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In its quarterly update to its Fusion Cloud CX suite, Oracle added features for B2B sales and customer service teams. For marketers, Oracle CX forged deeper integrations with its customer data platform to enable more personalized offers to users' most loyal customers.
The loyalty program features come by way of CrowdTwist, which Oracle acquired in fall 2019. Connecting loyalty program features to the Oracle CDP will enable users to customize offers to their customers in real time, sorted by loyalty levels, according to Des Cahill, global product management vice president for Oracle CX.
That's an interesting concept, because it allows companies to save the best deals and richest rewards for their most loyal customers, said Constellation Research analyst Nicole France. But it also allows them to right-size incentives for customers who might have signed up for a loyalty program but, it turns out, aren't diehard brand loyalists and may never be.
"Up to now, loyalty programs have been kind of a waste of time because they haven't been used to really understand those customers better, to really build on those relationships and to nurture them to go from the occasional purchaser to someone more loyal" while at the same time figuring out how to cater to the ones who won't, France said. "There is room for rethinking loyalty programs."
Oracle B2B users get new features
On the B2B selling side, Oracle CX added hooks into the Oracle Digital Assistant, which enables salespeople to use voice commands to update CRM records, make a call or send email. Oracle also added configurable "Infolets," or widget-like dashboards supported by analytics, to its CRM interface. Admins and managers can serve customized content on performance metrics, as well as contact and scheduling information for individual salespeople.
Self-service features for customers give users the ability to set up 24/7 quotes for goods and services that salespeople can follow up on later. Cahill said that is based on the idea that B2B selling will become more automated and have more of a consumer e-commerce feel -- yet will retain the human touch that B2B selling typically requires.
Features aimed at customer service teams include agent-assist tools, as well as a "conversational feed," which combines customer communications from multiple channels in one view for the customer service agent.
Pandemic, marketing changes alter marketing
The pandemic, both Cahill and France said, forced many Oracle users to reevaluate how effectively their tech stacks served them during times of changing demand and adjust their investments moving forward. Many features that B2B users asked for -- such as setting up sites so their customers could get self-service sales quotes 24/7 -- are here to stay.
"The pandemic has strengthened our conviction that this is the way selling will be done in the future, and this is the way service will be done in the future," Cahill said. "The pandemic accelerated the need for [these new features] to be delivered to market."
Nicole FranceAnalyst, Constellation Research
France points out that technology investors will strengthen digital customer channels in the near term because the pandemic proved their importance during social distancing. That, and coming changes to digital marketing strategies as Google and Apple phase out third-party cookies -- and Apple and Facebook at odds over location data use -- will put fresh emphasis on first-party data owned by users of Oracle CX and competing cloud platforms.
"I expect a lot of companies can actually find creative ways to use their first-party data better so that they don't need to be reliant on location data and cookie data," France said.