Monday Feb 22, 2016

5 Steps To Start Your IoT-Enabled Service Strategy

By Daniel Foppen, Senior Principal Product Manager, Oracle Service Cloud

There is plenty of buzz around the Internet of Things (IoT). There will be over 25 billion connected things by 2020. Soon we will be coming across hundreds of connected devices in our homes, at work and on the street.  The IoT is changing our lives.  This is exciting of course, but for many service professionals the question of how to actually start leveraging the IoT is not that easy. Yes, we know there is a lot of devices that are connected – more every second - but how does the head of customer care actually set up an infrastructure that allows them to reap the benefits of IoT?  As we are in the industry of delivering customer service experiences, we will focus on helping define a simple 5 step framework to start an IoT enabled customer service strategy.

So why IoT Enabled Service?

We should start by asking why the interest in IoT enabled customer service?

The value of IoT enabled customer service is pretty straight forward… IoT enabled service provides a differentiated customer experience and it greatly reduces costs for the business.  Just think about a world where customer service isn't something you expect, but something you don't even think about anymore. What if service is automated and proactive? What will it mean for consumer loyalty to have a product that gets fixed before it becomes faulty or parts are replaced before the customer even notices the problem?  Similarly, think about how much it costs to handle all those thousands of incoming calls, e-mails, social media questions, live chats, etc. everyday about issues with devices. By connecting agents with the device, by enabling devices to auto-diagnose and even self-solve service the impact on the customer experience will be great. 

Furthermore, in the event a device or machine requires direct service, such as a visit from a field technician, IoT can again deliver a massive impact.  Taking into consideration that each field service truck roll can easily cost several hundred dollars, providing the field with IoT enabled remote diagnostics and asset history can dramatically reduce costs through unnecessary truck rolls.  In addition, when a field technician arrives on site for a job, he will already have an understanding of the potential problem and can bring the tools and parts to insure a first time resolution.

Making IoT Data Actionable!

The Internet of Things does not constitute a connectivity challenge, but a data challenge. In other words, to do something with the IoT you need to be able to manage the data.  A modern smartphone easily packs 10 sensors (multiply that by 2 BN smartphones today) and a modern car already has over 100 sensors.  A few years from now our homes will have hundreds of devices with a variety of sensors creating data. Just try to picture the scale of the data all those sensors will generate!

The big challenge with IoT for any business is not connecting to the devices, but rather in the collection and analysis of mountains of data. From this analysis customer service teams must identify events that require a service action.  All of this activity must occur in a cost effective and secure manner. Taking this into consideration, service teams must make sure their companies chosen IoT platform can support these requirements.

From Insight to Resolution

Understanding how insights from device data can help improve customer service processes is the next step.  If you are working in customer service, it should be pretty easy to find the low-hanging fruit.  Just ask yourself: “In which situations does the agent ask the customer for information about their device or machine?”  For instance, serial number, part-numbers, error codes, etc. Anywhere where the agents needs info from the device you’ve found yourself a potential use-case.

Once you have identified the most common issues that come into your engagement center today related to devices, analyze them and understand the impact each of these issues has on your business in terms of costs, customer experience and other values. This information will allow you to prioritize possible high impact IoT projects.

5 Steps To Get IoT Enabled Service Rolling

Step 1: Connect and Collect

Connecting your devices to a system that collects data is the first step. Connecting your devices isn't a big challenge, but we do recommend finding a platform that is both manageable and scalable. It is important to realize that the IoT is not static in nature. You'll need a platform that has elasticity to deal with big spikes of incoming data. Other considerations like security of data and the supported connections to devices are also very important.  Because of these considerations you will likely end-up with a cloud service, it will simply guarantee the most consistency, scalability, flexibility and low TCO.

Step 2: Analyze and Trigger

In addition to connecting devices to a system, you need a system than can actually do something with the data that connection provides. You will need a flexible system that enables real-time analysis of high-volumes of data. Data by itself is meaningless if it does not provide insights and action. Identify which insights are relevant and actionable when embedding those insights in service processes.  One of the bigger barriers to mainstream adoption of the IoT is the complexity of integration of such insights into processes. It helps if you have a service platform that’s robust and flexible. You’ll want a platform that’s easy to manage, yet allows strong capabilities to tailor to specific processes, extends and integrates with multiple systems.

Step 3: Set-up Device Service Processes

Setting up a device service process is pretty much the same as setting up a normal customer service process. But instead of asking the customer to do things like collecting data from the device, finding knowledge articles and trouble shooting flows, the device takes a much more prominent role.

We see there are three typical scenarios you can use to set up device service processes:

  1. Device-Assisted Self-Service. This is where the customer accesses knowledge and augments that with data from the device. Think going through a device registration process where the device automatically provides details such as serial numbers, install date, etc. to easily complete the registration process.
  2. Agent-Assisted Device Service. A device triggers a process to have an agent interact with the device to solve the problem. E.g. an agent that opens an incident created by the device and then inside the agent’s work environment interacts with the device to review settings, change configurations, reset the device, etc.
  3. Automatic Service. Here a device triggers an event and starts running service processes. These processes are built in such a way the devices can fully automatically troubleshoot, run through configurations, run diagnostics, change settings, reset and reboot, etc. I.e. processes that would previously take an hour to walk a customer through over the phone can now be performed in seconds.

Step 4: Empower Agents to Talk to Devices

Are your agents trained to talk to machines? IoT enabled service brings a whole new interaction paradigm for service agents. You will need to set up your processes accordingly. Provide the tools to help agents to become accustomed to interacting with machines, such as an agent scripting or visual screen guide. Also be sure to connect your agent work environments to enable interacting with the device to be able to do troubleshooting, remote configuration, set-up, resets, etc.  Also think whether your current KPIs set applies to interacting with devices. Typical contact center KPIs like First Time Resolution and Average Handling Time may not be applicable.

Step 5: Connect Field-Service Technicians

In many cases self-service and agent-assisted service won't be enough to solve a device’s problem and a field service technician needs to be dispatched to make a repair. These field events can occur with great efficiency,  by allowing contact center agents to directly schedule and dispatch technicians.  For example, let’s assume a VIP customer needs an issue resolved immediately.  You’ll want the contact center agent to create the service request, and have that request automatically routed to the nearest available technician, that has the tools, skills, and parts to solve the customers problem.  Furthermore, you’ll need to make sure the field technician has all the relevant customer information, and device information to insure a first time fix.  This scenario is becoming a fairly typical with service organizations where the contact center and the field service teams share the same platform.

Key Take Away’s

The Internet of Things is promising tremendous value for customer service organizations, yet it’s not always easy to start leveraging the IoT. We suggest the IoT is a data challenge, not a connectivity challenge. You will need a scalable and elastic service to collect data, a robust yet flexible system to analyze data in real-time to trigger support processes when needed. You’ll need a strong customer service platform that offers the extensibility and integration capability to embed data insights in support processes. A system that allows auto-diagnostics and that allows your service agents to troubleshoot and interact with the device, in a manner that’s easy for agents to adopt. You’ll also want a system that connects your customer service and field service teams to further streamline processes.

Coming to Mobile World Congress 2016 in Barcelona, Spain? Come and visit the Oracle Service Cloud product management team at the Samsung Enterprise booth in Hall #6. We will be happy to give you a complete demo that demonstrates all the 5 steps above on a single platform.

Tuesday Feb 09, 2016

Forrester Names Oracle a ‘Leader’ in Customer Service Solutions for Midsize Teams and Enterprise Organizations

By Christine Randle, Analyst Relations, Oracle Service Cloud 

By now you probably understand the importance of delivering exceptional customer service. You get why it’s important. You appreciate that customer service is the platform from which excellent customer experiences emerge. You’ve read the research and know that, according to Forrester Research, a full 39% of customers will tell friends and family about their negative experiences[1]. Data points like this one are powerful, yet leave you stuck wondering, “Where do I start?”

Well, take heart in the fact that you’re not alone. This is complicated, right? We live in an always-on, omnichannel world, where instant gratification isn’t just a request, it’s a demand. You know that your company must rise to the effortless customer service challenge or become a relic of the past.

Don’t despair, because there’s good news! Leading industry analyst firm Forrester Research, recently published two Waves:  The Forrester Wave™: Customer Service Solutions For Enterprise Organizations, Q4 2015 and The Forrester Wave™: Customer Service Solutions For Midsize Teams, Q4 2015. And the good news doesn’t stop there. Oracle Service Cloud is a Leader in BOTH the midsize and the enterprise Waves.

Oracle Service Cloud had the highest current offering category scores in the Enterprise Wave and Midsize Wave reports, and was noted among vendors that “deliver high-volume omnichannel service” and “have a foundational layer of knowledge management to deliver channel-specific answers to customer inquiries.”  Both reports recognized how, "Oracle Service Cloud delivers heavy-duty support for B2C enterprises. Oracle Service Cloud provides a flexible, easily configurable customer service solution that excels at delivering consistent cross-channel customer service experiences. The SaaS-based solution sports very strong omnichannel capabilities: cobrowse … multichannel reporting, chat, email response management, social customer service, and knowledge management. Customers use it as an enterprise wide solution, as a standalone solution for digital channels, or to extend the digital capabilities of an on-premises solution.”

I believe that these reports will help you decide what your business needs, and which vendors are best suited, to help your company become a customer service success story.

Organizations both large and not so large rely on Oracle Service Cloud to help deliver effortless customer service experiences (check out recent Forbes profiles of All Nippon Airways, Pella). Oh, and did I mention that great customer service is at the heart of award winning customer experiences? 

Hey, don’t take my word for it. Read the research and then let us know how we can help your business thrive in today’s “I want it now!” world.

Thursday Jan 21, 2016

Expected vs. Experimental Customer Service Channels in 2016: Part II

By Daniel Foppen, Senior Principal Product Manager, Oracle Service Cloud

Recently we provided an overview of the distinctions between expected and experimental service channels as well as a framework for evaluating experimental service channels heading into the new year. Now we dive into specific channels to explore in 2016!  2016 is shaping up to be a year of the platform-messenger-platforms.  You may be wondering what I mean by a ‘platform-messenger-platform’? Let me explain…

More than likely, you have heard about messenger platforms by now. WhatsApp is used daily by nearly a billion folks globally to send text messages, videos, pictures, and emojiis to individuals or groups. Facebook Messenger has 700 million active users and WeChat has 650 million active users (largely in China). Just these three messenger platforms have 2.3 billion active users. That sheer scale is mind-blowing, but these three are followed by other messenger applications such as Viber (250M active users), Line (200M active users), and SnapChat (100M active users).

Often customers ask me where we see the market heading and which channels will be important. Yet, we all have to acknowledge that it is difficult to accurately predict the future as we live in a very dynamic world. However, do not despair; I do have a hunch about what will happen this year with messenger platforms… Ready for it?  At least two of the three big messenger platforms will become Platform-Messenger-Platforms!  Now that we have the big bold prediction off my list, let’s go a bit deeper.

The three channels I am observing with greatest interest now are WhatsApp, WeChat and Facebook Messenger. I expect that in 2016 we will experience a change from these just being messenger apps to these becoming full-fledged platforms.

WhatsApp is huge! It has over 900 million active users.  When there is such a large part of the population using that platform extensively day in, day out - it is only logical to see interest in using WhatsApp as a service channel. Why not? It makes perfect sense to open up a mobile chat thread with a customer service agent around a certain issue and find that conversation still open the next time you have a problem. Great customer experience, great agent experience, right?

The trouble is that I see virtually no businesses offering WhatsApp as a viable engagement channel yet. I believe the reason is simple: the owner of WhatsApp does not want it to become an engagement or service channel. When businesses use WhatsApp to broadcast messages to a group, the account is blocked. There are limits in the max number of incoming messages – anecdotally found to be around a couple of thousand incoming messages per minute. WhatsApp does not have a public API and there is no technical documentation, no API limits, nor SLAs. While Twitter documents its API thoroughly, WhatsApp does not provide any documentation. To me this raised questions about the viability of WhatsApp as a Service Channel. For example, when you post a comment on Pinterest on a company’s board, you do not necessarily expect a reaction from the company. However, when you ask a company a question over WhatsApp (or SMS, or email, or live chat for that matter) you do expect an answer. It is difficult to meet these expectations if you cannot rely on the WhatsApp platform to give answers to your customers.

WeChat is a different story. With currently 650 Million active users, it is slightly smaller than Facebook Messenger is. It is primarily used in China, but expanding into other Asian markets. The reason I am looking at WeChat, is that I believe we can learn a lot from how WeChat is used today and apply that to forecast how Facebook Messenger will expand its scope in 2016.

WeChat is tremendously popular in China. In China’s  large cities it has a penetration rate of 90% and is rapidly transforming a very large share of the society’s communication habits. I am a WhatsApp user, but I see it as a messenger platform. I use it to send messages to family, colleagues, friends and a few groups.  Sometimes we share pictures and videos, but that is where it ends.

If we look at WeChat, at first glance, it pretty much does the same thing as WhatsApp. However when you look further you see a whole range of other applications that are provided within the WeChat platform. Recently someone working at a large consumer brand showed me on his iPhone how they are offering customer service in China using WeChat. At first sight, just opening a conversation with the brand seemed rather familiar, but when you are also presented with a range of menu options related to that brand conversation, it became clear it was much more than a messenger thread. Customers can open a mini e-commerce section within the WeChat thread where they can buy products and pay for the goods using the WeChat payment service. Users get targeted offers within their conversation.  They can play branded games inside WeChat. They can get routed to technical support within WeChat, etc.

When you look at it from that way, it becomes obvious that when a messenger platform starts including marketing capabilities, e-commerce shops, customer service capabilities and PayPal-like services, we can hardly call it just a messenger platform anymore. According to this article, services like ordering (and paying for) taxis, collaboration tools, banking, crowdfunding, dating and job boards are also part of the WeChat platform. When a messenger platform becomes so broad in scope that it becomes a little internet within a messenger app, I believe it becomes a Platform-Messenger-Platform; a whole platform within a messenger platform.

Moving to Facebook Messenger. Now Facebook Messenger is a core component of the wider Facebook platform. Where in the past public messaging on friends’ timelines was the norm, people apparently have started to become more sensitive and privacy aware, and sending private messages through messenger is gaining popularity. The fact that using Facebook Messenger within the Facebook app is not possible anymore (you have to download the separate messenger app) shows that Facebook is driving users to the messenger app. Voice calling has been added to it recently. In the United States, a payment service has been added and businesses are encouraged to start delivering customer service through Messenger. As well, Facebook has made good SDKs and documentation for the Messenger Platform available for developers.

I believe that when looking at how WeChat is increasingly becoming a platform, we can only expect that Facebook Messenger will be broadening its scope similarly in 2016 and become a fully-fledged platform within the messenger app.

What that means for customer service professionals is an interesting question:

  • What does it mean to have zero control over the engagement channel you choose to add to your multi-channel strategy?
  • How do you make sure that these conversations are connected to your broader customer record and interaction history from other channels?
  • How will these changes effect customer service engagements?
  • By when will customers interact with your brand (view and evaluate products, buy them, get support for them, recommend them) solely through platforms like Facebook, WeChat, WhatsApp, etc.?
  • Will you even need a website, email and telephone channel by then?

These are interesting questions to ponder.  Let us know your thoughts to continue this conversation in the New Year!

Tuesday Jan 05, 2016

Expected vs. Experimental Customer Service Channels in 2016: Part I

By Daniel Foppen, Senior Principal Product Manager, Oracle Service Cloud

Few would disagree that in the last decade we’ve seen an explosion of new communication channels and are facing a dizzying array of modern channels consumers use to interact with organizations.  In addition, how to deal with this tremendous increase is as much a challenge for marketing as it is for customer service departments. Customers do not simply have one channel they always use. They have a range they use depending on the circumstances. Some of these channels are expected, while others are experimental channels.

Expected channels, are channels customers expect to have available for them. It is implicitly understood that these are reliable and customers can count on them when the situation requires it. They expect to get a timely, accurate response to their inquiries. Typical examples of such channels are phone, email, live chat, etc.

Experimental channels are – as the name implies – less robust and reliable. They can be experimental for different reasons; e.g. because it’s a new platform increasingly used by consumers to interact with each other, because availability is out of control of the organization, because the organization’s structure and processes are not ready to support this channel, and so forth. Typical examples are video chat, WhatsApp, Instagram, Pinterest, etc.

Some experimental channels mature over time and become expected, established service channels (i.e. Twitter and Facebook). Other channels fade away, for example Orkut or MSN Messenger.

Clearly, there is a risk associated with investing in experimental channels. In addition, it is not always easy for organizations to decide on the right balance of expected vs. experimental channels. So how does a business decide whether, when and how to add experimental service channels to the mix? We would encourage asking the below questions before making any decisions…

1. Where is the channel on the Hype cycle?

New technologies typically go through an initial hype phase. When considering channels, it is important to consider where the channel currently is on the ‘Hype’ cycle.  If it is too early, expect a decrease, slow growth or steady decline to occur. Vetted, strong channels will gradually emerge, grow and become mature with a bit more time.

2. Can this channel be embedded into a multi-channel service strategy?

Adding an experimental channel as a silo-ed stand-alone channel can be easy. However, it is important to be able to embed new channels as part of a multi-channel strategy. Consider how to give agents access to a unified, connected interface where they can interact with customers in this channel, but at the same time have context around who the customer is, what their purchased products are, what previous interactions they have had, etc.

Similarly, also ask how to store the conversation thread from this channel so that the next time the agent uses an expected channel like email, phone or chat, the context of the interaction in the new channel is made available for agents. In addition, consider how to establish service levels for this channel. Is it possible to design service processes and workflows for inquiries coming in through this channel?

3. Can this experimental channel actually become an expected channel?

With many experimental channels, there is little control early on, but some channels are easier to adopt. Twitter for example has clearly indicated that they encourage using their channel for delivering customer service. Their Public APIs are robust and well documented. Many software vendors have integrated Twitter with their software. Public APIs are not always the case, so this is definitely something to analyze.

Now that we have provided an overview of the distinctions between expected and experimental channels as well as a framework for evaluation for experimental service channels. Look out for Part II, where we dive into specific channels to explore in 2016! 

Tuesday Dec 08, 2015

Transform Modern Social Service with Customer Communities

By Michelle Brusyo, Senior Product Manager, Oracle Service Cloud

Today’s consumers are more connected to social channels to support their daily lives than ever and they are no longer just looking to brands’ Facebook or Twitter sites directly for service. They are seeking help from their peers for quick and easy answers. Modern consumers are looking for ways to self-serve more often than using any assisted service channel according to Forrester Research. Companies are recognizing this social service trend and are using customer communities as another platform to enable customers to self-serve. In a December 2014 Gartner Research note, Nine CRM Projects to Do Right Now for Customer Service, Michael Maoz, Vice President, Distinguished Analyst writes, “Gartner clients who are successful in this space are still seeing on average a 20% reduction in the creation of support tickets following the introduction of peer-to-peer communities.”

Consumers are increasingly drawn to the customer community support channel because it provides insights and perspectives that add to the information they’re able to gather from company-provided content. By participating in peer-to-peer forums, customers feel empowered to share their experiences, helping others solve problems and make better purchasing decisions. As a channel, Community has become too important to consider separately from the rest of the web service experience.

In looking at social service trends and benefits, it’s important to strategically think about the customer community implementation and planning process. While launching a community can seem daunting, it can be easier if you think about your customer community as a core part of the web self-service experience and build your strategy from that viewpoint. We also recommend that as you get started, you gather internal teams to talk through these top questions that arise when planning for a new or revamped community:

  1. How can we ensure that our community look and feel resonates with customers?
    One of the top reasons we revamped our Community product in August 2015 was to make it easier for companies to quickly stand up a community that shares the same look and feel and uses the same tools as well as resources across the entire Web Service experience. This way, the experience looks the same across all elements of the customer service journey.

  2. How will our customers know about our new community? 
    As a first step towards creating an active community, you’ll need an internal champion. Many companies define a new role of ‘Community Manager’ to take on the responsibility of owning the strategy, promotion and moderation oversight. Once you’ve given ownership of this channel to a champion or team, seed the community with early activity from key customers, industry leaders, expert employees, etc. Promote the community across your web properties as well as organize social media and email marketing campaigns to advertise to your customer base.

  3. How do we approach moderation and agent participation?
    It’s a difficult balance to allow for honest, authentic customer conversations, while still maintaining the ability to guide and moderate that content. Some things that help companies do this well include the creation (and publication) of clear community guidelines so visitors know what type of content is and is not appropriate to post. Moderation strategies work best when the goal is maintaining a safe, friendly and productive environment.

  4. How can we ensure our customers looking for help have easy access to this great peer-generated content?
    This is one area where companies have historically struggled because communities typically exist as a standalone, separate experience. With this approach, customers would need to navigate away from the company’s content in order to access information posted in the community. By thinking of communities differently, combining the community and web self-service experience, companies like Oracle Service Cloud are changing the way customers access community answers from anywhere in their service journey.

  5. How can we use community data and insights to make our customer service experience even better?
    When companies approach communities as an integrated part of a connected, cross-channel service experience, a wealth of new analytics become available. Think about the types of insights you’d like to get from the ways your customers utilize the community as compared to, or in addition to, other channels. This type of data can provide powerful insights about potential knowledge or information gaps as well as customer preferences.

These days, support communities and web self-service really are two sides of the same coin. It no longer makes sense to maintain these customer engagement platforms separately, as the real benefits emerge from the combination of both experiences being available to customers in a seamless fashion. Customer communities will only continue to grow in popularity as the trend of greater reliance on self-service channels continues. If you’re not providing a platform to support the conversations customers want to have with each other, you’ll miss a huge opportunity to guide and participate as well as utilize your customer community as a self-service channel or knowledge source.

Click here to download the full Expert Guide to Powering Modern Customer Communities.

Thursday Dec 03, 2015

Delivering Effortless Knowledge Everywhere

By Jodie Knox, Principal Product Manager, Oracle Service Cloud 

In today’s digital economy, customers want effortless engagements and answers to their questions regardless of how they connect with a brand. The challenge is now there’s a broad mix in how customers want to reach your brand from self-service, voice, email, social media, or even live video chat. Complications come when customers receive different information or customer service experiences depending on the channel they use to contact you. In order to deliver the right knowledge, at the right time, knowledge must be everywhere; it must underpin the entire customer experience. 

In fact, according to Forrester Research's September 2015 report Vendor Landscape: Knowledge Management for Customer Engagement, "Knowledge delivered to the customer or the customer-facing employee at the right time in the customer engagement process is critical to a successful interaction," wrote Kate Leggett, vice president and principal analyst, Forrester Research. "When done correctly, deeper knowledge can be used to personalize an interaction, increase customer satisfaction, reduce call handle time, lead to operational efficiencies, increase customer engagement, and ultimately drive conversion and revenue."

So how do we provide knowledge everywhere? In a way that is consistent, yet easily accessible to customers and agents when and where they need? It all starts with understanding our audience, and delivering consistent answers across all channels and powering knowledge everywhere in the context of their interaction.  For more insights, check out these…

Five Tips for Delivering Customer Knowledge Everywhere

Tip 1 – Create a single knowledge platform and deliver Relevant Answers from all sources

Delivery of consistent answers across all channels requires knowledge to support both customers and agents in a single platform. The use of the term platform is important; understanding you may have multiple repositories, however content should be displayed or delivered in one single view. Ideally customers should be able to see all content related to their question in one single interface, regardless of where the content is actually located. It’s critical to understand that providing customers with relevant answers goes beyond your curated knowledgebase. Knowledge can come in the form of customer community posts, documents such as manuals or technical specs, customer forums, and social sites such as Facebook or Twitter. Enable your customers to find relevant content in one single view regardless of its location. By taking advantage of federated search, organizations can find and display knowledge in one single interface regardless of where it is located, including the knowledgebase, other content stores and social sites.

Tip 2 – Optimize your content

Delivering knowledge everywhere is not only about offering knowledge, but offering the right knowledge at the right time. Optimizing your content is a critical step. Optimizing knowledge starts with thinking about your content in the context of the targeted audience. Knowledge should be written with the voice of the customer in mind - use your customers’ language – not company jargon.  Providing content in the context and language of the customer interaction will ensure customers find the answers they are looking for the first time. Online knowledge should be tailored to customer segments when appropriate; this will not only help to improve self-service success, but will also help improve search results. Additionally, think about utilizing a knowledge search platform that captures learning based on content relevancy and customer interaction to provide your customer with the best possible answer, while simplifying search query. 

Tip 3 – Deliver the Right Knowledge to the Right Audience, in the Right Channel

Delivering knowledge everywhere means extending your knowledge to where your customers want and need it. The modern customer is very mobile; customers are more likely to visit a website via a mobile device as their first option for support. Which means your customers will expect to be able to contact your brand through their mobile device. Putting knowledge in the hands of your customers on their mobile devices is now even more important than ever. Knowledge must be extended beyond self-service pages. Knowledge widgets and REST APIs can be used to embed knowledge where it’s needed – directly in a product, appliance, game console and mobile app. Go beyond self service pages to make knowledge accessible from any device or system your customers may be using when they need information.

Tip 4 – Empower customers

Knowledge everywhere, includes pulling as well as pushing knowledge. Leveraging your customers’ collective knowledge of your product or services can provide substantial benefits. Enable customers to discuss, rate and subscribe to answers within your knowledge. Allowing customers to provide feedback and rate your knowledge will not only help to improve the quality, but it can help to understand the value or gaps in knowledge content. Taking it one step further through customer communities, helps customers become knowledge contributors. Social knowledge learning captures collaborative interactions in the community. Connect stakeholders – such as content authors or community members – who can provide the most relevant and engaging responses. Harnessing learning’s from your community can also help to create dynamic knowledge articles for your customer facing service agents.

Tip 5 – Mind the gap; Continually improve

Knowledge everywhere is only effective if the knowledge you deliver is satisfactory and useful for your customers and agents. Keeping knowledge consistent, current, and effective throughout your organization means you never stop monitoring the quality of your knowledge. Utilize analytics reports to understand which articles have the highest and lowest deflection rate, which answers are being used most frequently, or even which answers aren’t getting viewed at all. Eliminating unused or ineffective answers will help users find the right information more quickly. Identify gaps in knowledge by assessing usage and success rates, and also by looking at customer and agent searches to understand which search queries aren’t yielding results. Once content gaps have been identified, it’s important to prioritize efforts to fill the gaps. Since it’s unlikely your knowledge base will ever be completely free of content gaps you’ll want to continually focus on addressing the highest priority gaps.

When knowledge is enabled everywhere and maintained properly, it can transform the customer experience. An excellent customer service experience means that customers get a satisfactory answer to their questions quickly and effortlessly. 89% of customers surveyed by Accenture[1] said that ‘speed of response / resolution’ was the most important aspect of customer service, regardless of the channel. Empowering your customers and agents to efficiently and easily answer questions with consistency will not only result in greater customer satisfaction, but loyalty!

[1] Accenture 2013 Global Consumer Pulse Survey

Monday Nov 16, 2015

Toshiba Medical Systems Europe Transforms the Customer Experience with Oracle Service Cloud

How does a world leader in medical diagnostic equipment, which provides the most cutting-edge imaging solutions in the industry, raise the bar even higher? By zeroing in on a strategy for ensuring machine uptime and consistently superior customer service, and building a world-class customer service organization to make this vision a reality.

Part of the Toshiba Group, Toshiba Medical Systems is one of the world’s leading providers of medical diagnostic imaging applications and comprehensive medical solutions. As a leader in its space, the company continuously promotes innovation in the industry, incorporating cutting-edge technologies into its medical imaging solutions. The company is also constantly looking for new ways to improve the service it provides to customers across the globe. Toshiba Medical Systems knows that to continue differentiating itself as a leader, it needs to adapt to changing customer expectations, ensuring every service experience is a positive one.

Recognizing the value of service delivery as a competitive differentiator, Toshiba Medical Systems saw an opportunity to leverage the technology to completely transform this part of its business. The company has partnered with Oracle Service Cloud in an initiative to elevate customer experience while streamlining its service operations using its comprehensive solution suite.

“With Oracle Service Cloud we are taking the next step, entering a new era of customer service: delighting our customers with the support we provide and empowering our employees with state-of-the-art applications to do their work,” says Johan Lombaerts, Senior Manager Service, at Toshiba Medical Systems Europe. “In doing so, we strive to strengthen and streamline communication with customers, provide them the ability to choose their preferred communication channel and access self-service tools at their convenience. It is also our goal in this initiative to increase employee satisfaction for back-office staff and field engineers, and improve the accuracy of the data we collect in order to strengthen our analysis capabilities and continue improving.”

Toshiba Medical Systems Europe will deploy the Oracle Service Cloud’s contact center and Oracle policy automation solutions, along with Oracle Field Service Cloud. The company will leverage these solutions together in order to:

  • Streamline communication with customers, routing incoming calls or incidents to 100 agents on the customer’s preferred channel, including phone, chat, SMS, email and an online portal
  • Provide agents with the tools they need to easily determine a customer’s entitlements on their medical equipment
  • Ensure that critical customer and asset data is shared with resources at every step of the service process – contact center representatives, dispatchers, field resources and even supervisors
  • Improve response times when maintenance is required on assets in the field, reduce asset downtime and customer disruption
  • Drive operational efficiencies in the maintenance and repair of its medical devices, improving field engineer productivity while reducing costs associated with travel and overtime
  • Empower over 350 field engineers by providing them with access to relevant knowledge and peer-to-peer collaboration tools in the field via their mobile devices
  • Improve accuracy of the data collected in the field and ensure that it gets recorded and shared across the organization properly

By deploying Oracle Service Cloud cross-channel contact center, policy automation and field service management solutions, Toshiba Medical Systems Europe will completely transform the entire service process – from the time a customer calls into the contact center to report an issue to service fulfillment and data capture in the field, all the way to customer feedback. Toshiba’s customers will have a more positive experience thanks to streamlined communication and more personalized service, and face less disruption in their day-to-day operations due to Toshiba’s ability to respond quickly and resolve issues faster. For Toshiba, more efficient processes, increased engineer productivity and customer satisfaction will translate into a major improvement in the bottom line and drive revenue.

To learn more about Oracle Service Cloud and Oracle Field Service Cloud solutions, and the value they provide to customers across the globe, visit https://www.oracle.com/applications/customer-experience/service/index.html.

About Toshiba Medical Systems Europe
With headquarters in Zoetermeer, The Netherlands, Toshiba Medical Systems Europe (TMSE) markets, sells, distributes and services radiology and cardiovascular systems, including CT, MR, ultrasound, X-ray and cardiovascular equipment, and coordinates clinical diagnostic imaging research for all modalities in Europe. For more information, visit the TMSE website at http://toshiba-medical.eu

About Toshiba Medical Systems Corporation
Toshiba Medical Systems Corporation is a leading worldwide provider of medical diagnostic imaging systems and comprehensive medical solutions, such as CT, X-ray and vascular, ultrasound, nuclear medicine and MRI systems, as well as information systems for medical institutions. Toshiba Medical Systems Corporation has been providing medical products for over 80 years. Toshiba Medical Systems Corporation is a wholly owned subsidiary of Toshiba. Visit Toshiba Medical Systems Corporation’s website at http://www.toshibamedicalsystems.com

Thursday Nov 12, 2015

Oracle Announces Oracle Service Cloud Knowledge Advanced

Oracle Service Cloud Advanced Knowledge Enhancements Help Organizations Reap the Benefits of the Cloud, While Improving Customer Experiences and Reducing Support Costs.

By Nav Chakravarti, Vice President, Product Management, Oracle Knowledge Management

Oracle announces the release of
Oracle Service Cloud Knowledge Advanced. The Knowledge Advanced edition leverages key capabilities from our best-in-class knowledge management solution, Oracle Knowledge Enterprise (formerly InQuira). Oracle Service Cloud Knowledge Advanced brings key capabilities of Oracle Knowledge Enterprise to the cloud, offering our customers a robust set of features and capabilities in the cloud, with simpler administration, and a lower cost of ownership.

Just like Knowledge Foundation, Knowledge Advanced is fully integrated into Oracle Service Cloud, enabling organizations worldwide to effectively create and refine their knowledge assets to deliver a seamless cross-channel customer experience in over 30 languages for both end customers and contact center agents.

Oracle Service Cloud Knowledge Advanced delivers rich capabilities including highly accurate search using natural language processing and self-learning algorithms, flexible authoring and workflow, rich analytics and customizable self-service and agent-facing knowledge applications.

Some other key capabilities of Knowledge Advanced include:

  • Fine grained control over search results with Intents + Industry Dictionaries, Machine Learning and Search Tuning with Impact Analysis
  • Federated search (External Content Crawling (HTTP)) and Deep Search (excerpts from within Documents (word, PDF) )
  • Advanced Authoring with Configurable Answer Templates and Versioning (Version control, Audit, Comparisons)
  • Expanded Language Capabilities with Cross-Lingual Search (search in one language and find answers in other languages) and Full NLP (Natural Language Processing) Dictionaries in over 30 Languages

 

Additionally Knowledge Advanced brings new knowledge functionality within the Agent Desktop and Customer Portal. Several new capabilities have been introduced to Agent Desktop including a quick tool window, favorites, the ability to link and unlink answers, faceted search, and intent based search results. The Intents feature introduced allows agents to quickly find the most relevant answers for common queries. The subscription feature is designed to improve the knowledge experience for agents by tracking changes to their favorite articles.

Knowledge Advanced for Customer Portal also introduces new functionality including a set of new widgets to expose the advanced capabilities. The new design and styling is compliant with Oracle Service Cloud style and allows for greater extensibility.  Intents, allows administrators to tie together requests for information that are not always linguistically connected, to push a specific article or articles to the top of the search results. Answer highlighting enables users to quickly navigate and find answers even when searching within large documents such as PDF files or Word documents.

To learn more about Oracle Service Cloud Knowledge Advanced please read the news release or check out the detailed Oracle Service Cloud Knowledge Advanced data sheet! 

Wednesday Nov 11, 2015

4 Takeaways from Webcast Guest Speaker Kate Leggett: Get Going with Modern Customer Service

Want to Get Going with Modern Customer Service but you don’t know where to start? Here are 4 takeaways from CustomerThink’s webcast with Forrester Analyst Kate Leggett and Oracle CX Strategist JP Saunders.

1. Service is Vital to Customer Experience (CX)

Make service a core part of your CX strategy. Why? Customers have more interactions with your service organization than any other business function. As a result, investing here can lead to dramatic gains in your customers’ overall experience.

2. Omni-channel is an Evolution, Not a Revolution

Modernization doesn’t happen overnight. It occurs in stages where you lay foundational elements like FAQ knowledge to ensure consistent answers across channels. When you take this evolutionary approach, the efficiencies you gain in early stages help pay for future service improvements.

3. Get Going with a Multi-Channel Strategy

To ‘Get Going’ with your multi-channel strategy, you need to invest in three key areas:

  • Empower customers with self-service
  • Provide multiple choices of channels
  • Enable customers to help each other

Empowering customers to find their own answers online is critical because web self-service now surpasses phone as customers’ most preferred support channel. A good self-service strategy not only reduces service volume and costs, it also increases customer satisfaction and loyalty.

Providing multiple channels of choice enables you to serve customers where they are. But you also need to give them the ability to start in one channel (e.g. web self-service) and move to another (e.g. chat or email). To do that, you must connect your service channels and provide answers from one knowledge base.

Enabling customers to help each other in social communities not only gives them another way to find information quickly, it also keeps your content fresh; and boosts buyer confidence as peer-generated content fosters trust. In addition, you deepen customer affinity for your brand.

4. Use the Phone to Build Trust

Once your self-service site is established, you can use the phone channel for more complex inquiries requiring agent assistance. These higher touch interactions provide the kind of personalized guidance that helps strengthen customer relationships and loyalty.

To listen to the full webcast, please click here.

Thursday Oct 29, 2015

The Oracle Service Cloud Tour: Exclusive events. Unforgettable experiences.

By Jeff Lundal, Group Vice President, Oracle Service Cloud 

When was the last time you thought, “Wow – that company really treated me like a star?” When was the last time you were blown away by brilliant service – and inspired to better your own? Prepare to make that day now, and make everlasting memories, as we bring our unique roadshow – the Oracle Service Cloud Tour – to your city.

So, why unique? Well, conferences can be great. Keynote speakers are often insightful. Breakout sessions may seem enlightening. But sometimes, the best way to learn is by doing… seeing, feeling and being a part of the action.

The Oracle Service Cloud Tour is less about being instructed by others, and more about enjoying remarkable customer experiences yourself – the Oracle way. It’s about networking with likeminded professionals, and service leaders rubbing shoulders with some of the country’s most renowned celebrities. It’s about dining, spectating and laughing. It’s about being inspired to pass on those once-in-a-lifetime moments to your customers and clients.

Entirely exclusive, and by invitation only, the events hosted throughout the Oracle Service Cloud Tour will be attended by a handful of carefully selected customer service leaders – as well as a different celebrity in each city, from legendary chef and TV personality Ming Tsai in Boston to NFL Pro Joe Montana in Santa Clara and aerobatic pilot Sean Tucker in Washington.

Breaking down the barriers of your standard symposium, the tour’s events will feature no classrooms, no lecture halls and no presentations. Instead, they’ll take place in some of the nation’s most incredible venues – in a relaxed, informal setting – boasting awesome activities and the opportunity for guests to hang out with their heroes.

For further details, and to see which celebrity is appearing in your city, click here.

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