Friday Aug 09, 2013

Offer Your Customers Exactly What They Are Looking For

Product and customer data is changing at an unprecedented rate. And it’s not only what you collect but also what you input from third-parties, like your vendors and partners. Research shows that master data change at a rate of 2% per month and in 4 out of 5 instances the supplier data is often more accurate than the retailer’s own data. 

So how do you handle multiple versions of the truth, house your product and customer data centrally, and ensure that it’s the most accurate? Poor data quality can undermine your Web site usability and drive a poor customer experience. Companies need to support every stage of the customer buying cycle to ensure that the most accurate product, location, and availability data is available.

Great commerce experiences begin with the quality of the data. Accurate customer and product data is one of your most important assets – and you need both in order to provide your customers with the most personalized buying experience. You need to consolidate multi-structured data and sources into one repository, cleanse data by standardizing, error-correcting, and de-duping, govern data by definition, regulation, auditing, and access, and share master data for better insight to increase sales and trust.

To provide the most accurate search results you also need to standardize product attributes as much of your data may come from internal sources as well as third-party partners. This is critical when it comes to providing the best Web site search results. You don’t want your customers searching for “10 horse power” and “10hp” to have to sort throw two different search results.

By following these key commerce data principles you can provide your customers exactly what they are looking for on your Web site. Click here to learn more about Oracle Commerce and here to learn more about Oracle Master Data Management.

Friday May 31, 2013

Improving Customer Experience for Segment of One Using Big Data

By Irem Radzik, Senior Principal Product Marketing Director -- Fusion Middleware

Customer experience has been one of the top focus areas for CIOs in the recent years. A key requirement for improving customer experience is understanding the customer: their past and current interactions with the company, their preferences, demographic information etc. This capability helps the organization tailor their service or products for different customer segments to maximize their satisfaction. This is not a new concept. However, there have been two parallel changes in how we approach and execute on this strategy.

First one is the big data phenomenon that brought the ability to obtain a much deeper understanding of customers, especially bringing in social data. As this Forbes article "Six Tips for Turning Big Data into Great Customer Experiences" mentions big data especially has transformed online marketing. With the volume and different types of data we have now available companies can run more sophisticated analysis, in a more granular way. This leads to the second change: the size of customer segments. It is shrinking down to one, where each individual customer is offered a personalized experience based on their individual needs and preferences. This notion brings more relevance into the day-to-day interactions with customers, and basically takes customers satisfaction and loyalty to a new level that was not possible before.

One of the key technology requirements to improve customer experience at such a granular level is to obtaining a complete and up-to-date view of the customer. And that requires integrating data across disparate systems and in a timely manner. Data integration solution should move and transform large data volumes stored in heterogeneous systems in geographically dispersed locations. Moving data with very low latency to the customer data repository or a data warehouse, enables companies to have a relevant and actionable insight for each customer. Instead of relying on yesterday's data, which may not be pertinent anymore, the solution should analyze latest information and turn them into a deeper understanding of that customer. With that knowledge the company can formulate real opportunities to drive higher customer satisfaction.

Real-time data integration is key enabling technology for real-time analytics. Oracle GoldenGate's real-time data integration technology has been used by many leading organizations to get the most out of their big data and build a closer relationship with customers.  One good example in the telecommunications industry is MegaFon. MegaFon is Russia's top provider of mobile internet solutions. The company deployed Oracle GoldenGate 11g to capture billions of monthly transactions from eight regional billing systems. The data was integrated and centralized onto Oracle Database 11g and distributed to business-critical subsystems. The unified and up-to-date view into customers enabled more sophisticated analysis of mobile usage information and facilitated more targeted customer marketing. As a result of  the company increased revenue generated from the current customer base. Many other telecommunications industry leaders, including DIRECTV, BT, TataSky, SK Telecom, Ufone, have improved customer experience by leveraging real-time data integration.

Telecommunications is not the only industry where single view of the customer drives more personalized interaction with customers. Woori Bank  implemented Oracle Exadata and Oracle GoldenGate.  In the past, it had been difficult for them to revise and incorporate changes to marketing campaigns in real time because they were working with the previous day’s data. Now, users can immediately access and analyze transactions for specific trends in the data mart access layer and adjust campaigns and strategies accordingly. Woori Bank can also send tailored offers to customers.

This is just one example of how real-time data integration can transform business operations and the way a company interacts with its customers. I would like to invite you to learn more about data integration facilitating improved customer experience by  reviewing our free resources here and following us on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Linkedin.

Image courtesy of jscreationzs at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Wednesday Apr 17, 2013

The Value of Enterprise Specific “Social Data” - Social Data within Social Customer Relationship Management (Social CRM)

This is the first in a series of guest posts from Don Springer, VP Product Development for Oracle Social and Pat Ma, Principal Product Marketing Director for CX and CRM on the value of leveraging social data across your enterprise.

Lately, we have been meeting with marketing, sales, services and IT executives at very large Financial Services, Consumer Products, Retail and Technology companies. They have all made significant progress in deploying social customer relationship management (Social CRM) capabilities, but are looking for more automated and powerful ways to socially enable their external customer facing functions. In essence, they want to do more with their Social Data. With enterprise data growth expected to continue at 40% through 2020, driven by consumer generated content, getting value from this data is becoming increasingly and strategically important.

In this post, we’ll cover the basics of first implementing a Social CRM approach, and the value your enterprise specific social data. In a future blog post, we will cover more advanced “next” steps in how to leverage social data within your enterprise’s Big Data Analytics, Business Intelligence and Customer Experience Management deployed applications and systems.

Below is a diagram that highlights a general process for leveraging Social Data as part of an overall Social CRM approach. Think of this as a process that tracks your social efforts across your customers’ life-cycles, starting with listening and point-to-point engagement to more broadcast communications efforts in a repeatable and flexible fashion.

Social CRM Process

chart

1. Listen.  The enterprise wants to listen to what people (customers, prospects, and influencers) are saying about their brand on social media channels.

  • Your customers are talking about your brand on social media channels. They are posting, tweeting, commenting, sharing, complaining and liking your brand.
  • Through Social Listening, the enterprise should figure out what their constituents are saying en mass, analyze sentiment, hear what they like and don’t like about your product, and know if they intend to purchase your product or not.
  • Your social listening approach needs to be accurate and filter out the irrelevant “noise”, to get to pure customer signal for analytics and engagement.

2. Engagement (1-on-1) The enterprise wants to engage with relevant social signals to interact with their customers, and determine how those 1-on-1 engagements perform. 

  • This can be done by asking your customers various questions, responding to their posts and comments, and creating engagement applications like contests and polls. 
  • Your social engagement should be used to listen and respond to social posts. Social posts should be automatically categorized by your Listen engine and flow from multiple social networks into one “inbox” designed to make managing your community easy and efficient, within your appropriate business function (sales, marketing and support).

3. Content and Apps (within your Enterprise’s Social Assets) The enterprise should leverage the lessons learned from your 1:1 engagements to scale what works within relevant content and apps you create, whether it’s user-generated contests, polls, videos, or other interactive content.

4. Publish (message through your social channels’ communities) The enterprise should continue to build on its learning on all your interactions with your fans and followers to publish and amplify relevant content to multiple social media channels.

  • Create great looking landing pages and publish to multiple social networks or embed on any website. 
  • This should be done specifically within your various channels focused on marketing, sales, service, and commerce.

5. Managed Workflows The enterprise should develop and deploy specific workflows so your assigned business functions (Sales, Marketing, Service and Commerce) are communicating the right message to the right customer at the right place and the right time.  

  • Social media teams are growing and becoming more global. Why take the risk of someone in your organization publishing off-brand information?
  • By using your listening engine to auto-tag customer signals, managed by function appropriate workflows, you can better control your points of communication (1:1, through content, apps and publishing) to improve ROI.

6. Analytics. The enterprise should create a culture that always analyzes your results and metrics to quickly capture lessons learned to establish a continuous improvement process.

  • This will enable you to show ROI on all your social media investments, pre, during & post-campaign across your owned & earned media to improve social performance.
  • This helps you optimize your efforts over time to get more lift and value from your resource and communications spend.

Makes Sense?

Once your enterprise has this Social CRM approach in place and functioning, you can take the broader “next” step to amplify your social value through integration into your other core applications, which we’ll cover in a future post.

To whet your appetite, you can socially enable your enterprise by creating a 360o view of your enterprise customers (both content and profile) to support:

  • Business analytics across all forms of structured (customer transactional and behavioral data), semi-structured (enterprise text sources that capture your internal customer conversations via chat, email, call center, etc.), and Social CRM unstructured data for:
  • Big Data insight discovery – finding insights you did not know existed
  • Business Intelligence - developing dynamic, real-time dashboards, reports and alerts for rapid decision-making.
  • Customer Experience Management applications already deployed and in use by your enterprise’s Customer Service, Sales and Service/Support functions for near real-time action (customer experience management).

Monday Apr 08, 2013

More of Them is Less of ME! by JP Saunders

I brush the dust off the screen, hold my breath, flip the power switch, and a pause… the next moment will either reconnect me to an endless summer of misspent youth, or leave me continuing to seek some reattachment to a time now passed… “dah dah da da da DAH!” the sweet sound and the green welcoming glow of  the Astro Wars screen - for a moment the World seems simple again.

Long gone is the era of green screens, dot matrixes, tape recorder data, and simple shoot 'em up games. Replaced now with Retina displays, 3D printers, and mobile apps. In 15 years all of these things will be equally obsolete – which is half the time it took the last lot of stuff to become obsolete relics! Never fear, the geek force is with us, and will battle on even though we know that the gadget attachment won't last like it used to.

Our technology fix has become a bottomless pit of hungry consumption. Everything always needs more. More processing, more power, more capacity, more features… and faster too. In the world of IT organizations, to keep up with demand, means being in a constant buying cycle, much like consumers but on a larger scale of geekdom.  More servers, more racks, more space, more cables, more memory, more applications...

However, as a student of the Kermit the frog academy, I learned early on that “more and more of them, is less and less of me” especially in a disruptive consumption environment. More things to fix, more things to manage, more things to backup, more things to recover, more things to connect…  Less time to innovate, less time to plan, less time to prepare, less time to enable, less time to scale…

The consumer-driven Customer Experience trends of Mobile, Data, Connectivity and sharing are driving more demand on IT than ever before. The social exposure, mandated governance, customer data security and Customer Experience strategies add to the burden of supporting deeper and more connected engagements from the business. More experiences to support means more technology investment is needed, resulting in even fewer resources to scale.

IT organizations must innovate not only to help the business differentiate, but also to enable themselves to scale resources to meet the increasing velocity of demand and change:

  • 250+ Experiences per second
  • 200+ Terabytes of customer data
  • 40+ Billion total API operations
  • 2+ Billion end-user sessions
  • 6+ Billion page hits
  • 400 Million keyword searches
  • 450 Million new incidents
  • 1 Billion Outreach & Feedback emails sent
  • 50 Million Social Monitor actions

Okay, so these numbers aren’t representative of the types of metric thresholds that most businesses will need to meet today. But they are metrics drawn from one arm of the Oracle Cloud around Customer Service that must scale beyond these figures to support their customers' customers' scale of experience. Yet they do it with ease, as the Oracle Cloud was designed from the ground (the database and hardware) up (the applications) to work within world-class data centers and leading Cloud computing IT talent to handle massive loads and fluctuations.

Innovative decisions like moving the mission-critical business process such as customer engagements to the Cloud, enables IT organizations to leverage the real benefit of Cloud… innovation. Why? Because the parts of your business that are today focused on sustaining 24x7 operations for the customers experience can be the most taxing on your IT resources. Freeing up these savvy, dedicated, senior technical resources to prioritize innovative initiatives can take your business growth out of a “running to stand still” mode, into a differentiated leadership position, and at less cost.

Dipping a toe into the pool of the Cloud with non-mission critical or less resource intensive cloud migration initiatives can actually cause a higher IT resource tax without careful planning. Stop the factor of More becoming a fact of Less in your ability to execute. Discover how the Oracle SaaS applications within the Oracle Cloud can help balance the scales, with managed compliance, redundancy, security and elastic scalability.

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