Customer Experience Management

100,000 Pieces of Content a Day

content

It often feels like we are being deluged by content, we are exposed to more stories, images, video, and audio than ever before. Yet most of that content (social media aside) has been sorted, indexed, written, edited, managed, and gone through a publication process before it even gets to us, the consumer. How do those who produce the content deal the vast amounts of raw information, text, and images etc., that go to make up the stories that we see? And how do they make their publishing efficient enough to keep up with the unedited real time content streaming across the various social media platforms? These were the sort of problems facing News UK the publisher of some of the biggest and most popular British newspapers. The Times, Britain’s oldest daily national, and The Sunday Times are the world’s best-known quality newspapers. The Sun is the most read British newspaper, with more than four million readers each day. News UK also operates a number of digital channels, including Sun Bingo, Sunday Times Wine Club, and Riviera Travel. News UK receives and generates more than 100,000 new digital assets each day, and manages in excess of 25 million assets in total. The assets including text, images, pages, video, graphics, and audio needed to be captured, indexed, and quickly made available to users across the business. Their existing digital asset management system (DAM) had served the business well, but was more suited to print media, with limited options for moving towards a converged, multichannel solution. It also lacked the ability to be easily integrated to its chosen editorial system. “We need to drive a greater responsiveness for global news coverage, rapidly publishing articles that provide a consistent, rich multimedia experience for readers across all channels and publication brands,” says Simon Pumphrey, Systems Manager at News UK.” Against a backdrop of technical change, we have to ensure we remain at the forefront of how news is delivered, across all channels.” In looking for a replacement for their legacy system the new DAM solution had to be faster, easier to use, and be more cost-effective than our existing system. It should also help us ensure compliance with usage rights of the assets we use, with comprehensive tracking, audit, and reporting. We wanted a browser-based solution, based on open standards, which would be straightforward to integrate to our editorial system. OpenText™ Content Hub for Publishers (CHP) meets all of these criteria and more,” says Pumphrey. CHP has been introduced as part of a large-scale transformation project to increase collaboration across editorial teams. “The business critical deployment of OpenText CHP allows News UK to collect as many as 100,000 or more new digital assets and news feeds submitted each day by multiple journalists, photographers, and agencies into a single system. The OpenText content Analytics engine automatically tags these assets, ensuring content can be quickly found and retrieved across the various editorial desks.” Not only can the assets be easily repurposed across The Times, The Sunday Times, and The Sun, but the solution ensures the correct rights are associated with each asset, helping to mitigate the risk of digital rights infringement. “In today’s connected world, customers are choosing to engage with our newspapers across a growing number of devices and, increasingly, we need to manage the growing types of digital content to create a richer digital experience. We chose OpenText CHP as the scalability of the platform has enabled us to move from a print-centric process to one where journalists can associate multimedia content directly into different channels,” You can find more information about the News UK implementation of CHP here, and download the white paper on Content Hub strategy.

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Matthew Storm Joins the OpenText WFO Team

WFO

If you follow Matthew Storm on social media you may see “marketer, speaker, traveler, foodie, a farmer’s son, a customer service fanatic, lover of life and empty-nester.”  Sounds more like a transformer to me! Matthew has been working on mobile solutions for the past year as part of the OpenText team and as of this month, has stepped up as the product marketing team leader for OpenText™ Experience Suite.  This includes Workforce Optimization, Customer Communications Management, Digital Asset Management and Web Experience Management. Matthew has spent the last decade working overseas and leading a great team at NICE Systems, in addition to his years of contact center operational experience. He has a proven track record of delivering innovative and action-oriented results that unerringly focus on what matters most to both his internal and external customers. Fun and engaging, highly collaborative, deliberate when necessary but with a keen sense of speed to market – these are some of the attributes you’ll appreciate most when working with Matthew. I spoke with him about his new role, and here are three reasons he’s thrilled to be at OpenText: Analyst Recognition The Ian Jacobs-led team of Forrester researchers recently looked at what contact center teams are doing and what problems they’re solving with WFO solutions.  In their research, Forrester also took into account how easy it is to work with the vendors.  At OpenText, a valuable two-way relationship is based on how much a vendor listens to its customers. One of our references told Forrester, “We have had a seat at the table to influence the overall product road map.”  We are excited to bring new innovation to this space and honored to be categorized “Strong Performer”. Download your copy of the Forrester Wave for Workforce Optimization here. WFO Innovation The OpenText™ Qfiniti team has been busy!  In the past 18 months, the OpenText Qfiniti platform has released key innovations in agent guidance, desktop analytics, analytics-based QA, mobility, gamification, and managed services, all with a consistent user interface and unparalleled scale. Matthew was instrumental in the early stages of Qfiniti’s birth in 2003 and said, “I’m proud to see that the fresh innovations to OpenText™ WFO Software are grounded in the longstanding best practices of usability and customer-driven advancement.” Connecting Customer Journeys Finally, while many vendors talk about the multi-channel experience, OpenText has the depth of portfolio to actually “create” digital experiences on the web and social media that match the conversations happening in the contact center.  Matthew recently shared with an analyst that, “every department in an organization thinks that their group sets the tone for the customer experience; but in reality each department is driving amazing silos of mixed delight.  OpenText is more than just multichannel and journey-speak – our solutions touch every angle of customer experience management and seek to connect experiences to drive customer lifetime value.” Learn more about OpenText Experience Suite today. Welcome to the team, Matt!

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Check Your Coaching Program Expiration Date

coaching

One night while visiting family in Tulsa, I developed one of the worst headaches I’ve had in years.  The Advil container in my travel bag was empty, and I set out across my in-law’s house to find a solution to my pounding forehead. I faintly remember seeing some medicine in the laundry room on a previous visit and so I walked quietly, head in hand, through the dark house. My father-in-law is a veterinarian, so my first pass through unusual bottles in the cabinet allowed me to quickly rule out rabies, ringworm and even equine diabetes. Finally! The “human” shelf.  Advil, and not the horse version of ibuprofen, but the people stuff. I don’t care if you read this as 2007 or 2001, neither date pattern is good. And just as I was about to throw that bottle in the trash, standing in the light of the medicine cabinet, I weighed the good and bad and decided it just wasn’t worth it. To make matters worse, I finally remembered seeing a single-use packet in my computer bag, and so I just put the bottle back on the shelf and made a mental note to say something to my family in the morning. Expiration Dates Defined But did you know that these expiration dates really do stand for something?  They don’t go bad, but according to a Harvard Medical School article, expiration dates are the date at which the manufacturer can “still guarantee the full potency and safety.”  My expired Advil might make my headache go away, but after that date they can’t guarantee results. Don’t do it! So don’t risk it. I challenge you today to ask yourself this question – have you checked the expiration date of your coaching and quality monitoring program lately? Have you turned over and looked at the label on your old NICE, Verint or Calabrio system?  Do you feel like you’re either not at full potential (think targeted coaching) or fully safe (think masking and muting credit card data for PCI compliance). If you are tired of the same frustrating results or aren’t sure you’re safe anymore, it’s time for a refresh. At OpenText WFO we know that throwing the old bottle away is hard. In fact, we even know that the upgrade path alone for many of these old coaching applications is brutal. But consider the effects on your staff — supervisors that don’t coach, employees that rarely get feedback or executives that don’t see results. If this describes the expiration date on your program, I invite you to check out the infographic with ICMI. This infographic explores the challenges of using outdated coaching techniques, shares industry research that shows the root causes and potential damage of bad coaching, and makes recommendations on technologies that enable better coaching conversations in today’s dynamic contact center environment. Don’t put it back!   Don’t just put that bottle back on the shelf. Throw it away and keep it fresh in 2017. Download the infographic below today for more information.

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Is Your Website a Reflection of You or Your Customers?

web content management solutions

“Hey Dad, did you have any feedback?” That text from my daughter last week was part of an ongoing discussion around the website that she was designing for a new business venture that she and a partner will be launching in a few months. It was the third iteration of the site, and this was the first version that was fully mobile friendly. My feedback was that with just a few minor tweaks, this iteration was very close to where they needed to be for the launch. It told a good story and provided the basic information their customers would be looking for. It wasn’t always the case. Early in the process of them developing a business case I asked my daughter and her business partner what they wanted the website to communicate. The immediate response was “We want it to let people know what we do.” A logical answer, but my response was something along the lines of “That’s great, but other people do what you do. What makes you special?” “We are focused on people with a particular problem area.” “Great. So think about the people who need help solving that problem. What are they going to be looking for?” As these sort of discussions continued, the website design and prototypes evolved from their description of what the new company did, to a series of short articles that addressed the potential customer’s problems, and how my daughter and her partner can help. They also looked at the list of services they were offering and decided to focus on the three where they have had the most interest. Now instead of a webpage with a shopping list of things to pick from, each solution article has information about the relevant service, with pricing and contact information. But it’s not only small businesses or start-ups that need to be switching their thinking from a website that, no matter how slick it’s presented, is little more than a digital brochure. Often these sort of “inside-out” websites end up being a reflection of the corporate structure accompanied by a list of products. Switching the mind set to a customer driven “outside-in” view can pay dividends, not only in an improved experience that can help customer’s solve their problems, but they can also have a direct impact on the company’s bottom line. I once worked on a project for a large company whose website was a perfect reflection of their corporate and business unit structure. You had to know what part of the company was responsible for a particular product to be able to find it; even the employees had a hard time figuring out where to find information. But a customer focused analysis showed that 80% of the traffic went to the website for just four things: to look up product specifications, pricing, buy spare parts, or get support. Once we rebuilt the website around making those tasks as easy as possible, traffic, leads, and online parts sales revenue all increased, and support costs decreased. Improving the customer experience is now regularly cited as a top strategic imperative for many companies, and the website is the always-on global showcase for that. Delivering a customer-driven web experience means not only changing the mind-set and the content, but also delivering a more engaging relevant and engaging experience that delivers value to the individual customer. It can rapidly become a complex process and needs the right sort of management tools to enable and support an effective web presence. OpenText™ Web Content Management (WCM) solutions are an open, flexible, and connected platform to solve the next generation of digital experience challenges faced by marketers and business managers. OpenText WCM brings together content, process, and applications to create and deliver optimized and personalized multi-channel interactions across the full customer journey.

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Was one of Your Resolutions Better CX? If not, it Should be

customer experience

Ever wonder why some companies seem to do so much better than others? Is there one competitor you always feel like you are chasing to catch up with? If yes, you might want to look at the customer experience (CX) you deliver and how that compares to others in your market. Many analyst firms are talking about the importance of making customer experience a top priority in a business.  Forrester Research recently released their latest CX Index findings and it continues to show that CX leaders consistently outperformed laggards in the market. So, it’s no wonder that companies continue to invest in CX. Better CX leads to a higher ROI and CX leaders tend to beat CX laggards on a number of metrics, ranging from compound annual growth to shareholder returns. CX leaders are also more likely to: Grow revenue faster Drive more purchases Dominate pricing Lower their service costs Reduce regulatory compliance risks   If you are interested in learning more I encourage you to watch this one-hour webinar. Forrester Research CX expert Margaret Rodriguez shares why CX leaders grow revenue faster than CX laggards; demonstrates how to link CX investments to ROI; discusses how to prioritize investments to continually improve customer experience and offers practical advice on how to drive  improvements. View the webinar here.

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An Account Number by any Other Name

online customer experience

All I wanted to do was give a business some money. Yet they seemed determined to make it as difficult as possible for me to pay my bill. We had received our first invoice from them as a paper bill in the mail (how 20th century!), but as we pay all of our regular bills digitally we decided to go online and pay that way. Two steps into the website process it asked for our Account Number; which was not printed anywhere on the paper bill, nor on the covering letter. A few clicks and we managed to find our account profile online. Still nothing labeled as “Account Number” anywhere. Ok we’ll pay by check this time around just to make sure it gets there. Then we saw the following note on the payment instructions: “Please include your account number on the check.” – You mean the “Account Number” that you haven’t told us? A few more clicks around the website and we eventually found an email address to send a question about how we could find this elusive number. The response was “Oh we get asked that a lot. You just go to your account profile and combine the abbreviation from Box 3 with the number from Box 5 so the account number looks something like ABC1245.” As I ran this frustrating scenario back through my mind (after I had managed to pay the bill) it raised several Customer Experience questions: If you have customers repeatedly asking the same question about a part of your process, then that part of your process is broken. You need to fix it. And not in a way that makes it easier for you, but in a way that it makes it easier for the customer to complete their task, like giving you money on time! If there’s a vital identifying piece of information that customers need to be able to interact with your business processes, then make sure it’s included on any, and all, customer correspondence or interaction, be it physical or digital. Names are important. Think about what you call something. Don’t expect the customer to know the terms you use internally. Pick names that the customer will recognize and use it consistently. As a further example of this last point, I once worked with a company where one of the product lines was known internally by its engineering name. No-one outside the company used the term to describe that sort of product. No-one in the industry, and certainly none of the company’s customers or prospects did. But the engineering name was embedded throughout the company’s processes and even used on the website. No-one ever searched for that name and as a result it never came up in search engine results and online lead generation for that product line was almost non-existence. After a lot of discussion we eventually got the product people to agree to using the more common name on the website – i.e. the term that customers and prospects used when searching. In a week the relevant webpages started popping up in the top 10 search results. In a year the lead generation increased exponentially with a resultant growth in product revenue. The customers were also happier, and support costs dropped, because they could now find the information they needed quickly and easily. All because the name was changed to the one that the customers used.

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Media Management – A “Rosetta Stone” for Rosetta Stone

media management

The Rosetta Stone the famous tablet, found in 1799, that displayed the same text in three ancient languages: Greek, Demotic (Egyptian script), and hieroglyphics, provided the key to enable deeper understanding and more accurate translation of those languages. In doing so it gave us a broader view of the ancient world and enabled other discoveries to be put into context. Sometimes the various different aspects of a large corporation can feel like they are using different languages to describe the same thing. What we need is a digital “rosetta stone” that can help facilitate conversation around shared assets from marketing, through sales, support, finance, legal, and other lines of business. One company that has successfully addressed that issue is the company named after the aforementioned archeological find – Rosetta Stone.  Rosetta Stone provides cloud-based learning for more than 30 languages in close to 150 countries. It serves schools, businesses, governments, and millions of individual learners across the globe. It’s an often repeated truism by those of us in the content industry that every company is a publisher, and this view is reinforced by Donna Bible, the Senior Digital Asset Manager for Rosetta Stone. Everything that Rosetta Stone does starts with content, and Bible and her team manage more than a million images, videos, and audio components used by professionals across the world to develop interactive lessons. “My role is to use the right system to collect all that content, catalog it, and enable the creative services teams who make videos for our end users, as well as the product and the images within it.” “We work with our creative and legal teams to harness the most recent videos and licensed imagery,” Bible states. “Using OpenText™ Media Management, I am able to gather the latest versions and final published documents and ensure that people see something that is out to press or published on the web and approved.” Media Management enlivens creativity and productivity, according to Bible. “If you are able to harness content, relocate it and reuse it, you are at a completely different scalable level of work,” she says. “You save your creative team time and you save the legal team time from having to contest rights.” OpenText Media Management meets the company’s expanding needs while maintaining a rich collection for its growth across borders. “Having a consistent vision of retaining knowledge and content … and integrating the different departments has brought and kept a lot of people together,” Bible states. “It’s also allowed us to on-board people more easily by giving them insight … Media Management has become more than just a work tool. It’s really an archive of history for the company.” For organizations implementing digital asset management, Bible offers this advice. “At first, involve as many people as you can,” she says. “Then, when you implement, focus on one group: get that right and use it as a service model.” Results compound quickly, Bible notes. “Trust that there is a snowball effect of value you’re building. After some years, it can be very satisfying.” Check out the video and download the white paper for more on the Rosetta Stone story. Or view this on-demand webinar to learn how another Media Management customer, Monster Energy, benefited from their  asset management initiative.

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Personalizing the Customer Experience is the Key to Success in 2017

personalized customer engagement

As consumers, nothing is worse than a bad customer service experience. Most of us have experienced entering information in an automated phone system as fast as possible in hopes of eventually talking to a real human. But when we finally got a real human on the line, instead someone ready, willing (and able) to solve our problem, we were made to first verify our name, address and birthdate and remember some obscure PIN number. And then after all that hassle – it turned out our issue couldn’t be solved – at least not right then by the person we were talking to – yet that person had the gall to ask “is there anything else I can help you with?” before ending the call. According to Forrester’s 2017 predictions understanding and personalizing engagement with customers is one of the most prized leadership dimensions in today’s customer-led, digital-centric business landscape. In the consumer space, we’ve come to expect a personalized customer-service experience – intelligent call routing that gets us where we need to be faster, credit card fraud detection that proactively alerts us to purchases we didn’t make, and internet-enabled self service that lets us upload documents to accomplish transactions instead of faxing or mailing in paperwork then following up by phone. Not only does well executed, personalized customer service delight customers and turn them into brand advocates – it’s necessary for customer retention. Customer loyalty is only as strong as the last customer interaction – in fact it takes 12 good experiences to make up for one bad interaction. And customers are making good on their threats – 89% of consumers have stopped doing business with a company after experiencing poor customer service, and they’re four times more likely to buy from a competitor if the problem is service related vs. price or product related. In the B2B space, customers are looking to buy business outcomes – and demand their suppliers have more “skin in the game.” B2B buyers have become wary of sole-source contracts and vendor lock-in tactics – in fact they’re increasingly choosing “pay-by-the-drink” consumption models such as software as a service – that guarantees performance with Service Level Agreements – and they’re building systems with the mindset of being able to easily switch providers if they don’t get the service they expect. At ECD, our Customer Success practice offers a holistic approach to the personalized customer engagement. It starts with consulting services that help customers with upgrades and migrations or even creating custom mobile applications to search, view and browse Documentum. We offer Education Services that can fine-tune training to the customer’s needs – whether you’re unfamiliar with our products or an experienced user. And our Value Added Support Services take the personalized customer experience to the next level with technical account managers and dedicated support engineers who know the customer’s unique environment so they can do things like quickly resolve service issues or ensure upgrades are backward compatible.

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Lower the Drawbridge and let the Data Flow

customer experience

It’s not often that Game of Thrones provides a moment of insight into data exchange, but that’s what happened this week. I am just catching up with season six of the top rated HBO series; and when the “Kingslayer” Jamie Lannister walked back across a drawbridge, having failed to persuade the leader of the forces under siege in the castle to surrender, it made me think about permeable data. In my last blog post I presented the idea that rather than trying to break down and remove the invisible walls that keep core customer data siloed and isolated in different parts and layers of the organization, we should let each group keep the keys to their (data) kingdoms, and benevolently grant access to the data to other groups and departments. In the world of Game of Thrones, with its ever shifting alliances and loyalties, the one thing that remains constant is the need for information. That information is often delivered via messenger ravens, and occasionally through personal contact as the various characters meet and interact. On the face of it, Jamie Lannister’s interaction on the drawbridge may have been seen as a failure. Yet, the more I thought about it, the lowering of the drawbridge allowed some significant “permeable data” to flow between the two systems in play. Each commander shared a little about their intentions and reacted to information that the other one shared. While Lannister may not have persuaded the besieged commander to surrender, he walked away with enough information to develop a way to later end the siege with relatively minimal casualties. And the commander of the castle knew more about his opponent, his strengths, and his thinking – even if he chose not to act on that information. Once that drawbridge came down, it was inevitable that data would be exchanged. We need to lower our system drawbridges. By making the data silo walls permeable, allowing the data to flow freely to and from the different repositories, a company can make the most out of its investment in the technology being used to garner that information, and keep the kingdom’s (data) monarchs happy at the same time. Data bridges allow the flow of information. Once enabled, the company can collect a piece of data once and share between systems, in a way that respects system ownership and allows each repository to use the data in the best possible way to fulfill its own line of business needs and tasks. OpenText™ Experience Suite builds on this concept. It lets data flow between the various products in the Customer Experience Management portfolio, so vital information and assets can be connected from Digital Asset Management tools through to the Web Content Management and Optimization tools and on to Customer Communications and even the Call Center, where data around sentiment analysis can be fed back to the Web Content design team. Each product can stand alone and address the needs of a particular line of business, or be an Enterprise content single source of truth. Yet by passing data between them, with other OpenText tools, or existing enterprise business systems etc., they can be the foundation of a fully connected continuous customer experience.

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Customer Experience, Digital Transformation, and Commitment to the Success of our Partners

ECD partners

This is the time of year when we try to pause from our busy schedules and take some time for friends and family. As the calendar year winds down, we would also like to take a moment to say thank you to our customers and partners. For the ECD partner organization, our primary customers are you, our partners, and we recognize that we can’t be successful without you. So thank you for everything you do. In 2016 we made your experience with ECD a top priority. We focused on the partner experience as we also invested significantly in two related areas: customer experience (CX) and digital transformation (DX). In fact, these goals are all interrelated.  “Being customer-centric and maintaining a continual focus on improving the customer experience is a necessity for any organization looking to move forward as a digital enterprise.” We believe that to become a digital enterprise, you must not only focus on the customer experience, you must become obsessive about customers. Here’s what we wrote in our digital transformation eBook: “Digital enterprises make the customer relationship priority #1. They center the business around customer needs and customer experiences. They leverage technology to enable collaboration in cross-functional, cross-organizational teams, always in the service of the customer relationship.” Erik Raper, who heads Marketing and Advisory Services for Paragon Solutions (which was named the ECD “DX Partner of the Year”) shared similar thoughts in a blog post he published on digital transformation: “It’s crucial for enterprise leadership to be the champions of digital change, recognizing digital transformation is not a one-time project but, rather, a long-term initiative to positioning the enterprise for greater operational efficiency, customer engagement, and strong market growth.” We couldn’t agree more. Our investment in digital transformation – from our updated digital marketing platform to LEAP, our new cloud-based product platform – is creating new opportunities for us to collaborate digitally with our partners. Together we can help customers embrace digital and transform the way they do business. Your feedback, input, and passion around the software and solutions we create is tremendous. We appreciate your trust in us. We take that commitment seriously. And we look forward to our next chapter and to continuing this journey together. Happy holidays to all of our partners. Thank you for a great year, and here’s to continued success in 2017!

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Webinar: Secrets to Increasing Contact Center Capacity and Efficiency

Contact center webinar

“There isn’t enough hours in the day to get my work done.” Sound familiar? Contact centers are continually asking their staff to do more without adding headcount. It can be an overwhelming task, but is one that’s critical to the success of every organization. Join me on an upcoming ICMI webinar that will explore staffing techniques, planning best practices, process optimization strategies, and technology shortcuts that will enable your existing staff to handle higher workloads – without the obvious risks of agent burnout, increased error rates and lowered quality expectations. Optimizing the Contact Center: Secrets to Increasing Your Team’s Capacity and Efficiency December 8th — 1:00 pm Eastern Time I have the pleasure of joining an esteemed group of speakers including:   Jeremy Hyde, Board of Directors, Midwest Contact Center Association Jeremy Hyde has over 10 years experience working in both inbound and outbound contact centers. In his current role he is responsible for vendor management and process oversight within the contact center for Ucare, a MN based health plan. Jeremy also serves on the Board of Directors for the Midwest Contact Center Association which aims to bring together a network of peers focused on collaboration and education. Jeremy is passionately focused on employee development, team culture and customer experience.   Justin Robbins, Group Community Director, HDI and ICMI Justin Robbins is a customer service expert focused on contact center operations and helping organizations appropriately define and achieve success. Over the past two decades, he’s coached thousands of individuals around the globe on customer experience best practices. Justin leads the content strategies and community engagement initiatives for HDI and ICMI and is a speaker, trainer, and writer on topics such as customer service best practices, key performance indicators, and motivational business leadership. He’s a professional member of the National Speakers Association and has been featured by the New York Times, NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt, Fox News and numerous other media outlets. To register for the webinar, please visit the ICMI registration page here.

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Removing the Data Barriers to get the Bigger Picture

Data barriers

Doing something over and over again and expecting a different result is EITHER practice, or insanity.  The difference is simply in how long you’re willing to wait until things start to change. Similarly, treating all customers the same and simply doing the same things over again in new channels, is equally unproductive. To successfully meet the experience expectations of today’s customer demands removing data barriers and agility in how companies leverage their customers’ data in order to deliver individualized experiences in preferred channels. This kind of agility requires connectivity and fluidity within an organization. Customer Experience takes a village It takes a collection of divisions and departments within an organization to deliver goods, services, and the desired brand experience, to customers. Similarly, customers interact with organizations via multiple touchpoints spread across multiple departments. So why would any company think a single source of data from any one department or division could provide the multi-faceted, let alone complete, picture of the customer it needs? To develop and implement a truly omnichannel and customer-centric customer experience strategy, companies need to gather insights from multiple data points to connect those experiences together. But even that is not enough. That data, all that data, also needs to be accessible by the myriad teams that contribute to delivering the customer experience for their own analysis and interpretation. Limited by data fiefdoms We’ve all heard the rhetoric of “breaking down the silos”. Many gasp and shudder at the thought of having to share the proverbial access code to the vault that contains THEIR data. Over the span of their careers employees develop areas of knowledge expertise, and maybe even fiefdoms, around particular systems and associated data. They develop a sense of ownership. The angst of now having to share their domain is brought on by many fears; What if they (the other departments) mess up my data? What if their findings contradict my own? What if …? What if …? What if …? This individual apprehension is compounded by the larger picture of company priorities and culture. Companies invest large amounts of money in existing systems, and with those systems adoption come established, good or bad, procedures and policies. Once these become intrinsic to the way a company does business they are difficult to adjust. Nobody likes change, and it isn’t realistic to expect these things to change, or as some cases may deem, disappear, overnight. But who says they have to? Permeable data silos Rather than trying to break down and remove the invisible walls that keep core customer data siloed and isolated in different parts and layers of the organization, let each group keep the keys to their (data) kingdoms, and benevolently grant access to the data to other groups and departments. By making the data silo walls permeable, allowing the data to flow freely to, and from, the different repositories, the company can make the most out of its investment in the technology being used to garner that information, and keep the kingdom’s (data) monarchs happy at the same time. By building these data bridges the flow of information from one system to the other is enabled, and subsequently encouraged. And instead of collecting the same data over and over again – a better experience for the customer already – companies can collect it once and share between systems, in a way that respects system ownership and allows each repository to use the data in the best possible way to fulfill its own line of business needs and tasks. Internal systems shouldn’t drive the Customer Experience; it should be the other way around Some might think that to solve this problem companies have to first look at the systems in place for collecting and storing the data. At some point, yes, there are likely redundant repositories that can be sunsetted once the data landscape is better understood. For a bigger, transformational impact, companies should turn to their teams and data-related activities. Understanding by whom, and how the data is used, agreeing to what it means across the organization, as well as in different teams and departments, is how the true value of data is extracted. By creating a customer-centric perspective internally around customer-related data, organizations enable the different parts of their business to consume and analyze data in a way that makes most sense for them, thus allowing them to have more insight into the customer, and therefore are better able to contribute to delivering a more customer-centric experience. Data driven companies that take a holistic view of their data, develop “data journeys” that transcend internal company borders and boundaries, and mirror their customers’ journeys, are winning the customer experience race. (This blog post was co-authored with Cathy McKnight of the Digital Clarity Group).

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Empathy Resonates in Chicago at the DX Summit

empathy

Empathy – If there was one word I heard more than any other at the recent DX Summit in Chicago, it was this one. Not something I expected at, what on the surface, appeared to be a technology conference. The Digital Experience Summit billed itself as the place to discover the strategies, technologies, and thought leadership that deliver game changing digital experiences. The Digital Experience showcase area included booths and displays from many leading companies with a range of Customer Experience solutions, including OpenText highlighting our Customer Experience Suite. Why in this technology-driven environment was such an emotional word ‘Empathy’ so prevalent? What do we mean by empathy? The dictionary defines it as the ability to understand and share the feelings of others. As many of the speakers at the conference pointed out, in order to provide an exceptional customer experience you need to understand your customer, their needs, and the context within which they operate. In short, it doesn’t matter what technology you employ to manage and deliver your customer experience if you don’t also have a degree of empathy – without it you will never fully engage the customer. Understanding the need for empathy is a definite step in developing a level of Customer Experience Maturity, and it was one aspect, among many, that was discussed in our own conference session on “The Redefined Customer Journey.” We had a great turnout for the session with a standing room only crowd as we presented many of the ideas and concepts covered in some of the previous blog posts around the idea of the Continuous Connected Customer Journey. As part of the session we also introduced the idea of a Customer Experience Maturity Model, that will be the subject of an upcoming white paper, and were delighted to see many of the session attendees participate in a short interactive questionnaire as part of the exercise. Thanks to everyone who attended the session, or visited the OpenText booth where we had some great conversations and were energized by the number of companies who are treating the delivery of an exceptional customer experience as a strategic goal.

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The FAQ of Contact Center Analytics-Driven Agent Scoring

contact center analytics

As I travel the globe helping to educate customers and prospects on the benefits of speech analytics, one of the most commonly asked questions I am asked is the role of analytics in coaching. There are questions related to cost, functionality, accuracy and technology, however, most often business users ask about day-to-day application of the solution. As the topic of analytics-driven scoring is so new, questions are just starting to be raised on the topic, so I’m taking the opportunity in this blog to address the top five questions we received during a recent webinar. If you haven’t yet listened to the CRMXchange-hosted webinar “Agent Evaluations: The Cherry Picking Dilemma,” you can access the recording on their website here. In addition, you can read about the solution on one of my previous blog posts. Now on to the answers for those top five questions below. What is the OpenText product offering for speech analytics, and how can I learn more about it? Our speech analytics solution is called OpenText™ Explore, and it enables analysis of call recordings and chat sessions in combination with behavioral data from social media, blogs, web forums, and worldwide news coverage. Explore mines this rich data dynamically for underlying meaning, and you can read more about this industry-leading analytics solution here on our website. I know that speech analytics can identify call recordings for evaluation, but are you saying analytics can automatically assign an agent score based on words or phrases? Yes. With OpenText™ Qfiniti AutoScore – our newest addition to the OpenText™ Qfiniti workforce optimization suite – the results from speech analytics are scored based on a configurable scoring engine. Specific behaviors are defined by you, and each recorded interaction is given a score based on those characteristics. For example, you could define a scoring template of all the ways an agent should perform an upsell, and an agent would be given an “Upsell Score” for each interaction. Scoring can also be configured to simply score if a specific behavior did or did not occur. Does Explore provide trend reporting on an agent’s performance? Yes, it provides reporting that includes trend reports by agent and by team. Agents need to see progress, and, as you know, this is an integral part of effective coaching. Can Qfiniti AutoScore perform analytics based on specific parts of the call? For example, beginning versus ending? All of the results generated by Explore are time stamped, and this metadata makes it possible to determine the specific moment in a recording when a word was spoken or a sentiment factor occurred. Automatically scoring a behavior based on a specific time of the call is a very interesting idea and something we are investigating for a future release. What if my company doesn’t have a speech analytics tool? Speech analytics has been providing significant, actionable contact center insights for over a decade, and advancements like analytics-driven scoring are a great way to develop a business case for speech analytics. Start by looking at all of the QA tasks your team does today, determine which interactions could be scored automatically, and then determine the time saved that might be spent more effectively on additional coaching. No agent wants to be evaluated solely on a “cherry-picked” call and by broadening your coaching approach through automated scoring of every recorded phone interaction, you can reduce QA costs while improving agent engagement. Keep in mind, too, that a tool like Qfiniti AutoScore solves your issues of attaining statistical significance in your QA process. Speech analytics is the basic building block for making this happen, and our team can help you develop a compelling speech analytics business case if you need one. To sum things up, the OpenText WFO Software team is excited to bring Qfiniti AutoScore to market, and the interest in automated scoring that we’re hearing from both prospects and customers indicates that the contact center market is more than ready to embrace this new workforce optimization (WFO) technology. If you’re interested in learning more, you can email us at OT.WFO.Software@opentext.com to schedule a demo.

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OpenText Live Webinar Series – Upcoming Schedule

OpenText Live Webinar Series

We are fast approaching the holiday season with the New Year peeking just around the corner, but before you get swept up into the hustle and bustle of this “most wonderful time of the year,” we at OpenText™ Live invite you to check out a few webinars that we have lined up for November and December. With the latest release of OpenText™ Release 16 Enhancement Pack 1 (EP1), our Experience Suite has undergone major changes with the additions of powerful Customer Communications and Experience Management solutions such as TeamSite, Exstream, MediaBin, Qfiniti, Explore and more! These enhancements mark the revolution of customer communications in the digital world, and we want to give you an exclusive first hand look into what these solutions can offer your business. November 15: OpenText™ ECM Content Migration (11:00AM EDT) Need help migrating ECM content? OpenText partner FME demonstrates best practices in this webinar. We’ll show you: – Migration and upgrade best practice pathways to OpenText™ Content Suite 16 – Cost savings with migration-center for your content migration – A short live demo Register here November 29: Convert Correspondence into Engagements with OpenText™ Communications Center (11:00AM EDT) Learn more about OpenText Communications Center and its enhanced interactivity with other OpenText product suites including Content Suite, Process Suite, Business Network and Analytics. Turn engagement into insight. Register here December 1: What’s New in OpenText™ Digital Asset Management? (11:00AM EDT) What’s new for OpenText Digital Asset Management (DAM) and the Enhancement Pack 1 (EP1) release? If you’re using Media Management or MediaBin, you’ll want to check out this session to find out what our Product Management team has in store. Learn about the latest features and product strategy. Register here December 6: The Latest Innovations in Exstream 9.5 and Delivery Manager 3.0 (11:00AM EDT) Join us for an overview of Exstream 9.5 which was announced late September and Delivery Manager announced in October. Product experts will be showing live demonstrations. Register here December 8: Syntergy Content Sentry: The Next Generation of Data Loss Prevention (11:00AM EDT) OpenText partner Syntergy will demonstrate a new Data Loss Prevention (DLP) solution for OpenText™ Content Server. The capabilities of this powerful solution allow it to learn what constitutes normal activity for users and what alerts or triggers automated policy reactions when suspicious activity is detected. Register here  December 13: How the Contact Center is Driving the Customer Experience (11:00AM EDT) Attend this session to learn more about OpenText™ Qfiniti and how Workforce Optimization (WFO) solutions are monitoring the customer experience through call recording, coaching employees, measuring the Voice of the Customer (VoC), and leveraging powerful analytics to make every interaction the best it can be. Register here December 15: OpenText™ CEM Strategy Update for WCM Products (11:00AM EDT) We’re creating a powerful new Website Content Management platform, and we want you to learn all about it. With the release of Enhancement Pack 1 (EP1), the WCM platform welcomes OpenText™ TeamSite to the mix, rounding out an effective customer communications program that surpasses the industry standard. Register here The OpenText Live team is committed to delivering content that keeps you updated on the latest OpenText product releases, trends and demands within the digital world as well as demos that exemplify the best solutions features for your business. Communicate directly with the experts and receive the technological know-how for implementing and managing your OpenText products. All of our webinars are recorded and available to registered customers at My Support. Visit our website for more information or sign up to receive weekly invitations to our webinars.

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Measuring the Redefined Customer Journey

redefined customer journey

“You can’t manage it if you don’t measure it,” has been a business cliché for decades. It’s not a sentiment everyone agrees with, as not everything worthwhile can be measured; but measurements can provide useful insights to trends and behavior patterns. So how does measurement (or lack of it) relate to the redefined customer journey I’ve been blogging about over the last few months? So far we’ve looked at four different aspects of the customer journey: the customer perspective, company activities, departments, and the systems involved. The final level examines the means to measure and manage the return on the investment in a continuous customer engagement strategy by linking various key performance indicator (KPI) metrics to different stages of the engagement. Typical measurements used in the various stages of the customer journey include KPIs such as: Net Promoter Score: NPS is calculated based on responses to a single question: How likely is it that you would recommend our company/product/service to a friend or colleague? The scoring for this answer is most often based on a 0 to 10 scale Revenue: The income that a business has from its normal business activities, usually from the sale of goods and services to customers Total Cost of Ownership: TCO is usually a summation of the total cost of acquisition and operating costs plus any costs related to replacement or upgrades to a product at the end of its useful life Return Rate: Usually expressed as a percentage of the number of products sold that are returned Call Resolution Time: Within a support group, this measures the elapsed time between a customer reporting a problem and the issue being reported as being resolved. Most support groups have target resolution times to meet, and the duration of those target may vary depending on the customer’s status Churn: Measures the proportion of contractual customers or subscribers who leave a supplier during a given time period. It is a possible indicator of customer dissatisfaction or issues with the overall customer experience Likes / Impressions: Usually a collection of Web and Social Media metrics such as page views, followers, and the number of posts that receive comments, likes, or are shared online. All of which contribute to an overall Brand Equity, or a measure of how the overall brand, its promise, products, and experience are perceived This is not an exhaustive list above, you may be using other ways to measure and manage customer interactions. Yet whatever measurements are used they tend to be the indicator of success (or failure) for individual operational departments or groups, and rarely, if ever, looked at in a holistic way to provide and overall measurement of customer satisfaction. It’s possible that you could be scoring highly in specific categories, yet still deliver a poor overall customer experience due to a disconnected journey. By looking at customer related metrics as part of an overall ecosystem rather than separate KPIs it allows you to develop a clearer picture of a customer’s overall journey and their lifecycle value.

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Learning a CX Lesson While Leaving Las Vegas

CX lesson

It’s amazing what you can learn in the back of a cab in Las Vegas. On my ride back to the airport after speaking at the recent LavaCon Conference on Digital Strategies the cab driver and I discussed all sorts of topics from robotics, and artificial intelligence, how our brains adapt and learn, to the life and times of Marilyn Monroe (the latter being the subject of a new musical the driver had written and was hoping to get produced in the next year.) But perhaps the most interesting learning moment was the one when we arrived at the airport and the cab’s credit card machine suddenly lost its connection and stopped working. “Don’t worry,” said my new best friend, “we have a process for when that happens. I can just call it in.” Well I’m glad that I’d left my hotel a little earlier than originally planned and I wasn’t in a rush to catch my flight. The first step in this process was for the driver to get out of the cab and look at the 1-800 phone number painted on the side of it, so he could call in. There was nothing inside the cab with the central booking number on it. Why would there be, if you’re in the cab, you’ve already booked a ride, why would you need the number? Unless you’re the driver with a credit card processing problem. Once back in the cab the driver reached central booking. “This is cab # 1234 my credit card machine is down I’m at the airport and I need to run a passenger’s card.” “OK, let me pass you on to the people that can do that.” <click… wait..click> “Hello, how can I help you?” “This is cab # 1234 my credit card machine is down I need to run a passenger’s card.” <click…. wait … click>> “Hello, how can I help you?” “This is cab # 1234 my credit card machine is down I need to run a passenger’s card.” “Not another ….. one. Geez, what are you idiots doing out there?” At which point, thanks to the driver rebooting the terminal a few times during the conversation, the machine came back online and I paid. So apart from the fact that as the customer I was hearing the whole conversation, including the colorful language, what got me was the fact that the driver was passed from department to department having to repeat the same information for each new agent. As for the “we have a process for that,” they apparently didn’t, or at least not one that was accessible, well documented, or efficient. And if any process needed to be efficient it is one for a cab passenger at the airport being able to pay quickly and easily, as the chances are that in most cases they are in something of a rush. Clearly context and customer needs hadn’t been considered. Back in June I blogged about how employees are customers too and that you should give them the same digital experience. The incident in the cab made me realize that there’s another aspect to that viewpoint. What about the systems that employees have to use when they are interfacing with a customer? How much will the customer judge their potential on-going experience with you based on how easy (or not) it is for your employees, agents, etc. to complete their tasks. Not every aspect of customer experience is a direct interaction; often it’s an observation rather than a transaction.

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OpenText Experience Suite Adds Functionality to Support the Customer Lifecycle

Experience Suite

The latest release of OpenText™ Experience Suite tackles the challenges of digital transformation to deliver a continuous real and effective digital customer lifecycle. OpenText is helping organizations to orchestrate data, media, interactions and transactions across a digital enterprise. The complexity of managing a consistent brand presence across media, languages, cultural expectations and governmental regulations requires a platform built for pervasive connectivity and new ways of interacting that go beyond a simple point and click. Experience Suite helps business leaders harmonize customer-centric technology applications across every department in the organization, whether the organization’s first priority is to get a handle on all of the rich media (video, audio, print, imagery, etc.) or to streamline its communications, invoices, or web presence. Experience Suite serves as a single platform of choice for delivering Continuous Customer Engagement. This market-leading set of capabilities addresses critical digital transformation initiatives within the realm of the customer experience and is comprised of leading applications from market categories in Customer Communications Management, Digital Asset Management, Marketing Optimization, Voice of the Customer, Web Content Management, and Workforce Optimization along with architecture to deeply integrate into the larger OpenText Enterprise Information Management (EIM) platform. Consider the need for a company to launch and manage a campaign across multiple markets and different customer personas. With Experience Suite you can connect our industry leading Digital Asset Management platform to the Web Content Management and Optimization capabilities to design, test, optimize, and deliver the right content with the right message – all with brand approved imagery that ensures that the right message is being delivered to the right customers in a way that resonates with their needs and results in higher rates of engagement. Once a customer has executed the call to action from a campaign (such as clicking a link to request more information) their data can be passed to the Customer Communications Management system where responses and on-going communications can be delivered in a way that suits the customers’ needs from print, to text, email, etc. The communications can be designed to add value to the ongoing exchange, or even be interactive to promote further engagement through to purchase and beyond. As customers continue their ownership, use of product call center optimization and voice of the customer tools within the Experience Suite portfolio can track customer sentiment, and feedback to various parts of the company any need for changes in the overall customer experience. OpenText Experience Suite includes: Digital Asset Management with OpenText™ Media Management Web Content Management with OpenText™ TeamSite Customer Communications Management with OpenText™ Exstream + Communications Center Enterprise Call Center Workforce Optimization with OpenText™ Qfiniti Voice of the Customer analysis with OpenText™ Explore With the Experience Suite portfolio of tools it is possible to deliver a fully connected continuous customer experience that drives increased engagement and additional revenue.

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Developing a Culture of Assumption at 200mph

mapping customer journeys

Last weekend I attended the United States Grand Prix Formula One race at the magnificent Circuit of the Americas facility just outside Austin, Texas and had a fantastic time. It was the third time I’d been to an F1 race at the track and it’s always been a great experience. This year there was a record crowd of just over 269,000 people in attendance. I was also lucky enough to attend the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500 race at the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway earlier in the year. They too had a record crowd of around 300,000 at the event, and it was also a great experience.  In both cases the facilities and promoters put on an exceptional show. With crowds that size there was inevitably a lot of first time attendees and thinking back I noticed many instances of regular race goers having to explain how things worked to other people. Things like how the shuttle bus service worked, how to identify drivers and cars, or the nuances of pit-stop strategies. It occurred to me that when you put on an event on a regular basis, you can easily develop an underlying culture of assumption that people just know how things are organized. The same could be said for providing content on a regular basis too. In the periodical publishing industry there is an axiom that any given issue of a magazine is someone’s first issue and that things should be laid out and presented accordingly. I believe the same guideline should be applied to any event where you are interacting with your customers, be it in person or online. Ever been to a trade show or conference vendor hall and had to ask at a booth “So what is it you do?”  Shouldn’t that be obvious from the branding, and booth copy? Again it’s a culture of assumption in play. How about your website or mobile applications, your call center? Do they reflect a culture of assumption? Any given interaction with your company could be someone’s first, so provide them with the information they need for a productive experience. Spell things out. Communicate the basics clearly and use good design to make the first journey intuitive. Help new prospects and customers get the answers they need easily. You also need to provide alternate paths for those repeat interactions where customers already have some product knowledge or experience of how your processes flow. It’s a delicate balancing act to cater for the new customer without irritating the repeat visitor, but it’s one that needs to be addressed. When developing and mapping customer journeys don’t just talk to your existing customers, talk to your sales prospects, or better yet have someone who has no experience of your company and knows nothing about you work their way through the various channels you use to tell your story. Don’t let your new customers be the confused race fan looking for the right shuttle bus, help them get to the track in the quickest and easiest way possible, and they may end up being first in line to buy a ticket for next year’s event.

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Employee Engagement and Coaching in Union Environments

employee engagement

A few years ago I visited a customer in Italy, and we demonstrated the coaching and monitoring tools of OpenText™ Qfiniti.  At the end of the meeting, the most senior person in the room thanked us for coming and said, “Ian, I’d like to tell you a story.” The woman went on to share the fact that her sister plays the viola in an orchestra in Rome, and the musicians are part of a workers’ council, or union. She said that if the conductor hears her sister play too softly, too loudly, too quickly, too slowly…..he cannot say to her, “Please change your behavior in this way or that.”  No, she said, the conductor must instruct ALL of the string instruments to play more softly, or more loudly, or quicker or slower. The woman then explained that although coaching solutions to increase employee engagement are quite popular around the world, organizations with unions must promote a sense of fairness, and so they would not be able to provide one-on-one coaching that called out a specific employee for coaching in their contact center. This story has always stayed with me and has shaped my view on employee groups and employee engagement throughout Europe and beyond. The key is to find the right balance of specific guidance and universal coaching, (and in accordance with worker council or union guidelines where required). An OpenText customer in the United States recently told me that, “Effective coaching in a unionized environment means that we must do what’s right for our employees and what’s best for the customer experience for millions of our customers.” This is the balance that all companies should strike, and here are some best practice recommendations to define requirements and put technology to work. Employee Notification: It is always important to alert employees that they will be recorded both over the phone and on their computer. Employees should be given a chance to decline recording options for agreed-upon reasons as defined by your Worker’s Council. Balanced Selection: Another great idea is to allow employees to choose a few calls to evaluate and also have the supervisor choose a few calls. This alleviates any “my supervisor is only choosing bad calls” perception. Published Coaching Rules: Starting a new quality management or coaching program is also a great time to document evaluation forms, processes, agent feedback and workflows. Use this as a new start with your Human Resources team and start off with published guidelines. Agent Access: Consider coaching tools that track the workflow of evaluations and/or coaching sessions. Don’t rely on traditional “random” approaches to call selection, but allow agents access to view their recordings for self-evaluation. Agent access also includes agent acknowledgement. Look for digital signature capabilities for supervisors and agents to sign coaching forms. Feedback and Appeals: Look for coaching tools that allow the agent to post feedback within the tool and also allow for appeals and re-evaluations. This empowers the agent to become part of the evaluation program and not just the target of it. Unbiased Evaluation Assignments: Coaching tools that can objectively assign agent evaluations to the Evaluators without regard to agent or evaluator is can be extremely valuable. Allowing the tool to automatically assign evaluation tasks based on mutually agreeable criteria removes any perceptions of bias and allows for more diverse feedback. If you can’t take each musician and coach them individually, don’t lose count (pun intended) of creating the perfect environment for coaching success. Your Workers’ Council representatives, your employees, and your customers will be there for the encore!

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