What we saw at the conference was a full suite for customer experience. As point solutions turn to suites, Constellation Research predicts organizations that want to keep all the information about customers flowing in one place will most likely turn to platforms, suites and hubs for customer experience.
With suites there is the opportunity to know your customers better, via shared data, shared knowledge across lines of business for personalized and relevant offers, products and services. Instead of having silos trying to each engage with the customer, suites provide the opportunity for employees to collaborate when engaging with customers (especially when the organization change management issues are dealt with from a leadership point of view.) Suites also provide the opportunity to drive new workflows, products and services that meet customer needs better. If companies are able to take advantage of what suites offer, they can sell more, innovate faster and increase shareholder value.
As we listened to Mark V. Hurd’s (Co-CEO or Oracle) keynote, he talked about the issues in IT spending. He estimated, worldwide IT spending is down over the last five years and down 5.1% in 2015. He also talked about revenue growth being stalled because companies are focusing on cost cutting to make their numbers for Wall Street. However, the focus needs to be on choosing the right software to grow the company’s revenue. One of the big drivers for software is getting the customer experience right. With all other things being equal, Constellation Research believes customer experience is the number one differentiator.
Why? People expect that when they buy something, the experience will be at least positive if not really “wow” them. Otherwise, they will choose to go to a competitor. Mark spoke about the reality that most revenue growth will need to come from share shift as opposed to market growth. What this means for software companies is that they need to provide better software so that companies can provide better experiences so customer choose to move from their competitors to them. This also goes for software companies. The best way to grow revenue is to increase customer satisfaction. It’s interesting that this focus on customer experience seems to be the topic of the day. It’s something that I’ve been writing about for years. Customer Service and satisfaction perhaps has come into it’s own, finally.
Often times companies don’t realize they are taking themselves out of the running when a customer sees (in forums, ratings, review sites, social media…) that the company is not responding, doesn’t show it cares and isn’t there to work with the customer to make things right. In fact, 67% of a decision on what to buy in B2B sales is completed before the customer even talks to a sales person. The customer is getting what they need from reading what is in digital and social media. And that customer automatically looks whether the company is participating in digital and social media, and even though they may not be aware, the company who is not participating make take themselves out of the marketing funnel, because customers realize that if they bought from that company and had an issue, they too would fall into the “no customer service zone” and be stuck with an issue. Nobody wants that and customers, after years of pretty bad service in many industries, are choosing to leave companies they have tried to be loyal to, but just can’t be loyal to any more.
And smart data is a huge opportunity for companies. Why? When companies put their data in the cloud they are able to aggregate more data in a single location creating convenience for marketing, sales and customer service in a very data-driven world.
Mark spoke about his own frustration with the financial institution he banks with and their calls to him about his account. He explains every time they call him, in detail, what the issue is, yet the bank still calls him with the same question. It’s as though the bank is on autoplay. It’s important to know your customers, understand who they are and what they need to keep them loyal.
Troy Carter, from Atomic Factory, spoke about the importance of engaging fans and his traverse of the start-up world. His words were very inspiring and really emphasized the idea that companies need to think about their customers as fans. With that mentality, how they are served, could change quite a bit. It was great to see someone who has arrived at a lot of fame, remember his beginnings and be humble about his amazing accomplishments in innovating in the music industry.
The conference was also graced by a number of customers who are on the journey with Oracle to provide not only better UX for their employees to use the software but also to develop the best in class suites to better service their customers. Look forward to an up coming case study on a brand called Elaine Turner. And here’s a case study on how GM listens to their customers in digital and social media and drives better marketing, sales and service.
@drnatalie Petouhoff, VP and Principal Analyst, Constellation Research
Covering Customer Facing Applications that Drive Great Customer Experiences and Revenue Growth
Troy Carter, Atomic Factory, Keynote at Oracle CX Conference