Turning Data Into Profit: Driving Business Growth and Profit From a Customer Experience Management Program
In the past five years, listening and acting on the voice of the customer has boosted satisfaction, loyalty and customer value for enterprise software company Oracle. Since 2005, in fact, overall customer satisfaction with Oracle consistently has increased one fiscal year to the next, and customers are more likely than ever to recommend the company.
Jeremy Whyte, director of customer feedback and reporting with Oracle, presented details of Oracle’s extensive “Voice of the Customer” research program to the American Marketing Association in a recent webinar. The critical success factors that have led to increased customer satisfaction at Oracle include formalizing the role of the chief customer officer (CCO), centralizing survey research and developing a 360-degree view of customers.
From a tactical perspective, the CCO oversees customer feedback, forums, customer care, references and shared services. From a strategic perspective, the CCO provides a comprehensive, authoritative and objective view of customer sentiment within Oracle. The CCO is the ultimate customer advocate, championing the customer perspective and making sure feedback is integrated into daily business practices.
It’s not enough to listen to the voice of the customer (VOC) — the feedback must be acted upon. While the CCO coordinates VOC research, as important is the role of dispersing feedback to a matrix organization of several hundred stakeholders representing different product groups, services, geographies and industry business groups. This is where local, customer-specific action can be taken.
Oracle's CCO has taken the lead in centralizing and coordinating survey research. Four years ago, Oracle had a decentralized approach, with four different relationship surveys, each involving different people and processes, making it difficult to harness the VOC strategically.
Today, a single relationship survey highlights the customer experience across cumulative contacts for a true measure of organizational effectiveness. This single relationship survey is used to track customer satisfaction in a consistent fashion across the installed base, from long-time Oracle customers to those who recently came aboard through acquisition.
The relationship survey is one part of an integrated process designed to give Oracle a 360-degree view of customers in order to improve and customize sales, marketing and services programs. Oracle listens widely for the VOC. Beyond surveys, Oracle listens to user groups, advisory boards, focus groups and user experience sessions.
Beyond VOC feedback, Oracle looks for linkages to operational and financial measures. Collecting and modeling such information is an excellent start, but increased loyalty comes from making such research actionable. Accordingly, Oracle publishes the feedback via role-based dashboards to tens of thousands of employees. All of this drives a closed-loop process that results in constantly improving operational efficiency.
This is how Oracle has fueled its increases in customer satisfaction year after year. Impressively, this is growth in overall satisfaction across Oracle’s expanding customer base, even as revenue has swelled from less than $14 billion in 2005 to more than $23 billion in its most recent fiscal year. Oracle has grown dramatically through acquisition, with more than 53 acquisitions since 2005, including PeopleSoft, Siebel and BEA Systems, and customer satisfaction is higher for the customers of acquired companies post-acquisition than it was pre-acquisition.
Clearly, Oracle’s focus on the CCO, centralized survey research and enabling a 360-degree view of the customer has enabled it to improve customer satisfaction, loyalty and word-of-mouth like clockwork.
Jeffrey Henning is the founder and vice president of strategy at Vovici, a Dulles, Va.-based provider of comprehensive survey software, panel management and online community solutions. Jeffrey can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.