Wednesday Sep 02, 2015

Bringing Brand Ambassadorship to the Front Lines - A Tale of Past Interactions

This is a follow up to my first post on customer success.

One of my first jobs was as a bus boy at a New York Deli Restaurant. I was 14 years old and the gentleman who hired me made it very clear that my job was to make sure that customers had a great time—more than just good food, people were buying the whole experience of eating in a deli (like the Stage or Carnegie in New York). Greeting guests, bringing them sour pickles, answering questions about what I liked to eat and offering up some free cookies towards the end of the meal didn’t seem like much in the grand scheme of things but in the context of this restaurant, it drove their business with hour long wait times.

In hindsight, the general manager of this restaurant clearly understood what many businesses are still figuring out today—that people buy experiences, be it in restaurants, online, brick & mortar stores, etc. Even more so, he understood that the people on the front line needed to represent the brand and needed to be enabled to deliver on it. So even as a 14 year old (I actually looked older), I had eaten just about everything on the menu and could speak to it with confidence. Management actually encouraged me to run to the counter and grab some cookies for people to try.

Fast forward many years later and I come across blog posts such as this (Seth Godin, “Learning from the State Department”) 

We invented ambassadors because nothing can replace face-to-face interaction, particularly when messages travel sometimes quite slowly through complex organizations. Just like now.

This seems obvious, and it is, until you realize that organizations make two huge mistakes:

A. They don't hire brand ambassadors, they hire clerks and bureaucrats, and treat them and pay them accordingly.

and

B. They don't manage and lead brand ambassadors, don't measure and reward and create a cadre of people who can listen for the brand and speak for the brand.

Would you send the clerk on aisle 7 to speak to a head of state or vital partner on behalf of your company? Because that's what he's doing right now.

After reading this, I have adopted this phrase of ‘brand ambassador’ and judge most of my experiences in terms of whether or not businesses are enabling their staff to act as these brand ambassadors. On a regular basis I come across businesses where it appears to me that management has enabled their front line staff to be true ambassadors. In my opinion, companies like Zappos and Starbucks have really nailed it. Their staff has both the customer-centric mindset and the tools at their disposal to drive positive customer experiences. On the flip side, I have plenty of experiences online and in stores where the end result is that I either leave the store or cancel my order. Customers shouldn’t be confronted with confusing online order flows that seem particularly spammy. Simple questions about product availability and new shipments shouldn’t be answered with the shrug of the shoulders or an IDK.

Here are a few things to think about as you evaluate your own businesses in terms of bringing brand ambassadorship to the front lines, be it in call centers or physical stores. Each business is unique so there is not necessarily one prescriptive solution. If you are just getting started with a transactional online site, here are a few other good articles about storytelling through visual commerce and branded manufacturers extending their identity in the direct to consumer channel.

Brand and company philosophy: Does your staff know what your brand stands for and the company philosophy and expectations towards customer loyalty and customer service? How do managers and leadership reinforce and demonstrate these philosophies and expectations? Leading by example truly helps fuel the creation of a staff of brand advocates.

Product & Process Knowledge: Does your staff know the product line? Do they have insights into what products are coming, what is in inventory, what has been discontinued, when the sales are going to happen? What training programs have you developed to help new employees learn about the products and procedures as well as continually update all employees on a regular basis? Can your staff effectively manage the “buy online, pick up in store” process? Front line staff need to have superior knowledge to level the playing field against the highly educated customer of today.

Decision Making: Have you evaluated if your staff is enabled to make the day-to-day and on-the-fly decisions to impact both profitable sales and customer loyalty? Are the guidelines clear and are the internal channels there to educate? The inability to act efficiently and effectively in any of the channels (online chat, phone, in store) is a deal killer on so many levels.

Technology: Are you empowering your staff with the right tools and technology to drive customer loyalty and superior customer service? Do you have agent / assisted selling applications that can not only provide insights into inventory, order history, customer profiles but also transact? Much like the need for product knowledge, the right technology tools are needed to enable sales staff to be seen as a consultant and a brand ambassador, not just the order taker.

Measuring Results and Rewards:  How do you measure the success of your front line staff? Can you identify your peak sales performers? Can you measure how effective your staff is with customer service/brand advocacy? Can you measure your staff’s knowledge of products? Do you offer any incentives on an individual level for sales, successful customer interactions? Measuring results and providing rewards can be difficult to implement but this is counterbalanced by the fact that we are currently experiencing a transformational shift in expectations towards customer experience.

I would love to hear about your experiences in creating brand ambassadors within your organizations. What is and isn’t working, obstacles you have had to overcome, tools and technologies that are helping you?


Monday Aug 31, 2015

5 Ways to Measure the Success of your CPQ Project by Greg Swender

With any project, success will often be determined based on improvements to a set of operating metrics, or Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). Standard Six Sigma techniques will tell you to choose your KPIs carefully early in the project and measure each of them before the project is implemented. These metrics will give your project team and executive sponsors a clear view of how the process is operating in its current state. They will also enable you to quantify any improvements you’ve made.

CPQ applications (short for 'Configure, Price, Quote') help sales organizations operate more efficiently. CPQ applications, when implemented correctly, can have a transformational impact on how individuals sell, and can dramatically change how sales teams or channel partners interact with both customers and their internal sales support teams. Given the profound impact a CPQ solution can have on a company’s sales organization, ROI for successful implementations can often be measured in weeks or months after go-live, rather than years.

Sounds easy, right?...

[Read More]

Thursday Aug 27, 2015

Bigger Than Ever - Oracle’s Commerce Solutions at OpenWorld 2015

There are a lot of great reasons for Oracle Commerce customers to attend OpenWorld at the end of October including in-depth product updates, many customer success stories, hands-on labs, and networking events.  Attendees will walk away with a better understanding of how Oracle’s commerce solutions can help them stay competitive in today’s rapidly changing commerce market. 

What’s New and Different?

Meet Oracle Commerce CloudThe Newest Addition to Oracle’s CX Applications Portfolio – See demos, learn about the roadmap, and hear directly from our first customers leveraging this new product

Hands-on Labs – Attendees will see how they can quickly stand up an online storefront with Oracle Commerce Cloud

Interactive Customer Showcases in the CX Commerce Demo Zone featuring Oracle Commerce and Commerce Cloud Customers

All sessions and the demo zone for commerce will be located on 2nd floor of Moscone West in San Francisco.

Conference Sessions

Commerce attendees can explore best practices and share knowledge with over 20 commerce focused sessions including:

  • Roadmap and release updates
  • An in-depth look at Oracle Commerce Cloud
  • Thought-leadership sessions featuring Oracle Strategy Experts
  • Customer Panels featuring both Oracle Commerce and Commerce Cloud Customers
  • Experience Manager and Business Control Center Best Practice Sessions
  • Customer and Partner Case Studies
  • Take part in more than just commerce-focused sessions and explore all that CX Central @ OpenWorld has to offer
[Read More]

Latest Oracle Field Service Cloud Release: Improving the User Experience to Enhance Service

Delivering an exceptional customer experience is critical to the success of any organization. For organizations sending field service resources to customers' homes and businesses to deliver products or perform services, empowering those resources can help ensure a better experience for the end customer. Oracle Field Service Cloud's latest release includes product enhancements that help organizations empower their field resources and enhance their experience in using the solution. 

[Read More]

Tuesday Aug 25, 2015

Five Lessons Learned at CRM Evolution

Check out what Meg Bear, group vice president, Oracle Social Cloud experienced last week while attending the 2015 CRM Evolution conference in New York.  Read more here about how the customer experience, engagement, and service conversations are evolving as well as how customer service is becoming the new marketing!

Friday Aug 21, 2015

B2B e-Commerce Internationalization 101

Oracle partner RealDecoy talks about the complexities around doing e-commerce business internationally. If you have never deployed a new commerce site overseas, this post will help you think through the functional and technical considerations in how you handle different languages.[Read More]

Wednesday Aug 19, 2015

Webcast: Simplify Customer Interactions with Policy Automation

Increasingly, companies struggle to complete complex service requests, onboard customers, and comply with shifting regulations and internal policies. At the same time, there is an enormous opportunity for companies to drive down costs by empowering customers to self serve. 

Please join the Oracle Policy Automation Team – Timothy Doherty and Harriet Franklin – to learn how to empower your customers AND employees. And hear from Hanno Hesse about how Oracle Gold Partner Monad Solutions has empowered Oracle Customers! 

You'll discover how to:
  • Easily manage complex requests
  • Comply with shifting policies
  • Empower customers to self serve and dramatically reduce customer service costs
  • Drive revenue growth by matching prospects with the right products and services
Plus:
  • Your Roadmap to Modern Customer Experience
  • Hands-on Demonstration
  • How to Learn More

Webcast Tuesday, August 25, 2015 10 am PT / 1 pm ET

3 Extra Holiday Readiness Tips From a 15 Year Veteran

Here are 3 tips to e-commerce holiday readiness. These tips are a complement and addition to the original 5 tips for maximizing success this holiday season article posted in 2013. [Read More]

Monday Aug 17, 2015

Latest Oracle Release Helps Brands Power Positive Social Service Experiences by Stephen Fioretti

Today more than one in three customers prefer to contact brands through social channels rather than by phone or email (Nielsen), and the distinction between social and traditional channels is eroding. To deliver the best possible customer experience across traditional and digital channels, customer care organizations need to provide a positive and unified experience where and when customers want, whether they are on Twitter, Facebook, peer to peer communities or other social networks. Through a connected and fluid customer experience across engagements, organizations can establish a competitive advantage!

Coming on the heels of Oracle’s recent Twitter-enriched social customer service solution announcement, the latest release of Oracle Service Cloud and Oracle Social Cloud continues to power that positive and differentiated customer experience.  The new functionality helps brands deliver competitive social service experiences, increase social engagement and gain valuable business insights along the way through:

New Community Self-Service Solution

  • A new approach to web self-service that brings community functionality directly into the core Oracle Service Cloud multi-channel web experience.
  • Customers no longer have to separately navigate self-service and community sites to find an answer; instead they can interact with formal knowledge (Knowledge Base) and customer knowledge (community answers) in a single experience.
  • Helps streamline the customer journey, enabling customers to quickly find answers, and driving efficiencies by reducing contact center requests.
  • Makes it easy for companies to launch and maintain a customer community as a native part of the web customer service solution.

Enhanced Social Service and Incident Routing

  • New workflow capabilities between Oracle Social Cloud and Oracle Service Cloud enable organizations to leverage the power of social insights and engagements.
  • Business users can now attach contextual attributes and notes from posts or incidents identified by Oracle Social Cloud directly to Oracle Service Cloud.
  • Helps improve service quality and efficiency by providing more customer information and context.
  • Enables business users to accurately route social posts to the best skilled agents by topic and improve resolution time as social posts are shared with the appropriate agents quickly.

Extended Social Listening and Analytics Capabilities to Private Data Sources

  • Enhanced connectivity between Oracle Social Cloud and Oracle Service Cloud has also extended social listening and analytics to enterprise private-data sources such as the new Community Self Service capability, survey data and chat and call logs.
  • Organizations can now listen and analyze unstructured data and gain insights with terms, themes, sentiment and customer metrics, and can view private and public data side by side in the Oracle Social Cloud Relationship Management dashboard.

Don’t just take our word regarding these exciting new social service developments.  According to Gartner, investment in Peer-to-Peer Communities drives support costs down and boosts profits. In fact, in a December 2014 Gartner research note, Nine CRM Projects to Do Right Now for Customer Service, “Gartner clients who are successful in this space are still seeing on average a 20% reduction in the creation of support tickets following the introduction of peer-to-peer communities,” wrote, Michael Maoz, Vice President, Distinguished Analyst, Gartner, “Clients are seeing other business benefits as well. By enabling community-based support, clients have been able to recognize new sales opportunities and increase existing customer satisfaction, resulting in increased revenue in several of these cases.”

For more information regarding Oracle Service Cloud and Oracle Social Cloud’s latest product announcement click here, check out this interesting VentureBeat article or visit us at CRM Evolution, August 17th-19th at the Marriott Marquis in New York City!

Thursday Aug 13, 2015

Co-browse Your Way to Faster Resolution and Higher Member Satisfaction

Picture it. You’re a customer care representative working for a large health care payer. You’re on the phone with an angry member as she’s trying to explain the trouble she’s having accessing her claims online. You want to help but you’re having difficulty understanding her issue without being able to see what she sees. And your situation is made tougher by having to flip through an inch-thick binder to find possible solutions or multiple knowledge bases!

With these limited support tools, it’s no wonder health care consumers are frustrated. Care representatives are equally frustrated because they aren’t empowered to deliver great service. The consequences: a 40% annual churn rate in members and an up to 50% turnover in support staff! 

Fortunately, co-browse can turn this situation around… 

Oracle Co-browse allows care representatives to see a member’s computer screen in real-time so they can guide her to the information she needs—whether that’s help with a claims issue, benefits question or application for enrollment. Co-browse ensures the care representative has an exact view of the member’s screen, adapting on the fly even as customers change their browser settings or resize the window. It also works on any mobile browser or device, and can even be added as a support feature within a company’s mobile app.

Regarding HIPAA compliance, Oracle Co-browse meets the strictest security standards by protecting sensitive data while still giving care representatives the information they need to resolve issues.

But don’t take our word for it; check out what Oracle Co-browse has done for our customers!

Health Care Payer Case Study
The largest health insurance network in the U.S. was facing high Average Handle Times (AHT) on website-related issues. It wanted to reduce handle time, and boost web self-service and member satisfaction. It leveraged Oracle Co-browse to accomplish these goals while ensuring the highest levels of data security.

By empowering care representatives to do co-browsing sessions, the network and its regional organizations:
  • Reduced call handle times by 85%
  • Increased member satisfaction and loyalty
  • Maintained strict data security while co-browsing across its own and external websites

To find out the top ten benefits co-browse can drive for your organization, please click here
To learn more about the unique capabilities only Oracle Co-browse provides, please click here.

About

The place to get informed about customer experience and how it impacts your success.

Stay Connected


Subscribe
Subscribe to our RSS feed.

Search

Archives
« September 2015
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
  
1
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
25
26
27
28
29
30
   
       
Today