How Machine Learning Is Improving Customer Service

Efficient customer service is crucial to the success of client-facing businesses. The $350 billion industry has transformed over the last couple of decades with the mass adoption of the internet and social media, taking the customer service channels for many businesses online. Although the increased connectivity provided by technology has helped facilitate customer service processes, it has also increased customer expectations.

To keep up with these expectations, businesses are finding ways to implement machine learning into their customer service processes in hopes of efficiently handling as many customer inquiries as possible.

Customer Service Needs

Although the internet can often provide answers to almost any question a customer could have, customers more comfortable speaking directly with a person will often reach out to customer service agents. This frequently results in customer service representatives spending large amounts of time answering very basic queries, which can be monotonous and frustrating for agents. To reduce the need for customer service reps to answer these types of questions, businesses have been using AI to offer answers for basic questions before transferring clients to a customer service agent.

This is done both on the phone and online through the use of chatbots that are often employed on a business’ website and Facebook page. Over the phone, automated recordings help navigate customer calls by asking questions that the AI will either be able to answer or transferring their call to the proper department.

Online, chatbots have become a huge resource for businesses to attain customer information, gather feedback, and provide customers with quick responses to standard questions. The use of chatbots and other forms of AI is expected to help businesses manage 85 percent of their relationships with customers by 2020.

Machine learning also facilitates security processes for businesses that handle sensitive customer information. In the past, customers have been required to verify their identity by providing personal information, a process that could take many minutes, especially if a customer forgot their answers to security questions.

However, many businesses are now using two-factor authentication to verify customer identity during customer service calls. This involves verifying two pieces of information: a security question, followed by phone verification. Customer service agents will use machine learning to send a code to the phone number on file with the company, and once a customer verifies they received the code, their identity is confirmed. This approach has improved security measures and can be completed quickly.

Growing Use of Tech in Customer Service

Overall, the use of AI in customer service has increased job satisfaction for customer service agents, as well as help businesses keep up with customer expectations. Businesses need to constantly look for ways to improve customer service. One of the results of implementing AI to help facilitate customer service has been giving customer service agents more time to handle complicated customer inquiries. Increased job satisfaction for customer service representatives and reduced call volume provides them with a greater opportunity to dedicate time and empathy to customers who need a human touch for their inquiries.

As more businesses use machine learning to automate routine tasks and data entry during customer service calls, call time should be reduced, leading to an increase in customer satisfaction. Currently, in a typical six-minute customer service call, 75 percent of that time is devoted to agents doing manual research. Only 25 percent of call time is spent interacting with the customer. AI can streamline this process by memorizing customer information and creating easier routes to accomplish tasks online.

This also provides customer service agents with more time to do important customer service work online, such as responding to customer reviews, which has become a high priority for businesses over the last few years.

As more customers go online to offer feedback or complain about poor experiences with companies, the need to moderate reviews and comments has grown. In the internet age, 88 percent of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. Therefore, if a business receives many reviews, they must dedicate resources to responding to them. This will increase customer trust in a business, as well as its ranking with Google.

As more businesses implement AI, machine learning will become the standard for customer service expectations. Although the impact AI will have on jobs within the customer service industry is unclear, the new and rapidly advancing technology will soon provide efficient customer service to consumers looking for help. AI will also help improve the job environment for customer service representatives and open the door for better customer service and increased customer satisfaction. With the implementation of machine learning, the future of customer service looks to be promising.

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4 Ways to Improve Your Company’s Customer Experience Strategy

Nowadays, consumers are savvier than they ever were. Businesses that wish to engage their customers and ensure their loyalty must provide more than exceptional product or service quality. As a matter of fact, it’s all about the customer experience these days. What exactly is customer experience? Simply put, customer experience is the sum of all interactions a consumer has with a company both pre- and post-purchase.

What’s more, a customer experience strategy is a company’s effort to make those interactions meaningful, seamless, and exceptional, in order for them to form an outstanding experience for the consumer. The better the experience companies are able to provide to customers, the easier it becomes to ensure their satisfaction, engagement and even loyalty. Not only that but consumers generally prefer to do business with companies that can provide a seamless customer experience. That being said, here are a few ways to improve your company’s customer experience strategy.

Understand your customer needs

Nowadays, customer experience revolves around ensuring your company is able to meet customer expectations, needs and demands. In order to achieve that, you must first understand your audience well and also understand their needs. Market research, for example, allows you to gain insight into your target audience and discover who they are, what they do and of course, what they like.

Also, a competitive analysis allows you to learn more about your customers from the way your competitors treat their customers and how customers are responding to that experience. However, the essence of understanding customers is to put yourself in their shoes and determine what you would expect from a business or a brand. This will help you develop a more strategic approach with a focus on the customers themselves. It will allow you to improve your strategy and deliver an exceptional experience to your audience.

Improve customer support

It’s no secret that you cannot expect from every individual customer to immediately understand how your products, policies, services or something similar works. Sooner or later, someone is bound to get confused and seek support. You must be able to provide customers with answers or solution because customer support is also a crucial element of customer experience. As an example, even industry giants, such as Apple have a unique approach when it comes to customer experience, especially support.

There are various Apple store locations worldwide that can easily be found with a simple search. Apple’s take on in-store experience is to train staff to deliver value to customers through service and support, instead of just trying to sell a product. Therefore, whether your company is interacting with customers online, offline or both, make sure you provide adequate support on each access point. That way, you ensure there are no inconveniences or misunderstandings that may ruin customer experience.

Hire the right staff

When it comes to improving your customer experience strategy, it’s important to remember that, in most cases, customers interact with your employees. Therefore, employees are also essential in delivering a seamless experience whether through service, support or some other method. When improving your strategies, consider hiring the right employees with the right people skills, if you haven’t done so by now.

Employees can establish and encourage emotional responses in customers, which will improve customer relations with your company. In other words, customers are more likely to relate to your brand when they interact with the pleasant and helpful staff because those employees help humanize your brand. Human interactions are much more meaningful than customers having to interact with machines or automated responses. Customer experience improves when customers can find assistance from the staff should they need assistance in the first place.

Listen to your customers

Another approach to your customer experience strategy improvement is to listen to your customers. No doubt that expert consultants in your company will give you valuable advice on how to improve customer experience, but in the end, it’s the consumers themselves that get to decide if the experience is good or not. That being said, it’s better to get information from the audience you’re trying to serve. You can start by asking your customers for feedback.

For instance, are they satisfied with your current efforts, are there any improvements they’d suggest, is your customer service and support meeting their needs and so on are just a few things you should focus on learning from your customers. What’s more, acting upon your customers’ feedback not only helps you improve overall customer experience but it also grants you customer appreciation as well. In fact, consumers are much more willing to conduct repeat business and remain loyal to companies that listen to them, especially companies that are willing to improve, in order to meet their customers’ needs.

 

Customer experience plays a vital role in business success. Not being able to provide a seamless customer experience will ruin your business regardless of the product or service quality you have to offer. Consumers want to do business with companies that can provide them with an exceptional customer service, support and overall experience. That’s why it’s important to improve your strategies and ensure customer satisfaction.

The Truth About AIs Impact on Jobs

By Allan Leinwand, CTO, ServiceNow                  

According to a recent report from PwC, AI is expected to raise the global GDP, in 2030, by 14% (approximately US$15.7 trillion). That being said, AI is seen by many as being either a hero or a villain. On one hand, AI is currently driving nearly every CIO’s agenda because it intelligently automates work processes, making it possible to do things that have never been done before. But on the other, many workers are scared of the rise of AI as they believe it is rising from humble beginnings to become a villain that will steal their jobs.

The truth is that some jobs will be lost, but many more will be created. It is important to understand that fundamentally, AI is not strong at creative, interpersonal or physical work. It will be used for “decision support, not decision making.” So lets debunk a few myths.

Reduce and Simplify

As workers, we want to use automation to get our jobs done. AI will free us from having to spend long hours analyzing data and invest that time in achieving a better work-life balance.

Information technology, manufacturing, financial services and human resources will all see significant improvement and productivity gains because of AI. These industries have many repetitive tasks that can be easily automated, helping workers become more productive. For example, AI can streamline the onboarding process of a new employee. It can alert HR when background checks are completed, and aid them with the creation of benefits packages and employment contracts. It can help IT order and provision new equipment. Similarly, it can help the employee complete and send tax forms and direct deposit information to finance.

The Mundane

Workers want to move to more meaningful roles. In fact, according to the Society of Human Resource Professionals, workers, particularly Millennials, want to “create outcomes within meaningful projects and may become impatient with mundane tasks.” AI can automate the more mundane tasks allowing for new jobs to be created that are more fulfilling, strategic and meaningful. AI can help workers be more productive and efficient at their jobs, while learning new skills. In addition, AI can help workers become better organized, reducing stressors, improving productivity and overall job satisfaction.

Financial compliance is a great example of this. Until recently, the creation of expense reports and review of submitted expenses was a very manual, mundane process requiring hours and hours of review. In the cases of expense report review, only a sample of expense reports could be reviewed in order to hopefully identify some patterns of fraud in submissions. Now, not only can AI generate the invoices, but it can sort through the hundreds of expense reports, invoices and other transactions and  identify potential areas of fraud, waste and mistakes by employees, vendors and others for humans to further investigate, saving their companies billions of dollars each year.

Customer Satisfaction

The idea behind AI is to create more satisfied customers. Because workers can focus more on the interpersonal and creative parts of their jobs rather than the more mundane, they will treat customers better. In customer support cases, this will be done by employing AI to identify and provide a solution for the issue and utilizing a human who can react to nuances for interpersonal communications. Customers will develop loyalty because their needs are met and issues are resolved quicker, more efficiently and with a personal touch.

Let me give you an example. Years ago, many companies implemented phone trees to help route support calls more efficiently. All of us have been frustrated to get to the end of the menu realizing that we must press “star” in order to go back to the previous menu in order to talk to the right person. While this is automated support, it didn’t employ a combination of people and AI to do so. Rather than having to press the right button to move forward, imagine answering a few questions at the beginning of the call describing what the issue is or what you want to accomplish, and immediately being routed to the correct person (yes, person) who will help you or to the right menu telling you store hours. This will speed up support, improve loyalty and create better satisfaction for customers.

Convenience

One of the biggest benefits of AI is the convenience to customers. AI allows nearly every aspect of business to occur faster, from identifying and fixing support issues so that workers don’t have to drive into the office on weekends to fix a server, to providing more accessibility to information, services and more.

As an example, there seem to be ATMs on nearly every corner in most major cities and more bank branch locations than ever before. However, bank teller jobs have not been eliminated because of the rise of ATM machines. Yes, there may be less tellers in general, but their jobs are more valuable to customers and their employers. When one walks into a branch at a bank, there are dozens of workers providing better value-added services with shorter lines helping customers to be more satisfied with the convenient service provided. More than likely the work these employees do have higher margins, enabling them to make more money for both themselves and their local branches.


Allan Leinwand - CTO - ServiceNow
Allan Leinwand, Chief Technology Officer, ServiceNow

In summary, while AI might result in loss of certain jobs, it is more likely that the amount of work each worker will need to complete will be reduced and simplified rather than eliminated. Employees will feel more satisfaction in what they do because they can focus less on the mundane and more on the strategic. Customer satisfaction will increase because customers will have more human interactions, faster, with people who know how to resolve issues they have. In addition, customers will have more convenience than ever before.

 

Why Businesses Should Embrace Machine Learning

If you’re still unsure of machine learning and it’s benefits, consider these scenarios. 

In 2016, Google’s net worth was reported to be $336 billion, and this is largely due to the advanced learning algorithms the company employs.

Google was the first company to realize the importance of incorporating machine learning in business processes. And the technology powerhouse doesn’t stop at any given point; it keeps modifying its algorithms to better suit the needs of its users continuously.

And how does it accomplish the difficult task of observing the browsing pattern of thousands (or millions) of its users?

The answer is simple. By analysing the data, which it has accumulated by introducing machine learning to its business operating model.

This is just one example of how machine learning processes in the recording and processing of data can help businesses grow.

Here are three more ways in which machine learning can help various business sectors:

1. It removes physical restrictions

If we have accomplished one thing by automating and digitalizing business processes, it is that we have removed the physical limitations that restrict growth.

Before the technological age, what was the biggest problem faced by businesses? Operating within a limited space accessible only by a limited number of people. For a designer, it was necessary to completely clear out the previous inventory before utilising the shelf space for new designs. By embracing machine learning and diving into the world of e-commerce, you don’t ever have to worry about running out of shelves.

2. It provides a deeper understanding of your consumers

With the introduction of automated processes, businesses have become increasingly consumer-centric. To be able to survive the competition of catering to your customers’ needs, you as a business owner have to understand the needs of your consumers.

If you do not deliver what consumers are looking for, there is a high probability that you will lose potential customers to competition. Machine learning plays an important part in solving the mystery of consumer preferences. All required information is hidden behind the data accumulated by the business. You just have to crunch the code, and voila—you know what your customers are actively searching for.

3. It automated processes, boosting efficiency

Imagine standing in line in a supermarket; someone with a long haul is standing ahead of you and the cashier’s machine suddenly breaks. It’s a nightmare, right? You could be spending those precious minutes watching your favourite series on Netflix.

Now imagine that the machine is not broken but in fact was never invented. The cashier has to manually enter every purchase and tally it with the existing stock. Incorporating automated processes to record inventory stock and purchase order data is not a luxury, it’s a necessity in today’s world. Machine learning has increased the efficiency of businesses and minimized the room for error.

Want to learn more about how to incorporate Big Data analytics to propel your business towards growth? Visit Simplilearn for useful insights into the subject. For more interesting content about data analytics follow me on Twitter and LinkedIn.


Source: Why Businesses Should Embrace Machine Learning | Ronald van Loon | Pulse | LinkedIn

10 Things You Need to Know About Digital Transformation | Featured Image

10 Things You Need to Know About Digital Transformation

Digital Transfomration

Digital transformation isn’t just a phase or a buzzword. Business leaders are now fast waking up to the important role technology is set to play in their growth strategies, with the latest report from Gartner showing a rise in the number of CEOs ranking IT as a priority – “The IT-related area rose from 19% mentioning it as a priority for 2016/2017 to 31% in 2017/2018.”[i] The recent explosion of connected devices and platforms, for example, has made it imperative for companies to quickly adapt their products, services and processes, and move towards the digital world. This, naturally, requires transformation of some kind.

However, the reality is that digital transformation will require some tough choices to ensure your business isn’t dragged along or left behind. But we all know that change is not easy. You might be thinking how do you start transforming? Does it have to cost lots of money? Or perhaps you’re experiencing resistance to change. What’s the problem with doing things the ‘old’ way anyway? Here are ten considerations that that will help companies on their digital transformation journey.

Digital transformation will change your business, but focussing on the right level of change is key

New digital technologies should be seen as an enabler for better, more seamless and streamlined business operations that make your business competitive – driving growth. Focusing on where digital transformation can deliver the most benefits and add the most value in your quest for growth should be where you begin the change process.

Technology investment is crucial to growth but just because the technology is new, doesn’t mean it’s right for you

Sometimes less is more. The right use of technology can radically improve your business, but the deployment of technology for technology’s sake can be self-defeating. Being open to the transformative impact of new technologies is the most important consideration for companies around the world.

Consider where your company is on its digital transformation journey

Growing your technology platform doesn’t necessarily mean your business will grow too. Sometimes it’s better to have fewer solutions than more, but it can be challenging for business managers to keep on top of the latest tech trends and new solutions being launched in the market.

Many competing technologies profess to drive digital transformation, however, the utility of solutions depend on the stage your company is at in the transformation journey. From mobile sales and field services, to wireless sales counters and warehouses, to advanced inventory management – different solutions provide new ways to reduce costs, improve the customer experience, and improve the bottom line.

Not everyone in your company will feel comfortable with digital transformation

Society and technology are changing more quickly than most companies can adapt. From enterprise resource planning (ERP) to cloud computing, new tools, platforms, and channels are creating unprecedented opportunities to connect with customers and improve internal processes—but only for the businesses agile enough to transform and adapt to these new digital realities.

Even so, there’s no single roadmap for digital transformation and the path is different for every company and industry. However, there must be attempts to get employee buy-in from the start. This requires a commitment to digital technology from the boardroom to all levels of staff. You should have leaders with the right mind-set and motivation to lead the digital transformation process.

It’s no good having data if you don’t know what it means

Firms that undergo a true digital transformation programme put data and information at the heart of their technology focused business models. Many are shocked to see just how much information they had but were not utilising properly. The new data landscape provides you with unique opportunities to turn data into insights – the fuel for any digital transformation journey – with real-time updates providing opportunities for better business decision making.

In fact, Forrester Research has found that more than 70% of decision-makers report planned or current initiatives to encourage more data-driven decisions, making unlocking the value of integrated business data critical to success in today’s modern distribution marketplace.

Digital transformation won’t grow your profits overnight – embrace change as part of a wider growth strategy with measurable goals

Change is a constant in today’s dynamic marketplace, but it’s important to be realistic about what you can achieve in a short time. A recent survey we sponsored, highlighted how high-growth companies embrace change. Seventy-six per cent of high-growth companies prefer constant innovation to business stability, while only 49% of low-growth companies do so. In an age where innovation is driven by rising customer expectations, growing companies have distinct short-term goals that embrace innovation and business change as part of a wider transformation journey for growth.

Digital transformation should make your business more adaptable but it won’t make you immune to competition

It has never been more important for business leaders to carry the torch for digital transformation, but the most important factor is making sure digital potential is translated into competitive advantage. This requires top executives to champion the deployment of flexible, digital technologies that change the way they engage with their customers.

As Gartner rightly states, “technology shapes business strategy, but market, political and financial factors prevail.”[ii] Nevertheless, embracing the right technology brings people together, allows businesses to land and expand into new geographic locations with minimum resources, and makes the product development lifecycle more responsive to consumer demand than ever before. 

It takes more than just digital technology to encourage collaboration across departments and divisions

To begin digital transformation, you need to look at your business from the inside out – consider the tools and systems you use, what works well, what doesn’t and ways these can be improved. But when technology is heralded above all else, there becomes an even greater disconnect between employees and the challenges that their business is trying to solve.

There might be isolated investments that are doing very well, but they’re still isolated. New solutions must be an enabler aligned with a bigger mission – to evolve internal processes, structure and culture, or to match the evolution in customers’ behaviour. Consider how you communicate both internally and externally, the strengths and weaknesses of your staff and if their skills are fit for purpose. Do you need staff with more digital skills and will you need to recruit them throughout the process?

Your customers don’t think about your digital transformation, but they do expect it to happen

The digital trends that are impacting every part of business operations will not slow down, and it’s the same playing field for all of your competitors, and every start-up that’s gunning for a piece of your world. Your customers expect that you are embracing digital transformation because they are doing so, and they need you to join them on the journey. 

You can talk the talk, but make sure you walk the walk

To make digital transformation happen, high-growth companies don’t just pay lip service to ideas such as new technology and innovation – they back them up with investment. The growth survey we did, found that in the coming year, 88% of high-growth companies are planning significant investments in technology and innovation, while only 49% of slow-growth companies are doing so.

Digital transformation is different for every business. While some manufacturers will have more challenges than others, and while some will also embrace more technologies than others, being aware of the ten considerations above will be helpful to every business that is embarking – or has already embarked on – this journey.

[i] Gartner, 2017 CEO Survey: CIOs Must Scale Up Digital Business (March 2017)

[ii] Gartner, 2017 CEO Survey: CIOs Must Scale Up Digital Business (March 2017)

About the Author:

Sabby Gill, EVP, Epicor Software

Sabby Gill brings more than 20 years of international sales, operations and enterprise software industry experience to Epicor. In the role of executive vice president (EVP), International, Gill is responsible for operations including sales, professional services, and field marketing, with a focus on accelerating company growth throughout Europe, Middle East & Africa (EMEA) and Asia Pacific (APAC).

Prior to Epicor, Gill was senior vice president of International Sales for IGT, a gaming technology company. He has also held executive management roles with leading technology companies including HP, CA Technologies, Oracle, PeopleSoft (acquired by Oracle), and DEC.


If you want to share this article the reference to Sabby Gill and The HR Tech Weekly® blog is obligatory.

The Next Frontier in Shared Services | The HR Tech Weekly®

The Next Frontier in Shared Services

For anyone who’s answered an email or text from a project team member on a weekend (and that’s just about all of us), it comes as no surprise that digitization has profoundly disrupted the way we work. However, this “new normal” of always-on, instantaneous communication among networks of teams is now dovetailing with another force that is equally as disruptive: a changing workforce, led by increasing numbers of Millennials. Together, these forces are impacting the service delivery landscape and calling upon the HR shared services organization to engage with employees via digital tools, often in entirely new ways.

A digital employee experience is no longer optional; it’s a necessary survival skill for those seeking to attract, retain, and facilitate engagement with the next-generation workforce. At a recent Deloitte workshop, we explored what makes Millennials different, (backed by the findings of the 2016 Deloitte Millennial Survey), along with strategies for meeting their elevated expectations. Among the characteristics put forth at the event, Millennials:

·      Are digitally native, and, by and large, they would rather use their phones for text or email than talk to people.

·      Expect “consumer-grade” experiences.

·      Tend to shun purely financial motivations, as they feel employee satisfaction and treating people well are the most important values in terms of long-term business success.

·      Crave leadership opportunities, with only 28 percent of the respondents in the Deloitte Millennial Survey believing their organizations make full use of their skills.

·      Expect to have mentors bring them up in the firm.

·      May have little, if any, loyalty to companies and may leave quickly if they believe their leadership skills are not being developed or if the company puts financial performance above everything else.

So, what does this mean for HR shared services? Nearly every company today, but especially those in traditional industries such as mining, manufacturing, and energy & resources, must find a way to replace growing numbers of retirees by attracting Millennials and elevating them to leadership roles quickly. This path toward reinvigorating the workforce by engaging Millennials runs directly through HR.

To attract and retain next-generation employees, HR organizations increasingly must deliver consumer-grade services through shared services by adopting digital tools and making the cultural adjustments required to leverage them fully. Many service delivery organizations have started to do this by transforming their contact centers, mainly by moving toward web self-help, email, and mobile channels to address simple inquiries, and reserving voice channels for answering more difficult questions. This makes sense given Millennials’ resistance to talking live, although the electronic component of these interactions has to be customer friendly. The technology has to work, without too much clicking or form-filling, or Millennials might move on—abandoning the interaction, and if the dissatisfaction persists, perhaps abandoning the employer altogether.

The strategic importance of digitizing the contact center was further emphasized in the findings of the 2015 Deloitte Contact Center Survey. Of note, 85 percent of organizations surveyed view the customer experience provided through their contact centers as a competitive differentiator, and half (50 percent) believe the contact center plays a primary role in customer retention.

While many HR shared services organizations are in tune with the engagement challenges next-generation workers pose, Millennials aren’t the only game in town. Baby Boomers and Gen Xers still must be served, and their customer satisfaction ratings are also important. While Millennials may view texting as a genuine form of human engagement, older groups largely do not. They want to talk to someone, and they view personal interactions as a preferred, and largely more effective way to solve problems, particularly complex ones.

Serving the needs of a multigenerational workforce today requires organizations to introduce digital employee experience tools, especially those that promote self-service and collaboration, while preserving existing voice-channel capabilities, at least in some situations. However, maintaining multiple platforms can be expensive and cumbersome, and stranding existing IT investments is rarely an option.

This has left many HR services organizations overwhelmed by the magnitude of technological change that stands before them. That’s why it’s important to take small steps instead of big leaps. For some organizations, implementing a cloud-based platform might be one of those incremental steps. Far from being just another portal, some of these platforms allow subscribers to develop, run, and manage shared services applications without the complexity of building and maintaining infrastructure and underlying technologies. In evaluating such a platform, the technology at a minimum should:

·      Deliver a consumer-grade user experience

·      Streamline processes and automate workflow

·      Simplify transactions by providing personalized content and context

·      Increase effectiveness and decrease cost for shared services operations

·      Make employee interactions and communication with HR simple and intuitive

Regardless of what technologies you choose, an improved digital employee experience is the next frontier in shared services. The overarching objective is to create a digital workplace that capitalizes on a company’s current technology investments by bringing disparate systems together and providing a personalized journey through shared services processes and related content via guided interactions. Why is this so important? Millennials expect nothing less. Your shared services center has to deliver high quality services or the next-generation workforce may gravitate to an organization that can.

For more insights about current HR topics, visit the HR Times Blog.

About the Authors:

Michael Gretczko is a principal with Deloitte Consulting LLP and the practice leader for Digital HR & Innovation. He focuses on helping clients fundamentally change how they operate, often working with large, complex, global organizations to guide transformation programs that enable HR organizations to reinvent the way they leverage digital to improve the employee experience and business performance.

Marc Solow is a director in Deloitte Consulting LLP and responsible for leading Deloitte’s HR Shared Services market offering in the United States. Marc has led the consulting services in support of several global HR transformation, shared services, and outsourcing projects for large and complex clients in a variety of industries, including insurance, health care, life sciences, consumer and industrial products, and energy.

Copyright © 2017 Deloitte Development LLC. All rights reserved.


Source: The next frontier in shared services | Michael Gretczko | Pulse | LinkedIn

The Recruiters Guide to ATS Data Migrations | The HR Tech Weekly®

The Recruiters Guide to ATS Data Migrations

Data Migrations Don’t have to be Painful


Data Migrations Don’t Have to Cause Disruption

Data migrations are often viewed by business professionals as a major obstacle that is simply too difficult and too costly to take on. One of the most common reasons people give for not wanting to move Applicant Tracking Solution (ATS) providers is the fear of a difficult data migration. It’s unfortunate, but recruiters are often willing to suffer and pay for antiquated products that they know aren’t helping them do their job and be successful. Instead, the inferior solutions are viewed as “good enough for now”’ given the perceived risk of a move.

Vendors should strive to take the fear and risk out of a data migration, so busy recruiter teams are free to evaluate the merits of a system move on benefits and not just risk.

The decision to upgrade your ATS should be based on the functionality, productivity gains, and the long-term value they will provide. This guide will provide you all the information needed to successfully assess and predict how a data migration is likely to go once an ATS solution is chosen.

Migrations Done Better

To be frank, the actual migration of data isn’t really that hard. Yet it’s incredibly common to hear time and time again, “So and so completely screwed up my last migration” or “A friend of mine did a migration and it was a total mess.” Why is this? In our experience, it is rarely a pure technical problem, but instead comes down to the parties involved. Data migrations are simply more successful when both the customer and the vendor are flexible, reasonable and strive for a shared goal.

For the vendor, having the technical chops is a must, but they need to pair that with a flexible and consultative approach to the migration. They must be reasonable, transparent and mentoring in their approach. The best vendors will have a genuine invested interest in the shared goal of a successful migration, with an eye on the long term customer relationship.

Extract, Transform and Load (ETL)

For the customer, there is a need to be flexible as well. Every system is different and allowing your data and processes to transform and adapt is crucial. They must respectfully understand that migrations are not free, they take time to do right and there are real costs associated with that time. When it comes to migrating systems, almost anything is possible, but the costs can quickly rise and the additional benefits can fall just as quickly.

Extract, Transform, and Load (ETL)

The process of moving data from one system to another is as old as computers themselves. There is a well-established pattern for doing so, known as ETL. Extract (getting the data out of your old system), transform (converting / mapping it to the new system) and load (getting it into the new system). While the process may seem like a challenge, experienced IT consultants do successful migrations every day. Once the migration is complete recruiting professionals can get back to the business of aligning the right talent, with the right opportunity, at the right time.

This is just a snippet of Crelate’s eBook Guide for dealing with Data Migrations. To download the full Guide click Here.


Source: The Recruiters Guide to ATS Data Migrations – Crelate

HR Your Way

HR Your Way

How the next-generation digital workplace can power a deeply personalized HR customer experience

Business disruption is rampant—new business models, new technologies, a challenging economic environment, and the overall quickening pace of business are all disruptive to “business as usual.” Workforce demographics and trends—retiring boomers, high-expectation millennials, workforce-on-demand models, team-based work—are another disruption. It is incumbent on HR to find ways to “hack” these disruptions for their customers, leveraging the digital workplace to customize the HR customer experience according to each individual’s unique needs in the face of this almost constant change.

To better understand how the next-generation digital workplace can counter disruptions by powering a deeply personalized HR customer experience, let’s flash forward about 10 years to 2027. This is when we could see the first cohort of Gen Z employees—engage in their organization’s open enrollment process for benefits.

Our Gen Z futuristic scenario envisions three hypothetical levels of digital workplace “chatbots” at increasing levels of sophistication:

  • Workflow Adviser—assists the HR customer through the life or work event workflow using natural language, while automatically gathering data from disparate systems and tapping into available training, research, and operational services support resources.
  • Solution Adviser—“understands” desired outcomes and leverages all available internal and external data to design and propose an optimized solution for the HR customer.
  • Human Adviser—“empathizes” with the human emotions and feelings likely involved in the HR customer’s decision process, and provides support—or referral to an actual human—as required.

Future forward to Gen Z

Jamie, an employee and a new mom, along with her husband, Liam, kick off the enrollment workflow in Jamie’s digital workplace and are greeted by the chatbot who will be assisting them through the workflow.

The chatbot explains that, set at the level of Workflow Adviser, it has the capability to listen, understand natural language, and talk back, and is also able to interpret the context of Jamie and Liam’s questions in order to suggest relevant training, research, or operational services assistance as they work through the open enrollment process.

As a bonus, the chatbot explains, it has recently been upgraded to a beta version of the Solution Adviser level. So if Jamie would like to explore this advanced level of digital workplace engagement, the chatbot will be able to understand desired outcomes and leverage Jamie and Liam’s demographic, health, and financial data, as well as cloud-based benefits solution provider data, to effectively personalize a recommended package of benefits.

Jamie authorizes the chatbot to use its Solution Adviser capabilities for her open enrollment process. After a structured conversation driven by the chatbot, she is rewarded with a customized portfolio of company benefits that are customized for her family’s unique health needs and financial resources. After a discussion with the Solution Adviser chatbot to clarify the details, Jamie verbally accepts the recommended portfolio of benefits and completes the open enrollment process.

Toward a true AI model for HR

So, what’s going on behind the scenes in our futuristic scenario, and how far are we from being able to deliver this hyper-personalized experience? Let’s drill a bit deeper into the chatbot’s capabilities at the Solution Adviser level by considering one element of the benefits package—long-term disability insurance—the chatbot recommended.

At the Solution Adviser level, the chatbot was permitted to leverage Liam’s personal health records, (which included information about a mild attack of unexplained vertigo that sent him to the ER six months prior), as well as financial income and liabilities information (indicating the couple was living paycheck-to-paycheck with very little savings). By leveraging this information, along with the context gathered through a structured conversation with Jamie and Liam, the chatbot was able to conclude with a reasonable degree of probability that covering a portion of Liam’s expected future income in the event of an unexpected disability made sense for the couple.

Impressive to be sure. But this ability to use natural language to understand context in order to make reasoned judgments about desired outcomes isn’t even the end of the line. Interestingly, and perhaps just a bit frighteningly, true AI is reserved for what we call the Human Adviser level. Here, the chatbot actually understands the human situation, demonstrates empathy with HR customer feelings, and even engages in humor opportunistically to build a deeper bond of understanding with those it has been designed to serve. Of course, at this level of sophistication, the chatbot would also discern, given the nature of the HR customer’s questions, when a referral to an actual human on the operational services team may be in order.

Hacking the disruption

While the advanced cognitive and empathetic capabilities we are ascribing to our next-generation Solution Adviser and Human Adviser digital workplace chatbots are in the infant stages today, we are making rapid advances at the Workflow Adviser level of sophistication for Deloitte’s own digital workplace solution.

As we increase digital workplace capabilities, however, we may find that the process of benefits enrollment itself has become disrupted by our technology advances, and a complete rethink of how benefits are packaged, priced, and administered will likely not be far behind. After all, disruption tends to breed more disruption—which, by the way, is why achieving sustainable HR is so imperative.

About the Authors:

Michael Gretczko is a principal with Deloitte Consulting LLP and the practice leader for Digital HR & Innovation. He focuses on helping clients fundamentally change how they operate, often working with large, complex, global organizations to guide transformation programs that enable HR organizations to reinvent the way they leverage digital to improve the employee experience and business performance.

Daniel John Roddy  is a specialist leader with Deloitte Consulting LLP and a member of the Digital HR & Innovation team. He focuses on leveraging his decades of global HR transformation experience to develop and promote thought leadership that helps create breakthrough opportunities for our clients. 

Copyright © 2017 Deloitte Development LLC. All rights reserved.


Source: HR your way | Michael Gretczko | Pulse | LinkedIn

Enterprise Journey to Becoming Digital

Do you want to be a digital enterprise? Do you want to master the art of transforming yourself and be at the forefront of the digital realm?

How can you change your business to achieve this?

Derive new values for yourself, and find better and more innovative ways of working. Put customer experience above and beyond everything as you find methodologies to support the rapidly changing demands of the digital world.

Your transformation will be successful only when you identify and practice appropriate principles, embrace a dual strategy that enhances your business capabilities and switch to agile methodologies if you have not done it already.

The journey to becoming a digital maestro and achieving transformation traverses through four main phases.

  • Becoming a top-notch expert with industrialized IT services – by adopting six main principles
  • Switching to agile operations to achieve maximum efficiency – so that you enjoy simplicity, rationality and automation
  • Creating an engaging experience for your consumers using analytics, revenue and customer management – because your customers come first; their needs and convenience should be your topmost priority
  • Availing opportunities for digital services – assessing your security and managing your risks

Becoming a top-notch expert with industrialized IT services

There are five key transformation principles that can help you realize the full potential of digital operations and engagement.

  • Targeting uniqueness that is digitized
  • Designing magical experiences so as to engage and retain your consumers
  • Connect with digital economics, and collaborate so as to leverage your assets
  • Operate your business digitally, customer experience being the core
  • Evolving into a fully digital organization through the side by side or incremental approach

Initially a digital maturity analysis has to be performed, followed by adoption of a targeted operational model. Maturity can be divided into five different levels: initiating, enabling, integrating, optimizing and pioneering, which are linked to seven different aspects: strategy, organization, customer, technology, operations, ecosystem and innovation, of which the last two are the most critical. The primary aim should be to cover all business areas that are impacted by and impact digital transformation.

Before taking a digital leap, the application modernization wheel should be adopted. Identify your targets, which will act as main drivers. Determine application states, and then come up with a continuous plan. This is referred to as the Embark phase, during which you understand the change rationale of your applications, and then improve metrics, which drive changes. During the Realize phase, you analyze ways in which you can change your operations and speed up your delivery. In the process, you have to improve quality, while ensuring your product line is aligned with your business needs. You establish DevOps, beginning from small teams, and then moving forward using new technologies.

The third phase is Modernize, during which you plan and implement your architecture such that your apps are based on API services. The last stage is Optimize in which performance is monitored, and improvements are made when and where they are necessary.

Switching to agile operations to achieve maximum efficiency

Data centers now feature several applications, suitable for the IT, telecommunication and enterprise sectors, but their offered services have to be responsive to the changing trends and demands. Ericsson brings agility into the picture so as to achieve efficiency through automation. This can be made possible with the NFV Full Stack, which includes a cloud manager, execution environment, SDN controllers and NFV hardware. The solution is capable to support automated deployment while providing you flexibility through multi VIM support. Check out this blog post to see a demonstration of a virtualized, datacenter and explore their vision of future digital infrastructure.

NFV’s potential can be fully achieved only when the hybrid networks are properly managed, which dynamic orchestration makes a possibility. The approach taken automates service design, configuration and assurance for both physical and virtual networks. Acceleration of network virtualization is being realized through the Open Platform for Network Functions Virtualization (OPNFV), a collaborative project under the Linux Foundation that is transforming global networks through open source NFV. Ericsson is a platinum-level founding OPNFV member, along with several other telecom vendors, service providers and IT companies leading the charge in digitalized infrastructure.

Creating an engaging experience for your consumers

Customer experience is the central focus when you are in the digital realm. Customer experience should be smooth, effortless and consistent across all channels.

Design a unique omnichannel approach for your customers. This means that you should be able to reach out to your customers through mobile app, social media platforms and even wearable gadgets. Analyze real-time data, and use the results for improving purchase journeys obvert different channels like chatbots and augmented reality. Advanced concepts like clustering and machine learning are used to cross data over different domains, and then take appropriate actions. For instance, if you were a Telco, you should be able to offer a new plan, bundle or upgrade to each customer at the right time. All of the analytics data can also be visualized for a complete understanding through which the customer journey can be identified, and the next best action can be planned out.

Availing opportunities for digital services

Complexity increases when all your systems are connected, and security becomes a more important concern. You should be able to identify new vulnerabilities and threat vectors, and then take steps to protect your complete system. And this protection should extend to your revenues, and help you prevent fraud.

A Security Manager automates security over the cloud as well as physical networks. The two primary components are Security Automation and 360 Design and Monitoring. New assets are detected as security is hardened, which are then monitored continuously.

Additionally the Digital Risk and Business Assurance enable your business to adapt in the dynamic environment while reducing impact on your bottom line. Assurance features three levels: marketplace, prosumer and wholesale assurance. The end result is delivery of a truly digital experience.

Want proof that the above methodologies do work wonders? Two of Ericsson customers, Verizon and Jio, have already been nominated as finalists for the TM Forum EXCELLENCE Awards.

I also encourage you to join and/or follow TM Forum Live this week. If you’re headed to the conference, be sure to check out the Ericsson booth and connect with the team to learn more and discuss your digital transformation journey.

If you would like to read more from Ronald van Loon on the possibilities of Big Data and IoT please click 'Follow' and connect on LinkedIn and Twitter.

Source: Enterprise Journey to Becoming Digital | Ronald van Loon | Pulse | LinkedIn

Customer Success | The HR Tech Weekly®

Journey Science in Telecom: Take Customer Experience to the Next Level

Journey Science in Telecom: Take Customer Experience to the Next Level

Journey Science, being derived from connected data from different customer activities, has become pivotal for the telecommunications industry, providing the means to drastically improve the customer experience and retention. It has the ability to link together scattered pieces of data, and enhance a telco business’s objectives. Siloed approaches are becoming obsolete – take call centers as an example – there is only so much that you can do with data from only one system.

By using insights from customer journey analytics, telco businesses can better measure the user experience, and make informed decision for refining it. The data not only allow them to take proactive approach towards customer satisfaction, but enable the prediction of future failures as well. With customer journey analytics, you can evaluate the touchpoints to journeys, and revamp your strategies to better cater to customers’ needs.

In the telecom industry, it is difficult for a business to effectively manage the massive volume of data with the existing systems and technology. There are several aspects where telecom companies need to make improvements, such as reduce costs, improve customer experience, increase conversion rates, and many more. To do so, they need to derive meaning from the collected data by finding connections among them. This linked data is also known as journeys. Journeys provide you with relevant data that enable you to make well-grounded business decisions by looking at customer transactions as a whole, and determining where direct improvements are needed.

Customer Journey Analytics is Transforming Telecommunications

Many leading telco businesses are embracing the Journey Science concept, and deem it to be the best way to make greater impact on the target audience. One good way to better understand digital journeys is through a multi-channel, end-2-end, view. Journey Sciences, at its best, provides enhanced data accessibility and increased analytics agility, and helps in weaving together disparate pieces of data. This makes it possible for telco businesses to link together structured and unstructured data back to their strategic objectives, and quickly modify them to ensure they cope with the evolving customer demands. However, in order to get insight into customer experience through journey analytics, it is critical to focus not only on the individual moments but the customers’ end-to-end experiences as well.

Customer Experience Boost

The main benefit of customer journey analytics for telco companies is that it enables them to better recognize customer needs, and assess their satisfaction level. While most people think Journey Science is all about marketing, it mainly focuses on the services domain. For example, a customer seeking technical support for their device has multiple paths to resolution. Journey Science enables businesses to evaluate each step of the journey experience, and figure out the critical points that could negatively impact customer experience. With this kind of information, businesses can develop strategies to overcome hurdles customers face on all such touchpoints, resulting in improved customer experience.

Improving Customer Journeys through Transparency

Connecting the Dots

For improving customer experience, it is essential to connect all the data down to the individual customer level to fully understand the required changes. For telco businesses to completely understand customer journeys, they must gather data from many different channels, and track the individual journey the customer experiences. Typically, more than 50 percent of customers make multi-channel journeys; meaning, in order to understand their behavior, establishing connection among all the data is extremely important. Because of the deep roots of technology in today’s common lifestyle, many journeys start from digital channels, but eventually go into a human channel for completion.

Utilizing Aggregate and Raw Data

Apart from giving a complete picture of customer journeys, the analytics let you tap into different levels of aggregation, allowing you to view raw data as well. With journey mapping, telco businesses can benefit from both in-depth data points and aggregated data sets. Since a single customer journey can compile hundreds of thousands of data points, having aggregated views makes it much easier to pinpoint and prioritize the problematic areas. On the other hand, some journeys may yield unclear results, for example, unusual behavior of a customer on a webpage. In such a case, having access into the raw data renders the ability to focus on one key area and get invaluable insights.

Making Changes through Data Availability 

Effective utilization of data from customer journey analytics allows telco to revamp their strategy as well as make smaller improvements on a continuous basis. Getting immediate feedback regarding a certain change is critical for understanding its impact. You can determine whether the intended results will be realized, or should you scale-up or sustain the change. However, a manual, project-based approach that only provides an overview of the required data will not be enough to transform journeys successfully. Instead, you should opt for an agile, iterative, analytic approach that uses continuous data availability.

It won’t be wrong to say that all those ad-hoc, manual, project-based approaches using snapshots of data have severe limitations.

Better data accessibility to more than 18 telco raw data sources as a prerequisite 

How the Customer Journey differs in both Fixed and Mobile Telco

Mobile (mobile data usage, subscriptions, charges, and mobile data access)

Several small customer journeys can be linked together to make improvements to a mobile telco operation. One great way is through customer engagement, i.e. moving down to individualized journeys of each customer instead of mass-segmentation. Journey Science opens doors for mobile telco companies to take personalization up a notch, and provide customized recommendations based on the journeys of each customer. You should also utilize real-time context to enhance customer engagement for better results.

Mobile customer experience comprises of several touchpoints where a subscriber interacts with a service provide agent – it can be during retail, billing, customer support, visible marketing campaigns, and others. Consider three customers below that have 3 different journeys to perform the same action.

Fixed line providers (phone, internet, entertainment)

Fixed line providers have an additional interaction channel with field technicians being deployed to customers’ homes for service. These field service appointments are a major part of customer experience and often have significant variability for different customers. Consider the following journey which involves multiple appointments, agent phone calls, and delays:

Improve key journeys for fixed Telco’s

Journey Science is Moving towards Predictive Analytics

The Journey Science concept is increasingly becoming popular across the telco industry, as it greatly benefits by assessing journeys of individual customers and allow them to develop customized strategies. Moreover, it allows telco businesses to anticipate the potential pitfalls leading to negative customer experience and prevent it altogether. By tapping into the data from customer journey, telco can streamline their operations and provide a better, more satisfying experience to their customers.

Derived value from Customer Journey data by Journey Science & Journey Analytics

In today’s world, customer satisfaction is the keystone for success in every industry, including telco. Businesses should turn to the Journey Science movement, and optimize their processes by carefully analyzing customer journeys and making improvements accordingly. Effective utilization of customer journey analytics leads to better redesigning efforts, ultimately reducing costs, enhancing customer experience, and stretching bottom-line.

About the Authors:

Want to talk more about Journey Sciences? Connect with Rogier van Nieuwenhuizen, Executive Vice President, EMEA region at ClickFox, on LinkedIn and join Journey Science movement on Twitter by following @journey_science and the Journey Science’s LinkedIn Group today.

If you would like to read more from Ronald van Loon on the possibilities of Big Data and Journey Science please click ‘Follow’ and connect on LinkedIn and Twitter.


Source: Journey Science in Telecom: Take Customer Experience to the Next Level | Ronald van Loon | Pulse | LinkedIn