Oracle RightNow CX Feature Focus: Customer Portal Framework Version 3

The ninth and tenth installment in our series will take a comprehensive look into the new Customer Portal Framework. So much has been changed in version 3 that it earned two spots in the top ten features of 2012. This blog will focus on two of version 3’s major features. If you missed any of the previous installments in this series you can find them under the CX category at http://blog.evergegroup.com/?cat=56

Customer Portal Framework Version 3

From the release notes:

Although your customers may not notice significant changes, the November 2012 release of Oracle RightNow CX includes major changes to the framework of Oracle RightNow Customer Portal Cloud Service (Customer Portal). This new framework is called Framework Version 3.0 and was designed to support dynamic upgrades of your customer support site. The previous framework, referred to in earlier documentation as the November 09 framework, will now be identified as Framework Version 2, and the original Customer Portal released in August 2008 will be referred to as Framework Version 1.

Customer Portal Framework Version 3.0 sets the stage for simplified future migration and reduced impact on the customizations you make to your customer portal. It offers control and flexibility to let you decide what features you want to adopt and when you want to adopt them. The ability to extend standard widgets means that you need to write less custom code, and an updated Customer Portal Administration site clearly identifies the version of your framework and each widget and spells out what has changed from previous versions. Major new features include the following.

New file structure—Framework Version 3.0 offers an intuitive, easy-to-navigate file structure that lets you clearly identify the files you can edit. The main directory of Framework Version 3.0 is called “cp”, and it includes four main folders: core, customer, generated, and logs. Your development work will be done in the customer folder.

Connect PHP API—Framework Version 3.0 is built on Oracle RightNow Connect PHP API Cloud Service (Connect PHP API) and uses data objects from the Connect PHP API rather than internal APIs. Instead of accessing the database directly as in previous Customer Portal frameworks, Framework Version 3.0 provides a managed equivalent to meet your needs. You’ll still be able to access and leverage the Oracle RightNow CX platform to develop custom applications and integrations, including the ability to create, read, update, and delete data through Customer Portal functionality.

PHP namespacing—Framework Version 2 included JavaScript namespacing to prevent naming conflicts between Customer Portal reference implementation files and your custom files. This functionality has been added for PHP in Customer Portal Framework Version 3.0. The two core namespaces are Rightnow and Custom, and they are designated using a backslash (\) notation.

Framework versioning—The new versioning system of the Customer Portal framework lets you upgrade to newer versions of Oracle RightNow CX while leaving your customer portal site untouched because the Customer Portal is versioned independently of the product application. This gives you control to migrate to a new Customer Portal framework when it’s convenient for your schedule rather than being forced to migrate because of your organization’s upgrade to Oracle RightNow CX.

Widget changes—Changes to widgets in Framework Version 3.0 of the Customer Portal include the following.

  YAML information file—A new YAML information file provides information about a widget’s dependencies, requirements, attributes, and URL parameters
  Widget version management—Widgets also use a versioning system in Framework Version 3.0 to let you adopt the widget features you want at your convenience without requiring you to replace all widgets on your customer portal

 

  Widget information page—The Customer Portal Administration site provides comprehensive information about each standard and custom widget. Each widget page includes a preview of the widget, including the available version, recent changes, and the pages and templates that use the widget. A documentation page for the widget includes default code, a list of its attributes and their values, the controller class that is used, path information, and URL parameters.

Widget builder—The new widget builder in Framework Version 3.0 helps you create a new widget by extending an existing widget. Then, when functionality or bug fixes are added to the standard widget used to extend the custom widget, the custom widget is also modified to incorporate the enhancement or fix. The widget builder generates custom widget code when you answer a series of questions about the widget you want to create, thereby reducing the amount of custom code you must write yourself.

Dreamweaver support—The Dreamweaver extension that was included in previous Customer Portal frameworks is not included in Framework Version 3.0, although it will continue to be supported if you are migrating from Framework Version 2 to Framework Version 3.0.

 New File Structure

In reviewing the new file structure I decided that in order to both wrap my own head around it and speak intelligently to other about it, I would develop a matrix to serve as a proverbial cheat sheet until I was comfortable with navigating the new file structure. Now that I have retrained my brain, I find the new structure much more intuitive and cleaner from a usability perspective. It was a much needed revamp of the file structure. I have been using Customer Portal since it was first introduced and used both the old file manager (Classic) as well as the November 07 page set, so I can say with confidence that the evolution has been exponential.

  

Tip: Oracle recommends using Cyberduck for WebDAV access to Customer Portal files. Cyberduck is donationware, and Customer Portal developers appreciate its speed and robust performance on Mac and PC platforms. (I have tried to use Windows built in networking drive mapping to use WebDAV and it is painfully slow, therefore, I would have to agree with this recommendation.

 Framework versioning

This is probably a huge relief to existing install base clients because you can upgrade to the latest and greatest version of CX without having to migrate customer portal as well and worry about whether or not your custom widgets or other customizations will be compatible. Another great thing about this is versioning within the framework itself. What do I mean by this? Selective adoption of changes. Once you do decide you are ready to migrate you can review within the customer portal administrator pages what versions of widgets you are using and decide if you want to upgrade all or only specific ones.

Before you migrate I strongly suggest you read the migration guide supplied compliments of the Customer Portal development team: http://documentation.custhelp.com/euf/assets/docs/november2012/cp_resources/migration/migration_guide.pdf

If you are interested in learning more or have questions about RightNow CX please contact me at cx@evergegroup.com

Useful Links:

You can read more about this feature in the November 2012 documentation. https://documentation.custhelp.com/euf/assets/docs/november2012/olh/wwhelp/wwhimpl/js/html/wwhelp.htm

eVerge Group is an Oracle Platinum Partner with extensive experience. For more information about Oracle RightNow CX and our other business solutions, contact us through our website: http://www.evergegroup.com/contact.php

About the author: Rhianna Albert (Just Rhianna) has an extensive background in customer support systems and processes, is an active member of the CX community and has been implementing and integrating RightNow solutions for over five years.

Oracle RightNow CX Feature Focus: Message Templates for Notifications and Emails

The eighth installment in our series is the first look at November 2012. If you missed any of the previous installments in this series you can find them under the CX category at http://blog.evergegroup.com/?cat=56

Message Templates for Notifications and Emails

From the release notes:

In the November 2012 release, you can use message templates to customize your administrator notifications and emails and your contact emails. The messages are designed to support a broad range of business cases across a variety of implementations to communicate to your staff as well as to your contacts. Message templates let you quickly apply your organization’s brand across all of your messages and personalize message content to your target audience.

No more editing PHP!

Previously in order to make changes you would have had to go in to File Manager and edit the ma_details.php file or any number of other php files. Probably one of the worst things about it was in order to effectively make changes you had to cut and paste into an editor then make changes and paste it back in to file manager. It certainly was not ideal.

 

 If you upgraded from an older version of RightNow you will most likely need to edit the Navigation set associated with the Administrator profile first and add the Message template component. As illustrated  below I have added the component to the Site Configuration folder but you can add it wherever it makes the most sense to you. You access the messages by clicking on edit and once you are happy with the changes, you Deploy.

Editing emails uses the same type of Rich Text tool used for editing documents and mailings in other areas of RightNow CX. Therefore, if you have been using the system prior to November 12, it will be very familiar. If you haven’t, it is similar to Word.

 

The next installment will be taking a look at version 3 of the Customer Portal framework. If you are interested in learning more or have questions about RightNow CX please contact me at cx@evergegroup.com

Useful Links:

You can read more about this feature in the November 2012 documentation. https://documentation.custhelp.com/euf/assets/docs/november2012/olh/wwhelp/wwhimpl/js/html/wwhelp.htm

eVerge Group is an Oracle Platinum Partner with extensive experience. For more information about Oracle RightNow CX and our other business solutions, contact us through our website: http://www.evergegroup.com/contact.php

About the author: Rhianna Albert (Just Rhianna) has an extensive background in customer support systems and processes, is an active member of the CX community and has been implementing and integrating RightNow solutions for over five years.

 

Oracle RightNow CX Feature Focus: Chat Availability Controls

Welcome to the third installment of the 2012 RightNow CX feature focus. In the last installment we discussed the updates to Cloud Monitor in the February 2012 release. If you missed the review you can find it here: http://blog.evergegroup.com/?p=521

Today let’s talk about a major change to Chat from the May 2012 release. I have worked on several projects implementing Chat and at one point I worked very closely with some folks at Oracle/RightNow to do a proof of concept app (very cool) for mobile devices that was demoed at the last RightNow summit at the Broadmoor in Colorado. But I digress, back to a very cool piece of PHP code: the ConditionalChatLink widget that will truly help customers on their quest “To Rid the World of Bad Experiences”.

 

 

Chat Availability Controls

From the release notes:

The new ConditionalChatLink widget for the customer portal lets customers know whether chat sessions are currently available, if agents are available, and what the expected wait time is. When customers click the link, the Live Help page opens. By default, the widget checks for agent availability every five seconds for the first ten minutes, then every minute thereafter. In the reference implementation, the widget appears in the sidebar, but you can place it on any customer portal page. A syndicated ConditionalChatLink widget is also available to let you add a chat link to any external page.

How does this change impact the customer?

The ConditionalChatLink widget provides visibility to the customer and prevents the frustration that comes from thinking chat is available and clicking only to find out that their efforts were in vain. Providing  the customer with an almost real time status on the availability of Chat Agents goes a long way in solidifying a company’s status as one focused on Customer Experience. It is these types of simple changes that pave the way for the future of customer experience.

 

With this widget you can now also extend the ability of the syndicated chat widget and have the status update on external pages as well as those hosted on the Customer Portal.

The following configuration options are available for the ConditionalChatLink widget. You can read more about what each feature does and how to configure the widget in the May 2012 documentation. https://documentation.custhelp.com/euf/assets/docs/may2012/olh/wwhelp/wwhimpl/js/html/wwhelp.htm

 

  • Detect incident ID automatically
  • Open a different chat launch page
  • Hide the link when agents are unavailable
  • Ignore chat session pre-routing information
  • Initiate the link by event
  • Configure additional attributes

Oracle RightNow Chat Cloud Service is both a powerful and effective live communication channel that is continuing to grow dramatically alongside the newer less traditional social channels like Facebook and Twitter. The Oracle team published a great best practices guide that I have used many times when implementing chat for clients. It was written between the February and May 2012 releases but much of it is still quite relevant. It is a fairly quick read of about 12 pages and I would strongly suggest it for anyone looking to build a business case to implement or to improve a current implementation.

 http://www.oracle.com/us/products/applications/best-pratce-chat-deploy-wp-1560487.pdf

 If you are interested in learning more or have questions about  the Chat widget feel free to reach out to me at cx@evergegroup.com

eVerge Group is an Oracle Platinum Partner with extensive experience. For more information about Oracle RightNow CX and our other business solutions, contact us through our website: http://www.evergegroup.com/contact.php

About the author: Rhianna Albert (Just Rhianna) has an extensive background in customer support systems and processes, is an active member of the CX community and has been implementing and integrating RightNow solutions for over five years.

 

Oracle RightNow CX Feature Focus: Cloud Monitor

Ladies and gentlemen: welcome to the second installment of the 2012 RightNow CX feature focus. In the last installment we discussed the introduction of the Knowledge Foundation API in the February 2012 release. If you missed the review you can find it here: http://blog.evergegroup.com/?p=496

Today I would like to discuss the updates to Cloud Monitor from February 2012. This feature has been around for a few years now. In fact I even did a presentation to the New York CX user group back when it first came out. I was still a user and I was so excited to see it in action that I became an early adopter. Cloud Monitor has evolved quite a bit since then but still provides valuable insight into non-traditional call center channels and even allows support agents to respond back to users proactively via the same channel. I use social media quite a bit and on the few rare occasions where companies responded directly to me as a result of a comment I made out into the ether, it made me feel like I had a personal connection to the entity. Cloud Monitor is one of the tools that can help companies realize and achieve this level of social maturity.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cloud Monitor subscriptions

From the release notes:

RightNow Cloud Monitor now supports subscription-based cloud searches to capture the entire thread content of a Facebook page or an RSS feed on a recurring basis. Subscriptions return all content available from the selected channel, including any comments associated with Facebook posts.

• The Cloud Monitor now conveniently displays favorite searches, subscriptions, and Twitter private messages together in a single dashboard.

• Subscriptions can be enabled for any custom Facebook or RSS channel.

• The redesigned Add Cloud Monitor window now allows multiple searches to be added to the monitor at once.

• Subscribed search results are automatically updated every fifteen minutes.

• For Facebook subscription results, comments are grouped by thread.

            Below are my thoughts and their impact on the above five bullet points:

1.    The Cloud Monitor now conveniently displays favorite searches, subscriptions, and Twitter private messages together in a single dashboard.

In previous versions, reports were separate but now all the above information is conveniently packaged in a dashboard. Dashboards are great for power users and supervisors as they provide key information that is actionable in a convenient snapshot view. I have designed many such snapshots both as a user of CX and as a partner. Clients that appreciate the power of good analytics reports always walk away happy when they have a few shiny new dashboards in hand and in this case the report comes standard with no customization required.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2.    Subscriptions can be enabled for any custom Facebook or RSS channel.

This increases the robustness of Cloud Monitor exponentially. A feature allowing monitoring of multiple pages across Facebook and RSS, how can this not be good?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3.    The redesigned Add Cloud Monitor window now allows multiple searches to be added to the monitor at once.

In previous incarnations of CX having to add a search, click OK and then add a new search was just, in a word, annoying. Being able to add multiple searches at once may not seem like a major technologic advance but it goes a long way to increase usability. Let’s face it if the software is not user friendly rolling it out to your organization and getting buy-in from key stakeholders would be challenging to say the least. (If CX was not usable it certainly would not maintain its leader spot in the Gartner Magic Quadrant for contact centers http://www.gartner.com/technology/reprints.do?id=1-1A4Y5NW&ct=120416&st=sb)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4.    Subscribed search results are automatically updated every fifteen minutes.

All I have to say about this added feature is THANK YOU Oracle! I love not having to hit refresh to get updates.

 5.    For Facebook subscription results, comments are grouped by thread.

This is another very useful addition to Cloud Monitor. Grouping results by thread allows the person monitoring to understand the full context of the conversation. Having this information available to agents who are interacting with end-users will make interactions more intuitive and provide the end-user with best of breed customer experience.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

eVerge Group is an Oracle Platinum Partner with extensive experience. For more information about Oracle RightNow CX and our other business solutions, contact us through our website: http://www.evergegroup.com/contact.php

About the author: Rhianna Albert (Just Rhianna) has an extensive background in customer support systems and processes, is an active member of the CX community and has been implementing and integrating RightNow solutions for over five years.

 

Oracle Names eVerge Group as "Specialized Partner of the Year"

 

eVerge Group was presented the 2012 Oracle Excellence Award for Specialized Partner of the Year – North America in the Communications, Media & Entertainment Industry for its highly successful CRM implementation at a major satellite communications company.  This is the fifth time in the last three years that eVerge Group has earned the prestigious award for implementation excellence.  According to eVerge Group’s company president, Esteban Neely, “eVerge Group hires and develops some of the best consultants in the industry and applies its proprietary PrecisionFit implementation methodology to ensure that we deliver the results our clients expect.  We are pleased that this focus on client success continues to be recognized by Oracle.”

 

Mike Burns and Ajay Pandey accept the “Specialized Partner of the Year” award on behalf of eVerge Group.

 

 

 

This award was previously known as the Oracle “Titan Award”, which eVerge has won five times previously:

2011 – Titan Award: Energy and Utilities Industry Solution

2011 – Titan Award: Education Industry Solution

2010 – Titan Award: Financial Services and Insurance Industry Solution

2010 – Titan Award: Financial Management Solution

2006 – Titan Award: Partner of the Year – Small and Medium Business

 “eVerge Group has demonstrated an outstanding level of innovation in delivering proven, Oracle-based solutions that solve our joint customers’ most critical business challenges,” said Lydia Smyers, group vice president, Worldwide Alliances & Channels Programs and Communications, Oracle. “We congratulate eVerge Group in achieving the 2012 Oracle Excellence Award for Specialized Partner of the Year – North America in the Communications, Media & Entertainment Industry. This achievement is a testament to their dedication to excellence and to providing customers CRM, ERP, BI and MDM solutions that drive real business value and results.”

Why a Strategic CRM Means Better Business

Most CRM applications provide a tactical system with basic management tools, but fail to over a strategic CRM solution that offers a complete picture of customers. eVerge Group reviews the benefits of implementing a strategic CRM that answers key questions about a company’s target audience, addresses every aspect of customer interaction, and goes beyond simple sales tactics to deliver value.

For more information about Oracle On Demand CRM, contact eVerge Group:
http://www.evergegroup.com

Strategic CRM vs. Tactical CRM

Most CRM tools available today address the tactical processes involved in effective customer management. They provide frontline sales management tools, but fail to offer  strategic CRM integration. Oracle’s CRM On Demand provides such a solution. Here are some of its advantages.

Answering Key Questions

Oracle’s CRM On Demand answers key questions to provide a complete picture of how your customers interact with you. To increase sales and profits, you need answers about your customers, such as:

  • What do they buy from you?
  • When do they buy from you?
  • How do they buy from you?
  • Why do they buy from you?
  • How do they solve problems with you?

Answers to these and similar questions impact the effectiveness of your sales, marketing and service personnel.

All Facets of a Customer’s Interaction

A strategic CRM solution, such as CRM On Demand, will enable you to address every aspect of your customer’s interaction with your enterprise. Naturally, you will want to track interactions with marketing, sales and service. But you can also identify trends, behavior and motivators. Oracale’s CRM On Demand goes beyond frontline sales management to provide the business intelligence you need.

Going Beyond Sales

An essential feature of any CRM integration is providing best-in-class tools to remedy customer issues on time, every time, which enables you to pursue a CRM strategy rather than tactics. Delivering a marketing solution that enables your sales and channels organizations to effectively segment customers and manage campaigns is another strategic implementation of CRM.

Bottom Line

Oracle’s CRM On Demand offers a strategic CRM solution versus a tactical solution. Tactics can win battles, but strategy wins wars. eVerge Group has been deploying strategic CRM applications for more than 13 years and can provide insights on how your organization can leverage and effectively deploy a CRM solution to grow sales, profits and customer satisfaction.