by Monica Mehta
You know when you’re getting great customer service. You call a company’s contact number, or maybe you find its website on your mobile phone and start a chat session. The agent on the other end has access to all your relevant data and history with the company. And after a few minutes, she resolves your issue in a quick, courteous manner.
Location: Cincinnati, Ohio
Industry: Professional services
Revenue: US$2.856 billion in FY 2014
Oracle product: Oracle Service Cloud
Denise McCutchen Grace
Vice President and General Manager, Customer Experience Solutions
Length of tenure: Eight years
Education: Bachelor’s degree in business administration, University of Texas at Austin
Personal quote/mantra: “Delivery sells.”
That’s all it takes.
Simple enough, right? But as service executives know, a lot has to happen on the back end to make these interactions simple for the customer.
For 30 years, customer management firm Convergys has been providing companies with the resources to deliver great service. Today, as the number of ways for customers to interact with a business increases, Convergys uses Oracle Service Cloud to help support integrated omnichannel capabilities to its clients. Research shows that when agents have access to tools that share data seamlessly among channels, they deliver better customer service.
“How do you get all the data on customers, and all the different channels that they’ve gone through, and deliver that to the agent so that you don’t continue to frustrate customers on their journey to getting their problem solved?” says Denise McCutchen Grace, vice president and general manager, customer experience solutions, at Convergys. “That’s one of the bigger issues that we see clients struggling with today. They have lots of technology point solutions—they’re just not as integrated as they could be.”A Unified Approach
Convergys, based in Cincinnati, Ohio, provides call center services, analytics, and technology services for many leading brands. With 125,000 agents working in more than 150 service centers in 31 countries and supporting 58 languages, the company boasts clients in a range of industries, including financial services, pharmaceutical, healthcare, technology, retail, consumer goods, and telecommunications.
We can provide a client with scripting, chat, e-mail, and incident management, for example. And being able to get this from one provider rather than various third-party platforms out there is a real value to us, because we can manage it more easily from a resource perspective.”–Denise McCutchen Grace, Vice President and General Manager, Customer Experience Solutions, Convergys
In addition to providing customer service, technical support, sales, and analytics services, Convergys uses its omnichannel suite of services, built on Oracle Service Cloud, to help more than two dozen clients interact with their customers. While that includes phone support, clients can turn on a number of other channels, including web chats and forms, mobile chat sessions, e-mails, texts, and social media.
Clients using multiple channels want data to flow across them seamlessly, so that if a customer starts a query on a web chat, an agent can continue the conversation in a later phone call or on a social media message.
Oracle Service Cloud enables this integration, providing agents with a single view of each customer. When all of a customer’s information resides in a central location, agents can often solve his or her problem during the first contact. For example, after opting for an omnichannel solution for Oracle Service Cloud’s knowledgebase, chat, and incident management, an online retailer reduced the time it takes to resolve customer problems by 25 percent—and it increased its Net Promoter Score, which measures the willingness of customers to recommend a company’s products or services to others, by an impressive 700 percent.
who expect companies to respond to their tweets within a day
as the key brand differentiator
“The question is, how do we provide different contact channels for our clients without overwhelming their customers or giving them things they don’t really want?” says Allyson Boudousquie, vice president of market product strategy at Convergys. “Customers don’t care about the technology. What they want is that when they go to a company website, they’re able to find what they need quickly. At the end of the day, it’s all about reducing complexity and effort on the consumer’s part.”Strong Base of Knowledge
A leading information management services company recently approached Convergys about helping its agents provide more-accurate, more-consistent responses to customer questions. After implementing Oracle Service Cloud’s knowledgebase, a repository of searchable information, the company’s agents had easier access to the information in hundreds of lengthy documents that had resided in a clunky document management system. This helped increase productivity and improve the quality and consistency of the answers they provide to customers.
For customers with simple problems, such as an error message on a printer, the first thing they’re likely to do is type their problem into a search engine or go to the vendor’s website. By putting the Oracle Service Cloud knowledgebase on their websites, Convergys’ clients can provide customers with self-service features, thereby decreasing the number of service requests.
“More and more, consumers have an expectation that certain information should not be hard to find, and that they should be able to find it themselves,” Boudousquie says. “Companies most often come to us wanting to reduce the effort that someone has to make in order to get a question answered.”Integrated Incident Management
A shipping provider wanted to reduce the “handle time” for its customer interactions and increase the resolution rate during a customer’s first contact. After implementing Convergys’ omnichannel suite, the company reduced its handle time by an average of 30 seconds, its first-contact resolution by 18 percent, and its agent training costs by 78 percent.
These types of results can be achieved with the help of Oracle Service Cloud’s incident management capabilities. According to Boudousquie, when a customer first contacts a company, the system logs the incident and passes it through the management tool, which taps the knowledgebase to try to resolve the issue immediately. If questions remain, the agent can escalate the issue or pass it to another team. No matter what happens, every incident is logged in to the system—from when it is first opened to when it is resolved—so that agents have visibility into the inquiry from a customer perspective, across its lifecycle.
Customers don’t care about the technology. What they want is that when they go to a company website, they’re able to find what they need quickly. At the end of the day, it’s all about reducing complexity and effort on the consumer’s part.”–Allyson Boudousquie, Vice President of Market Product Strategy, Convergys
“The mechanisms of Oracle Service Cloud enable the customer experience to be seamless,” says Jim Strong, director of product management, customer experience solutions, at Convergys. “All of the channels are preintegrated, so that customers aren’t getting handed off to someone who doesn’t know what they’re calling about, and having to start over again. If I’m the consumer and I want to talk to a manager, then it’s easy to hand off that chat or phone call up the chain of command. If I’m an agent and I need assistance, it’s easy for me to reach out to a peer or my team leader for further assistance.”
Along the way, agents can report on whether they are meeting their service-level objectives—how many first calls they resolved, how long it took, and the effectiveness of each interaction. Oracle Service Cloud’s analytics capabilities then help managers improve the process.
“These metrics provide visibility into how well a company is handling service—whether there’s a training issue, a particular process that needs refinement, or perhaps another channel that could be better utilized,” Strong says.
Boudousquie says it’s important for companies to keep their agents in mind when choosing customer service tools. “You want to provide tools that are easy to use and that provide value,” she says. “Tools such as [the Oracle Service Cloud] knowledgebase empower agents to reduce handle time. They also reduce training costs, because you don’t have to spend weeks in a class understanding every policy and procedure—a lot of that information is in the database.”Listening to Social
A survey by Kissmetrics shows that 42 percent of consumers expect companies to tweet them back within a day, 19 percent expect a response within the hour, and 6 percent within 10 minutes. According to a Nielsen Social Media Report, “social care, i.e. customer service via social media, has become an immediate imperative for global brands. Customers choose when and where they voice their questions, issues and complaints, blurring the line between marketing and customer service. Brands should consider this evolution and ensure they are ready to react on all channels.”
who expect companies to respond to their tweets within a day
as the key brand differentiator
With the right social strategy and tools in place, companies can not only respond to customers on social media, but also proactively use it to their advantage.
Using Oracle Service Cloud, companies can assign agents to do “active social listening” and respond to incidents, such as a complaint on a Facebook page or a service request tweet. They can even monitor community forums, posting and providing input where appropriate.
“Our clients are all over the place in terms of maturity when it comes to social,” Strong says. “Oracle Service Cloud provides the tools to make social media another channel right alongside the more standard service channels, and to better enable agents to respond to incidents, no matter where they’re coming from.”A Strong Partnership
By 2020, customer experience will overtake price and product as the key brand differentiator, according to the Customers 2020 report released in May 2013 by customer intelligence consulting firm Walker. Boudousquie says Oracle Service Cloud has helped Convergys get ahead of this trend.
“Our clients look to us to provide them with a consultative approach to not only their staffing, but also technology,” she says. “Oracle Service Cloud helps us to be in the business of customer experience, which is a real value to us.”
Convergys’ McCutchen says one of the big attributes of Oracle Service Cloud is that, in most instances, the company can use it right out of the box and configure it to each client’s needs accordingly. “We can provide a client with scripting, chat, e-mail, and incident management, for example,” she says. “And being able to get this from one provider rather than various third-party platforms out there is a real value to us, because we can manage it more easily from a resource perspective.”
Strong likes the fact that Oracle has done a great job supporting its partners. “Oracle provides go-to people we can ask for help, a robust knowledgebase and documentation, and even messaging and strategies for customizing the message for our own value-add to the market that we service. It goes beyond just being a provider—there is true collaboration there.”
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