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The Support Experience Blog

A Night and Day Customer Experience

Edward Hobart, CCXP | 06/06/2017

A Night and Day Customer Experience I've just returned from a month and a half of heavy travel and am still playing catch-up with my emails, my blogs and my time zones. I ended April with a fantastic week in Las Vegas at Oracle's Modern Service Experience. This year's conference was easily the best yet, featuring events like keynotes from actor and social entrepreneur, Joseph Gordon Levitt (@hitRECordJoe), Customer Experience legend and bestselling author, @JeanneBliss, great customer/partner/Oracle collaborative presentations and a concert by Fitz and the Tantrums. Whereas all of these were impressive and exciting, the highlight for me was the time I spent face-to-face with our customers. Flashback to last year at this same event: I was fairly new in my role and it was difficult to hear the direct, pointed and very fair critiques of our Technical Support shortcomings. We received some pretty good bumps and bruises during the open feedback opportunities and, I have to admit, it was for good reason. What I kept returning to for reassurance was my firm belief that this feedback would ultimately lead to improvement for our customers.  Our Director, Marie Lockhart, and I took all that you said to heart and spent countless hours over the last year seeking to understand your pain points and listening to your suggestions on how to reduce your effort while improving your Support Experience. We also put our reputations on the line by making you a lot of promises for a brighter future. Fast forward to this year: From the moment I ran into my first customer it was clear that customer feedback was going to be significantly different. We knew that our CSAT had risen fairly sharply, from about 71% to over 91% during the last year, but we weren't sure how that might translate into the type of raw qualitative feedback we were going to hear in a relaxed social setting. I couldn't have been more pleased to hear the phrase "night and day" used by more than one customer to describe the changes they experienced during those twelve months. Our work had paid off, but we wouldn't have succeeded without you. If our customers weren't fair enough to give us the benefit of the doubt as well as being patient and generous with their time and ideas, we wouldn't have made the progress we did. Our ability to design experiences that fit our customer's needs is only made possible because we work with incredibly innovative customer support and customer experience experts who have the desire to work collaboratively with us. Here are some quick highlights of your Support Experience enhancements from the last year: Replacement of auto-responses with our meaningful response 5-W model Developing a new internal training techniques Addition of  the Support Suggestion Box persistent icon on all cx.rightnow pages Introduction of our Hive operating model to reduce backlog Addition of mobile-friendly pages for on-the-run SR management Implementation of a wholly re-designed website optimized for ease of use We expect a lot of ourselves and while we have made significant year-over-year progress, it's not enough for us. We expect it won't be for you either. We may still occasionally fall short of expectation, but we hope that those instances are fewer and father between, while also being less egregious. Being able to enact change that has this kind of tangible positive impact on our customers is my professional passion and I am fortunate to have a career that is truly fulfilling. The week of MSE was one of the most satisfying of my professional career, because it felt like we turned a corner and you were there showing us your appreciation. I can't thank all of you enough for the opportunity to repay your trust and patience. Our commitment for this year is to build on the positive steps from last year to provide you with further improved and innovative Support Experiences. Stay tuned for my next blog to see what my other travel involved and how it relates to improving your experience with our Technical Support Team. Do you have any suggestions as to how we can further improve your Support Experience? Please sign in and provide you thoughts below!


Oracle Service Cloud Gets a Customer Experience Makeover

Edward Hobart, CCXP | 02/06/2017

Recently my wife and I looked at a little ranch house for sale in Bozeman, MT. The house had been on the market for quite a while and we understood why when we walked through the front door for the first time. In spite of the appeal of a large yard and fundamentally solid construction, the inside was a hodgepodge mix of design from multiple decades: the kitchen was straight out of the 80's, the master bedroom, the 60's and the family room, the 90's. We bought the house knowing we had pain, frustration and work ahead of us. Many of those same thoughts cropped up as we embarked on giving the Oracle Service Cloud Support Portal a complete makeover.                                Before (Click here to enlarge)                                          After (Click here to enlarge) When remodeling your home, or even a single room, you are trying to enhance functionality and create a space that's a reflection of who you are.  We aimed to achieve the same with our support site.  Our two goals were to reduce our customers' effort and provide a visually appealing experience that more closely reflected who we are.  To achieve those goals, we employed ethnographic research and design thinking principles while leaning heavily on best practices related to user and customer experience. The final product represents a collaborative effort that brought together the expertise and input of multiple teams, both internal and external to Oracle Service Cloud. Some of the highlights include: New Entry Point - is now our homepage which includes announcements, the freshest content and links to getting started materials Enhanced Search - Toggle between searching the Knowledge Base or the Community Navigation UX - Reordered and added new options for ease of accessing key resources Support Landing Page - Loaded with effort reducing enhancements like personalized SR info, a series of bookmarks linked to critical information, recent video micro-trainings and more . . . Support Hotline - Based on your feedback, this can now be accessed for all support pages Easier Readability - Improved the color contrast of the text for reduction of eye strain Updated branding - Out with the tired design and in with a completely refreshed look and feel Although the changes represent a major shift on some levels, none of the critical functionality has been removed. It may take a little time to get comfortable with the changes, but rest assured you can still do all the same things needed to be effective in your role. For instance, instead of looking for the "Ask Support" button, you will click on the Service Request "Wrench" icon that remains persistent on all Support pages. This change will result in fewer clicks, since the icon can be found in the same location on any of our support pages. Reduced clicks is a theme running through the Support Landing Page, where you will find all our most important and popular resources a single click away.                                         Before (Click here to enlarge)                                          After (Click here to enlarge) We understand that immediately following major home improvements it's not uncommon to get up in the middle of the night and bump into a new wall or new door. In an effort to minimize any such bumps, we have created a brief video tour of the new Support Portal. This will you find and make use of our most popular and success enhancing resources. We've rolled out quite a few Support Experience advancements over the course of the last year. The makeover of the Support Portal, with an eye toward reducing your issue resolution effort, has been a year in the making and is our biggest upgrade to date. Not unlike an older home, our site had been added to and changed piecemeal, without much regard to the greater user and customer experience. The rollout of our new Oracle Service Cloud Support Portal is a major change, but be aware that it's only the tip of the iceberg. Working with your feedback, we'll continue to improve you experience. The site is set to launch February 11th. Are there any other changes we could make that would result in improving your experience with us? Login to comment.


The Heartbeat of your Oracle Service Cloud Support Experience

Edward Hobart, CCXP | 01/23/2017

It's that time of year when many of us move away from overindulging to reflecting on the past year, while considering how we'll make changes to improve the coming one. It's only natural that one of the most common outcomes of these contemplations is a renewed focus on health. This leads to the sharp increase in the purchase of wearable technologies, gym memberships and meal kit services. Wearables provide an easily obtained, unbiased and data-driven record of how your body is performing under certain conditions. You can find the same reduction of effort and transparency provided by wearable when using our new Support Experience Dashboard to monitor the performance of your Oracle Service Cloud site. Your site is the heart of your support organization and the dashboard is an easily accessible tool which can help you identify symptoms of possible issues before they have an impact your site's health. The Support Experience Dashboard is a real-time, transparent, analytic panorama of your personalized experience with our team. When logged in, the report is found Under My Site Tools on our end-user pages and provides a snapshot of how your recent Service Requests have been handled. As with a wearable, this dashboard should be used proactively to identify potential problem areas before they reach a tipping point. Using this tool collaboratively, we can glean valuable insights into where each of our teams can make improvements. For instance, if configuration or abandonment are among the top reasons for Service Request closures, it may indicate a training need for your team. Alternatively, if there's a high rate of SRs being re-opened, it could point to an issue within our team. Here are some examples of the things you'll find on in Support Experience Dashboard:  A day-by-day accounting of the number of SRs submitted over the last 30 days Current open SRs by severity level and time spent unresolved Whether or not an open SR has been determined to be a product defect SRs that contained product defects vs non-defects over the last 12/24 months A breakdown of the types of issues submitted for over the last 6 months Analysis of SRs that have been closed over the last 6 months Our Service Level Attainment (SLA) by severity over the last 6 months Breakdown of SR by agent submitted Whether you are submitting SRs or working through a queue, it's easy to get caught in a recency trap; only really being able to accurately recall the last few. The value of the Support Experience Dashboard is that it offers a cross-sectional profile of all SRs submitted in the last 6 months assembled in a single location and in an easily digestible/comparable format. This can prove to be a vital tool for discussions with your executive team or routine performance checks. Providing transparency and reducing your effort are paramount to the delivery of high-quality technical support. Presenting targeted data clearly in real time provides the possibility of reducing effort by preemptively identifying problem areas. Essentially, when considered holistically, these different data points tell a story about and provide insights into the health of your site. As we ponder the upcoming year and areas for potential improvement over the last, we're excited to be rolling out a great new tool for helping you proactively monitor the heartbeat of your support team. Do you use other tools to proactively monitor your site's health? Let me know what you've found effective and where you've found gaps to which you wish you had access.


Cookies (And Integrations) - Everyone Loves Them, Right?

Shiv Tenneti | 09/13/2016

I like cookies (chocolate chip).  When I want to bake cookies, I put the cookie dough on the cookie sheet and shove it into the oven. Luckily, when I replace that oven, I don't have to buy a new cookie sheet!  You just start baking another round of fresh cookies again! Sure, you can always get another cookie sheet (twice as many cookies at once) but since nothing is wrong with the old one, you get to keep using it as long as your cookie dough holds out. This is related to a question customers ask me all the time: Do we have to rewrite an integration every time we upgrade?  The short answer is: No. So how do we ensure that integrations work across releases?  The answer is 'Managed Frameworks'.   Managed Frameworks are similar to cookie molds. They ensure that integrations work across ovens…um, releases. Oracle Service Cloud's managed frameworks are developed and subsequently versioned to allow integrations to be written once and forgotten at least until you need to make modifications to it due to your business process changes or want to take advantage of new capabilities, of course.  We can do this because we take advantage of the nature of underlying technologies while also nurturing a policy of backward compatibility amongst our development teams. How can you make use of Managed Frameworks?  You probably already do.  Managed frameworks are available to use through the Connect APIs. In a nutshell, Connect APIs are product release 'agnostic' and this ensures backward compatibility so that your integrations will continue to work on new product releases. So zero maintenance...really!  (And you can read more about Managed Frameworks here: How do we support Managed Frameworks?  The Connect APIs are versioned.  We periodically release new Connect versions that introduce new features and capabilities to the framework.  When integrations are written against a specific Connect version, they will continue to work between upgrades as long as the integration stays on the same connect version. And, finally, speaking of versions, we also have a formal policy for shutting down older Connect versions that you can read about here ( We have sites that have upgraded to the latest product release and have integrations written in Connect version 1.0 that are still working.  Considering that Connect 1.0 was released in May 2010, that's quite a few cookies!   What has your experience been with the Connect APIs?  (And what kind of cookies do you like?)


Feedback: WIIFM?

Edward Hobart, CCXP | 08/03/2016

Several weeks back while checking out at a nation-wide home improvement store, I was asked to fill out an online survey when I got home for the chance to win some money, but to also be sure I rated every aspect of my customer experience a 10 out of 10. In my head this translated to, "Please go home, remember this conversation and keep track of your receipt. When you get there, turn on your computer, pull out that receipt we told you not to lose, go to the survey site, provide us some personal information and then send us some tainted survey responses in exchange for a sliver of a chance to win a store credit you may or may not need." I drove home wondering whether these guys understood just how much they were asking me to do and if they did, how would doing all this possibly improve my future experiences. I drove home wondering, "What's in it for me?" Businesses consistently ask their customers for insights. Any economist will tell you these come at a "cost" to the person providing them, even if it's a small one. In order for this to be perceived as being a fair exchange, the customer needs to receive something in return. One way a business can make this unspoken transaction more equitable is to lower the "cost", while using the data to improve the customer experience. For us this meant starting with one basic question: What can we do so that our customers truly see the value of sharing suggestions and feedback? We knew we needed to do better than CSAT surveys. This type of customer listening path, at least when used in isolation, is archaic and minimally effective. Text analytics can be tremendously useful, but with the growing popularity of self-service options, there surely will be fewer opportunities to gather them.  So, what is left? We understood that for a listening path to be successful, it must feel almost effortless, be available in real-time, be responsive and most importantly, it must be demonstrably effective.  With those characteristics in mind, we designed our new Support Suggestion Box. The Support Suggestion Box is a clickable icon that, when logged into the Oracle Service Cloud Support Portal, can be found pinned to the upper left of any page. All a customer has to do is click the envelope, type whatever they happen to be thinking and hit submit without any additional navigation. This creates a support ticket assigned to our Support Experience team; the team that drives CX improvement efforts. Then, each submittal is provided a personal response and, when appropriate, reviewed by the management team for value and feasibility. Finally, the submitter is notified whether we can or cannot implement the idea. If we can't, we make sure to explain why. Initial returns have been highly encouraging. In the first 6 weeks, this qualitative closed-loop feedback tool has led to more suggestions than we had received in the prior twelve month. Several of these have either been implemented or in the process of being implemented. As an early adopter, Sara K, an Oracle Service Cloud Administrator wrote us saying, "It was very easy and convenient to share my thoughts right away, rather than making a note or sending an email and it was great to know my suggestions went to an individual who actually responded, rather than a black hole. The fact that I'm being heard is very satisfying." Without quality insights from the people who use whatever it is you provide, customer experience improvement efforts are, at best, presumptuous guesswork. You can't optimize your CX without learning from your customers, and it's difficult to gather actionable data without making it worth their while. Any organization interested in gathering constructive intelligence needs to make the value proposition clear for their customers. The goal should be to aspire to never leave them asking, "What's in it for me?"   What are you doing to solicit great suggestions and feedback from your customers?


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Edward Hobart is a Certified Customer Experience Professional (CCXP) serving as the Customer and Partner Support Experience Manager for the Oracle Service Cloud Technical Support team.
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