Friday Aug 07, 2015

Field Service Tech Talk: Integrating Field Operations Into Your Big Data Strategy


Oracle Service Cloud’s field service management solution, Oracle Field Service Cloud, works by collecting lots of data points to make accurate predictions. So naturally, we get a lot of questions that sound like “If I can collect all this data from the field to run my field operations, should I be thinking about a big data strategy, too?”

To help answer this question, I’m bringing in Jeffrey Wartgow – he’s a director of product management for Oracle Service Cloud, and an expert on the field service management market and how the shifting technology landscape is affecting it – including big data.

Christine Friscic (CF): Big data is getting a lot of attention these days. It feels very similar to when cloud became a hot topic – lots of people are talking about it, but there isn’t much practical advice or direction! What do people in the mobile workforce management world need to know?

Jeffrey Wartgow (JW): Field service is an important part of operations, and you should absolutely include field service data in your big data strategy. But that doesn’t mean you should have a “field service big data system.” In principle, big data is holistic, and so you need to have as much data coming into the system as possible, in real-time and from all areas of your business. So, think of the tenants of big data as the three Vs – volume, velocity and variety.

A true big data solution is a company-wide effort: it should blend field service data with sales data, asset data, customer data and any other data you are collecting, and then analyze that data as a whole to determine what the larger trends are that may be hiding in that data. The result: the trends you identify by looking at all collected data holistically will ultimately help you make more informed decisions that will benefit both the entire organization and individual functions.

CF: That clears up some misnomers about big data in general. As a next step, how should people who work with a field service team be thinking about their own big data contribution?

JW: Look at the logistics of how you are managing your field employees. Are you using a field service management solution to manage your field work? If so, that solution is likely collecting information about the way your employees perform work in the field – from how long it takes individual employees to complete certain types of jobs to their personal break habits.

Here’s one potential outcome from blending this data with data from other parts of the business, such as customer support: field service employees can act as field sales reps. When a field technician knows the customer’s past buying habits, and even buying habits in that customer’s geographical location, he can make a more accurate targeted upsell pitch and even schedule a delivery appointment on the spot.

CF: Okay, we know what kind of data to collect. But how should we collect this data?

JW: In today’s world, we are living with our smartphones as constant companions. If you’re out and take a quick look around, chances are that you will see more than one person with their smartphone in hand – checking email or Facebook, watching a video on YouTube, messaging with friends or playing a game. So, because big data is all about collecting a large amount of data, from various areas of the business, and collecting it in real-time, what better place to turn for data than the mobile device that essentially has become of you?!

Much in the same way we behave in our consumer lives, it’s safe to say that your employees have their devices attached at the hip. So, to ensure that you’re getting a good mix of data, and that you’re collecting it constantly, start using the mobile devices and solutions your employees are already using to collect data.

CF: All great practical advice! To close, what’s one thing that you wish you knew when you started dealing with the big data world?

JW: Big data is messy – you are not necessarily going to know all of the ways it should be used right off the bat, and you might not have a single idea for an application at all! It is a learning process. Just remember: collecting data across all areas of the business, including data from the field, and analyzing it as a whole is the only way you will be able to spot the macro trends that will have a real impact on your business – the relationships that you never thought of before.


Monday Jan 06, 2014

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. 

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Monday Aug 12, 2013

Webcast: How Dell Leverages Big Data to Improve the Customer Experience

The Economist Intelligence Unit recently investigated how successful companies use big data to transform the customer experience. Join us for an Oracle webcast in association with Intel® to learn how top-performing organizations, including Dell Inc.’s Global Demand and CRM Center, are harnessing big data to understand better their customers and their business. The webcast is on Wednesday, August 14, 10-11 AM Pacific / 6-7 PM London.

You’ll learn how Dell leaders are:
  • Focusing on data-driven approaches to meet business objectives
  • Fostering a culture of customer insights through leadership and collaboration
  • Innovating customer interactions, marketing, and sales through automation

Monday Nov 26, 2012

11/28 Webinar: How Marketers Are Crafting Customer Experiences

According to recent studies by Sirius Decisions and the CEB, 70% of the consumer buying journey is complete before a salesperson becomes involved. Business customers complete 57% of their buying journey without a salesperson. So, what are savvy marketers doing to stay involved in the customer journey?

 Marketers are at the epicenter of turning "big data" into insights that are acted upon by the company and customers. Drawing upon social, transactional, and online behavioral insights, marketers are making customer interactions easier and more rewarding. Marketers are personalizing and innovating customer connections across new channels and devices, especially for interactions that span channels. Learn more about three key innovation strategies in an informative webcast sponsored by the Internet Marketing Association, University of California Irvine Extension, and Oracle on Wednesday, November 28, 11 am to 12 pm Pacific. Register today to learn from these thought leaders.

Tuesday Nov 20, 2012

11/28 Thought Leaders Webinar: Marketing Strategies for Great Customer Experiences

With the growing use of mobile and social, it's tempting to bolt on these new channels to existing processes. However, that piecemeal approach may not lead to satisfying customer experiences or solid returns on investments. Furthermore, the volume of information businesses have access to is growing exponentially. Is this leading to better business insight and customer experiences?

Join the Internet Marketing Association, The University of California at Irvine, and Oracle as we discuss marketing strategies that will help your customers have better experiences with your brand. You'll learn effective strategies for harnessing the power of "big data" to know more and understand your customers better, empowering customers and employees to make every interaction easy and rewarding, and adapting the customer experience to connect and engage effectively with each customer.

Our speakers are Melissa Boxer, Vice President of Product Strategy, Oracle Cloud and CX Applications, who is a conference keynote speaker on integrated social marketing and loyalty analytics, and Dean Abbott, CEO of Abbott Analytics, who is a thought leader in commercial predictive analytics.

This learning opportunity takes place on Wednesday, November 28, 11 am to 12 pm Pacific. Register today to learn from these thought leaders.


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