18 According to a recent customer survey, customer experience expectations have doubled in the past two years, particularly within the United States. How A Newsletter Can Boost Your Business – Vivian Wagner, CRMBuyer, 6.20.18 Through newsletters, companies open up channels of communication, enhance customer loyalty, establish authority, build their brand and develop relationships. Great Customer Journeys Begin With The Right Tools – Douglas Eldridge, CMSWire, 6.20.18 To create performance-based, convenient, personalized and trustworthy customer experiences, firms must recognize their audience and invest in the proper technologies. The Real Differences Between B2C And B2B Marketing – Jennifer Hakim, Chief Marketer, 6.15.18 The key differences between B2C and B2B marketing include different driving factors behind campaigns, marketing investments and goals.   Innovation: AI Is A Sales Manager's Best Friend - Jim Ninivaggi, Forbes, 6.20.18 AI fills the role of “screener assistant” for sales managers-making them better at their jobs by enabling them to spend more time assessing and coaching reps who truly need help. How IoT, AI, & Blockchain will Empower Tomorrow's Autonomous Supply Chain - Mark Morley, Ebnonline, 6.18.18 IoT and AI have the potential to shift global supply chains, taken together, they have the power to completely revolutionize the process via the first truly ‘autonomous’ supply chain.   Field Service: Ask The Board: The Biggest Challenges Facing Field Service Today – Sarah Nicastro, Field Technologies Online, 6.21.18 The biggest challenges facing field service today include finding, training and retaining talent, complex technology implementation and the pressure to improve profitability.   Customer Service: Despite tech advances, great customer service is driven by human interaction - Jane Betschel, Mybusiness, 6.4.18 When it comes to providing superior customer service, if human-led digital encounters are the way forward, it is time for small and medium sized businesses beyond the advisory sector to take up the tools. Customer Service Powered by AI – CIOReview, 6.11.18 Giving machine learning algorithms access to historical customer service data will enable it to identify patterns and do the learning in a humanized way.  

Enjoy our weekly round-up of top news stories across the CX landscape.   Oracle CX Social Content: . @ESET ‏ swiftly grows pipeline with data segmentation through @OracleMktgCloud http://ora.cl/Xm6pI Click...

Customer Experience Strategy

5 Ways to Make Customer Experience Your Brand

Leverage the following tips to immediately improve your CX and ensure customers are always at the center of your business strategy. When you think how consumers interact with companies today, it’s almost impossible not to consider the level of accuracy that digital has allowed companies to deliver because of what they already know about customers.  In the era of likes, tracked behaviors, targeted ads, and personalized service. Modern companies have fine-tuned engagement into a science that, when done right, can deliver tremendous returns. But what happens when that perfect service interaction is disrupted by inconsistencies by other lines of business like your marketing and advertising teams? More importantly, how do your customers feel when they’re on the receiving end of these experiences and interactions? Most digital professionals would agree that no one wants to deliver a bad customer experience. But even with so much effort being pushed into service, commerce, and marketing applications, things can still go wrong. Based on our experience working with thousands of organizations worldwide, it’s clear that even companies that are already delivering a reasonably good customer experience are looking for new ways to transform their service and marketing experience into one that’s more memorable to customers, builds loyalty, and drives revenue. Unfortunately, not all companies are there yet. Most suffer from a common disconnect between lines of business that frustrate customers to the point where they turn elsewhere for the same product or service. On an hourly basis, consumers are being tracked, monitored, and targeted by advertisements, advertorials, videos, and other content—making it clear to them just how much companies know about them. The media has also shed enormous light on how much targeting and segmentation is taking place across everything from appliance purchases to voting. But when these same consumers move from the “service step” to a different touch point, they realize that information is siloed and uncoordinated. Take for example a customer that calls into a service department about a problem with a ‘connected’ IoT product they recently purchased. The customer takes the time out of their busy schedule to explain the problem to the service department. The service department can access additional information about the product because the product is connected and is able the ascertain that a service call will be necessary. Frustrated, the customer selects an appointment time and date and hopes that once there, the technician will resolve the problem. In the days prior to the appointment the customer continues to receive marketing messages about the product, and other complimentary products as if nothing was wrong.  In an age of micro-moment targeting, why wouldn’t the customer receive a communication acknowledging the situation, assuring the customer that they will resolve their problem? Its what customers expect today. Is that your current situation? If so, consider how you can make experience part of your overall brand strategy, more specifically marketing and commerce powered service, in order to deliver on the customer experience that people both expect and deserve: 1. Connect Everything: Customers don’t care about your technology systems or how they work. They just expect that when they call a company the information they’ve provided online, in person, via chat, or on another telephone call will be available to further refine their experience with your company. Demonstrating understanding in one area, such as marketing, without connecting that understanding to commerce or service, will only lead to customer frustration. 2. Set Standards: In an age of micro-moment personalization, you should have rules in place to ensure that customers with ongoing service issues receive communications that acknowledge their current situation. 3. Have the Right Conversations: There is nothing more frustrating than calling into a company for help only to have to repeat yourself over and over again, and to be on the receiving end of communications that clearly demonstrate the left hand doesn’t know what the right hand is doing. 4. Make CX Part of Everyone’s Job: Too often, organizations get fixated on the service department as being the front line when it comes to the customer experience. But in the age of digital, each customer touch point—including marketing, loyalty, commerce, and the respective lines of business—should coordinate their piece of the customer experience to ensure maximum customer satisfaction. 5. Search for and Fix the Areas Where Customers Are Most Frustrated: Early quick wins are important to keep the momentum going. Learn how Oracle can help you make customer experience your brand.

Leverage the following tips to immediately improve your CX and ensure customers are always at the center of your business strategy. When you think how consumers interact with companies today,...

Oracle Commerce Leads Again in Gartner 2018 Magic Quadrant for Digital Commerce

Oracle Commerce Leads Again in Gartner 2018 Magic Quadrant for Digital Commerce By Katrina Gosek According to Gartner, leaders in digital commerce execute against their current vision and are well positioned for tomorrow. I couldn’t agree more! View the full report. Leaders will bring their customers a cohesive and integrated – yet highly open and extensible - customer experience (CX) platform on which to build their business. These commerce leaders must support the following standards. 1) Pervasive commerce - Commerce engagements often lead the digital customer journey and are growing at an exponential rate. Next generation providers will take an API-first approach with an open and standards-based platform of tools and technologies to support innovation in order to support the customer journey. 2) Beyond commerce – For several years, ecommerce has been much more than just a shopping cart for B2C retail. The next era requires a single platform for brands to build their B2C interactions as well as their B2B trading partners across all industries. The capabilities for a next-gen digital commerce solution include innovations such as hyper personalized marketing and recommendations, built-in A/B testing and powerful search to re-ordering and support for complex products and services. 3) Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning Infused Commerce – AI/ML data can help online brands to provide better customer experiences and also identify insights and recommendations to business users on how to make decisions that further optimize their business. Regardless of your business operation model, the time is right to partner with the digital commerce leader. For more information, click here to view the full report to learn more.   Source: Gartner (June 2018) Gartner "Magic Quadrant for Digital Commerce", Penny Gillespie, Jason Daigler, Mike Lowndes, Christina Klock, Yanna Dharmasthira, Sandy Shen, 5 June 2018. 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.    

Oracle Commerce Leads Again in Gartner 2018 Magic Quadrant for Digital Commerce By Katrina Gosek According to Gartner, leaders in digital commerce execute against their current vision and are well...

Customer Experience Technology

What is Headless Commerce?

Original post here by Gary Kirschner, Senior Director, Product Management, Oracle One of the biggest topics in digital commerce technology is using a headless architecture when developing ecommerce sites. Broadly speaking, a headless approach separates the UI layer from the underlying backend services, and connects the two through a set of web services. Contrast this with a more ‘traditional’ approach where the commerce system manages not only the services, but also the front-end UI, with technologies such as JSP pages. Benefits of headless commerce Development efficiency. UI development teams can work on changes to the UI layer, using the commerce backend as a set of services. In doing so, the UI can be updated and changed without updating and retesting all the core commerce logic and integrations. Likewise, with two separate code bases, teams have greater ability to work in parallel. Simplified integration via the UI layer. Deploying a flexible UI layer that is consuming services from backend systems allows it to pull in data and services from a range of systems. The UI layer can act as a ‘mash up’ of various sets of services to present a coherent experience to the user, essentially moving much of the integration to that layer. Add commerce into any front end or existing UI. Similar to the prior benefit, with a separate UI layer, commerce functionality can be inserted into any other system quickly and efficiently, without having to disrupt the overall approach and architecture. With the above benefits, many merchants are faced with making key decisions on their technical direction. Significant market pressure requires that teams innovate more quickly, yet this innovation must be in the context of the overall brand experience and differentiated from competitors. Will a headless approach help meet those goals? And will existing back end systems enable and simplify implementation, or be a barrier?  Beyond the broad definition provided above, there is actually a spectrum of possible approaches to running headless, and it is valuable to look at them to understand each. Types of headless commerce 1. Non-headless commerce In a non-headless approach, the UI layer and the commerce services layer are tightly connected and typically run as a single system. While this approach allows a tight integration between commerce tooling and experience management, it also means that all aspects of the commerce site are in the same system, causing inefficiencies in large development teams. Further, it does not necessarily require that services be exposed for commerce services, as they may only be accessed internally between the commerce application’s UI component and the application’s services. 2. Headless, Non-integrated There are a range of UI layer tools and platforms available to developers for building the front-end UI for a commerce application. These approaches include using a web content platform outside the commerce platform, or even developing the UI layer in house.  Without integration with the commerce platform’s tools, users have to rely on the UI layer’s tools for creating and managing the user experience for the site. If developed in house, that means there is a need to also develop tools to allow business users to manage the experience as much as possible.  Further, some UI platforms may not give you the flexibility to integrate and allow the commerce platform to influence the experience, even if the time and money is available to do the work. Whenever either of these approaches is taken, unless it is an explicit goal and extra effort is undertaken, the UI layer will not be able to be managed from the commerce application.  Page layouts, content selection, personalization, testing and more will all be driven by the UI layer, and its tools. 3. Headless, Integrated UI Tools With this approach, the UI layer is separate from the set of backend services and communication is based on web services. However, unlike the prior approach, the UI layer is still integrated with the commerce application, such that commerce application capabilities, like site design tools, personalization, A/B Testing, etc. can all be leveraged. In this approach, the UI layer can be provided as a part of the commerce application, it could be a custom developed UI solution, or it could be a platform provided by another vendor. However, the latter two approaches require extensive work to leverage all capabilities of the commerce solution. Headless commerce with Oracle Commerce Cloud Oracle Commerce Cloud gives you the flexibility to choose either of the headless flavors described above. Critical for these headless approaches is a robust set of REST web services (which helped us score very highly in the latest Gartner Magic Quadrant for digital commerce). Oracle Commerce Cloud has been designed from the bottom up to take an “API First” approach, ensuring that all functionality is available via services. This presents a very wide range of options for implementation. Out of the box, Oracle Commerce Cloud provides a storefront UI layer and application that is brandable, extensible, and fully integrated with the commerce application tool set. It is a single page application that communicates with the platform through a complete set of REST services, and allows customers or their implementation partners to use Oracle provided building blocks (“widgets”) to build up pages, or create their own widgets and place on appropriate locations on the site. In a similar manner, all the other capabilities of the Oracle Commerce Cloud solution, such as personalization, AB Testing, Recommendations, responsive site design, and content capabilities are made available through the storefront framework and tools, and provided widgets. Just as Oracle has provided a storefront application in a separate UI layer, using REST services and being tightly integrated with the Commerce Cloud tool set, an implementer can build their storefront application using the same REST APIs that Oracle uses. At a minimum level, the storefront can use these APIs only for core commerce services, such as catalog browse and search, cart, checkout, and so on. However, just as Oracle has used these APIs to leverage the commerce site design tools, so could a custom UI layer, albeit with more effort. Check out our public API documentation here. The choice is really for the merchant to make, depending on what best fits with their strategy and capabilities. Is headless commerce right for my organization? The choice to go headless, and the selected approach to headless, are not easy decisions to make. While there are benefits, such as improved independence of development teams, there are a number of challenges that customers have run into that are worth review. Headless sites typically rely on JavaScript technology for much of the site functionality. While doing so can give a great user experience, it does present challenges for search engine bots, SEO, and other web technologies. Oracle Commerce Cloud’s storefront leverages a number of different approaches to handle bot traffic such that the site’s pages are rendered correctly and indexed appropriately by external sites.  Unless significant effort is made to integrate the UI layer with the commerce platform tools, business users will end up with two systems to use, with two sets of tools, and the need to copy paste between them. Even if fully integrated, from an IT perspective, the group will need to understand, manage, and test an additional application, associated integrations, etc. for two platforms. Essentially, running a second platform is not free, either technically or from a usage perspective. If your IT capacity is not sufficient, or your business process is not flexible enough for use of two systems and tools, a non-integrated UI layer, headless approach may not be right for you. Integrating a completely separate UI layer with your backend commerce services can be more difficult than expected. While usage of standard commerce services is usually straightforward, to get the most benefit and not have business users jumping between multiple tools, you want the UI layer to leverage customer information, including commerce activity, and other commerce data, to present the best experience. That data either needs to be shared between the commerce platform and the UI platform, or query/used as needed. Either way, it is a more complex integration effort and can extend deployment times and costs. Conclusions While headless approaches for commerce sites can provide a range of benefits, these benefits do not come without costs or risks. These costs and risks should be evaluated by each individual merchant to understand which is the best approach for them. Oracle Commerce Cloud provides a unique set of capabilities that gives merchants a great deal of flexibility in choosing the approach that best meets their needs. That could be using the Commerce Cloud storefront provided by Oracle to get the benefits of a headless approach, with Oracle doing the hard work around integration, common tools, SEO, and more. Or, it could be leveraging a third-party platform or technology that utilizes Commerce Cloud’s REST framework, allowing implementers to leverage these same tools, or run in a non-integrated fashion. Watch a recording and demo about Commerce Cloud’s API and innovations for developers from the Modern Customer Experience conference. Get the latest Gartner Magic Quadrant for Digital Commerce 2018 report.

Original post here by Gary Kirschner, Senior Director, Product Management, Oracle One of the biggest topics in digital commerce technology is using a headless architecture when developing ecommerce...

CX News & Events

AI for Customer Service at the Peril of Personal Relations - and Other News

Enjoy our weekly round-up of top news stories across the CX landscape.   Oracle CX Social Content: #Oracle is named a leader in the June 2018 @Gartner_Inc #MagicQuadrant for #DigitalCommerce. Download the report: http://ora.cl/Pi6TS Click to Tweet Where does your #CX stand? See what the current #customerexperience landscape looks like in the 2018 #SmarterCX Insights Report: http://ora.cl/5j2zu Click to Tweet #Albuquerque is the first city in the world to integrate with Amazon #Alexa to make service interactions with the city easier http://ora.cl/Bt6G1 #CX Click to Tweet "Inactive" customers can represent a real concern for every marketer. Here are two things you can do to further understand them: http://ora.cl/a7WH2  @OracleMktgCloud Click to Tweet A look back at highlights from the #CX Excellence awards at #ModernCX w/some of the 2018 winners: @LaurenWiedt, @ADP, @ScriptPro, @Pier1. See more highlights from this year's event: http://ora.cl/H0P4F Click to Tweet   Oracle Customer Experience Cloud Suite News: Conversational Platform-as-a-Service Company, RapportBoost.AI, Becomes Oracle PartnerNetwork Gold Level Partner- Digitaljournal, 6.13.18 RapportBoost.AI’s Conversational Platform-as-a-Service will appear on the Oracle Cloud Marketplace and currently works with Oracle Right Now Cloud Service customers to optimize their live chat communications.   Industry News: Upselling Can Help Stem Churn And Increase Retention: Study – Beth Negus Viveiros, Chief Marketer, 6.12.18 According to a new report, upselling customers within the first three months of their contract can help companies stem churn and increase retention by 30 percent. New Research: B2B Marketers Doubling Monthly Video Efforts, Usage Across Channels – Elise Schoening, Demand Gen Report, 6.12.18 Video usage in sales conversations grew from 25 percent to 37 percent in the last year as video production experienced an uptick within the B2B marketing space. Do Brands Use Email And Marketing Automation Effectively? – Editorial Staff, MarTech Series, 6.11.18 Despite the vast benefits of using marketing automation, a report finds that many marketers are not using the full capabilities of their marketing automation tools.   Innovation: Retail IoT Could Be $94 Billion Market By 2025 – Dan O’Shea, Retail Dive, 6.13.18 The worldwide market for IoT hardware for retail applications, including sensors, RFID tags, beacons and wearables, is expected to grow to more than $94 billion by 2025. IoT Is Building Higher Levels Of Customer Engagement – Forbes, 6.14.18 IoT through interconnected devices and strong data analytics makes an entirely new level of customer surprise, delight and convenience possible today, it brings relevant experiences and information to consumers, whether to facilitate the operation of smart homes or to provide relevant health and wellness data that can be shared with medical professionals.   Customer Service: Customer Service Rage: Myth or Reality? - Anand Subramaniam, Customerthink, 6.5.18 While customer service rage could be real, it could easily become myth with the right technologies and the right solution partner. AI for customer service at the peril of personal relations - Bridget Botelho, Searchcrm, 6.18 AI tools in CRM help companies deliver hyper-personalized customer experiences but prevent customers from actually having personal interactions with service agents.

Enjoy our weekly round-up of top news stories across the CX landscape.   Oracle CX Social Content: #Oracle is named a leader in the June 2018 @Gartner_Inc #MagicQuadrant for #DigitalCommerce. Download...

Customer Experience Strategy

3 Key Strategies to Deliver Modern Customer Experiences

“We aim to put the customer at the center of everything we do.” Apple CEO Tim Cook’s words echoed throughout the company’s 2018 Worldwide Developer’s Conference, an event touting impressive software innovations from the tech giant. It’s incredible that, despite Apple’s scale and focus on groundbreaking technologies, customer experience (CX) is the company’s principal driver. This sentiment is echoed throughout the management consulting community, where Bain & Company says, “companies are competing for customers based on the quality of the experience.” Such differentiation applies across industries, from high-touch retailers to industrial manufacturers with multi-year sales cycles. While the definition of “high quality experience” varies among disparate marketplaces, the shift towards the CX imperative spans industries. To address this, modern organizations are bringing into focus three strategies that can help them deliver differentiating experiences to their customers: customer-obsessed culture, processes that span the customer journey, and unified customer data. 1. Customer Obsession Many companies pay lip-service to the term “customer-obsession.” However, those who successfully execute on CX strategies possess a culture where customer-obsession is ingrained from front-line workers up to the C-suite. For example, Costco nurtures a customer-centric culture by taking care of employees in a manner unmatched by competing big box retailers.  They emphasize worker happiness, which in turn allows employees to focus on customers. Disney’s maniacal customer focus comes from rigorous training to help employees deliver personalized experiences to park attendees, driven by a sense of purpose to “create happiness.”  Apple allows individual contributors to share innovative ideas on how to improve retail experiences. That level of ownership allows organizations to deliver amazing CX at scale. 2.  Processes That Span the Customer Journey While most front-line employees have sound processes to help with individual customer interactions, few organizations understand when a customer is at risk of leaving for a competitor, or when they may become a brand advocate. Video: Customer Experience Journey Mapping with Oracle CX At Oracle, we help customers through Customer Experience Journey Mapping to identify these opportunities. We’ve also used this method to improve understanding of our own customer relationships when Oracle launched its Accelerated Buying Experience, a way to allow customers to purchase cloud services with the click of a button. The initiative began with analysis of customer purchase behaviors. Oracle leveraged its findings to give salespeople the ability to deliver seamless buying experiences to their customers. The scale of information required for this analysis demanded incredible competencies around customer data, which leads to the third strategy for delivering Modern CX - unified data. 3.  Unified Customer Data Disconnected experiences between online, phone, and in-person interactions lead to  frustrating buying and service experiences. The inability to factor past purchases into advertising audiences can lead customers to associate brands with annoying, irrelevant ads and spam. Lack of insight into the health of an account leaves sales professionals unprepared for prospecting calls and on-site meetings. Both B2B and B2C organizations need to understand how collecting, managing, and analyzing customer data holistically can impact customer journeys. In recent years, avenues for collecting customer data have become more sophisticated with data management platforms that blend data from partners and 3rd party sources. Data collection is only the first step towards delivering transformative customer experiences. Disparate touchpoints and siloed customer information present issues with providing the business with a 360º view of the buyer. Honing data analytics capabilities to precision can lead to personal, individualized brand customer interactions. In such an ecosystem, customer data is clean, de-duplicated, and centralized. Effectively managed data unleashes a firm’s ability to perform valuable customer analysis. The result could be as simple as showing a complete view of a client to a service agent during an inbound call, chat session, or online co-browse. It means understanding the performance of an email + display ad campaign among different target audience segments. On a strategic level, this information bubbles up to provide broad views of customer satisfaction, attrition, customer lifetime value, and persona-based profitability. Across the management chain, these insights allow executives to develop the next iteration of their company’s CX strategies. Begin Your Customer Journey with a Map Purposeful data analysis, collection and management are only a part of the Modern Customer Experience story. Top performing organizations extract value from these technical competencies with culture and processes that revolve around the customer. For many brands, a meaningful start involves Customer Experience Journey Mapping to understand risks and opportunities within each customer touch point. With the support of executives and the buy-in of practitioners, organizations can take those findings and design workflows and attitudes towards customer-centricity. With processes and culture supported by systems that provide a holistic view of the customer, organizations can make strides forward in capturing market share and heart share in a time when customer experience matters.

“We aim to put the customer at the center of everything we do.” Apple CEO Tim Cook’s words echoed throughout the company’s 2018 Worldwide Developer’s Conference, an event touting impressive software...

CX News & Events

How AI Might Create More, Not Less, Work Opportunity - and Other News

Enjoy our weekly round-up of top news stories across the CX landscape.   Oracle CX Social Content: Time to transform your #lifestyle & be #innovative! @jwartgow tells you more about "organic channels" & how they can be a vision of tomorrow's @OracleServCloud: http://ora.cl/BG4b8 #CX  Click to Tweet Find out three primary benefits of adding visualizations to #CPQ to improve the selling process http://ora.cl/Lp3a0  Click to Tweet #UchidaYoko Improves User Satisfaction by Constructing IR FAQ with @OracleServCloud http://ora.cl/kX5aM #CX  Click to Tweet Take a moment to debunk some of the myths that are floating around about #OracleCPQ Cloud  http://ora.cl/Kk4im Click to Tweet What is the key for #marketers to win the trust & confidence of #sales? @Oracle's @amandajobbins on how Oracle does marketing: http://ora.cl/9vr0F Click to Tweet   Oracle Customer Experience Cloud Suite News: Seeking The Optimal Digital Channel – Christopher Hosford, B-to-B Marketer, 6.7.18 B2B marketers can use new technologies like chatbots to take advantage of the variety of lead-generation channels available today, according to Oracle’s Pierre Custeau.   Industry News: Study: Global Digital Commerce Spending On The Rise – Deena Amato-McCoy, Chain Store Age, 6.6.18 According to a recent digital commerce report, consumer spending of digital commerce will reach $14.7 trillion by 2022, up 60 percent since last year’s figures. How Thick Data Helps You Build Emotional Connections With Customers – Matt Wright, CMSWire, 6.5.18 Companies can generate “thick data” through contextual inquiries, diary studies and ethnographic research to better understand their customers’ emotional needs. How Business Leaders Can Get The Best Return On Their Tech Investments – Alison DeNisco Rayome, TechRepublic, 6.5.18 According to a report from KPMG, brands that deliver the best customer experiences achieve higher revenue growth than brands that were ranked poorly by customers. Create Compelling + Engaging Content With Influencers – Karen Koslow, Chief Marketer, 6.4.18 The keys to ensuring quality sponsored brand content include identifying the right influencers, treating the relationship like a collaboration and trusting the influencers.   Innovation: Call Center Artificial Intelligence Trends Drive Chat, Decision-Making – Don Fluckinger, SearchCRM (TechTarget), 5.1.18 As AI infiltrates call centers, the technology may help front-line agents better care for customers, who are contacting companies for service in greater numbers than ever. How AI Might Create More, Not Less, Work Opportunity – Lan Xuezhao, Forbes, 6.6.18 AI can help reduce the labor shortage in labor-heavy industries such as manufacturing and agriculture and humans will be able to focus on higher-level work that robots may not be able to do – work that requires more thinking, decision-making, or emotional intelligence.   Customer Service: Why Great Customer Service Doesn't Cut It – Adam Butler, Forbes, 5.30.18 Stop touting your “great customer service” and focus on the specifics that make your service exceptional to achieve success. The Challenge of AI Voice Assistants in Customer Service – Kaye Chapman, Customerthink, 6.7.18 Now is the time to reflect on how our businesses will handle customer-side automation coming this year, and how more organizations can handle automation-related issues generally as technology develops.

Enjoy our weekly round-up of top news stories across the CX landscape.   Oracle CX Social Content: Time to transform your #lifestyle & be #innovative! @jwartgow tells you more about "organic channels" &...

Customer Experience Strategy

Winning the Consumer Goods and Retail Digital Revolution

Sunil Chhabra, VP of Industry CX Product Management for CG&R It’s no surprise the consumer goods and retail (CG&R) industry is undergoing a seismic shift as these headlines below clearly demonstrate. There’s no sign of any let-up in the pace of change. Nestle and Starbucks Agree To A $7B Distribution Deal Here’s What Toys ’R Us Store Closures Mean for Amazon, Mattel, and Others Payless to Close Up to 800 Stores in Total For CG&R brands that are struggling to compete, Oracle wants to help.  Over the past several months, Oracle has worked closely with companies and partners to dig deep into the trends and challenges facing this industry. Based on these learnings, we are now offering Cloud-based solutions to help companies: Get Smarter With Data: get better customer insights Think Different: how to flawlessly execute omni-channel direct-to-consumer (D2C), and Fulfill Perfectly: how to execute frictionless and perfect omni-channel fulfillment at scale Smart Consumer Insights The journey to a successful digital transformation starts with honing to precision the ability to acquire and harvest consumer data – transactional, behavioral, and social – from all sources.  And then, become capable to use AI to make intelligent decisions. These multidimensional insights will help CG&R companies to quickly and accurately identify consumers at their ‘moment of need’; create relevant intent and behavior driven offers, prices and messages. Marketing and sales will effectively link to improve conversion rates to generate higher revenue and improved margins with greater predictability. Oracle Consumer Markets Flawless Omni-Channel Direct to Consumer Consumers today want companies and retailers to think differently – from a "by the pallet" mentality to a 'by the each" mindset. Companies need to cultivate the ability to provide continuity and context as conversations with the consumer traverse all channels. This direct relationship with the consumer presents multiple benefits including more opportunities to upsell, cross sell, and increase brand equity by protecting margins and reducing discounts and the threat of generic brands. Perfect Omni-Channel Fulfillment Customers expect the commitment made during the purchasing process will conclude with a perfect delivery experience. CG&R companies need to also provide consistently accurate information across all channels, allowing them to flawlessly process and ship orders, bill consumers accurately, and make the experience omni-channel worthy by making it easy for consumers to cancel or return orders through any channel. Consumer Goods & Retail is a space that’s ripe for innovation due to technological, demographic and societal changes. Oracle CX can help CG&R companies be better prepared to succeed with these changes. Click here to read more about Oracle Consumer Goods and Retail solutions Read the eBook Reinventing the Customer Experience in the Era of the Connected Consumer Read this WSJ article - How Artificial Intelligence Will Make Retail More Intelligent  

Sunil Chhabra, VP of Industry CX Product Management for CG&R It’s no surprise the consumer goods and retail (CG&R) industry is undergoing a seismic shift as these headlines below clearly demonstrate....

Customer Experience Strategy

Data Centers on Wheels – Monetize the Digitization of the Automobile Industry

Murali Varmaraja, Oracle Automotive Industry Solution Lead As the digital revolution accelerates, macro technology trends like “connected…autonomous …shared…and electric” are enabling new experiences. These will disrupt and be a catalyst for significant change that will transform the automotive industry. The case for this transformation is based on changing customer expectations. The question to auto makers is “Are you ready?” Before You Know It Think about these stats. 2020 is less than two years away!  Companies are extending their range of products and services with new platforms and ecosystems where digital, AI and data will be crucial. By 2020, there will be 20.4 billion IoT devices. 70% of value for a product will come from digital sources. AI will generate $2.9 trillion in business value. There is going to be 5,200 gigabytes of data for every person on earth. Autonomous driving cars will produce 1-4 terabytes of data per car per day. By 2030, the automotive data industry will be worth half a trillion dollars. To deal with these changes, a modern car embeds more than 100 Million lines of code and a vehicle has essentially become a data center on wheels.   Automobiles will provide new customer services enabled by connectivity and data.. Passengers will be able to procure a luxury vehicle as a service, multimode mobility services, pay as you drive (PAYD) and pay how you drive (PHYD) and mileage-based auto insurance.     To win, companies should start by focusing on the irresistible customer experiences they want to provide, and work backwards towards the technology.   Oracle can help. Oracle CX for Automotive Connected Innovations The world of mobility impacts every human being on the planet. The transformations going on enabled by digital technologies are opening doors to new ways of consuming mobility and related services that simply didn’t exist even a few years ago. These transformations are also opening new monetization opportunities that didn’t exist before – opportunities that soon may exceed revenue from sales of core automobiles. We are excited to be agents helping the industry successfully adopt and manage these disruptions. Oracle is enabling OEMs and dealers to provide richer digital-enabled experiences to increase the lifetime value of their customers. Deep Customer/Vehicle Insight with IoT and Driver DNA: Acquire and leverage actionable data and create unique living profiles of prospects, owners, occupants, customer driving habits and vehicles that leverage all in-house data - including IoT and other connected vehicle data. Augment this with the industry’s most comprehensive and highest quality external data that’s based on customer intent and behaviors to secure an individualized ‘segment-of-one’ profile of buyers and users. AI-Powered Personalized Customer and Dealer Digital  Experiences: Leverage deep customer and vehicle insights to orchestrate AI-powered omnichannel innovative digital/AR/VR engagements that help you connect with your customers in unique ways.  Provide value at the right moment across marketing, sales, service, finance, loyalty, warranty, supply chain, and dealer operations to deliver hyper-personalized engagements, offers and services. Vehicle-as-a-Services offers: Create innovative bundles and offers to provide flexible consumption for vehicles, insurance, maintenance services, monitoring, partner offers, and vehicle lifecycle management services. Automate subscription billings and payments processing. To read more about the Oracle Automotive Industry Viewpoints – Click here Click to read - Toyota Selects Oracle Cloud to Analyze Ha:mo Sharing Service in Verification Project Click to read Volvo Group Logistics Services Reduces Costs with Oracle Transportation Management

Murali Varmaraja, Oracle Automotive Industry Solution Lead As the digital revolution accelerates, macro technology trends like “connected…autonomous …shared…and electric” are enabling new experiences....

Customer Experience Strategy

Customer Experience is the Last Competitive Advantage in a Mobile World

David Lorengo, CX Solutions Architect, Oracle Imagine a world where personal ownership of transportation devices is obsolete. In this world, people journey from point A to point B using the most convenient service in their moment of need with just a couple of clicks from their mobile device. The consumer gets immediate gratification based on convenience, value and personalized experience. In this world, mobile services continue to upend the transportation industry, as we know it. Different elements of this model have emerged. There’s car sharing with ZipCar and car2go. There are transportation networks such as Lyft and Uber, and bike sharing with Lime Bikes, Spin and Ofo. Soon, we will have public and private autonomous transit. Tomorrow’s consumers will see very little difference among competing services. For example, when Lyft and Uber are roughly the same price, consumers choose based on the shortest wait time and personal affinity to the brand built up through quality of their ridership experience.  The consumer’s transition from an ownership experience to a service experience has profound implications for manufacturers. The way a service provider’s fleet buyer looks at ownership is very different from how a consumer buys a vehicle today. Manufacturers are redefining who their end customers are and what they value as their own customers evolve from consumers to service providers. Automotive brands struggle today to build and maintain a direct relationship with consumers whose primary interaction is with the dealership. Manufacturers will address a shrinking market of people who prefer car ownership and grapple with being further removed from them by the service provider. Mobility’s Time is Coming Soon Traditional mobility providers (rental cars, taxi, public transit systems) also need to re-examine their value proposition and how they’ll remain relevant in a market driven by consumer experience. Uber and Lyft have changed the way consumers think about transportation because they disrupted taxi and rental car markets that weren’t focused on convenience and ubiquity. The days of waiting for a taxi, bus or train, and dealing with the rental and return processes are almost over. For service providers, providing a great customer experience will be the ultimate advantage. As mobility transitions to a commodity, a service provider’s only means of competitive advantage will be their customer experience.  Mobile consumers just want to get from A to B quickly, safely and hassle free. Today, the consumer has to evaluate each segment of the journey on its own, and piece together their own personalized journey across multiple providers. Tomorrow’s mobility leaders will be able to offer the entire set of services between point A and point B in total, giving the consumer a single experience for evaluating, purchasing, and consuming services across multiple providers. The market is still very fragmented and the opportunity for market leadership is available for the provider who is able to re-think what customers value and deliver. The service provider’s ability to master journey mapping, big data, data science, machine learning and artificial intelligence will be critical to delivering this experience.  Winning providers will understand the customer journey across channels and providers. Apps and sensors will generate detailed data about the activity on their service.  They’ll continuously and creatively combine their data with other data sources; like a consumer’s past purchase history, service performance history, real time location, weather, traffic, and service schedules. Finally, providers will need to harness machine learning and artificial intelligence to create a unique, individualized journey and offer for each consumer, at the best time. Accomplishing this presents regulatory and business model challenges. Service providers will need to develop strategic relationships with or acquire other providers.  They will need to earn the consumer’s trust to convince them to opt-in to the necessary data sharing agreements.   We are in the early stages of a mobility market that is exploding with choices for the consumer.  The service providers who are able to deliver the best end-to-end experience will be the winners.

David Lorengo, CX Solutions Architect, Oracle Imagine a world where personal ownership of transportation devices is obsolete. In this world, people journey from point A to point B using the most...

Ask the Experts

Innovation, Ideas and Service Experiences - Part 2 of an Interview with Jeff Wartgow

I recently spoke with Jeff Wartgow, Oracle’s Senior Director of Product Management for Fusion CX Strategy. Here is part two of our discussion.   Jeff and I continue to talk about the ways organizations can leverage technology with their service capabilities toward creating great customer experiences. (Click here to read part 1 of our chat) A trendy concept that you’ve discussed is Automation. I’m referring to things like Virtual Assistants, Internet of Things, Augmented Reality, and AI. How far away are we from these technologies being a part of our world? What should businesses invest in? Anything that I thought was borderline science fiction two years ago seems to be ready for implementation today.  Virtual assistants and AI can make an immediate impact on an organization. I highly recommend businesses experiment with them now, as I believe they will be come as vital as voicemail in the next few years. For customers who service physical devices, IoT should change your world, presuming it hasn’t already. If you don’t have smart devices, it’s time to start building them. One day we will all be angry when the washing machine can’t fix itself. Try not to just let technology take over existing processes. Instead, ask yourself, “What have we never been able to do before?” As a millennial, I’ve had my fair share of communicating with brands. I’ve tweeted, Facebook-messaged, chatted, and even Instagram ‘Direct Messaged.’  What are the different engagement trends you see for the future? Millennials figured this all out early. The best way to receive service is not through the phone. If fact, one of our largest customers said, “our millennial customers don’t want to talk to us, and our millennial service reps don’t want to talk to them.”  This is because chat, messaging apps, and even Instagram are better forms of communication. Think about it. You have a written record. You don’t need to repeat information. You can just exchange pictures, videos, links, etc.  Why limit yourself to just voice?  Us old Gen Xers are now starting to catch on. What does the future hold? I don’t know. If you want to see the future, just look at your kids. Millennial parents…your two-year-old can use an iPad before they walk. Keep that in mind when you design your next self-service portal. Three main traditional service goals are driving service costs down, reducing service requests, and decreasing resolution times. With new solutions being deployed every day, what’s the number one issue you keep seeing in the Service world? Unfortunately, all of us in the Service world are still too often considered a cost center. Hence, the goals you mentioned.  Most service organizations I speak with know how to deliver great CX.  They know what their customers want from them. But, the challenge is finding the budget and resources to execute.  Many transformational companies are investigating ways to leverage service organizations in a different capacity. The goal is to change them from cost centers to…dare I say it…profit centers!  Oracle has been working to connect the CX dots to help make this dream a reality. You live and breathe service every day. How did you get into this space and what does service as a strategy mean to you? I’m a lifetime tech nerd.  I’ve worked in hardware, IT, professional services and now software.  I love seeing how technology can change people’s lives.  When I was offered the chance to work in service, it was so easy to get excited about the space because it touches us every day.  Right now, a guy is picking up my recycling…that’s service.  My garage just emailed me to let me know that they repaired the oil pan on our old Jeep and it’s ready for pick up…that’s service.  I might engage with 10 brands in a single day. Every one of them has an opportunity to differentiate themselves and win more of my business through a creative service strategy.  In conclusion, why is it important to have connected business solutions from a Service perspective and why now? Unless your service request is something simple like “Change my Password,” chances are your request is tied to a previous event in the customer experience.  This includes what you purchased, how you purchased, your agreed upon entitlements and your relationship with the brand.  Therefore, to solve my service request the right way, an agent must be connected to all the other business solutions as a foundational starting point.  Why now?  First, because it is now possible and cost effective. Second, because customers will not tolerate anything less. Click here to read Jeff's article "Using Connected Intelligence" from Profit Magazine.  

I recently spoke with Jeff Wartgow, Oracle’s Senior Director of Product Management for Fusion CX Strategy. Here is part two of our discussion.   Jeff and I continue to talk about the ways...

Oracle

Integrated Cloud Applications & Platform Services