Monday Feb 22, 2016

5 Steps To Start Your IoT-Enabled Service Strategy

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

There is plenty of buzz around the Internet of Things (IoT). There will be over 25 billion connected things by 2020. Soon we will be coming across hundreds of connected devices in our homes, at work and on the street.  The IoT is changing our lives.  This is exciting of course, but for many service professionals the question of how to actually start leveraging the IoT is not that easy. Yes, we know there is a lot of devices that are connected – more every second - but how does the head of customer care actually set up an infrastructure that allows them to reap the benefits of IoT?  As we are in the industry of delivering customer service experiences, we will focus on helping define a simple 5 step framework to start an IoT enabled customer service strategy.

So why IoT Enabled Service?

We should start by asking why the interest in IoT enabled customer service?

The value of IoT enabled customer service is pretty straight forward… IoT enabled service provides a differentiated customer experience and it greatly reduces costs for the business.  Just think about a world where customer service isn't something you expect, but something you don't even think about anymore. What if service is automated and proactive? What will it mean for consumer loyalty to have a product that gets fixed before it becomes faulty or parts are replaced before the customer even notices the problem?  Similarly, think about how much it costs to handle all those thousands of incoming calls, e-mails, social media questions, live chats, etc. everyday about issues with devices. By connecting agents with the device, by enabling devices to auto-diagnose and even self-solve service the impact on the customer experience will be great. 

Furthermore, in the event a device or machine requires direct service, such as a visit from a field technician, IoT can again deliver a massive impact.  Taking into consideration that each field service truck roll can easily cost several hundred dollars, providing the field with IoT enabled remote diagnostics and asset history can dramatically reduce costs through unnecessary truck rolls.  In addition, when a field technician arrives on site for a job, he will already have an understanding of the potential problem and can bring the tools and parts to insure a first time resolution.

Making IoT Data Actionable!

The Internet of Things does not constitute a connectivity challenge, but a data challenge. In other words, to do something with the IoT you need to be able to manage the data.  A modern smartphone easily packs 10 sensors (multiply that by 2 BN smartphones today) and a modern car already has over 100 sensors.  A few years from now our homes will have hundreds of devices with a variety of sensors creating data. Just try to picture the scale of the data all those sensors will generate!

The big challenge with IoT for any business is not connecting to the devices, but rather in the collection and analysis of mountains of data. From this analysis customer service teams must identify events that require a service action.  All of this activity must occur in a cost effective and secure manner. Taking this into consideration, service teams must make sure their companies chosen IoT platform can support these requirements.

From Insight to Resolution

Understanding how insights from device data can help improve customer service processes is the next step.  If you are working in customer service, it should be pretty easy to find the low-hanging fruit.  Just ask yourself: “In which situations does the agent ask the customer for information about their device or machine?”  For instance, serial number, part-numbers, error codes, etc. Anywhere where the agents needs info from the device you’ve found yourself a potential use-case.

Once you have identified the most common issues that come into your engagement center today related to devices, analyze them and understand the impact each of these issues has on your business in terms of costs, customer experience and other values. This information will allow you to prioritize possible high impact IoT projects.

5 Steps To Get IoT Enabled Service Rolling

Step 1: Connect and Collect

Connecting your devices to a system that collects data is the first step. Connecting your devices isn't a big challenge, but we do recommend finding a platform that is both manageable and scalable. It is important to realize that the IoT is not static in nature. You'll need a platform that has elasticity to deal with big spikes of incoming data. Other considerations like security of data and the supported connections to devices are also very important.  Because of these considerations you will likely end-up with a cloud service, it will simply guarantee the most consistency, scalability, flexibility and low TCO.

Step 2: Analyze and Trigger

In addition to connecting devices to a system, you need a system than can actually do something with the data that connection provides. You will need a flexible system that enables real-time analysis of high-volumes of data. Data by itself is meaningless if it does not provide insights and action. Identify which insights are relevant and actionable when embedding those insights in service processes.  One of the bigger barriers to mainstream adoption of the IoT is the complexity of integration of such insights into processes. It helps if you have a service platform that’s robust and flexible. You’ll want a platform that’s easy to manage, yet allows strong capabilities to tailor to specific processes, extends and integrates with multiple systems.

Step 3: Set-up Device Service Processes

Setting up a device service process is pretty much the same as setting up a normal customer service process. But instead of asking the customer to do things like collecting data from the device, finding knowledge articles and trouble shooting flows, the device takes a much more prominent role.

We see there are three typical scenarios you can use to set up device service processes:

  1. Device-Assisted Self-Service. This is where the customer accesses knowledge and augments that with data from the device. Think going through a device registration process where the device automatically provides details such as serial numbers, install date, etc. to easily complete the registration process.
  2. Agent-Assisted Device Service. A device triggers a process to have an agent interact with the device to solve the problem. E.g. an agent that opens an incident created by the device and then inside the agent’s work environment interacts with the device to review settings, change configurations, reset the device, etc.
  3. Automatic Service. Here a device triggers an event and starts running service processes. These processes are built in such a way the devices can fully automatically troubleshoot, run through configurations, run diagnostics, change settings, reset and reboot, etc. I.e. processes that would previously take an hour to walk a customer through over the phone can now be performed in seconds.

Step 4: Empower Agents to Talk to Devices

Are your agents trained to talk to machines? IoT enabled service brings a whole new interaction paradigm for service agents. You will need to set up your processes accordingly. Provide the tools to help agents to become accustomed to interacting with machines, such as an agent scripting or visual screen guide. Also be sure to connect your agent work environments to enable interacting with the device to be able to do troubleshooting, remote configuration, set-up, resets, etc.  Also think whether your current KPIs set applies to interacting with devices. Typical contact center KPIs like First Time Resolution and Average Handling Time may not be applicable.

Step 5: Connect Field-Service Technicians

In many cases self-service and agent-assisted service won't be enough to solve a device’s problem and a field service technician needs to be dispatched to make a repair. These field events can occur with great efficiency,  by allowing contact center agents to directly schedule and dispatch technicians.  For example, let’s assume a VIP customer needs an issue resolved immediately.  You’ll want the contact center agent to create the service request, and have that request automatically routed to the nearest available technician, that has the tools, skills, and parts to solve the customers problem.  Furthermore, you’ll need to make sure the field technician has all the relevant customer information, and device information to insure a first time fix.  This scenario is becoming a fairly typical with service organizations where the contact center and the field service teams share the same platform.

Key Take Away’s

The Internet of Things is promising tremendous value for customer service organizations, yet it’s not always easy to start leveraging the IoT. We suggest the IoT is a data challenge, not a connectivity challenge. You will need a scalable and elastic service to collect data, a robust yet flexible system to analyze data in real-time to trigger support processes when needed. You’ll need a strong customer service platform that offers the extensibility and integration capability to embed data insights in support processes. A system that allows auto-diagnostics and that allows your service agents to troubleshoot and interact with the device, in a manner that’s easy for agents to adopt. You’ll also want a system that connects your customer service and field service teams to further streamline processes.

Coming to Mobile World Congress 2016 in Barcelona, Spain? Come and visit the Oracle Service Cloud product management team at the Samsung Enterprise booth in Hall #6. We will be happy to give you a complete demo that demonstrates all the 5 steps above on a single platform.

Wednesday Sep 30, 2015

New Microsite Featuring the Latest Oracle Service Cloud Content

Let's face it. You're busy. You don't have time to visit several different websites to research the latest customer service and support trends. You need one place to go where you can find information on topics like how to:

  • Engage customers online with seamless web and social self-service 
  • Empower contact center agents to deliver personal, omni-channel support
  • Equip field service techs to arrive on schedule and fix it right the first time

You're in luck! For the next week, all that information can be found on this microsite. Everything from how-to guides to customer case studies to side-by-side vendor comparsions. All right here for you -- in one convenient place.

 Visit the microsite today so you can deliver modern customer service to every customer, every time!


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

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 08, 2013

Turning Customer Self-Service into a Brand Differentiator

Nothing turns a customer off more than bad service—especially now that products are becoming commoditized. And with the digital generation, customers want to be able to connect with you anytime, anywhere, and from any device to resolve their own service issues.

So you are finding more and more of them going online to serve themselves, 72% according to Forrester. However, only 52% find the information they need. If you are one of the companies disappointing the 48%, watch out. Because 89% of customers will switch to a competitor after one bad service experience—up from 59% just four years ago!

Stand out from the crowd by Turning Customer Self-Service into a Brand Differentiator. When you do, you will benefit from the nearly 50% of customers who go online to praise your brand for outstanding service. That praise leads to sustainable business growth and profits by enhancing your ability to get and keep more customers at lower cost.

So how exactly do you turn your customer self-service into a brand differentiator?  Visit Oracle’s website to hear the Transform Your Brand Educast presented by The International Customer Management Institute and Oracle.

In the webcast, you will learn how Top-Ranked Customer Experience brands use Oracle Web self-service solutions to stand out from the crowd while saving millions on call and email deflection.

 

Sunday Jan 06, 2013

Webcast: The Right Information to the Right People at the Right Time

Live Webcast: The Right Information to the Right People at the Right Time

When your customers have questions, do they get the correct answer quickly – the first time? Can they get the right answer from your website, your agent or a fellow customer?

Well-executed knowledge management can help you get the right information to the right people at the right time, across all channels – making agents more productive, delighting your customers, and keeping costs down.

Join us for a Free Webcast on Thurs., January 17 to discover how Knowledge Management can help you:

  • Drive brand loyalty with a dramatically improved customer experience
  • Increase productivity by empowering agents with up-to-date collective insights
  • Lower service costs by reducing interaction times
  • Provide consistent multichannel service by sharing information across the enterprise

Don’t miss this opportunity to discover how you can maximize productivity, increase customer satisfaction, and reduce costs. Click on ‘Register Now’ to secure your place.

Register Now

Live Webcast:
The Right Information to the Right People at the Right Time

Date:
Thursday, January 17, 2013

Time:
11:00 a.m. PT / 2:00 p.m. ET

 

Oracle Customer Experience

For more information on Oracle's Knowledge Management solutions, please visit our website, or contact a representative at (866) 630-7669.

 

Thursday May 31, 2012

Spirent Communications Improves Customer Experience with Knowledge Management

Spirent CommunicationsSpirent Communications plc is a global leader in test and measurement inspiring innovation within development labs, communication networks and IT organizations. The world’s leading communications companies rely on Spirent to help design, develop, validate, and deliver world-class network, devices, and services.

Spirent’s customers require high levels of support for a diverse and complex product portfolio, and the company is committed to delivering on this requirement. Spirent needed a solution to help its customers get the information they need quickly and at their convenience through its Web site.

After evaluating several solutions, Spirent selected and deployed Oracle Knowledge for Web Self Service Enterprise Edition. Oracle Knowledge Management uses natural language processing to understand the true intent of each inquiry logged via the support portal’s search function. The Spirent Knowledge Base on the company’s Customer Support Center (CSC) finds the best possible answer using search enhancement features―such as communications industry-specific libraries and federation to search external sources.

Spirent has reduced contact center call volume while better serving its customers. Each time a customer uses the knowledge base, they find answers faster than by calling, and it saves Spirent an average of US$210 per call―which is significant when multiplied across the thousands of calls received monthly. Oracle Knowledge also helps support engineers find answers more quickly, enabling the company to scale without adding additional support engineers. Oracle Knowledge is integrated with Spirent's Siebel Contact Center implementation to provide an integrated desktop for CRM and agent intelligence, avoiding the need for contact center personnel to toggle between various screens to address customer inquiries, thereby accelerating customer service.

Click here to learn more about Sprient's use of Siebel CRM and Oracle Knowledge Management.

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