My Oracle OpenWorld


The journey to Oracle Open World, in San Francisco, starts today and I’m really excited about it. Last year was great, with loads of good outcomes, and I’m expecting this year to be even better.

I will obviously be more interested on the sessions that are going to take place in the CX Central, with a particular and special focus on Oracle Service Cloud, even though I will attend others (e.g. Sales Cloud).

My agenda has scheduled a few sessions. To those I’m definitely going. Then I will pop in to some others as well as walk the floor to see what Oracle and the partners have to show.

I will start with “Modern Customer Service for a Changing World” as I want to hear people like Kate Leggett talking about how they address experience design, digital disruption or mobile capabilities. And also customer’s representatives sharing their experience on how they are using Oracle Service Cloud.

Then I’m looking forward to hear Christopher Patterson and Keith McFarlane about the “Oracle Service Cloud Roadmap“. I’m expecting loads of innovations, new functionalities, great improvements and exciting features coming our way.

The “Oracle Service Cloud’s Customer Engagement Center Overview and Roadmap” session with Susie Boyer should also be good. She is planning to talk about the platform’s Customer Engagement Center functionality (basically the Customer Service capabilities like incident management, knowledge base, guided assistance, customer feedback, etc.) and its roadmap to address key trends and challenges facing customer service and support organizations.

In the next day I’m planning to attend the session where my good friend Luis Figueira and a couple or Panasonic representatives are going to talk about how they have implemented Oracle CX Cloud products (Social Cloud, Sales Cloud, Marketing Cloud) in coexistence with Siebel.

The next exciting session I plan to attend is “Delivering Customer Service Excellence in the Engagement Center“. The topic is around how Oracle Service Cloud enables companies to deliver consistent Customer Service and CX across all channels.

Another couple of interesting sessions will be “Oracle Service Cloud Integration Strategy” and “Accelerating Oracle Service Cloud and Oracle E-Business Suite “. These are around integrations and coexistence and that is a hot topic.

Apart from that, I hope to see many friends and meet many peers there. Share experience and knowledge. And come back with a lot to think about, a lot of knowledge, and a lot to use on a daily basis.

August 2015 release is now available

Unified Search for Self-Service

For those organisations who use the support community (peer-to-peer community where users support each other) the new search capability unifies and integrates both answers from the knowledge base and articles from the community. This will not only improve web self-service from the customer’s perspective but also help knowledge manager find gaps in the knowledge base, by using the new set of reports that display the number of answers vs discussions viewed for a particular topic.


Unified Content for SmartAssistant

Following the above, discussions from the support community will also display in the SmartAssistant, to make use of the other customer’s knowledge to resolve even more questions online.

Customer Portal Framework v3.3

The August 2015 release of Oracle Service Cloud includes Customer Portal Framework Version 3.3. This new version includes changes to support the new web self-service features, as well as a new reference implementation, with the same standard functionality but new out-of-the-box pages with a cleaner and more modern look & feel.

Customer Portal Responsive Design

The new version of Oracle Service Cloud comes with responsive design for the customer portal reference implementation. i.e. customer portal pages will responds and adapt to the customer’s device, regardless of it being a phone, tablet, lap or desktop.

Nevertheless this does not mean that the set of mobile pages will be deprecated. No, they will still be there for those who chose to use them.

Customer Portal Product Pages

The new version also comes with Product pages. A set of pages that group content about particular products. This is more of a landing page for products. A “answer list” page filtered by product if you whish. This could and was done in the passed with custom pages and reports, but now comes with the reference implementation.

Enhanced Co-Browse for iOS

The co-browse functionality was enhanced to support co-browsing with customers on mobile devices on native iOS applications. In the past, when co-browsing with mobile customers, agents could only see the web browser, but now they will be able to see native apps as well.

Larger Email Attachments

The maximum attachment size for incoming emails (incidents) has been 5 MB. This was set on the Mailbox configurations when admins were configuring the settings for incoming email. From now on, the maximum attachment size will be 25 MB, but only on hosted mailboxes.

Limiting Source Editing in Answers

This new feature allows managers to limit the ability of agents to edit knowledge base answers inserted within an email (incident) response. This is true when agents are changing answers in HTML or source mode. Managers can control what answer content agents can edit. This is controlled at the Profile level on the Services Permissions.

Incident Response Failure

In case the email (incident) response fails (or bounces) the agent will now immediately be notified by a toast notification in the agent desktop.


Agent Browser UI Enhancements

The new version of Oracle Service Cloud brings a few enhancements to the Browser UI – which is now available for all customers, even though Oracle recommends some hand-holding when implementing it. Amongst those are the ability for agents to:

  • Forward incidents with attachments
  • Quickly insert pre-formatted text into incidents with standard text.

The reports displayed in the Browser UI were expanded and are now closer to the ones in the Agent Desktop Enhanced Console, now supporting more charts types and search capabilities (filters).

It is now possible to use a browser-type control in the Browser UI workspace in order to do surfacing type (mashup) integrations with 3rd party websites or web-based systems, with the ability to also pass data as parameter.

Routing Social Incidents

The integration between Oracle Service Cloud and Oracle Social Cloud (fka Oracle SRM) was enhanced and a most wanted functionality was included to help organisations to route incidents to the right team or agent. It is now possible to pass the Oracle Social Cloud tags (created automatically or manually) to Oracle Service Cloud and use them as criteria in the business rules to route incidents to the a specific queue.


Twitter Private Messaging

Oracle Service Cloud now supports the new Twitter policy for private messaging, which allows organisations to reply to customers via direct message even if the customer is not following the organisation’s Twitter account.

Message Templates Enhancements

It is now possible to truncate text-based merge fields in order to control the size of emails. Admins can set a maximum number of character for text-based merge fields. This will truncate the text that displays in the email. It is also possible to append an ellipsis to the displayed text to indicate there is more to read if the text length limit is exceeded. This feature is also available in Outreach and Feedback emails.

Facebook Graph API v2.0 Migration

The Facebook Graph API enables developers to read from and write data into Facebook. Facebook has migrated all applications to version 2.0 of the Graph API which results in a few changes as Facebook has tightened control over shared information and customers. For example, keyword search across all Facebook content is no longer supported. However it is possible to do keyword search on Facebook fan pages.

API Enhancements

It is now possible to use the APIs to query survey data (questions and responses) using ROQL queries.

Additional capabilities have been added to PHP Mail API mailboxes, like the ability to select any mailbox when sending e-mails and override “reply to” and “friendly from” addresses.

The REST API was extended and now support ROQL for object and tabular queries.

Supported Platform Changes

The new release of Oracle Service Cloud discontinues support for the following deprecated browsers:

  • Windows Server 2003 as a terminal service
  • Firefox v35 on the Agent Browser UI and end-user applications
  • Safari v7.1 on the Agent Browser UI and end-user applications
  • Android v2.3 and v3.x operating systems for end-user applications

How “Pret a Manger” turned a bad CX into a great CX

I have a morning routine… Leave home > take the bus to the tube station > take the tube to the City > buy a croissant at Pret > go to the office > make a tea > eat the croissant while running through the email inbox.

The morning of Aug 5 wasn’t different… until, on the second to last bite, I found a big hair in my croissant. Wooow! Disgusting! It ruined my breakfast and my morning. I had to tweet and complain about it. So that’s exactly what I did.

@Pret Not sure this is the best way to start the day. A big hair inside my croissant! :(

I must say that the reaction and response to my complain tweet surprised me.


Pret reacted in a few hours, apologised straight away in public, and tried to take the follow up conversation offline – which is exactly what the social customer service best practices advises. So I sent the DM with my email address and the Pret’s shop location. Within a few minutes the response was there, thanking and advising me that the Customer Service team was informed and would take over.

They surely did, another few minutes and I received an email (with attached incident reference #) apologising again, thanking me for giving them the opportunity to put things right, making me aware of the steps and procedures of the investigation, and advising they would be in touch soon. A few days later they got in touch again, via email. Funnily enough the same customer service rep from the initial conversation. Joanna apologised again, told me that the investigations were complete, and the shop’s manager and team were contacted guaranteeing that it would not happen again – once more, exactly what best practices advises: quick, positive, honest, transparent and diligent customer service.

To make it even better, Pret took a gesture of goodwill… ”I realise that these actions do not detract from the distress and disappointment you have experienced and so I would like to send you a £15.00 Pret Card by way of an apology for this unpleasant incident (…) thank you again for taking the time to contact us and for giving us the opportunity to try and put things right. Considering the circumstances, I really appreciate your calm and constructive feedback”.

Two weeks ago, if anyone had ask me what I thought of Pret, I would have said that they are ok and have nice sandwiches. Today, and after finding a hair in my croissant, I’m writing an email praising them! Proving that a good customer service can have a huge impact in the overall perception and customer experience. And has the power of turning a good customer or a loyal customer into an advocate, even when things go wrong.

LinkedIn use Oracle Service Cloud for “Member First” initiative

Known as its ‘Members First’ initiative, LinkedIn shifted its primary focus from products to members by developing an infrastructure that brings people, processes, and technologies together in an effort to transform operations and enhance engagement.

LinkedIn powered this transformation by partnering with Oracle Service Cloud, which facilitated the capture and analysis of member data. Originally, LinkedIn’s support team was part of the product team, meaning employees often focused on resolving technical issues above all else.

But, because employees were conditioned to work reactively using manual methods, such as spreadsheets and documents, it became difficult for LinkedIn to track cases and maintain knowledge across channels. Ultimately, information remained in silos, hindering the company’s ability to gather, analyze, and react to support issues and member feedback.


LinkedIn also created its Global Customer Operations (GCO) team, which listens to what LinkedIn members are saying, both directly and indirectly, to support its member-centric vision and mission, while also identifying behavioral trends and service gaps that need special attention.

Read full article in 1to1media.


We, customers, demand this from you, companies

The world we live in today is a hyper-competitive, hyper-connected and global world, where the advances in technology gave us more options, more access, and made our expectations higher. People changed their behaviours. We are now always connected, always aware, and always sharing.

The key factors for the changing in our behaviours are the speed at which we adopt new technology, the rise of mobile devices, and the emergence of new channels, in particular the explosion in social media and text-enabled apps. This had a huge impact on the way we interact with our friends and family.

And now we are demanding companies, from which we buy products and services, to do the same. To communicate and interact with us the same way we communicate and interact with our friends and family. And to be available when and where we need them and how is more convenient to us.

Many years ago we would go to the brick and mortar store to buy something or look for help. Then we started to buy in store and ask for support via phone or email. Today we use various channels and touch-points during our journey. Researching in store, buying online, asking for support via live chat.

Companies realised this and started to enable multiple channels in order to deliver a cross-channel experience. But most of the times that experience is not good, because all channels are disjointed. Truth is, as new channels came up companies added them over time, typically using different systems and processes.

Furthermore, companies were putting in place different teams to handle interactions and requests coming from the different channels. The ones that didn’t, and tried to cross train all agents and reps, were giving them a herculean task of flicking through loads of different systems when talking to us, increasing the time we waited.

As customers, what we are demanding is an omni-channel experience, where all channels are natively joined up, where it is easy for us to switch between channels, seamlessly transitioning from one channel to the other during a single interaction, quickly and without having to repeat ourselves over and over again.

We want to receive a seamless and consistent experience across all channels. Be able to web self-serve from a mobile app, live chat with an agent if we cannot find an answer, transition to a telephone conversation with the same agent if needs be, and then receive an email confirmation afterwards.

In order to deliver this experience, companies can only do one thing… adopt a true omni-channel platform where all channels (phone, email, web, chat, SMS, white mail, social) are natively joined up. And that encompasses our entire customer journey, from need (Marketing), to purchase (Sales), to support (Customer Service), as well as our voice (Feedback).

There are only a couple of true omni-channel platforms in the market. As most of you know, I’m a big advocate of the Service Cloud platform from Oracle.

Customer Journey Mapping workshop x 4


These past 2 weeks have been great fun. There is nothing like being in the “field”, helping companies being more customer-centric. And that is what a Capventis customer in the Construction industry wanted to do, in order to improve the Customer Experience they deliver.

Customer Journey Mapping is a very good technique that helps organisations identify the customer’s steps and emotions across all stages and touch points. From initial contact, through purchase, to support, and hopefully onto renewal or repeated purchase.

This type of exercise reveals opportunities for improvement and innovation in the customer’s experience. Either it is fixing a bad moment where things went wrong, or capitalising on a good moment where things went really well or as expected.

Teaming up with my colleague Kelvin Brain (@kelvinbrain), we facilitated a series of 4 Customer Journey Mapping workshops, where more than 40 staff came out with great innovations and ideas to improve the way the company treats and services customers.

For the workshops we chose a persona – David, the builder –  and used a business-specific customer journey. In order to achieve better results, we mixed the best of the Stanford University customer journey mapping with our experience and knowledge as consultants.

The day started with everyone in the room sharing some good and bad experiences. Then, we talked about how the world is changing – mainly due to advances in technology and the social media explosion – and how that impacts the way people expect to deal with companies.

With some very good insights on what is Customer Experience, why it is so important these days, and how to deliver/enable it, the audience was ready to dive into the Customer Journey Mapping exercise.

From that moment on it was all fun. Music, colours, loads of post-it notes, red/green dots, strings, great discussions, amazing ideas, outstanding innovations, excellent outcomes. The feedback was great and we look forward to the next steps.

May 2015 release is now available

Customer Content on the Login Screen

So far, the only thing we could do on the login screen was perhaps change the “welcome” message or replace the Oracle Service Cloud logo on the right-hand side by the logo of the company. The May 2015 release give us the ability to include links so we can enrich this entry point with some actionable messages (see image below).


Enhanced Incident Thread Masking

This functionality was introduced in the Nov 2013 release enabling organisations to better comply with internal governance and data privacy issues. Sensitive data, like credit card numbers is automatically masked with the use of patterns/regular expressions matching. These masks are applied to thread data, either entered by the customer or the agent. The data is modified in the database and the UI.

May 2015 release brings additional checks for 13-digit (Visa) and 14-digit (Diners Club) masking logic for credit card number patterns. This way the possibility of false matches is even more reduced.

New Social Monitor Results Report Column

A new column – named “Appended Incidents” – is now available in several Social Monitor reports. This column will have a “Click to View” link to allow the agent to drill down and see the incident(s) to which that particular tweet/post has been manually or automatically appended to. Then, the agent will also have the ability to double-click and open the incident straight away. This will make the navigation and association between social results and incidents much easier.

New Social Monitor Configuration Setting

The May 2015 brings the SOCIAL_MONITOR_CONVERSATION_TRACKING_DEADLINE configuration setting, that specifies the number of days that Oracle Service Cloud will track a conversation after an agent responds to a Social Monitor incident. Once the time period is exceeded, the incident will be removed from the conversation tracking, and any subsequent posts in the conversation will not be auto-appended as threads in the incident.

Service Collaboration

The May 2015 release brings a new collaboration functionality that, as far as I understand it, is somewhat replacing “Forward & Track”. The new service collaboration capability will allow agents to get help and support from third parties or external people that are not users of Oracle Service Cloud.


Those people can be set as users in Oracle Service Cloud, and associated with a Profile that has “External User” setting checked (see image above). Then, those users can collaborate in conversations with agents without being charged for licenses. They won’t be able to use the Dynamic Agent Desktop, but they can access the incident’s detail and message thread, by logging in to the collaboration service directly via a web browser or mobile device.

Advanced Knowledge

Limited to a number of Oracle Service Cloud customers, and still in a “trial” mode, the Oracle Service Cloud Knowledge Advanced capability was made available from this release, integrating in Oracle Service Cloud, some of the capabilities of the Oracle Knowledge product (aka InQuira). Some of those capabilities are related to authoring and intelligent search features like flexible templates, versioning, relationships between articles in multiple languages, search results from documents and other content sources. It also offers highly specialised NLP with pre-packaged industry specific terminology.

Single Sign-On (SSO) Support for External Identity Providers (IdP)

With May 2015 release, external identity providers (IdP) can now be used to log in to Oracle Service Cloud and other service provider (SP) applications, allowing agents to log in once and be authenticated across several SP applications. Similarly, single logout is also supported, for agents to log out of any SP application.


If organisations are using an external IdP, the IdP login page can be embedded in Oracle Service Cloud Login window (see image above). This way, agents can log in without having to do it via a separate login page. After successfully logging in to the IdP, it will generate a SAML token and pass it to Oracle Service Cloud, increasing security, since usernames and passwords are not sent between applications.

Connect REST API

The May 2015 release of Oracle Service Cloud introduces the new Connect REST API, enhancing even more the capability of integration of Oracle Service Cloud with other applications and systems. Representational State Transfer (REST) API is complementary to the other set of APIs already in place, like Connect SOAP API.

For those who are not familiar with it REST is – somewhat like SOAP – an architecture for creating web services. It is, in some cases, an alternative to SOAP and WSDL-based web services. RESTful systems typically communicate over the HTTP, and may be simpler to create and maintain (if you want to know the difference between REST and SOAP, here is a good and short post).

Oracle Service Cloud Connect REST API is a public API that leverages the CCOM version 1.3. It follows the Oracle REST standard and supports CRUD operations.

Connect Common Object Model v1.3

May 2015 release of Oracle Service Cloud introduces version 1.3 of the Connect Common Object Model (CCOM). You can take advantage of this new CCOM version using Connect Web Services for SOAP (Connect Web Services), Connect PHP API, ROQL, and Connect REST API.

The new version of CCOM provides synchronized metadata among Connect PHP API, ROQL, and Connect Web Services, and provides operation-specific metadata in Connect Web Services. Also in CCOM version 1.3, ROQL blacklisting behaviour has been changed so that candidate blacklist queries are allowed to run by default and are subject to further analysis. Fifteen new operations and properties have also been added to CCOM.

Widget Changes on the Customer Portal (CP)

As always, various changes were done to a few widgets in the CP. To review those in more detail access the Framework change log in your CP by navigating to Framework > Framework versions or https://<your_site>/ci/admin/versions/manage/#tab=1&framework=3.2

Some of the changes were applied to the following widgets:

  • utils/CobrowsePremium
  • input/BasicProductCategoryInput
  • knowledgebase/GuidedAssistant
  • notifications/ProdCatNotificationManager
  • output/FileListDisplay
  • input/ProductCategoryInput
  • input/SmartAssistantDialog
  • search/ProductCategorySearchFilter

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