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November 2013

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Q&A:'s Customer Care Leader Michele Watson on Modern CX

A 25-year service veteran, Michele Watson is now senior vice president of customer care at online dating leader, where she and her team aid millions of customers across phone, web, chat, and social network channels.

We asked Watson, a thought-leader in the industry, about her guiding vision for customer experience (CX)—and how the Oracle Service Cloud solutions are helping her realize that vision.

Q. How do you define modern customer service and CX?
A. To me, modern customer service means providing members with self-help tools to solve as many of their issues as possible—and outstanding agent-assisted service when they need more help. It also means respecting the needs and preferences of each customer and interacting in a way that is meaningful to them as individuals. In other words, providing great service regardless of channel—including mobile channels.

Q. How is the growth of the mobile channel affecting the way you serve customers?
A. Mobile is huge for us. In fact, 50 percent of our customers access our services through smart phones. Oracle Service Cloud helps us serve these customers and optimize our apps across different platforms, including both Android and iPhone. With the Oracle solution, we can also deliver functions such as dynamic FAQs and agent chat on mobile devices.

Q. How do you balance the cost of serving customers versus what is best for the business?
A. Actually, modern customer service is all about finding that sweet spot where doing the best by your customers is also doing the best for the business. For example, chat is one of our lower-cost channels, but it is also the channel with the highest customer satisfaction.

We have also automated some of our higher-volume transactional services via interactive voice response (IVR) so our members can handle their issue quickly; however, if they prefer live voice support, we have wonderful care agents to assist them.

Q. How are you providing service across generations?
A. Our member base age range is diverse, so we encounter members who need a little extra assistance in navigating some features on our site. And since we know photos are important to successful profiles, we’ve had great success using Oracle RightNow Cobrowse Cloud Service to assist them in finding and uploading photos (a critical key to online dating success). And we’ve seen really great results. The customer satisfaction rates of cobrowse interactions average 98 percent.

At the other end of the spectrum, we are also empowering Millennials to interact with us on the channels they prefer—and in ways they think are cool. For example, they have a strong preference for chat, so we’ve expanded our ability to support chat with Oracle RightNow Chat Cloud Service—including chat via mobile devices.

Q. What are the next steps you’ll take to modernize customer service at
A. Right now, we're piloting an exciting project that provides dictation and voice recognition technologies to our agents, which will reduce average call time as well as chat response times. In addition, it gives our agents a brief respite from continuous typing.

We've also had a lot of success with Oracle RightNow’s SmartAssistant that deflects about 38 percent of our e-mails, and we plan to implement a similar approach for chat.

Confusion using IVR systems directly leads to loss of revenue and member frustration, so we're working to provide visual representations to help our members navigate our IVR systems. We hope to make the displays interactive, so members can make selections right from their screens.

Learn more about Oracle Service Cloud.

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