Knowledge 2019: Day 1 afternoon highlights

  • ServiceNow Blog
  • 2019
  • Solutions
  • Events
May 07, 2019

Farrell Hough Keynote
Reimagining the customer experience


Every CEO knows the bottom-line value of delivering great customer experiences. Every year, businesses spend billions of dollars on customer relationship management solutions. Total CRM spend is projected to reach $80 billion a year by 2025.

Yet few companies truly deliver in the end, as Farrell Hough, ServiceNow’s senior vice president of customer workflow products, explained in her afternoon keynote presentation at the Knowledge 2019 conference in Las Vegas. 

Hough’s presentation followed this morning’s opening keynote, in which CEO John Donahoe and Chief Product Officer C.J. Desai explained how ServiceNow is bringing consumer experiences to the workplace. 

“CRM on its own is not enough,” said Hough. “What it does today is really more like call reaction management.”

During her 70-minute presentation, Hough laid out a vision for how the ServiceNow platform can help companies transform their customer service operations by digitizing and automating problematic underlying workflows. They can then use the data to create better, more unified customer experiences. 


Farrell Hough and Magic

Instead of getting by with the status quo—what Hough described as “disconnected, reactive experiences where interactions are limited to phone calls with customer service agents”—companies can tap the latest features of the Now Platform to deliver 360-degree customer experience through a single integrated app.

“Many customer service representatives today are on an island,” said Hough. “They’re not able to connect with other parts of their organizations. We know there’s a better way. We’ve already done this internally at ServiceNow, across IT and employee services. This is what we need to bring to our customers. It’s what they need and what they deserve.”

The Now Platform enables three key capabilities, said Hough. First, it creates end-to-end service that can handle all of a customer’s interactions and needs. It also works proactively, with dashboard tools that identify issues and recommend actions before customers are even aware that there’s a problem. Finally, it enables customer self-service, automating simple requests and handing off more complex tasks to human agents.

Digitizing customer service workflows can yield significant payoffs. ServiceNow customers have seen an average 20% increase in customer satisfaction and a 70% reduction in resolution times, with 65% of cases handled by self-service. 


Customer stories
Hough introduced two ServiceNow customers with very different use cases to explain how they made the leap to digitized customer service workflows. 

From the healthcare industry, Hough welcomed Erin Doney, VP of customer experience automation at UHG Optum. A part of UnitedHealth Group, Optum is a pharmacy benefit manager and care services group that operates across 150 countries.

Doney explained how UHG Optum closed critical customer service gaps. “We decided to put the customer first in everything we do and we discovered we had gaps where patients interacted with agents or nurses,” she said. “They had to navigate multiple systems.”

Optum convened agents and developers in an IT “test kitchen” where they designed, prototyped and tested new patient service solutions using ServiceNow. “It was human-centered design,” said Doney. “The people who would wind up using the tools helped design them.”

Optum service agents now use a single dashboard built on new digital workflows that unify all aspects of the service experience. “Interaction” recommendations help agents focus on empathetic communication. Benefits information is integrated and visible alongside other data. Agents can even refill prescriptions using the same app with a simple handoff to a different team member.

Simplifying service at Vodaphone

Vodafone, a UK-based telecom company with 313 million customers worldwide, teamed up with ServiceNow to reimagine its customer service with one objective: “radical simplification,” said Chris Holmes, Vodafone’s head of digital experiences.

That’s small task when you have B2B clients that demand mission-critical services. “In telco, networks and services are proliferating,” Holmes said. “We had to make sure we were streamlining them. Our customers expect highly personalized services, which we provide through digitization and automation.”

Vodafone leveraged the Now Platform to create a single dashboard app for service agents that gives them a 360 view of the customer, and allows them to be more proactive, Holmes explained. Vodaphone’s customer satisfaction scores have jumped 25% since the implemented ServiceNow.

Holmes’s biggest takeaway? It’s important to start by identifying which workflows need automation, and which don’t. “The biggest lesson we learned from customization and simplification is not to automate processes that don’t serve us.”


In other Knowledge news…

How are other ServiceNow customers transforming their operations with the Now Platform? Here are a few highlights from today’s breakout sessions:

  • Accenture subsidiary Avanade explained how it transitioned to ServiceNow for projects with complex governance, risk and compliance requirements. Avanade started by implementing ServiceNow IT Service Management, but quickly realized that the Now Platform could help them gain better control and visibility across a broad family of services and workflows. 
  • The cosmetics company Mary Kay needed to establish incident handling procedures without creating unnecessary complexity elsewhere in the company. Mary Kay created sub-flows with simple reusable strings of code, instead of static mapping, to create niche incident responses without impacting the use of task templates across their user base. 
  • Like most IT operations in higher education, the University of Virginia needed a better grasp of vulnerability management. UVA found that ServiceNow gave them the best set of tools for surveying, addressing and communicating vulnerability issues arising from, for example, duplicate non-unique device addresses.

That’s our news for today. Tune in tomorrow for highlights from Day 2 of Knowledge 2019!


  • Forrester Wave Leader 2022: Value Stream Management
    IT Management
    Forrester: ServiceNow is a Leader in value stream management solutions
    ServiceNow is a Leader in the Forrester Wave: Value Stream Management Solutions, Q4 2022. Find out what VSM is and what sets our solution apart.
  • Automation jobs: two co-workers look at a computer monitor in an office
    AI and Automation
    Australia outlook: Automation will protect jobs, not take them
    Automation used to be a dirty word, associated with widespread job losses. Australian firms are realizing the benefits of outsourcing work to machines.
  • Uncertain times: man standing in front of open laptop looking out a window
    AI and Automation
    4 ways to future-fit your business to thrive in uncertain times
    Uncertain times are often a catalyst for important innovations. Find out four tech trends that are resonating with ServiceNow customers.

Trends & Research

  • 2022 Gartner Magic Quadrant for IT Service Management Platforms
    IT Management
    A Magic Quadrant Leader in ITSM Platforms for ninth year in a row
  • Total experience companies outperform: prism refraction with an arrow pointing to the right
    Employee Experience
    Survey says: Total experience-focused companies outperform
  • Customer service: smiling businessman on phone walking outdoors
    Customer Experience
    Survey: 3 tips to deliver world-class customer service