Thursday Jun 13, 2013

On Demand Webcast: The Five Competencies of Customer Experience Companies

Oracle Corporation
Webcast.  The Five Competencies of Customer Experience Companies.  Oracle WebCenter.  The Center of Engagement.

Say Goodbye to Silos and Hello to Meaningful Customer Experiences

Many companies say they’re customer-centric. But they don’t back up those words with changes in their metrics, motivation, and vital collaboration tools. All too often, different groups in companies fail to communicate and act as a team. They create silos instead of quality, meaningful customer experiences.

What will it take to overcome organizational inertia to benefit companies and their customers? Jeanne Bliss, a customer experience expert, has the answers. Join this Webcast as Jeanne talks about her new book, Chief Customer Officer, and her extensive experience driving the customer agenda inside major US corporations.

You’ll learn:

  • What will drive action for customers inside the corporate machine
  • How to avoid delivering mediocrity to customers
  • How to drive accountability across functions
  • If you need a Chief Customer Officer to keep the action moving

Register now.



Register Now
Register now for this Webcast.
Available On Demand
Presented by:

Jeanne Bliss
Jeanne Bliss
President, CustomerBliss
Hardware and Software Engineered to Work Together

Wednesday Jun 12, 2013

Do You Need a Chief Customer Officer?

Today's guest post is from Jeanne Bliss. Jeanne is the founder of CustomerBLISS; a consulting and coaching company helping corporations connect their efforts to yield improved customer growth.  She is a world-wide speaker on the subject.  Jeanne spent twenty-five years at Lands’ End, Microsoft, Allstate, Coldwell Banker, and Mazda corporations as the leader for driving customer focus and customer growth.  Her best-selling books are; Chief Customer Officer:  Getting Past Lip Service to Passionate Action, and I Love You More than My Dog: Five Decisions for Extreme Customer Loyalty in Good Times and Bad. Visit the Oracle WebCenter blog tomorrow where we'll be featuring an on demand webcast featuring Jeanne called, The Five Competencies of Customer Experience Companies.

CEO’s no longer need to be convinced of the importance of developing relationships with profitable customers and keeping them around.  What they need now is a way to accomplish this feat.   Some are considering the creation of a C-level position to drive the action. However, beyond the notion that it’s a good idea, not many know how to structure the Chief Customer Officer role and its place in the organization. Here are some thoughts to help you proceed. 

Suggesting a CCO may seem frivolous to leaders who believe they already focus on customers. There’s often a proliferation of tactics and projects underway…the problem is they don’t amount to anything significant for customers.  So first decide:  will leaders be okay with someone (other than themselves) driving consensus on customer strategy and deliverables?  You may be saying, “We have consensus now.”  I’m sure that you’ve had some good meetings, but how much of it stuck?  When they were over, did everyone return to their respective corners and business as usual?  Getting company alignment is tricky.  You may need someone full time to ensure it exists for your direction with customers.

What about sustaining the work?  After the first and second meeting of what I call “the funky task force” on the customer work, people start to lose interest.  You know these meetings.  The kick-off has forty people at the table, some who clamored for an invite.  One month later, six regularly show up.  And the person who got the job to run the task force layered on top of his/her “regular” job?  Well, they’re losing interest fast.  Driving this work needs hard-wired participation.  Do you have headcount and staff time commitments to drive it forward? 

Now to the roadmap and action plan:  let’s discuss the sticky wicket of “how” to move past the hoopla of meetings and empty commitments.  Do you have a central roadmap that everyone follows on how you’ll drive the customer work and measure progress?  I didn’t think so.  How about consistent metrics everyone agrees to?  We have metrics galore in our companies and of course the ‘customer’ is now on our scorecards.  But these are typically neither clear nor connected down to the operational level. 

Roles and responsibilities and holding people accountable are a slippery slope in the customer work.  This is about the hand-offs between the silos.  Most companies need a task list that clearly states what each part of the organization will do and when to get the priorities accomplished.  But most don’t have one.  Do you?

Is funding customer projects like pulling teeth?  This may be due to duplicate spending across the organization.  Everything is pitched as an individual program from inside the silos.  At planning time these investments are often vulnerable in the first round of budget cuts.  Why?  Because each project shows up as a one-off tactic.  There’s rarely an annual plan for understanding and managing customers as a key corporate asset - determining how many were lost and why and pooling resources to keep and grow profitable customers.  Why?  Because it’s no one’s job to do this job.

And finally, does the hoopla have any chance of sustainability as things stand now?  Are leaders committing to customers, but not changing the metrics or the motivation to realign business priorities?  Is the back-up position still about counting sales but not counting customers?  For what actions are the most “Atta-boys” doled out?  The customer work will not emerge as a priority of the organization until people’s success and career paths are tied to their accountability for how their actions impact customers.  How far along are you with this?  Are you heading in the right direction?

Most leaders wouldn’t refute that any of these actions are important.  They want them to happen.  They’ve always wanted them.  Their failure has been in assuming the company could miraculously defy the laws of the silos to make them a reality.  Separate motivation, the metrics and the mechanics have stayed firmly rooted in each silo.   And they will continue to stay there until someone duct-tapes the silos together in a unified and executable customer plan.  Is it time you established a Chief Customer Officer to connect your company for customers?  Here are the questions to help you determine if the time is right, and if you have the support required to make the role a success:

1. There is someone in our company who clarifies what we are to accomplish with customers.
__ YES there is
__ NO there is not

Implementation Tip: Agreements need to be established with functional owners across the organization. The CCO or executive leadership must not do this in a vacuum and then try to “throw the brick over the wall” to those leaders to rubber-stamp.

2. There is a clear process to drive alignment for what will be accomplished.
__ YES there is
__ NO there is not

Implementation Tip: The best CEOs drive people into discussion and probe for agreement or dissent. They make it okay to disagree and debate until there is commitment and alignment. 

3. We have a roadmap for the customer work and know where progress will be measured.
__ YES there is
__ NO there is not

Implementation Tip: Establish a team with at least one person from every operational area. This group needs to get into the ramifications and work involved in getting the priorities done.

4. Clear metrics exist for measuring progress which everyone agrees to use.
__ YES there is
__ NO there is not

Implementation Tip:  Pick a few key metrics that everyone understands, knows their roles in and can follow.  The large score cards we have all created have become almost meaningless because they are filled with so much data. 

5. There is real clarity of everyone’s roles and responsibilities.
__ YES there is
__ NO there is not

Implementation Tip: This is about the handoffs between the silos. Make sure that there is a task list that clearly states how the organization must come together to get the priorities accomplished.

6. People really participate and care about the customer work.
__ YES there is
__ NO there is not

Implementation Tip:  This requires a commitment from each functional leader on the headcount and staff time they will contribute. Create a formalized team where 25 to 50 percent of people's time from areas throughout the company is dedicated to the customer work.

7. Appropriate resources are allocated to make a real difference to customers.
__ YES there is
__ NO there is not

Implementation Tip: The key here is to have an organized annual planning approach that dedicates time to the customer objectives and customer investment. To achieve success, specific actions with defined parameters of what needs to be accomplished must be identified.

8. There is an understandable process for people to work together.
__ YES there is
__ NO there is not

Implementation Tip: This work is as clear as mud. It starts with a high-level frenzy that in the blink of an eye has people going back to business as usual. The process for how the work will be defined, reviewed, executed, and rewarded has got to be laid out clearly.

9. The work is considered attainable.
__ YES there is
__ NO there is not

Implementation Tip:. What I learned is not to abandon strategy but to dole it out in bite-size pieces. You need to know the end game. But then you need to bridge the gap between strategy and execution so people can work it into budgets, priorities, and planning.

10. A process exists for marketing achievements to customers and internally.
__ YES there is
__ NO there is not

Implementation Tip: When you don’t tell people internally what’s going on with the customer, it’s all white noise to them. No report equals no action. You must make a point of marketing back to both your customers and internally inside the organization.

11. Recognition and reward is wired to motivate customer work.
__ YES there is
__ NO there is not

Implementation Tip: The customer work is not going to seem important until people start to be publicly commended and rewarded for it. Make every company gathering an opportunity to call out customer achievements and reward people for them. 

Friday Mar 22, 2013

Annual Planning Checklist: 10 Actions of Beloved and Financially Prosperous Companies

Note: In case you missed yesterday's Webcast featuring Jeanne Bliss in our Oracle WebCenter Social Business Thought Leaders Series, Jeanne has provided us a wonderful summary to use for your Annual Planning process. You can also watch the full webcast On-Demand.

Annual Planning Checklist: 10 Actions of Beloved and Financially Prosperous

Guest post by Jeanne Bliss, President, CustomerBliss

With annual planning just around the corner, here are 10 actions that business leaders and their organizations should invest in to exponentially increase customer loyalty and drive profitable business growth in the upcoming fiscal year. Execute on them to move toward "beloved" status in the eyes of your customers. Good news is; many don’t cost a thing but your commitment and leadership alignment on messaging and execution.

1. Believe in the integrity of your customers. The majority of business policies and rules are created to protect business from the minority of customers. Be bold, like Connecticut Griffin Hospital, which began sharing hospital records with patients and saw claims against the hospital drop by more than 43 percent. Take a leap of faith and believe that trust is reciprocated by customers when they feel that you trust them. Find one rule or policy to relax and watch what happens.

2. Invest in employee trust. Show your employees that you believe in them. Beloved company Wegmans invests in its employees by training them in the skills that remove rules, regulations, policies, and procedures that pen employees in. This enables Wegmans to throw away the rule book and live by this one edict: "No customer goes away unhappy." As a result, its margins are higher and profitability more steady because the grocer's turnover is only 7 percent of employees versus the average in its industry of 19 percent employee turnover.

3. Practice democratic decision making. Make sure your company's best ideas have a way to see the light of day. Give good ideas a chance to prosper no matter where they come from in terms of your organizational chart. Innovation and marketplace differentiation come when employees are respected as part of achieving a mission greater than their set of tasks, and when their voice counts. W.L. Gore has become a $2.7 billion dollar company, was named by Fast Company as "pound for pound, the most innovative company in America," and earned a place on Fortune magazine's best companies to work for list since its inception because of how the company unleashes its employees' spirit and ideas.

4. Grow and invest in customers as a primary asset of your business. Talk about customers lost and gained in real numbers, not percentages, to illustrate the vast number of lives your business impacts. Understand what drives customers out your door, as well as their long-term potential. Zane's Cycles in Connecticut has experienced more than 20 percent growth every year for 29 years, with 45 percent margins because the retailer never loses sight of the fact that its customers' average lifetime value is $12,500. And employees manage relationships bearing that in mind. Valuing customers makes it easy to make decisions about how to treat them.

5. Know your power source for bonding with customers. Regularly connect with customers, not only through surveys and other feedback mechanisms, but also as they experience your products and services. Take a page from Trader Joe's, which uses employee taste buds at its testing kitchens to determine what items should make it to the grocer's shelves, but uses customer "tasting stations" inside its stores combined with sales to determine what items stay. This closeness contributes to Trader Joe's ability to generate $1,300 in sales per square foot--twice the supermarket industry average.

6. Have clarity about how you uniquely serve customers' lives. Unite your operation to ensure that decisions connect to deliver an experience customers want to repeat and tell others about. This ties cross-silo decision making together and releases the organization from excess bureaucracy. IKEA, for example, designs the price tag first because employees at all levels know that the store serves customers who have less money than sweat equity, so are willing put together their items themselves at home. Across IKEA, the understanding that the price drives design, innovation, and what the retailer will and will not do drives its growth...sales that increased even in 2009 by 7.7 percent.

7. Deliberately walk in your customers' shoes. You need to know your customers' life to serve their life. Yet as people rise through the ranks or even join organizations, orientation is often more about process and policy than learning about the customer at the heart of the business. Be deliberate in establishing a process for new hires, such as insurer USAA, which require new "recruits" to wear the flak jacket and helmet that many of their enlisted customers wear and to read their letters. All this is done so that when calls come in employees first connect with the customer, and then conduct the process of the business. Ninety eight percent of its customers stay with them year after year.

8. Make employee selection one of your most important decisions. Select your employees as you would customers: for lifelong value. At Chick-fil-A, operators and employees are selected based on their values, ability to build grow and sustain partnerships in all areas of their lives, and then their technical skills. As a result, Chick-fil-A has operator turnover of just 5 percent, and the fast-food chain just achieved 43 years of consecutive sales growth. Hire people who you want to become a part of the story of your business, and then watch how your social media story improves.

9. Proactively solve mistakes when they occur. When mistakes happen (and they will) get out in front of customers and admit the flaw; then make peace with your customers. Repair the emotional connection, reduce the concern, and solve the problem. Southwest Airlines reviews every flight every day to know when delays interrupted their customers' lives, whether it was the airline's fault or not. The company contacts customers to explain what happened and, when warranted, sends out LUV bucks for a future flight. Being proactive earned Southwest a net revenue increase from those bucks of $1.9 million in 2010. What can you be proactive on?

10. Accept the order and the accountability. In a world where customers are use social channels as a megaphone to broadcast the experience you're delivering, invest in reliability. Don't make the customer wonder where the order is, how long until it gets there, or what happens when it backorders. If a customer can't tell another customer what they get from you, how they get it, or how it feels when they receive it, they you don't have a story to tell (at least one you want heard). Investing in reliability earns you the right to grow.

Companies that have grown in this economic downturn did so because their customers became an army of advocates who grew their business for them. They earned the right to their customers' raves, and the growth that ensued, because they deliberately made decisions that moved their operations in the direction of their customers and employees. And many times because of how we budget, that commitment must be baked into annually planning. Don’t lose another year of opportunity by letting annual planning pass by without considering these important commitments.


 Watch Jeanne Bliss On-Demand along with our other Social Business Thought Leaders.

Wednesday Mar 20, 2013

Meet Jeanne Bliss - This Week's Oracle Social Business Thought Leader

So - people often ask us about our Social Business Thought Leaders Series and why we do it.

We believe very strongly in the positive change that is happening today in both how we work and how we live because of the transformation of social business technologies and people's behavior. Things are being driven by cloud technologies, mobile, real-time, video, and big data trends. We think, certainly as a technology vendor, that it isn't all about the technology - that you don't just buy our products - you buy into our strategies for the future and you won't buy into our strategies unless we share the same world view. So we've brought together this webcast series featuring opinion makers and thought leaders from the world of business, marketing, academia and IT to share with you what their research shows about what really is going on in the world and what the implications might be. We'll share some of their analysis about it and then show you, as a senior decision maker in your organization, how you can take advantage of some of those changes and avoid some of the pitfalls.

Of course, to help you avoid some of these pitfalls, we’ve brought together all these core technologies at Oracle under the WebCenter brand to form and build a user engagement platform for social business. We know that you are having to adapt to the trends and changing user expectations, and our goal is to provide you with the ideal solution to meet those demands. 


What is Oracle’s solution? Oracle WebCenter.

This is why we’ve brought together all these core technologies at Oracle under the WebCenter brand to form and build the user engagement platform for social business – connecting people and information. We’ve brought together in a single solution, a combination of enterprise content management, imaging, social networking and collaboration, web experience management, and composite applications and mash-ups, that can be implemented individually or as a platform to address all the needs of engaging your users.

Each of these core capabilities play a significant role in helping you:

  • Increase sales and loyalty with online engagement optimization – whether it be via the web, mobile or social
  • Innovate and engage users by creating composite applications as well as by offering new services online to your customers, partners and employees
  • It also helps you enhance productivity with purposeful collaboration that’s exposed to you when and where you need it
  • And finally WebCenter helps you optimize access to information with an enterprise content management foundation that ensures users can seamlessly view and change content wherever they work.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Hundreds of companies have customers, who admire them, but only an elite few have true advocates – passionate, vocal, loyal fans – who tell the stories of their experiences and about how much they “love” them. As a teaser for our upcoming Social Business Thought Leader Webcast,  we have a short podcast on our WebCenter Cafe where you'll hear from customer experience expert and author, Jeanne Bliss. Click on the jumping little guy below. You’ll learn a little bit about Jeanne and the evolution of her specialty focus in helping companies shape company culture and uncommon decision making to significantly impact their customers, employees, growth and prosperity. Don't forget to register and join us for the webcast.

Click here to hear Jeanne Bliss Podcast


About

Oracle WebCenter is the center of engagement for business—powering exceptional experiences for customers, partners, and employees. It connects people, process, and information with the most complete portfolio of portal, Web experience management, content, imaging and collaboration technologies.

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