Tuesday Jun 10, 2014

How Does a 724% Return on Your Salesforce Automation Investment Sound?

Oracle Sales Cloud and Marketing Cloud customer Apex IT gained just that, a 724% return on investment (ROI) when they implemented these Oracle Cloud solutions in their fast-moving, rapidly-growing business.

This achievement just helped them win the Nucleus Research 11th annual Technology ROI Awards. The award, given by the analyst firm highlights organizations that have successfully leveraged IT deployments to maximize value per dollar spent.

Read more to get the details on what Oracle Sales Cloud and Oracle Marketing Cloud are doing for Apex IT's business and why they won.

[Read More]

Friday May 16, 2014

The Art of Easy - Part 6 of 6: Making Easy, both Effective and Efficient by Melinda Uhland

In the case of “What makes the experience” It's the age old question… which came first? The chicken? or the egg? There is a strong vote for the chicken (being the customer), as they squawk the loudest (especially on Social), but within the contact center, there is strong evidence that it was the egg (being the agent).

A Modern Customer Service organization is one that understands the importance of the Agent Experience as it relates to your customer’s experience. A modern organization knows that its support agents must be more than a pretty smile on an empty box, or a handshake at an open door, or a hallmark welcome greeting… Modern Customer Service agents curate engagements that result in lasting and profitable relationships with their customers.

The customers experience is frequently defined by how engaged the customer feels an agent is during an interaction – not just whether they were polite, but also whether they were trying to help. And there is a direct correlation between how engaged agents are, and how empowered they feel they in their jobs. A Modern Customer Service organization is one that improves its customer results by investing in the needs of its agents’ experiences. Empowering them with the tools that make it easy for them to be efficient and effective.

To know how well you are doing on delivering a great agent experience, don't just look at CSAT reports (although they can be a good indicator).

Start by asking your agents:

Are you being connected with customers that you can serve effectively?
How effective is that connection so the customer isn’t frustrated by the time they engage?
Once engaged do they have access to the information needed to solve the issue?
How many systems do they have to log into, search and reconcile conflicting information?
How many process scripts, cheat sheets and memos do they have to manage and memorize to navigate the engagement?
If they see an issue with your system/process during the interaction, can they apply/request a change?
How long does it usually take to have the change applied?
And, how many engagements will they have to handle without that change?
The list goes on, as does the time and frustration to your agents, if you are not making the engagement process easy. Let face it, you cannot afford to lose any of your agents, as you have invested in them and your business needs to deliver. So, if you are still running your contact center as a legacy cost center, then chances are you are driving up costs by not understanding your agents’ needs:

  • Your most seasoned agents: are your most valuable assets as they are the sherpas of your processes, saviors of your customers and the spirit of your brand.  They must be empowered for greatness. Honor their time to save your brand.
  • Your average agents: are your building blocks for change, whose systematic rhythm can deliver the highest return on efficiencies. They must be empowered for consistency. Listen to their pains to save money.
  • Your most junior agents: are your future, with an untarnished view on how you can improve to get ahead. They must be empowered for success. Leverage their passion and their fresh perspective for change.

By exploring the needs of each agent segment, you can understand how to apply technology to improve their experience:

The Experienced Agent: “Don’t waste my time!”

Your most experienced agents should be strictly focused on your most serious/complicated issues, and/or your highest value customers.  Having your most valuable agents handle questions that could be addressed through an FAQ, or a newer agent wastes money and time. By setting up the correct routing rules, you can ensure that your experienced agents are focused on the right issues and most valuable customers –handling only exceptions for overflow assistance when required.  With the right solution, it is possible to automate the configuration and management of routing rules which match the right customers with the right agents, based on many factors beyond customer problem and agent skill. Configure rules based on availability, learned experience, language, time zone, county, wait times, customer value, etc.

The Average Agent:  “It’s not my fault!”

How many times have your agents picked up a call, provided their most friendly greeting, only to have been immediately yelled at by a customer? Your agent has to spend time calming the customer down, rather than assisting them with the real issue. Call Center agents go through this many times a day, and it can be a demotivating and costly occurrence to your efficiency and effectiveness metrics.  Do these sound all too familiar?

  • I have been transferred 3 times, and you keep asking the same questions!”
  • “I don’t have time to call you! Why can’t I just do this online?"
  • “I just spent an hour trying to navigate your web site, only to get no answer, and now you want to CHAT?!
  • “Do you know who I am on Social? You will regret keeping me waiting for my email response!”
  • “I have been a great customer of yours for many years – doesn't that count for something?!”

Multi-Channel / Cross-Channel Customer Service platforms can help you avoid this circle of frustration. Capabilities like proactive chat, email automation, virtual assistance, click-to-call, click-to-call back, experience routing rules, mobile templates, and social response allow your customers reach out to you on the channel/device that works best for them right when they need help. Or they can switch channels and devices when they need too, seamlessly.  And when your customers do reach out to you, you can keep track of all their interactions, regardless of channel, providing you with deeper insights on channel, device and interaction behavior for optimizing their contact flows to avoid FCF (First Contact Frustration), and improve FCR (First Contact Resolution).

The New Agent:  “There’s gotta be a better way!”

Your new agent just started and is excited to do well in his/her new role.  S/he had some hands-on training with an experienced agent, got a memorized script to follow, a notebook with system logins to use, an earmarked manual with policies to follow, and is set to start handling low-level support incidents in those already flooded channels.  As you finish the agent’s training, the song “Will they stay, or will they go?” plays in your head because you know the experience the agent is about to go through will either make or break ‘em. But, you did all you could, so if something goes wrong: the customers? A necessary casualty. The complaints? Teething pains. The ideas for change? A no go. Given time, they will learn the old ways are best!

This is another scenario that can be easily remedied with a Modern Contact Center, which is capable of unifying all the systems to a single login to a centralized agent desktop. The desktop can be pre-configured with views and guides that simplify the learning curve and walk agents through step-by-step processes, which are traceable down to each interaction and engagement across every channel.

A centralized knowledge base gives agents access to all public and internal knowledge at their fingertips, placing scripts inside of tools that can be applied easily. These tools, combined with a unified customer record drawn from any source master system of record (or external social site), equip your new agent to have relevant engagements, which help them improve customer experience from day one.

By understanding the needs of your agents—and empowering them with the right tools, knowledge and insights to better serve customers—you can easily make their jobs more engaging, their performance more effective, and their time more efficient. The Oracle Service Cloud empowers agents to meet today’s customer expectations and become a valued part of the Modern Customer Service Organization.

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]

Tuesday Mar 25, 2014

Part 1 of 6: The Art of Easy: Make It Easy To Deliver Great Customer Service Experiences by JP Saunders

Modern Customer Service is helping businesses to differentiate and grow in today’s competitive market. Why? Because your success gets accelerated when you take care of the people that make you successful. Modern Customer Service is about just that, taking care of your customers, and your people that support them.  To do that, you need to make it EASY to deliver great experiences, time and time again.

Businesses that make it “look” easy, stand out, because they consistently deliver experiences so memorable that their customers feel compelled to share them. But ask any of them how they do it, and you will quickly learn that the ART of EASY really isn’t EASY at all - or we would all be doing it! The most common business challenge stems from underestimating the complexity of simplicity, which can be devastating to the customer’s experience.

EASY is an ART. And it requires a deep understanding to get the right results - understanding of your business and of your customer, which can be applied in your cultural skills. Your canvas is the combination of every engagement channel you have where the picture of your brand gets painted. Your pallet of colors is the collection of your people, knowledge and data. Your brushes are the technologies that blend all together. In order to make “EASY”, beautiful and repeatable, you need solutions that provide a paint by numbers approach.

In this six part blog series, we will help guide you in managing the complexity of your customer service business challenges, while avoiding the common pitfalls, and deliver the type of great experiences that your customers will want to share with others. Experiences that are easily repeatable by you, and hard for your competitors to replicate.  We will show you how Oracle Service Cloud empowers your business to care, take action and succeed in your Web, Contact Center, Knowledge, Policy, and Cloud customer service initiatives, to become a Modern Customer Service organization.

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.

Friday Sep 13, 2013

Four Ways to Deliver Better Customer Service with Integrated Knowledge Management and CRM By JP Saunders

CRM solutions without integrated knowledge management suffer from a number of limitations. They don’t enable customers to become more self-sufficient or foster a community that can generate its own answers. They lack the centralized intelligence needed to deliver innovation and consumer-driven interactions, so support agents can’t learn, serve, or collaborate as effectively as their jobs require. And, they lack the analytical insights customer service organizations require to truly understand customer needs, making it difficult to optimize answers and, ultimately, the customer experience.

Here are 4 ways that integrated knowledge management and CRM can deliver better customer experiences:

  1. Increase first call resolutionThe most important aspect of a satisfying customer experience with a contact center is getting a representative who can meet all the customer’s needs—without having to forward inquiries to other representatives. Integrated knowledge management pulls answers from across organizational silos and puts it at the agent’s fingertips--without having to leave their CRM application.
  2. Increase self-serviceMany customers prefer to serve themselves. They want to find the answer quickly and easily without requiring escalation to the contact center. With integrated knowledge management, you can empower your customers to easily help themselves. But, you can also seamlessly transfer to assisted service with the context of their self-service interaction, if it becomes necessary. 
  3. Build your knowledgebase – The foundation of providing quick and easy answers is to build out a robust knowledge base. However, cumbersome navigation to create solutions can be a barrier to building your knowledge base. When knowledge is integrated with CRM, you can easily create knowledge solutions directly from service cases so that it’s available for the next customer or agent to use. 
  4. Learn and improve your serviceIntegrated knowledge allows you to understand customer usage and service issues – most common searches, percentage of cases resolved with knowledge, solutions used the most, etc. in order to improve your customer experience. Armed with this understanding, you can identify actions that will increase search accuracy or, better yet, address root causes that eliminate the need to search at all. 

The World’s leading Knowledge Management solution, Oracle Knowledge, now enhances the Oracle RightNow Cloud Service capabilities with expanded search capabilities, deeper language understanding, business intelligent analytics, support for more content types, languages, and much more. Now available in the Oracle RightNow Agent Desktop and Customer Portal, this integration provides agents with the ability to accurately assist customers with finding the right answer at the right time. 

For more information on these high-value features, please watch the Oracle RightNow Cloud Service – August 2013 Release Overview or read the Oracle RightNow Cloud Service – August 2013 Capabilities and Benefits. You can also attend the Integrating Knowledge Management into CRM Applications session at OpenWorld. 

Tuesday Aug 20, 2013

CRM Evolution 2013: Social Care is a Mainstream Channel

CRM Evolution's Customer Service Experience track began today with Hewlett Packard’s (HP) Patricia Graca talking about Social Care. She got our attention with some eye-opening statistics:

  • 1 in 3 users prefer social care over contacting via the phone
  • 80% of customers will not purchase a product if there is a negative review
  • 43% of customers use social media to publicize a bad experience—and 48% a positive experience

Graca has built a social support community with volunteer experts who give two to 30 hours of their time every week to answer other customers’ questions.

What motivates these experts to devote so much time? She found that the top motivator is the satisfaction they receive from helping people. But Graca doesn’t stop there. She uses gamification to motivate experts with things like:

  • 15 status levels they can climb based on their answers’ usefulness
  • Avatars created from personal photos experts submit
  • Privileges like early access to new products, training and special events

Graca even hosts 24-hour social support marathons in which 100s of experts around the world participate—creating a wealth of crowd source wisdom for HP.

Currently, 1% of her social support community serves as experts and/or contributors. Her next challenge is encouraging the remaining 99% to actively participate.

Monday Aug 19, 2013

Become a part of your customer's life at CRM Evolution 2013

The first day of the CRM Evolution 2013 Conference and Exhibition began with a dynamic keynote by Jeanne Bliss, Founder of CustomerBliss.com. She talked about organizations “becoming a part of the story of their customers’ lives” through:

Getting Real—walking a mile in their customers’ shoes

  • Example: USAA has new hires eat army rations, wear flak jackets and boots and go through the same insurance application processes

Being There—improving the top five contact points that matter most to customers

  • Example: WestJet empowers its frontline staff to give ‘honored guests’ the best experience possible

Apologizing Well—responding quickly and humbly to solve problems

  • Example: Southwest sends apology letters offering discount coupons to fly again.  

Oracle’s very own Matt Kresch, Principal Product Strategy Director, spoke about the Modern Contact Center. To be ‘modern,’ your service organization must be able to carry on a seamless conversation with the customer across channels. A unified agent desktop—that brings all the customer information and engagement tools together on one screen—makes this possible.

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

Tuesday Aug 06, 2013

Expand the Siebel User Experience onto the Newest Devices

A friend works for a well known financial services company that uses Siebel CRM. I asked how he likes using Siebel. He said that it works great. However, he wishes that he could use it on an iPad.  Well, I have good news for him and good news for you. Now, you can.

Learn more about how to expand the Siebel user experience in our webcast on June 15, 8:30 AM Pacific / 4:30 PM Paris CEST. While you are at it, register for future Siebel webcasts about customer service, mobile and social sales and service, and other informative topics.

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