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.

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.

Wednesday Dec 04, 2013

Humanizing the Digital Service Experience by JP Saunders

What if you could take your best Sales Rep, your best Service Rep, and your best Support Rep, fuse them into one person, and assign that person to each of your customers for truly personal service?  Now you can with the Oracle RightNow Virtual Assistant Cloud Service, released in November 2013! The Virtual Assistant provides everything you need to offer your customers the best personalized service during their online experience.

It has…

  • A custom branded face that can be tailored to appeal to your segment.
  • The foresight to know when to engage proactively and when to be on standby ready to assist on request
  • Robust, human-like conversational and language capabilities to truly understand and respond in HUMAN speak
  • Intelligence (with session memory) to remember and predict HUMAN intent (with deep Natural Language Processing)
  • Deep insights, access, and learning through its connectivity to data, channels, and knowledge to personalize the interaction
  • The ability to make related recommendations and offers during transactions to boost sales
  • The ability to know when to hand you off to the right channel (like chat or phone) based on the customer’s value and your agent’s availability

AND … it does all this while hand-holding customers through questions and answers, chats, and forms to ensure they get to resolution.

For more information on how a virtual assistant can help you deliver a radically different level of service to your customers, check out the demonstration of the Oracle RightNow Virtual Assistant Cloud Service.  To learn more about the Oracle RightNow Cloud Service November 2013 release, you can read the Oracle RightNow Cloud Service November 2013 Capabilities & Benefits data sheet or view the Oracle RightNow Cloud Service November 2013 Overview recording.

Wednesday Nov 27, 2013

Oracle Policy Automation Webcast, Wed, Dec 4th, 1 pm PT / 4 pm ET

If you missed us at OpenWorld, don’t miss this Webcast. Find out how the latest innovations in Oracle Policy Automation Agent Cloud Service and Oracle Policy Automation Web Cloud Service will help you deliver personalized, policy-driven entitlement decisions to your customers while simplifying compliance.

Join our live Webcast on Wednesday, December 4, 2013, and discover how the latest updates and roadmap in Oracle Policy Automation can help you:

  • Maximize your benefits with a strategic policy automation approach
  • Simplify compliance with the latest updates
  • Enable cross-channel consistency through full integration with Oracle RightNow Cloud Service

Don’t miss your chance to learn how you can streamline policy administration to deliver consistent and accurate decisions to your customers while lowering compliance costs at the same time.

Register Now

Wednesday Nov 20, 2013

Oracle RightNow Cloud Service November 2013 Release – A Radically Different Level of Service by JP Saunders

The November 2013 release of Oracle RightNow Cloud Service enables you to deliver a radically different level of service with the new Virtual Assistant, chat page peek, and a variety of enhancements to Agent Mobile App.

Personalize Your Service Interactions (VA)

The virtual assistant provides everything you need to give your customers the best personalized service during their online experience. It has:

  • The foresight to know when to engage proactively and when to be on standby ready to assist on request.
  • Robust human-like conversational and language capabilities to ask and truly understand HUMAN speak. Intelligence to remember (with session memory) and predict HUMAN intent (with deep NLP)
  • Deep insights, access and learning though its connectivity to data, channels and knowledge, which can be used to personalize the interaction
  • The ability to make related recommendations and offers during the transactions to boost sales

…and it does all of this while stepping customers through questions and answers, chats and forms to ensure they get to resolution or completion, as opposed to just pointing to answers.

Provide Agent with Context of Customer Journey

When a customer is shopping on your online store, we can leverage the context of the webpage they are on, the history for how they got there, the specific customer’s information, and an service agent’s availability, to intelligently prompt the customer to join a chat session or offer a call back to provide assistance. Now with new page peek functionality, service agents are provided with a rendering of the page a visitor was on when they engaged in a live agent interaction. Page peek can be configured to hide or mask sensitive data such as account numbers or credit card numbers so they are not displayed to the agent. This visual representation eliminates the need for the visitor to go into detail about what they are trying to accomplish, what problem they may be experiencing, or what product or service they may be interested in. This gives the agent instant insight and a head start in anticipating next steps necessary to resolve the visitor’s issue.

Untether from the Contact Center

An agent’s ability to adapt to the needs of customers can require them to have access to customer data and interactions when then are away from their desk, giving them more flexibility and freedom to increase their performance in delivering timely and accurate resolutions. In support of this, the November 2013 release of the Agent Mobile App includes: the ability to create and edit contacts; access to survey result history; ability to forward incidents, tasks, and answers; and the ability customize lists and other Mobile Workspaces. And all these capabilities and more are now supported on Apple’s iPhone, as well as on the IPad.

For more information on these high-value features, please watch the Oracle RightNow Cloud Service – November 2013 Release Overview or read the Oracle RightNow Cloud Service – November 2013 Capabilities and Benefits.

Tuesday Nov 19, 2013

Welcome to the Era of Customer Experience

Many years back, Oracle started on a journey to provide the best Customer Experience (CX) solutions in the industry. While this vision was extraordinary, the reality amongst our customer base was even more complex. [Read More]

Monday Nov 18, 2013

Wed, Nov. 20, 9 AM PST Educast: Oracle's Knowledge Management Roadmap

Did you know that 80% of the time and cost associated with resolving service inquiries involves knowledge management? With better knowledge at your agents' and customers' fingertips, you can dramactically reduce your service costs and increase first contact resolution rates, just like these Oracle customers:

  • Blue Coat - 25% Web Self-Service deflections saving $240K per month
  • Intuit - 85% first search accuracy for customers
  • Vertafore - 23% increase in First Contact Resolution (FCR)

Join Nav Chakravarti, Vice President, Product Management for our live Webcast to learn how you can empower your customers and agents to get the right answers at the right time – all the time!

Agenda Topics

  • The role of knowledge in self-service and the contact center
  • The latest enhancements to Oracle Knowledge Management
  • Oracle’s roadmap for future Oracle Knowledge Management updates

Register here

Tuesday Nov 05, 2013

7 Reasons for Abandonment in eCommerce and the need for Contextual Support by David Fulton

Shopper confidence, or more accurately the lack thereof, is the bane of the online retailer. There are a number of questions that influence whether a shopper completes a transaction, and all of those attributes revolve around knowledge. What products are available? What products are on offer? What would be the cost of the transaction? What are my options for delivery? In general, most online businesses do a good job of answering basic questions around the products as the shopper engages in the online journey, navigating the product catalog and working through the checkout process. The needs that are harder to address for the shopper are those that are less concerned with product specifics and more concerned with deciding whether the transaction met their needs and delivered value.

A recent study by the Baymard Institute [1] finds that more than 60% of ecommerce site visitors will abandon their shopping cart. The study also identifies seven reasons for abandonment out of the commerce process [2]. Most of those reasons come down to poor usability within the commerce experience.

  1. Distractions. External distractions within the shopper’s external environment (TV, Children, Pets, etc.) or distractions on the eCommerce page can drive shopper abandonment. Ideally, the selection and check-out process should be straightforward. One common distraction is to drive the shopper away from the task at hand through pop-ups or re-directs. The shopper engaging with support information in the checkout process should not be directed away from the page to consume support. Though confidence may improve, the distraction also means abandonment may increase.
  2. Poor Usability. When the experience gets more complicated, buyer’s remorse can set in. While knowledge drives confidence, a lack of understanding erodes it. Therefore it is important that the commerce process is streamlined. In some cases, the number of clicks to complete a purchase is lengthy and unavoidable. In these situations, it is vital to ensure that the complexity of your experience can be explained with contextual support to avoid abandonment. If you can illustrate the solution to a complex action while the user is engaged in that action and address customer frustrations with your checkout process before they arise, you can decrease abandonment.
  3. Fraud. The perception of potential fraud can be enough to deter a buyer. Does your site look credible? Can shoppers trust your brand? Providing answers on the security of your experience and the levels of protection applied to profile information may play as big a role in ensuring the sale, as does the support you provide on the product offerings and purchasing process.
  4. Does it fit? If it is a clothing item or oversized furniture item, another common form of abandonment is for the shopper to question whether the item can be worn by the intended user. Providing information on the sizing applied to clothing, physical dimensions, and limitations on delivery/returns of oversized items will also assist the sale. A photo alone of the item will help, as it answers some of those questions, but won’t assuage all customer concerns about sizing and fit.
  5. Sometimes the customer doesn’t want to buy. Prospective buyers might be browsing through your catalog to kill time, or just might not have the money to purchase the item! You are unlikely to provide any information in contextual support to increase the likelihood to buy if the shopper already has no intentions of doing so. The customer will still likely abandon. Ensuring that any questions are proactively answered as they browse through your site can only increase their likelihood to return and buy at a future date.
  6. Can’t Buy. Errors or complexity at checkout can be another major cause of abandonment. Good contextual support is unlikely to help with severe errors caused by technical issues on your site, but it will have a big impact on customers struggling with complexity in the checkout process and needing a question answered prior to completing the sale. Embedded support within the checkout process to patiently explain how to complete a task will help increase conversion rates.
  7. Additional Costs. Tax, shipping and other costs or duties can dramatically increase the cost of the purchase and when unexpected, can increase abandonment, particularly if they can’t be adequately explained. Again, a lack of knowledge erodes confidence in the purchase, and cost concerns in particular, erode the perception of your brand’s trustworthiness. Again, providing information on what costs are additive and why they are being levied can decrease the likelihood that the customer will abandon out of the experience.

Knowledge drives confidence and confidence drives conversion. If you’d like to understand best practices in providing contextual customer support in eCommerce to provide your shoppers with confidence, download the Oracle Cloud Service and Oracle Commerce - Contextual Support in Commerce White Paper. This white paper discusses the process of adding customer support, including a suggested process for finding where knowledge has the most influence on your shoppers and practical step-by-step illustrations on how contextual self-service can be added to your online commerce experience.

Resources:

[1] http://baymard.com/checkout-usability

[2] http://baymard.com/blog/cart-abandonment

Saturday Nov 02, 2013

Webcast with Brian Griffin, Ancestry, 2013 Winner 10 Best Web Support Sites

The web is one of the fastest growing channels for providing service, support and information, as seen in The Service Council's (TSC) latest multi-channel research survey. Join TSC's Chief Customer Officer Sumair Dutta as he shares key findings from his current customer experience research from over 200 organizations.

Sumair will be joined by Brian Griffin, Senior Program Manager, Global Support Experience, Ancestry.com who will show how Ancestry is using the web as a powerful tool to enhance self-service opportunities and increase customer engagement.

Smarter Web Service Educast

Thursday, November 14th

2 pm ET / 11 am PT

Register:
http://bit.ly/1cwz4Ns

 

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