A few years ago, when Oracle was busy buying companies for fill out its front office cloud offering RightNow Technologies developed a day in the life video that sticks with me. It was shown at the last RightNow user meeting while RightNow was an independent company. In fact at the conference where it was 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 multi-channel support or the ability to provide service regardless of whatever channel—social, mobile, email, etc. —that a request came in. We got over that soon enough.
The video takes a day in the life approach to showing someone dealing through a phone 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 made it look seamless and very plausible.
It was impressive. One person on the phone in the back seat of a car on the way to the airport did a lot. Today much of this has come into view and while only a few companies are taking advantage of the possibilities inherent in this technology, from what I see, it’s the next thing. To be sure, every business won’t need each capability and it’s important to focus on those functions that add the most value to a business’s or brand’s outreach.
What’s beyond all this is even more exciting to me. With the advent of the IoT there’s 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 business guesses they want. There’s also the idea of people helping people that might not seem earth shaking 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.
This is a busy week. I’ve been to the CRM Evolution conference in Washington, D.C. and 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 prolog the future will be 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. There will be more about all this here soon.
(Cross-posted @ Beagle Research Group)