CX Editor – Edit answers inline in the Customer Portal

In MSE17 I had the pleasure to meet my fellow All Star 2017 Bastiaan van der Kooij, from CX Builders, and get to know the amazing work he has been doing around Oracle Service Cloud.

One of the coolest things he has developed, is the CX Editor, an inline WYSIWYG editor for knowledge base answers, which allows the authoring of answers directly in the customer portal.

It has all the necessary and key functionality that a knowledge manager or administrator would expect (and has available in the console) but also a whole raft of other cool and very useful features and functions.

For example, it enables users to easily insert custom components like accordions or tab sets, with preview capability, and even provides A/B comparison between updated and original versions.

If you want to know more about it, see the demo:

The CX Editor is available to buy and download on the Oracle Cloud Marketplace. Click here to access. Alternatively, contact Bastiaan at or visit the CX Builders website to see what other cool add-ins are available for Oracle Service Cloud.

Knowledge Base Search – How does it work?

This is a question that several of our customers have asked us, when they start to build their own knowledge base of answers, to enable customer web self-service.

The knowledge base search (knowledge foundation) is not a simple mechanism. That is why it is so powerful, intelligent, dynamic and self-learning.

A picture is worth a thousand words, so I decided to put together a diagram that depicts the process, and below leave you with a few definitions to be better understand the different components.



When a search is performed, each keyword and/or phrase entered by the customer is compared to the contents of the answers.

The Weight is a numerically calculated value, based on the number of occurrences, capitalisation, and location of a word. It is equal to the sum of the weights of all the matched words from the search.

The location of the word is important. It is ordered and weighed as per the diagram – e.g. words that match the Summary field will have higher weights than those that appear in the Answer field.

Computed Score

The Computed Score of an answer is usually the same as its Score, unless its Display Position is set to fix it at top/bottom. In that case, the Computed Score is calculated using the score of the answers located at the top or bottom of the list.

To better understand, if a new answer is created, and set with Display Position = “Fixed at the top”, once it is published, its Score will be zero, but the Computed Score will be larger than the highest score for all the published answers.


The Score is a calculated value that ranks the order of answers, and indicates the usage of the answer, as well as how helpful that answer has been to customers. It is calculated based on the Solved Counts:

  • 75% of the score is based on Solved Count, linked to customer usage
  • 25% of the score is based on Solved Count, linked to agent usage

An answer with a large score indicates that several customers (and/or agents) have viewed that answer and that the answer was somehow useful to them.

Solved Count

The Solved Count collects information about the usefulness of answers in the Knowledge Base. Two types of data is gathered:

  • Implicit data – compiled by how customers select and view answers. If a customer views an answer, the solved count of the 1st answer is increased, but not as much as the 2nd viewed answer. In other words, the answer that the customer views last receives the largest solved count increase.
  • Explicit data – compiled by how customers rate individual answers – from the responses to the question “Is this answer helpful?


Configuration Settings – Tips V

Oracle Service Cloud has circa 500 configuration settings, which control the platform’s functions. Some of them are commonly used but many are not that well known. Below are a few that you might want to be aware of.


One of the questions that has been raised quite a lot in our implementations is what happens if an agent CC’s someone else other than the Contact in an email response, and that person then responds?

This configuration setting, if enabled (set to “Yes”), prevents any other person – apart from the primary Contact associated to the Incident – from responding to the email. If a CC’d contact replies to the email, OSvC will not accept it as a response, and will notify the sender that he/she is not the primary contact, and thus their response will be discarded.

If you disable it (set to “No”), then any person can respond, and an Incident can be updated by any email address or Contact.

By default, this configuration setting is enabled (set to “Yes”). And unless you have a really strong case, I would recommend you leave it as-is.


Searching a Knowledge Base of answers can be hard, particularly when it has loads of answers, and it is our job to make it easier for customers to find what they need.

This configuration setting enables the ability to use special characters or operators “+” (plus), “” (minus) and “~” (tilde) while searching for answers.

These operators help refine the search and I’m sure most of you know how to use them. The plus operator links words together, the tilde operator makes the search look for synonyms, the minus operator excludes words from the search.

By default, this configuration setting is enabled (set to “Yes”), and I would recommend you leave it as-is, to ensure your customers can use all means and tools at their disposal to search.


One of the most common things, when searching content on the web, is also the use of wildcards. And customers are used to it. Now, unlike the above setting, this one helps broaden the search.

This configuration setting controls the minimum length of the term allowed in a wildcard search, on the OSvC knowledge base and portal.

  • The minimum value is zero (0)
  • The maximum value is 100
  • The default value is three (3)

This means that, for example, if the configuration setting is set to three (3)…

  • a search for “Vic*” will be treated as a wildcard search
  • a search for “Vi*“will be discarded (customer will get “No results found“)
  • a search for “V*” will also be discarded

Of course the value to which you should set your own instance is dependant on your requirement and the size of your knowledge base. Large knowledge bases may require this configuration setting to be higher in order to avoid impact on search performance.



It’s official – Oracle TAP is gone!


There are a few posts in #DoctorCX about Oracle Service Cloud (OSvC) for mobile devices, the last one shared in Jan 2017. And lately there has been many people asking about it on the comment boxes. Mainly due to the fact that the Oracle Mobile Agent App (Oracle TAP) has suddenly disappeared from App Store and Google Play.

The truth is, as we suspected, it was discontinued. It is now official, and Oracle announced it, that from May 2017 release Oracle TAP is deprecated. However, Oracle will still leave it available for at least 2 years before the removal of the functionality.

The main reason Oracle is giving for the deprecation of Oracle TAP is that it “doesn’t meet customer needs due to the limited availability on iOS and the lack of extensibility and configurability“… and, in all honesty, I agree. Even though it was an easy way to provide mobile capability out-of-the-box.

The recommendation or suggestion for customers who are using it, or for those who are looking for a mobile interface, is to start using the Agent Browser UI (which will only really render well in tablets) or use the Mobile Accelerators to build their own mobile apps.

The Mobile Accelerator is based in the principle that the customer, or a specialist partner, would develop a mobile app using the Oracle Mobile Application Framework (MAF), which is a Java/HTML5-based framework, that allows developers to create apps for Apple iOS and Google Android devices from a single code base.

May 2017 release now available

The May 2017 release of Oracle Service Cloud (OSvC) is now generally available and, as always, brings some exciting new features and functionality that touch the Customer Portal (CP), the Browser UI (BUI), the Knowledge Base (KB), Oracle Policy Automation (OPA), and the underlying platform.

Community Home Page and Widgets

A “Home Page” is now available for the community, acting as the landing page and facilitating – through a series of new (and existing) widgets – an immediate overview. It also provides an easy navigation to the areas of the community that are most relevant to the customer, making things more user friendly and smooth. Some of the new widgets (listed below) are shown in the following screenshot.

  • Announcements
  • Forums List
  • User List (most comments)
  • User List (most questions)
  • Recently Active Users
  • Twitter

This new release also includes other new features on the discussion and account management pages, as well as allows community members to use Facebook profile picture as community avatar.


Customer Portal – CAPTCHA

The CAPTCHA widget was also enhanced in the May 2017 release of OSvC and is not in-line with the latest Google “reCAPTCHA” widget, which increases security and makes it easier for the customer – as the new reCAPTCHA allows users to attest they are humans with a single click, without having to solve a CAPTCHA.

Browser User Interface (BUI)

Following up on the development of agent-facing functionality into the BUI, on the May 2017 release Oracle Policy Automation (OPA) is fully integrated, allowing users to complete OPA interviews withing the BUI – as they would in the Dynamic Agent Desktop.

On top of that, the May 2017 release brings a significant number of enhancements to the BUI, when it comes to reports.

  • Report Inline Editing is now available – allowing users to update data directly in a report.
  • Cross Tabs reports are now supported – allowing users to group data by row and column output.
  • Additional export formats are now available
  • Dashboards can now be exported

Knowledge Base

The May 2017 release adds new capabilities to the Knowledge Base (KB) namely to the Knowledge Advanced, for either the Customer Portal and Agent Desktop.

One of the most interesting capabilities is the multi-language search, which will be particularly useful for those companies that support multiple countries, and have KB answers in various languages. Based on user preferences, this feature limits search results on the KB search report/window, to answers in the languages selected on the user profile.


Another very useful enhancement on the KB capabilities is the new API functionality to:

  • bulk import images – allowing the upload and deletion of images (used in KB content) in bulk, using the API as an alternative to the authoring tool.
  • mass update content with inline images
  • migrate documents from other environments or legacy knowledge bases

Another new capability on the Knowledge Advanced front is the ability to enable search by Product and Category in the customer portal. This will allow customers to browse KB content by product and category, improving usability and web self-service capability.


The May 2017 release also brings to Knowledge Advanced enhanced support for file types upload. Adding to the ability to upload images (jpeg, png, bmp, gif), Administrators can now configure and allow Knowledge Managers or Authors to upload further file types (PDF, DOC, XLS, PPT, TXT…).


Finally, in this new release, the Site Wide Link Checker (which was introduced in Nov 2015 release) is now able to check Knowledge Advanced answer links, allowing knowledge managers to easily identify broken links within KB content, and fix them.

Oracle_Service_Cloud_Knowledge_Advanced_Site Wide Link Checker

Oracle Service Cloud Platform

Some exciting news at the platform level. As advanced in the Las Vegas conference, Oracle is releasing the Enterprise Extension Manager which will basically be a release management tool, allowing the export and import of configuration changes and packages between environments and interfaces. This is an extremely useful and long-requested feature, by admins and developers, which is not yet complete and Oracle advises has “controlled availability in May 2017 release“.

The May 2017 release also brings enhancements on data management, including Cloud Auxiliary Storage Service. A scalable data storage that provides real-time read/write functionality for non-operational data.

Lastly, Managed Tables are improved in order to expose and allow access to additional OSvC through RightNow Object Query Language (ROQL). The following managed tables are now available for ROQL queries:

  • ChatQueue
  • Flow
  • FlowQuestion
  • IncidentQueue
  • Profile

If you want to know more about May 2017 release and access the release documentation, please visit the Customer Success Blog

What happens in Vegas, needs to be shared

Last week I was in Las Vegas, for the second year in a row, representing Capventis at the Modern Customer Experience conference organised by Oracle. Once more, it was great to have the opportunity to hear from, share with, and meet so many thought leaders, innovators and industry specialists. A fantastic event, really worth attending, with great key notes, sessions and hands-on workshops.

Oracle Service Cloud Focus

My focus was on the Modern Service Experience (MSE) track and Oracle Service Cloud (OSvC), starting very early in the morning of the first day, with a deep dive workshop “Supercharge your Agents – A Guide to Advanced Desktop Automation” where the Product Development team shared some tips and tricks around automating processes using workspace rules, JavaScript API, Agent Scripts and Desktop Workflows.

From that moment until the end of the conference it was 3 days with back-to-back meetings and sessions. The MSE agenda had plenty other great hands-on workshops, with beginner and advanced sessions around extensions and APIs, analytics or customer portal. The Oracle Product Management and Product Development teams shared, in several breakout sessions, not only insight but some great news re. the product strategic direction and roadmap. And roundtable discussions, as well as “fireside” chats, were also very popular and insightful.

Customer Success Stories

One of the highlights of this conference are the sessions where Oracle customers share their stories, and the ways they are using technology as an enabler, to innovate, become more efficient, and thus more successful. Two great examples were presented by Kohl’s and Toshiba Medical Systems (TMS). Both companies implemented OSvC, to transform a vision and desire to improve customer service and experience into reality.

Asked about the reasons to have chosen OSvC, Sebastiaan Dammann, Senior Business Consultant at TMS, said… “Cloud. Easier to collaborate across value chain, and increase CX (…) Completeness of vision. CX, Field Service, planning, back-office (…) Highly configurable and flexible solution. Support Vanilla approach”.

Oracle Service Cloud Roadmap

The most interesting news (at least for us OSvC advocates) always come from the roadmap sessions. And there were some great news shared by the Product Management team. As usual it was all subject to the Safe Harbour Statement, but here it is…

  • The Aug 2017 release will include significant changes to the Business Rules, with a new interface, and enhanced engine to support custom objects (meaning that you don’t need to write code to create automation in custom objects).
  • After the WeChat integration, available since Feb 2017 release, Oracle will publish the Facebook Messenger integration, in the Aug 2017 release (allowing customers to chat / text with agents via that Facebook facility/app).
  • Video chat will also be released in Aug 2017, even though it will only be available for companies in the USA (first agent-side video will be available with customer-side video being introduced at a later stage).
  • Oracle will release a release manager, with versioning capability. An absolute game-changer for administrators and developers, allowing to package configurations/customisations from one interface/instance to export/import into another interface/instance (avoiding the need to re-key or manually replicate configurations). The Aug 2017 release will include a limited number of components (e.g. workspaces, reports) and others will become available over the next few releases.
  • External data virtualisation is also something that Oracle is working on and preparing to make available in the next few releases. It will use Odata and Open API Initiative, enabling custom objects to have reference to external data, allowing the surfacing and/or virtualisation of external data within OSvC.

A big investment and development effort has been put into the Browser UI (BUI) and its Extensibility Framework, where Oracle is hoping to have the majority of agent-facing functionality (currently available in the Dynamic Agent Desktop – .NET console) by the end of 2017.

The BUI Extensibility Framework will enable automation, integration and extension of the BUI. And the next few releases will make available the following extensibility types…

  • Console – e.g. extension areas on Global or Sidebars (e.g. CTI media-bars); additional widgets on Status Bar; new items on Main Menu; modal and pop-up windows.
  • Workspace – e.g. buttons that trigger actions (e.g. set fields), rules or integrations; browser extensions to show other web-based applications.
  • Analytics – e.g. define virtual schemas and tables to display data from external systems, and allow read and write.

The add-in manager, as well as the add-ins area in the workspace designer, will have a specific section for BUI extensions and add-ins, alongside the one currently available for DAD add-ins.

If you are already excited about it, and feel like jumping straight onto it, know that the BUI Extensibility Framework requires knowledge on the below technologies, and that answer id 5169 is available on the community with documentation.

  • JavaScript
  • HTML
  • CSS
  • JSON

All Stars and Heros

But the icing on the cake, at this year’s conference, was the OSvC All Star and CX Hero status, areas and activities (see photo below)…

  • The Hero Hub booth, where we were able to hang-out with other OSvC heroes, join the Justice League of Customer Service, and have some fun.
  • The CX Hero Lounge, where we could meet fellow CX advocates, do some work during breaks, as well as relax and have a bite to eat.
  • The All Star Appreciation Event, where we got together with the OSvC crew, for some drinks, food and great conversations.

A big thank you to: Keith McFarlane, Stephen Fioretti, Shon Wedde, Jens Lundell, Jeff Wartgow, Vimal Chopra, Susie Boyer, Kent Swartz and Daniel Foppen.

And a very special mention and huge thank you to Erica Leep and Danette Beal for organising all of this, for being absolutely tireless, and for spoiling us with treats.


I’m already looking forward to next year’s conference!

Southwest Airline’s fame is well deserved


I was looking forward to our holiday in California, and to participate in the Modern Customer Experience conference, in Las Vegas. For all sorts of (obvious) reasons. One of them was that I booked two flights with Southwest Airlines (SFO > LAS, and LAS > LAX).

For those who don’t know Southwest Airlines is mentioned as an example, and a success, in several Customer Experience books. It is recognised to be the best airline in the world, when it comes to Customer Service, Experience and Loyalty.

The Airlines’s advocates love it so much that in 2001, after the terrorist attacks in the World Trade Centre, Southwest received thousands of letters from customers who wanted to make sure the company would stay in business. Many of those customers sent checks with the letters. Others returned traveller vouchers.

I had no doubt that the experience was going to be good, but I wanted to experience more. I wanted to experience Southwest in action when things go wrong. To prove that what I read in the books was true. But what if all went well with our flights and travels? Well, the truth is it didn’t really…

When trying to check-in to the SFO > LAS flight, via the mobile app, it said my reservation was cancelled. So I reached out to Southwest via Twitter, on our way to the airport. The response came back in 27 mins. And 5 mins later, after I provided my booking reference via DM, Jennifer had checked us in, even before we got to the airport.

One week later we got to the airport 4 hours before our 15:40 LAS > LAX flight, so I asked at the check-in desk how much would it cost to go in an earlier flight… “Your flight to LAX is delayed 20 mins so I will put you in the stand-by list for the 12:55 flight free of charge. If that one is full you will be also on the stand-by list for the 13:55 flight”. We were called to the 12:55 flight.

We were truly delighted with the customer service, and I decided to praise Southwest on Twitter, whilst I was at the gate. In a matter of minutes, Adam replied back, asked which was our flight, and gave us a treat (a code for free WiFi on the flight), even before take-off.


So… the stories are true, and Southwest’s fame is indeed deserved. As they seem to have a big focus on the customer, the experience they deliver, and the service they provide. And the good thing is that some times it doesn’t take much. Small and subtle things make the Customer Experience great. Some good examples below, related to our experience.

Southwest doesn’t try to make (what in CX terms we call) “bad profit“. Each passenger is allowed two pieces of checked luggage free of charge (up to 50 pounds), and a carry-on bag plus a personal item (e.g. backpack, purse). And, if for some reason (even when it is not their fault) there is a delay in a flight, they pro-actively put passengers in earlier flights (or in stand-by lists) free of charge.

Southwest operates as a whole when it comes to customer service. They decided to be there, immediately responsive, on the channel that is most convenient to the client, and they decided to trust the customer, removing all the policies and barriers, resolving issues within minutes, without hassling with too many questions. Moreover, they decided to empower their staff, letting them decide when and where to give goodwill and turn customers into advocates.