6 Must-Haves for Agent-Facing Knowledge Base

Every contact centre manager wants – in all honesty, desperately needs – to help agents deliver a much better customer experience. But unfortunately there hasn’t been much originality in the solutions and practices to try and gear them up.

Soft skills training and call scripting are usually chosen to try and make agents deliver a better service, but it hasn’t worked out well. Fresher and smarter approaches are needed to replace these traditional ways. Contact centre managers need to invest in agent-facing knowledge and contextual guidance. Technology is crucial to help enable this.

Most companies have CRM systems able to manage customers, incidents or interactions, but often miss a knowledge base or, even better, a CX platform that would allow the Customer and Case Management capability to be tightly joined up with the knowledge base.

I’ve seen contact centres use Dropbox to store troubleshooting guides, MS SharePoint to build wikis, Google Drive to hold how-to guides, and even gigantic MS Power Point documents with product FAQs and answers. Those tools can give the illusion of an internal and centralised knowledge base, but they are not even close to what needs to be deployed to actually give agents what they need.

A true agent-facing knowledge base needs to have certain capabilities that the aforementioned tools cannot deliver – because they were not actually developed to do so! And the end goal must be to increase agent productivity, and improve key performance metrics (such as FCRR or response time), leading to increase in key customer metrics (such as NPS and CSAT scores).

Here are 6 of the capabilities that a true agent-facing knowledge base must have:

  1. Content creation and authoring – to allow the person responsible for the content (e.g. knowledge rep or manager) to manage content. Create, update or retire. This will enable an easier, faster and controlled deployment of knowledge throughout the organisation.
  2. Categorisation and scoring – for content to be organised, structured, and linked to interaction drivers, as well as dynamically ranked by usefulness. This will enable presentation of the most relevant and effective content first, improving efficiency.
  3. Self-Learning – automatic linking between answers based on search and usage, as well as manual association (by the knowledge rep or manager) of sibling or related answers will help agents find the right answer quicker.
  4. Step-by-step guidance – embedded in knowledge base articles, step-by-step guides give agents the ability to easily and quickly reach the information they need by selecting responses from question branches in guides. Or even, for example, guide customers through a troubleshooting issue.
  5. Usage and management – reporting on the usage and usefulness of each article, as well as the gaps (e.g. keywords search without a match) will allow the knowledge rep or manager to keep a fresh, ever-green, and up-to-date knowledge base.
  6. Keyword, intent and category search – a keyword Google-type search (potentially enhanced by semantic search technology, linguistic dictionaries and advanced algorithms) will match searches to the most relevant content and deliver the right answers immediately.

Configuration Settings – Tips II

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.


This configuration setting will enable the links/URLs sent by customers to agents, during a chat interaction.

By default, and for security reasons, this configuration setting is set to “No”, meaning that links/URLs sent by customer would not be actionable and agents would not be able to just click and open a browser.


This configuration setting is related to the Incident Status, and sets the time an incident is on “Waiting” status until the agedatabase utility automatically closes it.

The minimum value is 6 (hours) and the default is 48 (hours). In case you would like to de-activate this you should set it to 0 (zero).


This configuration setting is directly linked to the one above (CI_HOURS), as it defines which days of the week are taking into account when CI_HOURS is calculating how long the incident was on “Waiting” status.

By default all days of the week are considered: Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday. And that is why you see the code “SuMTuWThFSa” in the setting.

If you leave the configuration setting blank, all days of the week will still be considered.


There are a few configuration settings (see list below) that control the access to various Oracle Service Cloud areas, based on domain names or IP addresses. When you set these configuration settings you are limiting access only to users or customer who are logging in from the defined domains or IP addresses.

The values you can put on the configuration setting are: domain names (e.g. *.oracle.com), IP Addresses (e.g., or IP Subnet Masks ( Since Aug 2014 release, these settings also support IPv6 addresses (e.g. FE80:0000:0000:0000:0202:B3FF:FE1E:8329)

  • SEC_VALID_ADMIN_HOSTS – access to Admin interface (Console)
  • SEC_VALID_CHAT_API_HOSTS – access to the Chat SOAP interface
  • SEC_VALID_ENDUSER_HOSTS – access to the end-user interface (Customer Portal)
  • SEC_VALID_INTEG_HOSTS – access to the integration interface

[Guest Post] Co-Browse & Reports

This is a guest post from Colin Campbell. My colleague at Capventis. A seasoned Oracle Service Cloud expert, with c. 10 years experience. To whom I thank for this post, as well as  for his invaluable expertise, which makes our implementation team even stronger.

I have to admit it, I love writing reports for service cloud, and whenever I have someone saying that they have an issue with a report the first thing I look at is the report definition.

This can be a bit confusing for some people but recently this immediately let me see that an out-of-the-box report (“Co-Browse Summary”) had a basic flaw.

Co-Browse 193 Report Definition.PNG

The first thing I noticed was the column definition for the Source:

if(cobrowse_sessions.tbl=1, msg_lookup(7475), msg_lookup(7494))

This gives a simple Binary result, if the co-browse session was initiated through a Phone Call or a Chat Session. You can see in the tables that the Interactions (what Incidents are called in this environment) is linked to the incident ID if the Co-browse session table = 1 (an Interaction).

This immediately made me think of the following situation, if a chat request comes in which includes a co-browse session, and then gets converted to an incident, it will have an incident ID, and as a result would be shown as a Phone Call rather than a Chat.

When I finally got round to running this report I saw exactly that. In the image below you can see Luis has had a phone call on the 18 Nov (row ID #9) and has an Incident Reference number next to it.

Co-Browse 193 Report Running.PNG

Opening the incident associated to this entry, you can see that the incident was actually originated from a Chat session (Channel = Chat).

Co-Browse phone call.PNG

So this could present an issue to the analysis of the data by whomever is using co-browse, as the out-of-the-box report is not showing the true channel of the incident and you could end up inflating the number of phone calls ending with a Co-Browsing session, which can then impact your resourcing and potentially having the wrong skilled staff waiting when it should be chat skilled staff. This increased wait will ultimately impact the Customer Experience.

It is not all doom and gloom as this is actually quite an easy fix for your reporting, ant you would just need to edit one table of the report.

Co-Browse Initial Modification Report Definition.PNG

The first change I have made is to the Source Column, rather than having the two message lookups I have edited the true condition to look at the incidents channel ID:

if(cobrowse_sessions.tbl=1, incidents.chan_id, msg_lookup(7494))

Using Luis’s incident above will mean that this co-browse session should now show it is a Chat session and not a phone call (notice again row ID #9).


You can see here that my assumption is correct but it has shown something else. There are now some sources which are a “No Value” (and one as an “Email”).

The “Email” source itself is easy to explain and although co-browse is intended to originate from only two channels Phone and Chat, there can be occasions where a customer will phone about an e-mail, social media post, letter, etc. that they initially contacted you through with the phone call resulting in a co-browse session.

The “No Value” on the other hand is not, this is where a co-browse session has been initiated but it has not been associated to an incident, although you need to have the incident or chat workspace open for co-browse if you don’t save it, there is nothing to record it against.

To report on this I would look at updating the definition once again to include an additional IF statement against the source column so it reads as…

if(cobrowse_sessions.tbl=1, if(incidents.chan_id IS NULL, ‘Unlogged Phone’, incidents.chan_id), msg_lookup(7494))

With this last edit you can now define all of the channels and friendly terms that you need to aid you in your reporting and analysis.

Co-Browse Final Modification Report Running.PNG

Using this report as a base you can also add either a Contact ID or Incident ID/Ref No. Filter and embed this as a report within a Contact or Incident Record showing the history of the Co-Browse sessions.

Forrester Wave: CRM Suites for Enterprise Organisations, Q4 2016

Following the Q4, 2016 Forrester Wave: CRM Suites for Midsize Organisations, Oracle is also leading the pack on the Forrester Wave: CRM Suites for Enterprise Organisations.


Forrester Wave: CRM Suites for Midsize Organizations, Q4 2016

Once more Forrester researched, analysed and scored the CRM suites in the market for midsize organisations. Using their 36-criteria assessment, Forrester identified the 11 most significant vendors.

Unsurprisingly Oracle, Salesforce and Microsoft lead the pack. With Oracle being the strongest in the market among the “Leaders”.


Nov 16 release now available

The Nov 16 release of Oracle Service Cloud is now available and it brings some exciting and unexpected new functionality.

Live Chat – Sneak Preview

This new release of OSvC introduces a very cool feature for the Live Chat. It is called Sneak Preview and will allow agents to see what a customer is typing before they actually submit it. This could enable agents to preempt, prepare and respond quicker to the customer.

This feature, despite being something that some users and Oracle clients have been asking for, could be controversial. Nonetheless, it is definitely something that many will want to use and welcome.

Important Note: Sneak Preview will only work in CP framework version 3.5 or later.

Analytics – Visualisation

Visualisation is trending. It helps users make sense and have a quicker understanding of their data, and allows them to make better and easier decisions. The new release of OSvC introduces more visualisations for reports – like modern LED, horizontal, and circular-gauges – as well as new rendering options that will allow better rendering of charts and new, more modern, layout themes.

Additionally there is a new dashboard concept, called Infolets, which are available out-of-the-box. Infolets have single metric charts with real-time KPIs (e.g. open incidents by severity, SLA, FCR, new incidents by channel). And similar to reports, Infolets can be schedule and sent by email to key stakeholders.

Browser UI

Despite the power of the Dynamic Agent Desktop, and all the advantages of using a thick client, it is becoming more and more important to allow users to access OSvC on a browser-based UI. Oracle is responding to that with further developments to the OSvC Browser UI.

Significant enhancements were made to the Browser UI architecture, to allow high interactivity and a broad range of analytics capabilities, which were not possible thus far – like rollup, slicing, calculations, sorting, hiding, etc.

The Browser UI is now also backward compatible – which will enable customers with OSvC versions from May 2015 to take advantage of the latest Browser UI capabilities without having to undergo an upgrade of their entire implementation.

The theme was also updated, in order to be consistent with all other Oracle applications in the CX suite. And Live Chat is now a fully supported channel, with contacts automatically being matched and the contact and chat workspaces integrated.

Additionally, and on the knowledge side, content authors and knowledge managers can now use the Browser UI to create and edit knowledge base answers with a new HTML editor with HTML5 support.


Also very important to take into account are the changes or enhancements to the platform. The Nov 16 release of OSvC adds support to the following browsers, Operating Systems and .NET versions:

  • End-User
    • Firefox v47 or greater
    • Chrome v51 or greater
    • Android v5.x through v6.x (Drop support for Android v4.x)
  • Browser UI
    • Firefox v47 or greater
    • Chrome v51 or greater
    • Edge in Win 10
    • Android 5.x through v6.x (tablets only)
  • Agent Desktop
    • Ensure compatibility with TLS 1.1 or TLS 1.2
    • i.e. must have .NET framework 4.5.2, 4.6, or 4.6.1


Following previous developments and integration efforts, Oracle has released another two accelerators to integrate OSvC with Oracle Marketing Cloud and IoT, using its Oracle Integration Cloud Service (ICS).

Oracle ICS has two new connectors to integrate OSvC and Oracle Marketing Cloud (Responsys and Eloqua). These integrations provide a two-way synchronisation between both databases and applications.

The biggest innovation in the Nov 16 release is the Internet of Things (IoT) Accelerator, which provides a two-way integration between OSvC and Oracle IoT Cloud Service. This integration also uses Oracle ICS. Watch this video to know more about it.