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.  

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.

Monday Sep 22, 2014

Do your customers know more than your agents? Shift the equation with this webcast Thurs., Sept. 25 at 2 pm ET featuring Amberleaf

Have you ever called a contact center and known more about the company’s products and services than the agent? Or been bounced around to several different agents before you got the right answer?

That’s a recipe for customer service disaster. Don’t let that happen to your organization.

Tune into this webcast on Thursday, September 25 at 11 am PT / 2 pm ET to become the Master Chef of modern customer service with best practices from Amberleaf President John Kariotis. 

Over the last 15 years, John has helped hundreds of companies transform their contact centers into modern customer service organizations.

He’ll share customer success stories – and pitfalls to watch out for – so you can accelerate your own success.

Register here

Tuesday Aug 19, 2014

CRM Evolution 2014: Mediocrity is the New Horrible in Customer Service

"Mediocrity is the new horrible in customer service." — Blair McHaney, President/CEO, Gold's Gym

Almost everyone knows that customers' expectations have risen. But, after listening to two days of presentations at CRM Evolution, I think it’s more accurate to say that customers' expectations have skyrocketed. Fortunately, most companies have gotten the message and are taking their customer service to a higher level. For those who've been hesitant to 'boldly go where their customer service organization has not gone before,' take heart. I’ve got some statistics that will encourage you to take those first few steps.

Why should I change?

  • By engaging customers online, ancestry.com achieved a 99.5% customer satisfaction score (CSAT) while improving retention and saving millions on greater efficiency, including a 38%-50% drop in inbound calls and emails.1
  • By empowering employees to delight customers, Gold’s Gym achieved a 77.5% Net Promoter Score (NPS) and 22% customer churn rate. No small feat when you consider the industry averages are 40% NPS and 45% churn.2
  • By adapting quickly to social media, brands like Verizon have benefited from social community members spending 2.5x-10x more than average customers.3

‘The fierce urgency of now’ is upon us in customer service. You can take your customer service to a higher level! To find out more, click here.

CRM Evolution Customer Service Experience Footnotes:

*Arvindh Balakrishnan, Vice President, CX and CRM Applications Business GroupIs Your Customer Service Modern?
*Blair McHaney, President/CEO, Gold's Gym, Wire Your Organization with Customer Feedback
*Becky Carroll, Associate Partner, Cloud Strategy and Solutions, IBM, The Power of Communities for Improving the Service Experience and Building Advocates

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.

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