The Future Of Customer Experience, Starting RightNow

October 25 2011 07:15:00 PM Comments Disabled
Today at the RightNow Summit, the customer service vendor announced two new additions to their Customer Experience (CX) solutions. The first, CX For Mobile Apps makes the power of their CX Suite available on mobile devices. The second, CX for Twitter adds a whole new dimension to customer self-service automation. CX for Twitter allows customers to post questions via Twitter and answers are automatically returned in seconds, with no support agent required.

Here is how it works:
1) You post a question and include the hashtag #help_brandname (ex: #help_rightnow)
2) RightNow's Cloud Monitor listens for tweets that include that hashtag, then parses the text of the tweet and performs a search on the company's RightNow Knowledge Base
3) A tweet is sent back to the person that includes a link to a web page with the search results
4) The customer follows the link and is presented the results, along with buttons to start a live chat or make a phone call to a customer service agent

Image:The Future Of Customer Experience, Starting RightNow

I tried this myself, asking RightNow if they could help me with my flights to Denver.

Image:The Future Of Customer Experience, Starting RightNow
In seconds I received a tweet that contained information about the Denver airport, along with the ability to contact an agent.

Image:The Future Of Customer Experience, Starting RightNow

It's important to point out that RightNow has delivered this Twitter integration without specific help from Twitter. The help_brandname hashtag is not a reserved Twitter keyword and currently no special actions are available based on it. However, RightNow hopes that if enough customers adopt the convention, the momentum will turn #help_brandname into an unofficial standard. In addition, I suggested to several RightNow executives that they investigate using Twitter Annotations as a way of including additional metadata about the customer asking the question. Twitter annotations could provide context like where the customer is, what they are doing and what type of device they are using which could then be used to tailor the response CX for Twitter sends.

This type if interaction is just the start of the improved customer service experience (CX) that RightNow envisions for the future. That vision includes the ability to move from one communication channel (phone, email, chat, web, etc.) to another seamlessly, with your entire customer history available to the agent. The see a future where the agent (whether human or automated) can also tailor responses based on your current situation. For example, if you're in a car they may interact with you via audio only, while providing a richer video based experience if your on a mobile device or tablet. The following video paints a picture of what the future customer experience could look like.


I've really enjoyed being at this event, hearing from the RightNow executives as well as speaking to customers ranging from 75 person SMBs to large Fortune 100 enterprises. Everyone here shares RightNow's belief that great customer experiences not only help retain customers, they are also key to winning new deals. There was quite a bit of surprise around Oracle's acquisition of RightNow, but the customer reactions I heard were mainly optimistic. Clearly being part of Oracle provides RightNow with a great deal of new resources and the ability to expand into a huge customer base, but it also brings complications in technology, politics and culture.
  • How will RightNow's desktop client fit into Oracle's marketing pitch around everything in the cloud?
  • Does RightNow's backend architecture fit into the multi-tenancy cloud model?
  • Do the current "social features" of RightNow mesh with Oracle's recently announced Oracle Social Network?
  • Will being part of a massive company like Oracle affect the agility of RightNow in delivering new features in a short time frame?
  • Will key RightNow executives and engineers be comfortable at Oracle?
  • How with RightNow's customers react? What if they have a bias against Oracle solutions?

Questions such as these were mainly met with "We can't comment on that yet." While I understand the announcement just occurred, RightNow does need to address these things asap. Hopefully answer will be forthcoming once the dust settles.  Perhaps I should ask these questions via their really cool new Twitter integration and see what responses I get. ;-)