Oracle to Launch Customer Engagement Cloud Service

With the "mobile generation" in mind, Oracle last week announced a cloud-based customer engagement service that allows call center agents to be more personal and proactive in handling inquiries by giving them the ability to insert HD voice, HD video, screen shares, and annotations at any point in the customer journey.

The stereotypical sterile call center with everybody dressed the same, wearing headsets, and answering the same questions with the same answers belongs in the past, said Brian Kracik, senior director of product marketing, Enterprise Communications and Cloud Services, Oracle. "We all have personal perspectives and questions, and answers that need to be handled in different ways."

Also outdated is the mobile app that pushes you to the native dialer to place a call. Calling should be resident within the app (or, likewise, website), for example, so that context about the customer carries through and is delivered to the call center agent. In the case of a hotel, this would mean the agent knows the caller has clicked to call from within the mobile app, has the caller's reservation number on hand, can see the history of the customer's journey to that point, knows where the caller is located, and that he or she is a platinum member -- "all the information [and context] that can be useful in having that conversation with the customer," Kracik said.

And that's the intention with this new service, called Oracle Live Experience Cloud. It's meant to allow call center agents to invoke different types of engagement as needed -- inserting a chatbot or elevating from bot to the Live Experience widget as needed, Kracik said. Companies need to "get to their customers on the right channel, at the right time, to give a great experience," he added.

Oracle Communications' WebRTC Session Controller is one of the core components that make up the Live Experience cloud service, Kracik noted. In creating the cloud service, it's taken that platform and added in the contextual capabilities and a rules engine -- the "smarts" -- to create additional value. "Without those added in, we'd look like anybody else," he said.

The rules engine that comes with the Oracle Live Experience Cloud service helps guide when to invoke and how to insert an engagement channel within the customer journey, as well as when to escalate from chatbot to live assistance, for example. The service also supports real-time recording, with metadata tagging to facilitate search and playback, and offers integrated analytical tools, Kracik said.

While Oracle has not set general availability for the service, it does have the Live Experience Cloud service in beta with more than 70 customers, Kracik said.

To note, as he added, the Live Experience Cloud service is one of 10 products Oracle is highlighting in the Innovation Theater at OpenWorld, taking place this week in San Francisco. The demo will show the process that takes place should a customer engagement with a chatbot, integrated into the Live Experience cloud, stall out, requiring an escalation to voice, then video, and back to chat once the problem is resolved. "The history is retained, and the intelligence allows the agent to understand the context and get to the root cause of a problem sooner."

In addition, Live Experience Cloud will feature pre-built API integrations for Oracle Service Cloud and other key CRM systems. "We're finding that communications is horizontal in nature and how it's being leveraged across enterprise applications, and we think we're in the position to enhance and enrich those experiences along the way with context," Kracik said.

While voice may still be dominant in the call center, the shift to digital channels is coming. "And if you don't have a mobile-first strategy and if you're not thinking about new channels -- an omnichannel approach -- you're going to be left behind."

Follow Beth Schultz and No Jitter on Twitter!
@Beth_Schultz
@nojitter