Oracle CX Series
Introduction to B2C Service
What is B2C Service?
B2C Service, previously known as Service Cloud, and prior to that RightNow, is a cloud based Customer Experience application. Essentially it’s about servicing your customers so they are happy and loyal. Crucially, all your customers and interactions are stored in a single place meaning you have a single source of truth and can report directly from there.
What’s the Customer Portal?
This comes as standard, so you have a service portal, accessed by your customers through a browser, pre-built with all the features your customers might need. Customers can create an account, browse knowledge, and choose a variety of channels to contact you.
And the Agent Desktop?
This is used by your internal service community – in other words your agents – who are handling requests and updating knowledge and also the management team, who need to have a real time snapshot of the customer service operation.
How does it work from a commercial perspective?
Oracle host the application in their cloud. This means it’s very secure and highly available. An ongoing subscription is paid to Oracle to use the application, so there are no large up-front costs to cover. You’ll also need an implementation partner to configure, and possibly customise, the application so that it slots into your existing enterprise.
What’s the difference between configuration and customisation?
Configuration involves making use of standard features of the application. With these changes you’re guaranteed that there will not be issues when the application is upgraded. We’d always recommend starting with configuration and only moving to customisations when completely necessary. Customisations involve writing code. When done correctly these are also upgrade compatible.
How long does it take to get up and running?
A fairly standard implementation could be rolled out in as little as 6 weeks from the time that the application is provisioned. More complex implementations that involve integrations, data migration, and large numbers of agents will take longer.
What are the core features that need to be considered?
The initial implementation can be simplistic using the core functionality of the application.
This is more often the Frequently Asked Questions (Knowledge) allowing your business to manage and deflect calls by putting the most relevant questions and topics on the Customer Portal help pages.
Where a customer cannot find an answer in the Knowledge base they can access the Ask a Question webform. Here they specify the issue – Smart Assist will then review the content, do its own search of the Knowledge base, and suggest articles that the customer might like to review. This is a deflection technique. The customer can review these and if they still have not found the answer then they can finally submit; the request will be queued and picked up by an agent.
Products & Categories
Products and categories allow you to refine the information that is presented on the web form and Smart Assist. Along with rules that can be setup (known as Business Rules and discussed further down), the products and categories allow for the efficient routing of the emails into Queues.
Queues mean that the emails are gathered into groups that correspond with your service team structure, reducing the amount of time that emails are juggled whilst finding the correct team, or person, to respond.
What additional features should be thought about?
Once the initial implementation has been configured, the next step is to allow B2C Service to evolve so that it is truly aligned to your business model, adapting the application to your business and not the other way around.
Custom Fields & Custom Objects
Although the out-of-the-box solution takes into account a huge range of possible fields, there is often the need to have an additional piece of information that is essential for your business which does not have a default place within the application.
Custom Fields allow you to create additional fields (These can be Date and Time fields, Date only Fields, Yes or No fields, Integers and Text fields) which can be added to the information that is captured and used by your service agents.
Taking it further, custom objects allow the introduction of new components which work alongside the standard objects of B2C Service. These objects can be integrated as a component of the system (such as an events diary, an application process, etc) or as a standalone application within the system that is used for a specific function (such as Exam results, Product information, etc)
To prevent everything from ending up in one unmanageable pot, the application introduced Business Rules which are representative of your business. The Business Rules can dictate the assignment of queues, fields (both out of the box and customised), the escalation of severity, the application of your organisation’s SLA, to sending a transactional Net Promoter Score (NPR) survey.
Business Rules can be written simplistically using the IF… THEN… ELSE convention, without the need to know any in depth coding or programming languages.
Workspaces and Workflows
By default, the B2C Service application uses workspaces – areas where your service agents will complete the majority of their servicing work. Workspaces are very flexible. You could incorporate Guided Assistance that guides the agent through complex processes. Or you could present a different version of the Workspace depending on the type of query – this is powered by Workflow that runs in the background and can review logic and fire events.
What standard components can be added to the implementation?
Intelligent Advisor (formerly known as Oracle Policy Automation, or OPA) complements B2C Service very well. It allows for interactive webforms to be deployed to the Customer Portal to collect data from customers, pull data in from other sources, and perform complex calculations, perhaps around eligibility or payment schedules. The interactive forms can also be surfaced within the Agent Desktop to guide the agent through complex processes and to handle the heavy lifting in the background.
What about integrations and data migrations?
B2C Service uses standard, well documented, APIs. This means that it can be plugged into your enterprise easily; ideally B2C Service will be the one application for your agent’s working day, and they won’t need to access multiple applications and browser tabs at any one time.
Popular integrations include connecting to a telephony partner. This allows an agent to see information about who the customer is, and their previous interactions with the organisation, when the customer calls in. This helps to create a personalised service and maintain customer loyalty.
Another common integration is for B2C Service to access middleware services or integrate directly to a Product Master, a Customer Master, to Oracle Fusion applications, and other internal and external services. This is to ensure that data is available within B2C Service at the right time to support your business processes – in other words your agents have what they need when engaging with customers.
It’s very likely that data migration will be required before you go-live. You’ll probably want to import customer records, perhaps all open or recent cases, organisations, products, opportunities, staff records etc. Again this would make use of APIs to load them in, in preparation for your go-live.
We hope this has given you a useful overview of B2C Service. In subsequent posts we’ll be exploring the functionality in more detail. In the meantime if you have any questions then please feel free to get in touch – firstname.lastname@example.org