Siemens Digital Industries Software, or Siemens Software for short, may just be the most familiar company you’ve never heard of. As the #1 industrial software company, its influence is in evidence everywhere, all over the world, in products and services common and exotic, many of which touch our lives every day. That’s what I love most about it! The company offers an extensive portfolio of more than 1,000 software and service solutions that are used in the design, manufacture, simulation, operations, and lifecycle analytics for products of every shape and size, and use imaginable.
Siemens’ customers include businesses from across the spectrum of industry sectors. They range from billion-dollar companies to startups and even students. These customers come to us when they need the company’s expert solutions and deep problem-solving capabilities to improve or enhance or even reinvent their own manufacturing processes.
Responding at any point in every journey
For many of our customers, a Siemens Software contact center representative is the point of “first touch” with our company. Every contact center interaction has the potential to set the tone for developing new business opportunities or retaining and building on current business. The contact center operation— 950 agents who handle more than 500,000 interactions each year in 12 languages from roughly 30 different locations globally—plays a central role in our relationships with customers.
Our contact center team is expansive and far-flung, but here to assist customers with whatever they need, whenever they need it—a herculean task in its size and scope and one that makes unique demands on the contact center representatives. We make sure we are available to assist at any part of a customer’s or prospect’s journey, that we are present to connect and engage with them in a meaningful way. Their journey could start in pre-sales, sales, support, renewal, or an expansion of their business.
From bedroom workshop to Siemens Software: one kid’s journey
How many children might not have prosthetic arms today if a bored-but-very-talented 14-year-old’s journey hadn’t eventually led him to Siemens with a complex problem he believed couldn’t be solved—even by top Siemens experts? But the company’s NX team proved him wrong, enabling this young entrepreneur to design and manufacture children’s customized prosthetic arms more quickly and less expensively and frankly, to turn the entire industry on its ear. The relationship with Siemens blossomed and has continued to grow ever since. Read more about Easton LaChappelle's journey and the critical role Siemens’ solutions have played.
CXone : the flexibility to offer ‘your pace, your way’
Being there to help the customer at all touchpoints has a lot of challenges—for example, in handle time and staffing. Talking to a customer that has been using your software their whole life will take a different skill set and a different amount of time than a company just starting from scratch.
Now the integrated CXone cloud platform drives our contact center’s ability to interact with customers in meaningful ways on their different journeys. We like to say, ‘Your pace your way.’ We don’t force the customer into a solution. The same is true for the contact center. We’re building an experience that gives the customer the choice of how they interact with us at their pace. If they need immediate help, we have options. We offer self-service for less-urgent questions. CXone gives us options throughout the whole customer journey. This flexibility is also seen in the workforce. The ability to pivot to work from home or work from anywhere gives our agents the flexibility to still be there for our customers – regardless of where they are physically located. So when the pandemic hit, we didn’t miss a beat.
Pivoting to meet customers’ needs
Before we moved to CXone, there were gaps in the customer journeys—many because customers had to move from one system to another to speak with the most knowledgeable resource. But consolidating the contact centers onto the CXone cloud platform gave us newfound agility, flexibility, and visibility.
One platform start-to-finish has given us the agility to pivot to our customers’ needs. It doesn’t matter where a person enters the journey, we understand and fulfill their needs with CXone. That can be in the IVR or with an agent. It can be with integrations that use API calls or simple agent transfers. There are so many options in CXone that enable us to pivot easily and effectively.
Our customers’ journeys are not a straight line. They jump steps, they go backward, they have multiple journeys going at one time. We have a large offering of solutions that someone can be using. CXone consolidated reporting that includes support for all our interaction channels really helps us not only meet the needs but also track and report on that journey. Being able to see the data wherever the business needs are is crucial, whether that is in the CRM, CXone dashboard, or a BI tool, we have the framework to make it all happen.
21,000 tons of ‘Bean to Bar’ premium chocolate
Chocolate makes the world go ‘round, especially for a company that produces 21,000 tons of it annually. But how does a 140-year-old premium chocolate manufacturer in Spain keep its competitive edge by maintaining its tradition and “Bean to Bar” quality while benefitting from the efficiencies and excellence that 21st century manufacturing affords? When Chocolates Valor S.A. turned to Siemens for solutions to streamline its factory and production planning, implementing the Opcenter APS and integrating it with ERP and existing automation systems improved visibility, communication and transparency. Digitalizing the supply chain increased standardization and decision-making, and the company not only maintained the tight production controls that are directly tied to its premium chocolate’s quality and excellence but also realized an immediate return on its investment in production hours saved and repurposed to planning.
Before CXone, it was impossible to see the big picture, the contact center operation as a whole. We had limited insight into our contact center. There were different routing strategies, different solutions, and it was hard to understand the whole operation. But with CXone, we were able to define a global standard for our strategy. With the benchmark set, we’ve been able to communicate our vision with our stakeholders and to set future road maps. Having omnichannel solutions deployed globally in 12 different languages on one platform has been a game-changer for us.
Siemens customers meet business goals and their customers’ needsAlthough Siemens Software provides hundreds of different solutions and services to a vast and diverse universe of customer businesses, we see some common threads. Similar market forces often drive companies’ need to seek out our solutions for complex and evolving manufacturing puzzles. Increasingly, manufacturers across the board are challenged by their customers and competitors to make their products faster and cheaper—while also raising product quality and even customizing their offerings! That’s where Siemens comes in, delivering solutions to achieve the results. No two journeys are ever alike.
The heroic quest to ‘bring the Cup home’
The most successful Olympic sailor of all time, Sir Ben Ainslie, had formed a racing team in Portsmouth, England, Land Rover BAR, with a singular mission: "Bring the [America’s Cup] home", to the area just off the Isle of Wight, where the race first began in 1851. The team had been working with Siemens for three years to design and produce a faster (and faster) elite racing catamaran. Siemens product lifecycle management software (PLM) solutions were the project’s backbone, which included creating a virtual racing boat. The “digital twin” boat enabled rapid evaluation and modifications, even last-minute changes while in the water! It speeded up the production process, improved collaboration and compliance, and facilitated control, consistency, and innovation—all critical components for this complex racing wonder. More than 85,000 hours of design and build across multiple disciplines produced a 15-meter racing boat with1,200 meters of electronic and electrical cabling connecting 190 sensors and four video cameras. R1, or Rita, took its maiden voyage just months before the 35th Americas Cup.
Elevating the customer journey, improving metrics
Customers’ journeys are intensified by their own challenges and objectives, which also tend to shape their expectations for their interactions and relationships with us. With that in mind, our contact center interactions take on an outsize role in our ability to respond to customers with the kind of speed, accuracy, flexibility, and personalization they expect from Siemens generally. The CXone cloud platform has enabled the contact center to meet customer expectations and up its game in a lot of ways—by offering customers choices in channels, enhancing our company-wide focus on a 365-degree view of each customer’s journey, and by streamlining operations, and improving response times.
Routing through the IVR
With CXone, we’re able to route inbound calls to the correct destination by prompting customers to choose the reason for the call in a front-end IVR. This has elevated the customer experience and has also resulted in a 38% increase in opportunities we send to the global sales force from phone inquiries. On the other hand, when we activated the IVR, we saw that about 40% of the calls coming in for sales were actually for customer support. In the past, we had no way to transfer those calls. But now that our support, sales, and marketing teams are all using CXone, we set up the IVR to offer options. Callers now have a choice to directly be connected to any of those departments. The number of calls transferred to support fell from 40% to just 15%. The powerful part is that once the customer selects an option, we can quickly route them to the right person. That’s the value of using CXone globally—it gives us consistency and flexibility.
Complex skills (thousands!)-based routing
Routing interactions to agents with the best-matched skills is not easy in a business as complicated as ours. NICE CXone ACD with skills-based routing helped Siemens set up optimized routing so they support and sell 1,000 different types of software, multiplied over 12 languages in three zones. From a support perspective, even if we were looking at just 100 products, you end up with 6,000 skills! One of our big requirements was having a solution where we could manage a significant number of skills down to the level of product language and zone. This was NICE CXone’s proposed solution against the competitors—and it was the easiest for handling such a complex skill routing system.
With CXone, our metrics improved quickly. Two I like to call out: Average response time has been reduced by 30%, and abandoned calls dropped 16%. This has led to substantial growth of opportunities in the sales pipeline.
Integrating the Salesforce® CRM
Integrating the company’s Salesforce CRM was also a top priority for us, given Siemens’ focus on having a 365-degree view of the customer. The solution needed to be easy to configure and to provide visibility into the buyer’s whole journey by routing all contacts from inbound, outbound, email, and chat through a central hub. CXone Agent for Salesforce ® has improved the agent and customer experiences for us, especially given the speed with which we could work the data.
Speedy follow-up on inquiries
On the outbound side, we used to have quite a backlog with our previous system. But with CXone, we can track the time to first touch, and we’re at least 30% faster than we were before in reaching out to prospective customers. Now when ‘Contact Us’ web forms are submitted, we use the predictive dialer to call all prospects within 24 hours. We’re quicker now because we now have better insight and can measure and track the agents’ performance based on how many interactions they’re completing.
I think speed is something you always pursue, and for us, it started with a baseline report. Being able to consolidate the data to one source set the mark. After we understood handle times and capacity models, we could then push the team on their performance. Understanding where we had those gaps using data makes it much easier to make decisions for improvement than going with just a gut feeling.
Now that we can measure and report on contact center activity, we can see a direct return on our investment. We also see key areas we can continue to expand and optimize. All these improvements are driving a reduction in cost and a better customer experience.
CXone Chat has a major impact
Of all the impacts, offering omnichannel choices—CXone , in particular—has been one of the biggest. Our previous chat solution was limited and only available in the U.S. But CXone Chat has given us an on-demand channel for our customers that runs 24 hours a day in 12 languages. We can be very specific with the customer experience based on language, which is important for us. Being able to reskill and redirect to agents and overflow traffic has helped us make this complicated process very scalable.
Having systemwide chat has meant skyrocketing sales opportunities coming through the contact center. Now we have people creating opportunities for sales across the globe all day on chat, while before, we struggled to measure them. In the first three months of our deployment of CXone Chat worldwide, we could quantify a 960% increase in opportunities sent to sales! And for the first time, we also added two new chat channels in our EMEA and APAC regions.
What does the future look like?
What future challenges and market demands will current and future customers bring to Siemens Software for solutions and services? For Siemens, “Today Meets Tomorrow” isn’t an idle slogan. The company and its customers are already there, working on solutions that will not only solve increasingly complex manufacturing challenges and enhance customers’ abilities to deliver products that are faster, cheaper, and better, but which will also benefit human health, safety, comfort, and quite possibly, survival in a rapidly changing world. Think solutions around IoT, the Internet of Things. Data-driven winemaking and farming. Think on-demand customization for all kinds of products—from safety helmets to surfboards to prosthetic limbs—that quickly and easily personalized to individual users. And in an increasingly crowded, noisy world, solutions around noise reduction will lead to everything from producing quieter vehicles and planes to reducing the decibel levels of home appliances.
‘Today meets tomorrow’
We’re excited to be able to continue to respond—and pivot—to our customers’ changing needs. We’ve introduced on-demand channels globally in many languages, but we’re not done. We’re looking at click-to-call functions on our website with CXone Personal —yet another on-demand channel. Staying scalable is critical for us and will likely involve incorporating AI solutions. And adding channels means staying ahead of forecasting volumes and staffing, which may also mean incorporating CXone Workforce Management (WFM) .
Looking at today’s trends and beyond, I see agent coaching as an area with almost unlimited potential to boost contact center performance and responsiveness. Being able to conversations in real-time and make recommendations to the agent during the conversation is something I think we’re going to see every day. Not only will it move the needle on results, but it will also reduce the resources needed to listen, evaluate, and then pull an agent to coach. I think real-time guidance and feedback are evolving—and I’m really looking forward to seeing them very soon.
I encourage others to pursue their own contact center journeys based on our experience with NICE CXone. But to maximize success, the journey should be well planned and methodical, one that is undertaken carefully and thoughtfully:
- Articulate your vision, and have a roadmap.
- Be sure to align your internal resources for support.
- Whether you’re starting fresh or reinventing your contact center, take a phased approach, beginning with what is critical now, and then build to your roadmap.
Want to learn more about Siemens and its continuing journey on the CXone cloud CX platform? Click here.