Friday May 29, 2015
Wednesday May 27, 2015
By Christine Friscic-Oracle on May 27, 2015
When it comes to customer-facing work, modern field service management solutions deliver proven benefits for communications providers. Here’s a look at how CSPs can power even greater results by applying the same field service management best practices to network maintenance field service operations.
As competition increases in the industry, many communications services providers (CSPs) turn to field service management technology to boost customer satisfaction and power efficiencies in order to differentiate their brand.
As a field service solutions provider, we’ve seen many CSPs significantly increase productivity, improve customer satisfaction ratings, and reduce operational costs by leveraging modern field service solutions in their customer-facing operations. Now, we’re seeing interest from CSPs in extending these benefits to the network maintenance operations.
Here’s how some of the best practices we’ve learned in working with CSPs in their customer-facing operations translate into the network maintenance side of their business.
Automate, then optimize
The days of manual processes and automation-only field service management are
behind us, and CSPs are leading the way. Organizations are taking automation a
step further – using modern field service tools with pattern recognition and
predictive capabilities to optimize their processes.
These solutions employ predictive analytics to optimize technician job assignment, scheduling and routing—taking into consideration individual technician skill sets, availability, location and service level agreement (SLA) terms. These capabilities allow CSPs to:
- Boost workforce productivity with more jobs completed per day
- Reduce operational costs, such as vehicle maintenance and fuel
- Get the right technician, with required skills and parts, to each job faster and reduce mean time to repair (MTTR)
As a result, customers are happier and CSPs can maintain compliance with SLAs while driving operational efficiencies. Automation alone can save time on planning and coordination; however, predictive field service optimization drives new levels of productivity and cost reduction.
Put the customer first,
and give them control
It may sound simple, but a little can go a long way when it comes to your customers. Deploying a field service solution that gives all stakeholders – customers, call center representatives, service managers and field technicians – a real-time view of what’s going on in the field and leverages predictive analytics equips CSPs to:
- Provide shorter appointment windows by accurately predicting when a technician will arrive and how long a job with take to complete
- Ensure on-time technician arrivals every time
- Communicate appointment status updates proactively
In doing so, CSPs keep customers in the loop and reduce costs associated with inefficiencies, such as unnecessary trips to customers’ homes.
The same idea can be applied to managing the field technicians
doing network maintenance and repair. The visibility that modern field service
tools provide can help CSPs:
- Complete routine maintenance on-schedule to prevent downtime
- Be transparent with customers when issues occur, providing accurate information about when the issue will be resolved
This approach enables CSPs to positively impact the relationships they have with customers, even in a situation that is ordinarily perceived negatively – for example, being kept waiting for internet service to be restored, or a cable service outage to be resolved on game day.
Empower your field resources
Collective knowledge and the skills of the entire team are important resources for field service teams. Modern field service solutions with collaboration capabilities allow CSPs to empower their mobile workforce, enabling technicians to:
- Easily connect with their peers to complete jobs the right way, the first time
- Quickly identify nearby technicians and transfer work
to an available tech when upcoming appointments are in jeopardy of missing
their service windows
Keeping the network up and running is a critical part of business for CSPs. Field service solutions with integrated mobile collaboration tools enable field technicians to:
- Complete network maintenance jobs faster
- Ensure work is done right the first time, improving
CSPs have an opportunity to apply the same best practices learned from customer-facing work to their network-facing operations to drive additional benefits. With modern field service solutions, CSPs can amplify the efficiencies, customer satisfaction and cost-savings, and propel their business further to stay ahead of the competition.
Want to learn more about our Oracle Field Service Cloud solution? Check out our Oracle Field Service Cloud Service for Communications data sheet or request a demo today!
Tuesday May 26, 2015
Oracle Service Cloud May 2015 Release – Optimizing Integrations across the Oracle Portfolio by Stephen Fioretti
By Tuula Fai on May 26, 2015
The May 2015 release of Oracle Service Cloud enhances the power of Service Cloud with integration accelerators for Siebel, EBS and Oracle Field Service Cloud. These new accelerators enable companies to connect their Service Cloud solutions with other business systems, optimizing their investments while improving operations across the organization.
Unlike traditional integration offerings, Oracle Service Cloud Integration Accelerators are designed to equip companies and technology partners with the resources they need to quickly and easily build custom integrations that leverage the power of Oracle’s business solutions to meet the unique and evolving requirements of each organization.
Extend Great Service to the Field
With the acquisition of TOA Technologies in 2014, Oracle Service Cloud added field service management capabilities to its suite of products to help companies further streamline web self-service, contact center and field service interactions. To optimize the integration between Oracle Field Service Cloud and Oracle Service Cloud, this Accelerator enables companies to leverage the field service solution’s powerful, predictive routing and scheduling functionality directly within the Oracle Service Cloud Agent Desktop. Using an intelligent booking calendar, contact center agents can book field appointments based on the real-time availability of field resources – so customers can choose a date and time that’s most convenient for them. Field service employees get more context about a customer’s problem, and contact center agents can view updates as work is assigned and completed. Companies can now deliver a holistic and consistent service experience from the moment an inbound incident is received, through appointment scheduling and routing, and all the way through post-appointment customer feedback.
Connect Web Self Service with Siebel for a 360° Customer View
The Siebel Integration Accelerator enables the creation of custom widgets to show customer information in both Siebel and Service Cloud interfaces. Information captured from Customer Portal can be automatically added to a Service Request in Siebel, and outbound communications from the Siebel interface can be viewed in Customer Portal as well.This Integration Accelerator further enhances the integration capabilities for customers looking to utilize both Siebel and Oracle Service Cloud components.
Enhance EBS with Oracle Service Cloud Contact Center Capabilities
The EBS Integration Accelerator builds upon the same capabilities available for Siebel, connecting Web Self Service with the EBS agent interface. In the May release, this Accelerator also adds support for contact center components, connecting with EBS data to identify inbound callers and giving agents access to full customer data and history during an interaction on either the EBS or Oracle Service Cloud platforms.
In addition to these Integration Accelerators, the May 2015 release includes several other new features and enhancements, including:
- Social Monitor Enhancements
- Email Management Updates
- Oracle Service Cloud Knowledge Advanced
- Oracle Policy Automation for Mobile
- Field Service Management Mobile Updates
Wednesday May 20, 2015
By Tuula Fai on May 20, 2015
Over 500 customer service professionals joined the Oracle Service Cloud team in Las Vegas recently to kick off the Modern Service Experience Conference! The event featured nearly 40 customer speakers including Kohl’s, LinkedIn, and Nintendo outlining the latest trends in engaging customers, empowering employees and adapting quickly to constantly changing business and customer needs.
The conference also featured industry thought leaders from Forrester, Constellation Research, Beagle Research, and The 56 Group talking about the future of customer service and trends that are impacting a company's ability to deliver great service.
Amidst the three days of sessions, Oracle Service Cloud hosted industry roundtables and a 100 “Ask the Experts” meetings between customers and product experts—and in-depth executive, contact center, web customer service, insightful answers, and technical tracks with customers like Virgin America, Panera, Kaiser Permanente, Beachbody, Nikon, T-Mobile and others. These discussions provided a unique opportunity to connect more closely on detailed product topics and the Oracle Service Cloud product roadmap.
The Oracle Service Cloud team also took time to recognize leading individuals and organizations who continually champion customer service innovation, value, and collaboration to solve the next business problem. Their commitment and passion was contagious! Congratulations again to the 2015 customer award winners, including:
Oracle Service Cloud Customer Champions
- Louis Ross, Vice President, Coach Relations, Beachbody
- Nicholas Armstrong, Director, Global Customer, Experience Products, Orbitz
- Stuart Concannon, Head of Customer Care, Knowledge and Optimisation, ASOS
- Jim Ferron, Customer Experience Strategist, Nintendo
- Tetsu Kimura, Director of Customer Service, Gogo
- Michele Watson, Vice President, Customer Care and Payments & Risk, Walmart.com
- Troy Carrothers, Senior Vice President, Retail Payment Solutions & Multi-Channel Sales & Service and Becky Ploeger, Vice President, Digital Commerce Customer Care, Kohl’s
Oracle Service Cloud Game Changer Award Oracle Service Cloud Innovator Award Oracle Service Cloud Community All-Stars Oracle Service Cloud Modern Service Experience Award
Oracle Service Cloud Game Changer Award
Oracle Service Cloud Innovator Award
Oracle Service Cloud Community All-Stars
Oracle Service Cloud Modern Service Experience Award
Tuesday May 19, 2015
By Tuula Fai on May 19, 2015
It is hard to believe that it has been a decade since social disrupted standard operating procedures for companies. Brands had enjoyed a healthy measure of control before social media-enabled customers around the globe were able to connect and share information. Before, companies controlled not only the information that customers and prospects received, but how and when they received it—effectively spoon-feeding corporate messages to the world.
The advent of social changed this dynamic forever and ushered in The Age of the Customer.
Today, customers control the conversations they have with businesses, and brands have scrambled to adapt. Companies must become customer-obsessed and deliver experiences that meet customer expectations to succeed.
Why? Because loyal customers are less likely to churn, and they are also more likely to recommend your brand and spend more money with your company. When customers spend more money, it directly impacts and increases revenue. For this reason, it is essential to keep your customers satisfied and loyal to your brand. Besides, customer service should be a core element of your CX strategy.
Still, this is hard stuff. So it helps to get some perspective. A May 2015 webinar hosted by Forrester and featuring Forrester Research’s Kate Leggett, Trends 2015: The Future Of Customer Service, helps to make sense of customer service in 2015. Take a look at the below takeaways that we pulled from the webcast, and let us know what trends you see in your organization.
Adopt a mobile-first mindset. Think about your own mobile device usage and you’ll see why customers increasingly look to contact brands via this channel. But, more than that, customers want to be able to start a conversation on mobile and then switch over to a laptop or desktop seamlessly—without needing to rehash the issue with an agent. In 2015, customers will continue to demand effortless interactions of this type over both web and mobile channels.
Explore proactive engagement. We are all customers, right? And, as customers, we know what we want, when, where, and how we want it. To effectively leverage this fact, businesses will begin to experiment with proactive engagement. This refers to proactive chat, promotions, or content served up to customers at the appropriate time to help answer questions, easing the transition from the research phase to purchase.
Leverage connected devices for preemptive service. The Internet of Things (IoT) has taken off in a big way, and with it comes the prospect of preemptive service. From Wi-Fi connected self-learning thermostats to smart, self-propelled vacuum cleaners IoT has the potential to reshape customer service. IoT offers businesses the opportunity to deliver preemptive service that our parents could never have imagined: Proactive communication of product information back to the company to diagnose preemptively and fix issues without customer intervention!
Analytics will power offers, decisions, and connections. There is no “one size fits all” service. Instead, use analytics to deliver deeply personalized customer service by understanding and leveraging data from past interactions, services, and purchases. Additionally, interactions must be tailored to the channel of choice. For example, the tone of an email interaction will likely vary from that of a social or chat interaction. These nuances are important in order to optimize service quality, predict next steps, ensure satisfaction, and produce loyalty, which correlates to increased revenue.
Journey analytics will improve end-to-end service. What does your typical customer journey look like? It is likely to cross multiple communication channels: social, web, email, and phone. Often, these touch points are managed by different functional organizations within a company. It is tricky, but ultimately customers do not care about your internal org structure. What they care about is the ability to cross channels seamlessly to get support without needing to repeat themselves at each point in the journey (we all know how frustrating that can be). But, organizational silos make it difficult to deliver consistent service experiences. Not only that, but few companies have a measure in place that encompasses all channels. Forrester expects that organizations will move to broader, more comprehensive customer service measurement programs, which span all communication channels, to help businesses understand the costs and pain points in the customer journey.
Focus on improving the agent experience. It is staggering the amount of applications that contact center agents use on a daily basis to answer customer questions. Organizations will look to push proactive information to agents, to minimize effort, and to help streamline service delivery. If companies can improve the agent experience, by helping to guide them through resolution paths, then agents will have more confidence to help customers and to deliver truly personalized experiences.
Adopt SaaS for agility. A March 2015 Forrester Research report, Trends 2015: The Future Of Customer Service, found that 32% of companies have already replaced or plan to replace, most or all on-premise solutions with SaaS alternatives within 2 years. Why? Because moving applications to the Cloud pushes the burden of software and hardware maintenance back onto the vendor. This allows companies to be agile and focus on innovating with new features, ultimately creating differentiated, rewarding customer experiences.
Read how Sony uses its online digital experience to proactively engage customers.
Friday May 15, 2015
By Tuula Fai on May 15, 2015
Technology change is moving at warp speed. And we high tech professionals have to keep pace. So here are three tips for stayed centered as you enjoy the wild ride of innovation!
Tip 1: Tame Your Monkey Mind
Do you sometimes have too many thoughts running through your head? Try practicing a mini mind-break called ‘silence, stillness, space.1’ Sit quietly, breathe and feel the space within and around you. That’s all there is to it. Then, when you do your next task, you’ll be more centered and effective.
Tip 2: Five Senses are Better than One
Have you ever gotten so wrapped up in your work that you lost awareness of your surroundings? Pretty much everyone has. To recharge, take a quick break and use your five senses. Look around you, listen to the sounds and feel your feet on the ground. If you have a cup of coffee, take a sip and enjoy its aroma and taste. Your senses will bring you back to the present.
Tip 3: The Giving Me2
Our lives are so busy it can be tough to find time for self-care. But it’s essential to keep our creative juices flowing! So spend 5-10 minutes a day doing something just for you—a nature walk, a good meal, a belly laugh. Equally important is doing something for others. And we get opportunities to be of service all the time. So give your colleague a compliment or donate to someone in need.
And know that you’re in good company. Google starts its meetings with a moment of mindfulness, as featured in 60 minutes. The Wisdom 2.0 Conference was so successful, it’s become an annual tradition for mindful tech moguls like LinkedIn CEO and Oracle customer Jeff Weiner.
Want to share your refocusing tips? Please contact me firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thursday May 14, 2015
By Kayleigh Fitch-Oracle on May 14, 2015
The Oracle Field Service Cloud product team recently returned from Field Service USA, the ultimate annual gathering of industry thought leaders discussing what’s now and what’s next in field service management.
After an energetic keynote on the Roadmap to Modern Field Service by our own Jeffrey Wartgow, Director of Product Management, and two lively round tables on the same topic, led by yours truly, the unofficial theme of this year’s show was crystal clear – knowledge.
Everyone seems to agree that the abundance of knowledge – specifically, knowledge that can help a field service employee achieve faster resolution or guarantee a first-time fix – is a boon. It’s this knowledge (with some help from mobile device and application advancements) that will ultimately blur the lines between service in the contact center and service in the field to meet new customer expectations for what will simply be service – anywhere, anytime. However, the feedback was loud and clear – the industry faces some challenges in leveraging key tribal knowledge in order to reach this new, ultra-modern field service reality.
Collection: Field service leaders know that their employees, especially their most seasoned veterans, have tons of valuable information – in their heads, where it’s only useful to one person. The big question many are addressing right now: what’s the best way to collect that information and make it available for the rest of the team? This will be particularly relevant as we see many rookies stepping up to replace an aging workforce. Plus, it’s simply not scalable for everyone to be calling or texting those few “go-to” employees with every issue.
A good first step for any field service organization facing this dilemma is to consider incorporating concepts from knowledge-centered support –in which knowledge is created as a byproduct of active problem solving – into field workflow processes. This might be as simple as having field experts capture basic content such as symptom, environment, resolution and cause in the mobile applications they use to complete field work. In this way, the field experts are capturing knowledge in context of the issue as they solve it. For example, a field service employee dispatched to a customer sight realizes the issue at hand could really be solved remotely, with help from a contact center agent. A mobile application designed to help him document and immediately share this insight with the customer service team can be useful in preventing unnecessary field appointments as early as later that afternoon.
Sorting: How do you separate critical, influential data from the noise of exponentially expanding information? This is increasingly important when considering the massive volume of information field operations are collecting from the growing Internet of Things. Picture a future where not just your wearable fitness device, but also every potentially data-rich object in your environment begins broadcasting data. Imagine an airplane cabin that continually announces temperature changes: “The temperature has raised .5 degrees. The temperature is now 1 degree lower.” The key will be in differentiating between data produced by the Internet of Dumb Things (“The conveyor belt is down.”) and the Internet of Smart Things (“The conveyor belt is heating up. If the temperature increases another 5 degrees, it will be automatically shut down.”).
Organization: We heard many examples of ways in which field service leaders are attempting to put some logical frameworks in place. For example, we heard of one group that’s creating brief training videos on commonly faced repairs – and making these available during onboarding as well as for everyday use. However, the biggest hurdle field organizations still face is where to store this data until it’s needed. 20,000-line spreadsheets for repair notes and email folders to hold job site photos don’t have the capacity or the sophistication to handle the flood of data that’s coming.
Codifying: For those that have mastered the collection, segmentation and storage of critical data supporting field operations, there’s still the challenge of translating it to a language that everyone understands. This is the most difficult challenge the industry is facing. It’s not just about defining jargon or making knowledge available in English, Spanish and beyond…It’s about parsing through the data to understand that perhaps a coolant leak and hose repair are actually the same job – just described differently because they were performed by different people. How will field organizations identify patterns in their data without a clear understanding of the many ways to interpret it?
Real-Time Presentation: Perhaps the most important challenge surrounding the application of knowledge in field services is how organizations will make all their incredibly valuable, meticulously collected and codified data a seamless part of the field service employee’s workflow. Much in the same way we tag important links as bookmarks in our browser, field service employees need a way to tag and access the information they use most often directly in their field service application. Beyond that, these employees can be exponentially more efficient if that same solution automatically surfaces the most helpful or relevant knowledge based on the current job, or could connect the employee with a colleague who knows how to help.
Today, field service employees are finding ways to share knowledge to get their work done using the tools they already have. For example, a quick video call to a known expert on a particular machine might save an organization the trouble of flying that same expert halfway around the world for a specialized repair. However, this is only the beginning. Field service organizations have a wealth of knowledge about customers, processes and assets – now it’s just a matter of mining that data from the minds of the few for the benefit of the many.
The first step: conduct an audit of current knowledge pockets and gaps, and document a vision for the future. How are your field teams documenting, organizing and sharing data today? Can you imagine how your field operations would be with instant access to tribal knowledge? Who has the best information, and what are the critical access points for others?
Please tell us where you’re at on the journey to knowledge-empowered field service below!
Improve Sales Effectiveness with Oracle Customer Experience Cloud: The Secret Sauce for Your Sales Team
By Emily Creech-Oracle on May 14, 2015
Friday May 01, 2015
By Neil Pridham-Oracle on May 01, 2015
Driving Sales Systems
The use of technology to drive sales organisations has been a focus for many sales leaders over the past twenty years. In that time, software vendors have struggled to balance business complexity with speed of implementation and change. Sales leaders have struggled to balance user adoption with the burden of data entry. We have seen, as a result, large numbers of “CRM” projects fail to deliver the promise. What many companies have ended up with is a glorified address book, diary and list of opportunities.
So what can we do to address this?
A key inhibitor to successful technology use is user adoption. Most companies have spent time improving sales processes, driving sales performance, and increasing efficiency but they have not really tackled the issue of user adoption. Without good user adoption of sales systems the real value from them is merely a dream. Good user adoption drives the data upon which the remainder (marketing, analytics, workflow, decision-making, forecasting, win/loss, quoting, ordering etc) rely.
So is user adoption really that difficult?
You could argue that in the early days of Sales Force Automation SFA it probably was. In the early days of SFA there were no mobile devices, analytics was crude, and, at that stage having a single address book and diary was probably a major step forward for many sales organisations who still used paper based call reporting. In those early days many sales reps were simply not used to using technology to sell.
But we have moved on and today recording those things is simply commodity SFA. It is the nice bed in your hotel room. It is the three-year paint warranty on your car. We just take those things for granted. Solutions that allow you to simply record basic information are not delivering what a modern sales organisation needs.
What drives user adoption?
Well, I would suggest that the following elements drive user adoption in the SFA world:
· Compliance & Gamification
· Good Sales Management
Simplicity: In order to compel a sales team to use technology it has to be simple, fast and easy to use. We all know that reps want to be out selling and not keying in information. Let’s give them the software help them do this. Let’s ensure they have access to all the information they need, when they need it, and ensure they feel that others are feeding the solution to make their life easier not the other way around.
Mobility: Today there is no reason to stop reps being almost entirely field based. From core SFA to quoting, pricing, contracting, forecasting, and communications; empower your reps to operate remotely, at speed and successfully.
Compliance & Gamification: Increasingly sales organisations are under pressure, both internally and externally, to comply with procedure and/or legislation. Compliance can be mandated through software solutions using workflow, procedure and gamification. Ensuring that a rep complies with lagging measures such as quota attainment, revenue and invoices paid key to hitting your sales numbers. Do this using Sales Performance (SPM) tools. Ensuring your reps comply with softer leading measures such as forecasts, quote quality and discount management are key to your profitability and growth. Do this using Configure, Price and Quote (CPQ) tools.
Good Sales Management: This is the hard part. Good sales management is key to the success of sales solutions. A manager that can explain, motivate and continually drive the use and benefits of the solution will ensure success. Back away from this and the sales reps will happily return to their ways of working.
If you are looking to improve your sales organisation then look for a software vendor that can help you drive the user adoption of your systems. A vendor that can deliver the basic requirements (SFA1.0) but also the other key areas of Simplicity, Mobility, Compliance and Gamification. This will ensure your teams exhibit the behaviours you need to get the most from your SFA investment and hit your targets. Those elements, aligned with your Good Sales Management will be the drivers to your sales success.
Tuesday Apr 28, 2015
By Kayleigh Fitch-Oracle on Apr 28, 2015
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- Make More Rainmakers by Virginia Lo
- Modern Field Service Improves Network Maintenance Work for Communications Providers (CSPs)
- Oracle Service Cloud May 2015 Release – Optimizing Integrations across the Oracle Portfolio by Stephen Fioretti
- Modern Service Experience Conference Highlights! by Stephen Fioretti
- Oracle Takeaways from Forrester Webcast: Customer Service Trends for 2015 by Christine Randle
- 3 Tips for Staying Centered in the Fast-Paced World of Technology
- Harnessing Tribal Knowledge for Smarter Field Services
- Improve Sales Effectiveness with Oracle Customer Experience Cloud: The Secret Sauce for Your Sales Team
- Overcome User Adoption to Drive Sales
- Rise of Machine-to-Machine (M2M) Communication in Field Service Management by Sarah Sheehan