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

Friday Jul 27, 2012

Customer Experience Online Forum: Join the Revolution



Customer Experience Online Forum:
Join the Revolution

July 31, 2012
8:00 AM to 1:00 PM PT

It’s a new era in customer relationships where customers are in charge. Customer experience is now the primary differentiator and driver of business value. In fact, according to the December 2011 Customer Experience Impact (CEI) Report, a full 89 percent of consumers will switch brands for a better customer experience.

Watch the Customer Experience Online Forum to hear from Bruce Temkin, a leading expert in customer experience, Anthony Lye, SVP of Oracle CRM, and other thought leaders to learn about the ROI of customer experience, what strategies leading brands use to win over customers, and how Oracle solutions can help you succeed in the Experience Revolution.

You will learn:

  • Why customer experience matters more than ever
  • What is the business value of a great customer experience
  • How Oracle Customer Experience can help organizations create their own great customer experiences across all channels, touch points, and devices.

Event Agenda:

  • The Customer Experience Revolution
  • The ROI of Customer Experience
  • Customer Experience in Action: Featuring Nikon and Marriott International
  • Integrating Marketing and Loyalty to Deliver Great Customer Experiences
  • Commerce: Delivering Great Experiences Across All Customer Touchpoints
  • Customer Experience for Customer Service: Delivering on Your Brand Promise
  • Harnessing Social Interactions to Drive Customer Experiences
  • Where to Start Your Organization's Revolution

Register now for the half-day live event.


Friday Jun 29, 2012

The Customer Experience Revolution is Now

To conclude this week’s focus on customer experience, I’ll end by recapping how my week began in New York City at The Experience RevolutionWe all know that customers increasingly call the shots, and that winning or losing depends on how well we manage to meet their expectations. Today’s customers have a multitude of choices and are quick to jump ship following a poor experience. As a result, delivering an experience that is relevant, interactive, engaging, and consistent across channels and fostering rewarding relationships are increasingly important to business success.  It is only through exceptional customer experiences that companies can expect to acquire new customers and maintain their loyalty. 

Over 400 of us gathered at Gotham Hall on Monday night to hear Oracle President Mark Hurd introduce Oracle Customer Experience, a cross-stack suite of customer experience products that include Oracle RightNow CX Cloud ServiceOracle EndecaOracle ATG Web CommerceOracle WebCenter,Oracle Siebel CRMOracle Fusion CRMOracle Social Network, and Oracle Knowledge Management. I'd encourage you check out this video to hear Mark explain why having a good product isn't good enough in the wake of the customer experience revolution.

The Experience Revolution event itself was designed to deliver the kind of rich experience that sticks with you, using an interactive gallery of customer experience to deliver an individualized experience to each attendee through a combination of touch screens and near field communication technology.  Over the coming weeks we’ll share some of these customer experience vignettes with you. In the interim, you can learn more about Oracle Customer Experience solutions here.


Tuesday Jun 26, 2012

Catch Oracle Today and Tomorrow at Forrester’s Customer Experience Forum 2012 East

Continuing our coverage of the customer experience revolution this week, don’t miss a chance to catch up with Oracle at Forrester’s Customer Experience Forum 2012 East today and tomorrow in New York City. The theme for this year’s Forum is “Outside In: The Power Of Putting Customers At The Center Of Your Business” and will take a look at important questions surrounding how to transform your company in order to take best advantage of the customer experience revolution:

  • Why is customer experience the greatest untapped source of cost savings and increased revenue today?
  • What is the key to understanding and taking control of your customer experience ecosystem?
  • What are the six essential customer experience disciplines?
  • Which companies have adopted best-in-class customer experience practices?
  • How do customer experience strategies drive differentiating activities and processes at top companies?
  • Which organizations appoint a chief customer officer to lead their customer experience efforts?
  • What is the future of customer experience?
  • How can you design an enterprise wide customer experience?
  • How can you measure the results of your customer experience efforts?


As a gold sponsor of the event, there will be a numbers of ways to interact with Oracle while you’re attending the Forum.  Here are some of the highlights:

Oracle Speaking Session
Tuesday, June 26, 2:10pm – 2:40pm
The Customer And YOU — Today’s Winners Are Defined By Customer Experience
Anthony Lye, Senior Vice President of Customer Relationship Management, Oracle

Come hear Anthony Lye, Senior Vice President of Customer Relationship Management at Oracle, explain how leading companies are investing in customer experience solutions to enrich all interactions between a customer and their company. He will discuss Oracle's vision for transforming your customer engagement, insight, and execution into a connected, personalized, and rewarding experience across all touchpoints and interactions. He will demonstrate how great customer experiences generate real business results by attracting more customers, retaining more customers, and generating more sales while improving operational efficiency.

Solution Showcase
Tuesday, June 26th
9:45am - 10:30am - Morning Networking Break in the Solutions Showcase
11:45am – 1:15pm - Networking Lunch an Dessert in the Solutions Showcase
2:40pm – 3:25pm - Afternoon Break in the Solutions Showcase
5:30pm – 7:00pm - Networking Reception in the Solutions Showcase

Wednesday, June 27th
9:45am - 10:30am - Morning Networking Break in the Solutions Showcase
12:20pm -1:20pm - Networking Lunch and Dessert in the Solutions Showcase

We hope to see you there!


Webcast: Learn How Ancestry.com Delivers Exceptional Online Customer Experience with Oracle WebCenter
Date: Thursday, June 28, 2012
Time: 10:00 AM PDT/ 1:00 PM EDT

Ancestry.com is the world’s largest online family history resource, providing an engaging customer experience to more than 1.7 million members. With a wealth of learning resources and a worldwide community of family history enthusiasts, Ancestry.com helps people discover their roots and tell their family stories. Key to Ancestry.com’s success has been the delivery of an online customer experience that converts site visitors into paying subscribers and keeps them coming back. Register now to learn how Ancestry.com delivers an exception customer experience using Oracle WebCenter Sites.



Friday Jun 22, 2012

Learn How Ancestry.com Helps Families Uncover Their History with Oracle WebCenter

Oracle Corporation
Delivering Exceptional Online Customer Experiences
Delivering Exceptional Online Customer Experiences

Ancestry.com is the world’s largest online family history resource, providing an engaging and interactive customer experience to more than 1.7 million members. With smart search technology, a wealth of learning resources, and a worldwide community of family history enthusiasts, Ancestry.com helps people discover their roots and tell their unique family stories. Key to Ancestry.com’s success has been the delivery of an online customer experience that converts site visitors into paying subscribers and keeps them coming back. To help achieve this goal, Ancestry.com turned to Oracle’s Web experience management solution, Oracle WebCenter Sites.

Join us as executives from Ancestry.com and Oracle discuss how Oracle’s Web experience management solution is helping them deliver engaging online experiences. Learn how:
  • Ancestry.com selected Oracle WebCenter Sites to meet their demanding Web experience management requirements
  • The company was able to get up and running quickly despite a complex technology stack and challenging integration requirements with legacy systems
  • Ancestry.com empowered business users to manage the online experience and significantly reduce time to market for their online campaigns and initiatives
Register now for the Webcast.
Oracle Fusino Middleware Webcenter
REGISTER NOW
Thursday,
June 28, 2012
10 a.m. PT / 1 p.m. ET
Presented by:

Blane Nelson
Chief Architect–Applications,
Ancestry.com

Christie Flanagan
Director of Product Marketing, Oracle WebCenter Sites,
Oracle

Tuesday Mar 27, 2012

Oracle at The Forrester Customer Intelligence and Marketing Leadership Forums

Forrester Research

The Forrester Customer Intelligence Forum and the Forrester Marketing Leadership Forums will soon be here.  This year’s events will be co-located on April 18-19 at the J.W. Marriott at the L.A. Live entertainment complex in downtown Los Angeles.  Last year’s Marketing Forum was quite memorable for me.  You see, while Forrester analysts and business marketers were busy mingling over at the Marriott, another marketing powerhouse was taking up residence a few feet away at The Staples Center.  That’s right folks. Lada Gaga was coming to town.  And, as I came to learn, it made perfect sense for Lady Gaga and her legions of fans to be sharing a small patch of downtown L.A. with marketing leaders from all over the world.  After all, whether you like Lady Gaga or not, what pop star in recent memory has done more to build herself into a brand and to create an engaging, social and interactive customer experience for her Little Monsters?  While Lady Gaga won’t be back in town for this year’s Forrester events, there are still plenty of compelling reasons to make the trip out to Los Angeles.  

The theme for The Forrester Customer Intelligence and Marketing Leadership Forums this year is “From Cool To Critical: Creating Engagement In The Age Of The Customer” and will tackle the important questions about how marketers can survive and thrive in the age of the empowered customer:

Forrester Research


•    How can you assess consumer uptake of new innovations?
•    How do you build deep customer knowledge to drive competitive advantage?
•    How do you drive deep, personalized customer engagement?
•    What is more valuable — eyeballs or engagement?
•    How do business customers engage in new media types?
•    How can you tie social data to corporate data?
•    Who should lead the movement to customer obsession?
•    How should you shift your planning and measurement approaches to accommodate more data and a higher signal-to-noise ratio?
•    What role does technology play in customizing and synchronizing marketing efforts across channels?

As a platinum sponsor of the event, there will be a numbers of ways to interact with Oracle while you’re attending the Forums.  Here are some of the highlights:

Oracle Speaking Session
Thursday, April 19, 9:15am – 9:55am
Maximize Customer Engagement and Retention with Integrated Marketing & Loyalty
Melissa Boxer, Vice President, Oracle CRM Marketing & Loyalty

Customers expect to interact with your company, brand and products in more ways than ever before.   New devices and channels, such as mobile, social and web, are creating radical shifts in the customer buying process and the ways your company can reach and communicate with existing and potential customers. While Marketing's objectives (attract, convert, retain) remain fundamentally the same, your approach and tools must adapt quickly to succeed in this more complex, cross-channel world. Hear how leading brands are using Oracle's integrated marketing and loyalty solutions to maximize customer engagement and retention through better planning, execution, and measurement of synchronized cross-channel marketing initiatives.

Solution Showcase
Wednesday, April 18
10:20am – 11:50am
12:30pm – 1:30pm
2:55pm – 3:40pm

Thursday, April 19
9:55am – 10:40am
12:00pm – 1:00pm

Solution Showcase & Networking Reception
Wednesday, April 18
5:10pm – 6:20pm

Be sure to follow the #webcenter hashtag for updates on these events.  And for a more considered perspective on what Lady Gaga can teach businesses about branding and customer experience, check out Denise Lee Yohn’s post, Lessons from Lady Gaga from the Brand as Business Bites blog.

Monday Mar 26, 2012

The Numbers of Customer Experience

This week, we’ll be continuing our conversations about Customer Experience (CX) on the Oracle WebCenter blog.  While we all know that customer experience is critically important for acquiring new customers and engendering long term brand loyalty, I thought we could kick this week off by taking a look at the numbers of customer experience.   I’m sure you’ll agree that nothing quite puts things into perspective like numbers and figures.


86%
A whopping 86% of consumers say that they are willing to pay more for a better customer experience.  But many companies are failing to step up to the challenge.  And when companies fail deliver on customer experience expectations, they leave money on the table.


89%
A huge percentage of customers, 89%, begin doing business with a competitor following a poor customer experience. Breaking up isn’t hard to do and today’s empowered customers have no qualms about taking their business elsewhere when their expectations for customer experience are not met.



26%
Over a quarter of consumers, 26%, posted a negative comment on a social networking site like Facebook or Twitter following a poor customer experience. Today, individual customer service failures have the ability to easily snowball.  An unsatisfied customer has the ability to easily share their rancor with their entire social network and chip away at your brand’s reputation.



79%
A large number of consumers, 79%,  who shared complaints about poor customer experience online had their complaints ignored.  Companies ignore customer complaints at their own peril.  And unsatisfied customers, when handled effectively, have the potential to become advocates for your brand.  Of the 21% of consumers who did get responses to complaints, more than half had positive reactions to the same company about which they were previously complaining.



50%
Half of consumers will give a brand only a week to respond to a question before they stop doing business with them.  The clock is ticking when customers have questions about your brand and a week is an eternity in the realm of customer experience.  

The source for these stats is the 2011 Customer Experience Impact (CEI) Report, which explores the relationship between consumers and brands.  The report is based on a survey commissioned by RightNow (acquired by Oracle in 2012) and conducted by Harris Interactive. If you’re interested in seeing more facts and figures about customer experience, download the full report.

Friday Mar 23, 2012

Do MORE with WebCenter - Webcast Overview & TIES Tour

Today's post is from Michelle Huff, Senior Director, Product Management, Oracle WebCenter

````````````````` 

In case you missed it, I presented on a webcast yesterday focused on how you can “Do More with Oracle WebCenter – Expand Beyond Content Management.” As you may remember, we rebranded Oracle’s Enterprise Content Management (ECM) Suite, which some people knew by the wonderfully techie three-letter acronyms -- UCM, URM & IPM -- to Oracle WebCenter Content last year. Since it’s a unified ECM platform, I’ve seen many customers over the years continue to expand the number of content-centric solutions and application integrations powered by WebCenter throughout their organizations.

But, did you know WebCenter also provides portal, collaboration and web experience management capabilities as well? This enables you to leverage your existing investment in the WebCenter platform as well as the information you’re managing to create engaging sites, collaborative spaces, or self-service portals and composite applications. In the webcast I walked through six different ways that you can do more with WebCenter:

    • Collaborative content contribution and sharing environment
    • Share content across intranets and extranets
    • Combine content in composite applications
    • Create targeted online experiences
    • Manage interactive social experiences
    • Optimize multi-channel customer experiences

Joining me on the call was Greg Utecht with TIES. TIES is a joint powers cooperative owned by 46 Minnesota school districts, represents 514 schools – and provides software applications, hardware and software, internet service and professional development designed by educators for education. I was having a lot of fun over the past few days talking with Greg about the TIES implementation and future plans with WebCenter. He joined me on the call for a little Q&A to explain how he’s using WebCenter today for their iContent implementation for document management, records management and archiving. And also covered how they have expanded their implementation to create a collaborative space called their HRPay System with WebCenter to facilitate collaboration and to better engage their users within the school districts. During our conversation a few questions came from the audience about their implementation. They were curious to see how the system looked – so let’s take a peak.

This screen shows the screen that a human resources or payroll worker in one of our member districts would see upon logging in, based on their credentials and role in their district

This first screenshot shows the screen that a human resources or payroll worker in one of our member districts would see upon logging in, based on their credentials and role in their district.

This screen shows the result of clicking on the SUBSCRIBE link on the main page. It allows the user to subscribe to parts of the portal which will e-mail him/her when those are updated in any way

This shows the result of clicking on the SUBSCRIBE link on the main page.
It allows the user to subscribe to parts of the portal which will e-mail him/her when those are updated in any way.

the screen that a human resources or payroll worker in one of our member districts would see upon clicking on the Resources link

This shows the screen that a human resources or payroll worker in one of our member districts would see upon clicking on the Resources link.

The screen that a human resources or payroll worker in one of our member districts would see upon clicking on the Finance Advisory link. It shows the discussion threads and document sharing areas.

This shows the screen that a human resources or payroll worker in one of our member districts would see upon clicking on the Finance Advisory link.
It shows the discussion threads and document sharing areas.

The screen that appears when the forum topic on the preceding screen is clicked.

This shows the screen that appears when the forum topic on the preceding screen is clicked.

The screen portlet up close with shared documents

This shows the screen portlet up close with shared documents.

The screen that appears when a shared document is clicked on. Note that there is also a download button and an update button, meaning people can work on these collaboratively

This shows the screen that appears when a shared document is clicked on.
Note that there is also a download button and an update button, meaning people can work on these collaboratively.

If you'd like to see these screenshots as a pdf - you can download this here.
Do More with Oracle WebCenter-Customer Profile -TIES 

We also listed some great offers from our Oracle Partners to help you evaluate your current implementations and plan for future initiatives. You can find the partner slides shown on the webcast here: Oracle WebCenter - Do More with WebCenter Partners.

If you missed the webcast, check it out! You can watch the replay OnDemand HERE. If you attended the webcast, thanks for joining - I hoped you learned a little from the session. I learned that kids are getting digital report cards today! Wow, have times changed with technology. Uh oh, is this when I start saying “You know, back in my days…?”



Tuesday Mar 13, 2012

Here Today, Gone Tomorrow: Engage Your Customers or Lose Them!

A couple of weeks ago I was urging those of you in chilly climates to head south for fairer skies while taking in the latest thinking on customer engagement at Gartner’s conferences in Orlando this week.  How was I to know that the Gartner Portals, Content and Collaboration Summit and Garner Customer 360 Summit would both coincide with a week of unseasonably warm and spring-like weather across the northeastern United States?

At any rate, those of you who made it down to Florida for Gartner’s event this week, may have had the opportunity to catch Oracle WebCenter’s Vice President of Product Management and Strategy, Loren Weinberg, present on the topic of customer engagement in her session, "Here Today, Gone Tomorrow: Engage Your Customers Or Lose Them."  For those of you who were unable to attend the session yesterday, I’ll highlight some of the salient points.

Engagement

Engaging Customers Isn’t As Simple As It Used to Be
Engaging your customers is a lot more complicated now that everyone is connected through the online channel. The number of mobile device types and the number of people using them have increased exponentially.  Information is now readily accessible to most anyone, at any time, on any device, in increasingly varied digital formats. At the same time, social computing has made the online channel a hub for participation, sharing, interaction and community. As a result, providing an engaging experience across the customer journey is an increasingly complex endeavor.

Today’s Customers Have High Expectations
Today’s customers expect you to know who they are.  They expect you to recall the details they’ve provided to you on your website, on your Facebook page and to your sales people or CSR’s.  They expect every interaction with an organization to be personalized and highly relevant.  They expect anywhere anytime access to information and transactions, and they expect to be able to interact socially in all that they do.

Unmet Customer Expectations Can Have High Consequences
When customer expectations are not met, brands get dumped for their competition. And with only a small percentage of customers feeling that their expectations for a good customer experience are always met, it is easy to see why the relationship between brands and customers often flame out. And today, individual customer service failures have the ability to snowball.  An unsatisfied customer has the ability to easily share their rancor with their entire social network and chip away at your brand’s reputation. 
 
Engagement is the Key to Gaining and Retaining Today’s Customers
Engagement has really become the key to gaining and retaining customers. Today’s empowered customer is in the driver’s seat.  And the only way to attract their attention and keep it, the only way to cultivate and maintain relationships with them, is to engage them in meaningful ways along the customer journey.

Delivering contextually relevant, interactive and multichannel online experiences is now essential for converting prospects into customers and for engendering long term loyalty.  A one-size-fits-all online customer experience is the way of the past.  Companies today must deliver personalized and contextual experiences to their customers, with information that is specifically tailored to their needs and interests, anytime and anywhere, whether on the desktop at the office, the laptop at home, or on any of the thousands of different mobile device types customers carry when they are on the go. Additionally, companies must foster a social and interactive online experience by enabling customers to contribute, participate and share their experiences.

Optimization is Essential to Successful Customer Experience Initiatives
And finally, optimizing engagement across this increasingly complex environment is critical to effective marketing and customer experience management initiatives. However, successfully using the web to drive these initiatives is more challenging than ever before. In order to succeed in optimizing online engagement, organizations require the help of technologies that can offer a means to manage a multi-channel online presence with ease, including targeting, multiple geographies, social elements and much more, and this must be integrated with their systems for managing customer data.  Then a layer of analytics and optimization must be applied to understand the customers’ journey and what will help them successfully accomplish their goals and be delighted by the service they receive.

While the Gartner Portals, Content & Collaboration Summit draws to a close today, there is still the opportunity hear more about customer experience from Oracle at Gartner Customer 360 over the following days. Be sure to follow the #gartnercrm and #webcenter hashtags to learn more.

Friday Mar 02, 2012

Oracle at The Gartner Customer 360 Summit

The Gartner Customer 360 Summit

If you live in the Northeast, like I do, about this time of year you may be weary of the short, cold days and searching for an excuse to escape to sunny Florida.  If your professional objectives also include understanding, engaging and managing customer experiences, then I may just have the perfect justification for you – The Gartner Customer 360 Summit.  Taking place at the Gaylord Palms in Orlando, Florida, March 14-16, this year’s Summit will focus on driving customer relationship success in a world of empowered customers. Sessions will focus on customer experience management, integrating marketing and sales, data quality and business analytics, and mobile and social strategies. You’ll even get to hear from keynote speaker, Seth Godin, marketing guru and best-selling author of Purple Cow and All Marketers Are Liars.

But before you run off to explore The Magic Kingdom or swim with the dolphins at SeaWorld, be sure to visit with Oracle’s customer experience experts who can’t wait to speak with you about your business growth objectives and the latest strategies and technologies for delivering a stellar customer experience.  As a premier sponsor of the event, there are a number of ways to interact with Oracle at The Gartner Customer 360 Summit.  Here are some of the highlights:

Oracle Solution Showcase
Wednesday, March 14, 12:15pm – 2:15pm
Thursday, March 15, 1:00pm – 3:00pm

Oracle Solution Showcase Reception
Wednesday, March 14, 6:30pm – 8:30pm

Oracle Speaking Sessions
Thursday, March 15, 10:45am – 11:45am
The Customer and YOU – Today’s Winners are Defined by Customer Experience
Anthony Lye, Senior Vice President, Oracle CRM

Thursday, March 15, 4:15pm – 5:15pm
Driving Business Value with Customer Experience – Increasing Acquisition, Retention, and Efficiency
Brian J. Curran, Vice President, Product Marketing and Customer Experience Strategy, RightNow

Oracle | RightNow Hospitality Suite
Thursday, March 15, 5:30pm – 7:30pm

Be sure to follow the #gartnercrm and #webcenter hashtags for updates. We hope to see you in Florida.  And if you can’t make it, don’t worry; warmer weather is just around the corner.

Tuesday Feb 07, 2012

WebCenter is Essential Piece of the Customer Experience

Last Tuesday, there was an exciting and interesting webcast announcing the newest addition to the Oracle family, RightNow. The webcast: Oracle and RightNow, Powering Great Customer Experiences outlined the multiple synergies within Oracle's solutions and a peek at what lies ahead. The webcast highlights some of the key roles that WebCenter plays for management of the Marketing and Loyalty components within the Customer Experience ecosystem that includes Oracle's Fusion Middleware, Applications and CRM, Commerce & Technology Solutions.

Oracle WebCenter enables marketers and business users to easily create and manage contextually relevant, social and interactive online experiences across multiple channels on a global scale to drive customer acquisition, brand loyalty and business success.

Andy Mulholland posted an interesting commentary on Monday, "Oracle introduces game-changing integration..." with his impressions of the webcast and positive opinion of Oracle's direction, where he wrote:  

"It’s worth taking some time to look at the materials from this webcast to see their process flow charts for the front office as it’s one of the first maps I have seen of all the major processes.”

Oracle CX ecosystem

(* Pending Regulatory Approval and Close)

Andy also references a PCWorld review of the webcast with some additional detailed highlights. Note for the record that when "Oracle FatWire" is referenced - they are referring to Oracle WebCenter Sites. FatWire was acquired by Oracle in 2011 and integrated into the WebCenter offering for Web Experience Management. More details available here for those interested.

Tuesday Jan 31, 2012

Web Experience Management and Used Cars

Michael SnowThis week, we’re going to dig into some best practices in Web Experience Management (WEM) to help encourage and evolve the ongoing discussions in this area. Over the past couple of years, we’ve all been increasingly saturated with an ever growing list of acronyms that make up components of the Customer Experience Management ecosystem. Whether it is labeled CXM, CEM, CRM, CCM, WEM, OEO, WXM, WCM, CSM, ABC, or XYZ – these terms are constantly evolving in inclusion and exclusion of strengths in various aspects of the basics. We are all concerned with keeping our customers happy; getting more customers and keeping them (acquisition and retention) to grow our businesses, and of course – providing the best possible customer service regardless of the channel or context that service is delivered – be it research for new purchases or service of existing products or services.

Why is this “experience” management becoming so important lately? We can blame global expanding competition, growing commodification, heightened customer expectations and challenges to conventional marketing as pervasive root causes. Controlling the experience becomes one of the few remaining differentiators for companies trying to acquire and retain customers in an ever growing market climate filled with short attention spans, finicky consumers and exponentially more choices.

guaranteed!How many positive customer experiences have you had this past week? Past month? Past year? Have they been web-based experiences, phone, in-person or by email or a combination? Should it really matter? Shouldn’t your level of customer experience be of equal quality regardless of the channel that you are interacting through? Are there too many moving pieces and people to ever hope for some alignment of experience quality? Are companies ready to think about this consistency in delivery yet or is it an unreachable nirvana somewhere off in the distant future?

Indulge me while I tell a tale of a recent car purchase experience that my wife and I have gone through over the past couple of months. It has been an interesting case study in customer experience. It is ironic in many ways that it highlights not only a great customer experience but also a complete breakdown example within an industry that is dependent on the repeat business of loyal buyers.

Typical familyAs a fairly typical family, we have two teenagers and a large dog. We travel with lots of our stuff – we can’t pack lightly no matter how hard we try. Like many parents, we spend a significant amount of time as a taxi service shuttling kids to and from school, sports and social events. We joined the minivan generation 10 yrs ago and needed to replace our aging van with yet another one – just to last until the kids are out of college and long enough while we are still paying tuition bills and eating rice and beans. We are long time loyal Toyota fans and after rationalizing to myself that minivans were the new middle-age sexy for men of my age in the suburbs – we didn’t hesitate in our search to replace our Sienna with another one.Number One Dog!

So… back to my story – knowing that we wanted to save some money and purchase a “certified pre-owned” vehicle with low-mileage – we commenced endless hours of internet researching with a variety of web experiences running the gamut from amazing to horrible.  We had ongoing email communications with the many dealers in our area until we finally found the perfect vehicle. The benefit and problem with buying a car today is parsing through so much available information during the research phase that you end up with information overload.

We decided that the dealer being located an hour away would only be a mild inconvenience during the purchase process since we would have the car serviced locally at a dealer only 5 minutes from our house. We did the test drive, looked over the car, checked the CarFax history and negotiated a great deal with our trade-in. In our final look at the car, we noticed that the cargo area carpet was damp and the salesperson explained that the rugs had all been shampooed and they probably hadn’t let it dry completely. They would take care of making sure that the carpets were cleaned and dried and the car would be ready for pickup on the following Tuesday (we purchased on a Sunday). We were very happy when we left the dealership – this car buying process that we all really hate doing wasn’t so bad after all.

unhappy!Fast forward – we’ve had our new van for a week of torrential rains and I opened the rear cargo area door to find that the carpets and pads are completely drenched. I’m leaving town on business for the week to CA on Tuesday. I call the dealership on Saturday and speak to the sales manager – I’m not happy. We’re in a holding pattern waiting for communication from the dealer. I start researching known water problems in this model year and protection nuances of the “Lemon Law”. I leave town and they send someone to pick up the van on Wed. I fly back on Friday night and a new 2012 Sienna is sitting in my driveway when I return home. They had delivered it that afternoon for a loaner after I had spoken to them from the airport in San Francisco that morning. Our van was at the body shop where they were trying to figure out the source of the water leak.

Meanwhile – the dealership’s customer experience management machine has kicked into gear completely in the dark regarding the experience we were having. We were getting email and phone follow-up surveys from Toyota as well as the dealership regarding our purchase and service experience. The internet sales associate was following up to thank us for the business. None of these people had any idea what was currently happening. Every additional email or call was a thorn in our side while we remained in limbo over this screwed up major purchase.

On the next Tuesday, we received a call from the General Manager of the Dealership telling us that they had figured out the problem, but they weren’t going to fix it. Long pause on the phone line. It turns out that the roof had been replaced at some point in the past year and the seals weren’t done properly. None of this repair history had shown up on CarFax or reported on the VIN to an insurance company or Toyota. False illusion alert for relying on those reports! They had purchased the vehicle at an auto auction where they purchase thousands of cars. The General Manager told us that he wouldn't ever feel secure about this type of repair and didn’t want us to have to worry about this in the future. They would write us a check for a complete refund of the entire purchase price and all related expenses OR they would like to keep us as a happy client and find a better upgraded vehicle from their own loaner fleet with completely known history and essentially swap it with no additional funds. We were shocked at this offer from the mouth of a “used car salesman” – having essentially expected to somehow get screwed in the deal. It wasn’t hard to make our decision. This dealer had the motivation to make us happy versus starting the whole multiple week search process all over again. Meanwhile, we also had a great new van as a loaner to use.

Happy!In the midst of the holidays, we evaluated and selected another van from their offerings – the next model up - they would take the loss versus releasing an unhappy customer into the local area. We made one trip there to do the test drives, make our selection and they then delivered the new van to us with all the paperwork and new registration. We had a potentially horrible experience turn around into a positive experience that we have repeated to many in our travels.

Now… back to the discussion around experience. Was this the work of one person – the General Manager of the dealership? Or was this because the overall organizational culture is highly focused on longer-term quality of experience? Are reputation-related decisions made to help their business grow in a time when there are lots of options for finding cars online? Was it short-term gain or long-term survival? Or were they fearful of my invocation of the Lemon Law? Water = mold/mildew = health hazard! All of my stereotypes about used car dealers were challenged (just a little bit) by this experience.

From my perspective – we can’t have a discussion in this area without talking about the components of this experience that are relevant to web experience management: Channel, Content, Interaction and Relevance. The auto industry is a perfect example of where alignment of the experience becomes crucial to a positive experience. How many different channels did I interact with during my purchase journey? I discovered the dealership via an internet search; researched the vehicles on their website and via my mobile phone; communicated with their internet sales associate via email and phone and visited their online and offline showroom. When I signed up for notification of availability of a specific model year, features and mileage range, I didn’t want to see emails that didn’t meet my criteria and waste my time. There were countless instances where what was listed on a dealer web site wasn’t available and the site hadn’t been updated to reflect the changes. Each time that happened – it wasted the precious time of a potential buyer and jeopardized the reputation of the dealership. The content I experienced along the way had a variety of value in decision making – ranging from images of the vehicles, 3D interactive video tours of the vehicles, reviews of the models, CarFax on the specific vehicles I was considering, current pricing, trade-in and blue-book values, loan-rates, promotional marketing material, social network and forum commentaries, as well as my personal social community following the saga and offering advice along the way.

Yet – our experience with the additional interactions and inquiries from Toyota, the dealer’s service dept, and their customer service survey follow-up all seemed to be disconnected from our specific experience that was happening concurrently. There was no complete 360 degree view of our experience. Yes – they had a very active customer relationship management follow-up program – but no connections to the full picture of what we were experiencing. What we were seeking during this process were interactions in context and relevance to what we were experiencing. Although the dealership saved face in making our purchase experience right in the end, in order to succeed competitively and win the loyalty of customers, they need to connect the dots and provide an experience that makes every online or offline interaction consistent, contextualized, meaningful and relevant.

Oracle WebCenterThe challenge of delivering and optimizing all of these factors is great and I don’t mean to minimize the effort required whatsoever. Just trying to get multiple groups within an organization to agree on what their unified cross-channel customer experience should be is an incredible challenge that really necessitates executive sponsorship for any of these initiatives to succeed. Oracle WebCenter is the Web experience management solution that enables organizations to use the online channel to drive customer acquisition and brand loyalty. Oracle can provide the tools and expertise to help drive your success in these initiatives, but without executive sponsorship and a culture that fosters good customer experiences across all channels – technology won’t solve all the problems.

Some of the issues that keep companies from attempting to provide a large-scale, multi-channel experience are eliminated with Oracle WebCenter. Oracle WebCenter enables business users to easily manage a multi-channel global online presence, requiring minimal IT support for daily tasks. Oracle WebCenter provides a highly scalable WEM platform with built-in content targeting and optimization, user-generated content, integration with social networking sites, end-user personalization with gadgets, mobile web deployment and integrations with CRM, commerce, ECM, and business intelligence.

The culture of an organization that promotes successful customer engagement using the online channel can enable organizations to attract and retain the loyalty of customers in an extremely competitive business environment. Doing so, however, requires addressing significant new challenges and additional dimensions of complexity in managing the online channel. We’ll hear more about best practices in this area throughout the week with a few guest bloggers from our team here at Oracle. So - stay tuned for more to come.

Thanks & we hope you enjoy the week!

-Michael

Friday Dec 30, 2011

Goodbye 2011 - Hello 2012

At this time of year as we all try and stop for a moment and take a look back at what we’ve accomplished over the past year and where we’d like to improve in the next year, I’ve been pondering the multiple postings on the “Best and Worst <fill in the blank> of 2011.” Since we are in the Web experience business here at Oracle – it is only appropriate that I give a shout out to some of the best listings of the best of 2011 that have already been compiled here.

As the vortex of my screen and search engine suck the time out of my afternoon, I realize that I really can't do full justice to a complete compilation of the best of 2011, but will provide this handy link here so you can browse until the wee hours of 2011. 

With regards to what's coming in 2012? Lots of predictions but a few I'd like to call out specifically.

Simon Lande was spot-on target in his recent posting on CMSWire: “Web Customer Experience Management: More Is Not Enough In 2012” where he notes that while 2011 was the year of more more more… 2012 should be spent in adjusting the quality of more. Good ‘ol American super-sizing everything isn’t going to cut it anymore. He quotes one of my fellow Tufts' alumni, Seth Godin, who wrote recently on his blog

“Every interaction comes with a cost. Not in cash money, but in something worth even more: the attention of the person you're interacting with. Waste it — with spam, with a worthless offer, with a lack of preparation, and yes, with nervous dissembling, then you are unlikely to get another chance.”

On the Perfect Customer Experience blog, Louis Columbus wrote a great article entitledPredicting 2012: The Year Quality of Customer Experience Becomes King where the focus on quality of our interactions is paramount and integrations between our CRM and content systems hold incredible promise for improving the customer experience across our digital and human interactive ecosystems.

5 Star Service!

“In 2012 many businesses will need to step up their efforts to make better use of internal systems that are not integrated to CRM, analytics and customer service systems so they can deliver higher quality customer experiences immediately.  Integrating these systems together and making the quality of data and intelligence a priority will increase the quality of customer experience delivered.”


This post was a great intro for Oracle WebCenter’s Connected Customer Experience. The challenge for organizations today is to be able to manage the entire customer journey – from selecting products, researching and browsing, to transacting business, to seeking service for their products, to recommending products to others – in an integrated manner so that they can create a positive customer experience with the organization overall that will drive customer engagement, loyalty, sales, and the success of their business.

Effectively harnessing the power of your online channel is much harder than it used to be. Success today depends on your ability to provide rich, interactive experiences paired with sophisticated social engagement.

According to CITO Research, top-performing businesses are deploying flexible platforms that enable them to optimize online engagement and implement Web experience management. Download CITO’s latest white paper to learn about integrated customer experience strategies that help you attract and retain customers. Topics include:

White Paper

• Social networks
• Mobile channels 
• Relevance and optimization
• Decision-making and analytics
• End user personalization and segmentation
• Targeting and syndication
• Integrated customer data and campaigns

Happy New Year from all of us here on the Oracle WebCenter Team.

We look forward to an exciting 2012!

Happy New Year!

Tuesday Nov 08, 2011

Do you know your customers?

Drive Customer Engagement with a Personalized, Social & Multi-channel Online Experience

Date: Thursday, November 17, 2011
Time: 10:00 AM PST - 11:00 AM PST 

Register Here

Is your organization ready to handle today’s demands and high expectations for a socially enabled, multichannel online experience? Web Experience Management has gained improved relevance as individuals increasingly expect their online encounters to be targeted to their interests in dynamic, entertaining and engaging experiences no matter where they are connected. For Web marketers, this new imperative presents a unique set of challenges when it comes to engaging with their customers online. In order to succeed in today’s competitive global online world, organizations must be able to create a relevant and interactive cross-channel experience that will drive the success of their marketing and customer initiatives.

Attend this webcast and hear Kathleen Reidy, Senior Analyst, Enterprise Software at The 451 Group, provide critical and timely insight into the competitive dynamics of Web Experience Management innovation in organizations today.

With Oracle WebCenter, organizations can empower their marketers and line-of-business staff to create a personalized, targeted, social experience across online channels that will engage customers with the organization.  With WebCenter businesses can manage a large, global web presence with ease and use the online channel to drive the success of their business.

Attend this webcast: “Drive Customer Engagement with a Personalized, Social & Multi-channel Online Experience” to learn how the Web Experience Management solution from Oracle WebCenter can help your organization:

  • Drive a personalized and relevant experience for site visitors using targeting and end-user personalization
  • Create a social online experience with user-generated content and integrations with third-party social sites
  • Engage customers across channels, including web, mobile and social
  • Empower your marketers and LOB staff to manage the online customer experience, across a large, global organization, and deliver rapid time-to-market for web campaigns and communications

Don't hide from your customer engagement problems!

Don't hide from your customer engagement problems!

Monday Nov 07, 2011

Customer Engagement - Born Digital - Blessing or Curse?

For those of you that spend a fair amount of your days trying to keep up with the latest thought leadership via daily blog postings and interesting articles published by the various pundits of our technology ecosystems, it will come as no surprise that the topics of “Customer Engagement” and “Customer Experience” are extremely popular topics lately. In the past 30 days, there have been 6,157 tweets about “Customer Engagement” alone. While these topics are not new by any means, using these filters to look at our online experiences and engagements allows the cross-pollination from what has been learned in brick and mortar retail establishments to our not so new online world incorporating web, mobile and social channels.

Following these trends, we’re going to add to the discussion by focusing this week on Customer Engagement. Customer engagement really can’t be viewed based on only one channel of communication anymore in our fast-paced, multi-channel world. As active consumers of product and information, we all seek multiple inputs to make our daily decisions. What used to be based on asking our neighbors for recommendations or assistance has now been enhanced by technology to, perhaps at times, giving us too much information and inducing an analysis-paralysis condition or in the Goldilocks tradition, just the right amount to help us get it right.Which Way to Customer Engagement?

I do believe in synchronicity and there was a fascinating study just published by the Oracle Retail Group entitled; “The Future of Retail: Through the Eyes of Digital Natives” (September 2011). The Press Release can be found here. The latest research, commissioned by Oracle, on the future of retail in 2025, according to the digital native generation born after 1980, reveals that the shopping experience of the future needs to be connected, fit-for-purpose, and always available. Results revealed that digital natives love to shop but they are discerning, wanting differentiated products, pricing, and services based on their preferences, to interact with retailers when and how it suits them, and for this experience to be seamless and connected whatever channel they choose.

The study notes that technology is the key to expediting the shopping experience, whether in-store to facilitate a sale, or using online channels to research and compare price, promotions, and choice, suggesting that retailers must optimize their operations in support of customer priorities and operate in a connected 24/7 environment. Oracle commissioned the survey in July 2011 to examine the views of digital natives to current shopping needs and their expectations of these needs in 2025 as they come of age, interviewing 1,514 young consumers between 19-23 years from the UK, Germany and France.

“This research presents a number of interesting findings for retailers outlining considerable opportunities,” said Mike Webster, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Oracle Retail. “To drive long-term growth, retailers need to provide superior experiences that consumers are demanding. The research supports the importance of creating a solutions platform that provides a connected multi-channel shopping experience.”

Conclusions of the study state that the Born Digital members of their study have the following requirements for their engagements and experiences:

  • Differentiated and personalized customer interactions
  • Differentiated products, pricing and services based on their preferences
  • Differentiated interactions based on how and when they want to interact
  • A seamless, connected experience where the retailer is aligned across all business operations and decisions

So let us set the stage for our discussion this week by painting a picture of what our digital ecosystem landscape looks like today based on some recent research. Growth and scale of these channels are an important consideration of the approach taken to address the engagement and experience challenges.

Web:

U.S. online sales are expected to rise by over $100 billion from 2010 to 2015.1 70 percent of all Internet users made at least one online purchase.2

Mobile:

48 percent of all U.S. consumers use their mobile devices to research and browse products and services.3 Two-third of consumers use mobile phones for purchasing.4

Tablet:

More than 7 percent in U.S. will own a tablet by the end of 20125 and is estimated to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 51 percent through 2015.6 Forrester expects consumers will adopt tablet commerce rapidly.6

Social Media:

More than half of frequent web shoppers turn to social networks such as Facebook and Twitter at least some of the time to gather ideas for shopping.7 28 percent of Facebook users have purchased something online via a Facebook link.8

Store:

43% of all US retail sales are influenced by the web.9 Consumers often start browsing and researching on their computers and mobile devices, and ultimately make purchases in the store or through a contact center representative.10

Call Center:

Over 90% of US consumers and over 77% of European consumers ranked click to call and click to chat as useful to extremely useful.  Click to call and click to chat were ranked second and third, respectively, out of five, behind only the option of a free phone call into the contact center.11

Sources:

1: eMarketer 2011 US Retail Ecommerce Forecast
2: comScore Q2 2011 U.S. Retail E-commerce Sales Estimate, August 8, 2011
3:  Oracle ATG Cross-Channel Commerce: A Consumer Research Study, 2009
4:  L.E.K. Consulting Consumer Study, 2011
5:  eMarketer
6: Forrester's US Consumer Tablet Forecast, January 2011
7: the e-tailing group, inc.  Study, 2011
8: Shop.org 2011 Social Commerce study
9: Forrester Research, Inc.
10: Oracle ATG Cross-Channel Commerce: A Consumer Research Study, 2009
11:  Oracle ATG Commerce Live Help: Global Consumer Views & Trends Study, March 2010

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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