Why does technology work for customer and not for companies?

No doubt. Customer Experience has been shaped by technology. Mostly because customers’ expectations have been rising by the way they use technology on their personal lives. In particular by the way they communicate with family and friends, using messaging apps – Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, etc.

No doubt. Customer Experience delivered by most companies has not been up to the standards. Mostly when it comes to engaging customers on their preferred channels (you guessed it, the ones mentioned above). It’s true that customers are adopting new channels faster than companies can establish a presence on them. But that’s no excuse.

Blake Morgan, in More is More, says “Technology doesn’t just enable consumers, it enables brands to evolve their offering as well (…) leverage technology to enhance Customer Experience“. It is surprising how this may sound news to some companies, when it is so bloody obvious! If not more, because technology vendors knock on their doors every day!

The truth is there are some companies that do acquire and implement technology, to try and make their operations more efficient, enter new markets, enable new channels, or even provide a better Customer Experience. But it is also true that those efforts, more often than not, do not deliver the desired results or expected return on investment.

I’ve been a consultant in this area for more than a decade. As I see it, there are a couple of main reasons why companies keep failing in their efforts to improve with new technology implementation. On one hand, those implementations are technology-focused only. On the other hand, there is no technology strategy or governance.

I’ve wrote it once: “technology alone does not solve all the problems, nor turn around a poor performing business (…) technology is one part of the solution and should not be expected to “save the day” in isolation. Processes, culture and people are also critical, and must also be taken into account“.

And when it comes to acquiring technology, companies should have a well-defined strategy and governance, to avoid different departments buying their own technology platforms (as if they were sticking plasters for their own issues or needs), which then don’t talk to each other, and spread crucial customer data throughout multiple (and most times difficult to access) databases.

This doesn’t mean that companies need to be chained to one particular technology vendor, hoping that in its roadmap that vendor has a complete Customer Experience Platform, that serves every business area,  process, department or team, and stores every bit of information into one single (and necessarily monstrous) database.

Companies could (in my opinion, should) buy technology from different vendors. I bet you the Supply Chain Management platform that best suits your business is most likely from a different vendor than the Voice-of-the-Customer platform that better meets your Customer Experience management needs.

But that should not be a problem. As long as those platforms are flexible enough to allow alignment between technology and your business processes, as well as have pre-built connectors or public APIs that enable integrations with each other. And if you choose the right specialist partner to help you implement it.




What Is The Customer Experience Cloud?

In a fantastic article published in Forbes, Blake Morgan (Customer Experience futurist, author and keynote speaker) explains “What Is The Customer Experience Cloud?” without using acronyms or complex words and concepts.

It is crystal clear, and very useful for those business leaders who have been hearing about it and many times misguided by technology vendors. Below are a few key pieces, but I would recommend you to navigate to Forbes and read the full article.

“Essentially, the experience cloud is the infrastructure that allows brands to create useful, smooth experiences for their customers. Instead of having customer data and interactions divided over multiple systems, the experience cloud creates a single 360-degree view of the customer by building bridges among marketing, customer service, sales, and other business groups”.

“The old way of doing business with only a marketing cloud or sales cloud just isn’t enough anymore (…) Without integration, so much time was lost to inefficiency, and brands never truly had a full picture of their customers”.

“Teams within an organization were often siloed and duplicating information instead of working together, which made it difficult to deliver an amazing customer experience, especially one that was consistent across multiple channels. Instead of using function-based technologies, the experience cloud puts the customer at the center of everything the company does”.

“Today’s top brands are focused on the customer, and the experience cloud makes it easier. The goal is to create seamless conversations and interactions across the entire customer journey. Instead of a customer having a different experience each time they walk into the store, visit a website, or talk with a customer representative, the experience cloud pulls everything together to create a cohesive experience”.

CCXP Certified!

ccxp logo.png

Today I became a Certified Customer Experience Professional (CCXP).

For those of you who don’t know, the CCXP is a certification provided by the Customer Experience Professionals Association (CXPA) – worldwide recognised CX authority.

The CCXP exam is definitely not a piece of cake. It assesses your competency in 6 core disciplines:

  • Customer-Centric Culture
  • Voice of the Customer, Customer Insight, and Understanding
  • Organisational Adoption and Accountability
  • Customer Experience Strategy
  • Experience Design, Improvement, and Innovation
  • Metrics, Measurement, and ROI

I’m extremely happy to finally have accomplished this goal – which I’ve set for 2017 and for which I invested considerable amount of time and study.

And I’m proud to become one of less than 500 people in the world, 70 in Europe and 50 in UK, with CCXP certification.

Speaking about study, I would like to share with those interested the way I prepared:

  • Attended a 1-day CX Masterclass with Ian Golding
  • Read the following books
    • Outside In
    • Chief Customer Officer
    • Chief Customer Officer 2.0
    • Effortless Experience
    • Uncommon Service
    • I love you more than my dog
    • The basics of process improvement
    • Lean Six Sigma for Dummies
    • CCXP Exam Preparation (which also provides exam sample questions)
  • Took the sample exams provided by CX University

I hope this will help and encourage some of you.

Corporatism vs Consumerism

Geocentrism vs Heliocentrism

Nineteen centuries ago, in the II century, a famous astronomer and mathematician called Claudius Ptolemaeus published and established a model which described the Universe with planet Earth at the centre. It was called the “Geocentric Model” (aka Geocentrism), and said that the Sun, Moon, and all other planets, including all other stars, orbited around Earth.


This model was accepted by everyone until, 14 centuries later, in the XVI century (1543) an astronomer and mathematician priest, called Nicolaus Copernicus, proposed a new model, called “Heliocentric model” (aka Heliocentrism), where the Sun was at the centre, with the Earth and all other planets orbiting around the Sun.


This model, as we very well know today, was then proven correct. But it took some time for people to believe it. Actually, when Copernicus published it, very few believed him. And the ones who did even faced charges of heresy. One of those was scientist Giordano Bruno, burned to death for teaching Heliocentrism.

The church banned Heliocentrism, because it contradicted the Catholic idea that humans were at the centre of the Universe. It took almost one century (1632) for people to start accepting it, when brilliant minds like Galileo Galilei (astronomer, physicist, engineer, mathematician) started pushing and giving credit to Copernicus.

And it was only 300 hundred years later, in the XIX century (1822), that the Pope officially removed the ban on Heliocentrism, even though the majority of the scientific community and the people had already started believing it 100 years earlier.

Corporatism vs Consumerism

All this to say that, in our days, we have a similar situation. Until not long ago, everyone believed in a model where Brands, Organisations, Companies were at the centre, and all Customers, Members, Citizens would orbit around them. Much like Geocentrism, let’s call this Corporatism.

(Please note that Corporatism is a term already in use with a few definitions. In this case, we define it as the control of the market by organisations).

But the truth is a new model has been found, and it has been already proven – by many in the Customer Experience community – to be the correct model. One where the Customer is at the centre, and all Brands, Organisations, and Companies orbit around the Customer. Much like Heliocentrism, let’s call this Consumerism.

(Please note that Consumerism is a term already in used with a few definitions. In this case, we define it as the control of the market by customers).

Similar to what happened with Copernicus and his Heliocentrism, Consumerism has not been totally accepted by many. And we still see in the market place a significant amount (maybe the majority, really!) of organisations still operating under Corporatism laws and practises.

The good thing is that reality is knocking on their doors, and the world has got to a point – with the advent of technology and social media – where Consumerism is inevitably swallowing those who insist in operate in models that are clearly obsolete. Customers are increasingly empowered and in the driving seat.

To avoid collapse, all those brands, organisations, and companies which still operate under Corporatism, will need to surrender to the Consumerism model, start focusing on Customer Experience, and undertake transformation. Become customer-centric, innovate, improve their business processes with an outside-in perspective.

It is not an easy task. But, with the help of the right specialist consultants, it will certainly not take those Brands, Organisations and Companies 300 years to change.

The Justice League of Customer Service


Most of us, in particular those that have been implementing these type of applications in the last decade or two, know that the Oracle Service Cloud community is one of the best communities of its kind.

It is easy to use, full of useful content, and supported by a fantastic team that has a massive focus on those who seek help and/or provide insight, on the Oracle Service Cloud platform (spanning through RightNow, OPA, Field Service or Knowledge Advanced).

But usually we go to the community when we bump into a challenge or a problem. The community is a safe harbour for us to ask for guidance, support or help to resolve our issues.

The truth is that currently, more than be reactive and sort out issues that come up, we need to be pro-active and also find ways to innovate, in order to “fix” things before they even happen, to ultimately provide a better experience to our customers and staff.

That was one of the reasons why the Oracle Service Cloud team created the Oracle Service Cloud Hero Hub, where we can not only learn more about Oracle Service Cloud, but also have fun doing it.

I would strongly recommend that those of you who are working with Oracle Service Cloud, join the Hero Hub, and take part of this “Justice League of Customer Service“. To know more about the Hero Hub, and to learn how to join, check out Erica Leep’s post: Calling Customer Service Heroes to the Oracle Service Cloud.

Self-deception on Contact Centres

The “Effortless Experience” presents some key findings around Customer Experience, and prove that there is a correlation between Customer Loyalty and Customer Effort. One of the interesting findings is that Customer Service interactions tend to drive disloyalty, not loyalty; and another extremely important finding is that the key to mitigating disloyalty is to reduce customer effort.

And in the middle of some great insight, the author puts the finger in the wound: “Most metrics used in contact centres today suffer from a kind of myopia: They take a very narrow view of things that tend to make service organisations look much better than they really are (…) an example: Most companies measure transfer rates by relying on switch data, which is captured when calls are handed from one agent to another. But when you interview customers, it turns out they have a different definition of a “transfer”. What if the customer started on the web – maybe in a chat session – and then had to call the contact centre? In the customer’s mind, that is a transfer. If the customer started on the IVR and then bailed out to speak to a live person? Transfer. Same thing with repeated contacts, repeating information, channel switching, and so on”.

It is true that many contact centres and service organisations are still looking too much at themselves, and (intentionally?!) forgetting the customer. But the truth is that they aren’t doing anyone any favours. Self-deception will only cause customers to leave, the company to lose and thence the self service organisation to suffer.

The author concludes by saying what any good consultant would advise: “we’ll argue for reengineering customer service metrics to better align to the customer view of things. It’s not a beauty contest – these measures will likely make you look much worse than your old ones, at first – but the important thing is that you will have reoriented your dashboard toward capturing what really matters to customers (…) and ultimately that’s where loyalty, and disloyalty, come from“.

The channel and touch-point rush

Reading the “Experience Effect” from Jim Joseph made me stop and think about this.

Multi-channel, Omni-channel… yes, we have been talking about it a lot, and it is crucial for the delivery of a good Customer Experience, but multi or omni does not mean All-channels.

It is extremely important for companies to figure out and decide which channels and touch-points are most relevant to their customers. There is no point in offering a raft of channels and touch-points that would just not work, or actually not even be necessary. It is a waste of time, money and focus.

And there is only one way companies would be able to define which channels and touch-points work for their customers. It is by truly understanding the customers and how the brand fits their lives. For example, why provide a digital channel to customers that are not tech-savvy.

It would make no sense for a brand like Apple to provide Fax as a channel. I’m sure the majority of Apple customers are tech-savvy and would prefer Live Chat or Twitter. Similarly, it would make no sense for the Department for Work & Pensions not to provide white mail (post) as a channel, and it is probably too early to provide Social Media as a touch-point.

But it is not enough for companies to get to the perfect combination of channels and touch-points, there is another thing that is crucial: Consistency. In order to provide a great Customer Experience, companies need to be able to deliver consistency across all channels and touch-points.

The main reason for companies to fail having that consistency is the lack of a common understanding of the brand definition, and the customer profile, across the teams that define and manage the different channels and touch-points, as well as the fact that the systems that support those are not joined up.

But be aware that consistency doesn’t mean that the experience has to be exactly the same in all channels or touch-points. That wouldn’t bring any added value or leverage the power and capability of certain channels and touch-points.

Companies should be able to tailor the experience to the channel and the touch-point. And, again, they can only be successful in doing that if they understand the role that the channel or touch-point plays on the customer’s life, the whole customer journey, and the power of the technology enabling it.

Sam Walton (Walmart founder): Believe me… the client will never come back

Maybe some of you have already come across this, but for those who haven’t, here goes…

A few years ago Sam Walton, founder of the biggest retailer in the world, opened a new training programme for Walmart employees, and made sure he took the first slot in every training session.

Most people expected Sam to make a speech about the history and the values of the company, about sales or customer service. But instead Sam shared a short, simple and personal history.

I’m the kind of person who goes to a restaurant, sits at the table and patiently waits, whilst the waiter does everything but taking my order.

I’m the kind of person who goes to a shop and waits in silence, whilst the employee behind the counter finishes the private conversation with the colleague, before taking my payment.

I’m the kind of person who goes to a gas station and never buzzes, but waits patiently whilst the employee finishes his newspaper read.

I’m the kind of person who explains to a supplier his urgency on getting a specific product, and does not complain after receiving it 3 weeks later.

I’m really the kind of person who enters any commercial establishment and seems to be begging for attention, for a smile, for the employee to do me a favour.

And now you must be thinking that I’m just a nice, calm, relaxed, quiet, patient kind of person. But you are wrong!

You know who I am? I’m the customer who will never come back.

And then I have fun. Watching these companies spend millions of dollars, in marketing and advertisement, in order to make me come back to them. When actually I was there already, and all they had to do was a simple, cheap and easy thing: treat me with a little courtesy.

There is only one boss: THE CLIENT. And he can fire everyone in the company. From the employee to the Chief Executive, simply by taking his money somewhere else

Customer Experience. This is what it is all about. And a good one has lots of components, from employee empowerment to personalised service. But the truth is that everything should start from the basics. And the foundation for a good CX is something as simple as a bit of courtesy. And that doesn’t require any investment in time or money, just the right attitude.

My Oracle OpenWorld


The journey to Oracle Open World, in San Francisco, starts today and I’m really excited about it. Last year was great, with loads of good outcomes, and I’m expecting this year to be even better.

I will obviously be more interested on the sessions that are going to take place in the CX Central, with a particular and special focus on Oracle Service Cloud, even though I will attend others (e.g. Sales Cloud).

My agenda has scheduled a few sessions. To those I’m definitely going. Then I will pop in to some others as well as walk the floor to see what Oracle and the partners have to show.

I will start with “Modern Customer Service for a Changing World” as I want to hear people like Kate Leggett talking about how they address experience design, digital disruption or mobile capabilities. And also customer’s representatives sharing their experience on how they are using Oracle Service Cloud.

Then I’m looking forward to hear Christopher Patterson and Keith McFarlane about the “Oracle Service Cloud Roadmap“. I’m expecting loads of innovations, new functionalities, great improvements and exciting features coming our way.

The “Oracle Service Cloud’s Customer Engagement Center Overview and Roadmap” session with Susie Boyer should also be good. She is planning to talk about the platform’s Customer Engagement Center functionality (basically the Customer Service capabilities like incident management, knowledge base, guided assistance, customer feedback, etc.) and its roadmap to address key trends and challenges facing customer service and support organizations.

In the next day I’m planning to attend the session where my good friend Luis Figueira and a couple or Panasonic representatives are going to talk about how they have implemented Oracle CX Cloud products (Social Cloud, Sales Cloud, Marketing Cloud) in coexistence with Siebel.

The next exciting session I plan to attend is “Delivering Customer Service Excellence in the Engagement Center“. The topic is around how Oracle Service Cloud enables companies to deliver consistent Customer Service and CX across all channels.

Another couple of interesting sessions will be “Oracle Service Cloud Integration Strategy” and “Accelerating Oracle Service Cloud and Oracle E-Business Suite “. These are around integrations and coexistence and that is a hot topic.

Apart from that, I hope to see many friends and meet many peers there. Share experience and knowledge. And come back with a lot to think about, a lot of knowledge, and a lot to use on a daily basis.