Taking Care of Customers
Oracle’s Modern Customer Conference Provides Plenty Of CX Lessons
Just back from Oracle’s Modern Customer Experience conference in Chicago. I always enjoy these conferences where experts from many different companies share their experiences and examples. What is the modern customer experience? The way I see it, it’s a better customer experience provided by the company that embraces technology, such as AI, chatbots, content marketing, social media, web and mobile experiences, and much more. As I sat through some of the sessions, there were some compelling ideas shared with the audience – tweetable ideas – and that’s where we’ll go for the recap.
We started off the opening general session with our host and fellow customer service and experience expert Jay Baer. He issued a challenge to all of us: Be remarkable. When you can deliver experiences to your customers that are better than they expect, those experiences become legendary, not ordinary. Are you ready to be remarkable? In other words, don’t settle for normal. Bump it up, even if it’s just a little better than average. That’s what the best companies do. Jay used the word remarkable. I use the word amazing. The best CX companies in the world aren’t always delivering over-the-top experiences. No, they are just a little better than average. But, they are always a little better. It’s that consistency that makes those companies amazing or … remarkable.
CX Could Hit a Wall – and Maybe Decline
Des Cahill, Oracle’s Chief Evangelist, shared some tough news. Analysts predict customer experience will hit a wall, and maybe even decline. How can that be? So many companies are investing in new technology, training, and more to create a better CX. But, it may not be enough. The problem is that they aren’t keeping up with customers’ expectations. The CX rock star companies are teaching customers what to expect. As customers enjoy those experiences, they expect the same from everyone they do business with.
Customer Experience and Continuous Experimentation
Cahill had another interesting concept. We know that the letters CX stand for Customer Experience. But, what if those letters also stood for Continuous Experimentation? If you want to be recognized as a leader in the experience world, you must constantly be experimenting with new ways to give your customers a better customer experience.
Charlie Herrin is the EVP and Chief Customer Officer at Comcast. One of his messages was clear. Be proactive. Don’t wait for customers to call about a problem if you already know it exists. What happens when the cable TV goes out? The old way of handling the problem was to wait for upset customers to call the support center and have customer support agents calm them down with assurances that “They are working on it.” It wasn’t that long ago when a phone call was the primary way of dealing with a customer problem. Today, there are many different ways to communicate with your customers. Imagine a cable outage. Comcast can broadcast to specific customers via multiple channels such as SMS, email, Twitter, Facebook and more. This lets customers know the company is aware of the problem and frees up support agents to take care of bigger customer issues.
Data Is King
Shashi Seth, SVP of Oracle Marketing Cloud, opened his presentation with a focus on data. Data is at the core of marketing. It lets you get personal with your customers. The more data you have on your customers, the better you are able to build precise marketing campaigns. You can customize your conversations with your best customers. Acquiring the data is important, but perhaps even more so, is to not abuse the privilege of that data. Overt marketing messages to the customer that are irrelevant or sent at the wrong time will destroy trust. The result could mean your customer will walk, which in the digital world means they will unsubscribe from your list or send you to their junk folder, and never want to hear from you again. However, when you use data the right way, you appear to be more personal and make a better connection, and your open and conversion rates improve.
Will AI Eliminate Jobs?
Jack Berkowitz, VP of Products and Data Science at Oracle Adaptive Intelligence, says “No.” For example, Booking.com has 50 percent of its calls handled by AI-fueled chatbots, but that didn’t eliminate half the jobs. It gave those agents who had been answering basic requests and questions more time to focus on customers’ bigger issues. In the future, this may not be the case. Studies predict that AI will replace millions of jobs, but that’s a bit misleading. Jobs lost will be replaced by new jobs that support the AI industry and by jobs that don’t yet exist. Furthermore, when asked about AI eliminating jobs, I look at it this way: Did ATM machines replace all the bank tellers?
Create a FANatical Customer Experience
I save one of my favorite takeaways for last. Catherine Blackmore, Group VP at Oracle, interviewed Carolyn Crawford of Fanatics, and she opened with a story about the Chicago Cubs winning the World Series. When they won the seventh game, in extra innings no less, the Cubs’ fans said, “We won!” Not “The Cubs won,” We won. The merged identity fans have with their favorite sports teams is about unshakable loyalty. So, the next time you think of customer loyalty, think about the level of loyalty that the Chicago Cubs, or any other sports franchise, create with their fans. Can your organization do the same?