Wednesday Jul 22, 2015

(De)Constructing Customer Success for Consumer Brands – Is it More Than a Buzzword and does it Really Apply to Us?

Customer Success…is this just another buzzword, the new must have, a simple checkbox, or does it actually mean something?   I think we all know that big buzzwords (big data anyone?) can lose their impact and meaning but I am here to tell you that when you strip everything away, ‘customer success’ is really at the cornerstone of creating successful consumer businesses. 

Let’s look at the two words separately. Customers—every business wants to maximize the number of customers they have to grow revenues and spread out revenue risk. Success—achieving or exceeding ones goals, can be measured in revenues and metrics around growth, retention and adoption.

It’s interesting that when we put the words together, they take on a variety of meanings:

Customer Success = Superior Customer Experience = Part Process / Part Relationship = Doing whatever it takes to make the customer successful/happy. A few well-known examples: Zappos, Nordstroms, Chick-fil-A.

Customer Success = Helping the Customer Achieve their Goals = Driving their Success = Pro-active Engagement. A few examples: free nutrition classes at Whole Foods, the Genius Bar inside Apple Stores, pool maintenance courses at my local pool store, coffee shops offering lessons on coffee and brewing techniques, outdoor retailers such as Rock Creek utilizing ambassadors to introduce people to particular sports.

These two definitions are very distinct and have varying levels of adoption. The interesting part is that when one combines them, something really magical starts to occur. From the eyes of the business, they clearly want their customers to have a great experience and feel like they receive superior service, be it when they walk into a store, order something online or when they call. The reality is that, unless you are a monopoly, if your customer is not happy because of how they are treated, at some point they will leave you (about 68% of customers leave for this reason). On top of that, Forrester Research has conducted studies across 13 different industries and has shown that perceptions of customer experience are highly correlated to considerations of future purchases, willingness to recommend to a friend and defection rates to competitors (“The Business Impact Of Customer Experience, 2014, Forrester Research, March 2014”). For some businesses, shifts in customer perception equates to multiple, sometimes hundreds of millions of dollars, gained or lost.

But rather than just delighting them with great experiences, what if all businesses also started to say to their customers—we recognize that the experience doesn’t stop when you buy our product, we want to help you achieve your goals, help you succeed. The reality is, up until recently, few and far between would ever say such a thing to a consumer. At a very high level, telling someone is much easier than showing and helping someone. As an example, a health food store might say that eating xyz food will make you feel healthier but not everyone would show their customers how to make a food plan to actually make you healthier.

When one thinks about it, superior customer experiences + engagement is really a double whammy, a value proposition that is nearly impossible to beat. Let me put it this way—how many consumer businesses can you think of that focus both on delivering superior customer experiences and proactively help the customer achieve their goals? Those that do clearly know that underneath this catchall phrase of customer success is the pathway to creating successful businesses. Going back to the individual definition of each word, businesses obtain and keep servicing their customers to ensure their own long-term success.

So, where does this leave all of us? Great question. As you can guess, I am a big believer in customer success, from both an experience and engagement perspective. I also recognize that saying you have a consumer focused customer success program and actually implementing one (hint: sometimes simple actions go a long way) are two very different things. A first step forward is the recognition that customer success is not just a checklist item but also a way to grow your business, perhaps even developing into a viable competitive differentiator.

I plan to write more about the topic, using my professional and personal experiences to highlight ways to bring the various components of customer success to consumer businesses. Next up: A Tale of Two Interactions, Enabling the Customer Experience.

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 07, 2014

The Next 7,000 Days – How we will shop will change. Again. And Again…

Internet of Things & Commerce Series: Part 1 (of 3)

Do you regularly watch TED talks? If not, you’re missing out on learning all sorts of amazing things about our shared reality. Here are a few things I’ve learned in the last few months watching TED talks that might wet your appetite. 

·    Low IQ gotcha down? Don’t worry, it’s not a 100% predictor of success; “grit” is actually a better indicator.
·    Feel bad about those 2nd (or 3rd) pair of shoes you ordered online last night?
     Don’t. Primates make the same mistakes with money.
·    Food for thought while you’re snorkeling next time. Up to 90% of sea creatures light up.
·    Bag of cords got you all tangled up? Imagine a time when electric sockets were the shape of light
     bulbs … because they were the only 
things we plugged in.

And just over 2,000 days ago Kevin Kelly (one of the founders of Wired Magazine) gave a fantastic talk about “The Next 5,000 Days of the Web”. That was 2007. In the roughly 2,000 days since then unfathomable things have appeared in our ever-changing, every-accelerating world: smartphones, social media, wearable tech… Angry Birds, Candy Crush… And though we are only 7,000 or so days in to the reality of the internet, it has already grown to a size the defies imagination. Some stats to ponder on the dimensions of the world wide web as of 2013:

·      14.3 trillion web pages
·      672 exabytes of accessible data
·      43,000 petabytes of total traffic
·      1 yotta byte of total data stored (that’s as big as 180 billion, BILLION libraries of Congress)
·      Yet, less than 1 % of things in the physical world are connected today…

And this is set to double. Every year. We have become embedded in a digital architecture – of things, of data, of content. And this is only just the beginning.

[Read More]

Thursday Jan 16, 2014

T-Commerce Has Joined the Omni-Channel Experience!

Television viewing is an emotional experience. As we watch our favorite shows, we laugh, we become enamored with our favorite characters, and we are sometimes moved to tears. If you are like me, you even scream at the TV during football games. On February 2, 2014, during Super Bowl XLVIII, you’ll also start to do something that was not possible until now - buy what you see advertised on one of those infamous Super Bowl ads. Shopping is also an emotional experience, so it is a shrewd move to combine these experiences. [Read More]

Wednesday Oct 16, 2013

The Evolution of an Era: Customer Experience in Retail

Two New Studies Point to the Direction Retailers are Taking in their CX Initiatives. Is it the Right Direction?

The sheer velocity of change in retailing and customer behavior is forcing retailers to reinvigorate, expand and sharpen their vital Customer Experience (CX) strategies. Customers are becoming increasingly dynamic as they race to embrace the newest digital channels; shop in new ways on mobile devices, including smartphones and tablets, on the Web and in the store; share experiences socially; and interact with their preferred brands in new ways. Retailers are stepping up to their customers as they and their competitors create new modes of customer interaction. Underpinning these changes are vast quantities of customer data as customers flood digital channels and the social sphere.

The informed retailer must now understand what their priorities are and what they should be for the future. To better understand this, Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) and Oracle independently launched CX-focused surveys to uncover what retailing leadership found important today. By comparing the results of these two studies together, we can further discover new insights about the industry. Click here to download this informative white paper.

Friday Sep 13, 2013

Four Ways to Deliver Better Customer Service with Integrated Knowledge Management and CRM By JP Saunders

CRM solutions without integrated knowledge management suffer from a number of limitations. They don’t enable customers to become more self-sufficient or foster a community that can generate its own answers. They lack the centralized intelligence needed to deliver innovation and consumer-driven interactions, so support agents can’t learn, serve, or collaborate as effectively as their jobs require. And, they lack the analytical insights customer service organizations require to truly understand customer needs, making it difficult to optimize answers and, ultimately, the customer experience.

Here are 4 ways that integrated knowledge management and CRM can deliver better customer experiences:

  1. Increase first call resolutionThe most important aspect of a satisfying customer experience with a contact center is getting a representative who can meet all the customer’s needs—without having to forward inquiries to other representatives. Integrated knowledge management pulls answers from across organizational silos and puts it at the agent’s fingertips--without having to leave their CRM application.
  2. Increase self-serviceMany customers prefer to serve themselves. They want to find the answer quickly and easily without requiring escalation to the contact center. With integrated knowledge management, you can empower your customers to easily help themselves. But, you can also seamlessly transfer to assisted service with the context of their self-service interaction, if it becomes necessary. 
  3. Build your knowledgebase – The foundation of providing quick and easy answers is to build out a robust knowledge base. However, cumbersome navigation to create solutions can be a barrier to building your knowledge base. When knowledge is integrated with CRM, you can easily create knowledge solutions directly from service cases so that it’s available for the next customer or agent to use. 
  4. Learn and improve your serviceIntegrated knowledge allows you to understand customer usage and service issues – most common searches, percentage of cases resolved with knowledge, solutions used the most, etc. in order to improve your customer experience. Armed with this understanding, you can identify actions that will increase search accuracy or, better yet, address root causes that eliminate the need to search at all. 

The World’s leading Knowledge Management solution, Oracle Knowledge, now enhances the Oracle RightNow Cloud Service capabilities with expanded search capabilities, deeper language understanding, business intelligent analytics, support for more content types, languages, and much more. Now available in the Oracle RightNow Agent Desktop and Customer Portal, this integration provides agents with the ability to accurately assist customers with finding the right answer at the right time. 

For more information on these high-value features, please watch the Oracle RightNow Cloud Service – August 2013 Release Overview or read the Oracle RightNow Cloud Service – August 2013 Capabilities and Benefits. You can also attend the Integrating Knowledge Management into CRM Applications session at OpenWorld. 

Thursday Aug 29, 2013

Oracle RightNow Cloud Service August 2013 Release - Leveraging the Power of Oracle’s Best-of-Breed CX Suite! By JP Saunders

The August 2013 release of Oracle RightNow Cloud Service gets super charged by Oracle’s CX portfolio with best-of-breed commerce, automated entitlement management  and enterprise knowledge capabilities to empower people across all channels of interaction throughout the lifecycle journey with the brand.

Streamline Online Sales

Oracle RightNow Cloud Service seamlessly blends the power of commerce into its Agent Desktop to help contact center staff deliver relevant, proactive cross- and upsell offer in real time during successful customer service engagements. This powerful combination of Oracle RightNow Service Cloud and Oracle ATG Web Commerce empowers customer service professionals to rapidly identify and resolve issues within the buying and supporting lifecycle, across all channels of interactions. Customers can now get timely, relevant and consistent assistance with completing an order, adding related items to their shopping carts, upgrading or renewing services, as well as effective support with what they purchase--all from a single agent interaction in chat, social, phone, mobile or Web.

Make Complex Decisions Instantly and Consistently

This release extends the power of automating entitlement management to the Agent Desktop. With Oracle Policy Automation tools now available to service agents, they’re able to instantly get assistance with complex decisions leveraging existing contextual case data. And, those decisions will be consistent with the guidance that a customer receives through self-service on the Web. So regardless of channel or interaction choice, your customers’ service experience is not only efficient but also consistent, personalized and intuitive.

Choose the Knowledge Management Solution That Best Meets Your Customer Needs

Now any business can do what some of the World largest online brands are doing! Businesses that require the ability to connect content silos or to consistently and accurately federate knowledge across their enterprise can now power up their Oracle RightNow solution by leveraging the Oracle Knowledge adapter. The World’s leading Knowledge Management solution, Oracle Knowledge, augments Oracle RightNow Cloud Service knowledge capabilities with deeper language technologies, business intelligence analytics, more support content types, languages and more… Now available in the Oracle RightNow Agent Desktop, this integration provides agents with the ability to accurately assist customers with finding the right answer at the right time.

For more information on these high-value features, please watch the Oracle RightNow Cloud Service – August 2013 Release Overview or read the Oracle RightNow Cloud Service – August 2013 Capabilities and Benefits.

Tuesday Aug 27, 2013

The Social Customer Service Maze

Your Customers Are Already Talking – It’s Time to Join the Conversation

While social media has become a standard function in most marketing departments, customer service and contact centers are just beginning to become actively involved in social media. When I talk to executives that run service/support or contact centers, I tend to get the same reaction when social media comes upHELP!

[Read More]

Wednesday Aug 21, 2013

Cross-channel Service: Is Voice Going Away? by JP Saunders

In the customer experience business, we hear a lot about the rise in the use of online channels such as Web self-service, email, chat, and social and the importance of having a cross-channel solution. It’s easy to forget that voice is still the #1 channel that customers use to resolve customer service issues. Not to say that cross-channel is unimportant – it definitely is. 

According to Kate Leggett, Forrester Research, “Telephoning a live representative remains the most frequently used customer service channel, and its usage is relatively consistent over time and across generations. This shows that customers are not abandoning the traditional customer service channels in favor of newer ones but are increasing the total number of channels they use when interacting with companies.”1

So the voice channel remains as strong as ever, as are the customer’s expectations to seamlessly traverse into that channel from online channels. 

If you’re interested in how to provide robust voice and cross-channel capabilities as part of your service solution at lower cost and risk, you won’t want to miss these Avaya sessions at Oracle OpenWorld, September 22-26, 2013, in San Francisco. Avaya, a long-time leader in Contact Center technology, has an exciting announcement to make pertaining to the close partnership it has with the Oracle RightNow Cloud Service product. 

·         Enabling Oracle CRM Platforms Through Avaya Technology

·         Oracle Service Vision and Roadmap

1Understand Communication Channel Needs To Craft Your Customer Service Strategy, Forrester Research, Inc., Kate Leggett, March 11, 2013

Tuesday Aug 20, 2013

CRM Evolution 2013: Social Care is a Mainstream Channel

CRM Evolution's Customer Service Experience track began today with Hewlett Packard’s (HP) Patricia Graca talking about Social Care. She got our attention with some eye-opening statistics:

  • 1 in 3 users prefer social care over contacting via the phone
  • 80% of customers will not purchase a product if there is a negative review
  • 43% of customers use social media to publicize a bad experience—and 48% a positive experience

Graca has built a social support community with volunteer experts who give two to 30 hours of their time every week to answer other customers’ questions.

What motivates these experts to devote so much time? She found that the top motivator is the satisfaction they receive from helping people. But Graca doesn’t stop there. She uses gamification to motivate experts with things like:

  • 15 status levels they can climb based on their answers’ usefulness
  • Avatars created from personal photos experts submit
  • Privileges like early access to new products, training and special events

Graca even hosts 24-hour social support marathons in which 100s of experts around the world participate—creating a wealth of crowd source wisdom for HP.

Currently, 1% of her social support community serves as experts and/or contributors. Her next challenge is encouraging the remaining 99% to actively participate.


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