• December 14, 2004
  • By Colin Beasty, (former) Associate Editor, CRM Magazine

Oracle Releases CRM Integration Update

Oracle was looking for a way to help customer service professionals gain a "more complete view" of the customer, according to Robb Eklund, vice president of CRM product marketing for Oracle. Eklund and his team worked with customers to get this knowledge, uncovering the top issues concerning individuals working in customer service operations. Three key themes came to the fore, and Oracle used them as the basis for its Oracle Service 11i.10 release. Designed to combine such service channels as the Web, contact centers, and field service, Oracle 11i.10 is constructed around the following core ideas: First, enable customers that operate service centers to successfully profit without losing sight of customer satisfaction. Eklund says that increasingly, "marketers are looking to leverage inbound service interactions as an opportunity to connect with customers and to promote additional products and services." Oracle built integration between its marketing and service solutions, specifically iStore. The integration blends customer service and online self-service. For example, as a customer accesses a company's Web site to register a service request or research a product, the company can return a personalized message based on the customer's sales history, service history, etc. As part of that integration, Oracle 11i.10 also automates contract creation and renewal processes. Users are given contract information to help improve the contract renewal process, to reduce service revenue leakage, and to increase upsell and cross-sell opportunities. The second theme is reducing operational costs. 11i.10 is designed to present users with a broader set of customer criteria to better route and assign service requests. Instead of just using standard product and customer demographic information, a customer service manager can use such information as agents' skill levels, customer segmentation, and priority or loyalty programs as criteria for routing calls. The program also enables users to set up and optimize rules that help direct service requests to the lowest cost channels. And customers save time by having their service requirements handled in the quickest, most efficient means possible. Last, 11i.10 improves service effectiveness. Focusing on field service, Oracle integrated what it refers to as spare logistics into the update. Service managers can dispatch service technicians not only based on scheduling availability, but also based on availability of spare parts and parts inventory. Service managers can schedule appointments for customers in advance by accessing supply chain information and finding what parts will become available and when. "The idea is, a company can tell a customer they might not have the parts today, but based on production schedules, they'll have the parts available a week from today," Eklund says. Oracle also incorporated improved information access for contact center agents, including service requests, status and priority, orders, payments and invoices, customer profiles, and collateral. "Organizations are realizing that the key to customer satisfaction, loyalty, and retention is through accurate, complete, up-to-date information about the end user," says Esteban Kolsky, research director at Gartner. "Oracle was always a good product, the integration of 11i.10 with other Oracle applications makes it complete." Related article: Channel Management Gets Hosted
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