Monday Mar 07, 2016

Bridging the Gap Between Mobile and Customer Service

By Daniel Foppen, Senior Principal Product Manager, Oracle Service Cloud

Twenty years ago, mobile devices were just getting started.  In fact, back in 1995 only one percent of the population had access to a mobile device. Today, there are over 5.2 billion mobile phone users comprising 73% of the global population.  Mobile devices now have an impact on just about every part of our daily lives – from communication and social interaction to mobile commerce.  To say that mobile is a trend is an understatement.  The rise of mobile is fundamentally changing the way we interact – and is spawning a whole new generation of technology, applications and businesses.  Particularly within the service space, mobile is not only pushing how organizations should assess evolving customer engagement, but how best to tackle mobilizing the modern customer service organization. 

We see a trend in business software that is focused around the mobile experience, in which employees across the enterprise use software for a wide variety of functions including customer service, sales force automation, collaboration and communication, all while on the move, using their phones and tablets. There is great value in terms of agility, productivity and employee experience to increase your organization’s mobility.  Yet, we would encourage you to not translate this into, "we need a mobile app or responsive user interface for all of our software."

There are use cases in which it makes sense, and there are use cases in which it clearly doesn’t. A customer service representative (CSR) working for a large B2C contact center, handling complex cases from many different channels, has a need for a highly productive work environment.  It just doesn't make sense to try to make that CSR handle these cases on a mobile phone or tablet.  A sales representative on the road, or a field service representative however, is on the move every day. In both scenarios, a mobile experience makes perfect sense.

To Mobile, Or Not To Mobile (That’s The Question)

Before jumping into relevant use cases, it is helpful to clarify a common misconception about mobile: Mobile isn't just about mobile phones.

A lot of investments have gone into making specific applications for specific types of devices, e.g. a desktop application, a mobile application or a tablet application. Yet, it becomes less and less important to talk about device-specific software, as the lines between these categories are blurring.  Mobile is about understanding specific tasks and use-cases, providing the tools that make the greatest impact, and making sure these different tools are consistent and connected. Let’s review some use cases within different areas of customer service…

Mobile Scenarios in Customer Service

Agents working in multi-channel contact centers spend the majority of their day solving cases coming in from a range of different channels. They need an interface in which productivity is key. They need all the context and data available to solve the customer issue as efficiently as possible. They need a unified desktop, integrated with sensitive data from back-end systems through behind-the-firewall integration. Also, they are likely using two or three big monitors (flanked by yellow post-it notes and cute pictures of kids and dogs). Clearly this is not a great use case for mobile.

However, when you think about supervisors and managers that walk around the contact center, mobile access could be of great value.  Still, mobile access doesn't necessarily mean this persona would access the system through a mobile phone. Supervisors and managers may want to monitor their operations, yet get deeper into cases when needed. Access through a tablet would probably make most sense.

Similarly, when customer service is decentralized and service is delivered via face-to-face support in stores, at airports, front-desks, branches, etc. users will occasionally need to review cases, update contact information and access customer product information. They will need easy access to this information on a computer, laptop or tablet outside the contact center in order to deliver a connected customer experience.

Uberization Of Field Service

When determining where to apply a mobile experience, it might be easy to overlook some of the most obvious use cases. Let’s explore the ultimate mobile use case: field service.  Advancements in mobile technology have not just changed how field service representatives engage with a device, but also the type of work they perform, as well as how they manage their day.

Today, customers expect every service agent they engage with to solve all of their problems. For field service, this means that the customer expects a field representative to understand everything that has occurred in the service journey before arriving onsite for a job.  In addition, the customer expects the field representative to have the same abilities and tools as every other person on the customer service organization. The result is that all of these new tasks need a mobile interface that can quickly be accessed by a field service representative. 

Furthermore, advancements in mobile technologies are allowing a complete shift in how field organizations are structured and managed. Mobile technology and the sharing economy are now allowing for non-centralized field service organizations. This is a trend we refer to as the “Uberization” of field service, which means that through mobile access and automation, the field can dispatch their own work, create their own schedules, and make adjustments as the day changes, all while operating at an optimal level.

Complex Service On The Move

Another great example where we see mobility is around complex rule or policy processes, such as immigration cases. Typically officials assess such cases from their office desks, using lengthy forms and rubber stamps, with long queues of applicants waiting outside. Now, with greater numbers of refugees entering Europe, we see mobile solutions that equip officials outside of their offices. This is where the refugees are arriving, and officials are now able conduct the assessment on-the-spot with a tablet app and simple interview screens to determine the appropriate asylum status. Mobile decisioning is providing better agility by enabling consistent service regardless of device or channel.

Don’t Forget Your Customers

25% of our customers’ customers already use a mobile device to navigate to your support portal. Is your website prepared for that? Using responsive design you can ensure the support section on your website is presented in the optimal way for each type of screen. Also make sure your knowledge articles are structured in a way the content can be easily consumed on a smaller screen.  In addition to self-service and knowledge we would also recommend looking at mobile use cases for assisted service experiences. For instance, with in-app mobile co-browse, live chat over mobile phones, as well as video chat.

Mobile is undoubtedly changing both our personal and professional lives. Customer service organizations should decide on a strategy to bridge the gap between mobile and customer service. This requires a strategic review of value drivers, combined with a tactical search for relevant use cases.

Don’t fall in the “we need an app for everything” trap – some users need big screens, some users don’t.  Investigate how to use mobile technologies to change your field technicians into versatile brand ambassadors, and explore opportunities to increase agility and mobility by bringing complex policy and rule processes to a mobile environment.  Finally, consumers will ever more use their mobile devices to contact you, so your website and contact centers need to be ready for this new reality.

Monday Nov 16, 2015

Toshiba Medical Systems Europe Transforms the Customer Experience with Oracle Service Cloud

How does a world leader in medical diagnostic equipment, which provides the most cutting-edge imaging solutions in the industry, raise the bar even higher? By zeroing in on a strategy for ensuring machine uptime and consistently superior customer service, and building a world-class customer service organization to make this vision a reality.

Part of the Toshiba Group, Toshiba Medical Systems is one of the world’s leading providers of medical diagnostic imaging applications and comprehensive medical solutions. As a leader in its space, the company continuously promotes innovation in the industry, incorporating cutting-edge technologies into its medical imaging solutions. The company is also constantly looking for new ways to improve the service it provides to customers across the globe. Toshiba Medical Systems knows that to continue differentiating itself as a leader, it needs to adapt to changing customer expectations, ensuring every service experience is a positive one.

Recognizing the value of service delivery as a competitive differentiator, Toshiba Medical Systems saw an opportunity to leverage the technology to completely transform this part of its business. The company has partnered with Oracle Service Cloud in an initiative to elevate customer experience while streamlining its service operations using its comprehensive solution suite.

“With Oracle Service Cloud we are taking the next step, entering a new era of customer service: delighting our customers with the support we provide and empowering our employees with state-of-the-art applications to do their work,” says Johan Lombaerts, Senior Manager Service, at Toshiba Medical Systems Europe. “In doing so, we strive to strengthen and streamline communication with customers, provide them the ability to choose their preferred communication channel and access self-service tools at their convenience. It is also our goal in this initiative to increase employee satisfaction for back-office staff and field engineers, and improve the accuracy of the data we collect in order to strengthen our analysis capabilities and continue improving.”

Toshiba Medical Systems Europe will deploy the Oracle Service Cloud’s contact center and Oracle policy automation solutions, along with Oracle Field Service Cloud. The company will leverage these solutions together in order to:

  • Streamline communication with customers, routing incoming calls or incidents to 100 agents on the customer’s preferred channel, including phone, chat, SMS, email and an online portal
  • Provide agents with the tools they need to easily determine a customer’s entitlements on their medical equipment
  • Ensure that critical customer and asset data is shared with resources at every step of the service process – contact center representatives, dispatchers, field resources and even supervisors
  • Improve response times when maintenance is required on assets in the field, reduce asset downtime and customer disruption
  • Drive operational efficiencies in the maintenance and repair of its medical devices, improving field engineer productivity while reducing costs associated with travel and overtime
  • Empower over 350 field engineers by providing them with access to relevant knowledge and peer-to-peer collaboration tools in the field via their mobile devices
  • Improve accuracy of the data collected in the field and ensure that it gets recorded and shared across the organization properly

By deploying Oracle Service Cloud cross-channel contact center, policy automation and field service management solutions, Toshiba Medical Systems Europe will completely transform the entire service process – from the time a customer calls into the contact center to report an issue to service fulfillment and data capture in the field, all the way to customer feedback. Toshiba’s customers will have a more positive experience thanks to streamlined communication and more personalized service, and face less disruption in their day-to-day operations due to Toshiba’s ability to respond quickly and resolve issues faster. For Toshiba, more efficient processes, increased engineer productivity and customer satisfaction will translate into a major improvement in the bottom line and drive revenue.

To learn more about Oracle Service Cloud and Oracle Field Service Cloud solutions, and the value they provide to customers across the globe, visit https://www.oracle.com/applications/customer-experience/service/index.html.

About Toshiba Medical Systems Europe
With headquarters in Zoetermeer, The Netherlands, Toshiba Medical Systems Europe (TMSE) markets, sells, distributes and services radiology and cardiovascular systems, including CT, MR, ultrasound, X-ray and cardiovascular equipment, and coordinates clinical diagnostic imaging research for all modalities in Europe. For more information, visit the TMSE website at http://toshiba-medical.eu

About Toshiba Medical Systems Corporation
Toshiba Medical Systems Corporation is a leading worldwide provider of medical diagnostic imaging systems and comprehensive medical solutions, such as CT, X-ray and vascular, ultrasound, nuclear medicine and MRI systems, as well as information systems for medical institutions. Toshiba Medical Systems Corporation has been providing medical products for over 80 years. Toshiba Medical Systems Corporation is a wholly owned subsidiary of Toshiba. Visit Toshiba Medical Systems Corporation’s website at http://www.toshibamedicalsystems.com

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
Plus:
  • 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 May 01, 2014

Want to offer personalized service but have concerns about compliance? We can help. by Heike Lorenz

A personalized customer experience is already beginning to overtake price and product as the key brand differentiator. Going forward, one-size-fits all customer service won't suffice, as consumers grow increasingly impatient with inconsistencies and inefficiencies that don't serve their individual needs.1

However, only 25%2 of organizations can provide highly personalized service. Even fewer can ensure that service complies with policy rules and regulations. Compliance is critical in highly regulated industries like financial services, telecommunications, utilities, higher education, etc.

So how can you achieve personalized, compliant service that differentiates your brand?

By using a policy automation platform to automate and deploy policies across all touchpoints. Policies take the form of dynamic interviews, which ask questions relevant to individual customers, and automatically tailor service and offers based on customers’ real-time responses. The interviews document how each decision is made, and can automatically generate a report.

So what does this mean for your customers and you?! It means that if you are a bank and your customer doesn’t qualify for a loan, he can see how much he needs to raise his credit score in order to be eligible. Offering a personalized explanation eliminates the need to call the contact center and builds trust through transparency. And it gives your organization a comprehensive report of all customer interactions detailing policy compliance to ensure audit readiness.

Companies using this approach can provide highly personalized service—increasing loyalty and satisfaction—while being 100% confident they are compliant. 

1. http://www.smartcustomerservice.com/Columns/Vendor-Views/3-Top-Customer-Experience-Trends-in-2014-95016.aspx

2. http://www.retailtouchpoints.com/resource-center/51-white-papers/1219-top-5-trends-in-retail-for-improving-customer-service-and-advocacy-management

Thursday Apr 10, 2014

Part 3 of 6: The Art Of Easy: Easy Decisions For Complex Problems by Heike Lorenz

Making complex decisions EASY, by automating your service policies allows your organization to efficiently ensure the correct decisions are being applied to the right people.

Like the hit British TV Series Little Britain suggests, when “Computer Says No”, you can be left wondering why?

It's not easy to automate your Customer Service polices, let alone do it a way that is transparent, consistent and cost effective. Especially if you are working within environments where markets conditions and regulations change frequently. Get it wrong and you are left with compliance problems and customer complaints – and that's a costly outcome!

So while you may not be striving to change the decision from a “NO” to a “YES” for your customer, you should be looking to get to that answer quicker for them, with a complete explanation as to why it's a “NO”, have the traceability of what answer was given at that time, have the peace of mind that the answer is accurate, AND do it all at the lowest cost to your business – Simple right?!

So how do you achieve this? There are three core areas of consideration:

1. Centralize & Automate

2. Personalize & Optimize

3. Analyze & Adapt

#1 Centralize & Automate

One method is to grab all of your policy documents, throw them at a team of costly developers to move into a database, code the logic around them, and hope what comes out is maintainable, accurate and accessible to the right audiences. Or, maybe not.

A simpler method is to take your original policy documents and import them into a policy automation tool that will help a business user through a step-by-step process to model the rules. Once developed, they can be tested, modified, published and updated within a few clicks. A solution that can empower your agents with dynamic interviewing tools, and your customers with a self-service approach, across channels, in any language, and on any device.

But that is only part of the whole picture.

#2 Personalize & Optimize

A simple decision process could be easily managed by one or two published FAQs, whereas a complex decision process requires you to take into account many personal attributes about that specific customer – and by definition those attributes can't be applied through static views. Getting a customer to repeat information, or worse not even taking into consideration critical information that is provided within the interaction and personalizes the response, is a fast way to get them to abandon the process, or worse leave you!

You must ensure that your automated policies can be optimized to dynamically adapt to every customer’s unique situation and attributes – be that channel, device, location, language, or other more personal characteristics that are shared prior and during the interaction. After all, each answer should be uniquely theirs, explaining in detail why the decision was reached, with everything taken into consideration.

#3 Analyze & Adapt

The saying “data rich and insight poor” is one that often fits with the word “Compliance” – businesses can easily be more focused on capturing volumes of data for compliance, and less on making the data actionable. The flip side of that is “data poor”, when businesses must scramble to get the data needed to ensure compliance, as an afterthought! And we all know that having insight without ability for timely action, is a missed opportunity to improve, avoid, or sustain compliance.

As your policies change, or you introduce new policies, often the requirements to capture data can change too. Adapting to environmental or organizational changes requires you to gather the right data to deliver the right insight for action. The right tools are required in order to apply that insight in a timely, measurable, and effective manner. The right volume of accessible data is also needed to remain compliant with regulatory business or industry Customer Service standards during periodic audits. So you must have a solution that can adapt with scale, demand, change, and archive. A solution that can actually automate your service policies for insight, compliance, and agility – making it easy.

Putting all these pieces together lets you truly automate the nurturing of trusted relationships with your customers during complex decision-making processes, through transparent and personalized interactions. Giving your business confidence that in even the most demanding markets, you are remaining compliant, in a cost-effective and efficient way.

The Oracle Service Cloud empowers your business to care, take action and succeed in your Web Customer Service initiatives and become a Modern Customer Service organization.

Tuesday Oct 01, 2013

To Code or Not to Code? by Davin Fifield

A typical problem in an organization is how to automate complex and ever-changing policies while also ensuring those deployed policies are in compliance and consistent across all channels. 

In a recent IDC Link  Oracle offers Change “On the Fly” for Human Services Policies”,  (August 2013) Adelaide O’Brien, Research Director mentions “Health and Human Services organizations are currently looking for ways to redesign their programs, focusing on making the programs as efficient as possible while providing the greatest value to the recipient and provide better service for less money.”  If organizations think the best way is to code their policy rules, they should think again. Hard coding rules in a backend system causes organizations to lose the ability to respond to policy changes with ease and agility. And opens the door to non-compliance.

O’Brien adds, “By streamlining the automation of benefits by empowering users to develop and manage rules in natural language Word and Excel documents…government organizations will be able to decrease errors and training cost, improve the speed and quality of the process, provide timely decisions, eliminate benefit backlogs and prevent recurrence.”

So is there such a solution?  Yes, there is!

Oracle Policy Automation enables the organization’s policy owners, subject matter experts, even business users to easily capture, model, deploy and manage even the most complex policies.  Oracle Policy Automation goes even further by sharing policy rules across key stakeholders ensuring accurate interpretation, while also deploying them consistently across all communication channels!  This capability enables customers to choose their communicate channel and a time that is convenient for them.

Please visit Oracle Policy Automation for more information, including details of the new cloud edition.
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