The We’re Listening blog series has tracked some of the new programs and capabilities Cisco is introducing to make it easier to do business with us. The corporate Ease of Doing Business (EoDB) Program drives many of these improvements, so I’ve invited EoDB executive lead (and Cisco EVP of Operations) Randy Pond to discuss some of the accomplishments and upcoming plans that will make it easier for our customers and partners to do business with Cisco. Among those are:
- Improvements to software licensing, including big changes to the product license registration page that allow customers to complete more self-service licensing transactions, and the roll out of the new Cisco Software Central portal, a one-stop shop for all your software licensing needs
- Creating a more consistent negotiation and deal approval process globally
- A renewed focus on our partners’ experience
- Stronger focus on the role of User Experience design and philosophy in every Cisco product, policy, and process.
By Guest Contributor Randy Pond
We’ve made it no secret that Cisco aims to become the #1 IT company. And while our development teams are hard at work to bring you exciting new technological offerings in software, cloud and security, there’s another critical piece of the equation – delivering an exceptional customer experience. This is a huge priority for John Chambers and the entire leadership team, and it boils down to consistency and simplicity. Over and over again, I’ve heard customers say that doing business with Cisco can be a mind-warp of changing policies, too many steps and new obstacles to deal with. This has to change. Today, we have teams across every function at Cisco concentrated on finding and making the changes that will have the biggest impact on your customer experience.
Streamlined Software Licensing
We are working to tackle the biggest customer pain points. Software Licensing is one that jumps to mind. We used to hear daily complaints about the complexities of our Software Licensing process. So the team got to work. In the past year, they’ve implemented major changes to the product license registration page so now customers can complete many self-service licensing transactions, such as allowing you to license more products in fewer transactions.
They also released Cisco Software Central where you can access all software management tools. At Cisco Software Central, you can get quotes, order software, get licensing, and download and upgrade all your Cisco software. In the first week since we went live, over 1,000 users have visited Software Central from 200 countries around the world.
We’ve also increased the ability to order software products online. Through eDelivery, you can now order 98% of all eligible Product IDs online and we keep adding more software products every quarter. eDelivery has been greatly reducing customer software order lead times and simplifying logistics for our customers according to our research.
These are exciting changes, and I know the team has plans in place to accelerate this progress over the next year.
Consistent Negotiation and Deal Approval Processes
I’ve also eagerly watched new improvements to our negotiation and deal approval processes, because I know our customers have a lot of frustration in this space. We’re in the process of training our Sales teams to deliver greater consistency in negotiation and deal approval, across sales teams and across regions. We want to ensure that you get increased global consistency in the deal creation process and increased transparency around pricing.
Looking Ahead: Focus on Partners and New Standards for User Experience
But even as we celebrate these successes, we’re nowhere near declaring victory. We have numerous changes in the works, and you will continue to see evidence of these over the course of the next year. At the same time, I’m challenging our teams to think outside the box as they come up with new opportunities. One opportunity that applies across the board is increased energy on partner interactions. Partners are a key component of the Cisco customer experience, so we’ve got to make it easier for our partners to do business with Cisco.
We’re also increasing the focus on user experience (UE) into every aspect of our improvements. Cisco has always had UE experts working in pockets across the company, but there’s a huge opportunity to connect the dots and make sure that a UE mindset underpins every step of our process, operations, and tool design that comprise the end-to-end experience.
The first step of that work is for us to understand what your experience journey with Cisco looks like. For any given task, how many steps does it take to get what you need and how long does that take? Then we need to improve that journey so that your experience doing business with Cisco rivals your experience doing business with any of the top customer service companies out there. Take cisco.com as an example. For many of our customers, the website is the main interface with Cisco. And while we’ve changed some of the fundamentals of how cisco.com operates, we still need to reach a gold standard that rivals the consumer-grade experience you’ve come to expect in all your customer interactions.
It’s an ambitious plan and we’re holding ourselves to a high standard, but we won’t consider Cisco the #1 IT company until we know that you are delighted with your Cisco experience.