As part of our CXM Interview Series, our Editor-in-Chief, Marija Pavlović, talked with Jeb Dasteel, Senior Vice President and Chief Customer Officer at Oracle about the importance of customer success and employee satisfaction for the effective customer experience strategy.
- Q: Hello Jeb. First of all, thank you for your time and insights you’re about to share with our readers. How are things going in Oracle and for you personally?
My pleasure. Thanks for taking the time to speak with me. Things are going well on both fronts. At Oracle, we have made remarkable progress in our quest to be the most customer success-oriented company in the world. Over the past decade, we have been on a mission to promote customer centricity and loyalty, and this focus on customer success is the last leg of the journey. It’s a long leg, but the last.
- Q: What takes a company, be it a small or giant, to delivering higher level of customer experience?
There’s no question in my mind, the secret, especially given the shifts in economics and consumer behaviors today, is in customer success. That simply means that everything you do for your customers is about understanding their business objectives and helping them to realize those objectives. If you carry that principle through the entire customer experience – from buying, to installing and implementing, to using the product – you really can’t go wrong. In the book “Competing for Customers: Why Delivering Business Outcomes is Critical in the Customer First Revolution,” written by Craig LeGrande, Amir Hartman and myself, we discuss the three pillars of customer success – listening, engaging and ensuring. We encourage companies to listen by truly understanding what it means for your customers to succeed with your offers; engage by starting a productive dialogue, collaborating to solve problems, and promoting awareness of your value; and lastly, ensure by innovating to deliver on your promises, proving your value to the customer, and building retention.
- Q: Your broad experience linked you to some leading B2B companies, such as Cisco, GE Power, Rockwell Automation, and Telogis. What has that experience taught you so far, are there any valuable examples or case studies you can share with us?
What Cisco, GE Power, Rockwell Automation, and Telogishave in common, and in common with Oracle too, is that they have done some really innovative things around customer success delivery. Broadly speaking, the majority of organizations we reviewed said that they are very good at understanding their customers’ business objectives, but when we spoke with the actual customers of those organizations, we heard very different stories
There’s quite a divide between what most of us think we’re good at and what our customers would tell us. With Oracle, Cisco, GE, Rockwell Automation, and Telogis, it’s very different. These companies are in point of fact delivering customer success to their customers. Are they doing everything perfectly? Of course not. But they’re farther along in some combination of listening to and engaging with their customers, and in ensuring that customers realize business outcomes. That’s what sets them apart. One of my favorite examples of ensuring business outcomes is how Rockwell deploys “solution teams” with deep knowledge of customer factory operations so that Rockwell can help customers achieve their manufacturing automation objectives. Automation, in turn, delivers higher quality and higher margins. We discuss how Rockwell Automation measures success further in chapter nine of “Competing for Customers.”
- Q: Relying on your experience, how much is customer psychology different in the B2B world?
B2B customer behaviors have changed radically in the last few years – much of that is fueled by B2B buyer experiences in their daily lives as consumers. Thus, consumer and business buyer expectations have converged. In the good old days B2B sellers could reasonably expect their customers to essentially follow the seller’s lead through a structured sales process. Now the buyer is in control, and the seller follows the buyer through a buying process. Add to this the very real changes that comes in the form of subscription economics, and it’s a whole different world for both buyer and seller.
- Q: How does a Chief Customer Officer tackle with customer relationship, keeping track with the signals coming from “the inside”.
We’ve seen for a few years now that employee engagement drives customer engagement. And, customer engagement drives everything that’s good: satisfaction, loyalty, referenceability and customer success. So it’s essential to keep employee engagement high, and that means employee satisfaction. At Oracle, this means that we simultaneously solve employee and customer challenges. If we remove friction for one, we invariably do exactly that for the other. A perfect example of this is with ordering.
We are making it far easier to buy from Oracle – so that the buying experience is as fast as every other aspect of cloud computing. Easy buying makes for easy selling. We call this Oracle’s Accelerated Buying Experience.
- Q: What are your predictions for the following period, what is the direction companies should take to deliver a satisfying customer experience?
I believe that customer experience is already on its way out! Think about what it means. One of the major tech analyst firms, Forrester, defines CX as “how customers perceive their interactions with your company.” Makes pretty good sense – but that’s just not good enough anymore. It’s got to be about partnering with your customers to ensure they’re successful in achieving real, measureable, business outcomes. I see many organizations heading in this direction, with most of those just starting out – because they see this as the only surefire way to retain customers in an environment where they have very real choices and can switch with relative ease.
- Q: Any final message for the CX community?
Just this: Measure your success by the success achieved by your customers.
Senior Vice President and Chief Customer Officer at OracleJeb Dasteel holds the position of Senior Vice President and Chief Customer Officer at Oracle. He is responsible for driving the relentless focus on customer success into all aspects of the Oracle business.
Dasteel works across Oracle to deliver customer programs that continuously improve collaboration and attainment of customer business outcomes, value delivered, and loyalty.He has been with Oracle for 18 years in a number of corporate and field-based roles.
Before joining Oracle in 1998, he worked as a management consultant at Gemini Consulting, helping Fortune 500 organizations define and implement business and IT strategies.