Project Killers: Lions and Tigers and Bears Oh my!

OZYou’ve just discovered yourself surrounded by Witches and Munchkins in Munchkin land and you desperately want to get back to Kansas.  You’ve heard that the Wizard of Oz in Emerald City can help you get back, but how do you find the Wizard?  Just follow the Yellow Brick Road!

Do you see the similarities to your CRM project?   In Munchkin land Dorothy had a clear goal, return to Kansas with the help of the Wizard of Oz.  Your CRM project has a clear goal; help grow your profits by delighting your customers.  The path from Munchkin land to the Wizard is the Yellow Brick Road.  Your path to delighting your customers is your project statement of work.  Just as Dorothy gathered helpers on her journey to Oz, you will assemble a project team to assist you in getting to Deployment.   Finally, just like Dorothy you start off confidently down the road.

If you have watched the 1939 classic movie the Wizard of Oz, you should remember that the Yellow Brick Road was a path filled with risks to the journey – or as the Strawman and Tin Woodman stated – Lions, and Tigers and Bears.  There were also belligerent fruit trees, wicked witches, and deadly poppies along the way.  Dorothy hadn’t planned for any of these risks and would have been stopped ‘dead’ in her tracks if not for the help of her companions and finally the intervention of Glinda the good witch.

Your project path is a lot like the Yellow Brick Road.  yellow brick roadWhat are the lions, and tigers, and bears you will face?  Where are the belligerent fruit trees and deadly poppies?  Who are the ‘bad witches’ and what risks do they introduce?  Every project faces at least one risk to successful completion.  Most of the time, there are myriad risks to successful completion.  If these risks are not identified and/or not mitigated, they become impacts.  Impacts cost the project time, money, and scope.  In the most severe form, they kill the project before any benefit can be realized!

Dorothy ran head long into her risks and impacts, and unless you have a ‘Glinda’ protecting you, we don’t recommend that approach.  Instead create a detailed project plan using a tool such as MS Project that can point out some of the most common risks faced by a CRM project.  Here are the top 10 risks as identified by online-crm.com:

  1. Invalid project assumptions (different expectations among stakeholders)
  2. Project planning omissions. Significant delays incurred not because project planning tasks were underestimated but because project tasks were completely omitted (forgotten)
  3. Data conversion delay. Unanticipated data scrubbing due to poor data quality
  4. Lack of continuity or consistency of business processes among multiple locations (as well as the introduction of sub-optimization by some locations)
  5. Failure to proactively anticipate and mitigate user adoption challenges – fear of change, sub-optimization and/or sacred cows. Closely aligned with failure to recognize the change in cultural due to a CRM implementation
  6. Missing or infrequent active and visible executive sponsorship
  7. Project is perceived by users as optional; CRM software failure is an option
  8. Failure to backfill project team schedules/workloads
  9. Failure to recognize weak (basic PC operation) user skills assessment prior to training
  10. Failure of Risk Management and proactive risk mitigation

Interesting to note that one of the top 10 risks to any CRM project is the lack of proactive risk mitigation!  Your job as a project manager is to identify these above risks (and all others) well in advance of running into them, determine the potential each has for becoming an ‘impact’ to the project, determine whether or not to accept or mitigate the risk, and establish a risk mitigation plan for each risk that you have identified should be mitigated.  Those mitigation plans should have tasks, resources, and due dates that are tracked on your project plan with strict adherence.  Each risk that is not mitigated becomes an ‘impact’, you will have to deal with impacts to the project, but by the time you are dealing with them the project has been delayed, made more costly, reduced in scope, or all 3.  If you don’t have more time or don’t have more money, and Glinda doesn’t come to your rescue, your project has just come to the end of the Yellow Brick Road with the gleaming Emerald City far in the distance.

Jim Lindenfeld, Principal Consultant

Jim Lindenfeld, Principal Consultant

This blog was written by Jim Lindenfeld, who has been actively involved in customer relationship management during his entire professional career.  He is a certified sales and sales management trainer.  He has been involved in the implementation of CRM systems since 1987 and is currently a principal consultant in our CRM practice.

Project Killers: Does X Mark the Spot?

X Marks the SpotProject Killers are waiting to pounce on every project – from inception to transition.  In this series we are looking at the most common assassins and exploring the ways to preserve the health and well-being of your projects.  The most heinous killers are:

 

  1. Dead on Arrival (a.k.a. DOA) – A project without the proper estimations for time and resources somehow is initiated. (The Path to On Time, On Budget and In Scope : http://blog.evergegroup.com/?p=1385)
  2. Death by Documentation (a.k.a. Strangled in Red Tape) – A great deal of time and effort goes into plans, requirement documents, and design documents with no real benefit to the project. (Project Killers: An Ode to Death by Documentation: http://blog.evergegroup.com/?p=1389)
  3. Death by Indecision (a.k.a. Analysis Paralysis in its milder forms) – Key project decisions are delayed or avoided altogether. (Project Killers – PSI – Project Scene Investigation “A Case of Slow Death” http://blog.evergegroup.com/?p=1400)
  4. Death in Unchartered Lands (a.k.a. Scope Creep) – The participants, stakeholders, scope, and methods, are never agreed to formally when the project starts. If you don’t know where you’re going, most any road will take you there – but it may take a lot longer and cost a lot more!
  5. Sudden Unplanned Death (a.k.a. Running into a dead end) – risks are not properly identified and mitigated
  6. Death by Starvation (a.k.a. Bottlenecks) – resources are not properly identified and allocated.

We have already dealt with DOA, Strangulation by Red Tape, and Analysis Paralysis in previous blogs.  This blog deals with Scope Creep, enemy number One and the most hated project killer of all time.

Imagine that you make your living by looking for and recovering treasure.  It shouldn’t take much imagination, because that is exactly what you are doing as a project manager, but let’s carry out the analogy to show the congruence.  First, as a professional you wouldn’t chase a treasure that was known to be too small or too costly to obtain.  Second, you would have a ‘map’, literal or figurative, that has a definitive ‘X’ that marks the spot where the treasure can be found.  Third, you would obtain the permissions and licenses needed to hunt for the treasure.  Fourth you gather your investors to fund the trip.  Fifth, you would assemble your treasure hunting team.  Sixth, you would plan your treasure hunting trip.  Finally, you would hunt for and recover the treasure.

It is easy to see the analogy, an IT project is a lot like a treasure hunt.  You initiate the project to benefit (the treasure) your organization.  You have an estimate and a statement of work (the map).  You license the software.  You identify the business stakeholders and obtain the funding.  You put together the project team.  You write up a plan to obtain your objectives.  Finally, you carry out the project and obtain the desired result.  Or do you??

Do you instead ‘get greedy’?  A new map has been found, lying close to your original treasure is another one.  It is temptingly close by and by extending your trip, and pushing your resources to the limit, that treasure can be had!  X no longer marks the spot.  Your careful plans and preparation are no longer going to assure you of finding the treasure you seek, because you now seek more than you had originally planned to.  You have literally released the ‘bird in your hand’ to seek ‘two in the bush’.

When this happens to your IT project, when you reach out for that nearby benefit, you have exposed the heart of your project to the most deadly and feared project killer, Scope Creep.  Yes, there may be more benefit to be had, and yes, it may be reachable by running the project longer and pushing the team to the limits.  However, you must realize your carefully created plans and preparation are no longer going to assure you of a successful project.  Prior to giving up on your original ‘treasure’ in favor of a new, expanded one, you should think of the professional treasure hunters.  What would they do?

The truly successful, professional treasure hunters stay focused on the prize to the exclusion of all potential distractions, they also draw up a charter and make every member of the team commit to that charter, and finally they set up the reward system for the team members in such a way that they are only rewarded for the treasure they are chartered to find.  Do the same for your projects and you will find that X indeed marks the spot much more often than not!

Jim Lindenfeld, Principal Consultant

Jim Lindenfeld, Principal Consultant

This blog was written by Jim Lindenfeld, who has been actively involved in customer relationship management during his entire professional career.  He is a certified sales and sales management trainer.  He has been involved in the implementation of CRM systems since 1987 and is currently a principal consultant in our CRM practice.

Illustration created and provided by Jonathan Pike, eVerge Group IT Specialist.

 

Keys to CRM System Adoption: Coaching

High rates of user adoption maximize the benefit of a CRM system to every system user in an exponential way as every key process in the business; planning, marketing, selling, servicing, and analyzing, is enriched by the increased information and functionality of the CRM system. Many companies invest millions in software licenses and services to install a CRM application, but don’t invest the time and energy to create a CRM System – Application, Infrastructure, Employee users, Indirect Channel users, and Customers. Each part of the system is critical to the system, with none more critical than the Employee users.

When Employee users eagerly use and contribute to the CRM system, user adoption is high. When Employee users do not use, or incorrectly use the system user adoption rates are low. When adoption rates are high, companies must persist on the system planning and implementation path that they have outlined to maintain and upgrade the system over time. When adoption rates are low, companies must pause and analyze the issues and take immediate corrective action. This is the first in a series of articles that detail what organizations can do to drive user adoption of the installed CRM system. There are 5 key areas to investigate and correct: executive involvement, pay for play, EASE, commitment, and coaching.

Coaching may be the least understood duty that is assigned to any manager in any organization. Coaching is the ability to demonstrate and inculcate a skill as it will be used in the organization. It should not be confused with Training, Motivation, Leadership, or Management of Resources – each of these is an important duty for organization Managers, but they are not “Coaching”. Unfortunately, many organizations and the Managers in that organization DO confuse one or all of these skills for Coaching. This is particularly detrimental to CRM Application user adoption. Throwing money and bodies at the CRM Application and making speeches about the benefits will not increase the skill level of the Employee users. Even application training is only marginally effective. The only proven way to increase the employee skill level successfully on a CRM Application is for the appropriate person, which more than 95% of the time is the direct Manager of the employee, to Coach the employee on the application. Raising the employee skill level, making the employee more comfortable with the application, is a key to user adoption.

In the Carew course on Selling Skills Coaching[1], the Coaching process has 4 distinct steps:

  1. Demonstrate the skill to the employee
  2. Assist the employee in attempting the skill
  3. Allow the employee to practice the skill in a supportive, protected environment
  4. Monitor and give feedback on the employee’s skill level in day to day activities

Demonstrate the skill: This means that each Manager on the Management team must be able to use the CRM application with enough proficiency that they can fully demonstrate it to their direct reports. For example, Sales Managers must be able to do everything in the CRM application that they are expecting their team members to do – e.g. handle leads, manage opportunities, create quotes, submit orders, update contact level information, etc. This level of proficiency is gained by including the Managers early in the requirements gathering phase, the design and development process, the testing phase, and by involving them in intensive application training and train the trainer sessions prior to the release of the application.

Assist the employee in attempting the skill: Each Manager should be at every roll-out/training session for the CRM application when his/her team is involved. The Manager will demonstrate the CRM application in the context of the business model for his/her team. They will assist each employee in completing a real world use case. They will answer business questions and questions about application design and functionality. They will also be able to do this when a new employee is added to the team after the CRM Application roll-out.

Allow the employee to practice the skill: After assisting the employee on the first use case, the Manager allows the employee to practice on similar use cases. The Manager evaluates the progress, provides positive feedback for each correct step, and makes suggestions for improvement when appropriate. Finally, the Manager recognizes and congratulates the employee on having attained a skill level sufficient to begin using it in live business processes.

Monitor and give feedback: The best and only effective way to monitor progress on a CRM Application is for the Manager to use the application! Printed reports and spreadsheets send a very negative message to the employees when used for this purpose. Employees want to feel that they have enriched the organization and improved the business through their actions in the CRM Application, the best way to do this is for the Manager to demonstrate that his/her decisions are being driven by the information in the system. Managers who use the system are much better able to evaluate the performance of their teams on the CRM Application than those who do not.

The creation or re-release of a CRM system involves a great deal more than the installation of a CRM Application. If the CRM Application is not used properly, or not used at all, then the system has a greatly diminished value. Coaching is one of five key drivers to Employee user adoption. Make sure that as you are planning your CRM System you enable Coaching in your organization change management plans.

  1. Involve all Management levels in requirements, design, prototypes, and testing.
  2. Conduct intense training and train the trainer sessions (and include Coaching training if it is not already part of your Management training curriculum) for all managers before general release
  3. Involve the Managers in all direct rollout activities to their teams
  4. Make training environments available to the organization
  5. Ensure that Managers can work in the CRM Application to accomplish the vast majority of the business process cycles they manage.
  6. Ensure that employee onboarding is not considered complete until the Coaching process has progressed to step 4.

The cost of these activities will easily be recovered in the increased benefit of the system to your company, and the Coaching skills you give to your Managers will be used many, many times in other business processes and become part of your Customer Experience driven culture.

[1] http://www.carew.com/selling-skills-coaching.php

Jim Lindenfeld, Principal Consultant

Jim Lindenfeld, Principal Consultant

This blog was written by Jim Lindenfeld, who has been actively involved in customer relationship management during his entire professional career.  He is a certified sales and sales management trainer.  He has been involved in the implementation of CRM systems since 1987 and is currently a principal consultant in our CRM practice.

 

Customer Experience: Is the Bar Being Raised and Can You Still Jump Over It?

It is a widely held belief that the secret to a satisfied customer is similar to the secret to a satisfying marriage – low expectations!

As with many things in life, a customer’s satisfaction with a product or service is something that can really only be measured against that customer’s own, personal expectations.

The customer will be satisfied with your company’s offering if his or her expectations are met. However, this also implies that as the customer’s expectations go up, satisfying the customer will become more difficult. Evidence strongly suggests that all customer expectations are, as a rule of thumb, rising constantly over time.

Your customers are not measuring their experience with you against your competitors in the current marketplace; instead they are comparing your company to the customer experience delivered by Amazon, JetBlue, Apple, or American Express.

Claes Fornell is the Swedish professor who came to America more than 20 years ago and founded the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI). In his book, The Satisfied Customer, Fornell reports that before field testing the ACSI, his team scoured the literature on customer satisfaction in order to ensure that they captured just the right kind of variables.

According to Fornell,

“Although there was no consensus on how to measure customer satisfaction, three facets showed up over and over. The most common had to do with the confirmation or disconfirmation of prior expectations. Another was the idea of comparing a company’s product to a customer’s ideal version of the product-regardless of whether or not such a product even existed. The third facet was the cumulative level of satisfaction when all interactions, the customer’s total experience over time with the company, were taken into account.”

Simply stated, a customer will become less satisfied even if your product or service remains at the same level of quality because his or her expectations have increased.

It is easy to imagine that, as companies around the world focus more and more on improving the customer experience, streamlining and automating their processes, and providing greatly enhanced online experience that the general level of customer expectations with regard to ALL companies is increasing.

This means you cannot simply maintain your position by continuing to do what you have always done. If your remain static, you customer satisfaction scores – ACSI or NPS – or previously determined internal scales from Ecstatic to Miserable – will decline as customer expectations rise.

No matter what your current position in your marketplace, dominant to new entrant, you simply will not maintain or grow that position without actively working to improve your customer experience, because the rising tide of customer expectations will soon submerge your satisfaction scores.

As the pace of technological change continues to accelerate, and as new customers with elevated expectations enter the marketplace, you must plan to improve your customer experience at an accelerated pace just to maintain your current level of customer satisfaction scores. That type of planning and execution requires a partner with deep experience in customer satisfaction, broad knowledge of current and future trends for customer expectations, and keen awareness of the technologies that are currently and soon to be available to customer experience managers.

Jim Lindenfeld, Principal Consultant
Jim Lindenfeld, Principal Consultant

 

This blog was written by Jim Lindenfeld, who has been actively involved in customer relationship management during his entire professional career.  He is a certified sales and sales management trainer.  He has been involved in the implementation of CRM systems since 1987 and is currently a principal consultant in our CRM practice.

Focus on the Customer by Empowering Your Employees

Before you read this article, please go to the shelf, find your customer service standard operating procedures, dust them off, and check to see how many issues your organization faces daily that aren’t covered by a listed procedure. The truly customer-focused organizations are keenly aware that there are many situations that arise that are not covered by a known procedure and in order to keep the customer satisfied, action that is ‘against policy’ may have to be taken. These organizations engender a Focus on the Customer culture that empowers employees to do just that.

Empowering an employee to advocate for the customer, however, doesn’t necessarily give them the tools to do so. For years companies have been seeking the best way to handle these un-documented service scenarios so that the customer is satisfied and the company interests are also protected. Many people feel that if they tell the Customer Service Rep to treat the customer as fairly as they would want to be treated, then that meets an internal standard for solving the customer’s issue and protecting the corporate interests. However, many others feel that relying on a single employee’s perception of ‘fair’ may not do either of those things. This latter stream of thought has led some companies to insert a management review stage into the process that is counter-productive to an empowered culture.

Don Peppers, a highly respected author and CRM researcher, recently blogged about a new and innovative approach being tried by an Australian company. In their system, the customer service representative formulates an approach to solve the customer’s issue. However, before presenting it to a customer, they present it to a peer in customer service. If two customer service reps agree that the solution is the right one that is the one presented to the customer. In addition, the solution is reviewed later by management to see if it is something that would make sense to include in a standard procedures manual. This approach seems to preserve the culture of empowerment while ensuring that a ‘reviewed’ solution is used. It has the added benefit of increasing the knowledge base for the company.

If you have an innovative idea for creating and maintaining an empowered customer service culture that focuses on the customer, we would like to hear from you as well. Customer Relationship Management is a marriage of culture and technology and the companies that customers like to buy from are the ones where that relationship is nurtured from the boardroom to the warehouse.

Jim Lindenfeld, Principal Consultant

Jim Lindenfeld, Principal Consultant

Jim Lindenfeld has been actively involved in customer relationship management during his entire professional career.  He is a certified sales and sales management trainer.  He has been involved in the implementation of CRM systems since 1987 and is currently a principal consultant in our CRM practice.

Organize your Company by Focusing on Your Customers

In 2015 many have come to believe that Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is all about the technology. Technology is only the enabler. Real CRM is a corporate wide discipline that is enabled by the chosen CRM technology. That technology is capable of capturing all of the information about your transactions with customers (indeed, you can usually capture every interaction from the first moment you meet them as prospects to whatever eventuality occurs), but that typically requires a discipline throughout your company to do just that! That discipline can come by focusing on the customer.

Customers want to work with companies that are well-organized – that is, there are no gaps in their interactions with their customers. During sales interactions, these well-organized companies quickly provide answers that are specific to the customer’s needs and situation. They understand not only the features of the products that they sell, but also the benefits that derive from those features. Finally, they understand which of the benefits best match the objectives of the customer and focus on delivering those in value messages and during service delivery.

During support interactions, the support team can clearly define the support process for the customer, they have documented knowledge of the products and services the customer has purchased, they have access to what the customer is currently evaluating, they know what service level the customer is entitled to have, and they have encyclopedic knowledge on how to resolve an issue or answer a question. In addition, they have support sites specific to the customer for speedy and effective self-support.

Finally, the customer is delighted to learn that the well-organized company understands the social and competitive landscape that the customer faces. The well-organized company is in touch with the thought leaders and decision makers in the organization and the marketplace, they know the competitors and understand the competitive advantage the customer is attempting to create, and they understand the trends and regulatory pressures that are also shaping the customer’s behavior.

There are many companies out there that have processes in place (sales, customer service, and marketing) to gather the information described above. What they lack is the corporate discipline to gather it consistently and to then consistently share the raw data and the customer-focused analysis of the data.

If you are currently evaluating your CRM technology ask yourself some key questions:

  1. Does our system put the right person, in front of the right customer, with the right product and information, at the right time? (Or, as in many systems, are we relying on sales people to figure that out and then record the interaction in a CRM tool?)
  2. Does our system make it easy for my Sales channel to see and evaluate customer issues that required support from either self-service or the Customer Service team? (Or, as in many systems, are we at best only presenting the raw data and expecting the Sales team to spend additional time analyzing it?)
  3. Does our system make it easy for the Customer Service team to understand the Sales activity with the customers that involve samples, demonstrations, and trials?
  4. Does our system proactively push results from marketing and social media campaigns to our Sales and Customer Service teams? (Or, as in many systems, are we expecting those groups to search for, pull, and evaluate the information?)
  5. Finally, is our corporate focus on the customer, treating each customer as a marketplace of one, to ensure that each corporate employee understands the importance of using the system each and every time we interact with a customer so that we have the data and analysis available to demonstrate to all of our customers that we are a well-organized company?

Put the “customer” in the center of your Customer Relationship Management system and you will find that your company will focus on the discipline needed to maximize the return on your investment.

Jim Lindenfeld, Principal Consultant

Jim Lindenfeld, Principal Consultant

Jim Lindenfeld has been actively involved in customer relationship management during his entire professional career.  He is a certified sales and sales management trainer.  He has been involved in the implementation of CRM systems since 1987 and is currently a principal consultant in our CRM practice.

 

 

 

Siebel and Oracle RightNow CX can coexist! – May 2014 Part 2

May 2014 Part 2

In the previous post we focused on enhancements to the UI framework and mobile surveys. Since there are so many enhancements and features in the May 2014 release of Oracle Service Cloud RightNow, this is a multi-part series. If you did not read part one, I suggest you read that first: http://blog.evergegroup.com/?p=1275

Siebel Integration

Siebel is a best of breed on premise solution that is another component of Oracle’s CX suite of products. As a first step to bringing these two solutions together, Oracle has introduced an integration that allows the use of RightNow’s customer portal to submit service requests that will in turn be created in Siebel. This allows businesses to use a hybrid solution that leverages their on-premise Siebel CRM alongside RightNow’s robust knowledge base.

siebel1

As an advanced step towards integrating cloud and ground solutions, eVerge has built an integration that allows the submission of service requests through customer portal either through the use of web services or Open UI embedded within the RightNow customer portal framework. A customer logging into the portal can use the same login as they previously used for Siebel eService allowing Single Sign-on (SSO) between the two systems. This can be implemented using a third party identity provider, SAML or Pass-through authentication (PTA).

siebel2b

Once logged in to the Portal a customer can do all of the usual activities that RightNow offers like viewing open and resolved incidents (Siebel equivalent of service requests), changing password, updating profile, chatting with an agent or searching for knowledge.

From an agent perspective the eVerge solution includes the ability for agents in a call center to:

  • search answers
  • propose new content
  • update existing content
  • associate a specific piece of knowledge (answer) with a service request

This is all done from within Siebel through an integration using Rightnow’s knowledge foundation and Connect for web services APIs. This means that agents in the call center get the benefit of added functionality without the need to learn a new tool.

siebel3

 

Knowledge management personnel using the RightNow desktop are alerted when new answers have been proposed or an update has been requested and who submitted it. Through the use of exceptions in analytic reports knowledge managers are also able to keep track of which answers require updates and if it has not been reviewed within an acceptable timeframe a notification is sent to the supervisor.  There are other moving parts as well that can be configured to meet the business needs of any organization.

This is a crucial time in the evolution of cloud solutions and the continued viability of ground. Both will peacefully coexist and businesses do not need to sacrifice investments to abandon on premise architecture. There has been an increase lately in the number of articles that address this topic both Gartner and Forrester addressed the hybridization of cloud and on premise solution in their top technology trends fro 2014.

Integration and coexist strategies are technological imperatives that will shape the future of customer experience. I will be speaking about the topic of integration and coexistence as it applies to customer experience in September at Open World. If you want to attend Open world make sure you register early: https://www.oracle.com/openworld/index.html

siebel4

More information about the sessions I will be presenting at can be found in the catalog: https://oracleus.activeevents.com/2014/connect/speakerDetail.ww?PERSON_ID=76D52C98D2DB1449F2991D697C3997B0

We have implemented a similar solution for one of our key customers who have agreed to share the stage with us at Open World and share more information with others who may already be using Siebel but want to expand their footprint and improve customer experience by implementing a modern, robust self-service customer portal.

For more information on the May 2014 version including release notes, manuals, webcasts, tutorials and community posts. Please review at the official RightNow documentation overview page.

If you are interested in learning more or have questions feel free to reach out to me at cx@evergegroup.com

eVerge Group is an Oracle Platinum Partner with extensive experience. For more information about Oracle RightNow CX and our other business solutions, contact us through our website: http://www.evergegroup.com/contact.php

About the author: Rhianna Albert (Just Rhianna) has an extensive background in customer support systems and processes, is an active member of the CX community and has been implementing and integrating RightNow solutions for seven years.

 

Key Tools to Navigate in the Social Stratosphere

Some of you may know that I travel quite frequently to attend events, meet with clients and more but did you know I recently was in an emergency landing on a nationally known airline? I am not going to go into the specifics of what I felt or how others around me were dealing with the announcement of a possible water landing but it got me thinking about social and the importance of being connected. Why on earth have I been thinking about this? I have two answers to this, first the wi-fi service was not working on the entire flight so I could not alert my family that we were being diverted to another airport with a longer runway or yes potentially send them one last I love you.

My photo used on the Today show. They contacted me after seeing my tweets. We know they are using social tools.

Second, when we did land and we were stuck in the grass while FDNY in hazmat suits approached and someone took pictures of us and tweeted them out I was assured by the @nationallyknownairline on twitter that they were doing everything they could to get us off the plane immediately.

Don’t they tell us that in case of emergency evacuate as soon as possible?

Let’s get back to the point, staying connected in an era where social and the customers that use it are shaping how companies engage. I have since done some experimenting with companies that I know respond at least some of the time to tweets. On average if it is a company I know does some type of social monitoring and I ask a direct question I will get a response 25% of the time. This is generous estimate. If I merely mention the company or the twitter account that is being monitored I get a response less than 5% of the time.  There are a lot of statistics out there that tell companies they need to be doing more but are they listening? I think slowly they are beginning to. Social channels are maturing and new ones are constantly popping up. This time last year most people probably had never heard of pinterest, snapchat or even Instagram. Now they are regularly on the news and even mentioned in nightly television programs and sitcoms.

Two weeks ago I attended the Oracle CX Summit for partners at Oracle Headquarters in Redwood Shores, California and I had the chance to listen to information about updates to Oracle’s CX suite of products including RightNow, SRM (Social Relationship Management) and Eloqua. There were other products featured as well but these three stand out because they have a social footprint to varying degrees.

#CXSummit Twitter feed

 

I asked @nationallyknownairline  what product they use to monitor twitter and keeping with the typical pattern I have been seeing they did not respond. However after some internet research I came across a video of their social lab where the agents who used to be reservations agents were taught to monitor twitter. The lab had a wall of monitors displaying facebook, twitter, live tv, tweetdeck and hootesuite. When asked why they use so many different tools they responded that they want to take advantage of different benefits and nuances of each tool. While I commend them for even having a social lab to begin with they have a long way to go.

 

Being that I am the most familiar with RightNow (Service Cloud) I will begin there. Social monitoring was introduced in the product a few years ago and has been continually enhanced with each quarterly release.  Being that RightNow is primarily a call center application many times the departments using this feature are part of the customer support organization and use it purely in a service capacity. Many companies using it are still at an early stage where they have some searches set up, may respond occasionally but that is all.

Ideally they should be using it as a legitimate channel and reach out to customers that are having a problem and generate an incident. They could also use it to proactively communicate information such as upcoming product releases, service advisories or even to identify potential problems before it is too late. If you have been in the customer service industry you have heard that 89% of customers will switch brands after one negative experience but what if that one person tweeted about it and all their friends in turn retweeted it. 

A company could be quickly facing some very unwanted sentiment from the social ether.  The February 2014 release of RightNow had some nice updates to this feature.  If you want to read more about it peruse one of my previous posts, email me or find me on twitter @just_rhianna  and request a demonstration.

For general information on Social monitoring in Oracle’s Service Cloud read this and make sure to read some of the whitepapers and case studies: http://www.oracle.com/us/products/applications/rightnow/social-experience/social-monitor/overview/index.html

 

SRM is a purely browser based application where you can set up listeners, social pages, workflows and even integrations to RightNow and Eloqua. It is classified as part of the Oracle Social Cloud. The audience for this application is primarily the marketing arm of a business but can be used by support as well. In fact I know at least one electronics manufacturer where customer support falls under marketing. Yes it makes for some interesting internal conversations but how powerful would that be if your marketers were listening to social chatter, identified some potential fires and were able to seamlessly pass them on to the call center agents that were using RightNow? Everyone one wants a 360 degree view of the customer, don’t they? The answer is they should!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For more information on Oracle Social Cloud: http://www.oracle.com/us/solutions/social/overview/index.html

The anchor of Oracle’s Marketing cloud is Eloqua, it is geared towards marketing and deals mainly with the more traditional channel of email.  There are still large demographics of people that are not adopting newer social channels therefore I do not see email going the way of the CD just yet.

 With Social Sign-on Apps from Eloqua, businesses can prompt visitors to sign on with their Facebook, LinkedIn, or Twitter login to access their marketing asset. Eloqua Social landing page apps are accessible directly within the landing page editor. Each tool, such as the social sharing tools for Google+, LinkedIn and Twitter can be dragged onto the landing page canvas with a single click and quickly configured.  Allow users to share content with their network within Google+, LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter!

Integrate with Oracle SRM to better target your campaigns to address what is being discussed by your targets.

In fact, each of the solutions I spoke about have integrations that allow them to seamlessly interact and provide better insight into customer activity whether it be purely social, marketing or service. More information can be found in this data sheet: http://www.oracle.com/us/products/social-relationship-mgmt-brief-1915605.pdf?ssSourceSiteId=opn

At eVerge Group we have a vast amount of experience across CX, Marketing and Social and can provide assistance with assessments, best practices, implementations, integrations and more. I would like to thank Jim Sibley for his contribution to this article and for continuing to share his knowledge of Eloqua with me.

If you are interested in learning more or have questions feel free to reach out to me at cx@evergegroup.com

eVerge Group is an Oracle Platinum Partner with extensive experience. For more information about Oracle RightNow CX and our other business solutions, contact us through our website: http://www.evergegroup.com/contact.php

About the author: Rhianna Albert (Just Rhianna) has an extensive background in customer support systems and processes, is an active member of the CX community and has been implementing and integrating RightNow solutions for six years.

 

Oracle BI Mobile Application Designer (MAD)

Oracle introduced another great application called “Oracle BI Mobile App Designer (MAD)” in Release 11.1.1.7.1 of Oracle Business Intelligence Enterprise Edition (Oracle BI EE).

The Oracle BI Mobile App Designer (MAD) is a new design tool for business users to easily create stunning and interactive analytical applications for use on any major mobile device.  With Oracle BI Mobile, businesses have been able to deploy full interactive dashboards with no additional development using Oracle BI Mobile HD on iOS devices. Now, you can create purpose-built mobile analytic applications for any smartphones and tablets with drag-and-drop simplicity using Oracle BI Mobile App Designer. BI Mobile App Designer complements BI Mobile HD and is packaged with Oracle BI Foundation Suite and the BI Mobile option to OBIEE.  Some of the MAD highlights include:

Mobile-first Business Apps – BI Mobile App Designer is the ideal solution for users that want targeted, business-specific mobile apps that are easy and fast to build, require no programming expertise, and can be delivered to users across all the major mobile platforms and devices. Apps are built with support for touch and gestural interactions built in.

Intuitive App Design Interface – BI Mobile App Designer has a simple drag-and-drop interface that allows business users to select their data visualizations, including: tables, charts, navigation panels, repeating grids, images, text narrative, etc. These elements can then be dropped onto a palette to create mobile apps within minutes. Third-party plug-ins like Google Maps, Sunburst Visualizer, etc., can be incorporated and used in a similar manner. A preview function allows users to see their apps within a computer’s browser, or on a mobile device by scanning a QR code, without requiring any installation or configuration.

Portable Device, Platform, Screen-size Design  – BI Mobile App Designer is certified to support iOS, Android, and Windows Mobile Smartphones and Tablets. Since it supports HTML5, most mobile browsers can run BI Mobile App Designer apps. No plug-in, installation, or download from a third-party app store, is required.

Enterprise Integration – Oracle BI Mobile App Designer is a part of and is fully integrated with the Oracle BI Foundation. Users can create mobile apps with enterprise data from the BI Semantic Layer (RPD), with data from BI Publisher data models, or Excel data files with seamless support for, and the benefits of, role-based data-level security that the Oracle BI Foundation suite provides.

Drag and Drop – The easiest way to create UI is to drag and drop. MAD has beautifully incorporated this feature where one can build the entire BI Mobile Application just by dragging and dropping components and data fields as required.

Oracle Mobile Application Designer Drag n Drop

Interactive  – MAD is based on the “gestural” principal of touch and swipe. As most mobile apps use this technology for interaction, MAD has followed suit to adapt gesture interactivity for all the components in its libraries.

App Library – Users can share their new mobile apps across organizations using the publish feature. They can subscribe to these apps and receive updates when changes are being propagated to their subscribed apps.

Security – As MAD is integrated with Oracle BI Foundation Suite, the BI content has proven enterprise level security and performance capabilities.

HTML5 – The complete BI Mobile Application Designer output is generated in HTML5 including the data visualization charts. It can run on any platform device or operating system without any glitches. MAD follows the philosophy of “Build once, distribute anywhere.”

A sample Mobile App Designer Screen:

The result in iPad:

Other features include…

  • Supports drill down charts.
  • MAD comes with a separate filter component.
  • Multiple types of data visualization supported such as; Line, Bar, Area, Bubble, Pie, 3D graphs, Circular and Funnel.
  • Simple tables as well as complex pivot tables can be built.
  • Images can be added by uploading them, using the URL link, or inserting them from a database field.
  • MAD’s greatest strength is its repeater components! (ex: Tile and Accordion.)
  • Complex frame sets can be created by including frames for laying out the components to make them aesthetically appealing.
  • Choice of many Black and White themes.
  • MAD applications can be built using three types of data sources: subject area, data sources, and external excel files.
  • Drag and drop feature of the data fields from data source into the visual components.
  • Clean layout, perfectly aligned component sets and toolbars help in building complex dashboards using few clicks.

Limitations of MAD include…

  • Have to build support dashboards for Mobile and Tablet devices
  • Theme change effect is not being applied to all the properties of components (you can see the black text on chart labels in the black theme). These kinds of glitches can also be seen on the tables
  • Backspace does not work
  • Deleting a column from a table is not user friendly
  • Cannot add columns if there is no space

How do you get this?

  • BI Mobile App Designer is available now as a patch to Oracle Business Intelligence Suite Enterprise Edition, version 11.1.1.7.1. (patch number 17220944 at support.oracle.com)
  • BI Mobile App Designer is licensed at no extra charge with Oracle BI Foundation Suite and Oracle BI Mobile

eVerge Group is an Oracle Platinum Partner with extensive Oracle implementation experience in Oracle Business Intelligence. For more information about our business solutions, contact us at our website. http://www.evergegroup.com/contact.php

About the author: Garrett is Director of EPM Solutions who has worked with eVerge Group since 2005.

Spotlight on Oracle RightNow CX: February 2014 Part 2

Oracle RightNow CX: February 2014 Part 2

As I stated in part one of my spotlight on the February 2014 release of Oracle Service Cloud aka RightNow, this release includes many new major features, enhancement of existing features spanning all areas of the product and new tutorials. I am happy to report that I have just received my new February 2014 demo site and will be taking full advantage of the new bells and whistles. This part will focus on the second half of the new features and will wrap up the two part series. Read Part One if you missed it last week.

Cross-Channel Contact Center

Feedback which is the RightNow module that contains transactional, broadcast and polling surveys has finally been enhanced to allow all users to respond to surveys that have been sent to them even people that require compatibility with accessibility tools. It is worth noting that web accessibility optimization for feedback surveys is listed in the release notes as one of the Major New Features and that adding a question to a new or existing survey will trigger the accessibility enhancements to be automatically applied. In the User Guide for February 2014 reading about new accessibility enhancement will refer you to Oracle’s Accessibility Program for more information. I did a quick review of the page and it included detailed policy information, news, how-to articles as well as quotes about the initiatives like the one below:

“Oracle is committed to creating accessible technologies and products that enhance the overall workplace environment and contribute to the productivity of our employees, our customers, and our customers’ customers.”
—Safra Catz, President, Oracle

 

Analytics Report Delivery Options have been enhanced to include a compressed csv format that will allow an increased amount of data to be sent up to one million rows. This is good if you are trying to run large reports with data that goes back a few years. Prior to this Major Feature you were limited to running reports with a max row count of 10,000. The row count was increased in Excel in 2010 to allow one million rows so if you worked for a company that had adopted office 2010 then you would have to limit the date range on reports generated in RightNow, export many multiples and merge them back together in excel. With the new feature you will save time, decrease the risk of errors and report failures. Although this is a little overdue at this point it is still a welcome enhancement that improves usability, decreases defects and increases capacity. There are some restrictions that I have included below from the user guide:

 

Outlook Integration has been around for quite some time from an Administrative and Agent perspective I think this feature will not make your job easier if you are used to the robustness available in the .Net client. However if you have Executives, Sales representatives or other staff who are on the go a lot or do not need the full .Net client this is an option that is extremely convenient and requires little training once implemented. The difference in February is that RightNow has added support for both Outlook 2010 and 2013 64-bit so now you can have outlook integration on a wider set of versions. The integration allows the user to sync contacts, tasks and email from a button that appears at the top of the Outlook window in the Ribbon bar.

 

Policy Automation (OPA) was released in February 2013 and is used for businesses that have a lot of policies examples of use cases are eligibility for social programs like food stands or finding out if you qualify for a student loan. I previously reviewed OPA when it was introduced if you want to know more you can read about it in my February 2013 review. In order to update a policy business users update a word document and then upload to the Service cloud with a click of a button.

OPA Interview Enhancements include:

  1. New pop-up date control option for calendars
  2. Ability to collect rows of data in a tabular entity collection which is column based

 

 

OPA Agent Desktop Enhancements include:

  1. Ability to run multiple agent interviews at the same time
  2. Allow sub-interviews to allow a natural customer interaction flow
  3. Keep an accurate record of customer experience interaction by automatically saving incident thread.

 

OPA Enhanced Rules Navigation improves productivity for staff modeling and testing policies.

  1. Use word to navigate rule structure
  2. Highlight a section of the document in word or excel to launch the debugger tool and debug the current rule or test case

 

 

 

 

OPA New Sample Project Templates include options for financial services, higher education, media and entertainment. You can enhance existing interviews by features from the new samples and use as a framework for new interviews.

Oracle Service Cloud Integration enhancements will be covered as a separate post.

There is a wealth of information on the different releases available including release notes, manuals, webcasts, tutorials and community posts. Please review at the official RightNow documentation overview page.

If you are interested in learning more or have questions feel free to reach out to me at cx@evergegroup.com

eVerge Group is an Oracle Platinum Partner with extensive experience. For more information about Oracle RightNow CX and our other business solutions, contact us through our website: http://www.evergegroup.com/contact.php

About the author: Rhianna Albert (Just Rhianna) has an extensive background in customer support systems and processes, is an active member of the CX community and has been implementing and integrating RightNow solutions for six years.