Businesses across all industries are competing in the experience economy. The best way to stand out from the competition and retain customers is with optimal customer experiences, according to cloud technology firm Oracle. While this sounds simple, differentiation is a daunting task for many businesses.
Business constraints are both financial and personnel based; growing brands is expensive, and organizations are strained as efforts to differentiate produce lackluster results. Brands often discover that almost any approach they take is merely a temporary fix.
For instance, cutting prices in half over extended periods is not something that cost structures can support for the long haul. Superficial changes — strategies such as adjusting packaging and rebranding efforts — can be easily copied by competitors. That risk is particularly damaging to growth efforts.
Other routine solutions also carry inherent risk. Investing in better marketing automation tools may lead to more customer engagements. But this approach does not directly impact customer perception and value creation, Oracle researchers warn. Meanwhile, focusing on operational efficiency may reduce operating expense at the cost of the customers’ experience.
Key To Maximizing Customer Service
The key to overcome these setbacks, noted Oracle, is adopting a strategy that minimizes the pitfalls that often come with trying to stand apart from the competition. The solution is to focus on maximizing your customer service appeal. Precisely how to do that might well be the Holy Grail of marketing success.
Several years ago, Gartner predicted that 85 percent of brand touch points would be driven by customer support by 2021. With rapidly maturing customer expectations, today’s climate suggests just how essential differentiating your customer experience with service has become.
For instance, use of a (mobile friendly) help portal, chatbots, a knowledge base, social messaging support, video, etc. is becoming industry table-stakes. This is also leading to “digital sameness” across competitors. So, differentiating service in what is otherwise a market driven by commodities is the top strategy, according to Oracle.
“Service teams will have a direct impact on most customer engagements. Taking this dynamic into consideration, forward-thinking companies are equipping service teams to deliver holistic brand experiences,” said Oracle Vice President Jeff Wartgow about Oracle’s new digital-first service vision.
Oracle Service offers a platform that exceeds consumers’ expectations and delivers holistic brand experiences. Oracle’s solution provides a unique approach to help maximize customer service. It eliminates redundancies typically found other service platforms and point solutions.
Reactive, static, and operations-centric service is the reality for many service organizations today. Oracle’s digital-first service vision breaks these paradigms to usher in a completely new service strategy—service driven by predictive, unique, and hyper-convenient experiences.
Predictive service empowers companies to take initiative when solving customer problems. This approach preempts customers’ effort to find an answer or seek help, letting the company resolve the issue without frustrating the customer.
One example of this customer engagement is offering help exactly at the right spot and time on the website. Another is proactively sending a text when there is an issue with a delivery. Or, sending an email with advice to get more out of a service based on patterns of other, similar customers.
Oracle’s technology lets companies monitor their customers for behavioral signs of friction points progressing through their digital journey. This empowers companies to offer effortless help so faltering customers can achieve their goals without frustration or disappointments along the way. This unique service philosophy eliminates the inefficiencies of a one-size-fits-all customer service.
Going Beyond Digital Transformation
Companies have been pursuing digital transformation for the last 20 years — and the pandemic accelerated the process for many organizations. Digital-first service offers the next step in improving the customer experience.
Digital transformation is a concept with a finite start and end. Digital-first service goes well beyond a fixed-scope project. It is a customer service strategy that helps companies deal with constant change in an agile way.
Why is that so essential now? When companies get to the end of the transformation process, they must move into the next business reality that is in constant flux. A digital-first strategy enables today’s businesses to adapt to modern consumer expectations on the fly and thus successfully compete in the experience economy.
Oracle’s Customer Service Mantra
Consumers’ brand loyalty is dependent on the quality of the service they receive. Oracle’s vision offers three solid pillars to support its digital-first platform. It builds upon predictive services that are unique and hyper-convenient.
First, predictive service allows a company to initiate contact when solving customer problems. This shows customers an eagerness to offer help when they need it. This feeling spans across the CX journey and reinforces the notion of providing unique service.
Second, unique service is evident in offering consistent, personalized service across the broad range of channels that include website, apps, chatbot, live chat, video chat, co-browse, social messaging, texting, customer portals, IVR, knowledge base, store associates and so forth. Delivering data-driven and personalized service ensures that all possible touch point contact focuses on the current customer journey roadblock. That is the only thing the customer cares about at that moment.
Third, hyper-convenience makes complex service processes effortless to the customer. Its aim is to make everything as easy as possible for customers rather than simpler for organizational efficiency.
When all three pillars fully bear the weight of the digital-first platform, the process includes the full breadth of modern channels available. This is how the making magic happens. Customers know that they are valued.
Path to Digital-First Service
Of course, a truly differentiated customer service strategy is not something a business can set up in a few weeks. A business will need to focus on establishing strong foundations first before it can pursue more advances capabilities. Oracle’s path to digital-first service will be help as a guideline for businesses to assess where they stand today and can be used as inspiration to carve out a path that makes sense for that business.
Digital-first service is a strategy, not a predefined checklist of capabilities to implement. The final objective is to craft a service strategy that is unique and will fuel growth through differentiation. Each organization will have to assess for themselves what that final solution looks like, identify the right platform, and then get to work to make it happen.
Oracle believes that the Oracle Service platform is the most powerful platform available to help organizations build digital-first service experiences that stand out.