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. 

Tuesday Sep 08, 2015

October 7 Webcast: How to Become a Customer-Adaptive Enterprise with Ovum Principal Analyst Jeremy Cox and Oracle VP of Product Management Stephen Fioretti

Business transformation, customer engagement, omnichannel… These strategies sound promising, but how do you actually implement them to stay ‘persistently’ relevant to customers? Ovum Principal Analyst Jeremy Cox will help guide you as he presents the eight core attributes of the Customer-Adaptive Enterprise on this webcast Wednesday, October 7 at 9 am PT / 12 pm ET. 

Ovum’s Jeremy Cox, and Oracle’s Stephen Fioretti, will assist you in determining your current customer engagement maturity level—and what actions you must take to deliver an integrated omnichannel service experience. 

Specific topics include:
  • Introduction to the Customer-Adaptive Enterprise 
  • Maturity Levels of Omnichannel Customer Engagement 
  • Service Organization Transformation: Opportunities, Pitfalls and Success Stories 
  • Leveraging Social, the Internet of Things (IOT) and New Channels

You will come away knowing your next steps for operationalizing your omnichannel strategy! 

Register now

Jeremy Cox. Principal Analyst, Ovum
Customer Engagement

As part of Ovum’s Customer Engagement team, Jeremy leads the research and insights into CRM and its potential for spearheading customer-driven business transformation (the customer-adaptive enterprise). With over 20 years’ CRM strategy development and implementation experience, on the inside (IBM) and as a consultant and change agent. He is well placed to support enterprises on their next-generation customer transformation journey.

Jeremy joined Ovum in July 2012, and quickly established the broader customer-adaptive enterprise context, identifying eight core attributes that organizations need if they are to be persistently relevant to their customers: Visionary leadership, an engaged workforce, collaborative, acute sensing capabilities to generate insight and foresight, a superior omnichannel customer experience, continuous innovation, connected, simplified and adaptive processes, and an adaptive enterprise architecture. He has written many papers on transformational CRM, the customer-adaptive enterprise, omnichannel customer engagement, harnessing the voice of the customer to drive continuous improvement in the customer experience, and continuous innovation.

Prior to joining Ovum, Jeremy ran his own transformational CRM consultancy supporting enterprises in both the public and private sectors, with clients such as The Pensions Regulator, The North West Development Agency, HP, Microsoft, Carlson Wagonlit Traveler Services, Pitney Bowes, Honeywell, Eli Lilly, and mid-market firms including Goldsmith Williams Solicitors, Camps Solicitors, and Hurst & Co Accountants. He was also a principal consultant CRM at KPMG Consulting, and held various CRM internal consulting roles at IBM during the transformation years of the mid to late 1990s.
Jeremy co-authored “Mid-Market CRM” with Professor Francis Buttle FCIM and has spoken at various European conferences on CRM as a transformational business strategy enabled by IT, and what it takes to become a customer-adaptive enterprise. He has a master’s degree with distinction from Manchester Business School in strategic market management and CRM.

Stephen Fioretti, Vice President of Product Management, Oracle
Oracle Service Cloud
Stephen Fioretti has Product Management and Strategy responsibility for part of Oracle’s Customer Experience (CX) Strategy as well as Oracle Service Cloud products, where he drives strategy, product roadmap and go-to-market initiatives. Previously at Oracle and Siebel, he served as vice president of Product Management and Strategy for various CRM cloud and on-premise products, specifically in the domains of multi-channel service and support, sales force automation, partner relationship management, and configuration, pricing and quoting.

Before joining Siebel in 2002, Fioretti was Vice President of Business Development at SeeCommerce, a privately-held provider of Supply Chain Performance Management Solutions. Prior to SeeCommerce, Mr. Fioretti spent 5 years at Hyperion Solutions, a leading provider of enterprise business performance management and business intelligence solutions, where he served in executives roles as VP of Marketing and VP of Alliances. Fioretti has spent over 20 years in the information technology industry, including sales, marketing and channel roles at Sybase and Hewlett-Packard. 

Mr. Fioretti holds a Bachelor's Degree in Economics from the University of California at Davis, as well as a Master's of Business Administration in Marketing from the University of California at Los Angeles.

Wednesday Sep 02, 2015

Bringing Brand Ambassadorship to the Front Lines - A Tale of Past Interactions

This is a follow up to my first post on customer success.

One of my first jobs was as a bus boy at a New York Deli Restaurant. I was 14 years old and the gentleman who hired me made it very clear that my job was to make sure that customers had a great time—more than just good food, people were buying the whole experience of eating in a deli (like the Stage or Carnegie in New York). Greeting guests, bringing them sour pickles, answering questions about what I liked to eat and offering up some free cookies towards the end of the meal didn’t seem like much in the grand scheme of things but in the context of this restaurant, it drove their business with hour long wait times.

In hindsight, the general manager of this restaurant clearly understood what many businesses are still figuring out today—that people buy experiences, be it in restaurants, online, brick & mortar stores, etc. Even more so, he understood that the people on the front line needed to represent the brand and needed to be enabled to deliver on it. So even as a 14 year old (I actually looked older), I had eaten just about everything on the menu and could speak to it with confidence. Management actually encouraged me to run to the counter and grab some cookies for people to try.

Fast forward many years later and I come across blog posts such as this (Seth Godin, “Learning from the State Department”) 

We invented ambassadors because nothing can replace face-to-face interaction, particularly when messages travel sometimes quite slowly through complex organizations. Just like now.

This seems obvious, and it is, until you realize that organizations make two huge mistakes:

A. They don't hire brand ambassadors, they hire clerks and bureaucrats, and treat them and pay them accordingly.


B. They don't manage and lead brand ambassadors, don't measure and reward and create a cadre of people who can listen for the brand and speak for the brand.

Would you send the clerk on aisle 7 to speak to a head of state or vital partner on behalf of your company? Because that's what he's doing right now.

After reading this, I have adopted this phrase of ‘brand ambassador’ and judge most of my experiences in terms of whether or not businesses are enabling their staff to act as these brand ambassadors. On a regular basis I come across businesses where it appears to me that management has enabled their front line staff to be true ambassadors. In my opinion, companies like Zappos and Starbucks have really nailed it. Their staff has both the customer-centric mindset and the tools at their disposal to drive positive customer experiences. On the flip side, I have plenty of experiences online and in stores where the end result is that I either leave the store or cancel my order. Customers shouldn’t be confronted with confusing online order flows that seem particularly spammy. Simple questions about product availability and new shipments shouldn’t be answered with the shrug of the shoulders or an IDK.

Here are a few things to think about as you evaluate your own businesses in terms of bringing brand ambassadorship to the front lines, be it in call centers or physical stores. Each business is unique so there is not necessarily one prescriptive solution. If you are just getting started with a transactional online site, here are a few other good articles about storytelling through visual commerce and branded manufacturers extending their identity in the direct to consumer channel.

Brand and company philosophy: Does your staff know what your brand stands for and the company philosophy and expectations towards customer loyalty and customer service? How do managers and leadership reinforce and demonstrate these philosophies and expectations? Leading by example truly helps fuel the creation of a staff of brand advocates.

Product & Process Knowledge: Does your staff know the product line? Do they have insights into what products are coming, what is in inventory, what has been discontinued, when the sales are going to happen? What training programs have you developed to help new employees learn about the products and procedures as well as continually update all employees on a regular basis? Can your staff effectively manage the “buy online, pick up in store” process? Front line staff need to have superior knowledge to level the playing field against the highly educated customer of today.

Decision Making: Have you evaluated if your staff is enabled to make the day-to-day and on-the-fly decisions to impact both profitable sales and customer loyalty? Are the guidelines clear and are the internal channels there to educate? The inability to act efficiently and effectively in any of the channels (online chat, phone, in store) is a deal killer on so many levels.

Technology: Are you empowering your staff with the right tools and technology to drive customer loyalty and superior customer service? Do you have agent / assisted selling applications that can not only provide insights into inventory, order history, customer profiles but also transact? Much like the need for product knowledge, the right technology tools are needed to enable sales staff to be seen as a consultant and a brand ambassador, not just the order taker.

Measuring Results and Rewards:  How do you measure the success of your front line staff? Can you identify your peak sales performers? Can you measure how effective your staff is with customer service/brand advocacy? Can you measure your staff’s knowledge of products? Do you offer any incentives on an individual level for sales, successful customer interactions? Measuring results and providing rewards can be difficult to implement but this is counterbalanced by the fact that we are currently experiencing a transformational shift in expectations towards customer experience.

I would love to hear about your experiences in creating brand ambassadors within your organizations. What is and isn’t working, obstacles you have had to overcome, tools and technologies that are helping you?

Wednesday Aug 19, 2015

Webcast: Simplify Customer Interactions with Policy Automation

Increasingly, companies struggle to complete complex service requests, onboard customers, and comply with shifting regulations and internal policies. At the same time, there is an enormous opportunity for companies to drive down costs by empowering customers to self serve. 

Please join the Oracle Policy Automation Team – Timothy Doherty and Harriet Franklin – to learn how to empower your customers AND employees. And hear from Hanno Hesse about how Oracle Gold Partner Monad Solutions has empowered Oracle Customers! 

You'll discover how to:
  • Easily manage complex requests
  • Comply with shifting policies
  • Empower customers to self serve and dramatically reduce customer service costs
  • Drive revenue growth by matching prospects with the right products and services
  • Your Roadmap to Modern Customer Experience
  • Hands-on Demonstration
  • How to Learn More

Webcast Tuesday, August 25, 2015 10 am PT / 1 pm ET

Thursday Aug 13, 2015

Co-browse Your Way to Faster Resolution and Higher Member Satisfaction

Picture it. You’re a customer care representative working for a large health care payer. You’re on the phone with an angry member as she’s trying to explain the trouble she’s having accessing her claims online. You want to help but you’re having difficulty understanding her issue without being able to see what she sees. And your situation is made tougher by having to flip through an inch-thick binder to find possible solutions or multiple knowledge bases!

With these limited support tools, it’s no wonder health care consumers are frustrated. Care representatives are equally frustrated because they aren’t empowered to deliver great service. The consequences: a 40% annual churn rate in members and an up to 50% turnover in support staff! 

Fortunately, co-browse can turn this situation around… 

Oracle Co-browse allows care representatives to see a member’s computer screen in real-time so they can guide her to the information she needs—whether that’s help with a claims issue, benefits question or application for enrollment. Co-browse ensures the care representative has an exact view of the member’s screen, adapting on the fly even as customers change their browser settings or resize the window. It also works on any mobile browser or device, and can even be added as a support feature within a company’s mobile app.

Regarding HIPAA compliance, Oracle Co-browse meets the strictest security standards by protecting sensitive data while still giving care representatives the information they need to resolve issues.

But don’t take our word for it; check out what Oracle Co-browse has done for our customers!

Health Care Payer Case Study
The largest health insurance network in the U.S. was facing high Average Handle Times (AHT) on website-related issues. It wanted to reduce handle time, and boost web self-service and member satisfaction. It leveraged Oracle Co-browse to accomplish these goals while ensuring the highest levels of data security.

By empowering care representatives to do co-browsing sessions, the network and its regional organizations:
  • Reduced call handle times by 85%
  • Increased member satisfaction and loyalty
  • Maintained strict data security while co-browsing across its own and external websites

To find out the top ten benefits co-browse can drive for your organization, please click here
To learn more about the unique capabilities only Oracle Co-browse provides, please click here.

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! 

Tuesday May 26, 2015

Oracle Service Cloud May 2015 Release – Optimizing Integrations across the Oracle Portfolio by Stephen Fioretti

The May 2015 release of Oracle Service Cloud enhances the power of Service Cloud with integration accelerators for Siebel, EBS and Oracle Field Service Cloud.  These new accelerators enable companies to connect their Service Cloud solutions with other business systems, optimizing their investments while improving operations across the organization.

Unlike traditional integration offerings, Oracle Service Cloud Integration Accelerators are designed to equip companies and technology partners with the resources they need to quickly and easily build custom integrations that leverage the power of Oracle’s business solutions to meet the unique and evolving requirements of each organization.

Extend Great Service to the Field

With the acquisition of TOA Technologies in 2014, Oracle Service Cloud added field service management capabilities to its suite of products to help companies further streamline web self-service, contact center and field service interactions. To optimize the integration between Oracle Field Service Cloud and Oracle Service Cloud, this Accelerator enables companies to leverage the field service solution’s powerful, predictive routing and scheduling functionality directly within the Oracle Service Cloud Agent Desktop. Using an intelligent booking calendar, contact center agents can book field appointments based on the real-time availability of field resources – so customers can choose a date and time that’s most convenient for them. Field service employees get more context about a customer’s problem, and contact center agents can view updates as work is assigned and completed.  Companies can now deliver a holistic and consistent service experience from the moment an inbound incident is received, through appointment scheduling and routing, and all the way through post-appointment customer feedback.

Connect Web Self Service with Siebel for a 360° Customer View

The Siebel Integration Accelerator enables the creation of custom widgets to show customer information in both Siebel and Service Cloud interfaces. Information captured from Customer Portal can be automatically added to a Service Request in Siebel, and outbound communications from the Siebel interface can be viewed in Customer Portal as well.This Integration Accelerator further enhances the integration capabilities for customers looking to utilize both Siebel and Oracle Service Cloud components.

Enhance EBS with Oracle Service Cloud Contact Center Capabilities

The EBS Integration Accelerator builds upon the same capabilities available for Siebel, connecting Web Self Service with the EBS agent interface. In the May release, this Accelerator also adds support for contact center components, connecting with EBS data to identify inbound callers and giving agents access to full customer data and history during an interaction on either the EBS or Oracle Service Cloud platforms.

In addition to these Integration Accelerators, the May 2015 release includes several other new features and enhancements, including:

  • Social Monitor Enhancements
  • Email Management Updates
  • Oracle Service Cloud Knowledge Advanced
  • Oracle Policy Automation for Mobile
  • Field Service Management Mobile Updates
For more information on what’s new in the May 2015 release, click here to read the Release Content Document.

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 May 15, 2015

3 Tips for Staying Centered in the Fast-Paced World of Technology

Technology change is moving at warp speed. And we high tech professionals have to keep pace. So here are three tips for stayed centered as you enjoy the wild ride of innovation!

Tip 1: Tame Your Monkey Mind

Do you sometimes have too many thoughts running through your head? Try practicing a mini mind-break called ‘silence, stillness, space.1’ Sit quietly, breathe and feel the space within and around you. That’s all there is to it. Then, when you do your next task, you’ll be more centered and effective.

Tip 2: Five Senses are Better than One

Have you ever gotten so wrapped up in your work that you lost awareness of your surroundings? Pretty much everyone has. To recharge, take a quick break and use your five senses. Look around you, listen to the sounds and feel your feet on the ground. If you have a cup of coffee, take a sip and enjoy its aroma and taste. Your senses will bring you back to the present.

Tip 3: The Giving Me2

Our lives are so busy it can be tough to find time for self-care. But it’s essential to keep our creative juices flowing! So spend 5-10 minutes a day doing something just for you—a nature walk, a good meal, a belly laugh. Equally important is doing something for others. And we get opportunities to be of service all the time. So give your colleague a compliment or donate to someone in need.

And know that you’re in good company. Google starts its meetings with a moment of mindfulness, as featured in 60 minutes. The Wisdom 2.0 Conference was so successful, it’s become an annual tradition for mindful tech moguls like LinkedIn CEO and Oracle customer Jeff Weiner.

Want to share your refocusing tips? Please contact me


1. Awakening the Luminous Mind, Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche
2. The Giving Me, Lydia Criss Mays

Monday Apr 27, 2015

Modern Customer Experience Metrics by David Lanning

As organizations evolve on their roadmap to a modern customer experience, they are adopting new business processes and technologies that allow them to support the needs of the connected customer. As a result of adopting new communication channels, companies now have an additional set of metrics that can be used to measure and improve the effectiveness of their multi-channel customer experience.

The traditional, internally- focused operational metrics like Average Handle Time (AHT) or Occupancy are insufficient to assess the customer’s perspective of the end-to-end experience. To measure the customer experience in a multi-channel world, companies must adopt and leverage a new set of metrics that provide valuable insight into the effectiveness of their multi-channel customer experience initiatives.

Modern Customer Experience Metrics

First Phase of Modern Customer Experience
In the first phase of a modern customer experience, companies address their ability to manage customer interactions on multiple channels. The new communication channels like chat, community and social provide a new set of metrics that provide valuable insight into customer behaviors and expectations.

Chat and Co-browse
Each of the new channels in a multi-channel environment contains metrics that can be used to measure the effectiveness of a company’s ability to handle interactions on these channels. For instance, as companies add online support in the form of chat or co-browse, they have the ability to provide support ‘in-the-moment’ that leads to higher online retention and reduced site abandons. By measuring and analyzing online support requests on chat or co-browse, companies can identify issues that are directly impacting the connected customer experience. Chat and co-browse metrics provide insight into why customers left the online experience to get the information or assistance they needed to complete their online transaction.

Online Communities
Companies that provide online communities also have a new set of metrics they can use to measure and improve the community experience and effectiveness. Companies can measure how many of their customers are engaged in the community (Community Participation Rate) and how often they post information (Community Post Rate). These new metrics provide direct insight into customer participation rates and provide metrics that measure the effectiveness of their initiatives to promote community involvement and customer loyalty. Community metrics like the number of active members in an online community can be used to measure the number of loyal customers who are contributing to the community.

Similarly, there are a number of new metrics that can be used to measure the effectiveness of a company’s social strategy and initiatives. Leading companies have developed strategies and operational practices to actively engage in the conversation on social networks. These social networks provide metrics like Fan Growth Rate, Like / Dislike Ratio and other social metrics that can be used to measure the effectiveness of their social networks. The beauty of these metrics are that customers on social networks are posting continuously and allow the company to gain real-time information on the experience without requiring a formal feedback survey or other means of gathering customer perceptions. Social metrics can be accessed in real-time and used to adjust the company’s social strategy without the lengthy delay associated with outbound customer satisfaction surveys.

Second Phase of Modern Customer Experience
As companies advance on their journey to a modern customer experience they employ strategies, businesses processes and complementary technology designed to assist customers who cross multiple channels to obtain information, or to connect with support resources to complete a transaction. This cross-channel environment provides an additional set of metrics that can be used to measure and improve cross-channel business processes.

Online experience metrics that measure the customer’s ability to connect to online knowledge or to support resources can be used to measure the effectiveness of a company’s online support effectiveness. Web site tracking metrics that show the number of clicks (customer effort) required to find relevant knowledge, or to find an online support resource, can be used to measure the effectiveness of the site design. By adding web tracking tags to knowledge articles companies can now measure the end-to-end online journey and optimize the use of knowledge to reduce customer effort during online transactions.

Website tracking metrics can also be used to determine where customers opt-out of the online channel to obtain additional support. These metrics provide web experience designers with the information they need to measure the impact of site design changes to increase online conversions or reduce site abandons. The overall impact of the cross-channel experience initiatives can be assessed by adding customer effort score that provides a broad view of the cross-channel experience.

Third Phase of Modern Customer Experience
As companies advance to providing a personalized, omni-channel experience, additional metrics are available to measure the company’s ability to make offers and recommendations that recognize the value and preferences of the customer. The omni-channel experience leverages the customer’s profile information and cross-channel interaction history to make appropriate offers, product recommendations and create customized business processes for each customer. The omni-channel experience model provides companies a new set of metrics that can be used to measure the effectiveness of their personalization strategy. New metrics like conversion rate on personalized offers, percentage of offers made in the customer’s native language and percentage of customers who receive support in their native language are examples of new metrics available to measure the organization’s ability to personalize the experience.

Many of the new customer experience metrics like community participation rates, or ‘likes’ on a social network are measured from actual customer behavior. Although sentiment metrics like customer satisfaction (CSAT) and net promoter score (NPS) are a reasonable indicator of intent, the new experience metrics provide an actual measure of action taken by customers to recommend a product or service. These new experience metrics are an important element in a balanced score card of experience metrics. By capturing metrics on actions taken, as well as traditional experience metrics like CSAT and NPS, companies can create a balanced score card that provides immediate insight into the effectiveness of their customer experience programs.  

The Roadmap to ModernTM customer service allows organizations to evolve from an internally-focused to an externally-focused organization that maximizes customer value throughout acquisition, retention and support processes. By leveraging new business processes centered on the customer experience, complementary technology and the metrics available in a multi-channel world, companies can create a competitive advantage by providing a compelling customer experience that significantly increases customer acquisition and customer loyalty.

You can learn more Multi-Channel (first phase), Cross-Channel (second phase) and Omni-Channel (third phase) engagement strategies to become a more Modern Customer Service organization on our website.


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« November 2015