Friday Aug 07, 2015

Field Service Tech Talk: Integrating Field Operations Into Your Big Data Strategy

 

Oracle Service Cloud’s field service management solution, Oracle Field Service Cloud, works by collecting lots of data points to make accurate predictions. So naturally, we get a lot of questions that sound like “If I can collect all this data from the field to run my field operations, should I be thinking about a big data strategy, too?”

To help answer this question, I’m bringing in Jeffrey Wartgow – he’s a director of product management for Oracle Service Cloud, and an expert on the field service management market and how the shifting technology landscape is affecting it – including big data.

Christine Friscic (CF): Big data is getting a lot of attention these days. It feels very similar to when cloud became a hot topic – lots of people are talking about it, but there isn’t much practical advice or direction! What do people in the mobile workforce management world need to know?

Jeffrey Wartgow (JW): Field service is an important part of operations, and you should absolutely include field service data in your big data strategy. But that doesn’t mean you should have a “field service big data system.” In principle, big data is holistic, and so you need to have as much data coming into the system as possible, in real-time and from all areas of your business. So, think of the tenants of big data as the three Vs – volume, velocity and variety.

A true big data solution is a company-wide effort: it should blend field service data with sales data, asset data, customer data and any other data you are collecting, and then analyze that data as a whole to determine what the larger trends are that may be hiding in that data. The result: the trends you identify by looking at all collected data holistically will ultimately help you make more informed decisions that will benefit both the entire organization and individual functions.

CF: That clears up some misnomers about big data in general. As a next step, how should people who work with a field service team be thinking about their own big data contribution?

JW: Look at the logistics of how you are managing your field employees. Are you using a field service management solution to manage your field work? If so, that solution is likely collecting information about the way your employees perform work in the field – from how long it takes individual employees to complete certain types of jobs to their personal break habits.

Here’s one potential outcome from blending this data with data from other parts of the business, such as customer support: field service employees can act as field sales reps. When a field technician knows the customer’s past buying habits, and even buying habits in that customer’s geographical location, he can make a more accurate targeted upsell pitch and even schedule a delivery appointment on the spot.

CF: Okay, we know what kind of data to collect. But how should we collect this data?

JW: In today’s world, we are living with our smartphones as constant companions. If you’re out and take a quick look around, chances are that you will see more than one person with their smartphone in hand – checking email or Facebook, watching a video on YouTube, messaging with friends or playing a game. So, because big data is all about collecting a large amount of data, from various areas of the business, and collecting it in real-time, what better place to turn for data than the mobile device that essentially has become of you?!

Much in the same way we behave in our consumer lives, it’s safe to say that your employees have their devices attached at the hip. So, to ensure that you’re getting a good mix of data, and that you’re collecting it constantly, start using the mobile devices and solutions your employees are already using to collect data.

CF: All great practical advice! To close, what’s one thing that you wish you knew when you started dealing with the big data world?

JW: Big data is messy – you are not necessarily going to know all of the ways it should be used right off the bat, and you might not have a single idea for an application at all! It is a learning process. Just remember: collecting data across all areas of the business, including data from the field, and analyzing it as a whole is the only way you will be able to spot the macro trends that will have a real impact on your business – the relationships that you never thought of before.

 


Wednesday Aug 05, 2015

Join the Oracle Customer Experience Team at CRM Evolution 2015 by Chaundera Wolfe

It's that exciting time of year again, where we get to connect with like-minded customer experience enthusiasts at one of the industry’s leading events: CRM Evolution. With the New York City Theater District in the background, this event is a great opportunity to talk about the latest trends in customer experience, service, social, mobile, Internet of Things (IoT) and more. Innovative brands such as iRobot, The Golden State Warriors and thought leaders like Michael Krigsman, @mkrigsman (CXO Talk) and @Brian Vellmure (Value Creator) are able to come together and chat about the future customer experience landscape in a live and engaging format.

Please come by and visit the Oracle Customer Experience team at the New York Marriott Marquis August 17-19 during the CRM Evolution 2015 or Customer Service Experience conferences. We always appreciate the opportunity to talk about current customer engagement challenges as well as innovative solutions. And join our discussion Tuesday, August 18th at 3:00 p.m. ET on how to “Accelerate Success with Modern Service” with Stephen Fioretti of Oracle Service Cloud.

If you are not going to be attending this year’s event, or you happen to miss a keynote speaker, don’t worry. The Oracle Social Cloud team is going to be sharing all the latest and greatest insights and speaker nuggets during the event from their Social Intelligence Center, and also across social channels like @OracleSocial, @OracleServCloud. Please do reach out with your favorite CRM Evolution moments, pressing questions, and just plain fun photos of yourself enjoying the conference. Hope to see you all there!

Wednesday Jul 29, 2015

The Connected Field Service Workforce: Past, Present and Future

Face-to-face customer interaction is the best opportunity to build loyalty, immediately address concerns, collect customer feedback and even upsell new services or products. And often, the only employee to ever engage with customers face-to-face at their homes or businesses is the resource sent to provide field services. Whether that person is performing equipment maintenance, delivering a product, or connecting a customer to a new service, it’s vital that field resources arrive at customer appointments with all the tools and information needed to complete jobs correctly the first time, every time. Only field resources that are truly “connected” have the tools to drive an exceptional level of customer engagement. So how can you achieve this level of connectivity within your field service operations? [Read More]

Wednesday Jul 22, 2015

5 Steps to Providing Exceptional Multilingual Customer Support

By Kaarina Kvaavik and Heather Shoemaker, founders, Language I/O

In today’s ever-expanding global world, it’s bad business for companies to not have some sort of multilingual customer support. Even those without a global presence will have interactions with non-native speakers. The inability to support these customers isn’t from a lack of trying, but from a lack of proper resources designated for multilingual customer support efforts.

Having the right tools can be a boon for a company’s global expansion strategy and for retaining current international customers. The importance of retention is reflected in a recent Adobe report that estimates, “for each 1% of shoppers who return for a subsequent visit, overall revenue will increase by approximately 10%.”[i]  Proof that as a global business it’s imperative to invest in ways of attracting and retaining customers.

Just how do you achieve your goals in multilingual customer support? In a recent blog post, Language I/O co-founder Heather Shoemaker detailed the five steps toward multilingual customer support. What are these critical items?

  1. Review your current CRM or Customer Experience (CX) platform, such as the Oracle Service Cloud, and make sure it can support your multilingual support needs.

  2. The Customer Support team should not let other departments dictate the company’s CRM or CX content translation solution. What works for one department in product translations may not work well in support translation.

  3. Hire an objective, third party linguistic reviewer for each supported language. It’s critical to have a human as part of your multilingual support as machine translation is not enough.

  4. Share a translated glossary of key terms across the company so that as new languages are added key terms can be instantly translated.

  5. Share translation memory across the company. This will allow for consistency and translation work only taking place on content that has been updated or changed.

The key in following these steps is to ensure that customer expectations are properly met and that continuity exists throughout the company in all supported languages. Of course, adjustments will need to be made for any lingual nuances that are difficult to translate, the reason why it’s important to have a third party linguistic reviewer on hand.

It’s important to keep in mind the end strategy here: exceptional multilingual customer support that exceeds customer expectations. 

To learn the importance of multilingual customer support and the impact it can have on your global efforts, join Oracle for an informative webinar on Wednesday, July 29th at 11AM ET (8AM PT, 1600 GMT). Hosted by Language I/O co-founder Kaarina Kvaavik, the webinar will feature a discussion with LinkedIn’s Josh Larson and iRobot’s Matt Cooper on how they utilize Language I/O’s LinguistNow product inside the Oracle Service Cloud environment to simplify processes, reduce costs, and support more markets. For more information and to register, click here.

Friday Jul 17, 2015

T-Mobile Netherlands Humanizes Customer Experience

Check out how T-Mobile Netherlands partners with Oracle Service Cloud to create the next generation of web customer service by combining web self-service and communities and increased support channels to help lower costs and improve customer satisfaction.

With over 70% of all services being done online, see how they use cloud solutions as the center of human, real, customer communications across all channels: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pi-9fCf-oFY.

Wednesday Jul 15, 2015

Field service, the Hollywood Way

On June 1, 1975, Hollywood broke with tradition when it released Jaws to audiences across the country. Traditionally, summer had been the dumping ground for perceived flops – buzz-worthy movies were reserved for cold-weather release on the grounds that people had better things to do on sunny days than go to the movies.

Now, “blockbuster season” is as ingrained in popular culture (and advertising cycles) as holiday shopping or back-to-school. Whether you’re partial to natural disasters, dinosaurs or a little animated magic, the film industry works hard to pack your summer end-to-end with movies you want to catch on the big screen.

Movie making is big business, but what can Hollywood teach us about the way business gets done? Earlier this year, financial reporter Adam Davidson wrote in The New York Times Magazine about the “Hollywood model” approach to business, in which a project is identified and a team assembled to work together for no longer than it takes to complete the project.  Our economy is shifting more and more toward this model, with Davidson adding that more of us can expect to “see our working lives structured around short-term, project-based teams rather than long-term, open-ended jobs.”

Certainly, the Hollywood model is more nimble than what we think of as the traditional model: capital is raised and workers are hired to fill jobs with no specific duration or endpoint. The former is more adaptable to market forces, both in terms of cost and for the workers themselves, because it’s more responsive. In the movie business, as Davidson points out, weekly box-office results provide new information about which skills are the most valuable. If last week’s hit movie relied heavily on computer animation, animators will find themselves in a stronger negotiating position than if a live-action romantic comedy topped the box office.

This all sounds a lot like modern field service management, which is also experiencing a shift from an old, reactive model to the current model of proactive and preventative service. A field force might consist of full-time employees as well as contractors who can respond when demand spikes. As with the Hollywood model, workers arrive at the assigned location, perform tasks and then move on to the next job. Feedback, in the form of customer satisfaction, dictates whether or not the provider will be called upon to provide the service again. And companies that provide the very best service will find themselves in the best position to cement their reputation as industry leaders.

For service organizations, taking advantage of this shift calls for a field service management strategy and the right tools to carry it out. Managing a field force with paper, pencil and phone simply isn’t powerful enough to meet the daily demands of the business and provide good service. This is where field service management technology steps in. Because the Hollywood model is subject to so much change, the technology has to adapt as quickly as the work evolves. 

Oracle Field Service Cloud meets the demands of the Hollywood model because it is self-learning, acquiring knowledge as more work is performed. The solution can make more intelligent assignments as it learns about the work habits of individual performers. Over time, the technology learns which combinations of activities and personnel yields the most success – and the best service.

In the Times article, the author’s assertion that “it is all but impossible to make a healthy profit in the United States by simply competing as the low-cost provider” of a product or service rings true. “Profits,” Davidson writes, “need to come from that extra something that only your company can give, something for which customers are willing to pay a premium.” Increasingly, this extra something is service, delivered reliably and efficiently.

As technology evolves, the way we request service will continue to collapse the time from ticket creation to incident resolution. If a remote cellular phone tower can signal that it needs service without human intervention, or an Amazon customer can press a button indicating they need more laundry detergent, it won’t be long before a cable box can flag itself for replacement or a thermostat can trigger an energy audit. The companies that emerge as leaders will be those that not only understand how this technology will impact their business, but are prepared to respond to requests instantaneously with the help of a sophisticated field service strategy.

Wednesday Jul 08, 2015

Transform Modern Customer Service Trends and Challenges into Opportunities by Stephen Fioretti

The Oracle Service Cloud team has been thinking a lot about what’s most relevant to the people we are serving. What are the day-to-day challenges folks on the front line helping customers solve their service issues are facing?  What are the trends that continue to impact how organizations deliver customer service? Below are a few shifts in the customer service landscape that are disrupting business as usual. These trends can’t be ignored by any global, modern customer service organization:

  • The usage of mobile devices continues to disrupt and drive changes in consumer attitudes and behaviors. Organizations should respond (if they haven’t already) and be ready for all things mobile.
  • Knowledge needs to be the foundation of all service channels and engagements. Modern customer service teams simply cannot be successful without a single knowledge base that underpins both self-service and assisted service channels. As customer preferences tilt toward web-based self-service (both Gartner and Forrester now state the web has surpassed voice as the most common customer support channel), easy access to knowledge and findability is becoming a key responsibility of customer service leaders.
  • Customer Service will increasingly include machines talking to machines (as opposed to humans talking to humans). Soon there will be 20 billion devices connected to the internet. A few years back the concept of leveraging the Internet of Things (IoT) for Customer Service was still in its infancy. Today those initial barriers are gone and Service with IOT is ready for mainstream.
  • Customer Service will continue to extend from engagement centers to other functions in the enterprise. Organizations are increasingly accepting that service is a key component during the entire customer journey and part of this realization move is connecting the service function with functions (and systems, platforms, tools) in other parts of the organization. This way the journey from that first brand touch point all the way to the technician standing in your living room is supported by one consistent service platform.

These changing customer service dynamics offer a great starting point for organizations to begin discussions to better understand the current challenges. Also look at how to turn these modern service challenges into opportunities to deliver better service!

Stay tuned as we continue to explore these areas and for more insight, please check out the new Oracle Service Cloud video. It highlights relevant customer stories on the importance of delivering Service Anywhere, providing Knowledge Everywhere, and the importance of Intelligent Service.

Monday Jun 22, 2015

LinkedIn Wins Gartner & 1to1 Media Customer Service Excellence Award by Stephen Fioretti

LinkedIn was named a Gold winner in the Customer Service Excellence category for the 2015 Gartner & 1to1 Media Customer Experience Excellence Awards. For over a decade, Gartner and 1to1 Media have used this joint awards program to honor select, customer-centric organizations that have achieved outstanding business performance by implementing enterprise-wide, service-focused strategies. LinkedIn will be presented with this innovation in service excellence award at the Gartner 360 Summit September 9-11 in San Diego.

What helps LinkedIn bring people, processes, and technologies together to provide a superior customer experience? Andy Yasutake, Director of Tech Solutions and Operations, outlines several principles LinkedIn follows to increase business efficiency and member satisfaction.

Focus on ‘Member First’ in all you do.

LinkedIn’s mission is to connect its users and make them more productive and successful. Thus, the company implemented a ‘Members First’ initiative, and started making changes based on the Voice of the Customer. For example, when LinkedIn learned that its members placed high value on rapid response time, it encouraged agents to respond more quickly to inquiries. With the help of Oracle Service Cloud, LinkedIn achieved an 85% decrease in average initial response time, a 68% decrease in resolution time, and a 23% increase in customer satisfaction!

Your customers don’t care about organizational boundaries.
Break them down.

LinkedIn recognized that its members interacted with the brand as a whole, not just exclusively with sales, marketing, or service. As a result, the company broke down information silos between these departments and encouraged employees to step outside their given expertise to resolve issues quickly and/or prevent them from escalating. Leveraging all its assets, rapidly responding to member feedback, and rethinking roles allows the company to maximize the value of every touch and bring added value to the member journey.

Help your customers help themselves.
With over 350 million worldwide users, and more than two new members joining per second, LinkedIn expected to employ around 5,000-10,000 service representatives. However, with Oracle Service Cloud, LinkedIn was able to achieve a 97% self-service rate, thereby reducing the company’s potential need for support staff. The result? Instead of employing 5,000-10,000 reps, LinkedIn has been able to maintain agents at 750-800, easing costs and boosting efficiency, all while growing 40% year-over-year.

On the digital front, LinkedIn noticed that 50% of its web traffic came through mobile devices, and that 21% of users accessing its knowledge center were not there to solve a specific issue, but instead to learn about the product and develop their career. Therefore, the company placed emphasis on creating knowledge base articles and a mobile Help Center, enabling users to enjoy this content easily from any device.

Optimizing its support processes and empowering members to self-serve has allowed LinkedIn to efficiently provide top-tier service.

Congratulations to LinkedIn for your outstanding achievement. Oracle is honored to have partnered with you to deliver your award-winning customer experience! 

Wednesday May 20, 2015

Modern Service Experience Conference Highlights! by Stephen Fioretti

Over 500 customer service professionals joined the Oracle Service Cloud team in Las Vegas recently to kick off the Modern Service Experience Conference! The event featured nearly 40 customer speakers including Kohl’s, LinkedIn, and Nintendo outlining the latest trends in engaging customers, empowering employees and adapting quickly to constantly changing business and customer needs. 

The conference also featured industry thought leaders from Forrester, Constellation Research, Beagle Research, and The 56 Group talking about the future of customer service and trends that are impacting a company's ability to deliver great service. 

Amidst the three days of sessions, Oracle Service Cloud hosted industry roundtables and a 100 “Ask the Experts” meetings between customers and product experts—and in-depth executive, contact center, web customer service, insightful answers, and technical tracks with customers like Virgin America, Panera, Kaiser Permanente, Beachbody, Nikon, T-Mobile and others. These discussions provided a unique opportunity to connect more closely on detailed product topics and the Oracle Service Cloud product roadmap. 

The Oracle Service Cloud team also took time to recognize leading individuals and organizations who continually champion customer service innovation, value, and collaboration to solve the next business problem. Their commitment and passion was contagious! Congratulations again to the 2015 customer award winners, including:

Oracle Service Cloud Customer Champions

  • Louis Ross, Vice President, Coach Relations, Beachbody
  • Nicholas Armstrong, Director, Global Customer, Experience Products, Orbitz
  • Stuart Concannon, Head of Customer Care, Knowledge and Optimisation, ASOS
  • Jim Ferron, Customer Experience Strategist, Nintendo
  • Tetsu Kimura, Director of Customer Service, Gogo
  • Michele Watson, Vice President, Customer Care and Payments & Risk, Walmart.com
  • Troy Carrothers, Senior Vice President, Retail Payment Solutions & Multi-Channel Sales & Service and Becky Ploeger, Vice President, Digital Commerce Customer Care, Kohl’s

Oracle Service Cloud User Group Host of the Year

  • Kyle Snay, Customer Relationship Manager, Minnesota State Colleges and Universities

Oracle Service Cloud Game Changer Award

  • Redcoon.com

Oracle Service Cloud Innovator Award

  • Ingersoll Rand

Oracle Service Cloud Community All-Stars

  • Kyle Snay, Minnesota State Colleges and Universities
  • Anuj Behl, Speridian Technologies
  • Mark Kehoe, LaTrobe University              
  • Bishnu Paudel , Charles Darwin University
  • Andy Rowse, 45 North Solutions
  • Ryan Schofield, CGI Federal
  • Mohana Gopal Selvam, Kenya Airways
  • Suresh Kumar Thirukoti, Network Rail Infrastructure Lmtd.
  • Bastiaan van der Kooij, Bastiaan van der Kooji Consultancy

Oracle Service Cloud Modern Service Experience Award

  • LinkedIn
Again we’d like to thank customers and attendees for joining us in Las Vegas and applaud them for the work they’re doing to get going, get better, and get ahead with modern customer service!

Tuesday May 19, 2015

Oracle Takeaways from Forrester Webcast: Customer Service Trends for 2015 by Christine Randle

It is hard to believe that it has been a decade since social disrupted standard operating procedures for companies. Brands had enjoyed a healthy measure of control before social media-enabled customers around the globe were able to connect and share information. Before, companies controlled not only the information that customers and prospects received, but how and when they received it—effectively spoon-feeding corporate messages to the world.

The advent of social changed this dynamic forever and ushered in The Age of the Customer.

Today, customers control the conversations they have with businesses, and brands have scrambled to adapt. Companies must become customer-obsessed and deliver experiences that meet customer expectations to succeed.

Why? Because loyal customers are less likely to churn, and they are also more likely to recommend your brand and spend more money with your company. When customers spend more money, it directly impacts and increases revenue. For this reason, it is essential to keep your customers satisfied and loyal to your brand. Besides, customer service should be a core element of your CX strategy.

Still, this is hard stuff. So it helps to get some perspective. A May 2015 webinar hosted by Forrester and featuring Forrester Research’s Kate Leggett, Trends 2015: The Future Of Customer Service, helps to make sense of customer service in 2015. Take a look at the below takeaways that we pulled from the webcast, and let us know what trends you see in your organization.

Customers increasingly rely on self-service. According to the April 2015 Forrester Research report, “Contact Centers Must Go Digital Or Die,” more customers (76%) used web self-service than the phone (73%) for customer service. Why? Because it is an easy way to get answers. Today, the phone is increasingly used for escalation, or when a customer cannot find the answer to a question. Generally, these are the most difficult inquiries and have longer handle times. But, this offers a great opportunity for companies to use the phone channel to support and deepen customer relationships. It is important to note that channel usage changes year-over-year. As such, you should survey your customers to find out what channels they prefer for customer service interactions and deploy those channels accordingly.

Adopt a mobile-first mindset.
Think about your own mobile device usage and you’ll see why customers increasingly look to contact brands via this channel. But, more than that, customers want to be able to start a conversation on mobile and then switch over to a laptop or desktop seamlessly—without needing to rehash the issue with an agent. In 2015, customers will continue to demand effortless interactions of this type over both web and mobile channels.

Explore proactive engagement.
We are all customers, right? And, as customers, we know what we want, when, where, and how we want it. To effectively leverage this fact, businesses will begin to experiment with proactive engagement. This refers to proactive chat, promotions, or content served up to customers at the appropriate time to help answer questions, easing the transition from the research phase to purchase.

Leverage connected devices for preemptive service.
The Internet of Things (IoT) has taken off in a big way, and with it comes the prospect of preemptive service. From Wi-Fi connected self-learning thermostats to smart, self-propelled vacuum cleaners IoT has the potential to reshape customer service. IoT offers businesses the opportunity to deliver preemptive service that our parents could never have imagined: Proactive communication of product information back to the company to diagnose preemptively and fix issues without customer intervention!

Analytics will power offers, decisions, and connections.
There is no “one size fits all” service. Instead, use analytics to deliver deeply personalized customer service by understanding and leveraging data from past interactions, services, and purchases. Additionally, interactions must be tailored to the channel of choice. For example, the tone of an email interaction will likely vary from that of a social or chat interaction. These nuances are important in order to optimize service quality, predict next steps, ensure satisfaction, and produce loyalty, which correlates to increased revenue.

Journey analytics will improve end-to-end service.
What does your typical customer journey look like? It is likely to cross multiple communication channels: social, web, email, and phone. Often, these touch points are managed by different functional organizations within a company. It is tricky, but ultimately customers do not care about your internal org structure. What they care about is the ability to cross channels seamlessly to get support without needing to repeat themselves at each point in the journey (we all know how frustrating that can be). But, organizational silos make it difficult to deliver consistent service experiences. Not only that, but few companies have a measure in place that encompasses all channels. Forrester expects that organizations will move to broader, more comprehensive customer service measurement programs, which span all communication channels, to help businesses understand the costs and pain points in the customer journey.

Focus on improving the agent experience.
It is staggering the amount of applications that contact center agents use on a daily basis to answer customer questions. Organizations will look to push proactive information to agents, to minimize effort, and to help streamline service delivery. If companies can improve the agent experience, by helping to guide them through resolution paths, then agents will have more confidence to help customers and to deliver truly personalized experiences.

Adopt SaaS for agility.
A March 2015 Forrester Research report, Trends 2015: The Future Of Customer Service, found that 32% of companies have already replaced or plan to replace, most or all on-premise solutions with SaaS alternatives within 2 years. Why? Because moving applications to the Cloud pushes the burden of software and hardware maintenance back onto the vendor. This allows companies to be agile and focus on innovating with new features, ultimately creating differentiated, rewarding customer experiences.

Read how Sony uses its online digital experience to proactively engage customers.

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