Wednesday Apr 15, 2015

"Are we there yet?" The Oracle Roadmap To Modern by JP Saunders, Senior Director Business and Solution Strategy

"Are we there yet?" If you have kids, you may have heard this repeated many times during a long journey. If you don't, then maybe you recall being that kid in your parents' car? While it is intended to be an annoying taunt, its essence comes from a focus on the destination, versus making the journey a part of the destination. This is important as what happens along that journey can sometimes delay, frustrate, or worse prevent you from reaching your desired end state.

Many businesses today are at some stage of their journey to delivering an optimal and differentiated "Customer Experience" – with the vision of building sustainable growth and profits through stronger relationships with their customers, and reliable data about their business. Some define this destination as "delivering the wow experience," others call it "providing a modern experience," and many call it "differentiating with the omni-channel experience." Whatever you call it, and however you paint the vision of the destination, it has rapidly become the focus for the future of business.

Getting a defined and agreed-upon vision around the "What" you want to deliver is not easy task. The next question though is even bigger and tougher to get agreement on: the "How" to build, deliver, and grow to reach your visionary state. As every good Boy Scout knows, "you should always be prepared." Defining the "How" and then mapping the sequential approaches for each piece gives you the insights needed to properly plan ahead. A plan needs to encompass the considerations for everything that is on the journey with you. Your challenge is there are so many different approaches to the "How" – which are the right ones for you to take? And in what order…?

Question: What do cars and shoes have in common? Answer: Outstanding Customer Service. A "Customer Experience" strategy, by definition must focus on ensuring that "Customer Service" is at the forefront of its efforts. Why? Because for most businesses this is where 75% of the total interactions your brand has with a customer resides. As CX leader and CEO of Zappos Tony Hsieh said, "Zappos is a customer service company that just happens to sell shoes." Well Henry Ford has been saying this since the 1920s, "A business absolutely devoted to service will have only one worry about profits. They will be embarrassingly large." And if you look at any of the brands that are leading the way with CX, you will find this to be true. They have transformed their customer service business from an aging, reactive cost center, into a proactive, predictive profit center at the heart of their efforts. "Marketing may fill the sales funnel, and the sales department can close a deal, yet it is the overall impression of the enterprise generated by the quality of customer service that differentiates one enterprise from another," Michael Maoz, Vice President and distinguished analyst at Gartner.

BUT you can't transform your dusty old cost-focused call center overnight to suddenly become a modern digital hugging machine! Most businesses first achieve some level of "efficiency" (aka cost reduction) in order to reinvest those savings into establishing trust with customers, which then allows them to be more effective at monetizing these engagements. Many long-standing businesses also cannot afford to put the experience transformation on hold while they rethink and simplify their back-end business processes to support a better experience. Do you really think Apple’s business is less complex today than it was 10 years ago? Yet, as a consumer, you are protected from all that complexity so you can lead a simple life.

Over-eagerness to get to the vision/destination too soon often disconnects the approach for how to get there, and leads to the misalignment between strategy, investments, measurements, and experience. Begging the question, "Are we there yet?" from the pockets of siloed efforts that have raced ahead of the pack. If you don't define, agree, and plan for the sequenced approaches necessary for your journey, you won't have the right foundation in place to deliver the returns on your efforts, and will rapidly exhaust any funding and resources you acquired to be successful. In fact, what we have seen is it frequently leads to a worse experience for your customer, a negative impact on your growth/profit, and a refocus back on "efficiency."

Scenarios like these within customer service stem from "silo-channel thinking"— the evaluation of single channels, each independent of one other. As our own David Lanning and Jeff Griebeler recently covered in their Multi-channel white paper, customers today are crossing many channels and devices to resolve issues. And, as Gartner predicts by 2017, only one-third of all customer service interactions will require the support of a human, compared to 60% today.

So if consumer behavior today spans multiple channels—and consumer preferences are moving to digital channels where channel shifting is as easy as a click away—then why are so many business still focused on evaluating single-channel point solutions (chat, email, social, virtual assistant, FAQs, co-browse, etc.) independently? Why create competing overlap of functionality, configuration, customization, cost, maintenance and measurement? Answer: As a quick way to fill a gap and get ahead, but it comes at a cost:

  • A siloed "online chat initiative" to augment a poorly executed digital channel experience will ultimately result in it becoming a saturated channel of frustrated, overloaded agents, long wait times, limited hours of availability/credibility, and lower CSAT scores.
  • A siloed "virtual assistant initiative" to augment a poorly executed digital channel experience, results in a dumb ass-istant frustrating online customers, and making them more expensive to serve on higher cost channels, leading to higher support costs and increased customer churn.
  • A siloed "knowledge initiative" to augment a poorly executed phone/IVR channel experience can become a high-cost maintenance effort of managing stale, duplicated content on the web, hurting relations from inconsistent answers.

At this point, if you are thinking "some of that sounds like us!" then take comfort in knowing that 1) you are not alone, AND 2) it’s not too late to fix it.

You can avoid these types of "ow" experiences and negative results from a silo-channel approach, by making the right "multi-channel" decisions while you are getting going that will guide you on where to incrementally invest and get better. And ultimately empower you to get ahead of the pack with personalized service!

In this blog series, our resident strategy experts will guide you through the Oracle Roadmap To ModernTM Customer Service. A maturity blueprint designed and distilled from many years of real world insights across many industries, geographies and technologies. The Oracle Roadmap To ModernTM Customer Service empowers you to define and get agreement on the "HOW" in order to reach your destination of "Modern WOW" with the business returns for sustainable growth and profit.

The Roadmap To ModernTM maturity framework is unique to Oracle and is used throughout Oracle's business discovery practices, and with select partnerships, to benchmark you against where you are in your industry, what problems you need to solve, in what order to tackle them, what to incrementally measure along the way, what technologies (both foundational and leading) are the best fit for your goals, and when to invest in them.

Learn more today about the Oracle Roadmap To ModernTM, and stay tuned to this blog to get the deep insights which prepare you for your journey to modern customer service.

Saturday Apr 04, 2015

"The Connected Customer" Oracle Roadmap To Modern by Dave Lanning, Senior Strategy Consultant

"Omni-channel?" "Cross-Channel?" "Multi-Channel?" What does it all mean? Isn’t it just about the customer’s engagement with the brand, and the experience that they will have along the way? There has been a fundamental shift in behavior driven by the velocity of technology adoption. Like you, your customer is now more connected than ever. These "Connected Customers" are more informed, more demanding and have higher service expectations. They say:

  • "Help Me" - Assist me with navigating on my channel-of-choice and make recommendations that are relevant to my journey
  • "Know Me" - Know my preferences, anticipate my needs and focus on how to help me achieve my journey
  • "Value Me" - Recognize and reward my tenure, treat me like a valued customer, value my time with easy-to-use support, value my relationship with relevant offers and promotions and communicate in clear, simple terms.

But who is the customer? Demographics have some interesting nuances to this shift in behavior and expectations. Your customers of tomorrow are the tech-savvy ‘millennials’ who prefer digital channels to engage with you first. During these demanding and transactional interactions, they expect to find information not only within your brand but on social and on every device they connect with – or they will quickly find someone else. On the other end of the spectrum, the more traditional late adopter, bread and butter ‘Baby Boomers’ are used to the human touch, and will only try out some of the digital paths to engage for low risk issues. They need you to make it simple, and take the time to provide them with personal guidance at their convenience.

In between these two demographics are a wide range of personalities and expectations. Service levels and demographics alone aren't going to be enough to meet the expectations of customers today. Modern marketers know this and are leveraging every channel to reach out to consumers – setting the bar for where customer service needs to continue the engagement. To make it even more complex, research has shown that 44% of customers now expect to not only have a choice of multiple channels, but also to be able to switch channels according to their preference and convenience. By 2018, Gartner predicts that digital channels will for the first time be the preferred channel for the majority of your customers. Traversing channels is rapidly becoming the norm.

Net, Net. "Connected Customers" are here and you need a modern customer service strategy to meet their needs.

Look at any business that is a stand-out for delivering exceptional experiences and you will find that customer service is at the forefront of their CX initiatives. It's not an afterthought – that doesn't happen by accident. These modern businesses adopted a maturity strategy that enabled them to best serve the continuously rising expectations of these "Connected Customers," while achieving continued growth and differentiation from their competitors. They are going through an evolution/transformation around customer engagement with a strategy that:

  • Embraces the customer’s choice of channel, with online digital channels leading the way, available 24x7 regardless of device/location; engaging customers on self-service, chat, SMS, social media, communities, etc.
  • Delivers consistent levels of service quality and knowledge accuracy on every channel, with seamless cross-channel experiences  and empowers service agents with a unified platform for all interactions and access.
  • Captures relevant data at every touch point that can be easily leveraged for current and future engagements to personalize the experience, and deepen the relationship in a measurable way  with actionable proactive and predictive intelligence that is shared across the business.

To help organizations get going on this transformational journey, Oracle has developed a Roadmap to ModernTM customer engagement strategy that helps business identify where they are today and each phase towards their goals.

  1. "Multi-Channel" - The first transformation phase in the customer engagement strategy is to move away from siloed thinking. One or two options aren't enough choice to serve customers today, but adding more channels to your customer service operations can be risky to your support and maintenance costs. You must unify knowledge and some administrative overhead in the process.
  2. "Cross-Channel" - The second phase of maturity in the customer engagement strategy must focus on the service quality and channel mix. Customers must be able to have a consistent experience within each channel and across channels. For that to happen, agents must be guided on how to engage with customers according to their channels of choice. This requires agents to use a unified platform for engagements.
  3. "Omni-Channel" - The third phase of a customer engagement strategy is the ability to personalize experiences. Many businesses jump to this phase too early and miss the unified, "accurate" data that comes from phase 2. If the data isn't right, you can hurt your relationship with your customer due to inconsistent service quality and inaccurate knowledge. Once you have good data, you can make it actionable and automate processes, curating a truly personalized and even proactive service experience across every touch point of your brand.

The Customer Engagement strategy is only one part of the three-legged stool. Without the right way to measure value and performance along the way  with benchmarks and cultural incentives (a modern value strategy), the right timing for technology platform adoption and integrations and innovations (a modern technology strategy) – your engagement strategy will be a vision of frustration. You will be unable to reach your destination of 'WOW.'

That is why the Oracle Roadmap to ModernTM has been developed as a unified customer engagement methodology, which gets delivered as part of the Oracle Service Cloud solution, along with the business maturity partner ecosystem to help guide each step of your success. Learn more today about the Oracle Roadmap To ModernTM , and stay tuned to this blog to get in-depth insights that prepare you for your journey to modern customer service.



Thursday Mar 19, 2015

Oracle CRM Watchlist 2015 Winner

Leading CRM expert, best-selling author, analyst and regular contributor to ZDNet, Paul Greenberg, has listed Oracle as a 2015 winner on his CRM Watchlist. Paul is an advisor to both public and private organizations and continues to define the landscape of CRM including industry trends, challenges and opportunities. As the Executive Vice President of the CRM Association, and Chairman of the University of Toronto’s CRM Centre of Excellence, Paul is considered one of the industry’s top thought leaders.[Read More]

Friday Mar 13, 2015

March 19 Webcast: Rockwell Automation Uses Innovation to Deliver Best-in-Class Global Support

Forbes Insights conducted a survey of 400+ customer service executives and found that 70% of high technology and manufacturing companies say they use knowledge management to provide relevant, accurate answers across any channel to both customers and agents. This percentage places both industries among the lead group. 

Rockwell Automation is a perfect example of a high technology AND manufacturing company that is leading the way. 

Please join us for an industry-focused webcast presented by ICMI, Rockwell Automation and Oracle. You will learn:

  • How Rockwell Automation uses knowledge-centered support (KCS) to provide quality service
  • Where Forbes identified customer support opportunities within high tech and manufacturing
  • What you can do to advance your modern customer service and support capabilities

Register today

Monday Mar 02, 2015

Four Key Qualities of a Customer Experience Leader by P. Cory Hogan

In the last three years as a Customer Experience Strategist for Oracle, I've had the unique privilege of personally discussing Customer Experience (CX) strategies with over 100 different brands. These companies have ranged from global conglomerates to niche startups, in Financial Services, Retail, Healthcare, Entertainment, Consumer Goods (CG) and High Tech.

Fortunately, many of the executives I've met with truly appreciate customer experience as a point of strategic differentiation as a company-wide goal. The CEO of one international CG manufacturer told me, “eventually anyone can sell similar products – it’s how we sell those products that will keep us ahead.” The founder of a start-up fashion line in New York City made nearly the same comment when she explained customers, “purchase our experience – and get a nice product, too.”

However, while most savvy executives drive and define the customer experience strategy, they are too encumbered with traditional responsibilities to take the lead in developing and executing that strategy. To overcome this hurdle, industry leading companies invest in Customer Experience Leaders. They also make certain that the individual reports very near to the CEO, to break down internal barriers.

As more companies recognize the critical role of the Customer Experience Leader, they will discover that the ideal CX candidate possesses four key attributes: 

  • First, the Customer Experience Leader has high Emotional Intelligence (EI). With high self-awareness, EI allows the appointed individual to work delicately among tenured employees across multiple internal organizations, and with deep empathy. EI also keeps customer experience leaders concentrated on the real emotions of customers. 
  • Second, the Customer Experience Leader is Creative, as ingenuity and resourcefulness allow customer experience endeavors to be both unique and transformative. 
  • Third, the Customer Experience Leader is AnalyticalDesign thinking is critical in this capacity, but it must also be balanced with the ability to mine data, assess feasibility, evaluate ROI, and architect processes. Though not necessarily abundant, such right brain (creative) + left brain (analytical) leaders do exist, and selective companies will benefit from the unique combination. 
  • Finally, the Customer Experience Leader is EclecticThe broader the experience, the greater is the innovation potential. Industry experts are often prisoners of their own perspectives, and many companies will find the best Customer Experience Leaders come from outside their own company, frequently working in diverse disciplines.

I challenge every company to align a commitment to CX with a dedicated Customer Experience Leader, one who possesses the traits and authority required for success. Our research indicates that 86% of customers are happy to pay 25% more for a better customer experience. A lucrative business benefit will follow–and justify–a proper investment in a qualified Customer Experience Leader.

Friday Feb 27, 2015

This Time What Happens in Vegas Won't Just Stay in Vegas: Join Us at the Modern Service Experience Mar 31–Apr 2 By Stephen Fioretti

With fast moving technologies in mobile and social, ever changing, blending and new interaction channels and rapidly change customer expectations, it’s more difficult than ever to deliver great customer service. It’s cliché to say that “service is the new marketing” but any interaction with a service organization through any channel creates an impression of your company. Great service often leads to customers recommending you to their peers.

To win new customers and retain your existing ones, you have to deliver a modern service experience. We are hosting an event on March 31 - April 2 at the Venetian in Las Vegas to help you learn how Oracle Service Cloud can help your company become a modern service organization. You’ll learn best practices from your peers, industry visionaries and Oracle experts. You’ll hear from industry analysts and influencers like Kate Leggett and Ian Jacobs from Forrester, Aphrodite Brinsmead from Ovum and more.  Customers from ASOS, BassPro, Comcast, Kohl’s, LinkedIn, Nintendo, Pella, Virgin America, Rockwell Automation and more will share where they are on their road to delivering Modern Customer Service.

You’ll hear about recent developments within the Oracle Service Cloud portfolio as well as new capabilities from two of our recent acquisitions: Oracle Co-browse (LiveLOOK) and Oracle Field Service Cloud (TOA Technologies). At our Ask the Experts sessions, you’ll have an opportunity to get one-on-one time with Oracle Service Cloud product experts in web self-service, contact center and knowledge management. We have put together a diverse agenda full of information and perspectives that will help you take your customer service strategy to the next level.

In addition to the great keynotes, roundtables and breakout sessions we've planned, we will also have plenty of opportunities for networking and fun! At an awards event on Wednesday morning, the Oracle Service Cloud team will present awards to some of our leading and innovative customers. And we hope you will join us that evening for the Service Cloud customer appreciation event at Tao Nightclub where we’ll dance, mingle and enjoy some great food and drinks. Later on that night, all of the Modern CX event attendees are invited to see One Republic perform.

It’s sure to be a productive trip, with opportunities to explore new technologies, trends and strategies, and to let loose a little with your peers and colleagues. As the saying goes; what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas. Well, except for all the great things you’ll learn and the connections you’ll make while you are there.  See you at the event!

To get more information and register for the Modern Service Experience event, click here.  

Thursday Nov 13, 2014

Ray Wang keynoting at Oracle CloudWorld in Boston on Tuesday, December 9th

Are you ready for the Cloud? Are you ready to capitalize on fundamental technological, behaviorial, and market shifts?

Then join us at Oracle CloudWorld Boston on Tuesday, December 9 and find out how to modernize your customer service. Featured keynote speakers Ray Wang, CEO, Constellation Research, Jeffrey O. Henley, Vice Chairman, Oracle, and Shawn Price SVP, Global Cloud Go-to-Market, Oracle as well as industry-leading companies will show you how to:

  • Engage customers
  • Empower employees
  • Adapt quickly

Choose from interactive sessions and hands-on demos focused on marketing,
sales, customer service, human resources, finance and operations, information technology, and software development. You'll also have ample opportunities to network with your fellow customer service professionals. 

If you're tasked with changing as fast as your customers do, you should be here. 

Register now

"This event has my whole team really fired up!" 

Oracle CloudWorld Chicago 2014 Attendee 


Wednesday Nov 05, 2014

Join Forbes and Oracle for CX Service Journey Mapping Workshops this December in a City Near You

Are you passionate about customer service? Do you fall asleep at night brainstorming ways to better engage customers, empower agents, and adapt quickly to market changes? Then we have just the event series for you!

Avoid the holiday shopping crowds and participate with Forbes and Oracle in a free half-day learning session that includes both a CX Service Journey Mapping Workshop and an insider preview of Forbes Insights' Survey of 300+ Customer Service Executives.

You will:

  • Hear live from Forbes analysts as they reveal detailed results of the Customer Service Executive Survey 
  • Discover where your company sits on the Customer Service Maturity Curve and what you can do to stay ahead
  • Learn how to deliver experiences that create value for your customers and help transform your business

Participants will receive a free copy of Forbes' Executive Survey Report when it is published.

Register now at a location near you:

December 2, 2014
New York, NY
Register here

December 4, 2014
Atlanta, GA
Register here

December 9, 2014
Chicago, IL
Register here

December 11, 2014
Denver, CO
Register here

December 11, 2014
Santa Clara, CA
Register here

For more information, please visit our website.

Wednesday Oct 29, 2014

Video Webcast: Forbes Insights Executive Survey: What 300+ VPs Say about Modernizing Customer Service on Nov. 13 11 am PT / 2 pm ET

Want to be the first to know how you measure up against other customer service executives? Need to know the moves they are making so you can stay ahead?

Then join us for this video webcast on November 13 at 11:00 am PT / 2:00 pm ET in which Brenna Sniderman, Senior Director of Research, Forbes Insights, Jeff Lundal, GVP, Service Automation, Oracle, and Mark Marshall, Executive Director, Client Services at MetTel will give an insider preview of what 300+ service executives say about modernizing customer service.

You will learn how your executive peers:

  • Differentiate their brands within and across industries
  • Anticipate customer service needs on multiple channels
  • Leverage analytics to improve operations and service

Register now. After the webcast, you will receive a free report of the survey results when published.



Tuesday Oct 21, 2014

Webcast: Your Roadmap to Modern Customer Service this Thurs., 10/23 at 2 pm ET by Kelly Costlow

Want to become a Modern Customer Service organization but don't have a roadmap for getting there? Then join us for a live webcast this Thursday, October 23 at 11 am PT / 2 pm ET where Oracle customer service experts JP Saunders and Tom Cloos will help you develop your own blueprint for achieving modern customer service success. 

You will learn how to align your service initiatives with your overall customer experience strategy to achieve:
  • Better service at lower cost
  • Greater ease attracting and keeping customers
  • Larger profits in your contact center


About the speakers:

JP Saunders, Senior Director, Customer Experience (CX) Product Strategy at Oracle  

JP is responsible for evangelizing Oracle Customer Experience (CX) product strategyand leading its go-to-market programs. He has been helping organizations deliver better customer experiences for two decades.



                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Tom Cloos, Senior Director, Client Success at Oracle 

Tom is responsible for the North American Client Success Group, ensuring Oracle Customer Experience (CX) clients achieve business success by realizing the full value of their SaaS investments. Tom has been helping companies drive more business value from their technology solutions for over 20 years.
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