4Service

Incidents

Incidents: Overview

When customers request help through email or the Ask a Question page, or you respond to a social networking post using the Social Monitor component, Service automatically creates incidents.

Most of the time, these are the incidents you will respond to. At other times, however, you will add incidents. For example, when a customer contacts you by phone, fax, or mail, you will add an incident to create a record of the customer’s question. When you work with customers to solve their support issues, you are instrumental in creating a positive impression of your organization. As an agent, you are often the customer’s first point of contact, and it is important to resolve their concerns quickly and efficiently the first time. Oracle Service Cloud helps you do this by providing comprehensive, accurate, and up-to-date information about all aspects of the customer’s communication with your organization.

Besides providing you with all-encompassing information just when you need it, Oracle RightNow Cloud Service (Service) gives you the tools to craft consistent, accurate answers to customer questions. It also allows you to propose incidents as answers, present offers to customers, and create opportunities from incidents.

When you edit or add an incident, you start by answering the customer’s question. Service provides help through standard text, suggested answers, and the ability to search the knowledge base. You define specific information about the incident, such as the staff member it is assigned to, the associated products and categories, and the status and disposition of the incident.

Working with incidents also gives you the ability to add or update contact information, track the amount of billable time you spend on the incident, add or edit tasks related to the incident, attach files to the incident, view all actions taken on the incident, and present promotional offers to the customer. You might also want to propose the incident as a permanent answer in the knowledge base. This allows customers to view the answer without being required to submit an incident.

Note: Service automatically handles email between separate Oracle Service Cloud sites and the site-specific incidents are accurately updated on each site even if unique reference numbers are used for the same incident. Refer to Cross-site email management.

Incidents reports

When you click the Incidents button on the navigation pane, the navigation list displays all of the reports and items added to this list by your administrator.

The Incidents button, plus all the other buttons you have access to, are part of the navigation set defined in your profile.

Incidents reports can be placed in other navigation lists, not just the Incidents navigation list. And if you have permission to customize your navigation set, you can add other items, including reports you have permission to access, to your Incidents navigation list or any of your lists.

Double-clicking any incidents report displays the report on the content pane.

The incident information displayed on the content pane depends on the incidents report you opened and which fields were defined when the report was created. The Incidents report, for example, displays the incident’s subject, status, the name of the agent it is assigned to, the queue it is assigned to, the date it was last updated, and the associated reference number. The Home tab on the ribbon allows you to open, add, print, copy, assign, delete, forward, and propose incidents. In addition, you can send email to an incident’s contact, search for an incident, refresh the report, or reset the search criteria. It also provides data analysis options and options for working with the report. Additional tabs on the report ribbon include options for controlling display and page setup.

Besides selecting an incident from a report, you can search for incidents from a report or use Quick Search.

Tip: You can right-click any incident and select the same functions that are available on the incidents report ribbon.

Standard incident workspace

Service provides a standard workspace for working with incidents.

The workspace defines which fields are available, which buttons are displayed on the ribbon, and how the information is organized on the content pane.

Your organization can use the standard incident workspace, or your administrator might have created one or more customized workspaces. Your profile defines the workspace you see when you work with incidents, whether it is the standard workspace or a customized workspace. If you are using a customized workspace, keep in mind that the workspace your profile uses may display a different combination of fields, or it may display them in a different location on the content pane.

Standard incident workspace ribbon

The following table describes the buttons on the ribbon of the standard incident workspace.

Table Incident Ribbon

Group/Button Description
Editor
Undock Click this button to undock the incident editor from the console and display it in a separate window.
Save
Save Click this button to save the incident you are working on. The incident remains open.

When you save an incident, the rules engine evaluates it. If incident rules exist and the incident matches one or more rules, the record may be modified when you save it. For example, a rule can change an incident’s disposition or add suggested answers to the Response field of the Messages tab.

Save and Close Click this button to save the incident you are working on and close the incident.
Send Click this button to send the response you are working on to the primary contact and to anyone in the CC and BCC fields if shown.
Actions

With the exception of the New button, the buttons in this group are not enabled until after you have saved an incident you are adding.

New Click this button to add an incident.
Refresh Click this button to refresh the current set of incident records.
Forward Click this button to forward the incident to any email address, staff account, or group.
Print Click this button to print the incident.
Copy Click this button to copy the incident.
Delete Click this button to delete the incident.
Proofing
Spell Check Click this button to check the spelling of any incident fields that have spell checking enabled.
Related Activities
Guided Assistance Click this button and either select or search for a guide that will ask you questions before directing you to information to help solve the incident.

This button will not display until guided assistance is enabled and you have guided assistance permission in your profile.

Propose Click this button to propose the incident as an answer.

This button is not enabled until after you have saved an incident you are adding.

Offer Advisor Click the button to open the Offer Advisor window, which allows you to present offers to the customer.

This button is enabled when an offer is available.

New Opportunity Click this button to create an opportunity that provides information about the incident to your sales department.
Appointment Click this button to add an Outlook appointment that is associated with the incident.
Links and Info
Links Click this button to select a URL from the list of links added by your administrator.
Info Click this button to see details about the incident, including the incident ID, when it was created and last updated, the date when the initial response was due, the date of the last response, the date of the initial response, the closed date, and the staff member who created it. If the incident has an escalation level or is in a rules state, that information also appears.

Record tabs

Using the incident record tabs, you can respond to the customer and add and edit other information relevant to the incident.

You can also work on the incident in stages if you choose, letting you save the changes and then return later to complete your work.

Note: If you make changes to fields on any of the incident record tabs or any of the sub-tabs or windows opened through the record tabs (for example, the contact editing sub-tab), you must save the incident in order for all changes on the record tabs to take effect. If you close the record without saving changes, those changes are lost.
  • Messages tab—Contains fields that allow you to add a customer entry, response, or private note to the incident thread and respond to the customer using either HTML or plain text. From this tab, you can also view suggested answers from SmartAssistant, search the knowledge base for public answers, and insert standard text into your response. Refer to Add an incident.

  • Contacts tab—Lists all contacts associated with the incident. The number of contacts associated with the incident displays in parentheses next to the tab name. You can add, open, print, copy, delete, remove, and email contacts from the incident. Refer to Add or edit contact information.

  • Details tab—Contains fields for collecting additional information about the incident, which is beneficial for reporting purposes. Refer to Add incident information on the Details tab.

  • Time Billed tab—Lists all time billed entries for the incident. From this tab, you can add, open, and delete time billed entries. Refer to Add time billed to an incident.

  • Tasks tab—Lists all of the tasks associated with the incident. You can add, open, copy, delete, print, and forward tasks and mark tasks complete. The Tasks tab displays a number in parentheses to show how many tasks are associated with the opportunity. Refer to Add or edit a task for an incident.

  • Organization tab—Lists the organization associated with the incident. Refer to Edit an organization associated with an incident.

  • Web Visit tab—Lists all actions the customer took before submitting the incident. Also provided are the client IP address, operating system, and browser used by the customer during their visit. Refer to View web visit information for an incident.

  • Attachments tab—Lists all files attached to the incident. For instance, if a customer forwards a document that is associated with the incident, the Attachments tab provides a convenient location where you can store the document for retrieval. You can add, open, download, delete, and view the properties of file attachments from this tab. Refer to Attaching files to records.

  • Audit Log tab—Contains a permanent list of all actions associated with an incident, including the date of the action, who performed the action, what the action was, and a description of the action. This information is valuable for tracking interactions with customers, especially if more than one staff member works on the same incident. Refer to Audit logs.

Working with incidents

When a customer submits a question, Service automatically creates an incident that contains the subject, customer’s question, and contact information.

You can complete an incident response in a single editing session, or you might find it useful to work on one part of the response and then return later to complete the rest of the incident.

The standard incident workspace enables you to move quickly from one section to the next as you work on incidents. You can edit any part of an incident in any order. The majority of incidents are assigned to you or pulled into your inbox. When incidents are assigned to you, some information in the record is populated when you open the incident.

Fill your inbox

If your profile has incident editing permission and queues assigned to it, you can click the Fill Inbox button on the ribbon of any incidents report displayed on the content pane.

When you click the Incidents navigation button and double-click the default My Inbox report, the incidents that are assigned to you are displayed. As you respond to and solve incidents, their status changes to Solved or Waiting. You can continue to refill your inbox to retrieve new unresolved incidents.

Procedure
  1. Click Fill Inbox on the ribbon of any incidents report. If your profile has been set to a manual pull policy, the Manual Queue Pull window opens and you can click the arrow to select the queue to pull incidents from. If only one queue is configured to pull incidents from, the Manual Queue Pull window does not display.

    If the displayed incidents report does not display incidents by assigned staff member, you can open the My Inbox report to view incidents that were added when you clicked Fill Inbox.

    Unresolved incidents in any of the queues designated in your profile are available to be pulled. The order in which you work on incidents is determined by the queue priority and any processes set up by your administrator.

Editing incidents

The fields you see when adding or editing an incident are defined in a workspace that is assigned to your profile.

Some of the fields are required by default, and your administrator may require that other fields also be completed. You must complete any field marked with an asterisk before you can save the incident. Incidents do not have to be completed in any particular order, but you must complete all required fields before you can save an incident.

The following list provides the steps involved when editing an incident.

You can save the incident at any stage of the process and either continue editing or close the incident and return later to complete it.

Incidents evaluated by the rules engine: When you save an incident, it is evaluated by the rules engine. Your administrator may have added business rules to simplify and automate your work. For example, rules can change incident fields, apply an SLA instance, add suggested answers to your response, and take many other actions automatically. If you save an incident without closing it and the incident matches one or more rules, it is possible that the incident was automatically modified by the rules engine. If you notice that changes have been made to the incident, you may want to check with your administrator to verify that they are the result of rule actions. Refer to About Business Rules Management.

Before you start editing incidents, you will benefit from understanding what certain field properties mean in order to provide accurate responses to customers. This includes incident statuses and SLAs, as they play an important role when you interact with customers.

Incident statuses

Incidents can have one of the four default incident statuses, or they may have a custom status defined by your administrator.

The default statuses are Unresolved, Solved, Updated, and Waiting.

Depending on how Service is configured in your organization, the status can change automatically when you or the customer make changes to the incident. You can also change an incident’s status manually.

The following example describes how an incident’s status can change automatically.

  1. A customer submits a question from the Ask a Question page. The new incident has a status of Unresolved.

  2. The customer updates the question before you begin working on the incident. The incident remains unresolved, but the incident status changes to Updated to reflect the customer’s actions and alert you to the change.

  3. You edit the incident and send a response to the customer. Your system may be configured in either of the following ways to automatically change the status, or it may be configured so that no status change occurs.
    • The incident’s status changes to Solved.

      Note: Regardless of how your system is configured, the status of an incident automatically changes to Solved when the customer selects “No, I don’t need this question answered now” on the question details page or through the link in the email response. You will receive an incident notification.
    • The incident’s status changes to Waiting. The Waiting status signifies that you have sent a response and are waiting for the customer to let you know if this answers the question. If your system has this configuration and the customer does not respond within forty-eight hours (the default time), the system automatically changes the status to Solved and sends an email to the customer.

Applying SLAs

Another field you may work with is the SLA Instance field.

An SLA is a service level agreement. SLAs allow your organization to assign and track customer service, such as the number of questions a customer can submit through different channels and the duration of support.

Both contacts and organizations can have SLAs, but contacts that are associated with an organization do not have individual SLAs. Instead, their incidents are credited to their organization’s SLA. Only contacts that do not have an organization association can have SLAs.

Your administrator creates an SLA, which is a generic service contract that has not been applied to any specific customer. An SLA instance is a copy of the generic SLA applied to a specific customer. SLA instances can be applied manually by staff members whose profiles grant them permission to work with SLAs or automatically through business rules in Service. (If you have read-only permissions for contacts, organizations, and incidents, you will see View in the SLA Instance field instead of Add or Edit.)

When you work on an incident for a customer who has an SLA, you can credit that incident to the SLA. If the customer does not have an SLA, you must apply an SLA instance before you can credit the incident.

Apply an SLA instance to a contact or organization

The following procedure describes how to apply an SLA instance when you are working on an incident.

Procedure
  1. From an incidents report, right-click the incident and select Open > Contact or Open > Organization.

  2. Click Add (if no SLAs have been applied to the customer) or Edit in the SLA field to open the SLA Viewer window. Any SLA instances that have already been applied to the customer are displayed under SLA Instances.

    Note: If you select Open > Contact and the contact is associated with an organization, the SLA field contains “See organization for SLA Details.” Return to the incidents report on the content pane, right-click the incident, and select Open > Organization.

  3. Click Add SLA Instance to open the Add New SLA Instance window.

  4. Click the Name drop-down menu and select an SLA.

  5. Select an active date by clicking a day on the current month’s calendar (or, to change the month, click the right or left arrow in the month heading). Today’s date is selected by default.

  6. Click OK to apply the SLA instance to the customer. The Add New SLA Instance window closes and the SLA instance is added.

  7. Click OK to close the SLA Viewer window.

Once an SLA instance has been applied to the customer, you can credit incidents submitted by that customer against the SLA instance as long as the incident occurs within the active date period. See Credit an incident to an SLA instance.

Credit an incident to an SLA instance

Once an SLA instance has been applied to the customer, you can credit incidents submitted by that customer against the SLA instance as long as the incident occurs within the active date period.

Procedure
  1. From an incidents report, right-click the incident and select Open > Incident.

  2. Click the Details tab.

  3. Click the drop-down menu on the SLA Instance field and select an SLA instance. The incident is credited to the SLA instance you select.

    Note: Every time an incident is credited to an SLA instance, the number of available incidents is reduced. When the last incident is credited, the customer’s SLA is disabled.

  4. Click Save to save the incident.

If you have enabled resolution due calculations and the SLA has a response time defined, you will be able to view the resolution due date and time after saving the incident. Refer to Configuring resolution due calculations.

Edit key incident fields

After understanding the role of incident statuses and SLAs, you can edit the key incident fields.

The following procedure describes the standard incident workspace. Keep in mind that your workspace may contain different fields. Fields marked with an asterisk are required fields and must be completed before you can save the incident.

Procedure
  1. From an incidents report, right-click the incident and select Open > Incident.

  2. Enter the following field information.

    Tip: Use the Find feature at the bottom of drop-down menus when available to search quickly. Wildcards are supported. You can search strings that include a space by typing %[space bar][character], which is helpful when searching last names. For example, when using the Find feature in the Assigned field, typing %[space bar]b returns all last names starting with the letter b. There is also an implied wildcard when searching, so typing b in the Find field returns all items containing the letter b.

    The following table describes the key incident fields.

    Table Incident Fields

    Field Description
    *Subject Type a subject for the incident in this field. If the customer originated the incident, this field contains the customer’s summary of the question, which you can edit if necessary (for example, to make the question more specific).
    Reference # The incident’s reference number is a read-only field with a value assigned by Service.
    *Status Click this drop-down menu and select an incident status. The options include Solved, Unresolved, Updated, and Waiting, as well as any custom incident statuses added by your administrator.
    Assigned Click this drop-down menu and select a staff member to assign the incident to. On the standard incident workspace, this field contains your name by default.
    Disposition Click this drop-down menu and select a disposition that indicates the resolution of the incident. There may be multiple levels of dispositions for you to select.
    *Contact Click Search to the right of the Contact field to search for a contact to add to the incident. To add a contact, click New Contact on the open Contact Search window.

    If this field contains a name, the customer will also be listed as the primary contact on the Contacts tab. Be aware that if you add another contact using the Search button, the existing primary contact is removed from the incident and replaced with the new primary contact. To add a contact to an incident without removing the primary contact, use the Add button on the Contacts tab toolbar.

    Organization Name This read-only field contains the name of the organization for the contact associated with the incident.
    Product Click this drop-down menu and select one or more product levels to indicate the product for the incident.
    Category Click this drop-down menu and select one or more category levels to indicate the category for the incident.

  3. To add a flag to the incident, click the area next to the white flag at the top of the content pane.

  4. To add other key incident fields, click the Details tab.

Add incident information on the Details tab

The standard incident workspace contains a Details tab where you can enter additional information about the incident.

Procedure
  1. From an incidents report, right-click the incident and select Open > Incident.

  2. Click the Details tab.

  3. Enter the following field information.

    The following table describes the incident fields on the Details tab of the standard incident workspace.

    Table Incident Fields on the Details Tab

    Field Description
    Mailbox Click this drop-down menu to select the mailbox to send the incident response from.
    Source This is a read-only field that identifies the source of an incident, whether it is added by a staff member or a customer.
    Severity Click this drop-down menu to select a severity level for the incident. The severity level serves as an importance indicator for any agents that work on the incident. The highest severity incidents are usually solved first.
    *Interface Click this drop-down menu and select an interface.

    By default, the incident’s interface is set to the interface where the incident was created. The interface determines the language of the message bases used for automatic responses to the incident.

    Language Click this drop-down menu and select a language.

    If your site has multiple interfaces for different languages, be sure you have also selected the interface that uses the language you want used in the response to the customer.

    SLA Instance Click this drop-down menu to credit the incident to an SLA instance that has been applied to the contact or the organization to which the contact belongs.
    Queue Click this drop-down menu and select a queue into which to move the incident from your inbox.
    Custom Fields If your administrator has added incident custom fields, you can enter that information on the Details tab.

Responding to incidents

The incident thread, which displays communication between the customer and agent, is located on the Messages tab. Using the Rich Text Incident Thread control, you can display, edit, and respond to HTML-formatted emails, resulting in richer interactions with your customers.

The following figure shows the thread control on the standard incident workspace (displayed by clicking File and selecting Incident).


This figure shows the Rich Text Incident Thread control on the standard incident workspace with the following areas highlighted: Messages tab toolbar (Send On Save, Add, SmartAssistance, Search Knowledgebase, Standard Text, Options), WYSIWYG toolbar (formatting tools). It also shows the uncommitted threads panel on the left (with title bar), and the committed threads panel on the right.

Note: When using the Rich Text Incident Thread to respond to incidents, you are limited to using one $ at a time. If you place more than one $ consecutively in your response, when the thread is committed only one will display.

Using the Messages tab toolbar, you can choose the type of thread entry—customer entry, response, or private note—when responding to the customer. Because the thread title bars are color coded, it is easy to differentiate between them when adding or editing an incident. On a new incident, the default thread type on the standard incident workspace is Customer Entry (the default channel is Phone).

If the customer submitted the question through the customer portal, it also appears as a Customer Entry thread. You can enter the question for the customer if, for example, you are responding to a phone call. This will appear as a Customer Entry as well. Besides adding a Response thread, you can also add a Private Note thread, which can be read by other staff members but not by customers.

When editing an incident, the default is Response (the default channel is Email). To save time and make your responses accurate and consistent, you can add predefined content, including SmartAssistant suggested answers or standard text. You can also search for answers that are related to the customer’s question.

Using the WYSIWYG toolbar, you can apply HTML formatting to threads while they display in the uncommitted threads panel. When you save the incident, all uncommitted (unsaved) threads are moved to the committed threads panel, where all HTML formatting is retained. If the EGW_VISUAL_EMAIL configuration setting is disabled, all incoming email will display as plain text even if it was sent as HTML.

When an incident is created for a customer through the Social Monitor, social channels such as Twitter and Facebook will be available when responding. Instead of sending an email response to the customer, you can respond directly to the social networking site where the post originated.

Note: Whenever a valid incident reference number appears in any incident thread (Customer Entry, Response, or Private Note), it is displayed in green text in the thread and is a link that opens the incident in a separate workgroup when you click it. In order for Service to create a clickable link from an incident reference number, the number must use the format ######-######.

The Messages tab lets you send the response to the customer when you save it. You can send the incident response to other recipients as well by adding their email addresses to the CC field. Send response functionality also lets you attach files to the incident and select secure email options.

The following table describes the toolbar buttons that appear on the Messages tab.

Table Messages Tab Toolbar

Button Description
Send on Save Select this check box to send your response to the customer when you save the incident.
Add Click this button and select one of the following options to add a thread to the uncommitted threads panel.
Customer Entry Select this option to enter information about the customer. For example, select Customer Entry when the customer’s question occurs during a phone call. This is the default option when you add an incident.
Response Select this option to type your response to the customer’s question. This is the default option when you edit an incident.
Private Note Select this option to type the text that you want to be viewed only by other staff members. Customers cannot view this information.
SmartAssistant Click this button to select one or more answers you can insert into your response as either text or a URL link.
Search Knowledgebase Click this button to search for answers to help you respond to the customer.
Standard Text Click this button to select and insert a predefined piece of information into the response. For example, you might select a greeting, closing, or response to a common question.
Options Click this button to select thread type filters to modify your committed incident thread information display, change the date sorting order for threads on the committed threads panel, and choose message header display options for sending responses.
Note: Your administrator controls the functions available on this toolbar. See workspaceagent script to view the list of individual functions.
Add a response to an incident

Follow this procedure to add a response to an incident.

Procedure
  1. From an incidents report, right-click the incident and select Open > Incident.

  2. If the Message tab is not on top, click Messages. (On the standard incident workspace, this tab is displayed when an incident is opened.)

  3. If the Response option is not selected automatically, click Add and select Response. The Response title bar displays on the uncommitted threads panel.

    Note: You can add multiple threads to the uncommitted threads panel before saving the incident. To edit or delete a thread, click Edit or Delete located on the right side of the title bar.

  4. To identify a channel for a response, click the Email drop-down menu in the Response title bar and select one of the following options: Phone, Fax, Post, CSS Web, or Email. (Email is the default channel on the Response title bar.) If an incident is created through the Social Monitor component, the social channel from which it arrived will display by default on the Customer Entry title bar and will be available as an option in the Phone drop-down menu.

  5. Type your response to the customer’s question. Use the WYSIWYG toolbar to:

    • Cut, copy, paste, undo, and redo. If formatted content is copied from an external source and pasted into the uncommitted threads panel, all formatting is retained. To avoid reformatting pasted content, right-click and select the Paste as Text option or press Ctrl+Shift+v.
    • Change font style, size, and attributes (bold, italic, underline, strikethrough, text color, highlight).
    • When entering a response or customer entry thread, any changes to font style, color, or highlighting take precedence over the styling used on the customer portal. As a result, contacts using the customer portal to review agent responses may see unexpected font and color combinations.
    • Left-justify, center, or right-justify text and images on the page.
    • Insert images by URL and upload images.
    • Insert links.
    • Increase and decrease indents.
    • Apply specialized formatting, including sub and super script.
    • View plain text, which removes all HTML formatting.
    When you save the incident, the uncommitted threads panel closes and all uncommitted threads are moved to the committed threads panel. The committed threads panel expands so the incident threads are easier to read.
    Tip: You can right-click in the committed threads panel and choose options for selecting, copying, and finding text. The find feature (which can also be opened by pressing Ctrl+f) can be useful for finding information quickly.

The thread control remains in this state until you add another response, customer entry, or private note. At that point, the uncommitted threads panel displays again.
Add a customer entry or private note to an incident

Follow this procedure to add a customer entry or private note to an incident.

Procedure
  1. From an incidents report, right-click the incident and select Open > Incident.

  2. To add a customer entry, click Add and select Customer Entry. The Customer Entry title bar displays on the uncommitted threads panel.

    You can add multiple threads to the uncommitted threads panel before saving the incident. To edit or delete a thread, click Edit or Delete located on the right side of the title bar.

    1. To identify a channel for a customer entry, click the Phone drop-down menu in the Customer Entry title bar and select one of the following options: No Channel, Phone, Fax, Post, CSS Web, or Email. (Phone is the default channel on the Customer Entry title bar.) If an incident is created through the Social Monitor component, the social channel from which it arrived will display by default on the Customer Entry title bar and will be available as an option in the Phone drop-down menu.

  3. To add a private note, click Add and select Private Note.

    1. To identify a channel for the private note, click the No Channel drop-down menu and select one of the following options: No Channel, Phone, Fax, Post, CSS Web, or Email. (No Channel is the default channel.)

  4. Type the customer entry or note in the uncommitted threads panel. Use the WYSIWYG toolbar to:

    • If formatted content is copied from an external source and pasted into the uncommitted threads panel, all formatting is retained. To avoid reformatting pasted content, right-click and select the Paste as Text option or press Ctrl+Shift+v.
    • Change font style, size, and attributes (bold, italic, underline, strikethrough, text color, highlight).
    • When entering a response or customer entry thread, any changes to font style, color, or highlighting take precedence over the styling used on the customer portal. As a result, contacts using the customer portal to review agent responses may see unexpected font and color combinations.
    • Left-justify, center, or right-justify text and images on the page.
    • Format text in bulleted or numbered lists.
    • Insert images by URL and upload images.
    • Insert links.
    • Increase and decrease indents.
    • Apply specialized formatting, including sub and super script.
    • View plain text, which removes all HTML formatting.
    • Cut, copy, paste, undo, and redo.
    When you save the incident, the uncommitted threads panel closes and all uncommitted threads are moved to the committed threads panel. The committed threads panel expands so the incident threads are easier to read.
    Tip: You can right-click in the committed threads panel and choose options for selecting, copying, and finding text. The find feature (which can also be opened by pressing Ctrl+f) can be useful for finding information quickly.

The thread control remains in this state until you add another response, customer entry, or private note. At that point, the uncommitted threads panel displays again.

Adding content to responses

Service has tools that help you save time, eliminate mistakes, and provide consistent information to customers.

These tools include the ability to attach links to answers in the knowledge base, insert the actual text of answers into the response, search the knowledge base for specific answers to include, and insert standard, predefined text.

Adding SmartAssistant suggested answers

SmartAssistant is a tool in Service that helps you find solutions to customer questions. SmartAssistant evaluates the language of a customer’s question and suggests possible answers.

You can then insert either a link to the answer or the actual text of the answer into your response.

SmartAssistant contains an autotuning feature that reviews the effectiveness of your current configuration and automatically makes adjustments and suggestions to improve results. A tuned, optimized SmartAssistant can improve incident deflection rates and produce information that can be used to refine the knowledge base and provide guidance to agents. The autotuner enhances the search algorithm by closely tracking answers that have been appended to an incident thread as a link or text, or that an agent has explicitly identified as the answer that best resolved an incident. SmartAssistant will then give greater deference to these answers, as they are known to relate to or resolve issues submitted as incidents.

In addition, the autotuner reviews the many configuration settings that influence SmartAssistant results and recommends changes to ensure that they are fully optimized. And to help you understand the value of these recommendations and help you decide whether to accept them, their projected impact is also presented.

Note: Before you can use autotuning, you must enable KF_SA_OPTIMIZATION_ENABLE and add the autotuner component to your list of items for the Configuration button. Refer to Edit a configuration setting and Create a navigation set for the administrator.
Add SmartAssistant suggested answers

Follow this procedure to add SmartAssistant suggested answers to a response.

Procedure
  1. Click SmartAssistant on the Messages tab toolbar. A list of possible answers displays with columns for ID, Summary, Weight, Access, and Status. You can sort by any of the columns.

  2. To include the text of an answer in the response, click Add As Text in the Action column. The answer content is added to the response.

    Tip: You can also enter answer text if you know an answer’s ID by pressing F9 from the incident response on the Messages tab, typing the Answer ID number in the Append Answer Text window that opens, and pressing Enter. You can edit the answer text before sending the response.

  3. To add an answer’s URL link to the response, click Add As Link in the Action column.

  4. To view a suggested answer, click View in the Action column. The View Answer window opens, displaying the answer as it appears on the customer portal. (You can print the answer from this view by clicking the File menu item and selecting Print.)

  5. Click Close to close the SmartAssistant window.

Mark an answer as the best answer

Mark an answer as the best answer to have SmartAssistant give it greater deference.

Procedure
  1. From the open incident, click Best Answers. A list of answers that have been added and committed to the incident thread is displayed with columns for ID, Summary, Access Level, Status, and Date Added. You can sort by any of the columns.

  2. To choose the best answer (or answers) for the customer’s question, select the Best Answer check box.

  3. To clear all best answer selections, select the No Answer Resolved This Incident check box.

  4. Click Save.

Review and accept autotuner recommendations

Review and accept SmartAssistant Auto Tuner settings.

Procedure
  1. Click Configuration on the navigation pane.

  2. Double-click SA Auto Tuner component in your configuration list. The SA Auto Tuner dashboard displays information regarding the current SmartAssistant configuration settings, relevance history, and recommendations.

    This figure shows the SA Auto Tuner dashboard, and is described in the surrounding text.

    The dashboard contains the following reports.

    • SA Configuration—This report contains information about your current SmartAssistant configuration values (in the Current column) and the suggested values for optimizing them (in the Tuned column). The Relevancy row displays the current aggregated relevancy value of SmartAssistant results.

    • SA Relevance History—This report displays the percentage of answers suggested by SmartAssistant that have been relevant over recent weekly intervals, also indicating when changes were made to SmartAssistant settings. This demonstrates how changes you have applied impact your site’s SmartAssistant effectiveness.

    • Recommendations—This panel displays the autotuner’s current recommendation (whether to accept the suggested configuration changes) based on whether sufficient SmartAssistant coverage was available to evaluate and whether the recommendation is made with high, medium, or low confidence.

  3. To accept the suggested configuration and update your settings with the recommended values, click Accept New Configuration on the ribbon.

Searching the knowledge base

As you respond to a customer’s question, you might remember answers that address similar issues. Rather than conducting a time-consuming hunt of the knowledge base to find the relevant answers, Service lets you search for specific answers.

Using any of four text searching techniques, you can quickly identify answers to resolve a customer’s question. Refer to Append answer content.

Insert standard text from the Standard Text window

When you are busy responding to customers’ questions, you will appreciate having the routine parts of your job streamlined as much as possible.

For example, you would probably welcome a shortcut as an alternative to typing a standard greeting and closing for every email response you send. Your administrator can create standard text for routine situations so you can insert a text item into a response.

You can insert standard text from the Standard Text window or, if you know the hot key sequence for the text item, you can type it without opening the Standard Text window.

Procedure
  1. In your response, position the cursor where you want to insert the standard text.

  2. Click Standard Text on the Messages tab toolbar to open the Standard Text window.

  3. Do one of the following:

    • Double-click the standard text item to automatically insert the text into your response.
    • Select the standard text item you want to insert in your response and click OK to close the window.
    • Drag the standard text item from the list into the response.
    • Copy the text in the Preview section and paste it into the response.
    If an HTML version of the standard text is available, it displays by default in the Preview section of the window. Otherwise, the plain text version displays.
    Tip: To search for standard text, click Find in List.

  4. Click OK to close the Standard Text window.

  5. To add other standard text items to the response, repeat these steps.

  6. To modify the standard text, edit it as necessary in the response.

    Note: If the standard text includes one or more variables, the variable is displayed in your response rather than the value of the variable (the contact’s first name in the example). The variable is replaced with the data only when you send your response. Then, when you reopen the incident, the data appears where the variable had been inserted.

Insert standard text using a hot key sequence

If you know the hot key sequence for standard text you want to insert, you can enter it without opening the Standard Text window.

Procedure
  1. To display the hot key sequence for a standard text item, select the standard text in the column that contains the Standard Text options in the Standard Text window. The keystrokes are displayed in the Hotkey field in the right column.

  2. At the location in the incident response where you want to insert the standard text:

    1. Press F8 to open a Standard Text field.

    2. Enter the hot key sequence in the field.

    3. Press F8 or Enter to insert the text into your response.

Find answers using guided assistance

Guided assistance is a powerful tool designed to step you through a series of questions and direct you to answers and text responses you can offer your customers.

As you work with customers on the phone or respond to incidents, you can quickly find the information that best helps your customers. Guided assistance steers you to the information based on your answers to the questions rather than you having to review SmartAssistant answers or search the knowledge base.

Before you can use guided assistance to work with incidents, your administrator must have enabled the tool on your site, created guides for you to use, and added the Guided Assistance control to the incident workspace you use.

The following table describes the buttons on the Guided Assistance window.

Table Guided Assistance Window

Button Description
Expand Navigator Select this check box to open a panel on the left that displays all the branches used in the guide.
Navigate Click this button after selecting a question or response on the left panel. The contents of the question or response are displayed on the right panel.
Search for a Guide Click this button to search for a guide.
Select a Guide Click this button to select a guide.
Add Text to Thread Click this button to add the text of the current question and response to the incident thread.
Procedure
  1. Open the incident for which you want to use guided assistance.

  2. To select a guide from a list, click Guided Assistance and click Select. The Select a Guide window opens.

  3. Select the guide you want from the list.

  4. Click OK. The Guided Assistance window opens.

  5. To search for a guide, click Search for a Guide. The Search for a Guide window opens.

    Note: Before searching for a guide, you should fill out the associated incident’s product and category. Only guides that have been associated with an answer can be searched.
    1. Define search terms by selecting drop-down menu options or typing phrases in a text field.

    2. Click Search. A list of guides that match your search criteria displays.

    3. Select the guide you want to use and click Select. The window closes and the questions in the guide are displayed.

  6. Answer each of the questions that are presented in the guide until you reach an end point, which is in the form of a knowledge base answer or a text explanation.

  7. If the results provide answers from the knowledge base, you can add a link to an answer or the text of the answer in the incident thread, or you can view an answer.

    1. To add a hyperlink to the answer in the incident, click Add as Link.

    2. To add the text of the answer to the incident, click Add as Text.

    3. To view the answer, click View.

  8. Click Close to close the Guided Assistance window.

Add or edit contact information

Because Service creates incidents from customer questions, the contact information is usually present when you respond to an incident. Sometimes, however, you will need to add or edit contact information.

You can add multiple contacts to an incident, but you must designate only one as the primary contact. Secondary contacts do not have to be associated with the same organization as the primary contact.

Procedure
  1. From an open incident, click the Contacts tab. Information for the primary contact (which includes name, email address, phone, title, and address) displays at the top of the tab, and nested tabs contain additional information.

  2. To remove a contact from the incident, select the radio button next to the contact’s name, click Remove, and confirm that you want to remove the contact. The contact is disassociated from the incident, but the contact’s record remains in the knowledge base.

  3. Choose one of the following options to add a contact:

    • To add a new contact to the incident: click Add New. A new contact opens on a sub-tab.
    • To add an existing contact to the incident, click Add Existing, search for the contact you want to add, and select it. To edit this contact, right-click it and select Open.
    Note: Adding a new contact from the Contacts tab does not change the primary contact for the incident. To designate a primary contact, you must manually select the Primary option next the contact’s name. However, adding a new contact using Search next to the Contact field of the incident not only replaces the existing primary contact with the new contact, but the existing primary contact is automatically removed from the incident.

  4. To edit an existing contact for the incident, right-click the contact and select Open. The contact opens on a sub-tab.

  5. Add or edit contact information in the First Name and Last Name fields and make a selection in the State field.

  6. To add or edit other contact information, make the changes in the fields or on the record tabs.

  7. Click OK to close the sub-tab and add the contact to the incident. The Contact sub-tab closes and keeps the contact data in memory. The contact record is not saved in the knowledge base until you save the incident.

  8. To add other information to the primary contact record, click the Contact Fields sub-tab.

    1. To add or edit the contact’s login, type it in the field.

    2. To select or change the contact’s global opt-in choice, email format, or state, click the appropriate drop-down menu and select an option.

  9. To view incident information for the primary contact, click the Incident History sub-tab.

  10. Click Save to save your changes on the Contacts tab.

Add time billed to an incident

Your organization may collect statistics on the amount of time agents spend solving incidents so that management can plan for better use of staff time.

These statistics can also identify products or issues that are causing similar customer questions, allowing answers to be added to the knowledge base to reduce the amount of time agents must spend on them.

The Time Billed tab is where you enter the amount of time you spend on an incident. It also lets you see details about the amount of time other agents spent on the incident. Depending on how your administrator has configured your application, you may be required to enter time billed every time you edit an incident or before you can set an incident status to Solved.

Procedure
  1. From an incidents report, right-click the incident and select Open > Incident.

  2. Click the Time Billed tab. The tab contains the number of time billed entries associated with the incident in parentheses next to the tab name.

  3. Click Add New to open the Time Billed window.

  4. Enter the time billed field information described in the following table.

    Table Time Billed Window

    Field Description
    *Date The default is today’s date. Click the drop-down menu to open the current month’s calendar and select a date.
    *Billed By Click this drop-down menu and select a staff member. This field defaults to your staff account since you are editing the incident.
    *Billable Task The default billable task is Miscellaneous, but your administrator may have added other billable tasks for you to select. Click this drop-down menu and select a task.
    *Duration Select the value in the Hours or Minutes field, or both, and type a new value. Or use the up and down arrows to adjust the duration.
    Notes Type a note about the time billed for the incident.

  5. Click OK to close the Time Billed window.

  6. Click Save to save your changes on the Time Billed tab.

Modifying time billed entries

You can edit and delete time billed entries as necessary.

To edit a time billed entry, right-click it and select Open. Make any changes and save the entry. To delete a time billed entry, right-click the entry and select Delete.

Note: Deleting a time billed entry can result in inaccurate statistics in reports.

Add or edit a task for an incident

You can add and edit all tasks associated with an incident by clicking the incident’s Tasks tab.

When you add or edit a task, you not only define its name, the staff member it is assigned to, relevant dates, and type of task, but you also associate it with new or existing incidents. The tab contains the number of tasks associated with the incident in parentheses next to the tab name.

Procedure
  1. From an incidents report, right-click the incident and select Open > Incident.

  2. Click the Tasks tab.

  3. Do one of the following:

    • Click Add New to open the new task on a sub-tab. The reference number for the incident appears in the Incident field on the new task editor.
    • Right-click a task on the Tasks tab and select Open.

  4. Add or change the task name in the Name field.

  5. Click the Status drop-down menu and select a status for the task. The default status is Not Started.

  6. To enter additional task information, complete the fields or select menu options.

  7. Click OK to save the task and close the task sub-tab.

  8. Click Save to save your changes on the Tasks tab.

Edit an organization associated with an incident

Incidents are associated with contacts. If an incident also has an organization association, it is because the incident’s primary contact is associated with an organization.

The Organization tab lets you view the name and ID of the organization associated with the incident’s primary contact, and you can edit the address, login, password, and state for the organization. But if you want to change the organization associated with an incident, you will have to edit the contact record.

Procedure
  1. From an incidents report, right-click the incident and select Open > Incident.

  2. Click the Organization tab.

    Note: The Organization Name and Organization ID fields are read-only.

  3. To enter an address, click Edit in the lower right corner of the Billing field to display a window for entering the organization’s address. Type information in the Street, City, and Postal Code fields, and make selections on the Country and State/Prov fields drop-down menus. When you select the country, the associated states or provinces appear in the State/Prov menu. Press Enter when you are finished to close the window and display the address you entered.

  4. To enter a login or password, type the information in the appropriate field.

  5. To change the organization’s state, click the drop-down menu and select an option.

  6. To view the incident history for the organization, click the Incident History tab.

  7. To view the organization’s contacts, click the Contacts for Org tab. You can also open, add, print, copy, assign, delete, and email contacts using the toolbar on this tab.

    Caution: There are usually consequences when a contact is deleted. Refer to Contacts: Overview.

  8. Click Save to save your changes on the Organization tab.

View web visit information for an incident

You might find it helpful to know what information contacts viewed on the customer portal before they submitted their question.

On the Web Visit tab of an incident, you can see what questions they viewed and any searches they performed. In addition, the customer’s referring site (the site they were visiting prior to accessing the customer portal), source IP address, operating system, and browser information are provided.

Procedure
  1. From an incidents report, right-click the incident and select Open > Incident.

  2. Click the Web Visit tab. The number of actions are listed in parentheses on the tab.

Attaching files to incidents

The Attachments tab lets you add files containing information that may not fit neatly into an incident.

For example, you might want to attach a file that contains graphic elements. When you attach a file to an incident or incident response, that file becomes permanently attached to the incident. Likewise, any file the customer attaches when submitting a question also becomes permanently attached to the incident. HTML email updates that are larger than the maximum description size are attached to the incident as an HTML file.

The Attachments tab lists all files attached to the incident and contains the file name, size, dates created and updated, a description, and whether the attachment is private (not visible on the customer portal). You and other staff members can access any attached file from the Attachments tab of the incident, while the customer can access it from the Your Account page on the customer portal.

If a file is attached in the same edit a thread is added on the Messages tab (the file attachment and the incident thread are saved at the same time), an Attachments indicator displays in the title bar of the thread on the Messages tab after the incident is saved. Click the Attachments drop-down menu to display attachments added at the time the thread entry was saved, then click a file name to view the file.

Note: The Attachments indicator drop-down menu in a thread title bar indicates which files were sent in your response to the customer and helps you identify the point in the incident thread an attachment was added to the incident. If you attach a file and save the incident when there are no uncommitted threads, the attached file will appear on the Attachments tab but not on the Messages tab.

Files that are permanently attached to an incident are not sent in your response to the customer unless you specifically mark them to be sent with the response. This lets the customer open the file directly from the email client instead of having to log in to view it.

Present an offer

In your role as an agent, your organization may ask you to present special offers to customers because you have a strong understanding of what they need and have earned their trust through your work with them.

When you work with an incident, Service evaluates the customer’s information and purchase history. Based on the results, it looks for offers the customer is eligible for. These offers can include promotions, suggestions, or both. Promotions are special offers made to specific groups of customers (called targets), while suggestions are automatically generated based on customer information. An example of a promotion is free shipping on certain products. An example of a suggestion is offering a headset to someone who has recently purchased a cell phone. When the customer is eligible for an offer, the Offer Advisor button is enabled. After you finish responding to the customer’s question, you can click Offer Advisor to display an Offers window.

The following procedure is a brief overview of presenting an offer to a customer. For the complete procedure, refer to promotionssuggestionspromotionssuggestions.

Procedure
  1. From an open incident, click Offer Advisor to open the Offer Advisor window.

  2. Select the offer you want to present to the customer.

  3. Do one of the following:

    • If you are on a phone call with the customer, read or paraphrase the guide and product information to the customer.
    • Or, if you are responding to an incident, right-click anywhere in the guide text or product information sections and select Copy. Paste the text into the response and modify as necessary before sending.

  4. Click Set Response in the Action column for the offer you want to present. The associated drop-down menu in the Response column is activated.

  5. Click the drop-down menu and select Yes, Interest, No, or Defer.

  6. Click OK to return to the incident.

  7. Click Save to save the incident and record the customer’s responses to the offers.

Create an opportunity from an incident

During the course of working with customers, you might discover information that makes them potential customers for other services and products your organization offers. In those cases, you can create opportunities and send them to the sales department for evaluation and follow-up.

The workspace you use to create an opportunity from an incident may be different depending on your profile and any custom workspaces defined by your administrator.

Procedure
  1. From an open incident, click New Opportunity on the ribbon.

  2. To edit any information for the opportunity, enter the field information described in Opportunities: Overview.

  3. Click Save to send the opportunity to the sales department.

Sending responses

When you have completed a response to an incident, you are ready to send your reply to the customer. Several options are available when you send a response, including attaching files to the response, copying other recipients, and selecting encryption options.

The behavior for sending responses depends on the settings your administrator selected when creating the incident workspace for your profile. The standard incident workspace behaves in the following manner when you add a Response type thread entry to the uncommitted threads panel.

  • The Send on Save check box is cleared, so you must select it if you want to automatically send your response to the primary contact when you save the incident. For this reason, you might not want to select it until you have finalized your response so you do not send a response each time you save changes while you work on the incident.

  • If an uncommitted response thread exists and the Send on Save check box is selected, the Email title bar displays an attachment icon for associating attachments and a CC field for notifying other contacts. BCC and sign/encrypt functionality can be enabled on the Options window (accessed by clicking Options on the thread control, which is typically found on the Messages tab toolbar).

  • You can save a draft response to an incident without sending it. Click Options on the thread control and select the Always Show for Responses check box below the Email Message Header. You will then be able to set CC, BCC, and attachments for a response, and save that data until you want to send the response. See Attach files to an incident response and Select additional recipients for an incident response.

  • Customer-entered URLs are replaced with [link removed] in response emails. This ensures that customer-entered URLs (IP addresses) are not identified as spam and blocked. This functionality can be overridden by populating the EGW_ALLOWED_DOMAIN_NAMES and EGW_ALLOWED_TOP_LEVEL_DOMAINS configuration settings located at RightNow Common/Service Modules/RightNow Email. Refer to cross tab rollup.

  • If a contact is associated with multiple email addresses, service responses are sent to all associated addresses by default. You can limit your responses to be sent to a single email address by enabling the site-wide configuration setting OE_SVC_SENDMAIL_SINGLE_ADDRESS (Common/General/Outgoing Email). Refer to cross tab rollup. Once enabled, service responses are sent only to the specified email address and agents can select which one of the contact email addresses they want to send the response to. That email address value remains for the life of the incident. However, any new incidents for that contact will default to the primary email address.

Send a response to the primary contact

Follow this procedure to send a response to the primary incident contact.

Procedure
  1. Do one of the following:

    • Click Send.
    • Select the Send on Save check box, then click Save or Save and Close to send your response.
    If a customer does not receive your response, a Viewed Bounced Messages button appears on the Response title bar in the committed threads panel. Refer to View a bounced message.

Send a single response to a contact associated with multiple addresses

Follow this procedure to send a single response to a contact associated with multiple addresses.

This procedure assumes you have enabled the site-wide configuration setting OE_SVC_SENDMAIL_SINGLE_ADDRESS (Common/General/Outgoing Email). Refer to cross tab rollup.
Procedure
  1. Select the Send on Save check box. The Response title bar expands and displays the primary contact’s email address, an Attach button (paperclip icon), and a CC field.

  2. Click the drop-down menu to the right of the primary contact’s email address and select the address to which you want to send the response.

    Note: This email address value remains for the life of the incident. However, any new incidents for this contact will default to the primary email address.

  3. Click Save to send your response.

Attach files to an incident response

Follow this procedure to attach files to an incident response.

Procedure
  1. Click Options and select the Always Show for Response check box below Email Message Header. The Response title bar expands and the Attach button displays.

  2. Click Attach to open the Attachments window.

  3. To send the response with one or more files that have been attached to the incident, select the associated check boxes in the Incident Files section of the Attachments window.

  4. To attach additional files to the incident response, click Add Files and select Browse to view the files and folders on your workstation. Or select Search to open the File Search window.

    1. If you selected Browse, select the file and click Open to attach it to the response.

    2. If you selected Search, specify a directory, all or part of a file name, and the type of file. Click Search. Then select one or more of the matching files and click Add Files.

  5. Click OK to upload the selected files and attach them to the response.

  6. Click Send to send the response with attachments to the customer, as well as any other recipients you added to the CC or BCC fields. Attached files sent with the response will appear in the Attachments drop-down menu in the title bar of the response.

    Note: All files attached to an incident or incident response are recorded in the knowledge base and audit log. Files attached to an incident using the Attachments tab, rather than with the Attachments button in the response title bar, are stored with the incident, but are not sent with the response unless selected. These files appear in the Attachments drop-down menu in the title bar of the message with the heading “Added to incident, but not sent.” Refer to Attaching files to incidents.

Select additional recipients for an incident response

Follow this procedure to select additional recipients for an incident response.

Procedure
  1. Click Options and select the Always Show for Response and Show CC check boxes under Email Message Header. The Response title bar expands and the CC field displays. To display the BCC field, you must also select the Show BCC check box on the Options window.

  2. Click CC. The Select Names window opens.

  3. To import your contacts from the default Contacts folder in Outlook, select the Load Outlook Contacts check box. This is useful for displaying contacts that are not included in Oracle Service Cloud.

  4. Select a name from the list.

    Tip: You can type the first few letters of the name in the field at the top of the Select Names window. The first name in the list that matches the letters you typed is highlighted. Notice that this name may be the contact’s first or last name, an email address, or a group or distribution list.

  5. Click CC to list the name in the CC field or BCC to list the name in the BCC field. Names or addresses in the CC field are visible to all recipients of the response. Names in the BCC field are not visible to other recipients.

  6. Click OK to close the Select Names window.

  7. Click Send to send the response to the customer, as well as any other recipients you added to the CC or BCC fields. Depending on how your administrator configured your application, the incident status may change to Solved when you save the incident. The incident assignment may also change to your name if the incident was previously assigned to another staff member.

Sign and encrypt an incident response

Follow this procedure to sign and encrypt an incident response.

Procedure
  1. Click Options and select the Always Show for Response and Show Sign/Encrypt check boxes below Email Message Header.

    Note: Email signatures are appended to the thread in which you are responding to instead of to the bottom of the email, as different staff members can be working on the same incident. If your email signature does not populate the thread response, your administrator has not set up email signature information in your staff account. Although we recommend that your email signature is set up through your staff account, it is also possible that your email signature has been configured using standard text. Refer to Insert standard text from the Standard Text window. Contact your administrator for more information.

  2. Select the Sign check box. You cannot select the Sign check box if the Service mailbox does not have a certificate that allows sending encrypted email.

  3. To encrypt your response to the contact, click the Do Not Encrypt drop-down menu and select Encrypt When Possible or Encrypt Always. You cannot select an encryption option if the contact you are responding to does not have a certificate that allows receiving encrypted email. If you select Encrypt Always, you can select only addresses that have certificates associated with them.

View a bounced message

If a customer does not receive your response due to a bounced message, a View Bounced Message button displays on the Response title bar.

The audit log will also contain an entry for the bounced incident response that reads, “From Techmail–Incoming Auto-Reply Message.”
Procedure
  1. Click View Bounced Messages on the Response title bar. The Bounced Messages window opens, displaying full text copies of each bounced email.

  2. Click OK to close the Bounced Messages window.

Collaborating with other agents

Service Collaboration lets agents collaborate with other agents to more quickly resolve customer questions.

From the incident workspace, agents can create conversations containing the details of their findings and post questions to other agents. The ability to collaborate with other agents encourages knowledge sharing among your staff and decreases response time to customers.

Note: To enable and configure Service Collaboration, refer to Answer ID 6902 on our support site.

After Service Collaboration is enabled, you will need to assign staff members permission to use collaboration. In addition, you will need to create a custom incident workspace to include a collaboration relationship item control to start using Service Collaboration with Oracle Service Cloud incidents.

You can add the My Incident Conversations item to the navigation set of agents with collaboration permission. Adding this item allows agents quick access to all conversations in which they are participating.

Oracle Social Network (OSN) can be integrated with the agent desktop using Service Collaboration. Agents can customize their toast preferences for OSN notifications. For the link to the OSN documentation, refer to Oracle Social Network.

Configure collaboration with external users

Service Collaboration lets agents get assistance from other staff members who are not agent desktop users.

These external users, such as engineers, product experts, analysts, and other subject-matter experts (SMEs), can be brought together to answer complex questions or contribute to solving an incident.

You can create a profile specifically for external users. Users with this profile will be able to log in to the collaboration service directly using a web browser or supported mobile device, but will not be able to use the Service Console. You are allowed up to 100 external users for each Service Console license.

Procedure
  1. Create a profile that will be used only for external users.

  2. On the Other tab of the Profiles editor, select the External User check box.

    Note: Collaboration must be enabled for the External User check box to be visible.

  3. Save and close the new profile.

  4. Create staff accounts for the external users, and assign the external user profile to them.

  5. On the Staff Accounts editor, select Disabled from Assignment/Report Filters from the Disabled drop-down menu for each external user staff account.

Cobrowse with a customer from an incident workspace

With Cobrowse, you can guide a customer through a web page using your mouse or other pointing device to demonstrate actions.

In effect, you take control of the customer’s web browser to show the customer how to complete an action. Cobrowse helps eliminate the confusion that can arise when giving verbal instructions and is effective for assisting customers in filling out forms or completing a sale.
Note: Cobrowse must be enabled before you can begin a session with a customer. In addition, you can engage in only one cobrowse session at a time.
Procedure
  1. While speaking with a customer on the telephone, direct the customer to the location of the cobrowse link on your customer portal and instruct the customer to click it. A message notification opens and provides the customer with an access code number.

  2. With the customer’s incident open, click the Cobrowse tab. The cobrowse login page displays and your Oracle Service Cloud login name appears in the Agent Name field.

  3. Ask the customer for the secure session ID number and type it in the Access Code field.

  4. Click Connect. The cobrowse toolbar displays and the cobrowse session begins. The following table describes the options on the cobrowse toolbar.

    Table Cobrowse Toolbar

    Button/Field Description
    Mode Click this drop-down menu to select an advanced cobrowse state, which specifies how much control you have over the customer’s desktop.
    View Only Select this option to view the customer’s desktop.
    View + Pointer Select this option to view the customer’s desktop and use a labeled mouse as a pointing device on the customer’s screen.

    With this option selected, mouse-click functionality does not work on the customer’s desktop.

    View + True Pointer Select this option to view the customer’s desktop and control the movement of the customer’s mouse or other pointing device.

    This option is only available when cobrowsing in Advanced Mode. With this option selected, mouse-click functionality does not work on the customer’s desktop.

    Full Control Select this option to view the customer’s desktop, control all mouse or other pointing device functions (pointer and mouse clicks), and use your keyboard to enter information on the customer’s desktop (for instance, to help the customer fill out a form).

    In Advanced Mode, this option also allows you to navigate to other company web pages.

    Advanced Mode Select this option to escalate to the Advanced cobrowse state with access to the customer’s entire desktop and to cobrowse with View + True Pointer and Full Control in Advanced mode.
    Client Info Displays the customer’s environment information for operating system, browser version, client version, and escalation mode.
    Disconnect Click this button to end the cobrowse session.
    Connection Quality Information Displays the strength of the connection in a bar graph.
    Zoom In Click this button to zoom in on the customer’s desktop.

    This button is available only in Advanced Mode.

    Zoom Out Click this button to zoom out on the customer’s desktop.

    This button is available only in Advanced Mode.

  5. Click Disconnect to end the cobrowse session. Both you and the customer are notified when the cobrowse session ends. The customer can also disconnect from the cobrowse session at any time.

    Note: Although cobrowse information is not recorded to the incident transcript, it is recorded to the knowledge base and can be viewed using standard cobrowse reports.

Add an incident

Incidents are generally submitted by customers from the Ask a Question page or through email. As a result, the majority of your time is probably spent editing incidents. However, Service does not automatically create incidents when customers contact you by phone, mail, or fax, so you may find yourself adding incidents from time to time.

When you add an incident, you create a record of both the customer’s question and your response, which can help your organization track resolution of the incident. You can add incidents to your knowledge base no matter what navigation list is active or what kind of record you are working on.

Procedure
  1. Choose one of the following:

    • Click New on the ribbon.
    • If your navigation set is configured to add incidents from the file menu, click File and select Incident.
    Note: Notice that the Reference # and Organization Name are read-only fields. The reference number is automatically assigned by Oracle Service Cloud, and the organization name (if the field contains an entry) is the one associated with the primary contact for the incident.

  2. Type the question or issue in the Subject field, to a maximum of 240 characters.

  3. Complete the incident fields as described in Edit key incident fields.

  4. Click the Customer Entry field and type the customer’s question.

  5. Click Add and select Response.

  6. Type your response. Refer to Responding to incidents and Adding content to responses.

  7. To add or edit contact information for the incident, click the Contacts tab and complete the information as described in Add or edit contact information.

  8. To enter the time you spend working on the incident, click the Time Billed tab and complete the information as described in Add time billed to an incident.

  9. To add or edit task information for the incident, click the Tasks tab and complete the information as described in Add or edit a task for an incident.

  10. To add or edit organization information for the incident, click the Organization tab and complete the information as described in Edit an organization associated with an incident.

  11. To attach one or more files to the incident, click the Attachments tab. Refer to Attaching files to records.

  12. To present an offer to the customer, click Offer Advisor. Refer to Present an offer.

  13. To create an opportunity from the incident, click New Service Opportunity. Refer to Create an opportunity from an incident.

  14. To send a response, refer to Sending responses.

  15. Click Save to save the incident.

Managing incidents

Besides editing and adding incidents, you may have other incident management duties as well. For example, you might want to propose that incidents be added as answers to the knowledge base, delete incidents, or re-queue or reassign incidents.

For other incident management tasks, including forwarding incidents and updating multiple incidents simultaneously, refer to Common Functionality.

Propose an answer from an incident

Sometimes a customer’s question is common enough that you believe other customers should also have access to the answer. If you believe this information belongs in the knowledge base, you can propose the incident as a potential answer that customers can view without needing to submit an incident. This helps the knowledge base stay current with the information customers need.

When you propose an incident as an answer, a copy of the incident is submitted to a knowledge engineer, who determines whether it should become an answer. If it should, the knowledge engineer first defines an answer access level, answer status, language, and visibility, and then publishes the answer.

Note: Incident custom fields may or may not be included when you propose an incident as an answer. If you propose an incident from an incidents report, by either right-clicking the incident and selecting Propose or by clicking Propose on the report’s ribbon, the incident custom fields are not added to the Notes tab on the Propose Incident for Answer window. If, however, you click Propose from an open incident, the custom fields do appear on the Propose Incident for Answer window.
Procedure
  1. Choose one of the following:

    • From an incidents report, right-click the incident and select Propose Incident.
    • With the incident open, click Propose.
    The Propose Incident for Answer window opens.

  2. Review the proposed answer and make any necessary edits.

  3. To add a note to the proposed answer, click in the Notes field and type your comments.

  4. To add or remove any products or categories associated with the proposed answer, click the Products and/or Categories tab. Select those you want to associate with the proposed answer, and clear those you do not want to associate with the answer. The products and categories associated with the incident are selected by default.

  5. To remove any files that are permanently attached to the incident from the proposed answer, click the Files tab. Clear the check box next to any file you do not want to propose with the incident. All files permanently attached to the incident are selected to be proposed with the incident by default.

  6. Click OK to submit the incident as a proposed answer. A confirmation message lets you know that an answer was proposed from the incident.

Delete an incident

If your profile gives you permission to delete incidents, the Delete button is enabled on the ribbon. When you delete an incident, you permanently remove it from the knowledge base.

Procedure
  1. Choose one of the following:

    • To delete an incident when the incident is open, press Delete. A message asks you to confirm deletion of the incident.
    • To delete an incident from an incidents report, right-click the incident and select Delete > Incident.

  2. Click Yes to delete the incident.

Reassign or re-queue an incident

You might need to assign incidents from your inbox to another staff member or move them back into an incident queue.

The following situations commonly require you to move incidents, although your manager may have other guidelines as well.

  • You log out for the day—To avoid having unresolved incidents sitting in your inbox when you leave for the day, you might want to assign them to another staff member or place them back in a queue.

  • You are assigned an incident you should not have received—When an incident is incorrectly assigned, you can assign it to another agent or group or move it to the correct queue.

Procedure
  1. From an incidents report, right-click the incident and select Open > Incident.

  2. Choose one of the following:

    • To reassign the incident, click the Assigned drop-down menu and select the appropriate group or staff member.
    • To re-queue the incident, click the Details tab, click the Queue drop-down menu, and select the appropriate queue.

  3. Click Save to reassign or re-queue the incident. The incident is moved from your inbox to the agent inbox or selected queue.

Archiving incidents automatically

As customers submit incidents and staff members create incidents, which might have attachments and responses, your site’s database can grow very large, leading to performance issues.

To avoid these issues, Oracle Service Cloud archives incidents automatically past a certain period of time after they are solved. Archived incidents can also automatically be purged (deleted permanently).

The following table describes the configuration settings used for archiving incidents.

Table Configuration Settings for Archiving Incidents

Configuration Setting Path Description

ARCHIVE_INCIDENTS

Agedatabase > Batch Processing > Incident Archiving

Determines when solved incidents are archived. The default value is 365 days (1 year). To disable automatic archiving, set ARCHIVE_INCIDENTS to 0.

If you run year-over-year reports routinely, you might want to use a larger value than 365 days.

PURGE_ARCHIVED_INCIDENTS

Agedatabase > Batch Processing > Incident Archiving

Determines when solved incidents are purged. The default value is 1,825 days (5 years). To disable purging, set PURGE_ARCHIVED_INCIDENTS to 0.

Note: We recommend that these configuration settings remain enabled (set to values greater than zero) to make sure that data stores are cleansed of unnecessary data and to maintain optimal performance.
Change incident archiving and purging settings

Follow this procedure to change incident archiving and purging settings.

Procedure
  1. Click Configuration on the navigation pane.

  2. Expand Site Configuration, and then double-click Configuration Settings. The Search window opens.

  3. Enter *archive* in the Key field and click Search. The ARCHIVE_INCIDENTS and PURGE_ARCHIVED_INCIDENTS configuration settings are displayed on the content pane.

  4. Set ARCHIVE_INCIDENTS to the interval in days that you want. Set it to 0 to disable automatic archiving.

  5. Set PURGE_ARCHIVED_INCIDENTS to the interval in days that you want. Set it to 0 to disable purging.

Open the Archived Incidents component

There might be times when you need to reference outdated incidents to better serve your customers. In Oracle Service Cloud, you can search for and view incidents that have been removed from your knowledge base and archived.

Note: Archived incident information is read-only and cannot be updated. In addition, you must perform a search to display and view archived incidents.
Procedure
  1. Click the navigation button that contains the Archived Incidents component. Contact your administrator if you are unsure of this component’s location.

  2. Double-click Archived Incidents. The Archived Incidents component opens on the content pane.

    You can search for, view, print, and export incidents. No incidents display until you perform a search.

    In addition to a basic search function, the Archived Incidents component features advanced searching capabilities for retrieving archived incidents based on a broad range of search fields, including the subject, threads, product, category, disposition, contact data, and organization data associated with the incident. You can search ranges for incident creation and closed dates. Custom fields of a string or date data type can also be searched using a specially formatted search value.

    After you perform a search, the archived incidents that match your search criteria display on the content pane. Search results are limited to 1,000 incidents rendered in groups of 100. Pagination controls appear when search results exceed 100 incidents. Search results list the reference number, subject, creation date, and closed (solved) date for each incident. To view an incident returned in the search results, double-click an archived incident to open it, or select the incident and click View Incident.

    Note: Oracle Service Cloud workspaces do not apply to archived incidents. Therefore, the layout of archived incidents and the location of certain fields are different from the way incidents normally display on the Service Console. If an incident includes HTML formatting when it is archived, the HTML formatting is retained and displays on the content pane.

    The following table describes field information for archived incidents.

    Table Archived Incidents

    Sidebar/Tab Description
    Incident sidebar Displays the incident reference number, the staff member and queue the incident was last assigned to, the interface name, and any other information that applies to the incident such as product, category, and disposition.
    Messages Displays the incident thread.
    Details Displays the source of the incident and any custom fields associated with the incident.
    Audit Log Displays the history of all actions taken on the incident by the incident originator and other staff members. Also included is the date of each action.
    Organization Displays organization information, including the organization name, total revenue currency, source level, and CX state.
    Contact Displays the contact’s information, including name, email address, login, date created, and date updated.

Perform a basic search for an archived incident

You can search for an archived incidents. No incidents display until you perform a search.

Procedure
  1. Click Search on the Archived Incidents component to open the Search window.

  2. Enter search terms as described in the following table.

    Table Search Window

    Field/Button Description
    Reference Number Type the reference number of the incident in this text box.
    Text Search Type a word or phrase in this text box to search all archived incident fields. Because archived incidents have been removed from the knowledge base and converted to a text format, you can only search for incidents with a single text search. Searchable incident fields include Subject, Incident thread, Product (including sub-products), Category (including sub-categories), contact-related fields, organization-related fields, incident custom fields, and incident custom attributes.

    A Boolean OR operator is used between words by default. In addition, there is an implicit wildcard at the end of the search string.

    Advanced Search Click this link to access Advanced Search options.
    Order By Click this drop-down menu to select a sort order.

  3. Click Search to query the knowledge base for incidents that meet your search criteria.

Perform an advanced search for an archived incident

In addition to a basic search function, the Archived Incidents component features advanced searching capabilities for retrieving archived incidents based on a broad range of search fields, including the subject, threads, product, category, disposition, contact data, and organization data associated with the incident. You can search ranges for incident creation and closed dates. Custom fields of a string or date data type can also be searched using a specially formatted search value.

Procedure
  1. Click Search on the Archived Incidents component to open the Search window.

  2. Click the Advanced Search link to access advanced searching options.

    Note: To return to basic search options, click the Basic Search link in the top left corner of the window and refer to Perform a basic search for an archived incident.

  3. Enter the advanced search terms as described in the following table.

    Table Archived Incidents Advanced Search Options

    Field/Button Description

    Search Attributes (contains)

    Search results contain all or part of the search terms.

    Ref Number

    Type all or part of the reference number of the incident in this text box. You can use wildcards in searching.

    Text Search

    Type a word or phrase in this text box to search all archived incident fields. Because archived incidents have been removed from the knowledge base and converted to a text format, you can only search for incidents with a single text search. Searchable incident fields include Subject, Incident thread, Product (including sub-products), Category (including sub-categories), contact-related fields, organization-related fields, incident custom fields, and incident custom attributes.

    A Boolean OR operator is used between words by default. In addition, there is an implicit wildcard at the end of the search string.

    Subject

    Type a word or phrase in this text box to search the Subject field of archived incidents.

    Threads

    Type a word or phrase in this text box to search the thread content of archived incidents.

    Filter Attributes (exact match)

    Search results match the search terms exactly.

    Product

    Use this text box to search the Product field of archived incidents.

    Category

    Use this text box to search the Category field of archived incidents.

    Disposition

    Use this text box to search the Disposition field of archived incidents.

    Queue

    Use this text box to search the Queue field of archived incidents.

    Interface

    Use this text box to search the Interface field of archived incidents.

    Customer

    Search for specific customer information including the contact name and contact email.

    Contact Name

    Use this text box to search contact names in archived incidents.

    Contact Email

    Use this text box to search contact email addresses in archived incidents.

    State/Province

    Use this text box to search contact states or provinces in archived incidents.

    Country

    Use this text box to search contact countries in archived incidents.

    Organization

    Search for specific organization information including the name, state/province, and country.

    Name

    Use this text box to search organization names in archived incidents.

    State/Province

    Use this text box to search organization states or provinces in archived incidents.

    Country

    Use this text box to search organization countries in archived incidents.

    Range

    Define the date range search criteria using the closed date and created date.

    Closed Date

    Click the From and To drop-down menus and select start and end dates to search archived incidents by a closed date range.

    Created Date

    Click the From and To drop-down menus and select start and end dates to search archived incidents by a created date range.

    Custom Fields

    Type a search string to search custom fields of a string, text, or date type in archived incidents. The search string format is:

        <custom_field_name>_custom_<search_data_type>:
    
    <search_term> [<connector> 
    <custom_field_name>_custom_<search_data_type>:
    
    <search_term>]
    

    Where:

    • custom_field_name = name of the custom field or attribute

    • search_data_type = text, str, or date

    • connector = AND or OR

    • search_term = data to search for

    Examples:

    c$url_custom_str:”help.example.com”
        c$RMA_custom_text:RMA12345 AND 
    CO$VarCharText_custom_str:megabyte
        c$date_custom_date:[20130326T11:37:00Z TO NOW]
    
    Note: Use quotation marks when searching for a URL value in a text field. Use YYYYMMDDTHH:MM:SSZ format for datetime values. You can join multiple search strings together using the AND and OR operators.

  4. To clear all field search values, click Reset.

  5. Click Search to query the knowledge base for incidents that meet your search criteria.

    Note: Multiple search terms will be joined with AND operators. For example, searching with 14* in the Ref number field and Phone in the Subject field will find only incidents that satisfy both criteria, that is, their reference numbers start with 14 and their subjects include “Phone.”

Export archived incidents

After performing a search, you can export archived incidents.

Procedure
  1. Select the archived incidents you wish to export. You can export up to 100 incidents at a time.

  2. Click Export.

  3. Select the location where you want to save the export file, type a name for the file, and click Save. The export file will be saved with a .zip extension, and will contain each exported incident as an individual XML file.

    You can also open the export file, in which case it will be downloaded to a temporary folder first, then opened.

Managing incident threads

In addition to the tools you have for answering customer questions and maintaining accurate records of all communications with your customers, you also have tools that can help you protect customer information contained in incident threads and, when necessary, convert information from response threads to note threads.

Masking information in incident threads

Your customers and agents may occasionally submit incidents containing sensitive customer information, such as credit card and social security numbers in incident threads. Whether the information appears in a customer entry, response, or private note thread, the security of your customers’ personal assets may be compromised.

Our incident thread masking feature can protect this personal data by automatically masking content in incident threads. By default, Oracle Service Cloud contains three predefined system masks for credit card, social security, and telephone numbers. In addition, if our predefined patterns do not satisfy your organization’s needs, you can define up to five custom masks to hide other personally identifiable information when new thread entries are created. As you configure incident thread masking for your application, you can test each system and custom mask before finally deploying the configurations to your site. To mask customer information in incident threads, incident thread masking must be enabled. Contact your Oracle account manager to enable this feature.

Caution: Be aware that once incident thread masking is enabled, masking is automatically performed in new thread entries, even if you make no changes to the predefined masks or define custom masks. Masking also occurs in the incident thread data itself, where the masked values are replaced and not recoverable. Note that predefined text, such as standard text, SmartAssistant responses, and variables, is not masked. Do not include confidential information in predefined text. For these reasons, you should use extreme caution when configuring masking for your site, and enable the profile permission for this feature only for trusted administrators.

Once incident thread masking is enabled, you must perform the following tasks so you and your staff can configure incident thread masking.

Configure incident thread masking

By default, Oracle Service Cloud contains three predefined system masks for credit card, social security, and telephone numbers. In addition, if our predefined patterns do not satisfy your organization’s needs, you can define up to five custom masks to hide other personally identifiable information when new thread entries are created.

Procedure
  1. Click Configuration on the navigation pane.

  2. Double-click Incident Thread Masking in the configuration list. The Incident Thread Masking editor opens on the content pane.

  3. Enter the incident thread masking information described in the following table.

    Table Incident Thread Masking Editor

    Field/Button Description

    System Masks

    This section contains a list of three predefined system masks, which are enabled by default. In addition, the last four digits of each system mask also display by default. You can edit each system mask to hide the last four digits or disable any system mask you do not need.

    Once incident thread masking is enabled, masking is automatically performed on credit card, social security, and telephone numbers entered in new incident threads with no action required on your part. You can enable or disable these options to suit your business needs.

    Credit Card

    Clear the Enabled check box to disable the credit card mask, or clear the Show Last 4 Digits check box to hide the last four digits of credit card numbers.

    This mask matches major credit card numbers including Visa, MasterCard, Discover, American Express, and Diners Club. Hyphens, periods, and spaces are accepted as dividers between number groups, as in the following examples.

    • Visa (13 and 16 digits):

      4215101992633023

      4215 1019 9263 3023

      453 939339 6455

    • MasterCard:

      5406209167573761

      5406-2091-6757-3761

      5406.2091.6757.3761

      540.620916.757.3761

    • American Express:

      373518140296377

      3735 181402 96377

    • Discover:

      6011891400863425

      6011.8914.0086.3425

      601.189.140.086.3425

    • Diners Club (14 digits):

      30139201272845

    SSN

    Clear the Enabled check box to disable the social security numbers mask, or clear the Show Last 4 Digits check box to hide the last four digits of social security numbers. This mask matches the following patterns: AAA-GG-SSSS, AAA GG SSSS, AAA-GG SSSS, AAA GG-SSSS, AAAGGSSSS, AAA-GGSSSS, AAAGG-SSSS, AAAGG SSSS or AAA GGSSSS. Hyphens, periods, and spaces are accepted as dividers between number groups, as in the following examples:

    534-14-3154

    534.14.3154

    534 14 3154

    Phone number

    Clear the Enabled check box to disable the phone number mask, or clear the Show Last 4 Digits check box to hide the last four digits of telephone numbers. This mask matches the common U.S. phone number format, with the optional country code 1 in the beginning. Hyphens, periods, and spaces are accepted as dividers between number groups, as in the following examples:

    1(111)222-3333

    1(111)2223333

    1(111) 222-3333

    1.111-222-3333

    1.111.222.3333

    1 111 222 3333

    +1.111.222.3333

    +1.111.2223333

    +1.1112223333

    Custom Masks

    Double-click in the Value field next to the first custom mask and type the regular expression for the pattern you want to mask. The following examples can help you configure custom masks for new incident threads.

    Example 1

    Suppose you want to mask all account numbers that match the pattern 123-123456. Type [0-9]{3}-[0-9]{6}. As a result, all account numbers that match this pattern will display as XXXXXXXXXX in new incident threads. (Notice that all characters are masked, including the hyphen.)

    Example 2

    In this example, we’ll define a mask for Canadian postal codes that match the pattern K8N 5W6.

    Type [A-Z]{1}[0-9]{1}[A-Z]{1} [0-9]{1}[A-Z]{1}[0-9]{1}. As a result, all Canadian postal codes that match the pattern K8N 5W6 will display as XXXXXXX. The space is also masked.

    State

    This read-only field shows the status of changes you make in any custom mask Value field. Statuses include Valid, Requires Test, and Error.

    The status of this field may change when you type sample text in the Preview Text field, and click the Test/Preview button.

    Preview Text

    Click in this field to test your mask patterns. Include samples that both match and closely match the custom pattern you configured.

    For example, to verify that your Canadian postal codes mask is masking only the alphanumeric pattern you configured, type the following postal code samples.

    K8N 5W6

    4J3 P2P

    V5T 1Y9

    Test/Preview

    Click this button to apply the configured system and custom masks to the sample content in the Preview Text field.

    Result Text

    This field displays the masked preview text. Sample text that matches an enabled system or custom mask will display as masked. For example, the Canadian postal code samples in the Preview Text field displays the following Result Text values.

    XXXXXXX

    4J3 P2P

    XXXXXXX

    The masks applied to the first and third text samples because they matched the alphanumeric expression that we configured in our custom masks example. The second text sample did not match the pattern.

    Be sure to test a variety of sample values and adjust custom mask values until the Result Text displays text masked as you want. Also be sure to test inexact matches to ensure that masks are not affecting content that should not be masked.

  4. Click Save on the ribbon to save your changes to system and custom masks.

    Note: You must deploy mask configurations before they will be committed to the database and applied to new incident threads.

  5. Click Deploy on the ribbon. The Deploy window opens.

  6. Type the email addresses you want to send notifications to in the Email Address field. Multiple addresses must be separated by commas. The logged-in staff account’s email address is automatically added. Addresses entered in this field receive emails when deployment completes or when an issue preventing deployment is encountered.

  7. Click Deploy to deploy your changes. A Deploy message displays.

  8. Click Yes to confirm the deployment. The Incident Thread Masking editor will be unavailable until the deployment completes.

Testing the accuracy of masking configurations in a test incident thread is an important security procedure. See Verify changes to incident thread masking in a test incident.
Verify changes to incident thread masking in a test incident

Testing the accuracy of masking configurations in a test incident thread is an important security procedure.

Though securing the customer’s personal assets is the most compelling reason to test with incidents, the integrity of your incident information is also at stake. Because incident thread masks apply globally to all incident threads, we strongly recommended that you test the deployed masking configurations in a series of incident thread entries and verify that your masks apply to saved incident entries and incident emails the way you intend. The following procedure is for testing purposes only.

Procedure
  1. Create a test incident.

  2. Associate a test contact with the incident.

  3. Add a new customer entry, response, and private note. In each entry, type text that both matches and closely matches the mask patterns you have deployed. For example, type 123-45-6789 and 123-45-67890 to test the social security number system mask. Add other examples of text that match and closely match each of the mask patterns you have deployed.

  4. Click Save on the ribbon.

  5. Verify that only the appropriate patterns were masked in the incident thread and in the email response.

If you need to make further changes to your masks, you can return to the Incident Thread Masking editor.
Convert a response thread

There may be times when a response contains incorrect information or was inadvertently sent to a customer. Since thread entries cannot be edited after they are sent to a customer, you can use the Incident Thread Type Correction feature to convert a response thread entry into a note thread entry so it will not be seen by customers in any future response.

When using this feature, you can view all responses for a particular incident and select those you want to change to notes. Once a response is converted to a note, it cannot be converted back to a response.

Note: To access the Incident Thread Type Correction feature, you must have Administration permissions set in your profile. Refer to Customizing profiles.
Procedure
  1. Click Configuration on the navigation pane.

  2. Expand Database, and then double-click Incident Thread Type Correction. The Incident Thread Type Correction tree displays on the content pane.

  3. Type the reference number of the incident containing the thread entry you want to convert and click Search. Threads from the incident display on the content pane.

  4. Select the Make Note check box next to the response you want to convert to a note and click Save.

The next time you open the incident, this information will display as a Note thread.

Add or edit an incident stopword

Incident stopwords are common words that are excluded from incident indexing and searching.

Service can suggest incident stopwords based on an analysis of incidents. You can then look at the list of suggested stopwords on the Edit Incident Stopword list. Suggested stopwords are commented out unless you decide to include them in the incident stopword list.

Note: Incident stopwords can also be managed through the File Manager using the exclude_incidents.txt file. Refer to Manage files with the File Manager.
Procedure
  1. Click Configuration on the navigation pane.

  2. Expand Service > Knowledge Base, and then double-click Incident Stopwordsto review incident stopwords. The Incident Stopwords editor displays on the content pane and suggested stopwords are listed in the Suggested Additions box.

  3. Select the stopwords in the Suggested Additions box and click the top double-right arrow to add the words to the Active list. The words you select are highlighted.

  4. To add an additional stopword, type the word in the text box on the Active list and click Add New.

  5. To remove a stopword from the list, click the word in the Active list and click the double-left arrow. The word is added to the Removals box, where it is highlighted.

  6. Click Save to add and remove the selected words from the stopword list.

    Note: Oracle Cloud Operations must run the Keywordindexer utility before your changes to the stopwords list are active. To schedule this, submit an incident on our support site.

Configuring advanced routing for incidents

You can route incoming incidents to agents with specific language or product skills. Routing incidents to agents with a specific skill set ensures that customers’ questions are answered accurately and efficiently.

Products and categories selected by the customer and the language of the customer portal page from which the incident was initiated determine which agent skills are required. If your customer is viewing the English version of the customer portal when they initiate the incident, connecting them to an agent fluent in English is going to provide the best experience. If your customer is looking for information about your newest product, connecting them to an agent who is an expert with that product is going to provide the quickest resolution. When an incident is initiated, if there is no agent logged in with the specific skill required by your customer, advanced routing relaxes the skill requirement immediately to prevent the incident from becoming stuck in the queue.

You can also use advanced routing primarily for the queue overflow capabilities without defining skills.

Additionally, you can track the performance of advanced routing of incident sessions using standard reports available at Public Reports/Service/Advanced Routing.

Note: Advanced routing reports and configuration options will not be visible until Smart Interaction Hub is enabled. To enable, contact your Oracle account manager.

You will need to complete the following tasks before you can configure and use advanced routing for incoming incidents.

Additionally, if you are using advanced routing with products or categories, you will need to configure skills and staff account skill scores to finish the configuration and begin using advanced routing for incoming incidents. See Assign the Skill Edit permission in profiles, Add skills, and Assign skill scores to a staff account.

Assign the Skill Edit permission in profiles

Assign the Skill Edit permission in profiles for advanced routing.

Procedure
  1. Click Configuration on the navigation pane.

  2. Expand Staff Management, and then double-click Profiles. The report opens on the content pane.

  3. Double-click the profile you want to edit. The Profiles editor opens.

  4. Click Permissions. The Permissions page opens.

  5. Select the Skill Edit check box in the Administration section on the Administration tab.

  6. Click Save.

Next, you need to add Product Skills and Language Skills to the navigation set. Refer to Edit a navigation set.

Add skills

Add skills for advanced routing.

Procedure
  1. Click Configuration on the navigation pane.

  2. Expand Service, and then double-click Language Skills or Product Skills. The Skills editor displays on the content pane.

  3. Do one of the following:

    • To add a skill, click New to display the editor.

    • To edit a skill, click it in the tree.

    You can delete a skill at any time by selecting the skill entry in the tree and clicking Delete. However, when you delete a skill, all instances of the skill will also be deleted.

  4. Enter the Skills editor field information described in the following table.

    Table Skills Editor

    Field Description
    Skill Information This section defines the name and type of the skill.
    *Skill Name Type the name of the skill.
    Template ID This read-only field identifies the type of skill.
    Label Select the interface.
    Characteristics This section specifies the language, product, or category for the skill.
    Language Select a language from the drop-down menu.

    This field is available only on the Language Skills editor.

    Product Select a product from the drop-down menu.

    This field is available only on the Product Skills editor.

    Category Select a category from the drop-down menu.

    This field is available only on the Product Skills editor.

  5. Click Save.

Assign skill scores to a staff account

Assign skill scores to a staff account for advanced routing.

You can assign skills to a staff account at the profile level or at the individual staff account level. Skills assigned at the profile level are inherited by staff accounts assigned to that profile, but skills can be modified and added to individual staff accounts.
Procedure
  1. Click Configuration on the navigation pane.

  2. Do one of the following:

    • To assign skills to a profile, expand Staff Management, double-click Profiles, and then double-click the profile you want to edit. The Profiles editor opens.
    • To assign skills to a staff account, expand Staff Management, double-click one of the staff account reports, and then double-click the individual account you want to edit. The Account Details editor opens.

  3. Click Skills. The Account Skill Scores window opens.

  4. Select the Product or Language tab.

  5. To add a product or language:

    1. Select the product or language from the drop-down menu.

    2. Click the Add, indicated by green plus sign.

    3. Assign the skill an account score from the drop-down menu.

  6. To modify a skill at the account level that was inherited by a profile, click the blue arrow next to the skill score.

    Note: Changing an agent’s inherited skill score to 0 is not the same as assigning an agent to a profile without that skill. Once the advanced routing queue has relaxed to a score of 0, the incident will be routed to an agent with a skill score of 0. The incident will only be routed to an agent assigned a profile without the skill if no other agents with that skill are logged in.

  7. To delete a skill, click Delete, indicated by the red X next to the skill score. Skills assigned at the profile level can only be deleted at the profile level.

  8. Click Save.

Answers

Answers: Overview

Customers use your site to find answers to their questions about the services and products your organization provides. To assist your customers in finding the information they are looking for, you can create answers to common questions and post them on your customer portal.

As a result, you are able to provide a better customer experience because your customers are able to quickly find the answers to their questions.

Oracle RightNow Cloud Service (Service) provides you with the tools for creating and publishing effective answers. You can format answers to include links, tables, graphics, and other features, making your support site more interactive and visually appealing. In addition, Service provides you with a revolutionary method of knowledge base management that enables you to overcome the critical problems associated with a manually constructed knowledge base. Maintenance of your knowledge base is minimized because of automated processes that learn from customers using your site, then automatically rank answers and display the most useful answers first.

To learn how to seed your knowledge base and keep it organized and up-to-date, refer to knowledge basevisibilityinterfaceSLAscustomer portal.

To learn more about answers and how to work with them on the Service Console, refer to navigation panenavigation list.

Seeding your knowledge base

Service’s ability to start with only fifteen to twenty answers eliminates the need for a comprehensive initial knowledge set, which significantly speeds and simplifies the implementation.

Most organizations can build their initial seed from existing online questions and answers, documents, or customer support interactions. Instead of constructing a complete set of answers up front, you can take advantage of the ongoing questions that your customers submit to capture real-world issues.

As customers submit questions and your organization’s support staff solves these issues, you are supplied with content that is perfectly suited for public answers. Service’s Propose Answer feature enables agents to suggest that certain incidents become public answers, allowing you to seamlessly create public answers from the real issues that your customers are facing. This method of organic growth eliminates the need for a complete initial group of answers, significantly reducing your ongoing maintenance tasks, and ensures that your knowledge base contains useful, effective content. Additionally, as you foresee that upcoming events (for example, a product release, seminar, or conference) may increase queries on your site, you can manually add answers to the knowledge base to answer questions before they are even asked.

Note: Agents can propose incidents as answers only if they have Propose permission in their profile. Refer to Select Service permissions.
Defining a process for publishing and reviewing answers

Before you develop your knowledge base, it is important to understand the process for publishing answers.

The following process outlines the steps for efficiently capturing incident information and creating answers.
  1. Define a process for proposing new answers. Typically, in order to publish an incident as an answer, the incident threads will need to be summarized to cover a broader topic scope. To take advantage of agents’ expertise, we have found the following approach to be successful.

    1. An agent modifies the existing incident and writes the new answer as a Note thread with the public audience in mind, following established standards and guidelines. Two key items to include are the incident reference number and the staff member’s name.

    2. An agent proposes the incident. An answer is created, and the summary and threads from the existing incident are copied to the Question field of the new answer.

    3. You then review, edit, and format the proposed answer and publish it. This method uses an agent’s knowledge for writing the bulk of the answer, and then you prepare the answer for public viewing.

  2. Define an approval review process for new answers. Once an answer has been proposed for public use, you may want managers or staff members from other areas in your organization to review the information to ensure technical accuracy of the methods and procedures defined in the solution.

  3. Determine the audience of new answers. Before publishing an answer, determine which interfaces and customers you want to be able to view the answer. You can control this visibility through the visibility of answer statuses, answer access levels, languages, products, categories, and conditional sections. Refer to visibilityinterfaceSLAs.

  4. Determine the display position of new answers. You can set the position of a new answer relative to other answers on the Answers page on the customer portal. When adding or editing an answer, you can choose to place new answers at the top, middle, or bottom of the answers list, or fix them at the top, middle, or bottom. If you want to give added visibility to newly published answers, place them at the top and then allow their historical usefulness to dictate their future placement. In this way, your customers are aware of new answers as you publish them.

  5. Notify staff of new answers. Your administrator can use standard reports to show answer notifications by answer, product, category, or subscribers. Standard reports for answer notifications can be scheduled to be sent to other staff members and are located at Public Reports/Service/Site Reports/Answer Notifications. Refer to data exceptions.

After following these steps to identify your process for publishing answers to your customers and notifying staff members about new answers, you can begin creating answers.

Creating effective answers

Creating useful answers is a straightforward process with a few simple guidelines. By following these guidelines, you will enhance the search process for customers, allowing them to find pertinent information quickly without needing to do multiple searches.

A knowledge base containing well-crafted answers will also optimize the self-learning features of Service that continually index, group, link, and rank the answers in the knowledge base. These self-learning features are the backbone of self-service, enabling you to present the most historically useful answers first and to suggest answers related to the customer’s current question. In addition, effective answers will make your maintenance tasks easier as information ages and changes.

Use the following guidelines to create clear, focused answers:

  • Create one-topic answers—Think of each public answer in your knowledge base as one topic or the answer to one question. When a customer comes to your site with a question, they want quick resolution. One-topic answers improve searching and grouping, which enable customers to easily find answers. One-topic answers provide brief, pertinent information without clutter. A knowledge base of unique answers also simplifies management and maintenance.

  • Provide adequate detail—Because Service indexes the text of the Summary, Question, and Answer fields into words and phrases for text searching and answer grouping, answers should contain an adequate amount of text that explains the issue. With limited text, there are very few indexed words for the answer, and the words that are indexed cannot fully represent the context of the answer. As a result, the answer may be difficult to find during text searching. With too much text (over two pages), you run the risk of writing about several topics and covering too broad of a context. The resulting set of indexed words may not span the entire text of the answer. In effect, the answer can be found during dissimilar searches in which that answer is not relevant.

  • Write a concise summary—The quality of the summary, meaning how closely it summarizes the contents of an answer, is critical to the effectiveness of the answer and affects its display position, how it links to related answers, and how it is grouped with similar answers. On the Answers page, customers will choose to open and read or skip over an answer based on the summary. Without a concise summary, customers may not open the answer, which directly impacts its display position and how it is linked with other answers. The summary should state what the customer can expect to learn by reading the answer or what question will be answered.

  • Create explicit keywords—Sometimes, you may not be able to capture the entire contents of an answer in the one-sentence summary. The Keyword field is an additional field, not viewable by customers, used during keyword indexing of an answer. You can enter supplemental keywords, phrases, or text that represent the answer’s contents. Keywords should be separated by commas, with grouped words separated by spaces (for example, “cell phones, calling plans, accessories”). You should be deliberate with the words you enter because they are weighted higher than indexed words and phrases not in the Keyword field. Be sure to include a thorough, yet concise section of keywords.

After creating a knowledge base of effective answers, you will want to publish the answers to be accessed by customers. By understanding the factors that determine answer visibility, you can effectively control how and when answers are seen on the customer portal.

Controlling answer visibility

Answers can be either public or private, as well as have specific visibility settings for each interface or for contacts based on access levels defined in their SLAs.

When you publish answers, you make them available to the public on your customer portal. Whether answers are visible on your customer portal is determined by what you specify in certain fields. The five key fields that determine how and where answers are presented are Answer Status, Answer Access Level, Language, Products and Categories, and Conditional Sections.

In order for answers to appear on the customer portal, the Status, Access Level, Language, Product, and Category fields must be set to a visibility that allows access by customers. If even one field does not allow visibility, the answer will not be available on the customer portal. In addition, if you have sections within an answer with restricted visibility, that section must be assigned an access level associated with the answer. The five fields that control answer visibility are described in detail below.

  • Answer status—The primary factor that determines the visibility of answers is answer status. There can be many custom answer statuses, but all must be either a Public or Private status type, which is determined when the custom status is created. Answers set to a status that has a Private status type can never be viewed on the customer portal, regardless of their access or language assignment. Public answers may be viewable through the customer portal, depending on the other fields selected. Two of the default answer statuses are Review and Proposed, both of which have a Private status type. When agents propose an incident to become an answer, it is copied and set to the Proposed status with an access level of Everyone. Since the Proposed status is a Private status type, the answer will not be visible to customers. An answer changes to the Review status when its solved count reaches zero or when the date specified when adding or editing an answer is reached. The Review status will automatically remove the answer from the customer portal. Refer to Add or edit an answer status.

  • Answer access level—Access levels determine whether customers can view answers on a per-interface basis. If an answer is set to an access level that has customer visibility on one of the interfaces, then that answer is viewable by everyone on that interface, provided the remaining fields also allow visibility. If an access level does not provide visibility to customers for a certain interface, access can still be given to specific contacts by assigning them SLAs that allow privileged access. One of the default access levels for answers is Everyone. This access level allows all customers to have access to the answer on all interfaces. Refer to Add or edit an answer access level.

  • Language—Answer visibility is also determined by the language assigned to it. If assigned to a specific language, an answer will only be visible on the interfaces using that language, as long as the answer status and access level also allow visibility.

  • Products and categories—The visibility settings for the products and categories associated with the answer will also affect the visibility. If the answer is assigned to a product or category that is not visible to customers on a particular interface, the answer will also not be visible to customers, unless it is assigned to another product or category that is visible on the interface. In other words, if you have an answer that is assigned to two products, and one of the products is not visible on the interface, but the other product is, your answer will appear on the interface. However, if the answer is assigned to two products, and neither product is visible on the interface, your answer will not appear on the interface under any circumstances. Refer to Adding and editing products, categories, and dispositions.

  • Conditional sections—Conditional sections help control visibility of certain sections within an answer. If a section of the answer is assigned an access level that is not visible to customers on a particular interface, but the answer is visible, then customers are able to view the answer but not the conditional section. For more information about conditional sections in answers, refer to SLA.

Troubleshooting when answers are not visible

You can preview an answer to view it as customers will see it on the customer portal. If an answer (or section within an answer) you want to be accessed by your customers is not appearing on the customer portal, answer the following questions to troubleshoot the problem.

  • Is your status set to Public or a custom status with a status type of Public?

  • Does the access level have visibility for the desired interface?

  • Is your language for the answer appropriate? If you have more than one interface with multiple languages, is the answer set to the same language as the interface you are trying to view it on?

  • Are your products and categories visible on the interface? Is your answer assigned to at least one product/category that is visible to customers?

  • Are the answer sections within the answer visible as you intended?

If the answer to any of these questions is “no,” make the appropriate changes and check again to see if the answer appears. If you are unsure of the answer to any of the above questions, contact your administrator.

Organizing answers

Through click-track analysis and feedback on answers, your answers are automatically organized.

Answer rankings are constantly updated using the solved count value and presented to your customers with the most useful information first. Service uses three techniques to gather useful information about answers.

  • Explicit customer feedback—By default, the Answers page offers customers a way to rate answers through the “Is this answer helpful?” option. Their responses automatically raise or lower the solved count of answers.

  • Explicit ranking of the answers—You can explicitly rank answers at certain levels in the knowledge base using the Display Position setting. This is often useful when new issues arise.

  • Click-track analysis—Service analyzes the path each customer takes through the knowledge base. The use and benefits are two-fold:
    • Answer relatedness—An affinity map is built which relates answers that customers view to other answers viewed during the same visit. Through the SmartAssistant feature, Service suggests answers to them based on the historical relationships of that answer to other answers in the knowledge base. The suggested answers appear as learned links on the Relationships tab.

    • Implicit ranking—The click-track data is also used for answer ranking. Each time an answer is viewed by a customer or suggested by an agent, its solved count is increased.

Rating answers through Solved Count

The Solved Count feature collects information about the usefulness of answers in your knowledge base and uses this data to rank your answers.

Implicit data is compiled by how customers select and view answers. Explicit data is compiled by how customers rate the effectiveness of individual answers. Both long-term and short-term solved counts are used to calculate the score. Solved counts from the customer portal account for 75 percent of an answer’s score, and agent solved counts contribute 25 percent. Using the solved count values, Service can dynamically rank the answers by their usefulness and present customers with the most effective answers first. By default, the Solved Count feature is enabled.

An answer’s score value is a calculated value equal to the answer’s solved count combined with any “fix at” positions specified for the answer in the Display Position drop-down menu when adding or editing an answer. For more information about the options available, refer to Adding answer details.

  • Implicit ratings—Implicit ratings are gathered as customers view answers. If a customer views an answer, the solved count of the first answer is increased, but not as much as the second viewed answer. In other words, the answer that the customer views last receives the largest solved count increase. Previously viewed answers receive a smaller increase in their solved counts. The solved count is also increased when an agent uses a SmartAssistant suggested answer when responding to a customer’s question.

  • Explicit ratings—Explicit ratings are gathered from the response to the question, “Is this answer helpful?”. This question is displayed on the Answers page on the customer portal.

Aging of Solved Count

Over time, an unused answer’s solved count will gradually decline or age.

For example, if an answer has not been viewed for thirty days (the default setting), the solved count will automatically be reduced. The solved count of unused answers also declines at a constant rate over time. Ultimately, if an answer has not been viewed for an extended period of time, the answer’s solved count can reach zero.

When you first create an answer, its rank in the knowledge base is low, thereby making it more difficult to access. Generally, you would not want aging to occur on new answers. By default, new answers will not be aged for thirty days. Your administrator can change the setting to specify an alternate aging period. Your administrator can also control the frequency and aggressiveness of aging on answers depending on your organization’s specific needs. Contact your administrator for more information about the Solved Count settings defined in your application.

When an answer’s solved count reaches zero, this usually means that the answer has not been viewed for a long time, and it is safe to assume that the information may be outdated or not useful. By default, these aged answers are automatically set to the Review status when their solved count reaches zero. This enables you to easily sort the outdated answers and update them. By default, the Review feature is disabled. Contact your administrator to enable this feature.

Now that you have thought about your processes for publishing answers and understand how the knowledge base grows and presents information, you need to know how to keep your knowledge base accurate and up-to-date.

Maintaining your knowledge base

Many of the maintenance tasks related to organizing the answers in your knowledge base are automated in Service.

This enables you to focus on improving and maintaining the content of answers. The following list outlines these automated processes and describes the tools designed to aid with answer management.

  • Aging of answers (solved count)—Just as frequently used answers will rise to the top of the knowledge base, lesser-used answers will move to the bottom through aging of the answers’ solved count. Refer to Aging of Solved Count.

  • Answer review and publish feature—By using the Review feature, you can easily monitor answers without needing to constantly review them. The Review feature will automatically set an answer to the Review status when the solved count reaches zero or on specifically defined dates. You can also manually set a review date, the date that you want the answer to go into review status. In addition, you can set an answer’s publish date for a date in the future. In this way, you can schedule an answer to become public automatically without having to publish. Refer to Reviewing answers.

  • Data mining—The processes of linking similar answers for the Related Answers feature is triggered automatically and occurs periodically when modifications are made to the knowledge base. These processes implement innovative technologies to cluster and link answers containing similar content.

  • Customer feedback—Service closes the loop by providing customers with a method to submit comments and suggestions on answers. Any feedback submitted through the question, “Is this answer helpful,” is turned into a Feedback for Answer incident accessible to agents. You can use this feedback to address content holes and improve answers.

  • Customer visit tracking—Service tracks customers’ actions as they move through your support site, recording where they went, what they searched for, and the answers they viewed. Using the Web Visit feature, agents can view this click-stream data to respond more appropriately to customers’ questions. This information can also indicate areas of the knowledge base that need to be tuned. Refer to View web visit information for an incident.

  • Knowledge base reports—A series of standard reports record how customers are navigating the knowledge base, including the products and categories they are searching on, the search text they are entering, and the answers they are viewing. These reports provide a unique and powerful perspective into how the knowledge base is performing and enable you to pinpoint weak areas and tune the knowledge base content. Refer to knowledge base.

Evaluating customer feedback

Your customers can provide feedback on answers that do not completely solve their issues by answering the question, “Is this answer helpful?”

This feedback can be extremely valuable for understanding customer needs and updating your answers accordingly. When a customer submits comments or suggestions from the feedback form, an unresolved incident is automatically created. In some instances, customer feedback can be incorporated directly into an existing answer. In other cases, new answers may need to be created.

Reviewing answers

Over time, the content of your answers can become outdated.

Consequently, reviewing answers should become a central part of maintaining your knowledge base to ensure that the content is current, relevant, and useful. You may want to review answers at set intervals, such as every six months, or review answers in conjunction with new product releases or upgrades. If you have a group of answers for a particular product or service, you may want to review the answers in bulk. This can help you develop and prepare information in advance.

By using custom fields, custom answer statuses, and answer access levels, you can easily sort and work on answers in different stages of editing. For example, your administrator may have created a private answer status called Manager Review for newly crafted answers that will require manager approval before being published.

When editing an answer, you can set a specific date to review a particular answer. On the review date, the status of the answer will change from Public to Review. Also, by default, if an answer is not viewed by customers, the answer’s solved count will reduce to zero, and the status of the answer will change to Review.

Tip: To maintain information about a particular topic in one answer, use the Notes tab to store upcoming information or material you are currently editing.
Identifying content holes

You should actively investigate material for new answers by reviewing recently submitted incidents.

Agents may become overwhelmed with assistance requests, and despite their best intentions, they may forget or not have enough time to propose new answers. By continually capturing questions submitted by your customers and crafting new answers that solve those questions, you can publish answers for the most relevant and current issues.

As you search the most recently solved incidents, click the Web Visit tab to see if customers searched or viewed any answers before submitting their incident. In this way, you can locate answers that are incomplete or need updating.

Note: Before creating a new answer, search for existing answers that cover the topic. You can avoid duplication by updating an existing answer, rather than creating a new one.
Evaluating answers using service analytics

Service has several standard reports that track customer activity and provide data on the effectiveness of your knowledge base.

One of the most useful reports for identifying subject matter holes in your knowledge base is the Information Gaps report which is located at Public Reports > Service > Knowledge Base Reports. This report creates knowledge clusters from your existing incidents and compares them to your answers, alerting you when incidents are created that are not closely matched to any answer. By browsing the incidents and their cluster topics, you can evaluate the need for additional answers in your knowledge base.

The Analytics tab on the standard answer workspace displays reports about the answer currently being viewed or edited. The reports are located at Public Reports > Service > Site Reports > Actionable Knowledge Foundation. By reviewing the reports on the Analytics tab, you can fine-tune individual answers to make them more relevant for the customer portal and ultimately improve customer satisfaction.

The Analytics tab contains a toolbar for performing actions on the reports. Three tabs are located under the toolbar: the Descriptions tab, which provides descriptions for the reports, and the Summary and Top 10 tabs, which display the reports.

By default, the Summary tab opens and displays the following reports.

  • Answer Usage—This report provides contact usage details on a per-answer basis.

  • Answer Click-through Rate—This report provides a list of customer portal pages and actions and details about the visits for each.

  • Answer Effectiveness—This report provides details about the actions performed on individual answers to provide an overall assessment of how effective each answer is.

  • Escalation Details per Answer—This report provides information about the escalations that occurred after a particular answer was viewed.

The Top 10 tab displays the following reports.

  • Top Searches per Answer—This report provides the top ten searches that returned an answer which was viewed by a contact.

  • Top Previous Answers by Answer—This report provides a list of answers viewed during a selected time period, along with the top ten answers that were most often viewed previous to that time period.

  • Answer Referrers—This report provides the domain names (www.example.com) that visitors arrive from and the number of times (visits) a given answer was viewed by individuals from those domains.

  • Top Next Answers by Answer—This report provides a list of answers viewed during a selected time period, along with the top ten answers that were most often viewed after that time period.

Working with answers

One of the greatest ways you can improve your customers’ experience is to have answers to common questions readily available on your support site.

With Service, you can create answers about your services and products and post them on your site. You can also create public answers from incidents in your knowledge base, or agents can propose incidents to become answers.

Once an answer is in your knowledge base, you can update it at any time, making sure your knowledge base contains only the most up-to-date information. For example, you can define specific dates to review an answer and change the answer to Private while you update the details. You can format answers with the HTML editor, which lets you create links, tables, and graphics, and use other HTML features without prior HTML knowledge. As a result, your support site is more interactive and visually appealing.

The following figure shows the actions that can be performed on an answer.


This figure is a flowchart that shows the actions that can be performed on an answer. If the answer-creation method is “add answer”, the following answer properties are set: access answer variables; status, access level, and language; then, the answer is printed, previewed, and published. As the answer ages over time, the customer views the answer and provides answer feedback. Answer feedback is reviewed and updated, if required. If the answer-creation method is a customer inquiry, the knowledge base first searches for answers to solve the incident; an incident is proposed as an answer and then reviewed. The following properties are then set: access answer variables; status, access level, and language; then, the answer is printed, previewed, and published. As the answer ages over time, the customer views the answer and provides answer feedback. Answer feedback is reviewed and updated, if required.

Answers reports

When you click the Answers button on the navigation pane, the navigation list displays all of the reports and items added to this button by your administrator.

The Answers button, plus all the other buttons you have access to, are part of the navigation set defined in your profile.

Answers reports can be placed in other navigation lists, not just the Answers navigation list. And if you have permission to customize your navigation set, you can add other items, including any reports you have permission to access, to your Answers navigation list or any of your lists.

The answer information displayed on the content pane depends on the answers report you opened and which fields were defined when the report was created. The Answers Default report, for example, displays the answer’s ID, summary, language, access level, status, assigned, and date the answer was last updated. The ribbon allows you to manage answers and provides data analysis options for working with reports. You can right-click any answer and select the same functions that are available on the ribbon.

Tip: Besides selecting an answer from a report, you can search for answers from a report or use Quick Search. Refer to navigation set.
Standard answer workspace

Service provides a standard workspace for working with answers.

The workspace defines which fields are available, what buttons display on the ribbon, and how the information is organized on the content pane. The following figure is an example of the standard answer workspace.


This figure shows the standard answer workspace. It consists of a ribbon and an editing pane in which to create the new answer. A Summary text-entry field and Status, Assigned, Language, and Access Level selection options appear at the top of the pane. The editing pane has the following tabs: Content, Products/Categories, Tasks, Details, Attachments, Audit Log, Relationships, Notes, and Analytics. In the example, the Content tab is displayed. The tab contains the following options: Answer Type (HTML, URL, File Attachment radio buttons); Question, Answer, Quick Preview tabs.

Your organization may use this standard workspace, or your administrator may have created one or more customized workspaces. Your profile defines the workspace you see when you work with answers, whether it is the standard workspace or a customized workspace. The standard workspace is used to describe how you work with answers, but keep in mind that the workspace your profile uses may display a different combination of fields, or it may display them in a different location on the content pane.

Answer Ribbon

A standard ribbon exists for working with answers. The following table provides a description of the buttons available by default on this ribbon.

Table Answer Ribbon

Group/Button Description

Editor

Undock

Click this button to undock the answer editor from the console and display it in a separate window.

Save

Save

Click this button to save the answer without closing it. The answer remains open.

When you save an answer, it is evaluated by the rules engine. If your administrator added answer rules and the answer matches one or more of those rules, it is possible that the answer will be modified by rule actions when you save it. For example, a rule can change an answer’s status or answer access level.

Save and Close

Click this button to save and close the answer.

Actions

With the exception of the New button, the buttons in this group are not enabled until after you have saved the answer you are adding.

New

Click this button to add an answer.

Refresh

Click this button to refresh the current answer.

Preview

Click this button to view the answer as it will appear to your customers.

Check Links

Click this button to check the validity of hyperlinks and answer links in the answer.

Validate Category Links

Click this button to check if the products and categories you selected for the answer are linked. If the categories you selected are linked to selected products, a message informs you that all selected categories are linked to at least one selected product. If you select one or more categories that are not linked to the products you selected, a message lists the categories that are not linked to any of the selected products.

Print

Click this button to print the answer.

Copy

Click this button to copy the answer.

Delete

Caution: Deleting an answer affects all relationships associated with the answer.

Click this button to delete the answer.

Proofing

Spell Check

Click this button to check the spelling of any answer fields that have spell check enabled.

Text on the answer’s Content tab is automatically checked for correct spelling.

Links and Info

Links

Click this button to select a URL from the list of links added by your administrator.

Info

Hover over this button to see details about the answer, including when it was created and last updated, the staff member who last edited it, and the date of the last answer update notification. If the answer is in a rules state or has an escalation level, that information also appears.

Record tabs

Record tabs contain fields and options for adding additional information to answers.

The organization of these tabs allows you to manage and edit information and quickly move between the tabs as you work with answers. The information you can access on each tab depends on the permissions set in your profile.

Note: If you make changes to fields on any of the answer record tabs or any of the windows opened through the record tabs, you must save the answer in order for all changes on the record tabs to take effect. If you close the record without saving changes, those changes are lost.
  • Content tab—Contains the fields for adding and editing answers, including keywords, answer type, question, and answer. Also included is the Toolbox which contains tools for inserting hyperlinks, images, tables, buttons, answer links, and conditional sections. Refer to content panecustomer portal.

  • Products/Categories tab—Lists all products and categories that are associated with the answer. You can select which products and categories are associated with an answer to enhance search results for customers. Refer to Associate products and categories to an answer.

  • Tasks tab—Lists all tasks associated with the answer. The number of tasks associated with the answer displays in parentheses next to the tab name. For each task, the tab displays the task name, due date, completion date, staff member assigned to the task, and priority. You can open, copy, delete, print, and forward any task and mark tasks complete by clicking a button on the tab’s toolbar or by right-clicking the task and making your selection. Refer to Add or edit a task for an answer.

  • Details tab—Contains the fields for answer details, including Display Position, Review On, Notify Subscribers, and Publish On. Refer to Adding answer details.

  • Attachments tab—Lists all attachments associated with the answer. The Attachments tab displays the file name, size, date created, date updated, and a description for each attachment. Refer to Attaching files to records.

  • Audit Log tab—Lists all actions taken on the answer by all staff members. Also displayed are automatic changes initiated by Oracle Service Cloud that resulted from the application of business rules. When an action is generated by the system, the Who field contains Administrator. You can also see who worked on the answer, when it was added or updated, the actions taken, and descriptions of the actions. Refer to Audit logs.

  • Relationships tab—Contains the fields and tools necessary to manage answer relationships, including sibling answer relationships, manually relating a new or existing answer with a current answer, and viewing, editing, printing, previewing, and promoting related answers. Refer to Managing answer relationships.

  • Notes tab—Contains answer notes that can be sorted by date. Remember that customers never see the answer notes added by staff members. Refer to Add an answer.

  • Analytics tab—Contains the Actionable Knowledge Foundation reports, which display information about the answer being viewed or edited. By reviewing these reports, you can learn how your knowledge base is being used and make the necessary adjustments to improve customer satisfaction. Refer to knowledge base.

  • Model Questions tab—Lists all Oracle RightNow Virtual Assistant Cloud Service (Virtual Assistant) model questions that are associated with the open answer. Virtual Assistant must be enabled for this tab to display. Refer to Oracle RightNow Virtual Assistant Cloud Servicemodel questionsworkspacecontrol.

Adding answers

When adding answers, you must complete key answer fields located at the top of the content pane.

The key answer fields are used to specify the answer summary, status, language, access level, and the staff member assigned to the answer. Some of the fields are required. You must complete any field marked with a red label and an asterisk before you can save the answer. The key answer fields that display on the content pane will vary depending on the permissions set in your profile.

You can create different answer types when adding answers to the knowledge base. Answer types allow more flexibility in providing information to your customers. You can add the following types of answers.

  • HTML—Answers that appear to customers as standard HTML on the customer portal. When you create an HTML answer, you can use the HTML editor to view answers as customers will see them. Refer to Adding HTML answers.

  • URL—Answers that consist of a link to an external URL. The URL address and the content of the web page are displayed. Refer to customer portal.

  • File attachment—Answers that appear as file attachments. File attachment answers link to information contained in another document and appear to customers on the customer portal as file attachments. Refer to Add a file attachment answer.

Caution: When you change the answer type, certain fields are removed. For example, when you change an HTML answer type to a URL answer type, you will lose the Question, Answer, File Attachments, Manually Related Answers, and Learned Links fields. Read the Confirm Answer Type Change prompt carefully before you continue.
Add an answer

Follow this procedure to add an answer.

Procedure
  1. Do one of the following:

    • Click New.
    • If your navigation set is configured to add answers from the file menu, click File and select Answer.


      This figure shows the pane that is used to add an answer. A Summary text-entry field and Status, Assigned, Language, and Access Level selection options appear at the top of the pane. The editing pane has the following tabs: Content, Products/Categories, Tasks, Details, Attachments, Audit Log, Relationships, Notes, and Analytics. In the example, the Content tab is displayed. The tab contains the following options: Answer Type (HTML, URL, File Attachment radio buttons); Question, Answer, Quick Preview tabs. These options are described in the text that follows.

  2. Enter field information described in the following table.

    Table Answer Fields

    Field Description

    *Summary

    Type the subject of the answer in this field.

    *Status

    Click this drop-down menu to select an answer status.

    *Language

    Click this drop-down menu to select a language.

    Assigned

    Click this drop-down menu to select a staff member to assign to the answer. Only staff members who have permission in their profile to create answers are listed. By default, the staff member who created the answer is selected.

    Tip: Use the Find feature at the bottom of the Assigned drop-down menu to locate staff members quickly. Wildcards are supported when searching staff members and groups. You can search strings that include a space by typing %+Space+character, which is helpful when searching last names. For example, typing %+Space+b returns all last names starting with the letter b. There is also an implied wildcard when searching, so typing b in the Find field returns all items containing the letter b.

    Access Level

    Click this drop-down menu to select an access level.

  3. To add a flag to the answer, click the area next to the white flag above the answer fields.

  4. Select the answer type.

  5. To add keywords to associate with the answer, click the Content tab and type the words in the Keywords field.

    Note: Keywords should be separated by commas, with grouped words separated by spaces (for example, phone, call plan, nationwide). Keywords are used by the search feature. Any keywords you type are given the greatest weight when a customer is searching on the Answers page. In addition, words in products and categories and their descriptions are used as keywords for answers.

  6. To associate products and categories with the answer, click the Products/Categories tab.

  7. To add tasks to the answer, click the Tasks tab.

  8. To add additional details to the answer, including setting Publish On and Review On fields, click the Details tab.

  9. To attach files to the answer, click the Attachments tab. You can attach as many files as needed to associate with an answer or the answer’s siblings. Attachments appear as clickable links when a customer views an answer. They can also be indexed as searchable text. Therefore, you can choose whether each document is indexed when managing your file attachments.

  10. To view the answer audit log, click the Audit Log tab.

  11. To manage answer relationships, including sibling answers, manually related answers, and learned links, click the Relationships tab.

  12. To enter notes about the answer:

    1. Click the Notes tab.

    2. Click Add.

    3. Type the notes in the Answer Note field. Notes will not be visible to customers on the customer portal.

  13. Click Save. The answer is added to the knowledge base.

If you set the answer status to Public, the End-User Visibility window opens and displays all interfaces associated with the answer, along with the answer’s product and category visibilities. (A green check mark signifies that a product or category is visible on a particular interface, whereas a red X signifies it is not).

  • To perform a visibility check when the answer’s status is changed to Public, select Only When Status is Changed to Public Type.

  • To perform a visibility check every time the answer is saved, select On Every Save.

Adding HTML answers

The default answer type is HTML. You can use the HTML editor to design creative and eye-catching answers.

The Content tab contains three additional tabs (Question, Answer, and Quick Preview) that you can move between to create and preview content for answers.

You can design answer content using the design mode (Add an HTML answer in design mode) or the source mode (Add an HTML answer in source mode). With the design mode, you can create dynamic, well-formatted answers without previous HTML experience. You can include special formatting in your text and add graphics, links, and other HTML features. You can also add links that reference other answers. The HTML editor contains many of the same options available in basic word processing applications. Using source mode, you can create answers using HTML source code. By default, the editor displays your code in colored text to indicate structure and syntax.

For design mode to be available with the HTML editor, the HTML Design Mode permission must be selected in your profile. For source mode to be available with the HTML editor, the Source Mode permission must be selected in your profile. Refer to Select Service permissions.

Regardless of which mode you use to create answers, you can preview how the content will appear to customers on the customer portal from the Quick Preview tab.

Note: By default, the HTML editor cleans HTML code to meet XHTML compliance specifications. This results in adding XHTML doctype declarations to the resulting HTML code. If this functionality is disabled through the HTML_TIDY_ENFORCE_XHTML configuration setting, the content will not be cleaned upon saving the answer.
Add an HTML answer in design mode

Follow this procedure to add an HTML answer in design mode.

Procedure
  1. Choose from the following options:

    • Click New.
    • If your navigation set is configured to add answers from the file menu, click File and select Answer.
    The HTML option is selected by default.

  2. Type a one-line summary in the Summary text box. This field will display as the subject of the answer on the customer portal.

  3. Do one of the following:

    • Use the HTML editor to add the question portion of the answer.
    • Click the Answer tab and use the HTML editor to create the answer content.
    Functions available on the HTML editor include:
    • Cut, copy, and paste

    • Search for text

    • Print

    • Undo and redo changes

    • Switch to a full screen

    • Format text in bulleted or numbered lists

    • Adjust indentation

    • Center, left-justify, or right-justify text and images on the page

    • Insert line breaks

    • Change font style, size, and attributes (highlighting, bold, italic, underline)

    • Apply specialized formatting, including super and subscripts

    • Copy text formatting

    • View HTML source code

    • Preview the document

    • Insert or clean HTML code

    Special functions are accessed through the Toolbox section. The toolbox buttons are described in the following table.

    Table Toolbox

    Button Description

    Answer Actions

    Buttons in this section are used to insert dynamic content in your HTML.

    Insert Answer Link

    Click this button to insert a link to another answer.

    Conditional Section

    Click this button to insert a section with certain visibility restrictions within the answer.

    Search Knowledge Base

    Click this button to search for an answer in the knowledge base and append the content with the current answer.

    Smart Merge

    Click this button to merge answers using Smart Merge.

    HTML

    Buttons in this section are used to insert standard HTML elements in your answer content.

    Hyperlink

    Click this button to insert a hyperlink.

    Image

    Click this button to insert an image.

    Horizontal Rule

    Click this button to insert a horizontal line.

    Table

    Click this button to insert a table.

    Div

    Click this button to insert a DIV block, which you can use to group other elements, such as buttons.

    Field Set

    Click this button to insert a field set, which you can use to group a collection of input fields to improve document accessibility.

    Button

    Click this button to insert a button. Double-click the button on the canvas to edit the button text.

    Insert Symbol

    Click this button to open the Insert Symbol window and double-click a symbol to insert it at the current cursor position.

    Manage Anchors

    Click this button to insert an anchor in the answer.

  4. To preview the answer content, click the Quick Preview tab. Customer portal themes do not display on the Quick Preview tab. You can also preview the answer and select assigned access levels to view answer visibility by clicking the Preview button on the ribbon.

  5. Click Save.

Add an HTML answer in source mode

Follow this procedure to add an HTML answer in source mode.

Procedure
  1. Choose one of the following:

    • Click New.
    • If your navigation set is configured to add answers from the file menu, click File and select Answer.

  2. Click the Source tab on the bottom of the Content tab. When adding an HTML answer in source mode, the Syntax Highlighting button displays on the HTML editor toolbar and is active by default. When the button is active, colored text is used to define the structure and syntax of the HTML code for readability purposes. When the Syntax Highlighting button is not active, all HTML code displays in black.

  3. Type the HTML code to create question content.

  4. Click the Answer tab and type the HTML code to create answer content.

  5. Click Save.

Add a URL answer

When you create a URL answer, an external URL address will display to customers on the customer portal.

When customers click the URL, an external web page opens in a new window. URL answers are also indexed as searchable text on the customer portal. You can still define many of the same answer fields as in HTML answers. However, some fields (such as the Question and Answer fields) are unavailable when adding a URL answer. The exact fields available depend on the permissions set in your profile.

Procedure
  1. Choose one of the following options:

    • Click New.
    • If your navigation set is configured to add answers from the file menu, click File and select Answer.

  2. Type a one-line summary in the Summary text box. This field will display as the subject of the answer on the customer portal.

  3. Select URL. The Confirm Answer Type Change window opens.

    Caution: Use caution when you change the answer type of an existing answer. Some fields are removed and cannot be restored (for example, the Question and Answer fields when changing from an HTML answer to a URL answer).

  4. Click Yes in response to the Confirm Answer Type Change message.

  5. Type or paste a URL address in the URL field.

  6. Click Preview to display the URL content. The Preview section displays the link as it will appear in the customer’s web browser. It can also display other file types or folder content.

    Note: URL answers are not flagged as updated on the Answers page when the answer content changes if the URL does not change.

  7. Click Save.

Add a file attachment answer

You can add file attachment answers to link to information contained in another document.

File attachment answers contain many of the same answer fields as in HTML answers. However, some fields (such as the Question and Answer fields) are unavailable when adding file attachment answers. The exact fields available depend on the permissions set in your profile. You can attach only one file for each answer. File attachment answers are also indexed as searchable text on the customer portal.

Note: File attachment answers appear to customers on the customer portal as file attachments, which is different than HTML answers that contain file attachments within the answer to provide additional information.
Procedure
  1. Do one of the following:

    • Click New.
    • If your navigation set is configured to add answers from the file menu, click File and select Answer.

  2. Type a one-line summary in the Summary text box. This field will display as the subject of the answer on the customer portal.

  3. Select File Attachment. The Confirm Answer Type Change window opens.

    Caution: Use caution when you change the answer type of an existing answer. Some fields are removed and cannot be restored (for example, the Question and Answer fields when changing from an HTML answer to a file attachment answer).

  4. Click Yes in response to the Confirm Answer Type Change message.

  5. Click Add File. Once you attach a file, information about the selected file appears on the Content tab. The Content tab contains a paper clip icon when there is a file attached to the file attachment answer.

    The following table describes the file information displayed.

    Table File Attachment Answer

    Field Description

    Name

    This field displays the name of the file.

    Size

    This field displays the size of the file.

    Created

    This field displays the date and time the file was created.

    Updated

    This field displays the date and time the file was last updated.

    Description

    This field displays the description of the file defined on the Properties window.

    You can add or edit the file’s description by selecting the file, and then clicking Properties and typing the description in the Description field.

    Private

    This field displays the visibility of the file attachment answer.

    Action

    After a file has been added to the list, choose one of the following actions:

    Open—Click to open the file.

    Download—Click to download the file. You are prompted to save the file to the location you specify. A File Download window opens displaying the download progress.

    Delete—Click to delete the file from the answer.

  6. To open the attachment, click Open.

  7. To download the selected file, click Download. You are prompted to save the file attachment to the location you specify. A File Download window opens displaying the download progress.

  8. To change the display of the name and description, click Properties and make your changes.

  9. To remove this file from the answer, click Delete.

  10. Click Save.

Associate products and categories to an answer

You can associate products and categories with answers. By associating products and categories with your answers, you can create rules and facilitate searching.

Procedure
  1. From an answers report, right-click the answer and select Open.

  2. Click the Products/Categories tab.

    This figure shows the selection options found in the Product/Categories tab. The options appear in two sections: Products on the left, and Categories on the right. Check boxes allow you to select the desired products and categories.

  3. Select products and categories to associate with the answer.

    Note: Regardless of whether product linking is enabled and regardless of what categories are linked to products, all products and all categories are available on the Products/Categories tab when you add or edit an answer. In addition, product and category values are shared among sibling answers. When a product or category is changed for an answer, it is also changed for that answer’s sibling answers.

  4. To associate the answer exclusively with a product or category (without any dependence on sub-products or sub-categories), right click the product or category name. The associated check box displays green and any parent products or categories display a gray check mark to signify they are associated with the answer as well.

Add or edit a task for an answer

You can add and edit all tasks associated with an answer by clicking the answer’s Task tab.

When you add or edit a task, you not only define its name, the staff member it is assigned to, relevant dates, and type of task, but you also associate it with new or existing answers.


This figure shows the Task tab. The toolbar is contains is described in the text that follows.

The Tasks tab contains a toolbar for working with the tasks associated with the open answer. The following table describes the Tasks toolbar buttons.

Table Tasks Tab Toolbar

Button Description

Add

Click this button to add a new or existing task.

Add New

Select this option to add a task.

Add Existing

Select this option to search for a task to add to the answer.

Open

Click this button to open or edit the selected task.

If you have read-only access to tasks, you can open the selected task but all options to edit the task are disabled.

Print

Click this button to print the selected task.

Copy

Click this button to copy the selected task.

Delete

Click this button to delete the selected task.

Remove

Click this button to remove the task association from the answer.

Complete

Click this button to mark the task complete.

You can set multiple tasks to complete by pressing Ctrl while selecting each task and then click the Complete button.

Forward

Click this button to forward the task to the selected recipient.

Options

Click this button to display a drop-down menu of analytics options.

Procedure
  1. Right-click the answer and select Open.

  2. Click the Tasks tab.

  3. Choose one of the following options:

    • Click Add and select Add New to open a new task on a sub-tab.
    • Right-click a task on the Tasks tab and select Open.

    This figure shows a new task that has been opened on a sub-tab. The new task contains additional Summary, Attachments, Auditing, and Notes sub-tabs.

  4. Type the task name in the Name field.

  5. To enter additional task information, complete the fields or select a menu option.

  6. Click OK.

Adding answer details

The Details tab contains information associated with the selected answer.

You can control the display position on the customer portal, notify subscribers of changes to the answer, and define the review and publish dates for the answer. The following table describes the fields on the Details tab.

Table Answer Details Tab

Field Description

Display Position*

Click this drop-down menu to determine the answer’s display position on the customer portal.

Historical Usefulness

Select this option to use customer feedback to adjust the ranking of the answer.

Place at Bottom

Select this option to place the answer at the bottom of the list by changing the score to be equal to the lowest answer score. The score is then adjusted as the solved count changes over time.

Place at Middle

Select this option to place the answer at a level that is 50% of the highest answer score. The score is then adjusted as the solved count changes over time.

Place at Top

Select this option to place the answer at the top of the list on the Answers page by changing the score to be equal to the highest answer. The score is then adjusted as the solve count changes over time.

Fix at Bottom

Select this option to permanently fix the answer at the bottom of the list on the Answers page by changing the score to be equal to the lowest answer score. The answer’s score will not increase or decrease over time.

Fix at Middle

Select this option to permanently fix the answer at a level that is 50% of the highest answer score. The answer’s score will not increase or decrease over time.

Fix at Top

Select this option to permanently fix the answer at the top of the list on the Answers page by changing the score to equal the highest answer score. The answer’s score will not increase or decrease over time.

Review On

Click this drop-down menu to access a calendar and select a date to set the answer to the Review status. Use the left and right arrows at the top of the calendar to select the month, and then click a day.

Guided Assistance

Click this button to open the Select a Guide window, which enables you to select a guided assistance guide to associate with the answer.

This button will not display unless your administrator has enabled guided assistance.

Notify Subscribers

Click this drop-down menu to select an option for notifying subscribers when the answer is updated. Options include Do Not Notify, This Hour, End of Today, End of this Week, End of this Month.

Publish On

Click this drop-down menu to access a calendar and select a date to publish the answer. Use the left and right arrows at the top of the calendar to select the month, and then click a day. On the selected date, the answer status will change to Public, and the answer is available to customers.

When an answer’s status is set to Private, the Publish On date is cleared.

Managing answer relationships

You can relate one answer to other answers that contain similar content.

This functionality also provides a way for you to group similar answers, improving the way you keep track of and update answers in your knowledge base. Answer relationships can be managed on the answer’s Relationships tab. The answer relationship types available to you depend on how the answer workspace assigned in your profile is customized. When two or more answers are related, you can view the relationship from the Relationships tab of any of the answers.


This image shows the Relationship tab, and is described in the surrounding text.

Sibling, manually related, and automatically related answers are displayed on the Relationships tab. The tab is divided into the following sections.

  • Sibling answers—Answers that can share the same product, category, or file attachments

  • Manually related answers—Two or more answers manually defined by a staff member

  • Learned links—Answers that have learned relationships as a result of customer activity

Manually related and learned links are disabled when the answer type is set to either URL or File Attachment.

Regardless of which types of answer relationships you work with, it is important to note that all relationships between answers are at a peer level and not at a subordinate level. For example, if you have three answers you want to relate (1, 2, and 3), you can relate 2 to 1 and 3 to 2. All three answers are peers, including answers 1 and 3.

Sibling answers

Sibling answers are those that can share the same product, category, or file attachments.

Sibling answers and attachments with access levels that are at or below the contact’s SLA are visible to the contact.

To display file attachments for the answer’s siblings on the Attachments tab, the Siblings Visible property for the File Attachments relationship item in the custom answer workspace must be set to True. Refer to Selected Object properties.

The Sibling Answers section of the Relationships tab consists of a toolbar and a list of sibling answers. The toolbar is located above the sibling answer list.

Note: When you add a new answer, the option to add a sibling answer is disabled. You must first save the answer to enable the toolbar buttons on the Sibling Answers section.

The following table describes the buttons on the Sibling Answers section toolbar.

Table Sibling Answers Section Toolbar

Button Description

Add

Click this button and select one of the following options.

Add New

Select this option to add an answer and establish a sibling relationship between the current answer and the new answer.

Add Existing

Select this option to create a sibling relationship between the current answer and an existing answer. The Answer Search window displays so you can search for an existing answer.

Open

Click this button to open the selected sibling answer.

Print

Click this button to print the selected sibling answer.

Delete

Click this button to delete the sibling answer.

Remove

Click this button to remove the selected sibling answer, which disables the answer relationship.

Preview

Click this button to preview the selected sibling answer.

Options

Click this button to display a drop-down menu of analytics options.

The list in the Sibling Answers section contains answers that share the same product or category as the current answer. Refer to the following table for a description of this list.

Table Sibling List

Column Description

Answer ID

This column displays the ID assigned to the answer.

Summary

This column displays a summary of the answer content. The summary is the answer’s subject.

Language

This column displays the language of the answer.

Status

This column displays the status of the answer.

Assigned

This column displays the name of the staff member assigned to the answer.

Date Updated

This column displays the date the answer was last updated.

Action

This column displays a link for opening the sibling answer.

Right-click the Open link to display Print, Remove, and Preview functionality.

Move an answer to a sibling set

Follow this procedure to move an answer to a sibling set.

Procedure
  1. On the Sibling Answers toolbar of the Relationships tab, click Add, select Add Existing, search for the answer you want to add, and select it. The Move Siblings window opens.

  2. Select the appropriate option.

  3. Click OK.

Remove an answer from a sibling set

Follow this procedure to remove an answer from a sibling set.

Procedure
  1. In the Sibling Answers section of the Relationships tab, select the answer that you want to remove from the sibling set.

  2. Click Remove. The Move Answer window opens.

  3. Select the appropriate option.

  4. Click OK.

Manually related answers

Manually related answers are two or more answers that may contain related information. Manually relating answers provides customers with additional options for finding accurate information.

The Manually Related Answers section of the Relationships tab consists of a toolbar and a list of manually related answers. The toolbar is located above the manually related answer list.

The following table describes the buttons on the Manually Related Answers section toolbar.

Table Manually Related Answers Section Toolbar

Button Description

Add Existing

Select this option to create a relationship between the current answer and an existing answer. The Answer Search window will display so you can search for an existing answer.

Open

Click this button to open the selected answer.

Print

Click this button to print the selected answer.

Delete

Click this button to delete the selected answer.

Remove

Click this button to remove the selected answer from the list, which disables the answer relationship.

Preview

Click this button to preview the selected answer.

Options

Click this button to display a drop-down menu of analytics options.

The list in the Manually Related Answers section contains answers that may contain related answer information. The following table provides a description of this list.

Table Manually Related List

Column Description

Answer ID

This column displays the ID assigned to the answer.

Summary

This column displays a summary of the answer content. The summary is the answer’s subject.

Action

This column displays a link for opening the manually related answer.

Right-click the Open link to display Print, Remove, and Preview functionality.

Learned links

Service can automatically link answers based on customer activity. Relationships between answers are established when customers view answers during the same visit.

The Learned Links section of the Relationships tab consists of a toolbar and a list of learned link answers. The toolbar is located above the learned links answer list. The following table describes the buttons on the Learned Links section toolbar.

Table Learned Links Section Toolbar

Button Description

Open

Click this button to open the selected answer.

Print

Click this button to print the selected answer.

Preview

Click this button to preview the selected answer.

Promote

Click this button to promote the learned link to a manually related answer. The answer is added to the Manually Related list.

Block/Unblock

Click this button to block the answer from appearing in the Related Answers section on the customer portal. To block more than one answer, press Ctrl while selecting each answer.

Click this button again to allow a blocked answer to appear in the Related Answers section on the customer portal.

Options

Click this button to display a drop-down menu of analytics options.

The list in the Learned Links section contains answers that are related as a result of customer activity. All learned link answers are listed. The following table provides a description of this list.

Table Learned Links List

Column Description

Answer ID

This column displays the answer ID number.

Summary

This column displays a summary of the answer content. The summary is the answer’s subject.

Blocked

This column displays the blocked mode of the answer link on the customer portal.

If No displays, the answer link is not blocked on the customer portal. If Yes displays, the answer link is blocked on the customer portal.

Action

This column displays a link for opening the learned link answer.

Right-click the Open link to display Print, Remove, and Preview functionality.

Note: If the Related Answers feature is enabled, learned links will appear in the Related Answers section on the customer portal when a customer views the answer. The number of related answers (learned links) that display depends on how your site is configured.

Managing answers

Although you can add many answers to your knowledge base as your organization provides new products and services, you might also spend a lot of time managing and updating your current answers.

You can add information to existing answers, including adding links to other answers, merging similar answers, and adding conditional sections within an answer to control visibility of certain information.

When adding and editing answers, the toolbox allows you to perform advanced actions on your answers such as inserting hyperlinks, images, and tables. As your knowledge base grows more complex, you can insert links to other answers, associate answers with multiple access levels, insert conditional sections, and merge similar answers.

Insert a hyperlink

You can create a hyperlink in an answer that will link to a URL.

When customers view an answer on the customer portal that contains a hyperlink, they can click the hyperlink and be directed to either an internal or external URL.

Procedure
  1. From an answers report, right-click the answer and select Open.

  2. Click Hyperlink on the toolbox. The Hyperlink editor opens.

  3. Enter the following field information:

    Table Hyperlink Editor

    Field Description

    External Link

    Select this option to add a link to an external web page.

    This is selected by default.

    Internal Link

    Select this option to link to an answer.

    To enable this option, you must first add an anchor to the answer.

    Email

    Select this option to add an email link to the answer content.

    Selecting this answer link creates a message that is addressed to the specified email account.

    *Link

    Type a valid URL to the page you are linking to. To verify that the URL you typed is accurate, click the View URL button (to the right of the Link field). A web browser opens to the URL you specified. If you enter an invalid URL, an error message opens.

    Caution:  If the link is to a non-HTML page (for instance, a file type), a security warning opens. Verify that the link is directed to a trusted source before you click the Yes button to continue.

    Link Text

    Type the text you want to appear to customers.

    If this field is left blank, the URL in the Link field displays to customers.

    Target

    Click this drop-down menu and select one of the following options.

    New Window

    Select this option to have the link open in a new window when the customer clicks the link.

    Same Window

    Select this option to have the link open in the same window when the customer clicks the link.

    Parent Window

    Select this option to have the link open in the parent window when the customer clicks the link.

    Browser Window

    Select this option to have the link open in a browser window when the customer clicks the link.

  4. Click OK to insert the hyperlink at the cursor position in the current answer.

Insert an image

You can insert an image that is accessible through a URL in your HTML.

You can also define the size of the image, its border properties, and alignment.

Note: Copy and paste functionality is not available when inserting images into answers. Therefore, all answer images must be referenced by URL. As a best practice, we advise you to host your files and graphics on your own web servers and link to those files (through a HTTP address) within your answer content. For information about storing images, refer to Answer ID 4161 on our customer support site.
Procedure
  1. From an answers report, right-click the answer and select Open.

  2. Click Image on the toolbox. The Image Editor opens.

    This figure shows the Image Editor window, and is described in the surrounding text.

  3. Enter the following field information.

    Table Image Editor

    Field Description

    *Image URL

    Type the URL where the image is located.

    View URL

    Click this button (globe icon) to view the URL in a web browser.

    Alt Text

    Type the alternate text for the image.

    Width

    Type the width, in pixels, you want the image to appear as.

    Height

    Type the height, in pixels, you want the image to appear as.

    Border

    Type the width, in pixels, of the image’s border.

    Alignment

    Click this drop-down menu to select the image’s alignment: Inline, Left, Middle, Right, Top, or Bottom. The default alignment is Inline.

  4. Click OK to insert the image.

Insert a table

You can insert a table in your HTML and define the number of rows or columns and its border properties, cell padding, and cell spacing.

Procedure
  1. From an answers report, right-click the answer and select Open.

  2. Click Table on the toolbox. The Insert Table window opens.

    This figure shows the Insert Table window with the Quick tab selected, and is described in the text that follows.

  3. To use the Quick tab to define the number of rows and columns in the table, hover over the grid and click when the number of rows and columns is correct.

  4. Click the Advanced tab.

    This figure shows the Insert Table window with the Advanced tab selected, and is described in the text that follows.

  5. Enter the following field information.

    Table Advanced Tab on the Insert Table Window

    Field Description

    Size

    Define the size of the table in this section.

    Rows

    Enter the number of rows in the table.

    Columns

    Enter the number of columns in the table.

    Table Width

    Enter the width of the table and select the unit from the drop-down menu (for example, pixels).

    Display

    Define the table’s attributes in this section.

    Border

    Enter the width, in pixels, of the table’s border.

    Cell Padding

    Enter the padding, in pixels, of the table’s cells.

    Cell Spacing

    Enter the spacing, in pixels, of the table’s cells.

  6. Click OK to insert the table.

  7. To edit the table’s properties, right-click the table and select Table Editor > Table Properties.

    This figure shows the Table Editor window, and is described in the text that follows.

    1. Enter the following field information.

      Table Table Editor

      Field Description

      Caption Properties

      Define the table’s caption in this section.

      Caption

      Type the caption of the table.

      Alignment

      Click this drop-down menu to select the alignment of the caption. Your choices are Left, Centered, and Right.

      Location

      Click this drop-down menu to select the location of the caption in relation to the table. Your choices are Top and Bottom.

      Table Properties

      Define the table’s attributes in this section.

      Border

      Type the width, in pixels, of the table’s border.

      Alignment

      Click this drop-down menu to select the alignment of the table on the page. Your choices are Left, Centered, and Right.

      Width

      Type the width of the table and select the unit from the options (Pixels or Percentage).

      Background Color

      Click this box to select a color for the table’s background.

      Border Color

      Click this box to select a color for the table’s borders.

      Cell Properties

      Define the table’s attributes in this section.

      Cellspacing

      Type the spacing, in pixels, of the table’s cells.

      Cellpadding

      Type the padding, in pixels, of the table’s cells.

    2. Click OK to save your changes.

  8. To edit a cell’s properties, right-click the table cell and select Table Editor > Cell Properties.

    This figure shows the Cell Properties window, and is described in the text that follows.

    1. Enter the following field information.

      Table Cell Properties Window

      Field Description

      Border Properties

      Define the cell’s border properties in this section.

      Border

      Type the width of the cell’s border in pixels.

      Border Color

      Click this box to select a color for the cell’s borders.

      Layout

      Fill in the following fields to specify the cell’s layout properties.

      Width

      Type the width of the cell and select the Pixels or Percent option.

      Horizontal Alignment

      Click this drop-down menu to select the horizontal alignment of the text in the cell. Your choices are Left, Centered, Right, and Justify.

      Vertical Alignment

      Click this drop-down menu to select the vertical alignment of the text in the cell. Your choices are Top, Middle, Bottom, and Baseline.

      Background Color

      Click this box to select a color for the cell’s background.

      Word Wrap

      Select this check box to allow text to wrap in the cell.

    2. Click OK to save your changes.

Insert an answer link

You can create a link in an answer that references an existing answer. Service provides you with the flexibility to easily create links to existing answers by using the answer ID number instead of typing a long URL to the answer.

Procedure
  1. Right-click the answer on the content pane and select Open.

  2. Click Insert Answer Link. The Answer Reference Tag window opens.

    This figure shows the Answer Reference Tag window, and is described in the text that follows.

  3. Enter the following field information.

    Table Answer Reference Tag Window

    Field Description

    *Answer ID

    Type the answer ID of the answer you want to link to.

    Link Text

    Type the text you want to appear to customers.

    If this field is left blank, Answer Link will display to customers.

    Title

    Type the text you want to appear to customers when they hover over the link title.

    Target

    Select the target location where you want the contents of the link to display. The choices are:
    • New Window
    • Same Window
    • Parent Window
    • Browser Window

    Anchor

    Type the anchor in this field to link to a specific location in a long string of text in an answer. This allows the customer to link to the exact location.

  4. Click OK to insert the answer link at the cursor position in the current answer.

Insert an anchor

When you insert an answer link, you may also need to insert an anchor in the answer you are linking to if you want the answer link to open to a specific location within the answer.

For example, you may have an answer that contains several paragraphs of text, but the first paragraph does not contain information that will answer the customer’s question. Using an anchor, you can quickly link to a specific location.

Procedure
  1. Right-click the answer on the content pane and select Open.

  2. Insert the cursor in the exact location of the answer you want to link to.

  3. Click Manage Anchors. The Manage Anchors window opens.

    This figure shows the Manage Anchors window, and is described in the text that follows.

  4. Type a name for the anchor in the Anchor Name field.

  5. Click Add Anchor to add the anchor at the cursor position in the answer.

  6. To rename an anchor, select the anchor and click Rename.

  7. To delete an anchor, select the anchor and click Delete.

  8. Click Close to save the anchor and close the Manage Anchors window.

Associate an answer with multiple access levels

You can associate multiple access levels with an answer.

If any of the access levels have customer visibility, the answer is visible on the customer portal. In addition, you can control the answers returned in a customer’s search by assigning them SLAs that allow privileged access to specific answers. For example, a customer assigned an SLA with Gold access is able to view all answers with the assigned access levels of Gold, Everyone, or Gold and Everyone.

Access levels are just one way of controlling answer visibility. For information about other ways to control answer visibility, refer to visibilityinterfaceSLAs.

Procedure
  1. Right-click the answer on the content pane and select Open.

  2. Click Access Level and select the check box next to each access level you want to assign to the answer.

    This figure shows the content pane with Access Level check-box options.

  3. To view the answer as customers will see it on the customer portal, click the Quick Preview tab.

  4. Click Save to save your changes.

Insert a conditional section

Conditional sections control the visibility of specific sections within your answers, allowing customers with only the appropriate SLA to view the conditional sections.

One scenario for using conditional sections is when you are working on an answer and you want to add information that is not yet approved for public visibility. You can create an access level that has no customer portal visibility and assign it to the conditional section you do not want customers to view.

Conditional sections can also be used with privileged access levels assigned to specific SLAs. Those customers assigned an SLA with a privileged access level are able to view the conditional sections assigned to the privileged access level. For example, a customer assigned an SLA with Gold access is able to view conditional sections with access levels of Gold, Everyone, or Gold and Everyone. This provides more flexibility to customize and personalize answers for customers.

Note: Conditional sections can also be nested. Although answers allow unlimited nesting levels, we strongly recommend that you limit the nesting levels to three inner sections.
Procedure
  1. Right-click the answer on the content pane and select Open. By default, the Question tab is active.

  2. To add your conditional section to the answer portion, click the Answer tab.<