Tuesday Oct 30, 2012

The Softer Side of Customer Experience

It’s election season in the U.S., and you know what that means. It means I stop by the recycling bin in my garage before entering the house with the contents of my mailbox. A couple of weeks ago, I was doing my usual direct mail purge when I came across a piece from The Container Store®. This piece would have gone straight to the recycling bin, but the title stopped me: Learn what WE STAND FOR! [Read More]

Friday Oct 26, 2012

Hey Retailers, Are You Ready For The Holiday Season?

With online holiday spending reaching $35.3 billion in 2011 and American shoppers spending just under $750 on average on their holiday purchases this year, how ready is your business for the 2012 holiday season?   

Today’s shoppers do not take their purchases lightly.  They are more connected, interact with more resources to make decisions, diligently compare products and services, seek out the best deals, and ask for input from friends and family.   This holiday season, as consumers browse for apparel, tablets, toys, and much more, they will be bombarded with retailer communication - from emails and commercials to countless search engine results and social recommendations.  With a flurry of activity coming at consumers from every channel and competitor, your success this year will rely on communicating a consistent, personalized message no matter where your customers are shopping. 

Here are a few ideas to help with your commerce strategy this holiday season:


    According to a November 2011 study commissioned by Oracle, “Channel Commerce 2011: The Consumer View,” 54% of consumers in the U.S. and Canada regularly employ two or more channels before they make a purchase.  While each channel has its own unique benefit, user profile, and purpose, it’s critical that your shoppers have a consistent core experience wherever they’re looking for information or making a purchase.  Be sure consumers can consistently search and browse the same product information and receive the same promotions online, on their mobile devices, and in-store.

[Read More]

Tuesday Oct 23, 2012

The Path to Best-In-Class Service Business Performance

What would it matter to offer your customers best-in-class service and support experiences? According to a new study, best-in-class companies enjoy margins that are nearly double the average, retain almost all of their customers each year, deliver annual revenue growth that is six greater than average, and realize cost decreases rather than increases!

What does it take to become best in class? Some of the keys are:

  • Engage customers effectively and consistently across all channels
  • Focus on mobility to improve reactive service performance
  • Continue to transition from primarily reactive to proactive and predictive service performance
  • Build the support structure for new services and service contracts
  • Construct an engaged service delivery team

Join the Aberdeen Group, Oracle, Infosys, and Hyundai Capital as we highlight the key stages in the service transformation journey and reveal how Best-in-Class organizations are equipping themselves to thrive in this new era of service. Please join us for "Service Excellence and the Path to Business Transformation" -- this Thursday, October 25, 8:00 AM PDT | 11:00 AM EDT | 3:00 PM GMT | 4:00 PM BST.

Monday Oct 22, 2012

Watch Customer Concepts TV and Find Out How Leading Organizations Are Creating Engaging Customer Journeys

The customer journey has changed dramatically. Customers have far more knowledge and far more power. Managing the new customer experience isn’t just about increasing profitability. For many organizations it’s about survival.  To survive, organizations must deliver relevant, personalized experiences that engage customers at each step in their journey, but where do organizations start? 

To learn more, I’m looking forward to tomorrow's Customer Concepts Web TV show.   On October 23rd, experts from Oracle and various successful businesses such as Euroffice will discuss how the customer journey has fundamentally changed and will share best practices for adapting your organization so you can truly engage customers.

These Customer Concepts Web TV programs are an excellent way of keeping up with the very latest thinking in the field of customer experience.  Register for tomorrow’s event now at: http://bit.ly/RqPSL3

Wednesday Oct 17, 2012

Blink-Data vs Instinct?

In his landmark bestseller Blink, well-known author and journalist Malcolm Gladwell explores how human beings everyday make seemingly instantaneous choices --in the blink of an eye--and how we “think without thinking.”  These situations actually aren’t as simple as they seem, he postulates; and throughout the book, Gladwell seeks answers to questions such as:
1.    What makes some people good at thinking on their feet and making quick spontaneous decisions?
2.    Why do some people follow their instincts and win, while others consistently seem to stumble into error?
3.    Why are some of the best decisions often those that are difficult to explain to others?

In Blink, Gladwell introduces us to the psychologist who has learned to predict whether a marriage will last, based on a few minutes of observing a couple; the tennis coach who knows when a player will double-fault before the racket even makes contact with the ball; the antiquities experts who recognize a fake at a glance.
Ultimately, Blink reveals that great decision makers aren't those who spend the most time deliberating or analyzing information, but those who focus on key factors among an overwhelming number of variables-- i.e., those who have perfected the art of "thin-slicing.”

In Data vs. Instinct: Perfecting Global Sales Performance, a new report sponsored by Oracle, the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) explores the roles data and instinct play in decision-making by sales managers and discusses how sales executives can increase sales performance through more effective  territory planning and incentive/compensation strategies.

If you are a sales executive, ask yourself this:  “Do you rely on knowledge (data) when you plan out your sales strategy?  If you rely on data, how do you ensure that your data sources are reliable, up-to-date, and complete?  With the emergence of social media and the proliferation of both structured and unstructured data, how do you know that you are applying your information/data correctly and in-context?  

Three key findings in the report are:
•    Six out of ten executives say they rely more on data than instinct to drive decisions.
•    Nearly one half (48 percent) of incentive compensation plans do not achieve the desired results.
•    Senior sales executives rely more on current and historical data than on forecast data.

Strikingly similar to what Gladwell concludes in Blink
, the report’s authors succinctly sum up their findings: "The best outcome is a combination of timely information, insightful predictions, and support data."

Applying this insight is crucial to creating a sound sales plan that drives alignment and results.  In the area of sales performance management, “territory programs and incentive compensation continue to present particularly complex challenges in an increasingly globalized market," say the report’s authors. "It behooves companies to get a better handle on translating that data into actionable and effective plans."

To help solve this challenge, CRM Oracle Fusion integrates forecasting, quotas, compensation, and territories into a single system.   For example, Oracle Fusion CRM provides a natural integration between territories, which define the sales targets (e.g., collection of accounts) for the sales force, and quotas, which quantify the sales targets. In fact, territory hierarchy is a core analytic dimension to slice and dice sales results, using sales analytics and alerts to help you identify where problems are occurring. This makes territories

Start tapping into both data and instinct effectively today with Oracle Fusion CRM.   Here is a short video to provide you with a snapshot of how it can help you optimize your sales performance.  

Monday Oct 15, 2012

Aberdeen 10/25 Webcast: Service Excellence and the Path to Business Transformation

The uncertain economy has had a sustained impact on service organizations and processes. The impact has contributed to new complexities - new customer engagement channels, enhanced user and customer expectations, rapidly evolving technologies, increased competition, and increased compliance and regulatory mandates. Yet many organizations have embraced these challenges by investing in and transforming customer service to evolve, differentiate, and thrive under current constraints. What is their secret?

Transforming Support Centers into Profit Centers

According to the recent Aberdeen research report, “Service Excellence and the Path to Business Transformation”, service is now viewed as a strategic profit center at nearly 70% of organizations. As customers demand improved service, in terms of speed, efficiency and reliability, an organization's success has become increasingly dependent on optimizing the customer ownership experience. Those service organizations focused on providing easy, consistent, and relevant interactions across the customer lifecycle, including service and support delivery, are experiencing higher levels of customer acquisition and retention and are achieving better revenue and margin growth rates. 

Don't miss this opportunity to learn how to transform to provide the next generation of service offerings. Click here to register now for the webcast and download a complimentary copy of this informative new research paper.

Thursday Oct 11, 2012

Calling Customer Service Leaders

and by Suzy Meriwether

The Customer Service Leader is under greater pressure today than ever before. With rapid adoption of new communication technologies and devices by customers, customer expectations are on the rise and social media provides a venue to share their experiences.

To respond to these industry change drivers, Customer Service Leaders need to deliver a superior customer experience, achieve operational excellence, and transform their service organization.

Oracle is hosting a series of evening seminars to discuss these drivers and how to improve efficiency within the service organization while treating every interaction as an opportunity to deliver superior customer experiences and increase revenue throughout the entire customer lifecycle.

Miami – November 7th @ Marlins Park – Call to register: 1-800-820-5592 x 10996
Dallas – November 8th @ Cowboys Stadium – Call to register: 1-800-820-5592 x 11016
Philadelphia – November 13th @ Rodin Museum – Call to register: 1-800-820-5592 x 11013

Be sure to mention you heard about this event from the Oracle CX Blog. I hope to see you there.

Friday Oct 05, 2012

Mapping Your Customer Experience Journey

For those who attended today’s Oracle Customer Experience Summit keynote you heard from Brian Curran talk about the strategies and best practices to implement customer experience (CX) in your organization.  He spoke about how this evolving journey begins by understanding six steps to transform your business and put your customers front and center.  Here are those key six steps:

  1. What are the strategic business objectives in your company?
  2. What are your operational objectives and KPIs necessary to measure a CX project? Build an income statement and create “what if” scenarios and see how changes impact your business’ bottom line.  Explore what keeps you from getting to your own goals for your business.
  3. Define the business objectives and opportunities you want to meet?
  4. Understand the trends and accelerators in the market?  What factors are going on in the market affect that impact your business?  Social?  Mobile?  Cloud?  Just to name a few.  Many of these trends may signal a change in the way people think about your business.
  5. What approach will you take to solve these issues?  Understand who your customer is.  How do you need to adapt your business to build relevant, personalized customer experiences?
  6. What technologies can you implement to address CX?  Does technology help you solve your problem?

A great way to begin your customer experience journey is a concept called journey mapping, one of the most powerful and deceptively simple tools for unlocking CX innovation at your organization. Here is where you can learn more about how you can bring this concept into your business to drive great customer experiences.

Thursday Oct 04, 2012

Purple Cows, Copernicus, and Shampoo – Lessons in Customer Experience

What makes a great customer experience? And, why should you or your organization care? These are the questions that set the stage for the Oracle Customer Experience Summit, which kicked off yesterday in San Francisco.

Day 1: The first day was filled with demos and insights from customer experience experts and Oracle customers sharing what it takes to deliver great customer experiences. Author Seth Godin delivered an entertaining presentation that included an in-depth exploration of the always-connected, always-sharing experience revolution that we are witnessing and yes, talked about the purple cow. It turns out that customer experience is your way to be the purple cow. Before everyone headed out to see Pearl Jam and Kings of Leon at the Oracle customer appreciation event, the day wrapped up with a discussion around building a customer-centric culture. Where do you start? Whom does it involve? What are some pitfalls to avoid?

Day 2: The second day addressed the details behind all the questions brought up at the end of Day 1. Before you start on a customer experience initiative, Paul Hagen noted that you must understand you will forge a path similar to Copernicus. You will be proposing ideas and approaches that challenge current thinking in your organization. Just as Copernicus' heliocentric theory started a scientific revolution, your customer-centric efforts will start an experience revolution.

If you think customer experience is like a traditional marketing approach, think again. It’s not about controlling your customers and leading them where you want them to go. It might sound like heresy to some, but your customers are already in control, whether or not your company realizes and acknowledges it. And, to survive and thrive, you'll have to focus on customers by thinking outside-in and working towards a brand that is better and more authentic. We learned how Vail Resorts takes this customer-centric approach. Employees must experience the mountain themselves and understand the experience from the guest’s standpoint. This has created a culture where employees do things for guests that are not expected.

We also learned a valuable lesson in designing and innovating customer-centered experiences from Kerry Bodine. First you make the thing, and then you make the thing right. In this case, the thing is customer experience. Getting customer experience right means iterative prototyping and testing of your ideas. This is where shampoo comes inthink lather, rinse, repeat. Be prepared to keep repeating until the customer experience is right.

Many of these sessions will be posted to YouTube in the coming weeks so be sure to subscribe to our CX channel.

Tuesday Oct 02, 2012

Focus on Social Relationship Management at Oracle OpenWorld

Greetings from Oracle OpenWorld 2012. Today, we’re going to focus on Social Relationship Management at Oracle OpenWorld.
Social networking is touching all businesses today. 

Customers are speaking about your brand right now on social media sites. Your employees are speaking to one another on social media sites. In an Oracle survey, 40% of consumers factor in Facebook recommendations when making purchasing decisions. Despite the rise of social networking, 70% of marketers report having little understanding of social media conversations happening around their brand.

Oracle has invested in technologies that will help companies leverage social media technologies for their enterprise. Our suite of social products is collectively known as Social Relationship Management. Customers are using Social Relationship Management to get analytics to social media conversations around their brand, manage multiple social media channels while keeping their brand consistent, optimize internal workflows and processes, and create better customer relationships and experiences.

[Read More]

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