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Service for the Next Generation

Christine Friscic
Product Manager, Oracle Service Cloud

By Jeff Wartgow, Director, Product Management, Oracle Service Cloud

Recently I had the opportunity to join many of our customers
at Oracle’s Modern Service Experience in Las Vegas. Attendees were presented
with a huge variety of solution demonstrations, analyst sessions, and customer
panels. During this high-energy event we also had the opportunity to answer a
burning customer question: Where is all of our technology headed? Here’s how we
answered and outlined how the Oracle Service Cloud team will continue to help
drive the evolution of service.

In the past, we lived in a world of multi-channel – in which
customers would pick a channel and received all service via that one channel.  Knowledge was in silos, so a customer would
have to navigate through an organization in order to find the person who had
the answer they needed.  Finally, all
service was assisted, and you always engaged directly with a service provider.  Fast forward to today…

Multi-channel has now been replaced with the concept of
omni-channel, where a customer might contact a company via the web, and that
company might respond back with a text message or a call. Or a customer might initiate
contact via social media and then switch over to a messaging app as the
conversation continues. Customers move from channel to channel throughout the
customer journey.

Customers no longer need to hunt for the person with the
right answer.  In our knowledge-supported
world, any well-trained customer service rep can look up the answer.  We have also moved beyond assisted service to
a world of self-service, where customers do not need to engage a person at all,
but can find answers on their own.

Now we are faced with the question…what happens next?

The Advent of Organic

We believe that the omni-channel experience will continue evolving
into what we call “Organic Channels,” with “organic” defined as multiple
elements forming a whole. In this concept, customers will not move from channel
to channel throughout their journey, but will combine channels together
simultaneously, creating their own unique experience.

Have you ever spoken with a customer service rep on the
phone, while searching through that company’s website at the same time? Have
you ever taken it a step further, and started a chat session, or visited a
community for more information – all during that same engagement? As customers,
we have the power to move beyond the invisible rails of an omni-channel
experience, by overlapping multiple channels creating our own experience.

This phenomenon expands the vision for the Oracle Service
Cloud because our product will not only need to accommodate each new conversation
channel, but also accommodate the infinite number of channel combinations that
can appear organically at any moment, and will disappear at the end of each
customer engagement.  

Our vision is that our platform will enable organizations to
manage and even create dynamically changing channels composed of multiple
elements.  In addition, we will provide
the toolkit to build and manage these integrated experiences, and provide
visibility into customers creating their own experience.  Regardless of whatever new channels or
combination of channels the market can create, our platform will meet the

Organic Channels also
create new challenges. Most notably, if service channels become so dynamic, how
can a company offer a consistent quality experience? The answer lies in
knowledge systems.

From Knowledge-Supported
to Knowledge-Driven Service

The Oracle Service Cloud team envisions knowledge-supported
organizations evolving into completely Knowledge Driven organizations. 

In order to explain the concept of Knowledge Driven
organizations, let me tell another story.

Back in the early 90s, if you wanted to purchase stock you
went to a stockbroker. Why did you do this? First, they had a terminal where they
could place an order. Second, they had access to all stock research, which was
impossible to get as an individual. Third, the stockbroker was plugged into a
community of other investors, who shared information about hot stocks and
trends in the market.

Basically a stockbroker was an individual who was supported
by all these knowledge systems.

Fast forward to today…

If you want to purchase a stock as an individual, you no
longer go to a stockbroker. You more likely go online to a brokerage like e*trade, Scottrade, or Ameritrade. Why do you
go to these sites? First, they offer a terminal where you can place an order.
Second, they have digitized all the stock research, so you have all the reports
right at your fingertips. Third, they offer automated guided assistants providing
investment advice. These sites can even connect you to communities of other
investors sharing information. However, in the event that none of these systems
can get you the information you need, they will put you in touch with a live

Do you see the change? At one point you went to a
stockbroker who was supported by knowledge systems. Now you go to knowledge
systems that are supported by stockbrokers. The two players have simply
switched places.

This is not a new concept – we have seen this happen
everywhere, from how we book travel to how we prepare our taxes. We believe
that this phenomenon has hit critical mass and that all industries will start
to demand this style of service.

As part of Oracle Service Cloud’s vision, we are building
the tools to allow any organization to become completely knowledge-driven,
where your customer’s first interaction with your brand will be through one of
your automated knowledge systems, and your customer service reps will only
handle the exceptions.

However, accomplishing this goal requires much more than
just a robust knowledge database.

Oracle’s knowledge vision includes our drive to unify all
sources of knowledge. However, we are going a step further. With our community
developments, we aim to unlock unstructured tribal knowledge. Finally, with our
work in knowledge automation, we aim to allow our systems to answer any
question, even if the answer is “it depends.” These different knowledge tools
working in concert empower customers to get the answers they need through any
channel, even one they created organically. 

Furthermore, transitioning to a knowledge-driven
organization enables companies to scale, because unlike human experts, the
knowledge system does not eat, does not sleep, can monitor every channel, and
speaks every language.


Finally, the combination of Organic Channels and Knowledge
Driven organizations power assisted service and self-service to evolve into everything becoming a service.

At Oracle, we have access to all sorts of cool technologies.
What happens if you start introducing new technologies into the organically
created service channels? Technologies like natural language processing, the Internet
of Things, and componentization.

Once you inject these new technologies you can unleash new
capabilities, such as the ability to offer Service-as-a-Feature, create
self-solving products, or offer insight-driven and predictive service.

Introducing these concepts can help organizations to change
their entire business models. Service organizations can become sales
organizations, machines can travel the entire customer journey on behalf of the
customer, and almost any product can be sold as a subscription service.

Change is constant in any industry. There will always be
another generation of users, companies, and technologies impacting business and
our personal lives. Oracle Service Cloud’s vision follows this natural
evolution in the service industry, including the advent of Organic Channels,
the market-wide movement to Knowledge Driven organizations, ultimately leading
to all company offerings becoming services. We are excited about this journey
and hope you will join us as we embark on powering service experiences for the
next generation!

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