Friday Apr 18, 2014

Customer Relationship Management Simplified – Why User Adoption is a Key Metric

"Out of all the CRM project problems reported, we found the most significant threat to be slow user adoption."

— Bill Band, Principal Analyst, Forrester

So you’ve purchased a state-of-the-art Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system for your Sales organization. Your goals: better forecasts, closing more deals, and ultimately increasing revenue. But are people using it?

Read on and learn about:

  • The three primary challenges that can get in your way
  • Oracle's take on addressing user adoption challenges
  • The benefits Oracle Sales Cloud customers are experiencing
[Read More]

Part 4 of 6: The Art of Easy: Moving at the Speed of Easy by Chris Omland

The speed of change IS the speed of Easy. To meet the demands of what it takes to exceed your customers' expectations, you have to be like Superman -- "Faster than a speeding bullet! More powerful than a locomotive! Able to leap tall buildings at a single bound!" The velocity of easy isn't stopping or slowing down; catching up isn't going to be good enough.

The real question is, “How do you move ahead of the speed of easy?” You can’t see into the future, but you can be ready for constant, fast moving change.  Agility starts from the ground up, as the foundation will ultimately dictate your ability to change—the degrees of what can change and the speed that change can be applied.

So under your shirt, do you have an “S”? Do you have a platform that has the tools to enable agile innovation of customer and agent experiences, the extensibility and integration options to meet the unique needs of every business and customer, and the proven reliability and security demanded by today’s modern customers? To get ahead, you need to stick an “S” on it.

Here are 5 Platform Super Powers that you need to consider to move at the speed of easy:

  1. Be Agile
  2. Be Unique
  3. Have ONE Master
  4. Own Your Schedule
  5. Prove Reliability

#1 Be “Agile”: Meaning “create, deliver, and fix stuff… fast, right?” It does if that is what the business demands of you to meet the expectations of your customers. Don't deliver to scope, to scale, and on time, and you fail at serving the business and customer needs.  No pressure, right? And certainly not easy, especially with a spaghetti foundation, whose complexity has been matured over time.  The answer for most businesses is not “rip it out and rebuild”, even if the new CIO says that's what is needed.

Modern Customer Service requires you to develop, test, deploy, maintain, measure, and refine processes that help differentiate customer service experiences when they are needed most.  So “agile innovation” is really about your ability to establish a foundational layer that allows you to effectively deliver at the speed of change. To do that, you need a platform that is purpose built with the tools, designers, analytics and operations that overlay all that complexity to make it easy again.

#2 Your Footprint Is Unique – Respect it!: Lets face it, your business is unique, which means you must interact with your customers in a unique way, too. You have unique systems, which are an essential part of your business processes—and your environment is constantly changing.

This means you need solutions that can work with your unique footprint. Solutions that can integrate seamlessly into your environment and processes—and are not just bolted on. These solutions need to work with, not replace, your existing systems. They need to work on your schedule, giving you flexibility in your upgrades. They need to provide you with the ability to tailor the solution through configuration, not code. And for those times when you need to go beyond the configuration options, you need open and standards-based APIs that your developers, existing solutions, and tooling can work with on day one without learning proprietary languages and protocols.

#3 Have ONE Master: Your business already has customer data, product data, processes, and systems that you use every day. The trick is not to duplicate and reconcile later. Not to create another silo.  

Working with existing systems can mean synchronizing data, loading data in real-time, integrating functionality to create a unified business process, or bringing together user interfaces. The requirements and implementation will be different for every business, but what is common is the need to bring systems together to meet customer needs and the support processes you have to deliver on those needs.

#4 Own Your Schedule: You set your plans according to your business needs, because only you know when you business is ready to make changes in your solutions. You know when your support request volumes will be at a low point, when you can retrain agents, and when you can deploy new functionality. Why should any vendor tell you when you should upgrade your solution? And if you have more than one Cloud Vendor, how do you juggle all of the timing conflicts and disruptive schedules?

Consolidate, standardize and have the freedom to set your own schedule. You did it with your on-premise solutions, so why shouldn't you expect the same from your Cloud solutions? Especially with solutions that support your most critical asset—your customers!

#5 Don't TRUST It - Prove It: In the end, Modern Customer Service is about an experience and a relationship you develop with your customers. All great relationships are built upon one fundamental concept—trust. Trust means reliability, performance, and availability. Trust is not established and left alone. It’s earned, it’s proven, and it’s continually put to the test. Your customers are trusting you to protect the relationship they have with your brand. That means you have to be always available, responsive, and secure.

To build, prove, and protect this trust with your customer, you need a solution that offers you the same level of trust. It’s easy to say a solution is proven, secure, and can deliver on your customer expectations.  But, it’s another to have proven it through reference customer examples, reference implementations, the highest level of security and compliance accreditations, and a global enterprise network with 24x7.

Put an ‘S’ under your shirt and transform to Modern Customer Service. Start with a platform that enables agile innovation, respects your unique needs, and has proven reliability to help you protect your customer relationships.  Learn why not all Clouds are equal.  The Oracle Service Cloud platform is built from the ground up to help your business move at the speed of easy.

Thursday Apr 03, 2014

Checklist for Sales and Sales Operations Leaders

You’re running a sales or sales operations team. You get invited to a number of events—or are spending time out of the office with customers. That’s your job.

Another invitation comes along. You quickly scan it, thinking “what’s in this for me?

The Checklist

  • New Ideas: Do you look outside your company, to industry thought leaders and your sales peers for new ideas?

  • Career Planning: Is it important to look ahead—for your business and your career—to understand where Selling is headed and how it’s changing your job?

  • Translating Plans to Action: Is there something you could learn from your peers—running Sales organizations like yours—about doing things faster, closing more big-ticket deals?

[Read More]

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:

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. 

For more information, please visit our website.

Thursday Oct 17, 2013

Driving Growth through Smarter Selling

With the proliferation of social media and mobile technologies, the world of selling and buying has drastically changed, as buyers now have access to more information than they did in the past. In fact, studies have shown that buyers complete 60 percent of the buying process before they even engage with a salesperson. The old models of selling no longer work effectively; and the new way of selling is driven by customer insights. To succeed, sales need to be proactive, not reactive. They need to engage with the customer early, sometimes even before the customer’s needs are fully understood. In fact, the best sales reps prescribe a solution that the customer doesn't even know they need, often by leveraging social media to listen, engage and collaborate with peers. And they fully tap into the power of analytics and data to drive results.

 Let’s look at some stats regarding challenges facing sales today. According to recent studies, sales reps spend 78 percent of their time doing administrative things -- such as planning, searching for information, data entry -- and only 22 percent of the time actually selling. Furthermore, 40 percent of B2B sales reps miss their quota, and only 3 percent of companies can say with confidence that their forecasts are “always accurate.”

How do you drive growth in this modern day and age? It's not just getting your sales teams to work harder; it's helping them work smarter and providing them with a solution they want to use, on the device(s) they already know, giving them critical insights and tools to be more productive, increase win rates, and close deals faster.

Oracle Sales Cloud was designed to do exactly that. It enables smarter selling that allows reps to sell more, managers to know more, and companies to grow more.  Let’s face it—if all CRM solutions worked well, sales executives wouldn’t be having the same headaches as they had in the past.

Join Oracle’s Thomas Kurian and Doug Clemmans on Tuesday, October 22 as they explain:

• How today’s sales processes have rendered many CRM systems obsolete

• The secrets to smarter selling, leveraging mobile, social, and big data

• How Oracle Sales Cloud enables smarter selling—as proven by Oracle and its customers

Take the first step down the path toward smarter selling. With Oracle Sales Cloud, reps sell more, managers know more, and companies grow more.

Tuesday Sep 17, 2013

Your Guide to Oracle Sales Cloud @ Oracle OpenWorld 2013

Are you going to Oracle OpenWorld? Last week I sat down with Mark Vito a Senior Director with the Oracle Sales Cloud Product Management team. Mark is the guy responsible for “everything Oracle Sales Cloud” that you’ll see at Oracle OpenWorld 2013.

If you're going to San Francisco and are interested in learning more about Oracle Sales Cloud read on. Even if you're not going find out how you can hear about what's happening and stay connected.


[Read More]

Wednesday Aug 21, 2013

Cross-channel Service: Is Voice Going Away? by JP Saunders

In the customer experience business, we hear a lot about the rise in the use of online channels such as Web self-service, email, chat, and social and the importance of having a cross-channel solution. It’s easy to forget that voice is still the #1 channel that customers use to resolve customer service issues. Not to say that cross-channel is unimportant – it definitely is. 

According to Kate Leggett, Forrester Research, “Telephoning a live representative remains the most frequently used customer service channel, and its usage is relatively consistent over time and across generations. This shows that customers are not abandoning the traditional customer service channels in favor of newer ones but are increasing the total number of channels they use when interacting with companies.”1

So the voice channel remains as strong as ever, as are the customer’s expectations to seamlessly traverse into that channel from online channels. 

If you’re interested in how to provide robust voice and cross-channel capabilities as part of your service solution at lower cost and risk, you won’t want to miss these Avaya sessions at Oracle OpenWorld, September 22-26, 2013, in San Francisco. Avaya, a long-time leader in Contact Center technology, has an exciting announcement to make pertaining to the close partnership it has with the Oracle RightNow Cloud Service product. 

·         Enabling Oracle CRM Platforms Through Avaya Technology

·         Oracle Service Vision and Roadmap

1Understand Communication Channel Needs To Craft Your Customer Service Strategy, Forrester Research, Inc., Kate Leggett, March 11, 2013

Wednesday Apr 17, 2013

The Value of Enterprise Specific “Social Data” - Social Data within Social Customer Relationship Management (Social CRM)

This is the first in a series of guest posts from Don Springer, VP Product Development for Oracle Social and Pat Ma, Principal Product Marketing Director for CX and CRM on the value of leveraging social data across your enterprise.

Lately, we have been meeting with marketing, sales, services and IT executives at very large Financial Services, Consumer Products, Retail and Technology companies. They have all made significant progress in deploying social customer relationship management (Social CRM) capabilities, but are looking for more automated and powerful ways to socially enable their external customer facing functions. In essence, they want to do more with their Social Data. With enterprise data growth expected to continue at 40% through 2020, driven by consumer generated content, getting value from this data is becoming increasingly and strategically important.

In this post, we’ll cover the basics of first implementing a Social CRM approach, and the value your enterprise specific social data. In a future blog post, we will cover more advanced “next” steps in how to leverage social data within your enterprise’s Big Data Analytics, Business Intelligence and Customer Experience Management deployed applications and systems.

Below is a diagram that highlights a general process for leveraging Social Data as part of an overall Social CRM approach. Think of this as a process that tracks your social efforts across your customers’ life-cycles, starting with listening and point-to-point engagement to more broadcast communications efforts in a repeatable and flexible fashion.

Social CRM Process

chart

1. Listen.  The enterprise wants to listen to what people (customers, prospects, and influencers) are saying about their brand on social media channels.

  • Your customers are talking about your brand on social media channels. They are posting, tweeting, commenting, sharing, complaining and liking your brand.
  • Through Social Listening, the enterprise should figure out what their constituents are saying en mass, analyze sentiment, hear what they like and don’t like about your product, and know if they intend to purchase your product or not.
  • Your social listening approach needs to be accurate and filter out the irrelevant “noise”, to get to pure customer signal for analytics and engagement.

2. Engagement (1-on-1) The enterprise wants to engage with relevant social signals to interact with their customers, and determine how those 1-on-1 engagements perform. 

  • This can be done by asking your customers various questions, responding to their posts and comments, and creating engagement applications like contests and polls. 
  • Your social engagement should be used to listen and respond to social posts. Social posts should be automatically categorized by your Listen engine and flow from multiple social networks into one “inbox” designed to make managing your community easy and efficient, within your appropriate business function (sales, marketing and support).

3. Content and Apps (within your Enterprise’s Social Assets) The enterprise should leverage the lessons learned from your 1:1 engagements to scale what works within relevant content and apps you create, whether it’s user-generated contests, polls, videos, or other interactive content.

4. Publish (message through your social channels’ communities) The enterprise should continue to build on its learning on all your interactions with your fans and followers to publish and amplify relevant content to multiple social media channels.

  • Create great looking landing pages and publish to multiple social networks or embed on any website. 
  • This should be done specifically within your various channels focused on marketing, sales, service, and commerce.

5. Managed Workflows The enterprise should develop and deploy specific workflows so your assigned business functions (Sales, Marketing, Service and Commerce) are communicating the right message to the right customer at the right place and the right time.  

  • Social media teams are growing and becoming more global. Why take the risk of someone in your organization publishing off-brand information?
  • By using your listening engine to auto-tag customer signals, managed by function appropriate workflows, you can better control your points of communication (1:1, through content, apps and publishing) to improve ROI.

6. Analytics. The enterprise should create a culture that always analyzes your results and metrics to quickly capture lessons learned to establish a continuous improvement process.

  • This will enable you to show ROI on all your social media investments, pre, during & post-campaign across your owned & earned media to improve social performance.
  • This helps you optimize your efforts over time to get more lift and value from your resource and communications spend.

Makes Sense?

Once your enterprise has this Social CRM approach in place and functioning, you can take the broader “next” step to amplify your social value through integration into your other core applications, which we’ll cover in a future post.

To whet your appetite, you can socially enable your enterprise by creating a 360o view of your enterprise customers (both content and profile) to support:

  • Business analytics across all forms of structured (customer transactional and behavioral data), semi-structured (enterprise text sources that capture your internal customer conversations via chat, email, call center, etc.), and Social CRM unstructured data for:
  • Big Data insight discovery – finding insights you did not know existed
  • Business Intelligence - developing dynamic, real-time dashboards, reports and alerts for rapid decision-making.
  • Customer Experience Management applications already deployed and in use by your enterprise’s Customer Service, Sales and Service/Support functions for near real-time action (customer experience management).

Monday Apr 08, 2013

More of Them is Less of ME! by JP Saunders

I brush the dust off the screen, hold my breath, flip the power switch, and a pause… the next moment will either reconnect me to an endless summer of misspent youth, or leave me continuing to seek some reattachment to a time now passed… “dah dah da da da DAH!” the sweet sound and the green welcoming glow of  the Astro Wars screen - for a moment the World seems simple again.

Long gone is the era of green screens, dot matrixes, tape recorder data, and simple shoot 'em up games. Replaced now with Retina displays, 3D printers, and mobile apps. In 15 years all of these things will be equally obsolete – which is half the time it took the last lot of stuff to become obsolete relics! Never fear, the geek force is with us, and will battle on even though we know that the gadget attachment won't last like it used to.

Our technology fix has become a bottomless pit of hungry consumption. Everything always needs more. More processing, more power, more capacity, more features… and faster too. In the world of IT organizations, to keep up with demand, means being in a constant buying cycle, much like consumers but on a larger scale of geekdom.  More servers, more racks, more space, more cables, more memory, more applications...

However, as a student of the Kermit the frog academy, I learned early on that “more and more of them, is less and less of me” especially in a disruptive consumption environment. More things to fix, more things to manage, more things to backup, more things to recover, more things to connect…  Less time to innovate, less time to plan, less time to prepare, less time to enable, less time to scale…

The consumer-driven Customer Experience trends of Mobile, Data, Connectivity and sharing are driving more demand on IT than ever before. The social exposure, mandated governance, customer data security and Customer Experience strategies add to the burden of supporting deeper and more connected engagements from the business. More experiences to support means more technology investment is needed, resulting in even fewer resources to scale.

IT organizations must innovate not only to help the business differentiate, but also to enable themselves to scale resources to meet the increasing velocity of demand and change:

  • 250+ Experiences per second
  • 200+ Terabytes of customer data
  • 40+ Billion total API operations
  • 2+ Billion end-user sessions
  • 6+ Billion page hits
  • 400 Million keyword searches
  • 450 Million new incidents
  • 1 Billion Outreach & Feedback emails sent
  • 50 Million Social Monitor actions

Okay, so these numbers aren’t representative of the types of metric thresholds that most businesses will need to meet today. But they are metrics drawn from one arm of the Oracle Cloud around Customer Service that must scale beyond these figures to support their customers' customers' scale of experience. Yet they do it with ease, as the Oracle Cloud was designed from the ground (the database and hardware) up (the applications) to work within world-class data centers and leading Cloud computing IT talent to handle massive loads and fluctuations.

Innovative decisions like moving the mission-critical business process such as customer engagements to the Cloud, enables IT organizations to leverage the real benefit of Cloud… innovation. Why? Because the parts of your business that are today focused on sustaining 24x7 operations for the customers experience can be the most taxing on your IT resources. Freeing up these savvy, dedicated, senior technical resources to prioritize innovative initiatives can take your business growth out of a “running to stand still” mode, into a differentiated leadership position, and at less cost.

Dipping a toe into the pool of the Cloud with non-mission critical or less resource intensive cloud migration initiatives can actually cause a higher IT resource tax without careful planning. Stop the factor of More becoming a fact of Less in your ability to execute. Discover how the Oracle SaaS applications within the Oracle Cloud can help balance the scales, with managed compliance, redundancy, security and elastic scalability.

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