Wednesday Jan 22, 2014

Customer Experience is an ‘Outside In’ Job by Krassimira Iordanova

What Customers Want

As a consumer, customer experience is simple: you want to be served whenever you want, however you want (channels). You expect the company to know you and make relevant offers. If things go wrong, you expect quick fixes. You hate to repeat the same story you told the call center agent a week ago.

You also expect to be surprised in a positive way. Sometimes you really don't know what you want, but if they show you something cool, you might buy it.

For example, I remember browsing at Bungalow 8, a mind-blowing store for home furnishing in Mumbai. When I entered, they asked me "Ma'am, is there anything special you are looking for?" I said, "I'm not looking for anything in particular, but if you show me around, I might end up buying something I like." And I did.

Companies Have it ‘Inside Out’

As a company, you might have a tough time with all this customer experience stuff, because you're focused on process efficiency. Process efficiency is an ‘inside out’ view; customer experience is an ‘outside in’ view. To understand the difference, contrast most airlines’ boarding procedures (inside out) with Apple’s Genius bar (outside in). Which experience do you prefer?

A Change in Perspective

Customer Experience Journey Mapping helps you flip your perspective to ‘outside in’ so you can identify every moment of your customer’s experience, whether it is a specific interaction, or an entire relationship with your brand across touch points. As the Harvard Business Review says,

A company that manages complete journeys, would not only do its best with the individual transaction, but also seek to understand the broader reasons for… the call in the call center, address the root causes and create feedback loops to continuously improve interactions upstream and downstream..."

You can best visualize continuously improving interactions by diagramming your customer's journey across the buy and own lifecycle. This helps you see where you need to make changes. And if you deliver a great experience across this cycle, then it becomes an infinite loop where customers remain loyal because you deliver on your brand promise.

Take Action

Start cultivating an ‘outside in’ customer perspective of your organization by participating in a hands-on Journey Mapping Workshop. You will leave with practical insights you can apply right away.

Upcoming 2014 Journey Mapping Workshops:

Upcoming 2014 Journey Mapping Workshops in Europe:

Upcoming Journey Mapping Workshops in Asia-Pacific:

Find more information on journey mapping here.

Monday Jan 20, 2014

Pamper your customer's ‘Remembering Self’ by Krassimira Iordanova

A friend came back from a three-week vacation on the Maldives. Lucky guy!

"How was your vacation?" I asked.

"Great," he said. The place was just marvelous and the diving experience was phenomenal. However, the flight on the way back was horrendous. It ruined my whole vacation."

"Really?" I raised my eyebrow. "How could a nine-hour flight ruin three weeks of great vacation?"

My friend had chosen a selected piece of memory to drive how he felt about his entire experience.

To understand why, let’s look at the differences between the Experiencing self and the Remembering self, as outlined by Daniel Kahneman, Nobel laureate and founder of behavioral economics.

The Experiencing self and Remembering self 

The Experiencing self focuses on the present, which consists of a chain of moments. As Daniel Kahneman says,

"the psychological presence is set to three seconds long... so most of the experiences we have leave no trace and are completely ignored by the Remembering self. For the Remembering self, those chains of moments are lost forever, but what stays are the memories. And memories are defined by:

  • Changes
  • Significant moments
  • Endings.

 And endings are very important."

Why does this matter to Customer Experience? Because the Remembering self is the story-teller. It tells us what to keep from our experiences to create a story. That means if you have a business, you'd better address the Remembering self of your customers. Because you want to positively influence the story they will tell about you—on Facebook, Twitter, and to their friends. This matters because it will either create business value for your brand, or negatively impact it.

The Customer Experience

The customer experience is the combination of all interactions a customer has with your brand, from searching products on your website to calling a customer service agent to visiting a branch.

A customer might have a positive interaction visiting your website and chatting with an agent, but an error at checkout might cause the customer to report that "the whole experience was ruined". You might say, "Wait a second, the customer had a lot of positive experiences, only the last interaction was bad. It’s not a big deal." It is a BIG DEAL. It’s what the customer remembers—and endings matter!

That's why a consistent, positive cross-channel customer experience is one of the only sustainable advantages you have. A single bad experience can cause you to lose a customer, and all the potential customers they tell.

Key Takeaways

Experiences happen anytime, anywhere. Make sure the experiences you give customers are personalized, positive and consistent across channels.

Be there in the moments that matter most to delivering on your brand promise, and your customers will reward you with loyalty and advocacy.

Pamper your customer's Remembering self—surprise them, wow them! Last week, I received an email from Airbnb with proposed greetings cards for me to send to my hosts—all I had to do was select the design and hit send. Was I surprised? Yes! Was I wowed? Yes! Did I remember it? Yes! Did I tell my friends? Yes! My positive experience and willingness to share it with others created business value for Airbnb.

Design the story you want your customers to tell. Do that by mapping your customer’s journey with your brand, identifying all the interaction points that could leave a "memory" their Remembering self will say to themselves and others.

Start mapping your customer’s journey today by signing up for a complimentary journey mapping workshop near you.

Upcoming 2014 Journey Mapping Workshops:

 

Upcoming 2014 Journey Mapping Workshops in Europe:

Upcoming Journey Mapping Workshops in Asia-Pacific:

Friday Jan 17, 2014

Customer Experience Journey Mapping Workshops Provide Blueprint for Real-World CX Success by Robert Landon

As Steve Jobs famously said, "You've got to start with the customer experience and work back to the technology—not the other way around." In the same spirit, Oracle now offers workshops that drive a deep understanding of the complete customer journey.

The Customer Experience Journey Mapping Workshops follow a step-by-step methodology that transcends industries or individual businesses. Attendees get hands-on experience as they explore the methodology, and then can use this methodology to gain insight into the real-world journeys of their own customers.

The initial "learning" workshops last about 4 hours and have been a big hit with attendees. There is an opportunity after attending these workshops to get additional assistance to "try" this methodology through additional workshops designed to be more specific to your organizational needs.

"The workshop allowed us to identify solutions for current pains in key stages of the customer lifecycle—and propelled us to create innovative ideas for providing a differentiated customer experience," says Maricris Crisostomo, customer value chain manager at PLDT, the leading telecommunications provider in the Philippines.

From Moments to Journeys

The concept of journey mapping is simple: identify and diagram every moment across a customer experience, whether it is a specific, finite interaction—for example, a single type of online purchase—or an entire relationship with a brand across all touch points.

"At the end of the day, we are trying to cultivate empathy toward the customer, to walk a mile in their shoes," says Brian Curran, vice president of customer experience strategy and design, Oracle. "We help participants discover all the moments that matter, feel what the customer is feeling, and determine exactly what customers need both at a functional and emotional level—right in that moment."

Attendees leave the workshop with hands-on experience with a proven, repeatable methodology—one that works across products, types of interactions, and even industries. They can then share that methodology across their organization. Workshops can also result in practical insights that can drive more engaging customer experiences right away.

"We have noticed that the workshops can actually spark a virtuous cycle across an organization, getting sales, marketing, service and other functions to think of customers in a new way—to see the world through the customer’s eyes," says Curran.

Upcoming 2014 Journey Mapping Workshops:

 

Upcoming 2014 Journey Mapping Workshops in Europe:

Upcoming Journey Mapping Workshops in Asia-Pacific:

Stay tuned as registration opens for these events. Find more information on journey mapping here.

Thursday Jan 16, 2014

T-Commerce Has Joined the Omni-Channel Experience!

Television viewing is an emotional experience. As we watch our favorite shows, we laugh, we become enamored with our favorite characters, and we are sometimes moved to tears. If you are like me, you even scream at the TV during football games. On February 2, 2014, during Super Bowl XLVIII, you’ll also start to do something that was not possible until now - buy what you see advertised on one of those infamous Super Bowl ads. Shopping is also an emotional experience, so it is a shrewd move to combine these experiences. [Read More]

Thursday Jan 09, 2014

Master B2B Commerce in 2014 – Attend Oracle’s Annual B2B Commerce Summit

B2B commerce is on the rise, especially when it comes to the Web. Forrester Research predicts U.S. B2B e-commerce sales will hit $559 billion annually by the end of 2013—double B2C sales! Even with the tremendous growth of B2B e-commerce, it is hard to find resources that specifically address the unique challenges facing B2B companies.  B2B commerce professionals are in luck because Oracle has brought back our annual B2B Commerce Summit – February 13th, 2014 in Chicago![Read More]

Tuesday Jan 07, 2014

Online Commerce in The Middle East – Shopping Online – The Tipping Point Is Now?

Ajlan & Bros, a large Saudi Arabian distribution company specializing in the design, manufacture and supply of clothing across the Middle East has just announced a significant investment in online commerce.  Does this present a tipping point in the development of online commerce in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia?  Three years ago, there was very little attention outside the core early adopters.  As with many markets breaking into online commerce, those early adopters were electronics retailers catering to very tech-savvy consumers using simple open-source software or custom developments.  Is this move by Ajlan & Bros marking a turning point within the consumer base in the Middle East?[Read More]

Monday Jan 06, 2014

8 Predictions for Customer Service in 2014 by David Vap

Happy New Year! As we embark on 2014, I thought about the key trends that we’re seeing in the customer service business and how they impact you as well as the impact to the Oracle Service Cloud business.  Here's my 2 cents on what matters for the new year.  Feel free to put in your own 2 cents in the comments!

1. Customer Service Becomes a Boardroom Priority

We’re about 3 years into the Age of the Customer, a 20-year cycle in which the most successful enterprises will reinvent themselves to systematically understand and serve increasingly powerful customers.” (Source: Forrester Research, Inc., Competitive Strategy In The Age Of The Customer, October 2013) The strong correlation between customer service, brand equity, and sales conversions is becoming conventional wisdom. And, the cross-organization initiatives that are required to deliver the best customer service require boardroom-level sponsorship. According to Joanne Causon, CEO, Institute of Customer Service, “There is a close alignment between the financial performance of an organization and its customer service…  It is about the decisions made in the boardroom. Focusing your customer service strategy across the whole of the organization, how it relates to other parts of the organization such as finance and marketing.” (Source: Institute of Customer Service)

2. Your Customers Don’t Want to Talk to You

As Gen-Y and Millennials are increasing into the demographic mix, more of your customers don’t want to talk to you. Talking on a phone is “so old school” to these generations. They prefer to serve themselves via the Web, and increasingly on a mobile device. And, when they do find that they need to talk to you, they want the transition to be easy and seamless – with the click of a button, without repeating information, no writing down a service request number, etc. 

In a recent survey conducted by Unisphere Research, “31 percent of all customer interactions today are conducted via the Web, and an additional 9 percent are conducted via the mobile Web or mobile applications… The highest concentration of Web self-service capabilities right now is in the finance/insurance (52 percent) and government/education/nonprofit (50 percent) sectors.” 

According to a blog post written by Kate Leggett, Forrester Research, “we’ve seen a 12% rise in web self-service usage, a 24% rise in chat usage, and a 25% increase in community usage for customer service in the past three years”.  Voice is still the most used service channel, but self-service channels are experiencing significant growth. (Source:  Forrester Research, Inc., Forrester’s Top 15 Trends for Customer Service in 2013, January 2013.)

3. Mobile, Mobile, Mobile

Fifty-five percent of all time spent with online retailers in June 2013 occurred on a mobile device, surpassing time spent on PCs, according to comScore, a Web and mobile measurement firm. Our own customer usage data tells us that 20% of support interactions are taking place over mobile. So, it’s no surprise that 62% of companies think mobile customer service is a competitive differentiator(Source: ICMI)  The challenge is that the mobile device mix continues to get more fragmented with the various operating systems (iOS, Android, Windows, RIM, etc.) and the device formats (tablets, mini-tablets, smart phones, etc.) And, many customers begin transactions on a mobile device and later transition to Web or assisted channels to complete a transaction. Amidst all this complexity, two things are clear:  1) providing support for the most common transactions in the mobile format that customers use is a must, and 2) ensuring a smooth transition between mobile and other support channels will become a strong differentiator against the competition.

4. Your Coffee Maker Serves Itself

Connected devices such as game consoles, TVs, appliances, personal fitness devices to name a few are expected to grow to 25 billion in 2015. (Source:  CISCO IBSG) So, your coffee maker may request its own service by going online to troubleshoot issues and download updates – without you even knowing it’s happened. 

Again, the seamless transition between support channels is a differentiator.  If the customer contacts you with an issue, the ability to link that customer to their device and access support data for the device helps your support agents provide more efficient and effective service. If they know the status of the device and what has happened, they can more easily take the appropriate corrective actions. 

Additionally, customers may want to use their device to get service without having to switch to another channel. For instance, if a customer is having a technical issue with a game, they want to be able to get service from within the game without switching to a phone, PC, or mobile device.  Providing service directly from internet-enabled devices will become a more common expectation.

5. Knowledge is Everywhere

We all know that customers have a lot of choice in who they do business with and that attention spans are very short. A substandard service experience leads to customer frustration and negative perceptions about the product as well as the company. An interruption in the buying process may mean abandonment. The end result is an increased likelihood that customers will go to a competitor next time. To address customer’s expectations that everything should be fast, easy and accessible, knowledge can’t be a separate destination, living in the support or service portal only. It needs to be woven into the entire customer lifecycle and accessible via any channel the customer chooses.  It needs to be contextual to what the customer is doing. And, it needs to leverage the collective community of experts – both inside and outside of your company. Share your knowledge everywhere so it adds value to your customers!

6. The Web Comes Alive

Given that many of your customers don’t want to talk to you, there is a need to provide them with the best possible experience on your online channels. Doing so requires the ability to answer the questions online that historically ended up in your call center, providing the ability to deliver a personalized interaction in what have been, to this point, very impersonal online interactions around knowledge. In an effort to create a more human-like interaction that can replicate the knowledge of their best service representatives and provide a more personalized Web experience, more companies will adopt a virtual assistant, an intelligent online concierge, to increase customer loyalty and reduce costs.   

7. Social Gets Real

We’re past the buzz phase and into the reality phase with social customer service. Our own customer usage data tells us that for established peer-to-peer communities, 30-40% of self-service interactions are coming through this channel, indicating that collective knowledge is becoming a significant part of solving customer issues. And, 62% of customers have already used social media for customer service issues (Source: Mashable), raising the importance of monitoring social channels and responding to issues in those channels before they become crises. But many businesses today have bolted social customer service onto their existing customer service platform. Instead, in order to best leverage social channels to achieve the greatest business benefits, organizations will need a tightly integrated social service platform that helps customers find answers they can trust--and helps the companies tune and optimize their social investments. 

8. Employee Experience Takes the Limelight

“Engaged employees work harder, stay later, and make more recommendations. You can’t create or sustain great customer experience with disengaged employees.” (Source: Bruce Temkin) While this wisdom isn’t new, 2014 will see increased focus on employee engagement in order to drive better customer experiences and company results. Relating to customer service specifically, we’ll see companies invest in more training, empowerment, and tools to make it easier for employees to deliver on great customer experiences. 

For more information, please visit our website.

5 Predictions for CX in Customer Service for 2014 by Brian Curran

Happy New Year to you! As we move into 2014, I spent some time thinking about the trends we’re seeing in customer experience and how they relate more specifically to customer service. Here are a few predictions I have for the coming year. Let me know what you think, too!

Easy & Accessible Trumps Delightful & Courteous

The usage of Customer Effort Score (CES), the measure of how much effort the customer has to put forth to resolve a customer service issue, will exceed the usage of the Customer Satisfaction Index (CSI) as the important measurement to determine effectiveness of your service delivery. Customers today expect service to be easy and accessible. And, even if you have the most courteous agents who are empowered to delight customers, if the process required a lot of effort from customers, they are more likely to turn to a competitor the next time they purchase. CES can also provide specific feedback into where to focus your improvement efforts, such as the time it takes to search for an accurate solution, or the effort it takes to return an item. It is a stronger predictor of customer loyalty. 

2.      Brand Equity and Trust is Built More During the Use Phase (Service and Support) of the Customer Lifecycle

Your brand’s promise is delivered when people use your product or service and it actually fulfills the need that drove them to your brand in the first place. The perception of the buying experience fades quickly but the perception of whether your product or service met my needs does not. We call this part of the customer lifecycle the “use” cycle, and a key part of this cycle is customer service. Customer Service is the #1 key mover of Net Promoter Score (NPS), the likelihood that a customer will recommend your product to someone else. This linkage between Customer Service and brand equity will drive higher investments in customer service as a key part of your organization’s marketing strategy.

3.       Service and Support Interactions Drive Higher Conversion Rates in the Buying Phase

When people research a product during the buying phase, they often research how others feel about the product or service they received from your brand. This feeling is garnered during the “Use” phase of the customer lifecycle, and it is driven by the value they received from your product. Knowledge of how that product works and interactions with your brand post-purchase to solve issues influences customer recommendations. These recommendations are the #1 driver of conversion rates during the buying cycle. 

Omni-Channel “Conversations” Differentiate in Customer Service

As customer expectations of anywhere, anytime service continue to rise, Omni-channel “conversations”-- the ability to switch channels but continue the conversation without repeating yourself--will become the differentiator in customer service. And, as the usage of mobile continues to explode, all “conversations” need to be able to be performed on a mobile device (Web Customer Service, Chat, Virtual Assistant, Collaboration, and Voice) and transition smoothly from the device to other channels when necessary. 

5.       “Big Data” Provides Real-Time Personalization and Actions

Big data has been the buzz for a few years now, along with the promise of personalizing interactions for increased conversions and customer loyalty. But, it’s more than just collecting massive amounts of data. It’s about the laser focus of analytics and decision tools for taking action on the specifics of it—for a specific customer. Predicting customer needs and being proactive in your engagement helps to drive a more effortless interaction. You should know why a customer is calling and the probability of an answer based on data you have about recent interactions across all channels. You should know where the customer is located and the availability of help in the area. And, all of this information shouldn’t “creep” the customer out, but should instead add value to the relationship with your brand. Your customers will be more likely to opt-in to reduced privacy if you can save them time and effort, helping them get back to fulfilling their needs. 

For more information, please visit our website.

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