8 attributes of customer-adaptive enterprise

Ovum, the London-based independent analyst and consultancy firm, which specialises in global IT and telecomms, recently published a study on D+M Group.

On that study Ovum tags D+M as a “customer-adaptive enterprise“, identifies and examines the 8 attributes that “create the right conditions for rapid adaptation to ensure persistent customer relevance“.

I recommend you to read the study, which you can find here (PDF), and to open your appetite I share below some of the more interesting statements, as well as the info-graphic with the 8 attributes.

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“New CEO and turnaround specialist, Jim Caudill, who had been instrumental at Black & Decker (…) hired a team of largely former B&D executives to get the much-needed transformation under way with the aim to grow the company profitably“.

Ovum argues that to thrive in an age of rapid and accelerating change and in a global economic environment where growth is hard to come by, firms must develop the ability to sense, respond to, and adapt to change, particularly that which impacts customers and their buying behaviours, expectations, wants, and needs. As cycle times for adaptation continue to shorten, it puts enormous stress on enterprises often held back by legacy systems, processes, and departmental silos. These companies will fail to adapt at the right speed“.

The core question behind Ovum’s customer-adaptive enterprise research over the last four years has been to determine what it takes for any enterprise to remain persistently relevant to its customers. The term customer relevance was barely mentioned four years ago, but the message that customer relevance must be at the heart of any growth strategy is finally beginning to cut through management thinking“.

“Our research has shown that flying a business on one engine can be fatal. What happened to Nokia and BlackBerry when Apple entered and dramatically changed the smartphone industry, followed rapidly by Samsung, should provide a salutary lesson“.

Other business leaders have focused attention on shareholder value, but to paraphrase Jack Welch, former CEO of GE, that is one of the dumbest ideas, as shareholder value is an effect, not a cause, of growth”.

“To thrive and maintain customer relevance, any firm must not only deliver a positive customer experience at every opportunity but also create, deliver, and refresh value as perceived by customers on a continuous basis. This demands the ability to understand customers deeply and innovate on a continuous basis“.

“The twin engines of growth – customer experience and continuous innovation – are not departmental challenges, as they have implications for the entire enterprise, its ecosystem of partners, suppliers, and most of all its customers. It’s the CEO’s job to create the conditions where both engines are firing on all cylinders, something that Caudill, aided by his leadership team, has managed to do“.

Good to notice that D+M chose Oracle CX Cloud Suite as their foundation customer engagement platform – including Oracle Customer Data Management (CDM), Oracle Sales Cloud, Oracle Social Cloud, Oracle Marketing Cloud, and of course Oracle Service Cloud “to provide an integrated environment to support teamwork across each functional area and meet all the criteria necessary to create a unified foundation for a more modern and customer-oriented cross-channel engagement capability“.

You can also watch D+M CIO, Scott Strickland, sharing how the company leveraged Oracle CX Cloud products globally to transform the customer experience.

Let’s meet up in Las Vegas again!

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Only 4 weeks to go for Oracle’s Modern Customer Experience conference. For the third year in a row, this fantastic event – where 3,000 attendees network, learn and share experiences – is going to happen in Las Vegas.

The conference has 4 main tracks: Commerce, Marketing, Sales, and Service. The latter is all focused around Oracle Service Cloud and what the platform can do to enable business transformation and deliver better customer experience.

As always, there will be different events to attend and things to do:

  • Sessions where Oracle’s customers share success stories. How they implemented and use Oracle Service Cloud. What they did to differentiate themselves and innovate. And what business results they achieved.
  • Sessions where special guests share thought leadership. Business leaders, research analysis, subject matter experts and Oracle Product Managers will share forward-thinking ideas, trends, drivers and a vision for the future.
  • 1-to-1 “Ask the Expert” sessions. A great opportunity to discuss with Oracle experts, and get the answer to particular questions or guidance to resolve any challenges that might be specific to your business.
  • Demos in the show room. Oracle and some partners will be showing Oracle Service Cloud and it’s new and more relevant features. As well as showcase scenarios where Oracle Service Cloud was or is being used to improve business performance.

I will be in Las Vegas, and look forward to meet all the specialists, experts, advocates and enthusiasts of Oracle Service Cloud.

I will also be available to meet anyone that would like to share an experience or ask any question. So if you would like to meet up, please request a meeting here, and I will be more than happy to arrange a face-to-face, where we can chat over a break, a coffee or drink.

The Justice League of Customer Service

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Most of us, in particular those that have been implementing these type of applications in the last decade or two, know that the Oracle Service Cloud community is one of the best communities of its kind.

It is easy to use, full of useful content, and supported by a fantastic team that has a massive focus on those who seek help and/or provide insight, on the Oracle Service Cloud platform (spanning through RightNow, OPA, Field Service or Knowledge Advanced).

But usually we go to the community when we bump into a challenge or a problem. The community is a safe harbour for us to ask for guidance, support or help to resolve our issues.

The truth is that currently, more than be reactive and sort out issues that come up, we need to be pro-active and also find ways to innovate, in order to “fix” things before they even happen, to ultimately provide a better experience to our customers and staff.

That was one of the reasons why the Oracle Service Cloud team created the Oracle Service Cloud Hero Hub, where we can not only learn more about Oracle Service Cloud, but also have fun doing it.

I would strongly recommend that those of you who are working with Oracle Service Cloud, join the Hero Hub, and take part of this “Justice League of Customer Service“. To know more about the Hero Hub, and to learn how to join, check out Erica Leep’s post: Calling Customer Service Heroes to the Oracle Service Cloud.

Configuration Settings – Tips III

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.

As most of you may already know, the access to functionality delivered via the OSvC Customer Portal web pages (e.g. self-service, chat, surveys) is charged per session. And a “session” is defined as a single 15 minutes time period of web visit activity.

A “web visit” is a series of customer interactions with the OSvC Customer Portal that can span one or more sessions. And the length of a web visit is configurable and allows you to track and report on activities by a single user for up to 12 hours.

A visit will be considered new in one of the following cases:

  • The customer is inactive for longer than time defined in VISIT_INACTIVITY_TIMEOUT;
  • The limit time defined in VISIT_MAX_TIME is hit;
  • The browser is closed;
  • The customer navigates way from the OSvC Customer Portal pages and the browser doesn’t support cookies.

Therefore it is important to understand what the above two configuration settings are.

VISIT_INACTIVITY_TIMEOUT

This configuration setting defines the period of time after which a web visit is considered to be expired due to inactivity. The default value is 30 minutes, the minimum value is 15 minutes, and the maximum value is 2147483647.

VISIT_MAX_TIME

This configuration setting defines a hard limit after which any web visit will expire. If a web visit is longer than VISIT_MAX_TIME, then a new web visit and session ID are generated. The default value is 240 minutes, the minimum value is 15 minutes, and the maximum value is 720 minutes (12 hours).


Apart from the two configuration settings above, it is also important to be aware of another two configuration settings, which apply to cases where the customer is logged in.

CP_LOGIN_MAX_TIME

This configuration setting defines a the maximum amount of time for the length of the customer login cookie. If a visit is longer than CP_LOGIN_MAX_TIME, then the customer will be required to login again. The default value is 0 (zero), which means that the login cookie will expire based on user inactivity specified by the CP_LOGIN_COOKIE_EXP configuration setting. The minimum value is 0 and the maximum value is 2147483647.

CP_LOGIN_COOKIE_EXP

This configuration setting defines the period of inactivity after which the login cookie will expire. The default value is 60 minutes. Value -1 means the cookie will expire when the browser is closed. And 0 (zero) means the cookie will never expire.

 

Feb 17 release now available

The February 2017 Release of Oracle Service Cloud (OSvC) is now available to the public and brings some cool new features and functionality that touch the Customer Portal (CP), the Contact Centre experience, the Knowledge Base (KB) and Oracle Policy Automation (OPA).

Experience/Skills-based routing for all channels

This is one of the features that many OSvC users have been waiting for. The Feb 17 release now supports Experience/Skills-based Routing not only for Chat (introduced on the May 14 release) but for all channels – email, social, web.

This means that the assignment of all incidents, based on agent’s skills will be possible, and allow you to optimise the routing of incidents – assigning it not only to the right team, but to the best person, increasing the likelihood of a positive outcome and first contact resolution.

To have this, make sure you ask Oracle to enable the “Smart Interaction Hub”.

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Widget Inspector

The widget inspector aims to make life easier for developers and CP administrators. It helps you identify widgets and inspect its attributes and settings. This new feature allows you to access CP admin pages, inspect widgets and change them without having to touch any code.

You can highlight and inspect widgets on a CP page, while in development mode. When you select a widget (or more than one) the page shows the widget being highlighted with the widget name superimposed over the top of the widget. Then, by selecting the widget name you can see the attributes of that widget.

Knowledge Advanced

The new features in Knowledge Advance bring additional reports that will help you look into agent knowledge usage, allowing knowledge managers to differentiate usage of knowledge articles by customers on the Customer Portal, and by agents on the Agent Desktop.

These new reports provide knowledge manages additional insight and key metrics on agent behaviour and engagement, helping them improve the effectiveness of knowledge based articles.

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Another new feature is related to Travel Ontology (industry dictionary). Oracle added the latest terms and abbreviations for the travel industry, including IATA airport codes to the dictionary, in 22 languages. This will improve search results via contextual recognition of IATA airport codes.

The Recently Viewed Answers widget has now also been extended to the Advanced Knowledge (it was already available for Knowledge Foundation), and will help improve navigation, UX and ultimately CX.

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Lastly for Knowledge Advance, a new feature that will allow the automatic notification of knowledge managers and authors on changes or updates needed on answers assigned to them. The Author Task Notifications is now available to be configured and will make things much more pro-active and efficient.

Oracle Policy Automation

In Feb 17 release, Oracle introduced some Connection Enhancements which will allow various users to use one OPA interview, including anonymous users, logged-in customers, and staff/agents.

Another new feature coming to OPA is the ability to synchronise OPA HUB users with other systems, enabling automatic creation of user accounts using the OPA HUB REST API.

The OPA HUB REST API for deployments will also help to automate policy life-cycle tasks, like the promotion from Test to Production environments, and the ability to deploy, explore, activate, and retrieve policy models on an OPA hub.

Also, the new export project data model feature allows you to export the attributes that define an OPA project’s data model. The new capability enables you to review and analyse attribute metadata and detailed entity and relationship information.

REST API Enhancements

The Feb 17 release bring enhancements to the REST API allowing you to download multiple file attachments as a single compressed file. Additionally, the Campaign (Outreach) object is now available in CCOM to retrieve information on email outreach campaigns via Connect API.

High Volume Bulk Delete API

Another of the features many of us will be happy to hear about is the High Volume Bulk Delete API, which allows you to delete large volumes of incidents in a single API for incident archiving or purge.

Oracle Social Cloud Accelerator

Adding to the list of current “accelerators”, Oracle is releasing the new Social Relationship Management (SRM) accelerator. Allowing you to respond to SRM posts from Oracle Service Cloud, configure private and public channels (Facebook, Twitter, etc.), prevent duplicates with interactive contact matching and view full conversations in Oracle Service Cloud.

Note: One of the novelties Oracle Product Management Team introduced in the last few releases was a video where one of the guys presents and talks us through the new features. You can see it here. This time is Jeff Wartgow, Director of Product Management, who presents.

3 Options To Set Up Service Mailbox

As you know, one of the key strengths of Oracle Service Cloud (OSvC) is its email management capability, which handles email communication between customers and staff members. OSvC receives incoming email and manages all back-and-forth email replies between staff and customer until the incident is resolved.

For that you need to set up Mailboxes in OSvC, which are used to define the email accounts that OSvC should pull incoming email messages from, as well as outgoing email settings. There are two types of Mailboxes:

  • Oracle Managed Service Mailbox: Created, managed and monitored by Oracle.
  • General Service Mailbox: Created, managed and monitored by (your) Email Provider.

Even though this is a standard function of OSvC there is still a few questions and clarifications asked when it comes to the implementation. This post aims to expose options to set up, and hopefully answer a few questions.

Option 1 – General Service Mailbox (Intermediate)

With this setup, the flow would be:

  1. Customer sends email message to email@company.com
  2. Email message is received by the mailbox in the email provider servers
  3. Email message is redirected to an intermediate mailbox in email provider servers
  4. OSvC collects and deletes email message from intermediate mailbox
  5. OSvC creates Incident, and assigns to queue/agent
  6. Agent responds to customer’s email message
  7. OSvC sends response impersonating email@company.com

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Option 2 – General Service Mailbox (Direct)

With this setup, the flow would be:

  1. Customer sends email message to email@company.com
  2. Email message is received by the mailbox in email provider servers
  3. OSvC collects and deletes email message from email@company.com mailbox
  4. OSvC creates incident, and assigns to queue/agent
  5. Agent responds to customer’s email message
  6. OSvC sends response impersonating email@company.com

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Option 3 – Oracle Managed Service Mailbox

With this setup, the flow would be:

  1. Customer sends email message to email@company.com
  2. Email message is received by email provider servers
  3. And gets redirected to an Oracle-Managed Mailbox e.g. company@custhelp.com
  4. OSvC creates incident, and assigns to queue/agent
  5. Agent responds to customer’s email message
  6. OSvC sends response impersonating email@company.com

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Oracle Tap – Service Cloud on Mobile

Mobility is key in today’s digital world, where information travels “at the speed of light” and businesses need to be always aware, and have real-time data feeds.

The Oracle Service Cloud Mobile Agent App – named Oracle TAP – was introduced back in 2013. Since then Oracle has enhanced its capability significantly.

Its aim is to allow Customer Service directors, managers and team leaders to be on top of things, and be able to see what is happening, remotely, from a mobile device.

It is important also to say that the Oracle Service Cloud Mobile Agent App is not a full-blown Agent Desktop, where users can see everything and anything.

The data available in the Mobile Agent App is only that related to the open Incidents. Meaning that you will only be able to see Organisations, Contacts, Tasks, etc. related to open Incidents (i.e. not “Solved”).

That said, the capability is actually outstanding. First, it is very easy to set up, as you just need to add the Server URL (https://YourSiteURL/cgi-bin/InterfaceName.cfg/php/tap/v1), and it is possible to have multiple sites set up.

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The user can create his/her own home page with Charts, and other useful elements that can give an immediate overview of the customer service operation.

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The main menu allows the user to access the list of staff (and drill down into the Incidents assigned to each of the staff members), Incidents, Contact, Organisation, Tasks, and even Answers in the knowledge base. The Incidents area, for example, shows “My Inbox”, but also the list of all open Incidents.

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Tapping on one of the records (e.g. an Incident) allows the user to see the key details (e.g. Subject, Status, Queue, etc.) as well as the detail associated to it (e.g. Message Thread, Tasks, etc.).

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