The Role of Cloud Computing in Customer-Centric Success


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Bob Thompson of CustomerThink speaks about delivering total customer value that drives genuinely loyal customer attitudes.

Laef Olson, RightNow's CIO, talks about the 10 things to ask your SaaS vendor before entering the cloud

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  • [Shelby]We’re here today to share “The Cure for the Common Call Center”. You’ll learn how to translate rising consumerexpectations into profit and growth plus how to gain a competitive edge with contact center software. First we’ll hear from We’ll also be joined by Janet Sherlock retail research director, AMR Research for a discussion on industry trends. Then we’ll have a live interview withRightNow customer, Ron Kelly, Vice President of Customer and Pharmacy Services at Ron will share the secrets to’s contact center success. Just a reminder, please use the “Q&A” area on the top of your screen to send us your questions for Janet and Ron throughout the presentation. Let’s get started…
  • [Shelby]And now I’d like to welcome our keynote presenter, Janet Sherlock with AMR Research.Take it away, Janet.
  • Shelby:Enough about us. Now let’s talk to someone who has put this all to work in his organization. I’d like to welcome, Ron Kelly, Vice President of Customer Care and Pharmacy Service with Thanks for joining us, Ron.Ron:Glad to be here.
  • Shelby:First of all Ron, give us the background on your, inc. is a leading online retailer of health, beauty, vision and pharmacy products. We trade on the NASDAQ under the symbol DSCM. The company was founded in 1998 with a mission to serve the health, beauty and wellness consumer with selection, convenience, information, personal service, and a trustworthy and reliable pharmacy. The web store was launched on February 24th, 1999.The portfolio of brands include:, and All are accessible from and offer a large assortment of more than 40,000 products at competitive prices. Customers may shop 24 hours a day, seven days a week with the advantage of ordering privately from a computer and the convenience of home delivery. Ordering is also available by calling at 1-800-DRUGSTORE and 1-800-VISIONDIRECT.At customers may choose from a wide selection of name brand and hard-to-find products organized into web stores devoted to health, beauty, vitamins, green and natural, pets, household, diet and fitness, baby and mom, and much more. The pharmacy is certified by the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP) as a Verified Internet Pharmacy Practice Site (VIPPS) and operates in compliance with federal and state laws and regulations in the United is one of the fastest growing online destinations for prestige beauty products. The web store provides a highly personalized shopping experience and offers more than 200 brands from widely recognized to niche, hard-to-find products. is wholly owned by, inc.Contact lenses are offered through a wholly owned subsidiary International Vision Direct Corp. and its subsidiaries, collectively referred to as Vision Direct, through websites located at, and Customized nutritional supplement programs are offered through a wholly owned subsidiary, Custom Nutrition Services, Inc. (CNS). Our products are also available toll-free by telephone at 1-800-DRUGSTORE and 1-800-VISIONDIRECT.
  • Shelby:For you and for, what is the bottom line here when it comes to customer experience and what were your main goals with RightNow in reaching this bottom line?Ron:The bottom line challenge that companies face in the retail market is that customer expectations are going up, up, up. We don’t have the same branding opportunities as a brick-and-mortar store, so for us, every customer service touchpoint is vital. Our brand IS our customer experience, and RightNow ensures that we don’t miss a step.Our main goals with implementing the RightNow CRM system were to:* Provide a competitive customer experience (expand)* Quickly and easily answer questions regarding thousands of products (expand)* Improve agent productivity while decreasing call handle times (expand)* Use the contact center to drive revenue (expand)
  • Shelby:What was going on in your business that put finding a technology solution like RightNow CRM on your radar?Ron:We knew early on that the customer experience was key to our future survival and success. In early 2005 almost 3 in 10 customers shopping our website needed to contact us for one reason or another. Our customer demographic is highly educated and sku’s high income. In looked at these contacts, many of them were pretty straightforward but we didn’t provide customers with an easy method to resolve issues without picking up the phone or sending and email. This customer demographic wanted to solve issues on their own time. An intuitive “self help” system empowers customers to resolve issues, provides a better customer experience and reduces costs for the contact center. The proverbial “win/win”.
  • Shelby:And how did RightNow fit the bill in solving those challenges?Ron:When we selected RNT in mid 2005, we did our due diligence. We looked at all the competitors and felt strongly that RNT was best in class for customer facing self help. Industry experts such as Forester and Gardner reports supported our internal findings.For email management, we’d used KANA for years and were nervous about migrating away from a 9 year old system. Ultimately we were excited about a move toward “agent desktop consolidation.” Combining RightNow’s customer self service with email management and ultimately the Chat functionality made the agents more efficient and reduced handle time creating cost savings from our previous set up. We looked at other solutions but believed RNT was the best option. They satisfied all the requirements we needed in an email solution and also offered services that our previous solution did not such as Live Chat and better analytics.RightNow has a more intuitive, smarter contact center solution. We also like that RightNow is hosted, eliminating much of our administrative burden and keeping the control within the customer care organization rather than IT.
  • Shelby:I would imagine that the web self-service component of the solution was huge for given how many products you carry and how many customers you serve. Can you speak to that?Ron:Competition among retailers has never been tougher. And, as a pure-play online retailer, we have the added challenge of convincing customers to shop online for items they typically buy at the corner store. Think toothpaste, laundry detergent, or a bottle of aspirin. Given the current state of the economy, consumers are spending less and expecting more. They look to online retailers for the convenience of shopping from home and having products delivered to their doorstep. can be the retailer to give it to them. We provide customers with access to more than 40,000 products. This is more than four times what the average drugstore offers putting us way ahead of brick-and-mortar competition in terms of selection, but online shoppers have little patience–they expect answers, and they don’t expect to wait. With so many products, we have to be prepared for just as many different questions coming from online shoppers. We typically see 80,000 to 100,000 inquiries per month. Our goal is to answer inquiries fast–and to leverage the communication to reinforce our brand and build a loyal customer base. Every interaction must be exceptional.
  • Shelby:How has the new system helped customers to help themselves and made more efficient?Ron:Using RightNow’s self-learning knowledge foundation, we were able to create a knowledge base that addresses the most common or routine consumer requests, such as shipping policies or how to renew expired prescriptions. By giving customers access to information on the website, and empowering them to help themselves with web self-service we were able to reduce incoming email by approx 20%. This translates into substantial cost savings. We also use RightNow Voice to help consumers track their orders without agent assistance. They simply call into the 800 number, say their order number, and immediately get accurate and consistent information on whether their order has been shipped and when they can expect it to be delivered. RightNow is a great solution, not only to mitigate costs in the call center, but also to help provide a better experience. Our customers like to solve issues for themselves. Not only can they find answers for themselves online, they can also send email or submit questions through the website. With RightNow, is able to manage a high volume of incoming email requests while providing each customer with an exceptional and tailored experience. We track the progress of every email through the support organization. And with automatic attribute-based routing, email gets to the right agent at the right time. We also uses RightNowSmartAssistant to scan message content then automatically suggest relevant knowledge base content to the customer—reducing the number of emails that require agent response.
  • Shelby:How has the RightNow system helped the contact center agents? maintains a large contact center in Halifax, Nova Scotia and a smaller contact center in Bellevue, Washington. Nearly 150 agents support between 80,000 and 100,000 customer inquiries per month. As the company grew and increased the number of products it sells, the number of tools contact center agents had also jumped to nearly ten different applications. Before implementing the RightNow agent desktop, the contact center had become a very complex environment—slowing agents down, and making it difficult to get new agents up-to-speed quickly.But complexity wasn’t the only reason we decided to consolidate the agent desktop with RightNow. Consumer demands have really escalated. In the past companies could respond to an email in a few days, today consumers want answers immediately. Because RightNow tailors content and functionality on each agent’s desktop to address the specific issue at hand, service representatives can very quickly, and accurately, respond to incoming requests. In fact, we’ve seen a 15% decline in agent handling times and a steady increase in customer satisfaction.
  • Shelby:So once contact center costs were reduced, agent productivity was up, and customer satisfaction was on the rise, you started looking for ways the contact center could actually drive revenue. Where did that lead?Ron:Our wholly-owned subsidiary,, is using RightNow Chat to provide customers with live, expert advice and recommendations when shopping. Through live, online chat sessions, replicates the beauty experience consumers have at the make-up counter in their local department store. Trained beauty advisors, all with esthetician or beauty counter experience, can now engage in live chat sessions with online shoppers to share immediate advice on the best products for their needs from the convenience and privacy of their homes. is converting approximately 25% of chat sessions into product orders, proving that chat is a great way to help drive revenue in the contact center through cross-selling, up-selling, and providing guidance for online purchases. Our agents are tasked with driving incremental revenue.
  • Shelby:How would you summarize the over all customer care philosophy at experience is serious business at It’s vital to what we do because it is typically more expensive to gain a new customer than to take great care of an existing customer. We see the value in solving customer problems. A customer is a lot more loyal to an organization if they have actually had an issue and had it resolved, rather than if they never had an issue in the first place. For this reason, the customer care organization is uniquely positioned to help increase customer loyalty. In addition to enhancing the brand by delivering great customer experiences, our organization is looking to generate revenue. Care organizations are always pressed to save money, and we are just starting to look at ways our agents can actually drive revenue.
  • Shelby:Well, Ron, you and your team have accomplished a lot according to what you’ve shared with us today...but we all know there’s no rest in the customer care business. What’s next on your radar when it comes to the customer experience, generating revenue in the contact center, etc?Ron:One company objective is to expand our prestige assortment on The Chat feature can actually assist in this objective. The brands love that we have the Beauty Advisor team and that we can chat with our customers.Additionally, we want take our learnings from chat and expand into our core brand. In fact, we’re already seeing great results when placing chat on high margin and high price point skus.I’d also like to test “service chat” to see if we can continue to reduce contact center expense while also improving upon the service we provide.And social media …we have video, are using twitter, facebook, etc. …all of this will impact the Contact Center …we need to stay ahead of it …if we can 
  • Shelby:We always like to conclude our customer interviews with some peer-to-peer advice. What would be the top 3 bits of advice you would share with your peers in the audience who are looking at this type of technology?Ron:Listen to your customers …understand why they contact you ….use this Contact centers have knowledge of their customers that other departments don’t ….it can be powerfulBrand …at least for a pure play is critical … bad experience can be played out over the web for thousands of potential customers …monitor where appropriate.
  • [Shelby to hand off to Jeff for Q/A]
  • [Shelby]When it comes to next steps in your evaluation of solutions to improve support and enhance the customer experience, I’d like to recommend a couple resources. As a reminder, all webcast participants will receive a pdf copy of today’s slide presentation and a link to the recording via email tomorrow.If we did not get to your question live today we will respond via email within the next 2 business days.We hope you will use the information presented today as you work on your customer experience strategy.On behalf of Janet Sherlock with AMR Research, Ron Kelly with and everyone here at RightNow thank you and have a great day!STOP RECORDING
  • The Role of Cloud Computing in Customer-Centric Success

    1. 1. The Cure For The Common Call Center<br />With AMR Research &<br />
    2. 2. Keynote Presentation: <br />Janet Sherlock<br />Retail Research Director<br />AMR Research<br />
    3. 3. Retail Contact Center Management & CRM:Trends & Opportunities in a Challenging Economic Environment<br />Janet Sherlock<br />AMR Research<br />
    4. 4. AGENDA<br />Introductions<br />The Classic “Cost versus Customer Service Challenge” in Retail<br />AMR Investment Studies<br />It’s a Multi-Channel World<br />Trends in Contact Center Management and CRM in Retail<br />Conclusions<br />Q & A– After final presentation<br />
    5. 5. The Retailer’s Challenge:Cost vs. Customer Service –Achieving the Balance<br />SERVICE<br />COST<br />
    6. 6. Strategically important investments, 2008-2010<br />Source: AMR Research 2008<br />U.S. Enterprise Spending Study<br />
    7. 7. 2009 Plans for Customer Relationship Marketing Technology Investment in Retail Environment by Segment<br />
    8. 8. It’s a Multi-Channel World<br />
    9. 9. Multi-Channel Path to Contact Center<br />Visits Store<br />Sale Tendered<br />CONTACT<br />CENTER<br />Customer<br />Email<br />Search for<br />Product or<br />Information<br />or<br />Call<br />Cross-Channel Shop<br />Chat<br />SOLUTION <br />NOT FOUND<br />Shops On-Line<br />
    10. 10. Trends in Contact Center Management and CRM in Retail <br />Diminishing use of Contact Center for Order Entry and more for Customer Service<br />Pure plays have set bar for customer service—brick and mortar retailers are trying to catch up<br />Web Self Service—Creating efficiencies and cost savings<br />Cross-Channel activity is increasing. Functions, service, and information needs to be available in contact center.<br />
    11. 11. Trends in Contact Center Management and CRM in Retail (con’t)<br />Contact Center apps growing from being simply “Call Center Support” to Enterprise Information Accessibility and Action Support Hub:<br />360 View of Customer<br />All purchases, not just direct<br />All interactions<br />Demographic & Psycho demographic data <br />Customer Preferences—KEY<br />Comprehensive View of Product Data and Statuses<br />Order Statuses<br />Inventory Statuses<br />Comprehensive view and knowledge base of product information<br />Extensible to all Associates, including Store Personnel<br />Cross-Channel Transactions and Interactions<br />Knowledge Management<br />
    12. 12. Single Knowledge Base<br />
    13. 13. Customer Centric <br /> Company Centric<br />Industry leaders<br />Simple transactions 360 View of all customer transactions<br />Call Center Evolution<br />Call Center Evolution to Multi-Channel Customer-Centricity<br />
    14. 14. Other Trends<br />Social Networking and Word of Mouth have made Customer Service requisite<br />Use of Call Center for Clienteling or Co-Clienteling<br />Requisite use of Contact Center for Proactive treatment of recalls<br />Support for Loyalty Programs, Electronic Wallet, Electronic Receipts<br />Call Center Consolidation<br />Leveraging technology, telephony<br />Leveraging people<br />Metrics and Reporting are key—More important than ever<br />
    15. 15. Conclusions <br />The Multi-Channel retailing environment is changing the functional requirements and informational/knowledge management requirements for the traditional Contact Center environment<br />Social Networking and the Channel Agnostic nature of today’s consuming public necessitates superior customer service, supported by effective tools and processes<br />While IT investment has decreased since the economic downturn, AMR Research asserts that projects focusing on the following will remain part of their 2009/2010 slate:<br />Customer Investment<br />Process Improvement<br />Cost Containment<br />
    16. 16. Thank You!<br />Janet Sherlock<br />Research Director<br />AMR Research<br />617-447-5158<br /><br /> <br />For more information about AMR Research, please visit<br />
    17. 17. The Experience/Cost Dilemma<br />Spend money to improve the customer experience <br />OR <br />cut costs and risk losing customers<br />
    18. 18. RightNow’s Breakthrough Approach<br />Improve customer experience while reducing costs<br />Follow 8 proven steps to success<br />Software as a service reduces risk<br />Highly modular solution – focus on areas with highest impact first<br />Unique knowledge foundation infused across entire solution suite<br />Immediate results<br />
    19. 19. 1,900 Clients are Delivering Superior Customer Experiences… So Can You<br />
    20. 20. Live Interview: <br />Ron Kelly<br />VP Customer & Pharmacy Services<br /><br />
    21. 21. About, inc.<br />Founded in 1998; 700 Employees<br />NASDAQ: DSCM; $365mm in Annual Revenue<br /> 4 Online Brands:<br /><br /><br /><br />Online Pharmacy<br />More than 40,000 product SKUs<br />Nearly 150 agents in 2 contact center locations<br />80,000 to 100,000 support inquiries per month<br />
    22. 22. Ron Kelly’s Bio<br />VP Customer & Pharmacy Services<br />Oversee all customer care, logistics and pharmacy business<br />Joined in 1999<br />Past roles include senior positions with:<br />Finance<br />Procurement<br />Site Development<br />Merchandising<br />Prior to<br />Deloitte & Touche retail specialist<br />
    23. 23. The Bottom Line<br />Meeting Increasing Customer Expectations…<br />RightNow CRM Project Goals:<br />Provide a competitive customer experience<br />Answer questions regarding thousands of products<br />Improve agent productivity, decrease call handle times<br />Use the contact center to drive revenue<br />
    24. 24. Background<br />High income/highly educated demographic wanted to solve issues on their own<br />Contact Center was growing at same rate as Company <br />Existing FAQ’s required IT involvement …and were outdated<br />Customer experience implications … 3 in 10 customers needed to contact us<br />“Industry Standard” …Cost Containment<br />
    25. 25. Why RightNow?<br />Web self-service<br />Voice for order tracking<br />Live chat<br />Email management<br />Agent desktop<br />Hosted solution<br />
    26. 26. More Inventory = More Questions<br />Extreme competition <br />Extreme customer expectations<br />More than 4x the typical drugstore inventory<br />80,000-100,000 inquiries / month<br />
    27. 27. Empowering Customers<br />Incoming e-mail reduced by 20%...<br />Web self-service<br />Voice self-service<br />Email management<br />
    28. 28. Making Agents More Efficient<br />15% Drop in Agent Handle Times…<br />Steady Increase in Customer Satisfaction…<br />150+ Contact Center Agents<br />Halifax, Nova Scotia<br />Bellevue, WA<br />At Home Agents<br />Before RightNow – 10 agent desktop apps<br />
    29. 29. Driving Revenue<br />25% Chat Sessions Convert to Sale…<br /> agents provide expert advice<br />Live, online chat sessions<br />Trained beauty advisors<br />Cross-selling<br />Up-selling<br />
    30. 30. The Philosophy<br />It’s all about Customer Experience…<br /> “Our brand IS our customer experience, and RightNow ensures that we don’t miss a step.” <br />– Ron Kelly, vice president, customer and pharmacy services, <br />
    31. 31. What’s Next?<br />Continue to provide our Beauty Advisor with specialized vendor training …Prestige beauty brands love our chat capabilities<br />Roll chat out to other business segments and explore “service chat” to further reduce contact center costs<br />Analyze customer feedback on success of “help topics” and use data to optimize customer experience<br />Social Media ….it will impact the contact center ….<br />
    32. 32. Top Advice<br />Listen to Your Customers <br />Power of Knowledge<br />Protect & Monitor “brand” image<br />
    33. 33. Question/Answer Session <br />Janet Sherlock, AMR Research<br />Ron Kelly,<br />
    34. 34. Learn More!<br />How Successful Companies Overcome the Experience/Cost Dilemma:<br />8 Steps Video:<br />8 Steps Strategy:<br />