In a recent webinar series, Daniel Foppen of Oracle’s CX Service Strategy along with 4 leading service professionals from BISSELL, Pier 1 Imports, Smiths Medical, and Elsevier discuss how implementing advanced contact center functionality improved experiences and productivity at their respective contact centers.
In part 1 of this conversation, the group covers the challenges of looking for a new solution and how to deliver service experiences consistently, and manageably, on a global scale.
Read highlights below from the following customer experience experts:
- Nannette Bromley, Senior IT Project Manager, BISSELL
- Laurie Simpter, Senior Manager, Customer Relations, Pier 1 Imports
- Gary Harris, Director Customer Services, Smiths Medical
- Marc Grant, CX Software Engineering Manager, Elsevier
Check out the full panel webinar.
What challenges were you facing that made you look for a new solution?
[Nannette Bromley] BISSELL’s CRM was an on-premise solution that was supported by our internal IT resources. Agents were in four locations: the US, Philippines, Australia, and the UK. The reason this was so painful was because in order to support a consumer, the agents needed to work on 9 different applications. The core CRM solution had not been upgraded since 2002, and was highly customized to support the business. There were links to external custom solutions for orders, returns, refunds, and payments; a separate knowledge base system, and we had Excel reports with macros to pull data from and access database for analytics dashboards and reporting. There were also separate mailboxes outside of the CRM.
It was amazing how hard it was for agents to work to answer a consumer. In addition, the IT team had so many issues supporting the business with their current solution and non-stable environment. So, for all those reasons, we needed to look for a new solution.
[Laurie Simpter] Our journey started when our business model changed. We added an ecommerce site, and our contact center grew exponentially as our customer demand increased. We had a lot of siloed legacy technology that made our agents’ job really challenging, and that translated into agent frustration, a lot of turnover, and ultimately, a poor customer experience.
Our agents were accessing close to 30 different applications to find bits and pieces of information, and a lot of our systems were very rigid. We didn’t have that flexibility to allow us to grow as an organization and grow as a contact center, and have the features that we needed. And that’s really what prompted us to look into some new technology solutions that provided that relief to our agents and to our organization.
How do you offer service experience consistently, and manageably, on a global scale?
[Marc Grant] We’ve got around 80 digital products and they’re all uniquely branded. Some people may not even know that they’re an Elsevier product, so from a platform perspective, it sounds unmanageable.
We also add into that that a lot of products are supported in over 5 languages, some up to 8, so that makes things like customer portals or the customer help sites a real challenge. We may also have different chat hours for different products. As you can imagine, managing that is quite an overhead expense.
So we developed a solution that means we can have all our support sites on the same interface, which allows us then to duplicate that out to 8 other interfaces which support all the necessary languages.
We’ve also got different product teams with different support hours. We had to consider how to make this manageable—we didn’t want to do this in code that we have to deploy each time and would take weeks to change chat hours, etc., so we set all this up by using custom objects in Oracle Service Cloud.
Custom objects are like database tables that you can create to configure, or store, whatever you like. For us, we used that to store our configuration. We wrote custom pages that would then look up that configuration and surface whatever you’d configured. The benefit is that it’s allowed us to drive everything through configuration rather than code. It’s empowered our power users to set up and change things really quickly, like chat hours, holidays, emergencies, and also our support sites. We can now spin up a support site in 5 to 10 minutes, where that used to take weeks.
Of course, that doesn’t include the knowledge content. That’s what our knowledge teams do. But technically, we can do that in about 5 minutes, so we’ve really gone for a configuration-first approach to make things manageable.
[Gary Harris] Smiths is a global organization, and we operate in each region of the world in what we called shared service centers. We manage our customer service regionally in one facility for multiple countries. The biggest challenges with that is the ability to share information. We were all on one ERP system, but the ability to see what was going on around the world with customers was impossible until our implementation was complete.
We had no unity. In our world, an order is an order. It doesn’t matter if you placed the order in India or if you placed the order in Alabama, placing an order is the same process. But because we weren’t unified in any way, we had no way to leverage resources around the world. That’s a challenge, especially with customer demand, wanting things as soon as they order it, right?
So, if somebody would place an order later in the day, in the US, and we weren’t available, they had to wait almost 2 days for that order to ship. The ability to leverage resources around the world is a big plus to the system for us.
Other challenges are just hours of operation. We have one location in the US to service the US, and that creates challenges because we’re not 24/7. This system will give us the ability to leverage resources in other parts of the world to support things that they can, in the languages that they can, but it opens up a whole new opportunity for us to service our customers better.
In the future, we’ll be able to have a follow the sun model, using the service cloud, and leveraging everybody around the world, when it’s night, for example, in the US.
We’re not there yet, but we’re getting closer! We’ve not had the capability in the past to even attempt it. We now are able to see any interaction that’s done anywhere around the world, so it gives us the ability to move that direction.
Want to learn more? Watch the full panel webinar.