Tag: customer Experience Management

Webinar: Creating meaningful Customer Experience with Unified CX Solutions

FREE WEBINAR: Creating Meaningful Customer Experience

                  Tuesday, October 22, 2013 − 2:00 PM to 3:00 PM MDT

Desired CX Solutions
Creating meaningful Customer Experience with Unified CX Solutions

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One of the key elements of any CRM plan is integration, the unification of all your company’s data sources and silo systems to create a single, holistic view of each customer.. Whether they are, business organization or system-based silos, they all conspire to make customer journeys fragmented, painful and costly.

A typical customer journey includes interactions via contact center, corporate portals and conventional emails. Yes every call, every click, every message counts. Enabling these journey points is paramount and Oracle is privileged to assist you in the strategic components to this journey via this webinar.

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“Creating meaningful Customer Experience with Unified CX Solutions”
Tuesday, October 22, 2013
2:00 PM to 3:00 PM MDT
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IRCTC (www.irctc.co.in) and Customer (Citizen) Experience

It is written several times by several people on pathetic performance of Indian Railways online ticket booking site www.irctc.co.in. Still nothing stops me in writing this blog post as I believe there is lot more can be done by Government to make the basic facility of online ticket booking experience better.

IRCTC and Customer (Citizen) Experience
IRCTC and Customer (Citizen) Experience

The fundamental issue to the problem is capacity (number of seats available in the trains) not able to meet the demand (millions of reservations). Unless the fundamental issue is solved by effective planning and execution by Indian Railways over long time, the frustration with online reservation portal www.irctc.co.in can never be resolved. But knowing the fact that in long term, we are all dead, what is it government can do in short term to alleviate the citizen’s concerns?

I have penned down few of those things here….

Facilitate offline booking in peak load without forcing people to stand in virtual queue

The site so far to my knowledge is not PCI complaint and this stops the website from storing customer credit card information. Making the site PCI complaint can facilitate customers to store their credit cards to do offline booking without users waiting for response in the virtual queue from payment gateway / booking engine in the web browser. The continues retries only make the situation worse.

All www.irctc.co.in has to do is to facilitate storing the customer ticket booking request (from date, to date, train selection, passenger details etc), do the booking offline with stored Credit Card info and send a confirmation mail after booking. This will improve the Customer Experience of people who are today subjected to hassle during peak loads (Tatkal, Festival Seasons, Vacations etc)

For TATKAL booking too people should be able to schedule an offline booking request and IRCTC can execute this in an efficient manner as per the sequence of registration of these requests in the back-end than spoiling the performance of the whole site and bringing down the UX.

Go for Elastic Cloud using Industry leading Platform As A Service (PaaS) vendors like Amazon

IRCTC should go for elastic cloud similar to one offered by AWS than trying to manage the whole IT infrastructure by itself. Here we are taking about Indian Railways train tickets where the demand is subjected to serious fluctuations due to multiple factors. There is no meaning in investing in hardware for peak load capacity (couple of hours) and pay for it 24 X 7. It makes sense to go with elastic cloud backed-up by vendor like Amazon who can scale to IRCTC’s needs on-demand basis and facilitate Pay-Per use model rather than a CAPEX / OPEX intensive model of maintain all hardware / software infrastructure by themselves.

Hook the web reservation system directly to PRS

Scrap the one more additional layer of database at IRCTC and hook the web-channel directly to PRS (Passenger Reservation System – The backbone of Railways ticket booking). By hooking directly to PRS the unnecessary overheads / bottlenecks on IRCTC can be avoided as the PRS is proven to scale for millions of transactions. I know this means a lot in terms of modifying the existing PRS but that is what Government have to do if you intend to create a true Citizen Experience.

Government to scrap the monopoly of http://www.irctc.co.in

Scrap the monopoly of IRCTC and facilitate vendors like makemytrip / flipkart / Cleartrip etc to invest and hook directly to PRS than going via the intermediary IRCTC. I believe the monopoly is one of the root causes if all these issues and this will put an end to it.

IRCTC, Please focus only on train ticket booking

IRCTC has to keep the focus on one and only in train ticket booking as there is lot more to do. Just be in the business of web booking for train tickets and not to waste their investments and engineering resources in trying to become an ecommerce vendor / web marketing channel. There are 100s of people there does that. Invest your precious resources in train ticket booking only…….

For all those the above makes sense spread the news :)

Venkatesan Sundaram
Senior Director, CRMIT

Originally Published on Venky’s Blog

Client On-boarding and Customer Experience

Anyone who has gone through the process of setting up a B2B (Business to Business) Account with a Bank would swear by the poor experience they are met with due to highly inefficient and ineffective client On-boarding process that they are subjected to. Banks these days have to realize this to ensure they make the first best impressions to their clients to avoid losing them to competitors.

Enabling Customer ExperienceThough part of the problem is compounded by ever growing regulatory compliance requirements like Anti Money Laundering, Terrorist Funding, Foreign Tax Account Compliance Act etc that the Banks have to adhere to, they just cover only one side of Poor Client On-Boarding experience.

The primary reason for poor on-boarding experience is attributed to few other reasons too.

  • Lack of Customer Centric Systems – Most the banks traditionally inherit systems that are Typically Product Centric than customer / relationship centric
  • Viewing the process of Client on-boarding as a back office operation than as an engaging front office with collaborative back-office framework to seamlessly work with numerous back office groups who play a facilitator role in the on-boarding process
  • Lack of metric / Key Performance Indicator (KPI) driven approach in place to plan, measure, correct and reward performing groups / Individuals who make significant difference to the client on-boarding experience

Though putting in place a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system is not a magic wand that wipe-out all the issues listed above in one go without fundamental change in the way Organizations operate, an effectively designed / implemented CRM that mitigates the above challenges can be a sure differentiator for Banks to improve not only the customer experience but also the Net Customer Life Cycle Value.

Here I have articulated few suggestions and tips on how a CRM system can help Organizations to effectively improve the client on-boarding process.

On lack of customer centric system…

It is never going to be an easy task to just like that replace your product centric legacy back-end systems in one go into a customer centric system. The next viable best alternative available over here is to put an overarching CRM system that wraps your entire product centric core banking systems and make the CRM as a Centralized front office Application for your Relationship managers, Product Specialists and other Sales / marketing teams. The key design attributes of this CRM to facilitate On-Boarding should be below.

  • For new customers to be on-boarded, enrich the basic prospect data that you have collected in CRM with rich info that is available by integrating with Trusted Data Service Providers like D&B, Hovers etc. These systems provide very rich info about your clients like Client Organization Structure, Business diversity, Geographic Diversity, Key Client Contacts & their profile, financial data etc. This ensures a lot of info is already built in your system to do your KYC (Know Your Customer) as well as Risk Rating / Assessment in an effective manner by asking minimal info from your customers.
  • For existing customers, ensure your customer profile details (demographic, relationship, financials etc) spread across multiple internal products centric systems are cleaned and de-duplicated in the new CRM system. This would make it easier to facilitate on-boarding of existing customers to some your new products & services lot easier eliminating duplicity in asking info from customers that you have already with you.

On collaboration…

It is a common phenomenon observed in many Banking Organizations that Customer On-Boarding is considered either as a complete Back End (risk, legal, finance etc) responsibility or in few cases as sold Front end responsibility forgetting the underlying need of effective collaboration of front-end and back-end teams to make it easier for the customers.

The CRM one deploys should have all ways and means to make this collaboration between back-end, front-end teams and customers possible without any compromise on data security.  The collaboration could be facilitated by in-built email management solutions in CRM, a self-service portal that is integrated with CRM where customers can log-in and have visibility on his on-boarding process as well as share / submit additional info & documents needed, an internal discussion thread / business social features that can make interaction between back-end and front-end teams lot seamless and easier etc. In reality today many of these happen in an adhoc & in-efficient manual manner making it a time consuming as well as frustrating experience for the end customers.

On KPI Measurements…

None of the above systems and processes would work unless people on the ground are mandated to adhere to stringent KPI (Key Performance Indicator)/ SLA (Service Level Agreement). Assuming there is a commitment at the top to make it possible in having them in place, the CRM should provide support to have in place interactive dashboards and reports to report on these KPIs to identify the bottlenecks in the process and streamline it. The reports / metrics can be as simple as one that provides info on on-boarding throughput, performance of adherence to SLAs by various departments managing the on-boarding process, overall lead time, ageing analysis to identify critical bottlenecks etc. The KPIs should serve as a key input to your performance management team to see continuous improvement over a period of time.

So in net, going back to my original point, would like to share that Customer On-Boarding is an important process in establishing a new relationship with your client and making it effective / efficient with a well designed CRM system can make a big difference to Banks as well to Customer Experience.

Venkatesan Sundaram
Senior Director, CRMIT

Originally Published on Venky’s Blog

How Call Centers Use Technology to Improve Customer Service

Whether we receive a call from a telemarketer, or have a problem with a product or service, chances are we will all have an encounter with a call center. How the call center representative responds to us helps determine our loyalty to the brand they represent. One negative experience can taint our opinion and even affect future purchases and decisions.

Call Center solutions
Call Center solutions

I have a friend who was very loyal to one of the most popular brands today. She not only purchased several products under this brand, but was saving money to purchase a new tablet and computer manufactured by this same company. She ran into an issue with one of her current products, which was still under warranty.  To make a long story short, the “call center” representative provided misinformation on how to return the product and receive a replacement. Thus, a two-day process took over two weeks. She has since decided not to make any future purchases from this company. And, she made sure to discuss this experience in online reviews and across Social Media outlets. This bad experience cost the company future business and a loyal customer. What went wrong? Most likely, there was a break down in communication and training at the call center.

Consumers expect quick solutions and exceptional customer service. Whether a company has their own in-house call center or chooses to outsource these services, it is imperative for call center representatives to be provided with the latest technology and armed with correct information to accurately and effectively represent the brand. A call center with outdated technology is like trying to make an antiquated computer operating MS-DOS run like Windows 8!

Below are some ways call centers are using technology to boost performance and improve customer service:

Cloud

Even call centers are catching on to the cloud! Not only can cloud services improve functionality, they can drastically cut costs. Most cloud platforms can be easily integrated and updated, eliminating the need for costly hardware and software upgrades. Cloud systems tend to perform faster and are often more reliable than physical networks. New components can be added easily at any time, and maintenance costs are virtually eliminated. There are plenty of cloud providers to choose from; research which one offers the services which best fit your needs.

Online Training

Keeping call center representatives up to date with the latest policies, offerings, technical support tools and procedures is imperative. Giving outdated or incorrect information reflects badly on the brand and may cause a significant decrease in customer loyalty. Call centers can keep agents up-to-date using online training modules. This convenient and effective form of training does not require participants to sit in a class and can be completed at any time from anywhere.

Multiple Contact Methods

A call center should run more like a contact center. Provide customers with multiple ways to make contact. This can include a traditional phone call, online chat, contact through Social Media or intelligent call back, where a customer can enter their telephone number and a representative will call back at a certain time. Some companies are even offering support via video. Offering a customer a variety of contact methods allows them to choose the option which makes them most comfortable.

Smart Agent Plug-Ins

Offering the wrong product at the wrong time can frustrate a customer. A number of companies offer Smart Agent desktop plug-ins to help agents determine when and if any product offerings are appropriate. They gather information from current and previous calls and make recommendations to agents. I recently called my cable/internet/telephone provider for technical support. Upon the end of the conversation they asked me if I was interested in their home monitoring package.  Their “Smart Agent” desktop knew from previous contact with me this would be a service that would perhaps interest me.

Customer Service Management

CRM++ is an example of a Computer Telephony Integration (CTI) product which

Computer Telephony Integration Framework

streamlines resources and helps maximize the customer experience. Its seamless integration with Oracle® Fusion CRM makes it easy to learn and use.  Inbound agents are provided with relevant information about each caller, adding to the ease of interaction. Over 3000 sales, marketing and service & support organizations are using this product to help generate an increased return-on-investment (ROI) and improve their bottom lines.

These are just a few of the many technologies available to call centers. Today, being in the game means staying ahead of the game. Quick, fast, efficient, reliable, and accurate information can make or break your brand!

Gina Smith writes freelance articles for magazines, online outlets and publications including Global Response. Smith covers the latest topics in the business, golf, tourism, technology and entertainment industries.

Customer Experience and Application Security – Requires a fine balancing act

There are people who are annoyed about poorly secured applications and equally good number of people annoyed about too many security measures in the applications leading to poor user experience. It is a common sense that neither security / nor experience has absolute limits and it is going to be a challenging job to achieve perfection on these measures and balance them too.

My experience with State Bank of India – Mobile banking application is a perfect example to discuss how unbalanced it is.

State Bank of India – Mobile banking application
State Bank of India – Mobile banking application

I am sure there are hardly few who know about State Bank of India mobile banking application and even if you are one among few, I am not sure how many of you are successful in installing and using the application. The primary issue over here is too many security measures at the expense of great user experience

Application Awareness …

First and foremost I am not sure why SBI doesn’t advertise / promote their mobile application in par with many of the private sector banks like ICICI Bank, HDFC etc. as mobile is seen as the way forward as a leading customer touch point and it no more seen as an optional service. May be they are not quiet sure about how well the application performs?

Knowing the general conservative perception about the bank, it could only be few technically savvy people who would have made attempts on their own (without any awareness) to search for SBI mobile application in Apple / Android market place and install the application.

First banks and organizations should not have second doubts about the acceptance of mobile applications and they should be aggressive in developing, deploying and promoting these applications to delight their customers

Activating the application ….

Assuming you are such a lucky person to do it (the application definitely offers great features at the tip of your fingers), your real issue starts in activating your mobile banking. There are three steps you have to do as a user to do this application

Step 1 – In first step of your activation after installing it from your application store, you get a cryptic alpha numeric username for your mobile banking application.

Step 2 – As step 2 you have to send another cryptic SMS containing the above username to a given phone number. This also returns you a 6 digit numeric password for application username your received in step 2.

Step 3 – Even after step 2 with a username and PIN, you can’t use the application as what you got is only a temporary PIN and to change the temporary PIN you have to visit one of the ATMs of SBI or Branch. In the ATM you have reconfirm your mobile number (It never worked for me)/ in the branch you have to let them know that this your current mobile number (I went three times in three consecutive weeks to remind the bank person to do it and meanwhile in three weeks time interval the username got expired and I have to go through the same process again….terrible experience)

If anyone after going through this thinks that it is reasonably acceptable to do all the above to ensure security, I believe he / she should be an outlier J

Can’t it be made lot more user friendly?

Why there is a need for a new user name? Why don’t it use by registered web banking user ID as the application User ID and Web banking password as the password to provide access to the application?

Knowing the bank already knows my mobile number (I have given at the time of account creation) if I key in my ATM PIN correctly in my mobile application, shouldn’t map the mobile number / PIN to my account and provide direct access to the application?

Assuming there is a catch here as there is a probability of you not having updated your mobile number and worst case the mobile number is recycled by your telephone operator to someone else, I understand there is a security issue, but still I believe it is ok as there is near zero probability of that person knowing by ATM PIN number. Worst case if required you can ask for your debit card number as well as ATM PIN number  as an additional security measure as that is exactly you do in the ATM except that you are not inserting your physical card in the ATM machine…which is ok…

Just thinking one step beyond wouldn’t be great if these mobile service providers provide a web-service that the mobile banking application can use to match and check whether it is the current mobile number for the user and provide seamless access to the application as the mobile service provides can provide by Name / Address to cross check and revalidate without any user intervention?

Application Usage Experience ….

Assuming you are all set and you are now ready to use the application, the second set of issue starts in application usage.

Every time it asks for the cryptic username it provided me. I don’t have an option to change it. Considering the fact that it is difficult to remember you don’t have an option that storing somewhere in your mobile.

Second it asks for the PIN for every transaction even if you haven’t switched to other applications. This is real nuisance. I am ok to re-key the PIN if I have switched to some other application or mobile went to idle state for some-time before I use it again but I believe it is too much if you have to key-in the PIN every-time for every request right from balance enquiry to funds transfer.

Customer Experience B/w Application Security
Customer Experience B/w Application Security

And the list doesn’t stop there. There are other issues like, it not able to fetch by linked accounts, payees etc by default. The synchronization doesn’t work and you may end up setting the duplicates again in your mobile though personally I expect everything I have already set up in my web banking made accessible in my mobile without any further steps / actions.

The funny thing on security side is it sends an SMS on every action I do and this SMS contains confidential details that are right in my SMS folder which can be accessed by others without any protection measures. I believe this is a flip-side on the security front and I am not sure why they do so.

Finally …

I believe as I stated in the opening balancing security and user experience is a fine act and unless you leverage technology / put your thoughts in have a secured but user friendly customer centric process, you might end developing a secured robust application but there may not be anyone to use it ….

Venkatesan Sundaram
Senior Director, CRMIT

Originally Published on Venky’s Blog

Why I stopped using BigBasket.com?

The excitement that I had when I used the Big Basket service first time, couple of months ago is all vanished now and hence this Blog …When I first came to know about Big Basket through one of my colleagues I am excited as well as sceptical about the whole business of ordering grocery over web in Indian Context. Nevertheless I decided to give a try to see how good their service is. When I made my first purchase in Big Basket site, being a person in IT space, I am pleasantly surprised by many of these interesting features that made a positive impact on customer experience.

  • Nicely organized product catalogues right from fruits & vegetables to  Meat section
  • A well performing website without any delay / latency in accessing any of the pages
  • Quicker search results with a real time list shown right at the bottom of the search box
  • A facility to do a quick add of the listed items to the shopping cart
  • Convenience of getting it delivered in one of the 4/5 available time slots
  • And more important acceptance of food vouchers / payment on delivery option

In net all it took is not more than 5 minutes to build my shopping list and place an order against going to the nearby convenience store to purchase these groceries ….

The above is all on my positive experience in placing an order and on I am equally delighted by the prompt delivery at the opted time slots, well mannered service personal, neatly packed groceries delivered without damages, acceptance to take back defective items and payment on delivery option

Now you may wonder whether there is a typo in the title of the blog article . Shouldn’t it be “Why I started using Big Basket” instead of “Why I stopped using Big Basket?” Not at all, the title is perfectly fine and would let you know why

First and foremost all the excitement of ordering groceries over web got vanished after my third order. I don’t know why but it just happened. I am not sure what Big Basket can do all about to solve this. May be to some extent they could have mitigated it by engaging with me in an interactive manner continuously. They know a lot about me. My profile information is there, my frequent shopping items are known, locality is shared and may be lot more info in my interactions with the website. But I hardly received any communication. Probably an engaging dialogue with me as a customer on basis of the above information via newsletters, emails, feedbacks and so on sharing some meaningful content / offers / activities etc could have retained my excitement in using the service. A company which does a fantastic job on that front is Club Mahindra ….

The next biggest issue is out of 10 items I intend to purchase in the website I miss at least 3. I am sure that I am not looking for anything crazy. It is as common as fresh fish of my choice, fruits / vegetable of my choice etc. The issue with this is ultimately I don’t have any other option than going to the nearby shop to buy these missing items which doesn’t make the whole experience interesting. It takes out the excitement of ordering everything from web….Also if I have to do that why I have to order via web and wait for one day to get delivered. I can very much go and get everything that I require immediately from the nearby store.

So I see the depth of product catalogue is not quiet comprehensive and it will definitely puts you off from using the service. Interestingly before you place the order there is also a box which asks for information on whether are there any items that you are unable to order. Unfortunately though I have shared things that I miss regularly, I don’t see them made available in my next interaction after few days. In addition to it I am not sure whether they have technology to monitor the search results that doesn’t retrieve any items, track commonly used search phrases, track people don’t add any items to the cart after performing a search etc to actively expand their product portfolio to understand and keep in stock items the customers are looking for.

The other issue I felt was, though they made significant first step in proving multiple slots in a day to deliver the order, I don’t find an option to get my orders placed in the evening get delivered the next day morning time slot. Most of the times at the best I can get that delivered only on the next day evening. This doesn’t help me in ordering some of the quick grocery replenishments that I am looking for my next day’s use. I am sure this requires over night operations as well an expanded delivery capacity in the morning slot but ultimately that is what required to make some of the customers like me see a value in this service

Finally, I am sure there is benefit in cutting down their cost by not having any physical store but I never see the benefits in-turn passed on to the customers. Most of the times the offers in the site are not useful and they are never personalized to me as customer. I know any e-commerce website has to reach the scale to balance out the cost of customer acquisition against the life time value they get derived from customers but to achieve it they have to ensure they make some compelling offers available in the store on some of the commonly purchased items by customers but unfortunately I don’t find any of their offers / discounted products interesting.

Similarly the minimal order size of Rs 1000 to delivery it without shipping charges is annoying. I can understand they can’t completely do away with it but they should bring it down to as low as Rs 250 as many doesn’t prefer to order the vegetables / fish / meat etc. in bulk and refrigerate it for the week’s use.

On the whole though as a customer I really appreciate many factors like a well performing website, superb logistics, good quality of goods delivered and excellent customer service, on a long run to make me as a loyal customer, I believe they have to implement some of the above compelling suggestions …

I am sure this holds good for other e-retailers too and many are not even up to the mark of Big Basket. Good luck Big Basket …

Venkatesan Sundaram
Senior Director, CRMIT

Originally Published on Venky’s Blog

Enabling Customer Experience (CX) with email integration to Oracle Fusion CRM

CRM++ Email Workbench now leverages the extensibility of Oracle® Fusion CRM framework for delivering effective customer service in addition to its existing integration capability with Oracle® CRM On Demand

Email Integration for Oracle Fusion CRM

CRM++ Email Workbench provides a comprehensive solution to manage, capture, collate, respond and distribute important customer email activity all within the CRM system. Every update, development and opportunity is immediately shared with appropriate team members, without having to manually update or append any new information. One of the key features of the new CRM++ Email Workbench is the ability to link prospect and customers emails with your CRM data so you have better information about your interactions with customers. The seamless automation of service requests and one-stop email communication aids better visibility and accessibility to all customer information and emails within the system.

Customer experience is a set of perception, a customer has with a company throughout the buying and owning interactions. Positive Customer Experience (CX)s enable businesses to attract more, retain more, sell more, sell for more, and do more.

Click here to view the presentation

CRMIT Solutions, an Oracle® Platinum Partner with specialization in CRM On Demand & Fusion CRM announced this new release as a part of its continued efforts to add service management features to Oracle® Fusion CRM. The Service Management solution includes the CRM++ Self Service Portal, Computer Telephony Integration and the Email Workbench that compliment and bridge in as service side features for Oracle® Fusion CRM.

CRM++ Email Workbench provides customer centric organizations to link prospect and customers emails with the CRM data for a 360° view of customer interactions. The Email Workbench also eliminates the switching between email programs and CRM modules, which always has been a challenge.

While CX isn’t just about technology, enabling great Customer Experience (CX)s at scale does require a wide range of software solutions and Oracle® is one of the only Customer Experience (CX) vendor that can claim it has every capability mentioned within a comprehensive Customer Experience (CX) portfolio offering, including Oracle® CRM On Demand and Oracle® Fusion CRM. The CRM++ Email Workbench 2.0 integration support for these offerings showcases our focus and commitment to extend the Customer Experience (CX) expertise to our existing and potential customers

CRMIT is meeting the Customer Experience (CX) challenge continuously, by offering to our customers the knowledge, resources, and tools to identify their unique Customer Experience (CX) challenges and by helping to develop strategies to address those pain points. The CRM++ suite of products which include Self Service Portal, Computer Telephony Integration, Email WorkBench and Social CRM++ are some of initiatives in this area