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.

Monday Jan 06, 2014

5 Predictions for CX in Customer Service for 2014 by Brian Curran

Happy New Year to you! As we move into 2014, I spent some time thinking about the trends we’re seeing in customer experience and how they relate more specifically to customer service. Here are a few predictions I have for the coming year. Let me know what you think, too!

Easy & Accessible Trumps Delightful & Courteous

The usage of Customer Effort Score (CES), the measure of how much effort the customer has to put forth to resolve a customer service issue, will exceed the usage of the Customer Satisfaction Index (CSI) as the important measurement to determine effectiveness of your service delivery. Customers today expect service to be easy and accessible. And, even if you have the most courteous agents who are empowered to delight customers, if the process required a lot of effort from customers, they are more likely to turn to a competitor the next time they purchase. CES can also provide specific feedback into where to focus your improvement efforts, such as the time it takes to search for an accurate solution, or the effort it takes to return an item. It is a stronger predictor of customer loyalty. 

2.      Brand Equity and Trust is Built More During the Use Phase (Service and Support) of the Customer Lifecycle

Your brand’s promise is delivered when people use your product or service and it actually fulfills the need that drove them to your brand in the first place. The perception of the buying experience fades quickly but the perception of whether your product or service met my needs does not. We call this part of the customer lifecycle the “use” cycle, and a key part of this cycle is customer service. Customer Service is the #1 key mover of Net Promoter Score (NPS), the likelihood that a customer will recommend your product to someone else. This linkage between Customer Service and brand equity will drive higher investments in customer service as a key part of your organization’s marketing strategy.

3.       Service and Support Interactions Drive Higher Conversion Rates in the Buying Phase

When people research a product during the buying phase, they often research how others feel about the product or service they received from your brand. This feeling is garnered during the “Use” phase of the customer lifecycle, and it is driven by the value they received from your product. Knowledge of how that product works and interactions with your brand post-purchase to solve issues influences customer recommendations. These recommendations are the #1 driver of conversion rates during the buying cycle. 

Omni-Channel “Conversations” Differentiate in Customer Service

As customer expectations of anywhere, anytime service continue to rise, Omni-channel “conversations”-- the ability to switch channels but continue the conversation without repeating yourself--will become the differentiator in customer service. And, as the usage of mobile continues to explode, all “conversations” need to be able to be performed on a mobile device (Web Customer Service, Chat, Virtual Assistant, Collaboration, and Voice) and transition smoothly from the device to other channels when necessary. 

5.       “Big Data” Provides Real-Time Personalization and Actions

Big data has been the buzz for a few years now, along with the promise of personalizing interactions for increased conversions and customer loyalty. But, it’s more than just collecting massive amounts of data. It’s about the laser focus of analytics and decision tools for taking action on the specifics of it—for a specific customer. Predicting customer needs and being proactive in your engagement helps to drive a more effortless interaction. You should know why a customer is calling and the probability of an answer based on data you have about recent interactions across all channels. You should know where the customer is located and the availability of help in the area. And, all of this information shouldn’t “creep” the customer out, but should instead add value to the relationship with your brand. Your customers will be more likely to opt-in to reduced privacy if you can save them time and effort, helping them get back to fulfilling their needs. 

For more information, please visit our website.

Thursday Sep 26, 2013

Connecting Your Social Media Efforts Across Marketing and Customer Service

One of the biggest challenges with being a socially aware enterprise is managing ownership of social data and responses. Social media impacts many parts of the customer lifecycle and, as a result, it also impacts many departments within the enterprise, including marketing, customer service, product and strategy teams. These internal teams will need to collaborate, share trends data and define who will handle different types of social communications.

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Tuesday Apr 23, 2013

Avaya is Answering Customer Questions 82% Faster with Oracle by Nav Chakravarti

Webinar: Knowledge Centered Support (KCS) as the Key to Great Service

Date: Thursday, April 25 1 PM EDT

Register: Here

Talk about a quick reply!  Thanks to a recent deployment of Oracle Knowledge for expanded self-service capabilities AvayaAvaya is now providing faster and more informed support to clients and partners. This is to the tune of 82% faster for support searches alone--due to better findability and a rapidly growing knowledge content library.

Avaya delivers collaboration and communications solutions, including unified communications, real-time video collaboration, contact center, networking and related solutions and services, to companies of all sizes around the world.  Avaya has been in the knowledge management game for a long time. But, as they grew, they began to find their legacy knowledge system could not keep up with the global demands for scalability and reliability that Avaya’s business and support required.  

With the adoption of Oracle Knowledge, Avaya achieved a 25% increase in knowledgebase use in just six months―with engineers publishing 14,473 new articles and using the knowledgebase to resolve 36,401 cases quickly and easily. Support team members can now search the knowledgebase 82% faster and open an article more than 66% faster than with the legacy system. This means they can resolve cases and locate answers to customer inquiries more quickly.

OracleIn addition to the stand-alone search and authoring interface of Oracle Knowledge, Avaya implemented Oracle Knowledge’s pre-built connector to its Siebel Contact Center environment.  This enables support personnel working in the Siebel environment to access content from Oracle Knowledge without opening a new interface, saving time and effort and allowing agents to easily create new content or provide existing knowledge to clients and partners. 

Learn even more about the success Avaya has achieved with Oracle by reading the full case study or attending an upcoming webinar co-hosted by Avaya and Oracle on April 25 at 1:00 p.m. EDT 

The webinar, called Knowledge Centered Support (KCS) as the Key to Great Service, will explore Avaya’s new knowledgebase system firsthand and delve into how Oracle Knowledge can help your organization.  Join Nav Chakravarti, Vice President of Oracle Knowledge product management; Monique Cadena, Knowledge Centered Support (KCS) Manager at Avaya; and Paul Jay, Founder and President of The Center for Client Retention and ICMI for this in-depth discussion. To attend, simply register here.

Friday Mar 22, 2013

Enterprise Knowledge Management = Information + Context

I was in London recently and strolled past a man in Hyde Park exclaiming, “You’ve got to have faith!” to a crowd of onlookers. A cheeky lad yelled back, “Faith? I already got that one. George Michael. Tower Records.” Even the preacher cracked a smile at the sarcastic quip.

I came away with something more profound: that the same word can have radically different meanings depending on the context.

I have spoken to several customer service companies and they all claim to have Knowledge Management (KM). But when I look more closely, what I discover are fragmented knowledge repositories siloed by channel—one for web FAQs, another for phone support, and so on. So customers get a different answer depending on which channel they engage.

If this describes your company, then beware. Customers expect you to know who they are and what they want so you can provide the right answer the first time. In fact, First Contact Resolution (FCR) is the most significant driver of customer satisfaction and knowledge management has the greatest ability to improve FCR. A recent CFI Group study found that 68% of customers who don’t have their issues resolved on first contact are at risk of defection.

On the upside, companies that resolve customers’ issues on first contact benefit from a greater share of wallet, with 94% of customers saying they will buy again from the company and 88% saying they will increase their spending (Harvard Business Review).

How do you get in the group that earns a greater share of the customer’s wallet? Simple: invest in an Enterprise Knowledge Management solution.

Only an Enterprise Knowledge Management solution gives you one consolidated source of knowledge for both agents and customers—and the context of customers' support requests so you can provide personalized, relevant and consistent answers across channels.

A good Enterprise Knowledge Management solution would be able to discern the different meanings of the word “Faith,” just as those onlookers did in Hyde Park. So it could determine whether you were searching for something religious or spiritual versus a British pop album.

That’s something no document or content management system can do because they have only information, not context.

Do your customers and yourself a favor. Invest in an Enterprise Knowledge Management solution like Oracle’s KM solutions to decrease Mean Time to Resolution and increase First Contact Resolution. Then watch your customer satisfaction and loyalty soar!

Please visit our website for more information on Oracle’s Knowledge Management solutions, or register for a CloudWorld near you.

Tuesday Mar 19, 2013

Differentiating Your Brand with Customer Service By JP Saunders

Can you imagine what the conversation with the venture capitalists must have sounded like when Tony Hsieh, co-founder of Zappos, told them that his business plan was to sell shoes over the Internet? We all know that you have to try on shoes before you buy them, and as good as the virtual experience can be, it can’t tell you if your toes will be cramped. But that didn’t stop Mr. Hsieh. As he says in an interview with his Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences alumni newsletter, “The goal is to ‘Deliver WOW Through Service’, so we don't have scripts, call times, or upselling the way most call centers do.”

Zappos teaches us something fundamental—to treat customers the way they want to be treated and apply great customer service practices to meet their expectations while achieving your business goals.

Bottom Line: Customer service matters. JD Powers published a study called, "Beyond Satisfaction: J.D. Power 2012 Customer Service Champions—Brands That Deliver Service Excellence to Maximize Business Results.” In it they analyzed the feedback from hundreds of thousands of US consumers doing business with more than 800 companies. They found that remarkable companies use service excellence to drive superior business results. Included among the 50 companies recognized as all-stars, were Oracle RightNow customers: Bass Pro Shops, Enterprise Rent-A-Car, Kohl’s, ING Direct and others that we aren’t at liberty to mention.

But how can we be sure that great customer service matters to the bottom line? 1to1 Media and Peppers & Rogers Group put it to the test in a fund created based on the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI). According to the study, “the cumulative return of a $100 investment in the ACSI fund from April 2000 to April 2012 was $490, a gain of 390 percent. By comparison, the S&P 500 returned only $93, a 7-percent loss.”

So, what can your company do to differentiate its brand with customer service? Maybe it’s as easy as following the advice of Kate Leggett of Forrester. Leggett identifies the top 15 trends in customer service in her blog entry, and her categories are just what you’d expect: Personalize Customer Service, Empower Agents for Quality Service and Take Advantage of Maturing Customer Service Solutions.

What happens when you go onto your brand website?  

  • Do you have access to service where you need it, not just on the service page?
  • Does a live chat agent appear just when you’re about to give up on your search?
  • And, when that agent is chatting with you, do they know where you’ve been on the site in that session and what you’ve done historically with the brand? 
  •  Are you able to connect with a community of experts and hear from your peers?
  •  When you’re on the brand Facebook page, are you able to connect to customer service? And, if you are posting on social channels, does your customer service organization know just when to proactively reach out to help?
  • Have you ever ended a call with a customer service agent, just to call back to get connected to a different, more knowledgeable agent? I hope not, but if you have, what are you doing to ensure that everyone who contacts your brand from their preferred channel is getting a consistent and reliable service?

It’s not just about one of the bullets above. It’s a consistent and reliable focus on these points and others. What does your customer journey look like and what do you want the customer to take away from each experience? What happens when your customer Tweets they are looking for a way to refinance their mortgage and searches your brand site for an answer at the same time? Live Chat triggers a session and the chat agent sees where that customer has been on your website, as well as the customer’s Tweet. A quick cobrowse session allows your agent to guide the customer through the steps of filling out a re-financing form. And, a confirmation email is sent with relevant auto-generated links. This customer experience is a meaningful and successful customer journey where the next interaction continues to build the customer relationship.

How you serve your customers and what you do to elevate their experience is up to you. The next time you think your service experience can be better, rise to that challenge and demand an answer.

Learn more about Differentiating your Customer Service and Reducing your Costs on our website.

Friday Feb 22, 2013

Not All Knowledge Management Systems Are Created Equal

You’ve heard your customer service peers extolling the virtues of Knowledge Management. How giving agents one version of the truth across channels helps increase their productivity and ability to satisfy customers. And how giving consumers access to your knowledge base online help them serve themselves, so they get fast, accurate answers.

But what you may not know is that all Knowledge Management systems aren’t created equal. Many traditional Content Management Systems (CMS) allow you only to create and post content with limited search capabilities. That’s not enough for today’s digital generation of customers who demand the right answer at the right time through any channel or device. And, it’s not enough for today’s contact center agents who handle increasingly complex service requests coming through multiple touchpoints—web, social and mobile.

So what kind of knowledge management solution enables you to provide customers with the right answer at the right time? One that is smart enough to:

  • Determine the context of a customer’s online search to guide him or her to relevant content or troubleshooting
  • Search across multiple sources inside and outside the organization to find the most relevant answers
  • Integrate with your CRM and other mission-critical applications for seamlessly end-to-end service processes
  • Rapidly scale across your enterprise to meet changing business and customer needs
  • Provide analytics for continual knowledge improvement

Oracle’s Knowledge Solutions provide all the above and more. Just look at the results of our customers:

  • Jackson Hewitt’s just-in-time knowledge has increased its tax agents' productivity and decreased their training time by 15-20%
  • Vertafore’s agent knowledge base has reduced Mean Time To Resolution by 30%
  • Lantronix’s searchable knowledge answers on its support site have reduced calls and emails by 40%.

 

Learn more about Oracle’s Knowledge Solutions on our website or attend a CloudWorld event near you. 

Friday Feb 08, 2013

Turning Customer Self-Service into a Brand Differentiator

Nothing turns a customer off more than bad service—especially now that products are becoming commoditized. And with the digital generation, customers want to be able to connect with you anytime, anywhere, and from any device to resolve their own service issues.

So you are finding more and more of them going online to serve themselves, 72% according to Forrester. However, only 52% find the information they need. If you are one of the companies disappointing the 48%, watch out. Because 89% of customers will switch to a competitor after one bad service experience—up from 59% just four years ago!

Stand out from the crowd by Turning Customer Self-Service into a Brand Differentiator. When you do, you will benefit from the nearly 50% of customers who go online to praise your brand for outstanding service. That praise leads to sustainable business growth and profits by enhancing your ability to get and keep more customers at lower cost.

So how exactly do you turn your customer self-service into a brand differentiator?  Visit Oracle’s website to hear the Transform Your Brand Educast presented by The International Customer Management Institute and Oracle.

In the webcast, you will learn how Top-Ranked Customer Experience brands use Oracle Web self-service solutions to stand out from the crowd while saving millions on call and email deflection.

 

Tuesday Feb 05, 2013

Reach Out and Touch Your Customers With Proactive Service

You’ve heard the term ‘Proactive Service.’ You know it means reaching out to customers to give them a better experience. But you’re wondering, What’s the best way to do that? Because you want to reach out with service that is personal and relevant—so you can drive more sales and lower support costs. Customer Loyalty

Brands that stand out are those that get ahead of customer needs and use every interaction to grow their business. By engaging with consumers before they have issues, companies can increase customer satisfaction and operational efficiency, resulting in sustainable growth and profits.

Here are the top three ways to proactively reach out to customers:

  1. Invite customers to chat on your website
  2. Update customers with service alerts
  3. Send targeted campaigns and personalized emails

First, business rules enable you to automatically offer chat based on criteria like how many answers a customer has viewed on your website, or whether she is about to abandon her shopping cart. By engaging at the point of need, you can resolve customer issues quickly and boost sales.

Drugstore.com, a Walgreens Company, uses Oracle RightNow Cloud Service to proactively offer chat. By using chat to guide online shoppers, Drugstore’s beauty.com has achieved a 30% online conversion rate and increased shopping basket size by 20%.

Second, you can send customers relevant information—like service alerts, knowledge updates, or product enhancements—based on their profile preferences. This proactive outreach helps build loyalty while saving money on call deflection.

ResortCom International, a vacation industry leader, uses Oracle RightNow Cloud Service to proactively deliver relevant service and offers to customers through their preferred channels and times of day. Proactive communications have decreased its inbound calls by 20%, resulting in $200,000 savings. ResortCom also increased its business 10X with no increase in support headcount.

Third, you can use profile preferences to send customers targeted campaigns and personalized emails. Putting relevant content in front of consumers helps keep your brand top-of-mind, increasing sales opportunities and customer retention.

Shaklee, the number one natural nutrition company in the U.S., uses Oracle RightNow Cloud Service to create personalized campaigns and automatically send welcome letters and birthday emails to members. Personalized outreach has increased Shaklee’s campaign click-through rates and saved money on marketing headcount.

In summary, proactive service helps you drive more sales opportunities and lower support costs at the same time.

Learn more about Oracle RightNow Cloud Customer Service Solutions at www.oracle.com/rightnow

Wednesday Jan 30, 2013

Best Practices for Incorporating Live Chat into your Contact Center by Carol Volk and Tuula Fai

If you’re in Customer Service, chances are you’re heard the buzz about chat. Chat is the most popular service channel, chat usage has doubled in the past few years, and chat makes agents more productive because they can handle multiple chats at once versus one phone call. Sounds great but you think, If I start offering chat, won’t I be inundated with requests? My agents can barely keep up with our support inquiries as it is!

Put aside those fears by adopting chat best practices. Carol Volk, Oracle Senior Principal Product Manager, shows you how with four easy steps in her Next Generation Chat Webcast, which she co-presented with International Customer Management Institute.

The four steps are:

  • Choose Your Metrics—Choose metrics that align with your business goals for Operational Efficiency, Customer Retention, and Customer Acquisition. Keep your goals balanced as an Efficiency goal like reducing Average Handle Time (AHT) may work against a Retention goal like Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT).
  • Plan Placement—Place Proactive Chat and Click-to-Chat on pages that align with your business goals. For example, you can place chat on your support homepage for Operational Efficiency, on your page headers and footers for Customer Retention, and on your product pages for Customer Acquisition.
  • Customize the Solution—Create a Chat interface that appeals to the customer, reinforces trust in your brand, and feels like a natural extension of your website. Within your contact center, integrate customer history onto a simplified agent desktop so your support team has just the information it needs to resolve issues through chat. 
  • Control Volume—Manage your chat volume by controlling the number of Proactive Chats you offer based on pre-defined business rules, and the number of Click-to-Chat links you provide on your website. You also can manage volume by building in throttles based on agent availability and queue wait time thresholds. Some companies simply start by offering chat for only a few hours a day and then slowly ramp up as their agents become more comfortable.

For more Chat best practices, please listen to the full Webcast or visit Oracle’s Chat Cloud Service Webpage. 

For further information, you can contact us at 1.866.630.7669, or come to an Oracle CloudWorld event near you. Registration is free.

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