Outside-In: The Customer Experience of Things

by Jim Lein | Sr. Principal Product Marketing Director | Oracle Midsize Programs | @JimLein

CX (Customer Experience) is a relatively new term used to describe a category of applications solutions that address how customers interact with companies. For decades, most companies didn’t rely much on software to manage CX. That made sense because, for thousands of year, a positive customer experience was the result of human interaction. And feedback—good or bad—could only travel so far by word of mouth.

Consumer and B2B decision maker behavior has changed radically with the explosive growth in online commerce and social media usage, prompting companies to rethink their CX strategies. CRM—the first generation of CX applications—was built to do two things. Sales Force Automation sold things to more new customers. Call Center sold more things to existing customers. An “inside-out” view.

Today, companies need to not just build efficient sales machines but also understand in real time how customers are shopping, buying, and talking about their experiences. That requires an “outside-in” view of exactly what customers and prospects are seeing. Modern CX solutions must go far beyond CRM to address cross channel commerce, customer loyalty, web experience, social media monitoring, and buyer insight.

How important is social media to CX? Here’s what the Nielsen’s 2012 Social Media Report 2012 tells us about social media users in the US:

  • 47% engage in social care
  • 33% prefer social care over phone support
  • 50% complain or express concerns about service at least once a month
  • 65% learn about brands products and services

And...my manager is visiting customers in Australia this week, here are some fun facts about Aussies:

  • More than 50% shop online
  • 46% of online users rely on social media for making purchase decisions
  • 12 million use Facebook
  • 85% of fans of brands on Facebook recommend brands to others

It’s easy to see that CRM and a good web site are not good enough because they provide a very limited outside in view. Yet, some of Oracle’s key competitors are still pushing their customers hard to buy CRM—those inside-out tools that help sell more stuff to customers whether they want it or not. Drive efficient sales engines. Create higher conversion rates from pipeline.

Yes, those processes are important. However, Oracle’s approach to CX today is to offer a comprehensive portfolio of solutions that our customers can employ to enable their potential customers to make better decisions. Who they want to deal with. How much data they want to share. And to monitor those activities to gain the outside-in view that is essential to understanding their customers’ and prospects’ behavior.

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