Monday Jan 06, 2014

8 Predictions for Customer Service in 2014 by David Vap

Happy New Year! As we embark on 2014, I thought about the key trends that we’re seeing in the customer service business and how they impact you as well as the impact to the Oracle Service Cloud business.  Here's my 2 cents on what matters for the new year.  Feel free to put in your own 2 cents in the comments!

1. Customer Service Becomes a Boardroom Priority

We’re about 3 years into the Age of the Customer, a 20-year cycle in which the most successful enterprises will reinvent themselves to systematically understand and serve increasingly powerful customers.” (Source: Forrester Research, Inc., Competitive Strategy In The Age Of The Customer, October 2013) The strong correlation between customer service, brand equity, and sales conversions is becoming conventional wisdom. And, the cross-organization initiatives that are required to deliver the best customer service require boardroom-level sponsorship. According to Joanne Causon, CEO, Institute of Customer Service, “There is a close alignment between the financial performance of an organization and its customer service…  It is about the decisions made in the boardroom. Focusing your customer service strategy across the whole of the organization, how it relates to other parts of the organization such as finance and marketing.” (Source: Institute of Customer Service)

2. Your Customers Don’t Want to Talk to You

As Gen-Y and Millennials are increasing into the demographic mix, more of your customers don’t want to talk to you. Talking on a phone is “so old school” to these generations. They prefer to serve themselves via the Web, and increasingly on a mobile device. And, when they do find that they need to talk to you, they want the transition to be easy and seamless – with the click of a button, without repeating information, no writing down a service request number, etc. 

In a recent survey conducted by Unisphere Research, “31 percent of all customer interactions today are conducted via the Web, and an additional 9 percent are conducted via the mobile Web or mobile applications… The highest concentration of Web self-service capabilities right now is in the finance/insurance (52 percent) and government/education/nonprofit (50 percent) sectors.” 

According to a blog post written by Kate Leggett, Forrester Research, “we’ve seen a 12% rise in web self-service usage, a 24% rise in chat usage, and a 25% increase in community usage for customer service in the past three years”.  Voice is still the most used service channel, but self-service channels are experiencing significant growth. (Source:  Forrester Research, Inc., Forrester’s Top 15 Trends for Customer Service in 2013, January 2013.)

3. Mobile, Mobile, Mobile

Fifty-five percent of all time spent with online retailers in June 2013 occurred on a mobile device, surpassing time spent on PCs, according to comScore, a Web and mobile measurement firm. Our own customer usage data tells us that 20% of support interactions are taking place over mobile. So, it’s no surprise that 62% of companies think mobile customer service is a competitive differentiator(Source: ICMI)  The challenge is that the mobile device mix continues to get more fragmented with the various operating systems (iOS, Android, Windows, RIM, etc.) and the device formats (tablets, mini-tablets, smart phones, etc.) And, many customers begin transactions on a mobile device and later transition to Web or assisted channels to complete a transaction. Amidst all this complexity, two things are clear:  1) providing support for the most common transactions in the mobile format that customers use is a must, and 2) ensuring a smooth transition between mobile and other support channels will become a strong differentiator against the competition.

4. Your Coffee Maker Serves Itself

Connected devices such as game consoles, TVs, appliances, personal fitness devices to name a few are expected to grow to 25 billion in 2015. (Source:  CISCO IBSG) So, your coffee maker may request its own service by going online to troubleshoot issues and download updates – without you even knowing it’s happened. 

Again, the seamless transition between support channels is a differentiator.  If the customer contacts you with an issue, the ability to link that customer to their device and access support data for the device helps your support agents provide more efficient and effective service. If they know the status of the device and what has happened, they can more easily take the appropriate corrective actions. 

Additionally, customers may want to use their device to get service without having to switch to another channel. For instance, if a customer is having a technical issue with a game, they want to be able to get service from within the game without switching to a phone, PC, or mobile device.  Providing service directly from internet-enabled devices will become a more common expectation.

5. Knowledge is Everywhere

We all know that customers have a lot of choice in who they do business with and that attention spans are very short. A substandard service experience leads to customer frustration and negative perceptions about the product as well as the company. An interruption in the buying process may mean abandonment. The end result is an increased likelihood that customers will go to a competitor next time. To address customer’s expectations that everything should be fast, easy and accessible, knowledge can’t be a separate destination, living in the support or service portal only. It needs to be woven into the entire customer lifecycle and accessible via any channel the customer chooses.  It needs to be contextual to what the customer is doing. And, it needs to leverage the collective community of experts – both inside and outside of your company. Share your knowledge everywhere so it adds value to your customers!

6. The Web Comes Alive

Given that many of your customers don’t want to talk to you, there is a need to provide them with the best possible experience on your online channels. Doing so requires the ability to answer the questions online that historically ended up in your call center, providing the ability to deliver a personalized interaction in what have been, to this point, very impersonal online interactions around knowledge. In an effort to create a more human-like interaction that can replicate the knowledge of their best service representatives and provide a more personalized Web experience, more companies will adopt a virtual assistant, an intelligent online concierge, to increase customer loyalty and reduce costs.   

7. Social Gets Real

We’re past the buzz phase and into the reality phase with social customer service. Our own customer usage data tells us that for established peer-to-peer communities, 30-40% of self-service interactions are coming through this channel, indicating that collective knowledge is becoming a significant part of solving customer issues. And, 62% of customers have already used social media for customer service issues (Source: Mashable), raising the importance of monitoring social channels and responding to issues in those channels before they become crises. But many businesses today have bolted social customer service onto their existing customer service platform. Instead, in order to best leverage social channels to achieve the greatest business benefits, organizations will need a tightly integrated social service platform that helps customers find answers they can trust--and helps the companies tune and optimize their social investments. 

8. Employee Experience Takes the Limelight

“Engaged employees work harder, stay later, and make more recommendations. You can’t create or sustain great customer experience with disengaged employees.” (Source: Bruce Temkin) While this wisdom isn’t new, 2014 will see increased focus on employee engagement in order to drive better customer experiences and company results. Relating to customer service specifically, we’ll see companies invest in more training, empowerment, and tools to make it easier for employees to deliver on great customer experiences. 

For more information, please visit our website.

Wednesday Aug 28, 2013

Mobile Is Becoming A Catalyst For Commerce

Mobile phones have become almost ubiquitous in our daily lives. More and more people are relying on their smartphones to stay connected with their family, friends, co-workers, and the world around them. Armed with smartphones and tablets, consumers have access to much more product information and can compare, recommend, and share information from anywhere, at any time.

According to Internet Retailer, in the second quarter of 2013 U.S. mobile commerce grew faster than U.S. e-commerce sales via desktop/laptop computers. M-commerce represented 9% of all online commerce in the quarter, comScore says, with mobile shoppers buying more than $700 million worth of apparel and accessories in Q2.

A new report from Juniper Research expects mobile commerce transactions conducted through handsets and tablets will exceed US$3.2trn by 2017, rising from US$1.5trn this year. Research firm eMarketer reports that this year, 62.5 percent of all mobile commerce will come from tablets, despite the fact that they have a lower penetration rate than smartphones. However, lack of mobile site optimization remains a concern. Overseas in Europe, according to the latest statistics that have been released on the IMRG Capgemini e-Retail Sales Index, last month, the sales over mobile commerce in the United Kingdom managed to grow by a phenomenal 129 percent when compared to the figures from the same time in 2012.

Smartphones enable customers anywhere to quickly research and evaluate products prior to purchase. 4G connectivity enables consumers to have faster access to mobile Web sites and apps. Tablets provide more real estate for customers and business buyers to view product information in order to make their buying selection. In June 2013, 91% of tablet users and 90% of smartphones users accessed a mobile e-commerce Web properties, according to comScore.

So companies need technology tools to help them understand the mobile universe and its impact on their businesses. Mobile commerce started in the retail industry and is permeating into other industries as consumer get more comfortable purchasing via their smartphone and consumers migrate from pure research to buying products and services on their phones.

An Oracle study found that only 37% of respondents indicating that their company has mobile commerce in place. You need to continually think about how your customers are engaging with you and your brand via smartphones and tablets, and build mobile into your company’s overall commerce strategy. Click here to learn more about Oracle Commerce.

Monday Aug 12, 2013

Webcast: How Dell Leverages Big Data to Improve the Customer Experience

The Economist Intelligence Unit recently investigated how successful companies use big data to transform the customer experience. Join us for an Oracle webcast in association with Intel® to learn how top-performing organizations, including Dell Inc.’s Global Demand and CRM Center, are harnessing big data to understand better their customers and their business. The webcast is on Wednesday, August 14, 10-11 AM Pacific / 6-7 PM London.

You’ll learn how Dell leaders are:
  • Focusing on data-driven approaches to meet business objectives
  • Fostering a culture of customer insights through leadership and collaboration
  • Innovating customer interactions, marketing, and sales through automation

Tuesday Aug 06, 2013

Expand the Siebel User Experience onto the Newest Devices

A friend works for a well known financial services company that uses Siebel CRM. I asked how he likes using Siebel. He said that it works great. However, he wishes that he could use it on an iPad.  Well, I have good news for him and good news for you. Now, you can.

Learn more about how to expand the Siebel user experience in our webcast on June 15, 8:30 AM Pacific / 4:30 PM Paris CEST. While you are at it, register for future Siebel webcasts about customer service, mobile and social sales and service, and other informative topics.

Friday Jul 12, 2013

How Siebel Solves the Next Generation of Business Challenges

Keeping up with technological changes and increasing customer demands is challenging. The latest innovations in Oracle's Siebel CRM help you increase your competitive advantages. Watch this informative replay of our June Oracle Siebel CRM Webcast to discover how you can:

    • Enhance productivity and efficiency with new usability features
    • Understand your customers with new social media capabilities
    • Increase customer engagement with new mobile solutions
    • Deliver superior customer experiences

Monday Jun 10, 2013

Learn About Siebel CRM's Bright Future

Today’s customers are mobile, social, and more demanding than ever. Oracle continues to add new capabilities to Siebel CRM – helping you keep pace with rapid technological changes and growing customer expectations. Join us for the first in a new monthly webcast series to discover how the latest enhancements to Oracle’s Siebel CRM can help you:

  • Increase productivity with new features for improved usability
  • Harness social media to understand and engage your customers better
  • Service and sell via mobile solutions to meet new customer demands
  • Deliver outstanding customer experiences every single time

Register now for our live Webcast on Thursday, June 13!

Tuesday May 21, 2013

June 13 Webcast - Siebel: Solving the Next Generation of Business Challenges

Today’s customers are social, mobile, and more demanding than ever before. That’s why Oracle continues to add new capabilities to Siebel CRM – helping you keep pace with rapid technological change and growing customer expectations.

Register now for our live Webcast on Thursday, June 13 to discover how the latest enhancements to Oracle’s Siebel CRM can help you:
  • Increase productivity with new features for improved usability
  • Harness social media to understand and engage your customers better
  • Service and sell via mobile solutions to meet new customer demands
  • Deliver outstanding customer experiences every single time
Don’t miss this chance to see how you can solve the next generation of sales and service challenges!

Wednesday Apr 03, 2013

Talking Cloud in the Big Apple

Oracle held CloudWorld yesterday in New York City. You didn’t have to look far to see how important the cloud is to everyday life. It’s Spring Break for many schools across the U.S., and teens and tweens flocked to the Big Apple with their parents. It was hard to not to run into one of these young tourists, as they all seemed to be walking and using a smartphone at the same time.[Read More]

Wednesday Apr 18, 2012

See Oracle CX and CRM at Collaborate 2012 in Las Vegas

The Collaborate conference takes place next week, April 22-26, in Las Vegas at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center. You'll see some great speakers, such as Oracle's CIO, Mark Sunday, speaking on IT at Oracle: The Art of IT Transformation to Enable Business Growth. Another great speaker is Captain Mark Kelly, Commander of the Space Shuttle Endeavor.

But that's not all. We will have great CRM/CX sessions and product demos. Our sessions will present overviews and roadmaps about Fusion, Siebel, and mobile CRM applications. Our demos will present Fusion CRM and Oracle Optimized Solutions, Customer Experience (CX) for Commerce and Marketing, and CX for Service and Support. The CX demos will showcase Oracle Commerce (ATG), Oracle Guided Search and Navigation (Endeca), Oracle Knowledge (InQuira), and RightNow CX.

Learn more and plan to join us!

Thursday Apr 05, 2012

Webcast: Leveraging Mobile And Social Commerce To Deliver A Complete Customer Experience

  Mobile and social media are emerging as new channels for customers to interact and transact with brands. Mobile users demand experiences that are relevant and engaging and are designed with the capabilities and constraints of devices in mind. Just having a mobile app or mobile-specific website is not a long-term strategy. Brands must invest in an optimized experience, especially as mobile becomes critical to an overall digital commerce strategy.

Debating the merits of using Facebook or not is missing the point when it comes to social media. True innovators are thinking beyond the social channel and are building programs that leverage Facebook data to drive conversions and engagement both on and off Facebook.  Learn how to be more strategic about mobile and social commerce in this informative editorial webcast.

Attend this webcast and you will learn:
  • How to leverage mobile and social touchpoints in digital commerce
  • Why having a Facebook page or a mobile app is not enough
  • The benefits of a consistent, personalized and relevant customer experience
  • Strategies for integrating mobile and social into an overall digital commerce strategy

Featured Speakers:

  • Peter Sheldon, Senior Analyst, eBusiness & Channel Strategy Professionals, Forrester Research
  • Brenna Johnson, Product Manager, Oracle Commerce

Click here to register.

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