Oracle Service Cloud Announces New Releases

Oracle Service Cloud announces new releases for enhanced functionality in Web Customer Service, Contact Center including the Agent Browser User Interface, Knowledge Advanced, Policy Automation, and the Oracle Service Cloud Platform. Included in he release is a new Internet of Things (IoT) Accelerator, which provides a bi-directional integration with Oracle IoT Cloud.

The integration helps customers seamlessly interface with IoT technology so that service events and alerts received from smart devices can be consumed, as well as appropriate action taken by agents, within the Oracle Service Cloud desktop. Field Service seems to be an area where IoT can easily provide true use cases that can quickly garner ROI. It will be interesting to see how vendors incorporate IoT in the customer experience. The Internet of Things (IoT) accelerator will allow internet enabled devices connectivity to Oracle Service Cloud. Accelerators are a collection of sample code, sample workflows, and best practices, documentation, and design guidance to assist customers with seamless updates or integrations with Oracle Service Cloud.Oracle Service Cloud Releases

Oracle Service Cloud also provided a sneak preview of Live Chat. What is the capability really about? Sneak preview allows chat agents to see what a customer is typing before they hit submit. Sneak Preview is designed to enhance agent productivity and bring value to the contact center by decreasing handle times. By allowing the agent to see what the customer is typing ahead of time they can begin to formulate an answer faster, which results in faster responses, and faster conversations. And Live Chat is now a fully supported channel; contacts are automatically matched and the contact and chat workspaces are integrated.

In addition, the release includes analytics performance enhancements with caching for frequent reporting and better notifications for report authors. Modern gauges are added to create much more intuitive and modern reports, allowing users to interpret data quicker, as well as new rendering options, to remove unnecessary components in reports, crisper rendering of charts, and a new modern layout theme. In addition, there is a new dashboard concept—specifically designed for that 5-second-glance overview for busy customer service leaders.

These at-a-glance infolets are available out-of-the-box and contain a number of single metric charts with real-time key performance indicators like open incidents by severity, SLA, First Contact Resolution, new incidents by channel, and so forth. Contact Center Directors can also schedule and send the infolet dashboard by email to key stakeholders at regular intervals. This is key as the more senior stakeholders are more involved, the more they begin to realize the importance of customer experience and customer service to the overall health, stability and revenue generation capabilities of their company.

In addition, the the agent browser UI has gone through a significant performance enhancement to support high interactivity and now supports a much broader range of analytics capabilities. The agent browser user interface is now a single version, meaning it is compatible with versions of Oracle Service Cloud all the way back to May 2015 and upgrades will now happen with zero downtime.  The UI theme has been updated for consistency across all Oracle Cloud portfolio applications. Knowledge authors can now use the Agent Browser User Interface to author and edit knowledge articles with a new HTML editor with HTML5 support.

As the race to provide the best customer experience continues, brands must choose between more single point solutions vs large system platforms. It will be interesting to see the choices of brands and how the customer experience evolves to meet the brand promise.

@DrNatalie Petouhoff, VP and Principal Analyst, Covering Customer-Facing Applications that Drive Awesome Customer Experiences


Customer Self-Service Doesn’t Matter! That’s a False Paradigm!!!

It’s just not true. Customer self-service is one of the key capabilities of any company that actually cares about their customers. Companies contemplating a self-service customer care solution to support digital customer experiences should consider the following five steps:

1. Anticipate Requirements for a Digital Business Model. As organizations make
the shift to a post-sale, on-demand, attention economy, organizations must start supporting self-service for post-sale scenarios. Brands and organizations should plan to support customers frequently during and after the sale and direct them to the next self-service experiences whether they be answers, community, video, product, new offer or feedback.

2. Determine Your Company’s Willingness to Change. Suggestions for improving self-service cannot be realized unless the organization, from top to bottom, is ready for transformational change and has the structure and the budget to make and support change. Align incentives to support self-service and digital customer experience initiatives by the customer’s journey. Customer experience should not be governed by a department or fiefdom business model. It must be driven by being customer-focused regardless of which department “owns” the channel.

3. Determine Metrics for Reducing the Cost to Serve Customers, While Enhancing Revenue from Top-Notch Customer Experiences. Look at critical metrics like First Contact Resolution (FCR), Average Handle Time (AHT), reduction in call volume, increases in the opportunity to generate revenue, improved marketing, greater self- service employee engagement, increased digital customer engagement on any device, anywhere, anytime. Use the customer journey as the guide for overall success metrics.

4. Create and Use the Customer Journey Map to Maximize the Customer Experience. Evaluate your current customer journey from the customer’s point of view. How customer-focused are the ways in which customers can interact and engage with your company? Remember, customers don’t think about which department they are interfacing with. They just want you to give them what they need, regardless of channel or device. They expect you to understand their context when they seek you out and expect that your responses are relevant, transparent and authentic. Once you have created a set of current customer journey maps, ask customers how they could be even more customer-focused. Use that feedback to transform your customer journeys.

5. Deploy a Solution to Create Integrated, Personalized, Seamless Customer Experiences that Generate Customer Loyalty. When you serve the customer, you serve the business. As you interview vendors, make sure they answer all your questions and you understand how the software will solve your business issues. When you find a solution that can provide the answers to your business issues, you will be able to reduce operational and managerial costs as well as increase revenue through the excellent customer experiences your brand creates.

For more information about this paper, you can find it here.

@Drnatalie Petouhoff

VP and Principal Analyst, Constellation Research

Covering Customer Service, Self-Service and Customer Experience


Microsoft #Env16: Dartmouth Hitchcock-Using Technology to Help People Stay Healthier

Despite spending nearly one-fifth of GDP on healthcare, the U.S. struggles to meet its goal of creating high-quality care for all. With financial pressures on care providers increasing, the current system is simply not sustainable. Imagine Care, a cloud-based solution built on Cortana analytics and Microsoft Dynamics, is helping healthcare providers ensure patients get better care. The aim is to provide a healthcare plan that’s unique to each patient. Imagine Care can monitor people from their homes, where data is collected and sent to the cloud and a 24/7 contact center where registered nurses can monitor status and spot potentially dangerous trends. The aspiration? Improve health and help avoid unnecessary trips to the emergency room while providing personalized care, and ultimately, reducing costs.

Dartmouth Hitchcock - 123MB - MP4_Jan 11, 2016, 6.01.49 PM.png

DHMC-Image-3.png (Moderate)

Source: Microsoft
@Drnatalie Petouhoff, Covering Customer Experience, IOT and Digital Transformation

Innovations in Performance Management: Verint’s Workforce Optimization

Why is this announcement so important? Verint® Systems Inc.  announced substantial enhancements to its Verint Workforce Optimization software designed to help contact center, back-office and branch operations better manage the performance of employees and operations.Armed with a brand new user experience and analytics, this latest release includes innovations in performance management to help organizations gain even greater insight into how employees are performing, how well goals are being met and how to better engage and take action on these insights.

This technology release comes at a time when market adoption for performance management software is projected to rise, according to research conducted by Saddletree Research. In a recent survey 22 percent of respondents identified performance management as the “most likely” solutions to be replaced in 2016.  

Why Is It Important to Balance Cost, Quality and Customer Service? Managing performance and productivity in a typical enterprise is no easy task, given disparate systems, complex processes and the differences in performance metrics between roles and functions. Performance management is a practice and culture that applies to individuals, teams and departments. It requires organizational buy-in, transparency, regular measurement and a focus on business-oriented goals. To help companies master these dynamics, Verint Performance Management features a unified set of dashboards, scorecards, coaching, e-learning and gamification capabilities that enable a closed-loop cycle and advanced approach to performance management.

What Does This Latest Release Feature? This latest release features a new state-of-the-art user interface that supports advanced visualization, data exploration, and analysis of employee and company-wide performance, providing critical executive insights that support time-sensitive decision making and actions. The enhancements also enable managers to work more effectively with the addition of new flexible scorecard widgets and dashboards. Likewise, employees benefit from a more intuitive performance scorecard and greater visibility into their individual metrics and achievement of goals. 

What Does the Scorecard Include? The solution also features scorecard workspaces that offer performance summaries and overviews, heat mapping, performance comparisons and multiple views of key performance indicators (KPIs). Using these scorecard workspaces, users can visually and automatically identify answers to employee engagement questions, such as: Which employees are meeting and exceeding goals and which areas need improvement? Is the performance of employees consistent across time? Where is performance improving and declining? How do peer comparisons map and trend? And how does the performance of individual employees change over time?

How Can Companies Benefit from Advanced Analytics? In addition, a new improvement opportunities widget has been added to Verint Performance Management, enabling organizations to automatically surface KPIs that represent opportunity and improvement areas based on user-definable criteria and data analysis. With this capability, managers can quickly identify the employees and KPIs that need attention based on their scores or recent trends.

What Does Gamification Have To Do With Performance? Also embedded in this latest release is the ability to leverage Verint Gamification, a solution that applies game mechanics and behavioral science “game thinking” in a business setting. Using gamification, organizations can engage employees, motivate them to improve skills and knowledge and solve problems, as well as enable them to take action and immediate control over their performance. The latest version of Verint Performance Management became generally available in November 2015.

For more information about Verint Workforce Optimization solutions, click here.

@DrNatalie Petouhoff, VP and Principal Analyst, Constellation Research

Covering Customer-facing Applications In the Cloud That Drive Better Business Results and Awesome Customer Experiences

Reduce Support Costs With A Customer Community: Increase Agent Efficiency (Final Part)

Community-Based Support Compliments the Contact Center

Community-based, social support doesn’t have to exist in a

bubble—it’s a great way to complement and complete agent-based

support strategies. Let’s say, for example, that your software

product is acting a little buggy when it’s used with a certain

operating system.


A customer can’t figure out what to do, so he

calls in and gets an answer. A couple weeks later, someone else has

the same issue, but they post in the community instead. This might

be a younger or more tech-savvy customer who prefers to reach

support online, or maybe they just did a quick Google search and

were brought to the community that way. The customer who called

support originally sees the post and reports what the phone agent

told them as a response to the community topic.


Now the answer exists in the community as a resource for

everyone in the future who has this problem. They can discover it

through search or by going there directly. Each person who sees

the answer is equal to one fewer call to an agent.

saving time 1

Community as the Canary in the Coal Mine

Until recently, support was strictly reactionary. With the adoption

of community as a key support tool, we’re seeing entire support

organizations evolve from reactionary “fixers,” to agents working

collaboratively with community members to identify bugs and

issues before they come become widespread problems.


When your agents are on the front lines, getting real-time feedback

about the things that aren’t working, they can be prepared to

address them fully and effectively with others who are likely to be

experiencing the same issue. This saves the agents time and stress,

as they have deeper, more immediate insight into where things

are breaking down before they get on the phone with an angry



And the fact that the agent is already aware of issues and

possible solutions before they take that call means the customer is

more likely to get off the phone feeling like they’re in good, capable


saving time 2

Close the Loop

As any good support agent knows, it’s not just important to provide

customers with immediate assistance, but also to close the loop

and keep them updated about new developments as well. This may

be when a bug has been fixed, a new feature has been released or

rolled back, or a work-around has been uncovered.


A customer community makes it fast and easy to provide your

customers with the most up-to-date information. What previously

would have required individual emails, Tweets, or status updates,

now can be accomplished with one simple community update.


You can post a company update for big notifications, or just post an

“official reply” to a topic, so everyone who has expressed interest

in that topic will get an email notification of the update. That also

means that when the next person who experiences that issue

comes to your community, they will find the answer waiting for

them there. How’s that for efficiency?

Dr. Natalie: voted Top 20 In Social Media HuffPo
Dr. Natalie’s ebook: voted as one of the Top Ten Most downloaded Social Media ebooks- On smROI

Click here to watch my videos on Social Media ROI:
Video 1: Building the Business Case for Social Media
Video 2: How to Measure the ROI of Social Media
Video 3: How Social Media Benefits the Whole Company

Dr. Natalie’s Executive Success Acceleration Firm™
Executive Business Strategy Advisor & Social Customer Experience Industry Authority & Consultant

The Doctor Knows Social Media ROI & Our Business Strategies Rx Get Results!
Our Motto? Be Awesome by: Learning, Sharing & Growing!

What we do: We work with companies to deliver increased revenue and decreased costs:

  • Executive Leadership Guidance on Strategy and Business Use of Social Media
  • Social Media / Business Benchmark Assessments – Tell you what you got/ what you might consider
  • Social Media ROI – set-up measurement capabilities and dashboards
  • Workshops on Business Strategy: Customer Experience, PR, Marketing, Customer Service & Internal Employee Advocacy
  • Instructor MEMES Summer Institutes at UCLA Anderson & UCLA Extension
  • Customer Experience / Social Customer Service Excellence Benchmarking Assessments & Advisory
  • Software Company Visualized-ROI, Persona-based Solution Selling w/ Targeted USP & Messaging / ebooks, White Papers, Webinars…
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Genesys G Force: Integrating Customer Service and Social Media

At this conference I talked about the strategy to take traditional customer service and contact center channels and integrate them with social media. This provides companies with many advantages but it also presents many, many challenges. These short clips give you some insight into what Customer Experience and Customer Service Professionals face:

History Can Give Perspective on Where Social Media and Customer Service All Started: Dell Hell


Multi-Channel Desktop Customer Service Agent Experience: How it Affects the Bottomline

Multi-channel Customer Service is not new. Customers have been accessing companies through many channels for years… email, phone, chat… but now with social media the ability to find those social interactions and bring them back into the contact center just like a call or email has escaped many people This research was conducted by visiting 3 different types of contact centers and studying the affect of the software the agent uses to deliver customer experiences. In all three cases there were major savings or revenue opportunities. The white papers uncovered why Contact Center have a difficult time reinventing themselves as well as 7 steps to benchmark what the company is currently doing and comparing it to best practices and providing a gap analysis.To read each of the case studies click on the picture of the study and it will take you to the research paper.

Study on Agents Technology and the Bottomline Case Study #1

Agents Technology and the Bottomline Case study #2

Agent Technology The Bottomline Case Study #3








The series of three white reveal a number of important findings:

Finding 1: The Lack of a Common Definition of A Universal Agent in a Multichannel Contact Center

Finding 2: Technology Affects Agent Attitude

Finding 3: Growing Concern About the Company Not Directly Addressing Social Media

Finding 4: Significant Impact of Technology on Agent Productivity

Finding 5: Effect of Integrating Social Channels on Agent Productivity

Finding 6: Impact of Technology On Agent’s Ability to Reduce Customer Churn

Finding 7: Effect of Technology on Agent Responding Immediately to Negative Word of Mouth via Social Posts

Finding 8: Impact of Technology on Proactive Social Subscriber Engagement And Increasing Subscriber Revenue and Customer Lifetime Value

Brought to you by the Executive Success Acceleration Firm


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What To Do With Social Customer Bullies? Customers That Use Social Media To Take Advantage of a Brand

One of the fears of executives is that if they begin to engage in social media, customers will use it to try to take advantage of the company.  While that fear is not unfounded, there are things a brand should consider in this new social media customer interaction world.

Customers Are Talking About Your Brand Whether You Are Listening / Interacting Or Not In working with clients, sometimes they are worried that if they have a presence in social media channels, customers will circumvent the normal channels, i.e., phone or email, and go straight to Twitter or Facebook with a horrible and damaging post. What I’ve seen over the years that I’ve been covering Customer Service, Marketing, PR, etc… and social media is that some customers do use social channels to complain. Whether that becomes a problem has to do with several things:

  • Products & Service Issues: Is there something wrong with the products or services you provide that would make customers so frustrated that they’d go to any length to say bad things about your brand? If so, that information has to be provided to the departments within a company that can fix it. Often times we don’t think of Customer Service as an information/feedback distribution center. But what we’ve learned is that customer service and especially social media customer service does provide real-time, often genuine and valuable feedback to a company that they can’t get any other way. A brand needs a way to collect, analyze and distribute that data — and then take the right action to fix the issues so they don’t create brand crisis situations.
  • Poor Customer Service Experiences: Is there something wrong with the service that Customer Service is providing? If so, that needs to be fixed. Often times it can be a combination of strategy, technology and execution… Is it that the agents don’t have helpful answers? Address knowledge management, training, cross-channel communication capabilities, etc… Is it that the agents don’t know enough about the customer’s other tries to solve the issue and the experience of trying to get help is blastic-inducing. It could be that the IVR, the website, chat, or that social media interactions aren’t connected to one another so the customer has to restate the problem to each person they interact with.

As customers, we’ve experienced that and we know it doesn’t feel good. If that’s the case, then a company needs to create unified customer interactions, business rules, policies, knowledge bases, workflow and analytics in a common cross-channel platform. Having insight to what a customer has done and experienced across customer touch points dramatically improves the customer’s experience. (And it can drive down costs!)

  • Manage Customer Expectations: If there something misleading about the promise the brand is making? Is the marketing not truthful or creating a situation that is a set-up for customer disappointment? Reviewing products and matching brand promises to create realistic expectations is key.  When branding or marketing, don’t over promise and under deliver. It will result in Customer Service nightmare. Often times Marketing, PR and Customer Service groups don’t collaborate. But if they do, you can see where making sure that all departments are aligned — will in the end — not only serve the customer,  but also the company.

Get the Basics Right: If you can say that you are providing the best products/services you can, your PR/Marketing is delivering an accurate promise and Customer Service is deployed in a way that creates great experiences — from the customer’s point of view– then you will be in pretty good shape. Often companies need to address the basics of business. What I’ve found is that when sincere customers go blastic, its because the company is misfiring in one or more of these basic areas.  Lesson learned? Get the basics right.

Beyond the Basics: So if you are one of the exceptional companies that is getting the basics consistently right, then you want to think about how you are going to handle customers who either start or migrate to social media channels to air their frustration. Just like anything in life, there are always the “bullies” who think they can trash a brand in social media to get free stuff, better service, etc.. Unfortunately part of what’s happened is that when customer’s do use social media to complain, companies are providing better service than if the customer used traditional channels of phone, email or chat. Reward behaviors you want repeated.

The Witness Factor: What companies need to realize is that customers are very smart. They figure out very quickly where they can get the quickiest and best results and answers. If your company consistently provides poor customer service in traditional channels, consider that you are setting the company up for bullies to take advantage of the “publicness” of social media.

What I mean by that is what I’ve called the Witness Factor. The Witness Factor is the idea that because something is public — i.e., everyone can see it — that THAT changes how companies treat customers. There can’t be one way to treat customers who call on the phone or email — i.e., poorly  — and then a different way to treat customers who use social channels- better and faster. It’s a clear set-up for bullies to use social media to try to take advantage of the company. They’ll figure that out and use it to their advantage — because they know you don’t want them to go blastic in public.

Know Your Customers: If you have a good system for identifying and really knowing your customers — i.e., contact center solutions, CRM, etc… then you are able to identify who you are dealing with. In researching this topic, I interviewed many clients. I asked them how they deal with these situations. The collective wisdom is that when a company can tell the difference between a real issue and a customer who is using social to take advantage of the situation, they make the better decisions on how to deal with the customer.

Often times companies don’t have good contact center/CRM systems, so they don’t know much about their customers. And they don’t have that integrated with social channels so they can’t connect who the person tweeting is to their contact center or CRM database.  So lesson learned here is to update systems and processes so that you can know and track customers and their interactions for all interaction channels.

Fire Your Bully Customers: One client told me that when they get a customer who consistently complains, they mark that person’s account. They set a limit on how many times they will allow that customer to try to get more out of the company than they deserve. And in some cases, they fire the customer. While that may seem extreme, what they find is that what those type of customer’s want is to take advantage. So rather than trying to please them– reality is you can’t — they decide on criteria that warrants firing a customer. Once these type of “bully” clients realize your firing them, they either leave or they change their behavior.

(Note- I’m not talking about customer’s who really have a problem they need solving. I’m talking about customers who consistently complain to take advantage of a company.) It’s important to identify theses conversations early — so social monitoring your brand is essential. And the second necessity is the ability to take the interaction offline and out of social channels into channels that are less visible to the public. Once you take it to other channels, then discern if the customer’s concern is real or if you have a “professional complainer” on your hands.

Gratefulness is Repaid in Spades: Often times, when customers who do have real issues are helped, they are so appreciative and sometimes even flabbergasted that a company was helpful, that they will return to social channels and will unprompted, they say how amazed they are with your company. There’s nothing like sincere, authentic and genuine compliments about your company in social spheres. You can’t pay for PR like that, especially in a world where Customer Service has now become PR. And especially in a world where social customer bullies are trying to take advantage of the company using social.

Brand Advocacy Matters: The other tip that the companies consistently mentioned was that if you have worked hard to create strong brand advocates, then when a bully starts to go off on a brand, the crowd will do one of several things. If they think its a frustrated customer, they may offer solutions and help to that customer.  That’s great because often advocates or SuperUsers do actually know more that your own agents — they’ve made your brand, products and knowing about them their personal hobby. And if they think its a social customer bully, the crowd will police it’s own social sphere. Often these social customer bullies get a reputation as a brand basher and neither the brand or current/potential clients pay much attention to them — or better yet the crowd calls the bully on their bullying. Creating brand advocates is key.

Let me know if this post has been helpful and please share how you have handled social customer bullies!

Learn. Share. Grow! @drnatalie