Then and Now

A few years ago, when Oracle was busy buying companies to fill out its front-office cloud offering, RightNow Technologies developed a “day in the life” video that has stuck with me. It was shown at RightNow’s last user meeting as an independent company. In fact, at the conference where it debuted, Oracle announced its acquisition of RightNow.

The video’s importance was as a harbinger of things to come in the customer service world. At that point in time, we were struggling with the idea of multichannel support, or the ability to provide service regardless of the channel — social, mobile, email, etc. — used to make a request. We got over that soon enough.

What Customers Want

To be sure, every business won’t need each capability, and it’s important to focus on the functions that add the most value to a business’ or brand’s outreach.

What’s beyond all this is even more exciting to me. With the advent of the Internet of Things, there’s been a tsunami of data that some businesses can collect and analyze to help them do more and better things for customers — things that customers actually want, as opposed to things that the businesses guess they want.

There’s also the idea of people helping people, which might not seem earthshaking, but by this I mean the ability to engage your best customers to offer assistance to their peers. It’s appealing, because it’s certainly cheap — but more fundamentally, because engaged customers have a focus on their expertise and a desire to be of service that’s hard to match with even the best employees.

Customers can tell other customers, “I get it because I’ve been there,” in ways that CSRs can only emulate.

The Future of CX

The video takes a “day in the life approach” to showing someone using connected technologies to deal with a variety of service encounters — from making and confirming airline reservations to getting an appointment for an oil change.

In the process, some nifty technologies — like machine learning and natural language processing — came into play to make everything work. The video makes it look seamless and very plausible. It’s impressive.

One person using a mobile device in the back seat of a car going to the airport does a lot.

Today, much of this has come into view. While only a few companies currently are taking advantage of the possibilities inherent in this technology, from what I see, it’s the next thing.

Busy Week

This is a busy week. I’ve been to the CRM Evolution conference in Washington, D.C., and I am now attending the Oracle Modern Service Experience in Las Vegas.

Both shows have on display many cool, new, and futuristic solutions for the front office — and if past is prologue, the future will be the present before you can blink, so we need to pay attention.

All this travel can be a bear, but it’s the best way to get fresh insights. I’ll have more about all this soon.