Reduce backlog and improve productivity with “Bump-Bump-Solve”

In a time where customer service and support teams are being flooded with queries and requests, it is important that technology helps not only improve productivity, but also the experience delivered.

Examples like the one below allow technology platforms like Zendesk to take care of repetitive tasks, automating where possible, and freeing up customer service for key customer interactions and conversations.

This demo and video was built and recorded by my colleague Matt Brown – Senior Consultant at Capventis, with 15 years experience in Support Management, and leading the Zendesk enablement and implementation for our customers.

Opportunity Management and Add-ins in OSvC BUI

It was great news when Oracle announced the launch of the Oracle Service Cloud (OSvC) Browser User Interface (BUI), which finally gave more flexibility to the users and allowed them to access the platform from any browser.

Unfortunately, for reasons that do not make too much sense to me, Oracle decided to leave certain functionalities out of the BUI (functionality available in the Dynamic Agent Desktop – the .NET console). Opportunity Management was one of them.

The Opportunity Management functionality allows the management of sales opportunities, and is used by several organisations and thousands of users, who have in OSvC a full-blown customer relationship and engagement management platform.

That is the case in the company I work for, Capventis. We obviously wanted to adopt the BUI, but needed to have complete functionality. We decided to roll out to the service and support teams – as Customer and Incident Management is standard and available.

But then needed to roll out to the sales team, and therefore decided to create the Opportunity Management functionality (for the BUI) ourselves. In that process, we also decided to streamline the process of adding line items to Opportunities.

The truth is the standard Quote functionality never worked for us, and all we wanted was a simple way to add line items to an opportunity. We decided then to create what we called the Breakdown entity (with a Many-to-1 relationship with Opportunity).

This entity allows us to simply select the Type and Sub-Type of product or service to sell, add a Quantity and a Unit price to it. Then a BUI add-in automatically calculates the Total Amount for the line item.

The Opportunity entity is the same that we had (using the standard functionality), but another BUI add-in calculates the total amount of all line items (in the Breakdown entity) and automatically sets the opportunity Forecast Revenue.

Both BUI add-ins were put in place leveraging the BUI Extensibility Framework API which allowed us to develop the necessary JavaScript add-in and code to read and write data from and to the database.

The video shows the fantastic work of our team (in particular Harriet, Gary and Mark) who made it possible for everyone in the company to use the OSvC BUI, whilst making the Opportunity Management functionality even slicker and simpler.

How to catch foreign SPAM

Recently a client was being flooded by incidents that looked like coming from a Chinese account, which was impacting the performance of their contact centre. They asked how could Oracle Service Cloud (OSvC) help them deal with this situation.

The resolution for something like this cannot be easier. You can create an incident business rule that looks into the email header, assesses the character set, and either prevents incident creation, or routes incidents created to a specific queue.

If “Incident.Email Header” matches regular expression “character set name”
Then “Do Not Create Incident” or “assign incident to specific queue”

The “Email Header” field contains a lot of information, including the character set of the email charset=[character set name]. A list of all character sets can be found in the web (for example, here).

It is important to note that for the “Email Header” option to display on the business rule field drop-down, configuration setting EGW_SAVE_EMAIL_HEADERS (found in folder RightNow Common > Service Modules > RightNow Email) must be enabled.

 

Setting max Live Chat sessions

In the blog post Words that characterise Live Chat, for Consumers and Companies I talk about why Live Chat is so important these days. It is definitely becoming the favourite channel for customers who want to engage with a brand or organisation.

Live Chat is also proving to be one of the preferred channels for those brands and organisations, as it not only seems to increase customer satisfaction, but is also of a much lower cost than any other assisted channel (e.g. phone, email).

One of the main reasons for that is because agents can handle more than one Live Chat session at a time. Best practice says 3 is the ideal maximum number of Live Chat sessions an agent should handle at anyone time, but the truth is it varies.

Senior agents can certainly handle more Live Chat sessions at a time than Junior agents. But Senior agents dealing with complex cases might need to handle less Live Chat session than other agents responding to simple enquiries.

Oracle Service Cloud allows you to set the maximum number of Live Chat sessions on a profile-by-profile basis. But it also allows you to let agents, in the same profile, to change the maximum number of Live Chat sessions for themselves.

Most of you would have noticed the “Max Sessions” attribute in the “Chat Agent Permissionsarea of the Profile, which sets the maximum number of Live Chat sessions that an agent can be engaged in.

OSvC_SetMaxSessions

But it is also important to understand what is the utility of another attribute: the “Set Max Sessions”. This attribute is what will allow agents to change the maximum number of Live Chat sessions for themselves – within the boundaries of “Max Sessions”.

With the “Set Max Sessions” attribute enabled, agents will be able to navigate to their “Communication Center” options (application button in the upper-left corner) and change the “Maximum Chat Sessions” – but not go over what is set in “Max Sessions”.

OSvC_MaxChatSessions1

If the “Set Max Sessions” attribute is disabled, then the “Maximum Chat Sessions” in the “Communication Center” options will be greyed out, and agents would have to stick to the maximum number of Live Chat sessions set by the administrator.

OSvC_MaxChatSessions2

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.

Legacy OSvC console end-of-life

Some of you might already know, but most people are not aware that the legacy Oracle Service Cloud (OSvC) console is reaching its end-of-life.

From Feb 2017 the only console available in OSvC will be the enhanced console, which was introduced in the May 2014 release, but not adopted by all users.

Therefore all organisations using OSvC that are still using the legacy console are advised to migrate to the enhanced console as soon as possible.

That might be as easy as enabling the enhanced console (see how to Enable the Enhanced Service Console) but it could also require significant effort.

The reason why some didn’t adopt the enhanced console was because customisations (add-ins, integrations…) would stop working, and that would force re-developments.

With the deprecation of the legacy console, there is no alternative and you will have to re-view – and potentially re-develop – configuration and customisations.

maps1
Legacy console (left) vs Enhanced Console (right)

Our specialist team, at Capventis, can not only help with a smooth migration/transition to the new console, but also do a health-check and review/amend configurations and customisations.

P.S. – For more information see the official announcement from Oracle in answer id 4814

File Attachments – Open vs Download

As you know Oracle Service Cloud has a capability that allows users to attach files to any object, standard (e.g. contact, incidents) or custom object.

This causes some security concerns as hackers can attempt to send files with attacks. And despite all attachments are scanned for malware, some hackers could be able to evade detection.

That is why there is a configuration setting that prevents users of Oracle Service Cloud from opening files, and forces them to download the file if they want to open it.

This configuration setting is set to “No” by default in order to protect not only Oracle Service Cloud but also its data.

FATTACH_OPEN_ENABLED is the key/name of the configuration setting, with the following description: “Enables the option to open file attachments in the Oracle Service Cloud Console. If disabled, file attachments can only be downloaded“.

OSvC_FATTACH_CONFIG_SETTING

As it says on the description, if this configuration setting is set to “Yes” users will be allowed to open the file directly from the console (having the “Open” link active on the attachments report/control.

OSvC_FATTACH_CONFIG_SETTING_Open.png

But if the configuration setting is set to “No” the “Open” link in the the attachments report/control will be disabled (greyed out) and users will only have the option to download by clicking the “Download” link.

OSvC_FATTACH_CONFIG_SETTING_Download

Oracle Service Cloud with LinguistNow in PhotoBox

It was almost three years ago when I first came across a brilliant add-on to Oracle Service Cloud, developed by Language I/O. At the time I wrote a post about it, describing  how it would work for Incident and Answer translation.

A number of months later I posted about the success story of the Answer translation (LinguistHelp) in iRobot.

This time the post is about another success story, but related to the Incident translation (LinguistNow) in PhotoBox.

I would like to outline the words of Chris Gallimore, Customer Support Operations Manager at PhotoBox, who I had the pleasure to meet not long ago: “When LinguistNow came up as an option and was explored, it seemed to tick off a couple of boxes straight away in that it supported all of the languages that we support and had a solution that tied into Oracle Service Cloud”.

Also worth to emphasise… “LinguistNow Response easily fits into Oracle Service Cloud, combining both machine and rapid human translation to allow support agents of any language to respond to customer emails quickly and in their preferred language. Together, PhotoBox and Language I/O are able to successfully support customers in eleven languages. When a support agent responsible for one specific language is unavailable, another agent is able to easily service his or her customers in their language, in just a few clicks, via the LinguistNow tool”.

Enable the Enhanced Service Console

The May 2014 release of Oracle Service Cloud introduced the Enhanced Service Console (an enhanced UI for the Dynamic Agent Desktop). This enhanced console is faster and more user-friendly, allowing users to undock tabs and move tools windows. It also introduced a new navigation pane on the right-hand side of the content pane, as well as a new concept of sub-tabs.

Despite it has been around for almost 12 months, the Enhanced Service Console has not been adopted by many companies/users yet. I don’t think this is because it is not that good, because it actually is. My guess is that this is due to: a) many companies haven’t upgraded their Oracle Service Cloud platforms to the latest releases; b) those who did, are afraid of the change and customer adoption.

I was also sceptical when it came into play. But now I’m fully convinced of its advantages and benefits. Mainly the undock and sub-tab features. Truth is the new Enhanced Service Console is much more flexible and easy-to-use. And I recommend all admins to try, and roll it out to their users.

If you have a release of Oracle Service Cloud that is previous to Nov 2014 – when the Enhanced Service Console started being provisioned by default – I’m sure some of you will have the same difficulty I had, when trying to enable it. Therefore I will leave you the hint.

The setting to enable the Enhanced Service Console is in the Profile, and needs to be set for all profiles that will use the new console.

Oracle_Service_Cloud_enhanced_console_setting

1. Go to Configurations > Staff Management > Profiles

2. Select and open the Profile

3. Make sure you are in the “Interfaces” area

4. Click the “Other” tab

5. Set the “Enhanced Console” check box

6. Click “Save and Close”, in the ribbon

7. Logout and log back in again to see the new UI

Browser UI in the Nov 2014 release

browserui

It’s been a long time since a part of the Oracle ecosystem (customers, partners, employees, advisers) started being vocal about a browser based user interface (UI) for the Oracle Service Cloud Agent Desktop.

There were many reasons for this. Among those were…

  • The Agent Desktop thick client had to be installed in every machine
  • The Agent Desktop was based on Microsoft .NET technology
  • The Agent Desktop look & feel was very similar to Microsoft Outlook
  • The stronger competitors all have browser based user interfaces

In my opinion some are pertinent, others not so much. The click-once deployment makes it easy to install the Agent Desktop. The .NET client is much faster, efficient and flexible than a browser based UI – how do you access Facebook, Gmail or online banking in your smartphone or tablet? via the browser or via an app? App… obviously! Get it?.

Also, what the competition does (even if all of them do) is not necessarily the right or best thing. Did the most successful companies and man follow others or believed in their own idea? And if the technology and framework is good (.NET) why change it? – ok, I accept if the reason is standardisation. On top of that, if the look & feel is familiar, the adoption rate is naturally high.

Anyways, the browser based UI for the Oracle Service Cloud Agent Desktop has been on the roadmap for a while, and it is going to become available in the Nov 2014 release, despite it is on its first steps.

The browser UI will come with some basic but important functionality. This first iteration will bring some Service functionality for Customer Service staff, giving them the ability to view, manage and fill their inbox. Users can work on incidents as well as create, read, update Contacts, etc.

Custom Fields can be displayed in the workspaces but workspace rules or workflows will not be supported for the time being. Add-ins like CTI or Chat media bars, or Sales and Marketing functionality are also not supported, but are obviously on the browser UI roadmap.

The browser UI is not intended to replace the Dynamic Agent Desktop console. At least not for the time being or the coming releases. In my point of view, it will only serve to address those mobility and accessibility challenges for a few customers and customer service staff.