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.

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.

Monday Sep 21, 2015

CustomerThink Webcast Series: 3 Stages of Evolution to Becoming a Modern Customer Service Organization

Many businesses today are at some stage of their journey to delivering an optimal, differentiated Customer Experience (CX), with the vision of building sustainable growth and profits through stronger customer relationships and reliable business data. Getting a vision around the “what” you want to deliver is not easy. The next question is even harder: “How” to build, deliver and grow to reach your visionary state?

In this 3-part CustomerThink webcast series, CX thought leaders Kate Leggett (Forrester), Ray Wang (Constellation Research) and Bruce Temkin (Temkin Group) will guide you through the Roadmap to Modern Customer Service. They will help you:

  • Benchmark where you are in your industry
  • Identify the issues you need to solve and in what order
  • Invest in technologies that best meet your goals
  • Incrementally measure your success along the way

Register now

First Webcast: Get Going with Modern Customer Service
Thursday, Oct. 15, 10-11 am PT / 1-2 pm ET
Join Kate Leggett and JP Saunders as they discuss the first stage of the Roadmap to Modern Customer Service: Get Going. At this initial stage, organizations focus on moving from limited silo channels, to multiple channels of choice, so customers can engage on any device. They invest in channels and knowledge to improve interaction capabilities and reduce service volume and cost through greater operational efficiency.

Second Webcast: Get Better with Modern Customer Service
Thursday, Nov. 12, 10-11 am PT / 1-2 pm ET
Join Ray Wang and JP Saunders as they discuss the second stage of the Roadmap to Modern Customer Service: Get Better. At this next stage, organizations focus on transitioning from silo systems, to a unified platform that enables agents to deliver consistent, relevant, cross-channel service. Here they invest in contact center staff and processes to improve service quality, customer satisfaction and customer retention—leveraging the savings they’ve gained from the first stage.

Third Webcast: Get Ahead with Modern Customer Service
Thursday, Dec. 10, 10-11 am PT / 1-2 pm ET
Join Bruce Temkin and JP Saunders as they discuss the third stage of the Roadmap to Modern Customer Service: Get Ahead. At this advanced stage, organizations focus on evolving from anonymous service experiences to personalized, segmented engagements in every channel. They invest in data and analytics to create more opportunities for acquiring new customers at lower cost, and for expanding their relationships with brand advocates. This ability to monetize engagements enables companies to achieve sustainable growth and profits.

At the end of this series, you will come away knowing what to focus on, and how to measure your success—so you can start modernizing your customer service capabilities with a self-funding model right away!

Register today!

Speaker Biographies

Kate Leggett, Principal Analyst, Forrester Research
Kate serves Application Development & Delivery Professionals. She is a leading expert on customer relationship management (CRM) and customer service strategies, maturity, benchmarking, governance, and ROI. Kate has extensive industry experience, with more than 10 years of leadership at CRM and customer service software companies, where she held senior product marketing and product management roles.

R “Ray” Wang, Principal Analyst and Founder, Constellation Research
R "Ray" Wang is the author of the popular business strategy and technology blog "A Software Insider’s Point of View". With viewership in the 10's of millions of page views a year, his blog provides insight into how disruptive technologies and new business models such as digital transformation impact brands, enterprises, and organizations.

Bruce Temkin, CCXP, Managing Partner & Customer Experience Transformist, Temkin Group
Bruce Temkin is widely viewed as a customer experience visionary. He has worked with hundreds of large organizations on defining and accelerating their customer experience journeys. His company, Temkin Group, is a leading research and consultancy focused on enterprise-wide customer experience transformation. It helps many of the world’s largest brands lead their transformational journeys towards customer-centricity and build loyalty by engaging the hearts and minds of their customers, employees, and partners.

JP Saunders, Senior Director, CX Strategists, Oracle (Host)
In his current capacity, JP leads the go-to-market initiatives for the Oracle CX Cloud Service offering. A recognized thought leader, innovator and strategist, JP has over 16 years experience in SaaS, Customer Service, Customer Experience and CRM application development. JP joined Oracle through the RightNow acquisition where he led the Global Product Marketing team. Prior to that, JP lead Product Management for a Social CRM startup that was part of the Oracle Inner Circle partner. 


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.

Friday Feb 27, 2015

This Time What Happens in Vegas Won't Just Stay in Vegas: Join Us at the Modern Service Experience Mar 31–Apr 2 By Stephen Fioretti

With fast moving technologies in mobile and social, ever changing, blending and new interaction channels and rapidly change customer expectations, it’s more difficult than ever to deliver great customer service. It’s cliché to say that “service is the new marketing” but any interaction with a service organization through any channel creates an impression of your company. Great service often leads to customers recommending you to their peers.

To win new customers and retain your existing ones, you have to deliver a modern service experience. We are hosting an event on March 31 - April 2 at the Venetian in Las Vegas to help you learn how Oracle Service Cloud can help your company become a modern service organization. You’ll learn best practices from your peers, industry visionaries and Oracle experts. You’ll hear from industry analysts and influencers like Kate Leggett and Ian Jacobs from Forrester, Aphrodite Brinsmead from Ovum and more.  Customers from ASOS, BassPro, Comcast, Kohl’s, LinkedIn, Nintendo, Pella, Virgin America, Rockwell Automation and more will share where they are on their road to delivering Modern Customer Service.

You’ll hear about recent developments within the Oracle Service Cloud portfolio as well as new capabilities from two of our recent acquisitions: Oracle Co-browse (LiveLOOK) and Oracle Field Service Cloud (TOA Technologies). At our Ask the Experts sessions, you’ll have an opportunity to get one-on-one time with Oracle Service Cloud product experts in web self-service, contact center and knowledge management. We have put together a diverse agenda full of information and perspectives that will help you take your customer service strategy to the next level.

In addition to the great keynotes, roundtables and breakout sessions we've planned, we will also have plenty of opportunities for networking and fun! At an awards event on Wednesday morning, the Oracle Service Cloud team will present awards to some of our leading and innovative customers. And we hope you will join us that evening for the Service Cloud customer appreciation event at Tao Nightclub where we’ll dance, mingle and enjoy some great food and drinks. Later on that night, all of the Modern CX event attendees are invited to see One Republic perform.

It’s sure to be a productive trip, with opportunities to explore new technologies, trends and strategies, and to let loose a little with your peers and colleagues. As the saying goes; what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas. Well, except for all the great things you’ll learn and the connections you’ll make while you are there.  See you at the event!

To get more information and register for the Modern Service Experience event, click here.  

Tuesday Apr 08, 2014

3 Secrets to Innovation...and why we believe we were were recognized by an independent analyst firm By David Vap

Innovation starts with seeing things differently than others. It starts with looking at a problem, and finding a way to dramatically change for the better.

Benjamin Franklin knew that. Ben wasn’t just a great visionary, he was a practical experimenter. He focused on needs—such as saving lives—when he invented the lightning rod. He understood the complex nature of electricity, and transformed that knowledge into a real, practical solution that helped everyone. He said it best, “well done is better than well said.”

That’s why Benjamin Franklin inspires us. While our innovation focus is a little different, we value connecting the dots between seeing a possibility and doing something about it. Customer Service is mission critical, and it’s hard to do really well. Real people are impacted every day when they can’t get their needs met – from the serious to the whimsical. From the need to know when your medication shipment arrives at your house to returning that shirt that was a size too small.

Our 3 secrets of innovation? 1) Focus on making what’s hard simple. 2) Solve real problems for real people. 3) Don’t just spin a good vision. Do something about it.

[Read More]

Thursday Sep 27, 2012

What You Can Learn from the NFL Referee Lockout

American football is a lot like religion. The fans are devoted followers that take brand loyalty to a whole new level. These fans that worship their teams each week showed that they are powerful customers whose voice has an impact. Yesterday, these fans proved that their opinion could force the hand of a large and powerful institution.

With a three-month NFL referee lockout that seemed like it was nowhere close to resolution, the Green Bay Packers and the Seattle Seahawks competed last Monday night. For those of you that might have been out of the news cycle the past few days, Green Bay lost the game due to a controversial call that many experts and analysts agree should have resulted in Green Bay winning the game. Outrage ensued.

The NFL had pulled replacement referees from the high school ranks, and these replacements did not have the knowledge and experience to handle high intensity NFL games. Fans protested about their customer experience. Their anger-filled rants were heard in social media, in the headlines of newspapers, on radio, and on national TV. Suddenly, the NFL was moved to reach an agreement with the referees. That agreement was reached late in the night on Wednesday with many believing that the referees had the upper hand forcing the owners into submission. Some might argue that the referees benefited, not the fans. Since the fans wanted qualified and competent referees, I would say the fans did benefit. The referees are scheduled to return to the field this Sunday, so the fans got what they wanted.

What can you learn from this negative customer experience?

  • Customers are in control. NFL owners thought they were controlling this situation with the upper hand over referees. The owners figured out they weren’t in control when their fans reacted negatively. Customers can make or break you more now than ever before, which is why it is more important to connect with them, engage them in a personal manner, and create rewarding relationships.
  • Protect your brand. Whether knowingly or unknowingly, the NFL put their brand and each team’s brand at risk with replacement referees. Think about each business decision you make, and how it may impact your brand at different points in time. A decision that results in a gain today could result in a larger loss down the road.
  • Customer experience matters. The NFL likely foresaw declining revenues in ticket sales, merchandising, advertising, and other areas if the lockout continued. While fans primarily spoke with their minds in the days following the Green Bay debacle, their wallets would be the next things to speak. Customer experience directly affects your success and is one of the few areas where you can differentiate your business.

What would you do if your brand got such negative attention? Would you be prepared to navigate such stormy waters? Would you be able to prevent such a fiasco? If you don’t have a good answer to these questions, consider joining us October 3-5, 2012 at the Oracle Customer Experience Summit in San Francisco.

You’ll have the opportunity to learn even more about customer experience from industry experts such as best-selling author Seth Godin, Paul Hagen and Kerry Bodine from Forrester Research, Inc., George Kembel from the Stanford d.School, Bruce Temkin of The Temkin Group, and Gene Alvarez from Gartner Inc.. There will also be plenty of your peers and customer experience experts available for networking and discussions.

Wednesday Sep 19, 2012

Customer Experience Metrics That Matter Most

When customers contact your company, they don't ask to be deflected or handled or converted. They want to be satisfied.

To improve the customer experience, you need more than traditional measures such as deflection rates, handling times, and conversion rates. In this new Oracle AppCast podcast, tune in to this conversation with me about customer experience metrics that you can use to grow your business.

Would you like to learn more? Please join us at the one of a kind Customer Experience Summit at the Oracle OpenWorld Conference, October 3-5 in San Francisco.

Monday Sep 17, 2012

How Are Businesses Advancing with the Experience Revolution?

Businesses worldwide are operating in a new era. Customers are taking charge of their relationships with brands, and the customer experience has become the most important differentiator and driver of business value. Where is the experience heading? And how can businesses take advantage of the customer experience revolution? Find out from the experts at a one-of-a-kind event: the Oracle Customer Experience Summit at Oracle OpenWorld, San Francisco, October 3-5.

Our featured speakers are global visionaries including Seth Godin, George Kembel from the Stanford d:School, Bruce Temkin, Kerry Bodine and Paul Hagen from Forrester, and Gene Alvarez from Gartner. Featured industry leaders will include speakers from Athene Group, Bazaarvoice, Comcast, Consortium of Service Innovation, Haworth, Intuit, KPN, Marriott, Nikon, Quicksilver, Royal Caribbean, SapientNitro, Southwest, Stryker, Stuart Concannon, and Twilio. Featured speakers from Oracle will include Oracle President Mark Hurd, Anthony Lye, David Vap, Brian Curran, John Kembel, and Matthew Banks. So, please join us at the Customer Experience Summit at the Oracle OpenWorld Conference.

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