Contributor: Owen Stone, Senior CX Consultant
OK, I’ve got a confession to make: I’ve been lying to customers for years.
Having worked in the CX space since the early days of IT helpdesk, back when access to email, never mind the internet, was a privilege, I had always believed that “The happiest customer is the one that never calls you”. Back then, convincing people of this idea took some time because support centres focused on handling a large volume of calls. Managers would proudly display the tens or hundreds of thousands of calls they’d fielded and make a big deal about their average response and resolution time. It didn’t matter that most inquiries could be resolved with simple advice like ‘Have you tried turning it off and on again?’, which could have solved the issue without taking up an agents time. What mattered most was their department’s ability to produce big numbers.
It took a while, but these days, the industry has mostly shaken off that attitude. With the array of self-help and self-service features available to modern contact centres, the focus has shifted away from volume and onto customer satisfaction as we increasingly give customers the tools required to handle their own needs. This empowers the customer, makes them feel better about their interactions with the business, and of course, reduces the resources needed to support them. One of the quirks of this is that when you put good, useful self-service tools in place, your issue-handling times go up, because you’ve really only got the tricky stuff left.
In today’s digital landscape, I no longer believe that ‘happy customers don’t call you’. It still holds for straightforward issues with consistent solutions, thanks to automation and AI advancements we can now efficiently handle a wider range of customer problems without human intervention, provided the implementation of these things are done correctly. However, customers still encounter complex issues that demand the expertise of a knowledgeable human guide.
Now, when it comes down to it, delivering something like a CX solution is exactly the kind of complex solution that you cannot automate a solution to. Modern CX solutions have extraordinary breadth in their capabilities, and every client has unique processes that they must implement. While there are plenty of resources available on how to customise and configure CX solutions, they’re never going to give the finer details of how to transform an existing process onto a SaaS application or be able to pinpoint the right way to configure a design to fit your needs. While it’s certainly possible for clients to learn how to do all this themselves, the “self-service” option is usually far too time-consuming for most businesses to use. The best way to do this is to contact an expert… but clients often don’t call when they run into problems after the initial setup.
I think this is in part because despite cloud applications obviously being very popular, a lot of businesses still think of software implementation as a “One-and-done” task. You implement it, you launch it, and off you go, that’s what you’ve got. Then a few years down the line, when it’s looking a bit creaky you start looking to replace it with a new system or a full revamp.
The thing is, cloud software doesn’t work like that, it’s not really generational. The software is continuously updated for decades and Oracle’s solutions in particular are built around the core concepts of flexibility, adaptability, and interoperability in mind. They are designed around the concept of Digital Evolution, not revolution, you adjust and tailor them to your current requirements as you make use of them. Updating is a continuous process, rather than a big jump to a new platform with years’ worth of updates.
The problem, of course, is that a lot of clients don’t internalise this. They’re still in the mindset that what you have at the end of the implementation project is all you have until the next big transformation project, and as such projects are big and expensive, that’s going to be a long way down the road. Also, let’s be honest, even big implementations never get everything done. There’s always something cut from the scope, and quite frankly modern cloud solutions have so many features most clients will never implement all of them, even if they’d be very useful.
So what do we have? An unhappy client, who doesn’t call because they believe that the work is done, who believes that there’s no point complaining that the solution doesn’t handle a particular requirement until years down the line when using it as a budget justification for a replacement.
But it doesn’t have to be this way. The clients I’ve worked with who are the happiest with their solution are the ones who have kept up their relationship with us, either via our Managed Services & Support package, or simply by keeping the door open and organising regular check-ins. It doesn’t always need a major project to add a feature to a cloud solution, as often the feature is right there waiting to be configured. But I’ve seen clients assume that because they’re not using it, the solution can’t do it, which leads to a pleasant surprise that our team can just… turn it on.
On top of that, when you’re dealing with cloud solutions, just because a feature isn’t there now, doesn’t mean it never will be, or even that you’ll have to wait particularly long for it. Oracle’s regular quarterly releases are always adding new features, big and small to their solutions (you can find out about them via the Release Readiness site), and you can also suggest features via the ideas lab.
So in short, if you have issues with your cloud solution, don’t suffer in silence until your next big “reboot” of the system. Cloud applications are designed to be simple on the surface, but they are complex underneath, and knowing absolutely everything they can do and how much work is involved is the job of a specialist. Contact us at [email protected] and we can make what you’ve already got work better for you. A couple of days of effort may be all that’s needed to re-work that clunky process or gather and automate reporting on that new KPI, rather than waiting for the next transformation project in 2027.
After all, the answer when working with a cloud solution isn’t always to wait four years then turn it off and back on again.