5Service

Incidents

Overview of Incidents

When customers request help through email or the Ask a Question page, Service automatically creates incidents.

Note: B2C Service includes a component known as “Service” where you work with 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. Service 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, Service gives you the tools to craft consistent, accurate answers to customer questions. It also lets you propose incident as answers, present offer to customers, and create opportunity 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

  • Present promotional offers to the customer

You might also want to propose the incident as a permanent answer in the knowledge base. This lets customers to view the answer without being required to submit a service request.

Note: Service automatically handles email between separate B2C Service sites. The site-specific incidents are accurately updated on each site even if unique reference numbers are used for the same incident. See Cross-Site Email Management.

Incident Reports

This topic describes incident reports and what options are available.

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.

Incident 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 incident report displays the report on the content pane. The incident information displayed on the content pane depends on the incident report you opened and which fields were defined when the report was created. The Incidents report, for example, displays the 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 lets you open, add, print, copy, assign, delete, forward, and propose incidents. In addition, you can send email to the contact associated with an incident, 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 incident report ribbon.

Standard Incident Workspace

This topic describes the standard incident workspace used when working on incidents.

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.

Incident Workspace Ribbon

This 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 lets you 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.

Incident 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.

The standard workspace for incidents includes these tabs.

  • Messages—Contains fields that let you 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. See Add an Incident.

  • Contacts—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. See Add or Edit Contact Information.

  • Details—Contains fields for collecting additional information about the incident, which is beneficial for reporting purposes. See Add Incident Information on the Details Tab.

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

  • Tasks—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. See Add or Edit a Task for an Incident.

  • Organization—Lists the organization associated with the incident. See Edit an Organization Associated with an Incident.

  • Web Visit—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. See View Web Visit Information for an Incident.

  • Attachments—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. See Overview of the Attachments Tab.

  • Audit Log—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. See Audit Logs.

Note: If you make changes to fields on any of the incident record tabs or any of the subtabs or windows opened through the record tabs (for example, the contact editing subtab), 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.

Incident Creation

This topic describes the process for working on incidents after a customer submits a question.

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.

  1. Click Fill Inbox.

    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.
  2. If the displayed incidents report does not display incidents by assigned staff member, 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.

How You Edit 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.

This list provides the required and optional 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.

How Incidents are 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. See Overview of Business Rules.

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.

SLA Instance Field

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

An SLA is a service level agreement. SLAs let 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

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

  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.

    The SLA Viewer window opens. 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

    The Add New SLA Instance window opens.
  4. Click the Name drop-down menu and select an SLA.

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

  6. Click OK.

    The Add New SLA Instance window closes and the SLA instance is added.
  7. Click OK.

After 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

After 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.

  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.

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. See Resolution Due Calculations.

Edit Key Incident Fields

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

This 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.

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

  2. Enter field information.

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

    Table Incident Fields

    Field Description
    *Subject Enter 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.

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

  2. Click the Details tab.

  3. Enter field information.

    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.

Incident Thread

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.

This image 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), incident thread toolbar (formatting tools). It also shows the uncommitted threads panel on the left (with title bar), and the committed threads panel on the right.

Legend for image: 1. Messages tab toolbar 2. Incident thread toolbar 3. Title bar 4. Uncommitted threads panel 5. Committed threads panel

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.

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 ######-######.
Messages Tab Toolbar

Using the Messages tab toolbar, you can choose the type of thread entry—customer entry, response, or private note—when responding to the customer.

The thread title bars are color coded, making 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).

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.

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 enter your response to the customer’s question. This is the default option when you edit an incident.
Private Note Select this option to enter 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 Overview of Workspace and Script Elements to view the list of individual functions.
WYSIWYG Toolbar

Using the incident thread 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. Depending on your organization's security requirements, there may be other reasons to disable this configuration setting. See Email Security for more information.

Use the incident thread 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 Paste as Text or press Ctrl+Shift+V.

  • Change font style, size, and attributes (bold, italic, underline, strikethrough, text color, highlight).

    Tip: To make the font size in the incident and the response the same, see Answer ID 4857.
  • 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.

Note: 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 Paste as Text or press Ctrl+Shift+V.
Add a Response to an Incident

Follow this procedure to add a response to an incident.

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

  2. If the Messages 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.)

  5. Enter your response to the customer’s question. See WYSIWYG Toolbar.

    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.

    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.

  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.)

  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. Enter the customer entry or note in the uncommitted threads panel. See WYSIWYG Toolbar.

    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.

    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.

Response Options

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.

SmartAssistant Suggested Answers

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: You must enable the KF_SA_OPTIMIZATION_ENABLE configuration setting and add the autotuner component to your list of items for the Configuration button. See 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.

  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 ID by pressing F9 from the incident response on the Messages tab, entering 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 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.

Mark an Answer as the Best Answer

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

  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.

  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 the SmartAssistant effectiveness of your site.

    • Recommendations—This panel displays the current recommendation of the auto tuner (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.

How You Search 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. See Append Answer Content.

Insert Standard Text from the Standard Text Window

When you are busy responding to customer 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 entering 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 shortcut key for the text item, you can enter it without opening the Standard Text window.

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

  2. Click Standard Text on the Messages tab toolbar.

    The Standard Text window opens.
  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.
    • 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.

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

  6. To edit the standard text, make changes as necessary in the response.

    Note: If the standard text includes one or more variables, the variable displays 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 displays where the variable had been inserted.
Insert Standard Text Using a Keyboard Shortcut

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

  1. To display the shortcut key for a standard text item, select the standard text in the column that contains the Standard Text options in the Standard Text window.

    The shortcut keys 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 shortcut keys 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.

Table Guided Assistance Window Buttons

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.
  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 entering 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.

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.

  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. To add a contact, do one of the following:

    • To add a new contact to the incident, click Add New. A new contact opens on a subtab.
    • 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, manually select Primary next to 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 subtab.
  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.

    The Contact subtab 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 subtab.

    1. To add or edit the contact’s login, enter 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 subtab.

  10. Click Save.

Add Time Billed to an Incident

This topic describes how you can use the fields available on the Time Billed tab to track your time working on 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.

  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 field information.

    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 enter a new value. Or use the up and down arrows to adjust the duration.
    Notes Enter a note about the time billed for the incident.
  5. Click OK.

  6. Click Save.

Modify Time Billed Entries

You can edit and delete time billed entries as necessary.

  1. To edit a time billed entry, right-click it and select Open.

    1. Make your changes.

    2. Click Save.

  2. 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 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.

  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 subtab. 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.

  8. Click Save.

Edit an Organization Associated with an Incident

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

The Organization tab lets you view the name and ID of the organization associated with the 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.

  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 address. Enter 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, enter the information in the appropriate field.

  5. To change the 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 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. See Delete a Contact.
  8. Click Save.

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.

  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.

Incident Attachments Tab

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 at the same time an incident thread is added on the Messages tab, 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 V 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, see How You Present Offers.

  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.

  7. Click Save.

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.

  1. From an open incident, click New Opportunity.

  2. To edit any information for the opportunity, enter the field information described in Edit Key Opportunity Fields.

  3. Click Save.

How You Send Incident 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 heading. 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 in RightNow Common/Service Modules/RightNow Email.

  • 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 (located in Common/General/Outgoing Email). When 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.

Do one of the following:

  • Click Send.
  • Select the Send on Save check box, and then click Save.
If a customer does not receive your response, a Viewed Bounced Messages button appears on the Response title bar in the committed threads panel. See 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). See Edit a Configuration Setting.
  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.

Attach Files to an Incident Response

Follow this procedure to attach files to an incident response.

  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.

    The Attachments window opens.
  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.

  6. Click Send.

    The response is sent 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.” See Incident Attachments Tab.
Select Additional Recipients for an Incident Response

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

  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 B2C Service.

  4. Select a name from the list.

    Tip: You can enter 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 click 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.

  7. Click Send.

    The response is sent 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.

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

    Note: Because different staff members can be working on the same incident, email signatures are appended to the thread you are responding to instead of to the bottom of the email. If your email signature does not populate the thread response, your administrator has not set up email signature information. 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.”
  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.

Service Collaboration

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, see Answer ID 6902 on our support site.

After Service Collaboration is enabled, you must:

  • Assign staff members permission to use collaboration.

  • Create a custom incident workspace to include a collaboration relationship item control.

  • Add the My Incident Conversations item to the navigation set of agents with collaboration permission. Adding this item lets 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, see Oracle Social Network.

Configure Collaboration with External Users

This topic describes how to configure a profile for an external user to assist agents in solving customer questions.

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 permitted up to 100 external users for each Service Console license.

  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

This topic describes how to use Co-browse to assist a customer while working on an incident.

With Co-browse, 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. Co-browse 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: Co-browse must be enabled before you can begin a session with a customer. In addition, you can engage in only one co-browse session at a time.
  1. While speaking with a customer on the telephone, direct the customer to the location of the co-browse 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 Co-browse tab.

    The co-browse login page displays and your B2C Service login name appears in the Agent Name field.
  3. Ask the customer for the secure session ID number and enter it in the Access Code field.

  4. Click Connect. The co-browse toolbar displays and the co-browse session begins.

    Your viewing and co-browsing options are limited depending on how your company has set up the Co-browse deployment. Privacy settings can differ when you co-browse in Instant Co-browse mode or Advanced Co-browse mode. Your company’s Co-browse administrator configures the privacy settings.

    Table Co-browse Toolbar

    Button/Field Description
    Mode Click this drop-down menu to select an advanced co-browse state, which specifies how much control you have over the customer’s desktop.
    View Only Select to view the customer’s active window. This option is selected by default in Advanced Co-browse mode.
    View + Pointer Select to view the customer’s active window 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 active window. This option is selected by default in Instant Co-browse mode.

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

    This option is only available when co-browsing in Advanced Co-browse mode. With this option selected, mouse-click functionality does not work on the customer’s desktop.

    Full Control Select to view the customer’s active window, control all mouse or other pointing device functions (pointer and mouse clicks), navigate to other company web pages, and use your keyboard to enter information on the customer’s active window (for instance, to help the customer fill out a form). The customer receives a consent message to permit or deny full control.

    In Advanced Co-browse mode, you can access the customer’s desktop and co-browse third party sites.

    Advanced Mode Select to escalate to the Advanced Co-browse mode. An invitation is sent to the customer to activate Advanced Co-browse 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 co-browse session.
    True View True View is enabled by default and lets you view the customer’s desktop exactly as it is seen by the customer when in Instant Co-browse mode. Click to turn True View off in situations where the customer’s settings prevent you from navigating efficiently.
    Zoom In Click to zoom in on the customer’s desktop.

    This button is available only in Advanced Co-browse mode.

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

    This button is available only in Advanced Co-browse mode.

    Annotations Click to make comments on the customer's window.
    • Select one of the displayed suggested colors, or click the last color option to open a color picker where you can select any color.
    • Select the line width for your annotations.
    Any comments you make are cleared from the window when you click Annotations again, or when the customer scrolls the page, resizes the browser window, or navigates from the page.
    Note: Comments are only visible to you and the customer. If another agent is joined in the co-browsing session, comments you make are not visible to that agent.
  5. Click Disconnect to end the co-browse session. Both you and the customer are notified when the co-browse session ends. The customer can also disconnect from the co-browse session at any time.

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

Add an Incident

This procedure describes how to add an incident for a customer using B2C Service.

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.

  1. Do one of the following:

    • Click New on the ribbon.
    • If your navigation set is configured to add incidents from the application menu, click File > Incident.
    Note: Notice that the Reference # and Organization Name are read-only fields. The reference number is automatically assigned by B2C Service, and the organization name (if the field contains an entry) is the one associated with the primary contact for the incident.
  2. Enter the question or issue in the Subject field. Maximum character limit is 240 characters.

  3. Complete the incident fields as described in Edit Key Incident Fields.

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

  5. Click Add > Response.

  6. Enter your response. See Incident Thread and Response Options.

  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. See Overview of the Attachments Tab.

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

  13. To create an opportunity from the incident, click New Service Opportunity. See Create an Opportunity from an Incident.

  14. To send a response, see How You Send Incident Responses.

  15. Click Save.

Incident Management

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 requeue or reassign incidents.

For other incident management tasks, including forwarding incidents and updating multiple incidents simultaneously, see Overview of Common Functionality.

Propose an Answer from an Incident

You can propose an incident to become a potential answer for your knowledge base.

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 a service request. 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 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.
  1. Do 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 the Notes field and enter 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.

    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.

  1. Do 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.

    Note: Transactions associated with those incidents are deleted asynchronously. Purging transactions is controlled by data lifecycle management policies. See Data Lifecycle Management.
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.

These 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.

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

  2. Do one of the following:

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

    The incident is moved from your inbox to the agent inbox or selected queue.
Archived Incidents

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, B2C Service archives incidents automatically past a certain period of time after they are solved. Archived incidents can also automatically be purged (deleted permanently).

You can access data lifecycle management on the Agent Browser UI, which provides built-in policies to archive and purge unused or unrequired data automatically and periodically. See Data Lifecycle Management.

Open the Archived Incidents Component

There might be times when you need to reference outdated incidents to better serve your customers. In B2C Service, you can search for and view incidents that have been removed from your knowledge base and archived.

Before you can access the Archived Incidents component, the appropriate permissions must be defined in your profile. Customize navigation sets must be enabled, in addition to Incident Read permission. You must then add the Archived Incidents component to a navigation list. Contact your administrator if you are unsure of your permissions or this component’s location.
Note: Archived incident information is read-only and cannot be updated. In addition, you must perform a search to display and view archived incidents.
  1. Click the navigation button that contains the Archived Incidents component.

  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. See Perform a Basic Search for an Archived Incident or Perform an Advanced Search for an Archived Incident.

Perform a Basic Search for an Archived Incident

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

  1. Click Search on the Archived Incidents component.

    The Search window opens.
  2. Enter search terms.

    Table Search Window

    Field/Button Description
    Reference Number Enter the reference number of the incident in this text box.
    Text Search Enter 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 subproducts), Category (including subcategories), 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.

Perform an Advanced Search for an Archived Incident

The Archived Incidents component features advanced searching capabilities for retrieving archived incidents.

You can perform a search based on a range of search fields, including the subject, threads, product, category, disposition, contact data, and organcization data associated with the incident. You can also 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.

  1. Click Search on the Archived Incidents component.

    The Search window opens.
  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 see Perform a Basic Search for an Archived Incident.
  3. Enter field information.

    Table Archived Incidents Advanced Search Options

    Field/Button Description
    Search Attributes (contains) Search results contain all or part of the search terms.
    Ref Number Enter all or part of the reference number of the incident in this text box. You can use wildcards in searching.
    Text Search Enter 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 subproducts), Category (including subcategories), 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 Enter a word or phrase in this text box to search the Subject field of archived incidents.
    Threads Enter 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/Attributes Search for specific information in custom fields and system attributes.
    Custom Fields Enter 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 date/time 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.

    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.”
View an Archived Incident

When you find the archived incident you're looking for, you can open it to view the incident details. You can also print, export, or delete the incident.

  1. From the list of search results, open the archived incident you want to view.

    Note: B2C Service 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 Agent Browser UI. If an incident includes HTML formatting when it's archived, the HTML formatting is retained and displays on the content pane.
  2. View the archived incident details.

    Table Archived Incident Details

    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.
    Secondary Incident Contact Displays the secondary contact's information.
    SLA Instance Displays the SLA instance applied to the contact or the organization associated to the archived incident.
Delete an Archived Incident

You can delete a selective archived incident, permanently removing the incident from your organization’s database.

Your profile must have Administration permission before you can delete archived incidents. See Administration Permissions.
There may be times when you want to delete an archived incident prior to the specified purge date defined by your organization. This procedure lets you delete an archived incident, regardless of the period specified for archived incidents to be automatically deleted.
  1. Click Search on the Archived Incidents component.

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

  3. Enter search terms as described in the Archived Incidents Advanced Search Options table.

    Tip: You can also use Basic Search to search for an archived incident.
  4. Click Search.

    The search results display on the Archived Incidents component.
  5. Select the check box next to the incident(s) you want to permanently delete.

  6. Click Delete.

  7. Click OK in response to the confirm delete message.

  8. Click OK in response to the selected incidents are being deleted message.

    Note: It may take up to 30 minutes for the deleted incidents to be fully removed from the database. Deleted incidents may continue to display in search results until the delete operation is complete.
Export Archived Incidents

After performing a search, you can export archived incidents.

  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 and enter a name for the file.

  4. 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.

Incident Thread Management

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.

Incident Thread Masking

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.

Incident thread masking can protect this personal data by automatically masking content in incident threads. By default, B2C Service 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 after 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.

After 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, B2C Service 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.

  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 field information.

    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.

    When 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. The dividers can be at fixed/random intervals.

    Note: Credit cards with 12–19 digits are supported by Incident Thread Masking to include additional credit card types, not just those in the following list.
    • Visa:

      4215101992633023

      4215 1019 9263 3023

      453 939339 6455

      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:

      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 enter the regular expression for the pattern you want to mask. This 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. Enter [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.

    Enter [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 enter 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, enter 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 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.

    The Deploy window opens.
  6. Enter 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.
  9. Click OK in response to the message that reads, "Deploying has finished."

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. This procedure is for testing purposes only.

  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, enter text that both matches and closely matches the mask patterns you have deployed. For example, enter 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.

  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.
Edit or Convert a Response Thread

With incident thread correction you can convert a response thread entry into a note thread entry as well as edit or remove text and images. This lets you remove content so it cannot be seen by customers in future responses.

There may be times when a response contains incorrect information or was inadvertently sent to a customer. Thread entries can be edited after they are sent to a customer, letting you to convert a response thread entry into a note thread entry and edit or delete text and images. With incident thread correction, you can view all responses for a particular incident and select only those you want to change. After a response is modified, it cannot be converted back to the original thread.

Note: To access the Incident Thread Correction element, you must have Administration permissions set in your profile. Additionally, you must have the Edit/Delete Committed Thread Content permission set in your profile to edit incident thread content and delete images. See Profiles.
  1. Click Configuration on the navigation pane.

  2. Expand Database, and then double-click Incident Thread Correction.

    The Incident Thread Correction tree displays on the content pane.
  3. Enter the reference number of the incident containing the thread entry you want to edit 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 into a note.

    After saving your changes, the next time you open the incident, this information displays as a Note thread.
  5. To remove inline images from the incident thread, do the following:

    1. Select the Remove Thread Images check box.

    2. Remove the <img> tag in the Thread column.

      When you remove an image from a thread and the incident is refreshed, the image is removed from the incident thread. If you do not remove the <img> tag in the Thread column, the image is replaced by a black X icon when the incident is refreshed.
  6. To edit the incident thread, do one of the following:

    • Right-click in the Thread column and select Edit Thread.
    • Double-click in the Thread column.
    The Edit Thread window opens.
    1. To search for a word or phrase in the incident thread, enter it in the text field and click Find.

      The search results are highlighted on the Edit Thread window.
    2. Edit the incident thread.

    3. Click X to close the Edit Thread window.

    Your changes display in the Thread column on the Threads table.
  7. Click Save.

The changes you made are saved to the incident.

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. See Manage Files with the File Manager.
  1. Click Configuration on the navigation pane.

  2. Expand Service > Knowledge Base, and then double-click Incident Stopwords to 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, enter 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.

    Note: Oracle Cloud Operations must run the Keywordindexer utility before your changes to the stopwords list are active. To schedule this, Submit a Service Request.

How You Configure 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 in 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.

  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.

You must add Product Skills and Language Skills to the navigation set. See Edit a Navigation Set.

Add Skills

Add skills for advanced routing.

  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 field information.

    Table Skills Editor

    Field Description
    Skill Information This section defines the name and type of the skill.
    *Skill Name Enter 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.
  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. Click 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. When 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

Overview of Answers

Customers use your site to find answers to their questions about the services and products your organization provides.

To help 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.

Note: B2C Service includes a component known as “Service” where you work with answers.

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.

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 toolbar lets you 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.

To learn how to start your knowledge base and keep it organized and up-to-date, see How to Seed Your Knowledge Base. To learn more how to work with answers on the Service Console, see Process of Creating and Updating Answers.

How to Seed Your Knowledge Base

Because Service can start with only 15-20 answers, the need for a comprehensive initial knowledge set is eliminated, which significantly speeds and simplifies implementation.

Most organizations can build their initial knowledge base 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. Propose Answer lets agents suggest that certain incidents become public answers, letting you seamlessly create public answers from the real issues 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. See Service Permissions.

Define a Process for Publishing and Reviewing Answers

Before you develop your knowledge base, you must have a process for publishing answers.

This process outlines the steps for efficiently capturing incident information and creating answers.
  1. Define a process for proposing new answers—Typically, 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 agent expertise, we have found this 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 review, edit, and format the proposed answer, and then 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—After 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. See How to Control Answer Visibility.

  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 under Public Reports/Service/Site Reports/Answer Notifications. See How You Distribute Reports and Dashboards.

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.

Best Practices for Creating Effective Answers

Creating useful answers is a straightforward process with a few simple guidelines. Follow these guidelines to enhance the search process for customers by letting them find pertinent information quickly and eliminating the need for 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 these 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.

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.

How to Control 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 service level agreements (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 key fields and functions 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. See 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. See 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. See Search Optimization Using 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, see Insert a Conditional Section.

What to Do When Answers Are Not Visible

If an answer (or a section within an answer) you want to be accessed by your customers does not appear on the customer portal, answer these questions to troubleshoot the problem.

Tip: You can preview an answer to view it as customers will see it on the customer portal.
  • 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 or 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 use the preview to see if the answer displays. If you are unsure of the answer to any of the above questions, contact your administrator.

Answer Ranking

Through answer click-track analysis and feedback, 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 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 relationships—An affinity map is built that 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.

Answer Ranking Through Solved Count

Solved count 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 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 score value is a calculated value equal to the answer 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, see Add 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.

Solved Count Aging

Over time, the solved count of an unused answer will gradually decline or age.

If an answer has not been viewed for thirty days (the default setting), the solved count is automatically 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 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 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.

Answer Management

Many of the maintenance tasks related to organizing the answers in your knowledge base are automated in Service. This allows you to focus on improving and maintaining the content of answers.

This 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. See Solved Count Aging.

  • 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 a publish date for a date in the future. In this way, you can schedule an answer to become public automatically without having to publish. See Answer Review.

  • 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 customer 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 customer questions. This information can also indicate areas of the knowledge base that need to be tuned. See 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. See Answer Evaluation Using Analytics.

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 might need to be created.

Answer Review

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

Reviewing answers should be a central part of maintaining your knowledge base to ensure that the content is current, relevant, and useful. You might 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 might 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 might 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 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.

Content Hole Identification

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

Agents can become overwhelmed with assistance requests, and despite their best intentions, they might 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.

Answer Evaluation Using 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 located in 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 in 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 these 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 that 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 these reports.

  • Top Searches Per Answer—This report provides the top ten searches that returned an answer that 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.

Process of Creating and Updating Answers

You can improve customer experience by having 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.

After 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.

This flowchart shows the process of creating and updating an answer.


This flowchart shows the actions that can be performed on an answer. If the answer-creation method is “Add new answer”, these 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. These properties are then set: access answer variables; status, access level, and language, then the answer is 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.

Answer 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. Answer reports can be placed in other navigation lists, not just the Answers navigation list.

Note: 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 answer report you opened and which fields were defined when the report was created. The Answers Default report, for example, displays the answer ID, summary, language, access level, status, assigned, and date the answer was last updated. The ribbon lets you 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. See Record Search Options.

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. This is an example of the standard answer workspace.


This image 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 can 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 might display a different combination of fields or display them in a different location on the content pane.

Answer Ribbon

A standard ribbon exists for working with answers.

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 status or answer access level. See Overview of Business Rules.

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. See 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. See Preview an Answer.
Check Links Click this button to check the validity of hyperlinks and answer links in the answer. See Validate Links in an 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. See Product Linking.

Print Click this button to print the answer. See Print a Record.
Copy Click this button to copy the answer. See Copy a Record.
Delete
Caution: Deleting an answer affects all relationships associated with the answer.
Click this button to delete the answer. See Delete an Answer.
Proofing
Spell Check Click this button to check the spelling of any answer fields that have spell check enabled. Text on the answer Content tab is automatically checked for correct spelling. See Spell Checking.
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.

Answer Record Tabs

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

The organization of these tabs lets you 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 answer types. The Content tab also contains the HTML editor for answers where you can create HTML answers using basic word processing functions as well as dynamic content, such as adding hyperlinks, images, tables, answer links, and conditional sections. You can also use source mode to enter HTML code directly in the editor. The HTML editor lets you add a special response, which is a short version of the answer that can be used in search results. You can use the special response to format your answer content based on how and where the answer displays. See Add an Answer.

  • 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. See 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 toolbar or by right-clicking the task and making your selection. See 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. See Add 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. See to Overview of the Attachments Tab.

  • Audit Log tab—Lists all answer actions performed by staff members as well as automatic changes initiated by any business rules that are used. 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. See 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. See 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. See 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. See Answer Evaluation Using Analytics.

Answer Tasks Tab Toolbar

The Tasks tab contains a toolbar for working with the tasks associated with an open answer.


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

Table Answer Tasks Tab Toolbar Buttons

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.

Add an Answer

Key answer fields are used to specify the answer summary, status, language, access level, and the staff member assigned to the answer.

Key answer fields are located at the top of the content pane. Field marked with a red label and an asterisk are required and must be completed before you can save the answer. The key answer fields that display on the content pane vary depending on the permissions set in your profile.

You can create different answer types when adding answers to the knowledge base. Answer types give you 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. See HTML Editor for Answers.

  • URL—Answers that consist of a link to an external URL. The URL address and the content of the web page are displayed. See Add a URL Answer.

  • 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. See Add a File Attachment Answer.

  1. Do one of the following:

    • From an open answer report, click New.

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

    The New Answer editor displays with the Content tab active.
    This image shows the standard answer workspace, which is described in the table in the next step.
  2. Enter field information.

    Table Answer Fields

    Field Description
    *Summary Enter 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: For example, entering %+Space+b returns all last names starting with the letter b. There is also an implied wildcard when searching, so entering b in the Find field returns all items containing the letter b.
    Access Level Click this drop-down menu to control answer visibility by selecting one or more access levels. See Associate an Answer with Multiple Access Levels.
  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 on the Content tab.

    Options include HTML, URL, and File Attachment. See HTML Editor for Answers, Add a URL Answer, or Add a File Attachment Answer.
    Caution: When you change the answer type in an existing answer, all answer relationships and certain answer fields are removed. For example, when you change an HTML answer type to a URL answer type, the Question, Answer, Special Response, and Attachments tabs are removed and you lose any content that was created on those tabs.
  5. To add keywords to associate with the answer, enter the words in the Keywords field on the Content tab. Separate keywords by commas and separate any compound words by spaces. For example, phone,call plan,nationwide.

    Keywords are used by the search feature. In addition, associated products and categories and their descriptions are automatically used as keywords for answers.
    Tip: Use keywords sparingly. Too many keywords can negatively impact the accuracy of search results. Instead, consider using the aliases.txt wordlist file to customize the words used during keyword indexing and text searching. See Wordlist Files.

  6. To add notes specific to your answer content, enter your notes in the Notes field on the Content tab.

    Keep in mind that this field can be viewed by customers. Use the Notes tab for private notes.
  7. To associate products and categories with the answer, click the Products/Categories tab.

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

  9. To add information you want to associate with the answer, including setting Publish On and Review On fields, click the Details tab.

  10. To attach files to the answer, click the Attachments tab. Attachments are available only for HTML answer types.

    You can attach as many files as needed to associate with an answer. 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.
    1. Click Add Files on the Attachments tab toolbar.

    2. To attach files that will be shared with sibling answers, click Add Files under the Attachments for This Answer and All Sibling Answers section.

      The Attachments for This Answer and All Sibling Answers section displays only if the Siblings Visible property for the File Attachments relationship item on the answer workspace is set to True. See Sibling Answers and Options Properties.
  11. To view the answer audit log, click the Audit Log tab.

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

  13. To enter private notes about the answer, click the Notes tab.

    These notes are not be visible to customers on the customer portal.
    1. Click the Notes tab.

    2. Click Add.

    3. Enter the notes in the Answer Note field.

  14. Click Save.

    Your 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 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 that it is not.
  • To perform a visibility check when the answer 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.

HTML Editor for Answers

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

The HTML editor's Content tab contains four subtabs (Question, Answer, Special Response, and Quick Preview) that you can use to create and preview content for answers. You can design your answer content using design mode or source mode.

In design mode, you can create dynamic, well-formatted answers without previous HTML experience. The HTML editor contains many of the same options available in basic word processing applications so you format your text and add graphics, links, and other common HTML features. You can also add links that reference other answers. In source mode, you can create answers using HTML source code. By default, the source mode 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.

Regardless of which mode you use to create answers, you can preview how the content diplays 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

Design mode lets you create dynamic, well-formatted answers without previous HTML experience.

  1. Do one of the following:

    • From an open answer report, click New.

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

    The New Answer editor displays.
    This image shows the standard answer workspace, which is described in the table in step 3.
    By default, the Content tab is active and the HTML answer types is selected.
  2. Enter the subject of the answer in the Summary field.

    This field displays as the subject of the answer on the customer portal.
  3. Use the HTML editor to add the question portion of the answer. By default, the Question tab is active.

    Options available on the toolbar let you do the following:
    • Cut, copy, and paste.

    • Search for text.

    • Undo and redo changes.

    • Format text with bullets or numbered lists.

    • Adjust indentation.

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

    • Change the font using the system fonts, including the default font.

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

    • Apply specialized formatting, including super and subscripts.

    Other options are also accessed through the toolbar.

    Table HTML Editor Toolbar Icons

    Icon Description
    Block Quote Click this icon to set off text as a block quote (<blockquote> tag).
    Div Container Click this icon to create a DIV block (<div> tag). You can insert new lines and line breaks between DIV containers.
    Line break Click this icon to insert a line break (<br/> tag).
    Source Click this icon to switch between source and design mode. In source mode, most of the toolbar icons are unavailable.
    Link Click this icon to insert a hyperlink. See Insert a Hyperlink.
    Unlink Click this icon to remove a hyperlink.
    Image Click this icon to insert an image. You can use the mouse to resize an image after inserting it. See Insert an Image.
    Table Click this icon to insert a table. See Insert a Table.
    Horizontal Line Click this icon to insert a horizontal line.
    Smiley Click this icon to open the Insert a Smiley window, and then click an emoticon to insert at your cursor position.
    Special Character Click this icon to use special characters in your content.
    Anchor Click this icon to insert an anchor in the answer. See Insert an Anchor.
    Answer Link Click this icon to insert a cross-reference to an existing answer. See Insert an Answer Link.
    Conditional Section Click this icon to insert a section with certain visibility restrictions within the answer. See Insert a Conditional Section.
    Smart Merge Click this icon to merge similar answers using Smart Merge. See Merge Similar Answers.
    Search Knowledgebase Click this icon to search for an answer in the knowledge base and append the content with the current answer. See Append Answer Content.
  4. Click the Answer tab to create your answer content.

  5. To add a short version of your answer, click the Special Response tab.

    If you do not enter a special response, the content you created on the Answer tab is used.
  6. Click the Quick Preview tab to preview your answer content.

    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 Preview on the ribbon.
  7. To use the HTML editor in undocked, full-screen mode, click Full Screen.

  8. To exit full-screen mode, click Exit Full Screen.

  9. Click Save.

Add an HTML Answer in Source Mode

You can use source mode to create your answers using HTML source code.

Syntax is highlighted in source mode. You can also search and replace code.
  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. From the Content tab of an answer, select HTML as the answer type.

    HTML is the default answer type for a new answer.
  3. On the Question tab, click the Source icon on the HTML editor toolbar.

    When adding an HTML answer in source mode, most of the HTML editor toolbar icons are disabled.
  4. Enter the HTML code to create your question content.

  5. Click the Answer tab and enter the HTML code to create your answer content.

  6. To add a short version of your answer, click the Special Response tab and enter the HTML code.

    If you do not enter a special response, the content you created on the Answer tab is used.
  7. Click the Quick Preview tab to preview your answer content.

    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 Preview on the ribbon after you save your answer.
  8. Click Save.

Add a URL Answer

When you create a URL answer, an external URL address displays 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 fields as you would when creating HTML answers. However, certain fields are unavailable when adding a URL answer. The available fields depend on the permissions set in your profile.

  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. Enter a one-line summary in the Summary text box.

    This field displays as the subject of the answer on the customer portal.
  3. Select URL.

    The Confirm Answer Type Change window opens.
    Caution: When you change the answer type in an existing answer, all answer relationships and certain answer fields are removed. For example, when you change an HTML answer type to a URL answer type, the Question, Answer, Special Response, and Attachments tabs are removed and you lose any content that was created on those tabs.
  4. Click Yes in response to the Confirm Answer Type Change message.

  5. Enter 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 HTML answers. However, certain fields are unavailable when adding file attachment answers. The available fields 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.
  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. Enter 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.
  4. Click Yes.

    Caution: When you change the answer type in an existing answer, all answer relationships and certain answer fields are removed. For example, when you change an HTML answer type to a file attachment answer type, the Question, Answer, Special Response, and Attachments tabs are removed and you lose any content that was created on those tabs.
  5. Click Add File.

    After 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.

    Table File Attachment Answer Content Tab

    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 description by selecting the file, clicking Properties and entering 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, the Open, Download, and Delete options are available.
  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.

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

  10. Click Save.

Edit an Answer

You can edit answers, including sibling answers, manually related links, and learned links.

When you edit an answer, you can also change the information in related answers, but keep in mind that editing answers can affect other answers associated with it. You can also edit answer versions and you can edit multiple answers at one time. See Answer Versioning.

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

  2. To change the answer type, select the option next to the answer type.

    Options include HTML, URL, and File Attachment.
    Caution: When you change the answer type in an existing answer, all answer relationships and certain answer fields are removed. For example, when you change an HTML answer type to a URL answer type, the Question, Answer, Special Response, and Attachments tabs are removed and you lose any content that was created on those tabs.
  3. Edit the answer fields.

  4. To search the answer for a word or phrase to replace, click Find Text on the HTML toolbar.

    The Find and Replace window opens. You can search for a word or phrase using case sensitive or whole word only search criteria.
  5. Edit the fields on each of the answer record tabs.

  6. To notify answer subscribers of the change, click the Details tab.

    1. Click Notify Subscribers.

    2. Select one of the following options:

    • No Change
    • Do Not Notify
    • This Hour
    • End of Today
    • End of this Week
    • End of this Month
  7. 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.

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

  2. Click the Products/Categories tab.


    This image 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 which 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 subproducts or subcategories), 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 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 answers. For more information on working with answer tasks, see Answer Tasks Tab Toolbar.

  1. Right-click the answer and select Open.

  2. Click the Tasks tab.

  3. Do one of the following:

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

    This image shows a new task that has been opened on a subtab. The new task contains additional Summary, Attachments, Auditing, and Notes subtabs.
  4. Enter the task name in the Name field.

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

  6. Click OK.

Add Answer Details

The Details tab contains information associated with the selected answer. You can use the Details tab to 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.

Enter field information.

Table Answer Details Tab

Field Description
*Display Position Click this drop-down menu to determine the answer 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 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 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 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 lets you select a guided assistance guide to associate with the answer.
Note: The Guided Assistance button does 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, and 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 status is set to Private, the Publish On date is cleared.

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, see Answer ID 4161 on our customer support site.
  1. From an answers report, right-click the answer and select Open.

  2. Click the Image icon on the toolbar.

    The Image Properties window opens.
  3. Enter field information.

    Table Image Properties

    Field Description
    *URL Enter the URL where the image is located.
    Alternative Text Enter the alternate text for the image.
    Width Enter the width, in pixels, you want the image to appear.
    Height Enter the height, in pixels, you want the image to appear.
    Border Enter the width, in pixels, of the image border.
  4. Click OK.

Insert a Table

You can insert a table in your HTML answer and define the number of rows or columns and its border properties, cell padding, and cell spacing.

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

  2. Click the Table icon on the toolbar.

    The Table Properties window opens.
  3. Enter field information.

    Table Table Properties Window

    Field Description
    Rows Enter the number of rows in the table.
    Columns Enter the number of columns in the table.
    Width Enter the width of the table in pixels, or append a valid unit.
    Height Enter the height of each row in pixels, or append a valid unit.
    Headers Select None, First Row, First Column, or Both.
    Border size Enter the width, in pixels, of the table border.
    Cell spacing Enter the spacing, in pixels, of the table cells.
    Cell padding Enter the padding, in pixels, of the table cells.
    Alignment Select Left, Center, or Right.
    Caption Enter the title of the table.
    Summary Enter information about the table (not displayed).
  4. Click the Advanced tab to define the language direction and the style and class attributes.

  5. Click OK.

Insert an Anchor

When you insert an answer link, you can also insert an anchor in the answer you are linking to. The answer link will open to a specific location within the answer.

For example, you might 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.

  1. Right-click the answer on the content pane, then select Open.

  2. Insert the cursor in the exact location of the answer to which you want to link.

  3. Click the Anchor icon on the toolbar.

    The Anchor Properties window opens.
  4. Enter a name for the anchor in the Anchor Name field.

  5. Click OK to add the anchor at the cursor position in the answer.

  6. To rename an anchor, double-click the anchor to open the Anchor Properties window.

  7. To delete an anchor, right-click the anchor and click Delete.

Insert a Variable into an Answer

Answer variables are predefined shortcuts for entering information into an answer instead of a long string of text.

When an answer is displayed on the customer portal, the variable is replaced with whatever value was specified by your administrator.

Variables are also helpful to use for information that may change. When your administrator changes the value of the variable, all answers containing that variable will also change. Contact your administrator for a list of variables defined for your application.

For example, if your administrator added a variable for a support email address at your organization called “contact,” you could insert the variable for the email address in the answer, such as $contact. If the email address changes, all answers containing the contact variable are updated.

  1. From an open answer, click the Question, Answer, or Special Response tab on the Content tab and place your cursor where you want to insert the variable.

  2. Enter a dollar sign $ followed by the variable name.

    Note: Because variables are case sensitive, you must enter the variable name exactly as it is defined. See Add or Edit a Variable.
The assigned value displays when customers view the answer.

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, see How to Control Answer Visibility.

  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 image 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.

Insert a Conditional Section

You can add conditional content, within your answers, that displays only when specific criteria is met. Conditional sections control the visibility of specific sections within your answers. For example, you could show certain content only to customers with the appropriate access levels according to a service level agreement (SLA).

Say you're 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 use a conditional section to limit visibility to certain access levels.

Conditional sections can also be used with privileged access levels assigned to specific SLAs. In this way, you could show all your content to customers assigned an SLA with a privileged access level. For instance, 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 gives you flexibility to customize and personalize answers for different types of customers.

Note: Conditional sections can also be nested. Although answers let you nest an unlimited number of conditional sections, we recommend limiting nested conditional sections to three.
  1. From an answer report, right-click the answer and select Open.

    By default, the Question tab is active.
  2. To add your conditional section to the answer, click the Answer tab.

  3. Click the Conditional Section icon on the toolbar.

    The Access Level window opens.
  4. Select the access levels you want to assign to the conditional section.

  5. Click OK.

    The Conditional Section text box displays on the Answer tab.
    This image shows the Answer tab with the Conditional Section text box highlighted.

    When conditioning a section of an answer with an access level not associated with the answer, the section will never be visible to customers.

  6. Enter the content you want to display in the conditional section text box.

  7. Click Save.

Modify Conditional Sections

You can modify your conditional section content to make text changes, add nested conditional sections, change access levels, and apply style and class attributes.

  1. Right-click the answer on the content pane and select Open.

    By default, the Question tab is active.
  2. Click the Answer tab.

  3. To edit the text of a conditional section, click the conditional section and enter your text in the text box.

  4. To nest a conditional section in the current conditional section, click inside the answer section and then click the Conditional Section icon on the toolbar. See Insert a Conditional Section.

  5. To change the access level of a conditional section, double-click the conditional section to open the Access Levels window.

    1. Select the access level or multiple access levels.

    2. Click OK to assign the selected access levels and close the Access Levels window.

  6. To apply style and class attributes, right-click inside the conditional section text box and select Edit Div. The Create Div Container window opens with the General tab active.

    1. Define style and stylesheet classes.

    2. Click the Advanced tab.

    3. Enter style attributes in the Style field.

    4. Click OK.

  7. Click Save.

If the answer contains conditional content and the customer has access to that level of privileged answer, the conditional content is visible on the Answers page. You can see how the answer will appear to customers with different access levels on the customer portal using the Preview functionality.

Append Answer Content

While editing an answer, you can search for other answers in the knowledge base. If answers are returned that match your search criteria, you can append them to the answer you are editing.

The Search Knowledge Base window contains the following tab set.

  • Answers—Contains links to answers in the knowledge base that match your search phrases.

  • Search Priority Words—Contains links to answers in the knowledge base that correspond to search priority words in Service.

  1. Right-click the answer on the content pane and select Open.

  2. Click the Search icon on the toolbox.

    The Search Knowledge Base window opens.
    This image shows the Search Knowledgebase window. The window contains two sections: Filters at the top (selection options: Type, Product Hierarchy, Category Hierarchy, Date Updated; text-entry fields: Phrases, Similar Phrases, Exact Search, Complex Expression), Access Level; and a section with two tabs (Answers, Search Priority Words) at the bottom.
  3. Enter your search criteria and click Search.

  4. Click the Answers tab.


    This image shows details of the Answers tab in the Search Knowledgebase window.
    • To append an answer link to the answer you are editing, click Add as Link next to the answer. The answer title and a link to the answer are appended to the selected field of the answer at the cursor position.
    • To append the answer text to the answer you are editing, click Add as Text. The text of the answer is appended to the answer at the cursor position.
    • To view the answer, click View.
  5. Click the Search Priority Words tab.


    This image shows details of the Search Priority Words tab in the Search Knowledgebase window.
    • To append an answer link to the answer you are editing, click Add as Link next to the answer. The answer title and a link to the answer are appended to the selected field of the answer at the cursor position.
    • To append the answer text to the answer you are editing, click Add as Text. The text of the answer is appended to the answer at the cursor position.
    • To view the answer, click View.
  6. To view the answer as it will appear on the customer portal, close the Search Knowledge Base window and click the Quick Preview tab.

  7. Click Save.

Preview an Answer

Before making an answer available to customers, you can preview it on the customer portal to ensure everything is accurate.

You can verify that the answer and answer sections display as you expect them to by viewing the answer with different access levels selected. See How to Control Answer Visibility.

Note: Customer portal themes are not applied when previewing answers on the content pane. This means the way your answer displays in the preview may be different from how it displays on the customer portal. We recommend using the cascading style sheet (CSS) from your customer portal when previewing answers.
  1. From an answers report, right-click the answer and select Preview Answer.

  2. Select the access levels from the Access Level drop-down menu.

    Only the sections of the answer with the selected access level will display on the Answer Preview window.
  3. Click Preview.

Use the End-User Cascading Style Sheet in Answer Previews

You can use the cascading style sheet (CSS) from your customer portal when previewing answers, to get a better idea of how they will look to the end user. To do this, you must modify the standard answer workspace.

The end-user CSS from the customer portal is also applied to the content when editing the Question and Answer content in the HTML editor.
Note: The Service Console uses custom code and settings to render previews. Therefore, the appearance of an answer in a preview will not look exactly as it will on your customer portal.
  1. Copy the standard answer workspace, then open the copy for editing.

  2. Click the Design tab.

  3. On the Content tab in the workspace, click the Answer Type Container control.

  4. On the Design tab, select the Apply End User CSS check box.

  5. Save the modified workspace.

Edit the profiles of staff members to use the modified workspace. See Add or Edit a Profile.

Merge Similar Answers

You can effectively manage the answers in your knowledge base by merging similar answers or merging the content of one answer with another answer.

In addition, merging answers also merges any conditional sections. Conditional sections display as text in the appropriate fields of the answer.

Answers can be merged with similar answers found in the knowledge base by using Smart Merge. Smart Merge helps you to identify similar answers and merge them. Merging answers provides your customers with more complete information and can help you eliminate duplicate answers.

Note: Smart Merge relies on the configuration settings used for the SmartAssistant feature. Changing these configuration settings may change the weight given to the relevant answers displayed for both Smart Merge and SmartAssistant.
  1. Right-click the answer on the content pane and select Open.

  2. Click the Smart Merge icon (next to the Search icon) on the toolbar.


    This image shows the Smart Merge window, and is described in the text that follows.
  3. Enter field information.

    Table Smart Merge Window

    Field Description
    Parent Answer The parent answer is the current answer to which you are merging an answer. This field displays the summary of the open answer.
    Include in Search Define your search criteria with any of these areas of the answer. All options are selected by default.
    Summary Select this check box to search the Summary field for answers you can merge.
    Keywords Select this check box to search the Keywords field for answers you can merge.
    Question Select this check box to search the Question field for answers you can merge.
    Answer Select this check box to search the Answer field for answers you can merge.
    All Select this option to return all answers, regardless of status.
    End-User Visible Select this option to return only public answers.
  4. Click Refresh.

    The results display on the Smart Merge window. The matched answers are sorted by relevance.
  5. Click Action next to each answer you want to merge, and select from the merge options.

    Table Merge Answer Options

    Option Description
    Merge Select this option to merge the answer with the answer you are editing.
    Merge and Make Private Select this option to merge the answer with the answer you are editing and set the status to Private. A warning prompts you to verify the action.
    Merge and Delete Select this option to merge the answer with the answer you are editing and then delete the answer after it has been merged.
    Caution: Selecting this option permanently deletes the selected answer from the knowledge base. Use caution when selecting this option.
    Show Select this option to view the answer in a separate window before you merge it with the answer you are editing.
    Cancel Select this option to cancel the current selection.
    Tip: After you select an option, the underlined text next to the answer changes. For example, if you select Merge, the text changes from Action to Merged.
  6. Click Close to close the window and return to the answer.

  7. To view the merged answer as it displays on the customer portal, click the Quick Preview tab.

  8. Click Save.

Delete an Answer

You can delete answers from Service when they become outdated.

Deleting an answer also deletes all associated relationships.

Caution: Deleting is permanent and cannot be undone.
  1. Right-click the answer on the content pane and select Delete.

  2. Click Yes to confirm the deletion.

Answer Versioning

You can create new versions of answers while keeping previous versions for historical purposes.

Note: Before you can use answer versioning, you must modify the answer workspace.

Answer versioning lets you do the following:

  • Draft new versions of existing answers, including from historical versions.

  • Publish new answer versions immediately or at a designated time in the future.

  • Compare answer versions.

  • Delete answer versions.

  • Audit answer versions.

Answer IDs and version IDs are independent from each other. The IDs may or may not have the same numbers when the versions are created.

Tip: If you plan to audit answer versions, we recommend creating business rules to prevent answer versions from being deleted.

Versioned Answer Fields

If you edit a versioned field, it changes only for the version that you edited.

Table Versioned Answer Fields

Field Table Column Description
Access Level access_id Access level for the answer.
Access Mask access_mask Indicates the access levels for the answer through a bitmap.
Answer solution Solution field of the answer.
Assigned assgn_acct_id Staff member to whom the answer is assigned.
Assigned Group assgn_group_id Staff group to which the answer is assigned.
Date Updated updated Date and time when the answer was last edited.
Draft Date v$drafted Date and time when the draft was created.
Draft Note v$draft_note Note for the answer version when the draft is created.
Expiration Date expires Date when the answer status will automatically be set to Review.
Keywords keywords Keywords field in the answer.
Last Edited By last_edited_by ID of the last staff member to edit the answer.
Notes notes Notes associated with the answer.
Parent Version ID v$parent_version_id ID of the version from which the version was drafted.
Publish Date v$published Date and time when the answer version was published.
Publish Note v$publish_note Note for the answer version when it is published.
Publish On publish_on Date when the answer status will automatically be set to Public.
Question description Question field of the answer.
Status status_id Current status of the answer, such as Private or Public.
Status Type status_type Type of the answer status.
Summary summary Summary of the answer content.
URL url URL associated with a URL answer.
Unpublish Date v$unpublished Date and time when the answer version was changed to the Historical state.
Version ID v$id Unique ID number of the version.
Version State v$state State of the answer version: Draft, Live, or Historical.

Nonversioned Associated Objects and Answer Fields

If you edit a nonversioned field or object from an answer or answer version, it changes for that answer and all versions of that answer. These lists include fields and associated objects that are not versioned in answers.

Nonversioned Objects Associated with Answers

The following objects are not versioned.

  • Custom fields

  • System attributes

  • Related objects

    • Attachments

    • Notes

    • Products and categories

    • Tasks

Nonversioned Answer Fields

The following fields are not versioned.

Table Nonversioned Answer Fields

Field Table Column Description
Admin Long-term Score ault_solved_count Long-term solved count for administrative users.
Admin Short-term Score aust_solved_count Short-term solved count for administrative users.
Answer ID a_id Unique ID number of the answer.
Answer Type type Type of the answer: HTML, URL, or File Attachment.
Banner Account banner_acct_id Staff account that last updated the flag.
Banner Flag banner_flag Importance of the flag.
Banner Text banner_text Text added to the flag.
Computed Score solved Answer score.
Date Admin Last Access admin_last_access Date and time a staff member last opened the answer while editing an incident.
Date Banner Flag Last Updated banner_upd Date and time the flag was last edited.
Date Created created Date and time the answer was created.
Date Last Access last_access Date and time the answer was last viewed from the customer portal pages.
Date Last Notify last_notify Date and time a notification was last sent for the answer.
End-User Short-term Score eust_solved_count Customer short-term solved count for the answer.
Escalation Date escldate Date and time that the answer is scheduled to be escalated, or the last time the answer was escalated by answer rules.
Escalation Level escllevel Escalation level of the answer.
Guided Assistance Guide dt_id Guided Assistance ID for the answer.
Language lang_id Language to which the answer is assigned.
Meta-Answer ID m_id ID number of the meta-answer to which the answer is assigned.
Next Notification next_notify Date and time the next answer notification will be sent for the answer, if the answer is modified before the specified date and time.
Position in List position Display position of the answer in the answer list.
Rule State rule_state Rule state of the answer.
Score solved_count Solved count for the answer. This is a measure of how helpful the answer is to users.
Static Score static_solved Static score assigned to the answer. The static score overrides the solved count and is used to determine the answer display position.

Create an Answer Workspace for Answer Versioning

You must modify the standard answer workspace to enable answer versioning.

Answer versioning uses the Answer Versions report located in Public Reports/Service/Views - Service/Editor Reports - Service.

  1. Click Configuration on the navigation pane.

  2. Expand Application Appearance, and then double-click Workspaces. If workflows are enabled, the item is labeled Workspaces/Workflows.

    The Workspaces explorer opens on the content pane.
  3. Copy the standard answer workspace and name the copy.

  4. Open the new workspace for editing.

  5. Add the Draft and Publish buttons to the ribbon.

    1. Click the Home tab, and then click Ribbon.

    2. On the Ribbon Designer, click any of the buttons in the Actions section of the Ribbon Preview.

      The editing window displays the buttons in the Actions group.
    3. Click Add Buttons.

    4. In the Add or Remove Buttons window, select the Draft and Publish check boxes, and then click OK.

    5. Use the arrows to move the Draft and Publish buttons where you want them to be located.

    6. Click OK to close the Ribbon Designer.

  6. Add a new tab to the workspace and name the tab Versions.

  7. Add the Answer Versions report to the new tab.

    1. Click the Insert Control tab, and then drag and drop a Report control onto the Versions tab.

    2. Click the Design tab, and then click Report on the ribbon.

      The Select Report window opens.
    3. Select the Answer Versions report located in Public Reports/Service/Views - Service/Editor Reports - Service, and then click OK.

      The Answer Versions report is added to the Versions tab.
  8. Click the Insert Field tab, and then add the following fields above the report.

    • Version ID

    • Parent Version ID

    • Version State

    • Draft Date

    • Draft Note

    • Publish Date

    • Publish Note

    • Publish On (optional: this field is already on the Details tab)

    • Review On (optional: this field is already on the Details tab)

  9. Click Save.

  10. Edit the profiles of any staff members who need to create answers so they can use the new workspace.

The new answer workspace should resemble this image.
This image shows the modified answer workspace with a Versions tab. The Versions tab includes the Answer Versions report and the fields mentioned in the procedure.

Create a New Answer Version

You use the modified answer workspace to create a new draft from an answer and then publish it.

This procedure assumes that the answer workspace has been modified to enable answer versioning.
  1. Open the answer for which you want to create a new version.

  2. Click Draft.

    The Create Draft window opens.
  3. Enter a note for the draft and click OK.

    The default note reads, Draft created from version id: current_version_number.
    The new version opens in the HTML editor with - Draft appended to the title.
  4. Close the previous version of the answer.

  5. Edit the new version and click Save.

    Clicking the Versions tab shows the original answer version in the Live state, while the new version is in the Draft state.
  6. To publish the draft immediately, click Publish. The Publish Draft window opens.

    1. Enter a note about the draft.

    2. Click OK.

      The default note reads, Publish draft with version Id: new_version_number.
      The draft is published. The Versions tab shows the original version is now in the Historical state, while the new version is in the Live state.
  7. To publish the draft on a future date, click the Calendar icon next to the Publish On field.

    1. Select a publishing date.

      If a draft is already set to publish, the Publish On window opens with the draft version ID and the scheduled publish date.
    2. Click OK.

    3. Click Save. The draft is published on the specified date.

      Note: If you change your mind about publishing your draft, you can clear the Publish On field.

Create a New Answer Version from a Historical Version

You can create a new draft from a historical version of an answer. For example, you might want to revert some of the changes that have been made to the answer. You can also use this procedure to create a draft from another draft.

  1. Open the answer for which you want to create a new version.

  2. Click the Versions tab.

  3. Double-click the historical version.

    The historical version opens in the HTML editor, with - Historical appended to the title.
  4. Close the editor for the live version.

  5. Click Draft.

    The Create Draft window opens.
  6. Enter a note for the draft and click OK.

    The default note reads, Draft created from version id: historical_version_number.
    The new version opens in the HTML editor with - Draft appended to the title.
  7. Close the previous version of the answer.

  8. Edit the new version and click Save.

    Clicking the Versions tab shows that the original answer version is in the Historical state while the new version is in the Draft state.
  9. To publish the draft immediately, click Publish. The Publish Draft window opens.

    1. Enter a note about publishing the draft.

    2. Click OK.

      The default note reads, Publish draft with version Id: new_version_number.
      The draft is published. Clicking the Versions tab shows the original and previously live versions are now in the Historical state, while the new version is in the Live state.
  10. To publish the draft on a future date, click the Calendar icon next to the Publish On field.

    1. Select a publishing date from the calendar.

      If a draft is already set to publish, the Publish On window lists the draft version ID and the publish date.
    2. Click OK.

    3. Click Save.

      The draft is published on the specified date. Clicking the Versions tab shows the original answer version is still in the Historical state, while the new version is in the Draft state.

Compare Answer Versions

You use the answer preview functionality to compare versions. For example, you might want to compare the live version to a historical version.

  1. Click the Versions tab and select the first version you want to compare.

  2. Click Preview.

    The answer version displays in the Answer Preview window.
  3. Click File > Compare.

  4. Select the answer version to compare to the first version, and then click Select.

The two versions are compared side by side in the Answer Preview window.
This image is described in the text that precedes it.

Delete an Answer Version

You can delete answer versions without deleting the entire answer.

Deleting the live version of an answer causes the answer to be lost temporarily from any report or functionality that relies on it. Publishing a draft version restores that functionality.

However, you cannot delete the live version of an answer from the Service Console without deleting the answer (and all of its other versions).

To identify answers that are missing live versions, run the Answers Missing Live Versions report, located in Public Reports/Service/Views - Service/Editor Reports - Service.

  1. On your modified answer workspace, click the Versions tab.

  2. Select the row of the answer version you want to delete by clicking in the row.

  3. Click Delete on the Versions tab, and then select Answer Version.

    The Answer Version Delete window opens.
  4. Click Yes to confirm the deletion.

  5. Click Refresh.

All answer versions are deleted.

Audit an Answer Version

Use the Audit Log tab to view events that have occurred for answer versions. The audit log for answer versions is especially useful in regulated industries.

The Answer Version Audit Log report, located in Public Reports/Service/Views - Service/Editor Reports - Service, displays on the Audit Log tab.

Tip: We recommend creating business rules to prevent answer versions from being deleted if you plan to audit answer versions.
  1. From an open an answer, click the Versions tab, and then open an answer version.

  2. Click the Audit Log tab.

The following transactions are listed:
  • Transactions for the answer.

  • Transactions that affect the answer and all sibling answers.

  • Transactions for the answer version.

Find the Live Answer Version For a Specific Date

You can use the Answer Version Audit Search report to find which version of an answer was live on a specific date. This report can be especially useful in regulated industries.

This procedure assumes that the Reports Explorer component has been added to the Analytics button of your navigation set. The Answer Version Audit Search report is located in Public Reports/Service/Search Reports - Service.
If you plan to audit answer versions, we recommend creating business rules to prevent answers from being deleted.
  1. Click Analytics on the navigation pane, and then double-click Reports Explorer.

  2. Expand Public Reports > Service > Search Reports — Service, and then double-click Answer Version Audit Search.

    You can also add this report to the Answers button of your navigation set.
  3. In the Search window, enter the answer ID.

  4. Click the Calendar icon to enter a search date or timeframe.

    The Relative check box is selected by default with zero (0) months rounded for the date.
  5. To designate a specific date, clear the Relative check box.

  6. Click Search.

    The search result displays as shown in this example.

This image shows the Answer Version Audit Search results: version ID, state, summary, draft date and note, publish date and note, and unpublish date.

You can open the version in the search results of the report.

Answer Relationships

Answer relationships give you a way to group similar answers, improving the way you keep track of and update answers in your knowledge base. There are three types of answer relationships, including sibling answers, manually related answers, and automatically learned links.

You can manage the way one answer relates to other answers from the Relationships tab on the answer workspace. The answer relationship types available to you depend on how the answer workspace assigned in your profile is customized.


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

Sibling answers, manually related answers, and automatically learned links display 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 are automatically related 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 a set of answers that share the same products, categories, or file attachments.

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

Note: To display file attachments for answer siblings on the Attachments tab, the Siblings Visible property for the File Attachments relationship item on the custom answer workspace must be set to True. See Options 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.

Table Sibling Answers Toolbar

Button Description
Add Click this drop-down menu to select an option to add a new or existing answer to the sibling set.
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 permanently delete the sibling answer.
Preview Click this button to preview the selected sibling answer.
Draft Click this button to create a draft from the selected answer and open it for editing.
Remove Click this button to remove the selected sibling answer, which disables the answer relationship.
Options Click this button to display a drop-down menu of report options.

The list in the Sibling Answers section contains answers that share the same product or category as the current answer.

Table Sibling Answer List

Column Description
Answer ID This column displays the unique ID assigned to the answer.
Summary This column displays a summary of the answer content. The summary is the answer 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 select Print, Remove, or Preview.

Move an Answer to a Sibling Set

You can create answer relationships by making an answer part of a sibling set.

  1. From the Relationships tab, click Add > Add Existing on the Sibling Answers toolbar.

    The Answer Search window opens.
  2. Search for the answer you want to move to your sibling set and click Select.

    The Move Siblings window opens.
  3. Select the sibling set option you want to use.

  4. Click OK.

Remove an Answer from a Sibling Set

You can change answer relationships by removing an answer from a sibling set.

  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.

Other Answer Actions

Besides editing and adding answers, you might have other answer management duties, for example, printing an answer, copying an answer, or making the same change to multiple answers.

  • Printing answers—You can create a printable version of your answers. When using this function, the answer opens in a new window. The print command is then launched through your web browser and you can choose to print the contents of the page. See Print a Record.

  • Copying answers—You can copy an existing answer to make a new answer or sibling answer. When copying an answer, the language and access level are retained, but the status is set to Private to prevent you from accidentally publishing it. See Copy a Record.

  • Updating multiple answers—You can edit more than one answer at the same time and edit various fields such as status, assigned staff member, review and publish on dates, products, categories, and custom fields. This feature saves you time when you want to make the same change to multiple answers. See How You Update Multiple Records.

Content Library

Overview of Content Library

You can create standard text and variables to represent words, phrases, and replies that agents use frequently. Your agents can use this content to save time and eliminate errors when responding to customers and creating answers.

Standard text can be inserted in incident responses or in chat sessions, or added as a business rule action, making the information your organization presents more consistent. For example, you may want to create standard text for commonly used information about your products and pricing, or to relay standard troubleshooting or contact information to customers.

You can also assign a shortcut key to any standard text. Agents can use shortcut keys to insert standard text when working on incidents or engaged in a chat session.

Variables are shortcuts that can be inserted into incident responses, chat sessions, or in the Question and Answer fields of an answer. For example, instead of agents entering your organization’s support phone number every time, you can add the phone number as a variable. Agents can copy a variable and paste it or enter the variable inline when responding to a customer in a chat session or an incident response. Variables can be indexed to make the answer contents more searchable.

You can embed variables as shortcuts in standard text, including variables defined on the Variables editor or system-defined variables. Variables are also helpful to use for information that may change. By updating the value of the variable, you will also update all answers that contain that variable.

You can add folders to organize standard text and variables and organize folders in the tree.

Add or Edit Standard Text

Provide standard text that your agents can use to save time, eliminate errors, and respond with consistent information in incident responses, chat sessions, and answers. You can also organize standard text using folders.

  1. Click Configuration on the navigation pane.

  2. Expand Service, and then double-click Standard Text.

    The Standard Text tree displays on the left side of the content pane.
  3. Choose one of the following options:

    • To add standard text, click New.
    • To edit standard text, select it in the tree.
      Tip: You can search for standard text by expanding the arrow next to Search at the bottom of the tree.
    The Standard Text editor displays on the right side of the content pane.
  4. Enter field information.

    Table Standard Text Editor

    Field Description

    *Name

    Enter the name of the standard text. The item name in the Standard Text tree on the left side of the content pane populates or updates as you type.

    Hotkey

    Enter the keyboard shortcut letters, numbers, or both in this field. This lets agents quickly insert standard text by pressing F8 and the shortcut key when working on an incident or during a chat session.

    To locate a keyboard shortcut, hover over a standard text response in the tree.

    *Type

    Select at least one of the following check boxes for the standard text type.

    Rule Text

    Select this check box to include the standard text as a rule action.

    Chat Text

    Select this check box to make this text available to agents during a chat session.

    This check box displays only when Chat is enabled.

    Incident Text

    Select this check box to include this text in the Standard Text list when adding or editing an incident.

    Chat URL

    Select this check box to make this URL available to agents during a chat session. Agents can send the URL to customers, which opens a browser that displays the URL.

    This check box displays only when Chat is enabled.

    *Value

    Select the appropriate option for adding standard text in plain text or HTML format.

    If both plain text and HTML versions of a standard text entry are available, the HTML version displays, by default, in the Preview section on the Standard Text window.

    Text

    Select this option to add the standard text in plain text.

    HTML

    Select this option to add standard text in HTML. For information on how HTML fields in standard text display in responses, see Answer ID 1434

    All standard text images must be referenced by URL.

    Variables

    Click this button to select a variable defined on the Variables editor. See Add or Edit a Variable.

    $

    Click this button to select from the list of system-defined variables. When the standard text is appended, the variable is replaced with the related data.

    If you enter the period mark ( . ) immediately after the variable, and then an alphabetic character, the period becomes part of the variable name.

    SmartAssistant Solutions

    Select this option to append the SmartAssistant Solutions variable. $solutions populates in the Value text box.

    Response Link

    Select this option to append the Response Link variable. $response_link populates in the Value text box.

    Incidents

    Click the Incidents drop-down menu and then select one of the variables on the list. For the list of available standard content variables, see Answer ID 6529. Custom fields and attributes defined in your system are also on the list.

    For a description of the standard content variables on the list, see the Incidents table information in the Data Dictionary (Configuration > Database > Data Dictionary).

    Contacts

    Click the Contacts drop-down menu and then select one of the variables on the list. For the list of available standard content variables, see Answer ID 6529. Custom fields and attributes defined in your system are also on the list.

    For a description of the standard content variables on the list, see the Contacts table information in the Data Dictionary (Configuration > Database > Data Dictionary).

    Orgs

    Click the Orgs drop-down menu and then select one of the variables on the list. For the list of available standard content variables, see Answer ID 6529. Custom fields and attributes defined in your system are also on the list.

    For a description of the standard content variables on the list, see the Organizations table information in the Data Dictionary (Configuration > Database > Data Dictionary).

    Comment Enter a description or instructions to help your agents who are working on the Agent Browser User Interface understand how to use the standard text.
    Note: This field does not display on the Service Console. It displays only on the Agent Browser UI.

    Interface Visibility

    Select the individual interfaces where you want to display the standard text.

    All interfaces are selected by default. You can prevent standard text from appearing on all interfaces by clearing the Select All check box.

  5. To add folders or organize items and folders in the Standard Text tree, see Add Folders and Folders and Items in the Tree.

  6. Click Save.

    Caution: You can delete standard text at any time by selecting the standard text entry in the tree and clicking Delete on the ribbon. However, when you delete standard text, all instances of the standard text will also be deleted.

Add or Edit a Variable

A variable is a predefined shortcut for entering a long string of text when adding an answer, responding to an incident, engaging in a chat session, or creating standard text. You can add or edit variables from the Variables editor.

  1. Click Configuration on the navigation pane.

  2. Expand Service, and then double-click Variables.

    The Variables tree displays on the left side of the content pane.
  3. Choose one of the following options:

    • To add a variable, click New.
    • To edit a variable, select the variable in the tree.
      Tip: You can search for variables by expanding the arrow next to Search at the bottom of the tree.
    The Variables editor displays on the right side of the content pane.
  4. Enter field information.

    Table Variables Editor

    Field Description

    *Name

    Enter the name of the variable. The item name in the Variables tree on the left side of the content pane is populated or revised as you type.

    Variable names cannot include spaces. We recommend using an underscore character (_).

    Search Indexable

    Select this check box to index the text for searching on the customer portal.

    Interfaces

    Select the interfaces where this variable can be used.

    Value for Interface

    Enter the text of the variable. Variables are case sensitive.

  5. To add folders or organize items and folders in the Variables tree, see Add Folders and Folders and Items in the Tree.

  6. To view answers that are dependent on the variable, click Dependencies.

    The Dependencies button is available only when you edit a variable.
  7. To delete a variable, select the variable in the tree and click Delete.

    The system performs a dependency check and any answers that contain the variable display on the Dependency Conflict window.
    1. To delete all instances of the variable, click Yes. Otherwise, update the applicable answers before deleting the variable.

  8. Click Save.

Service Level Agreements

Overview of Service Level Agreements

Service level agreements (SLA) control the type and amount of support you offer your customers.

Using response requirements, you can track the effectiveness of your customer service and determine whether staff members are meeting defined service goals for initial response and incident resolution times.

You can also meter the service and support your customers receive. For example, you can control how many incidents an organization can submit based on the number of incidents defined in their assigned SLA instance.

Before you create SLAs, you need to add the holidays your organization observes and define default response requirements so you can track staff members’ response and resolution times. Default response requirements are used for SLAs that do not have custom response and resolution requirements. See Add Custom Response Requirements to an SLA.

Add or Edit a Holiday

To ensure your organization meets its service goals, you need to add all holidays observed by your organization.

Holidays work in conjunction with your default response requirements and any custom response requirements defined in individual SLAs. That is, by adding holidays, you can temporarily suspend response requirements for those days when staff members are not available to respond to customer inquiries and answer their questions.

For example, if your organization observes Independence Day, add it as a holiday so the defaults you set for response and resolution times are suspended for that day. Failing to add the holidays your organization observes will present an inaccurate picture of how staff members are meeting their service goals.

  1. Click Configuration on the navigation pane.

  2. Expand Service > Service Level Agreements, and then double-click Holidays.

    The Holidays tree displays on the content pane.
  3. Choose from the following options:

    • To add a holiday, click New to display the editor.
    • To edit a holiday, click it in the tree.
  4. Enter field information.

    Table Holidays Editor

    Field Description
    *Name Enter the name of the holiday.
    *Date Click in this field and enter the month, day, and year. (The current date appears in this field.)

    Or

    Click the calendar to select a different day in the month. Use the left and right arrows at the top of the calendar to change the month, and then click a day.

    Interface Visibility Select the check box next to each interface for which this holiday applies.

    When you have multiple interfaces for different countries, you can make a holiday active in one interface but not in another. For example, since July 4 is a holiday in the United States but not in Canada, you would select only your U. S. interfaces for this holiday. However, if your support is handled from the United States, you may want to make the holiday an option in both Canadian and U.S. interfaces.

  5. Click Save.

    Note: You must add an entry for all holidays that occur yearly. For example, you must add separate entries for July 4, 2020, and July 4, 2021.

Define Default Response Requirements

Define your response requirements. Response requirements are the maximum times allowed for incident response and resolution during your organization’s operating hours.

For example, you may have a service goal of initially responding to all customer inquiries within one business day (8 work hours) and resolving all incidents within three business days (24 work hours). By defining these default response requirements, you can measure staff member performance in responding to and solving incidents. You can also use the response requirements for those SLAs that do not have customized response requirements.

Because Service supports both default and custom response requirements, you have flexibility in offering different levels of support to customers. For example, if you want your levels of service to be based on how quickly customers receive an initial response and their incidents are solved, you can set up custom response requirements for each SLA.

  1. Click Configuration on the navigation pane.

  2. Expand Service > Service Level Agreements, and then double-click Response Requirements.

    The Response Requirements tree displays on the content pane.
  3. Click the appropriate interface in the tree to display the editor.

  4. Enter field information for the first service interval. Press Tab to move between interval fields.

    Table Response Requirements Editor

    Field Description
    Service Intervals Use these fields to select the day and time intervals for the default response requirements.
    New Click this button to add a new row for the default response requirements.
    Delete Click this button to delete the selected default response requirement.
    Day Click this drop-down menu to select a day of the week. Press Tab to move between fields.
    *Start Hour Enter the start hour using a 24-hour clock (for example, if your business day starts at 8:00 A.M., enter 8 in this column).
    *Minute Enter the start minute from 0 to 59.
    *End Hour Enter the end hour using a 24-hour clock (for example, if your business day ends at 5:00 P.M., enter 17 in this column).

    The end hour must be a number greater than the start hour.

    *Minute Enter the end minute from 0 to 59.
    Response Time (Minutes) Enter the maximum number of minutes (between 1 and 99999) that staff members have to initially respond to a new incident. For example, if you require staff members to initially respond within 4 hours, enter 240 in this field.
    Resolution Time (Minutes) Enter the number of minutes (between 1 and 99999) that staff members have to solve incidents assigned to them. For example, if you require that incidents be resolved within 8 hours, enter 480 in this field.
    Holidays Observed Select the holidays that will suspend the response requirements.

    Select the Select All check box to select all holidays in the Holidays Observed section.

  5. Click the Day drop-down menu to select the day for the next service interval and press Tab.

    Tip: You can have the same day of the week listed in two intervals. For example, if your organization has both day and afternoon shifts, you can add separate intervals for each shift.
  6. Click Save.

Resolution Due Calculations

For SLAs that have response times defined, you can have resolution due dates and times calculated automatically when an SLA instance is added to an incident.

This saves you from having to perform complex calculations to account for holidays and service hours.

To display resolution due calculations, you must create a custom incident milestones report and add it to a custom incident workspace. This image shows an incident workspace that has been configured to display resolution due calculations.


This figure shows an incident workspace that has been configured to display resolution due calculations. These calculations appear at the bottom of the workspace, and contain the following information: Initial Response Status (flag), Initial Response Due (date), Time Remaining (days, hours, minutes), Resolution Due Status (flag), Resolution Due (date), Time Remaining (days, hours, minutes).
Create the Incident Milestones Report

To display resolution due calculations, you must create a custom incident milestones report and then add it to a custom incident workspace.

  1. Create a new report with column definitions.

    Table Custom Incident Milestones Report Columns

    Heading Definition
    Initial Response Status if(incidents.status_type=2,100,round(((date_diff(sysdate(), incidents.rel_due))*-1)/60,0))
    Initial Response Due incidents.rel_due
    Time Remaining if(incidents.status_type=2,0,round(((date_diff(incidents.rel_due, sysdate())))/60,0))
    Resolution Due Status round(((date_diff(sysdate(), milestone_instances.due_date))*-1)/60,0)
    Resolution Due milestone_instances.due_date
    Time Remaining if(incidents.status_type=2,0,round(((date_diff (milestone_instances.due_date,sysdate())))/60,0))
  2. Use the conditional formatting described in this table for the Initial Response Status and Resolution Due Status columns.

    Table Conditional Formatting for Status Flags

    Condition Display Image Color

    Greater than 15

    Image Only

    Flag

    Green

    Less than or equals 0

    Image Only

    Flag

    Red

    Less than or equals 15

    Image Only

    Flag

    Yellow

  3. Use the Minutes (Days, Hours, Minutes) format for both Time Remaining columns.

  4. Set the following report options to refresh the data regularly:

    • Refresh the report when data shown is changed in the editor.
    • Automatically the refresh report by selecting Regular interval > Auto-Refresh enabled by default > Interval 55 Seconds.
  5. Clear all of the check boxes in the Customize Record Commands window so that no commands will be available at runtime.

  6. Click Save.

Add the Incident Milestones Report to a Custom Incident Workspace

To display resolution due calculations, you must create a custom incident milestones report and then add it to a custom incident workspace.

  1. Copy the standard incident workspace and name it.

  2. Open the custom incident workspace.

  3. Click the Details tab.

  4. Add the custom incident milestones report to the Details tab.

  5. Click Save to save the custom workspace.

  6. Edit your staff members’ profiles to use the new Incident Milestones workspace.

After an SLA instance is applied to an incident, you can view the resolution due date and time. See Credit an Incident to an SLA Instance.

How You Set Up SLAs

After adding your holidays and defining default response requirements for your staff members, you can configure SLAs for your application.

Begin by deciding what type of SLAs to offer. For example, you could offer certain customers a premium SLA that provides them with unlimited support for a period of time, and offer other customers a standard SLA that limits the number of incidents they can submit during a specified time period. In addition, you can control whether customers without an SLA can access your support site, or submit incidents through email or the Ask a Question page. You can also add business rules to automatically assign SLAs to specific customers.

Setting up SLAs consists of the following actions.

Create an SLA

SLAs are designed to allow you flexibility in providing support to your customers. When you create an SLA, you can choose the duration of the SLA and limit the SLA based on the number of incidents that can be submitted.

You can also assign custom answer access levels to an SLA so that customers have privileged access to special groups of answers.

  1. Click Configuration on the navigation pane.

  2. Expand Service > Service Level Agreements, and then double-click Service Level Agreements.

    The Service Level Agreements tree displays on the content pane.
  3. Choose from the following options:

    • To add a service level agreement, click New to display the editor.
    • To edit a service level agreement, click it in the tree.
  4. Enter field information.

    Table Service Level Agreements Editor

    Field Description
    *Service Level Name Enter the name of the SLA. When you move to another field, the Label field in the Interface Label section is populated with the name you entered in the Service Level Name field.
    Active Select this check box to allow instances of the SLA to be applied to contacts or organizations. When selecting or clearing this check box, the name of the SLA (in the tree) changes from black to orange and displays in italicized font. After clicking the Save button on the ribbon, the name changes from orange to light gray and displays in normal font.

    If this check box is cleared, the SLA is considered inactive and cannot be used with business rules.

    Self-Service Select this check box to allow customer access to the Answers page on the customer portal.

    If this check box is cleared, customers will not be able to view answers and may be directed to a permission denied page.

    Chat Incidents Enter the maximum number of allowable chat incidents. Enter a zero if no incidents are allowed or leave the field blank to allow an unlimited number of incidents.
    CSR Incidents Enter the maximum number of allowable incidents that can be created by a staff member for the contact or organization (for example, when customers contact your organization by phone). Enter a zero if no incidents are allowed or leave the field blank to allow an unlimited number of CSR incidents.
    Email Incidents Enter the maximum number of allowable email incidents. Enter a zero if no incidents are allowed or leave the field blank to allow an unlimited number of email incidents.

    If the SLA_SUBMIT_EMAIL configuration setting is enabled, a valid, active SLA must exist for contacts and organizations to send emails to Service. If the EU_SLA_VISIBLE configuration setting is enabled, SLA information will be visible in email responses.

    Self-Service Incidents Enter the maximum number of allowable incidents created from the Ask a Question page. Enter a zero if no incidents are allowed or leave the field blank to allow an unlimited number of incidents.
    Total Incidents Enter the total number of incidents allowed from all incident sources.

    The number in the Total Incidents field must be greater than or equal to the value of any single incident field. For example, if the number of chat incidents equals 10, and all other incidents have a field value of 5, then the total number of incidents allowed must be 10 or more. The number in the Total Incidents field must also be less than or equal to the sum of the values of all of the single incident fields. For example, if the sum of the field values is 50, then Total Incidents cannot be greater than 50.

    Term (Duration) Enter a number in this field and select days, weeks, months, or years from the drop-down menu. Leave the field blank to indicate there is no time limit on the SLA. If you specify a number, the start date is the date of issue.
    Statistics These fields describe the statistics for an SLA.
    Total Issued The number of times this SLA has been issued.
    Not Active The number of instances of this SLA in the Not Active state.
    Active The number of instances of this SLA in the Active state.
    Used Up The number of instances of this SLA in the Used Up state.
    Disabled The number of instances of this SLA in the Disabled state.
    Access Select the answer access levels assigned to the SLA.

    Answer access levels will display only if they have been added to the application.

    Note: Knowledge Advanced customers must select all options under Access in order to configure Web Roles and User Groups within Knowledge Advanced Agent Desktop.
    Interface Label This section contains the names of all available interfaces, the languages they are implemented in, and the language-specific label of the SLA. Click Edit next to an interface to change response requirements for the SLA. If you do not change response requirements, the default response requirements are used.

    When using multiple-language interfaces, you must enter the label in the Label field in the language of the interface.

  5. Click Save.

Add Custom Response Requirements to an SLA

You can define custom response requirements for each SLA or use the default response requirements already defined.

  1. When adding or editing an SLA, click Edit next to the interface in the Interface Label section.

    The Response Requirements window displays.
  2. Complete the Service Intervals, Response Time, Resolution Time, and Holidays Observed fields. See Define Default Response Requirements.

  3. Click Save.

How You Issue SLAs Automatically

After you create SLAs, they can be automatically issued to organizations and contacts with no organization association using business rules.

After an SLA has been automatically applied to an organization or contact, a unique SLA instance is associated with the organization or contact. See Examples of Applying Service Level Agreements (SLAs).

Note: Contacts associated with an organization cannot be assigned an SLA instance, as the SLA instance is applied to the organization.
How You Issue SLAs Manually

Staff members can manually apply SLAs to organizations and contacts when editing incidents associated with an organization or contact.

After a staff member has applied an SLA, a unique SLA instance is associated with that organization or contact.

If an organization or contact has more than one active SLA, staff members can select which SLA to apply to an incident. For example, a contact may have two active SLAs, one that allows unlimited incidents and lasts for thirty days, and another that allows ten of each type of incident and lasts for one year. If a new incident is applied to the limited incident SLA, the staff member can re-assign the incident to the unlimited incident SLA to more efficiently use the customer’s entitlements. See SLA Instance Field.

How You Maintain SLAs

Maintaining your SLAs is an important part of your customer service solution, and Service provides you with tools for evaluating the performance of your SLAs and how they are meeting your customers’ needs.

You can also edit SLAs as necessary.

SLA Reporting

With Analytics, you can track and report on staff members’ performance and service level achievements.

You can see the usage status of SLAs as well as generate specific reports regarding performance and achievement requirements of each SLA. Analytics can assist you in evaluating and monitoring agent performance, SLA usage and performance, and customer support levels. SLA analytics are located in Public Reports/Service/SLA Reports.

For statistical information about individual SLAs, see Create an SLA.

Edit an SLA

Analyzing your SLAs can help you pinpoint the most effective ones and the ones that may need to be changed. You can edit your SLAs at any time.

After an SLA instance is applied to an organization or contact, it cannot be changed. When you edit an SLA, the changes will not affect the instances of the SLA that have already been applied to organizations or contacts. Changes will affect only future instances of the SLA applied to a contact or organization. For your reference, a view-only version of the SLA instance is archived. See View Disabled SLA Instances.

  1. Click Configuration on the navigation pane.

  2. Expand Service > Service Level Agreements, and then double-click Service Level Agreements.

    The Service Level Agreements tree displays on the content pane.
  3. Click the appropriate service level agreement in the tree to display the editor.

  4. Edit field information as necessary. See Create an SLA.

  5. Click Save.

The next time you assign this SLA to contacts and organizations, the changes will apply to all instances of the SLA.
View Disabled SLA Instances

If an SLA is edited after an instance of the SLA has been assigned to contacts or organizations, the assigned instance is converted to read-only mode to prevent editing.

The read-only version of the SLA instance is archived, letting you view the settings for the previous, or “disabled,” instance of the SLA.

  1. Click Configuration on the navigation pane.

  2. Expand Service > Service Level Agreements, and then double-click Service Level Agreements.

    The Service Level Agreements tree displays on the content pane. If a disabled SLA exists, an arrow displays next to the active SLA it is associated with.
  3. Click the arrow to view the disabled SLA. Disabled SLAs display in a light gray font.

  4. Click the disabled SLA you want to view.

    The Service Level Agreement editor displays on the content pane and the disabled SLA opens in read-only mode.

Examples of SLAs

These SLA examples show you how to meter service and offer different levels of support to your customers. SLA examples are provided for a 30-day SLA, a grace period SLA, and a premium SLA.

Add a 30-Day SLA

This example shows you how to add a 30-day SLA that restricts support to 30 days, but lets contacts and organizations submit an unlimited number of incidents during that time period.

Support begins when the SLA is assigned and automatically ends after 30 days. In this example, the default response requirements are used.

  1. Click Configuration on the navigation pane.

  2. Expand Service > Service Level Agreements, and then double-click Service Level Agreements.

    The Service Level Agreements tree displays on the content pane.
  3. Click New.

  4. Enter 30 Days in the Service Level Name field.

  5. Select the Active check box.

  6. Select the Self-Service check box to allow access to the customer portal.

  7. Enter 30 in the Term (Duration) field and select Days from the drop-down menu.

    Note: Do not enter any number in the Chat Incidents, CSR Incidents, Email Incidents, Self-Service Incidents, and Total Incidents fields. Leaving these fields blank, or null, will let contacts and organizations assigned this SLA submit an unlimited number of each type of incident until the 30-day term has expired.
  8. Click Save.

Add a Grace Period SLA

This example shows you how to add a two-incident SLA that could be assigned to contacts or organizations whose SLAs have recently expired.

The duration is defined using the Total Incidents field. The Term (Duration) field is left blank because the defining measure is the number of incidents, not the length of time. In this SLA, the default response requirements are also used.

  1. Click Configuration on the navigation pane.

  2. Expand Service > Service Level Agreements, and then double-click Service Level Agreements.

    The Service Level Agreements tree displays on the content pane.
  3. Click New.

  4. Enter Grace Period in the Name field.

  5. Select the Active check box.

  6. Select the Self-Service check box to allow access to the customer portal.

  7. Enter 2 in the Total Incidents field.

    Leaving the Chat Incidents, CSR Incidents, Email Incidents, and Self-Service Incidents fields blank, or null, will let contacts and organizations assigned this SLA submit an unlimited number of incidents. By entering the number 2 in the Total Incidents field, you are letting customers submit 2 of any incident type, but limit the total number of incidents the contact or organization can submit to 2.

    The Term (Duration) field is blank because there is no time limit on the SLA. Contacts and organizations may submit the incidents at any time, until they have submitted two incidents, at which time the SLA will expire.

  8. Click Save.

Add a Premium SLA

This example shows you how to add a type of SLA that could be offered to organizations or contacts who request premium service. It is set up to provide faster incident response and resolution times than standard SLA entitlements.

For example, staff members must initially respond within four hours and resolve incidents within two working days (sixteen hours).

The SLA has a duration of one year and will allow forty total incidents comprised of ten chat incidents and thirty CSR incidents. In this SLA, custom response requirements are used. See Add Custom Response Requirements to an SLA.

  1. Click Configuration on the navigation pane.

  2. Expand Service > Service Level Agreements, and then double-click Service Level Agreements.

    The Service Level Agreements tree displays on the content pane.
  3. Click New.

  4. Enter Premium in the Name field.

  5. Select the Active check box.

  6. Select the Self-Service check box to allow access to the customer portal.

  7. Enter 10 in the Chat Incidents field.

  8. Enter 30 in the CSR Incidents fields.

  9. Enter 40 in the Total Incidents field.

    Note: The number in the Total Incidents field must be greater than or equal to the value of any single incident field. For example, if the number of chat incidents equals 10, and all other incidents have a field value of 5, then the total number of incidents permitted must be 10 or more. The number in the Total Incidents field must also be less than or equal to the sum of the values of all of the single incident fields. For example, if the sum of the field values is 50, then Total Incidents cannot be greater than 50.
  10. Enter 1 in the Term (Duration) field and select Years from the drop-down menu.

  11. Click Save.

Offer Advisor Administration

Overview of Offer Advisor Administration

With B2C Service Offer Advisor, you can create promotions and define which groups of customers are eligible for each promotion. It provides agents with solid information to successfully present offers to customers and contribute to increased revenue for your organization.

When agents work with your customers, they are in a perfect position to provide information about new and upgraded products and services with Offer Advisor. Product promotions are a natural use of Offer Advisor. But you can also use the feature to provide personalized service notices that enhance your levels of customer support. For example, Offer Advisor can help agents remind customers about soon-to-expire warranties or notify them about product recalls. Besides the promotions that you create, Offer Advisor also automatically generates product suggestions based on a customer’s purchase history.

Offer Advisor provides offers—that is, promotional information and product suggestions—your agents can present to customers who contact your customer support group. With Offer Advisor’s specifically targeted offers, an agent has the ability to cross-sell (by offering products compatible with those the customer has already purchased) or up-sell (by offering a premium version of a product the customer currently owns). You can also use Offer Advisor to offer SLAs and renewals, remind customers about warranties, add customers to a newsletter mailing list, provide information about product recalls, or deliver other messages to your customers. Offer Advisor includes settings that automatically create sales opportunities when a customer expresses interest in a promotion or suggestion.

To learn how agents use Offer Advisor when they work with customers, see How Offer Advisor Works.

For current information about Offer Advisor, see Answer ID 2230.

Offer Advisor Configuration

After enabling and configuring B2C Service Offer Advisor, staff members can use it while assisting customers.

Configuration options will not be visible until Offer Advisor is enabled. Contact your Oracle account manager.

Note: Even with Offer Advisor enabled, you must be sure that the Offer Advisor button appears on the ribbon of the workspace that agents use when they work with incidents. By default, it appears on the standard incident workspace. If agents use a custom incident workspace and the Offer Advisor button is not available on the ribbon, they will not be able to tell if a customer is eligible for offers. See Ribbon and Quick Access Toolbar Buttons.

After Offer Advisor is enabled, perform these tasks to configure it.

  • Integrate purchase history dataOffer Advisor must have a customer’s purchase history before it can generate product suggestions and apply target rules that have conditions based on purchase history. When sales information resides in an external application, you can integrate sales transaction information into your database, including customer information, purchased products, price, and purchase dates. For information about integrating purchase history data, contact your Oracle account manager.

  • Create targets—Every promotion needs an intended audience, which is its target. You can create unique targets for specific promotions as well as general targets you can use for multiple promotions. See Targets and Target Rules.

  • Add promotions—After you have enabled Offer Advisor, integrated purchase history day, and created targets, you can create promotions that include dates, products, information for the agent, and targets. See How You Use Customer Promotions.

Customer Promotions

A promotion is a program defined by a staff member, usually from the marketing department, that specifies the effective dates, the product (if applicable to the promotion), the promotion’s priority, and the target eligible for the promotion.

The promotion description contains information for the agent, such as a text guide to help the agent present the promotion to the customer. The promotion also defines which targets are eligible for the offer. Targets are created using Offer Advisor target rules, a unique type of business rule. Customers who meet the conditions specified in a target rule are automatically added to the defined target.

When an agent responds to a customer’s question, Offer Advisor retrieves information about the customer and the incident. Offer Advisor then applies the target rules and evaluates the customer information to determine if the customer belongs to a target. If the customer belongs to one or more targets, Offer Advisor searches for promotions the target is eligible for and displays them to the agent.

The displayed list of available promotions includes the assigned priority ranking and acceptance rate for each promotion. Also shown is the date of the most recent positive response, if any. (Previously refused offers are not displayed to avoid repeating an offer in which the customer has already expressed no interest.)

How to Use Suggestions to Recommend Products

A suggestion is an automated product recommendation that predicts customer interest based on purchase history (if data is integrated into the Oracle B2C Service application).

Unlike promotions, which are created by marketing personnel, suggestions for recommended products are automatically generated. Offer Advisor uses a predictive model to develop product suggestions based on the customer’s purchase history.

Offer Advisor first identifies groups of customers who have similar purchasing behavior. When a customer submits an incident, Offer Advisor assigns the customer to the best matching group. Then Offer Advisor compares products the customer has already purchased to products purchased by other members of the group. For example, the customer may belong to the group of customers who have purchased cruise vacations. If many members of that group have taken Alaskan cruises, but the customer has not, Offer Advisor may recommend an Alaskan cruise as the customer’s next purchase.

Offer Advisor ranks a product suggestion based on the strength of the recommendation, in other words, the probability that the customer is interested in the offer. Offer Advisor does not generate suggestions when it does not have enough information for the customer or when it predicts a low likelihood of the customer accepting the offer.

Text Matching

When the Offer Advisor window displays promotions and suggestions, an agent can search for specific terms that best express the customer’s interests.

The search reorders the offers, ranking each according to its match weight.

Match weight depends on where the search term is found in an offer. For example, if the agent-entered search term matches a keyword for the promotion, the offer has a higher match weight than it would if the search term were found in the product description. Match weights are high (best match), medium, or low. The highest weight occurs when the agent-entered search terms match promotion keywords. Medium weights are assigned when the search term matches the promotion or product name or the text in the promotion’s summary field. Low weights result when terms match the promotion guide or product description.

Targets and Target Rules

Every promotion is associated with at least one target, which is the group of customers to whom you want to present your promotion. You can create a target to use for a single promotion, or you can create general targets to be used with multiple promotions.

Targets are created with target rules, which are one type of business rule. Business rules automate your workflow by establishing a set of conditions and a resulting action. If the conditions are met, the action is taken.

Target rules single purpose is to define targets—groups of customers—that meet the conditions you specify. You add a rule to specify the conditions you want a customer to meet and if the conditions are met, the customer automatically becomes part of the target.

For example, you might want to promote SLAs. Using target rules, you can use product purchase dates to identify customers with expiring warranties who constitute your target. In another example, you might want to promote a premium calling plan for cellular phone customers in a specific region. You can use target rules to specify geographical limits and identify those customers who currently have basic calling plans. In another situation, you might create a target consisting of all your customers. In that case, you simply name the target and save the rule without setting any conditions.

For information about how agents interact with Offer Advisor, see How Offer Advisor Works.

Create a Target Rule

When you define the conditions of a target rule, you can define targets in terms of a large number of attributes, including demographic information you can gather using custom fields.

Because only one state is permitted for target rules, this state—called Targets—is automatically added when you open target rules. You cannot add states or functions in target rules. Regardless of the conditions you select, the default action is always “Contact will match this target.” You cannot add an action for the Else clause of a target rule.

When you define the conditions of a target rule, you can use fields from the incident, contact, and organization tables in the database. This lets you define targets in terms of a large number of attributes, including demographic information you can gather using custom fields. You can also create a target that includes all of your customers by creating a rule that has no conditions. For lists of the fields allowed for incident, contact, and organization objects, see Business Rule Conditions.

You can also select a unique Purchased Products condition for target rules. The Purchased Products condition is actually a combination of three conditions, all of which must be met in order for the Purchased Products condition to be met. These criteria are product, price, and date purchased. In the Purchased Products condition, you can include or restrict products, define the price range, and specify the time frame of purchases.

This procedure creates a target rule with a Purchased Products condition.

  1. Click Configuration on the navigation pane.

  2. Expand Site Configuration, and then double-click Rules.

    The Rules tree and editor display on the content pane.
  3. Click Offer Advisor.

    The Browse Targets editor opens.
  4. Click Edit.

    The Target editor opens.
  5. Right-click Targets in the tree and select New Rule.

    The Targets editor is activated.
  6. Enter the name of the target rule in the Rule Name field.

  7. To add notes to the rule, enter them in the Notes field.

  8. Click Add IF Condition Based On and select Purchased Products.

  9. Enter field information.

    Table Purchased Products Condition

    Field Description
    Product Select a product from the menu. To select multiple products, press Ctrl while selecting each product. For information about adding sales products, see Add or Edit a Sales Product.
    Price Click this drop-down menu and enter a value in the Amount field. Click the Currency drop-down menu and select the currency.
    Date Purchased Click the drop-down menu to open the current month’s calendar and select a purchase date. Use the arrows at the top to change the month if necessary. Or select the Relative check box to select a relative time condition. See Select the Relative Time Condition for Date Purchased.
  10. Select the operator for the Product, Price, and Date Purchased conditions from the Select Operator drop-down menu. The available operators are described in the table.

    Table Operators for Purchased Products

    Field Description
    Equals Select this operator if you want the product, price, or purchase date to exactly match the selection.
    Not equals Select this operator if you do not want the product, price, or purchase date to exactly match the selection.
    Less than Select this operator if you want the price to be lower than the entered price or the date to occur before the selected date.
    Greater than Select this operator if you want the price to be higher than the entered price or the date to occur after the selected date.
    Less than or equal to Select this operator if you want the price to be lower than or equal to the entered price or the date to occur before or on the same date as the selected date.
    Greater than or equal to Select this operator if you want the price to be higher than or equal to the entered price or the date to occur after or on the same date as the selected date.
    In range Select this operator if you want the price or purchase date to fall within the range you specify.
    Not in range Select this operator if you want the price or purchase date to fall outside the range you specify.
    Is null Select this operator if you want the price or purchase date to contain no value.
    Is not null Select this operator if you want the price or purchase date to contain a value.
  11. Click Save to save the target rule.

  12. Click Activate to compile and activate the target rule base. See Compilation and Activation of Rule Bases if you need help with this step.

    Note: If you click Compile instead of Activate, the rule is checked for errors, but not activated. Offer Advisor does not apply this target rule to customer information until it has been activated.
Select the Relative Time Condition for Date Purchased

The Purchased Products condition lets you select a value for the Date Purchased part of the condition. There may be times when you want to set a specific date and time, which you can do by opening the calendar and selecting them. At other times, however, you might want that value to be relative.

If you want a condition “If the purchase date is less than 24 hours from the time the contact was acquired”, for example, you can select a relative time for the rule condition. Relative time calculates the number of minutes or hours from the current time or from a specific event, such as the time the contact or incident was created.

This procedure shows you how to set a relative time condition using the time a contact was acquired, but the procedure is the same for setting other relative time conditions.

  1. Click Configuration on the navigation pane.

  2. Expand Site Configuration, and then double-click Rules.

    The Rules tree and editor display on the content pane.
  3. Click Offer Advisor.

    The Browse Targets editor opens on the content pane.
  4. Click Edit.

  5. Right-click the rule you want to add the relative time condition to and select Edit.

    The Target editor is activated.
  6. Click Add IF Condition Based On and select Purchased Products. In this example, assume you want the target group to include those contacts who purchased a product within twenty-four hours of being acquired as a contact.

  7. Select the Relative check box for Date Purchased.

    The calendar drop-down menu is removed and the Relative time field displays.
  8. Click the Relative Time drop-down menu above the Relative check box.

    The Relative Time window opens.
  9. Complete the fields in the Relative Time window.

  10. Click the Directions drop-down menu and select + (Future).

  11. Enter 24 in the Offset field.

  12. Click the Unit drop-down menu and select Hours.

  13. Click Save to save your settings and close the Relative Time window.

  14. Click the Event drop-down menu to the right of the Relative check box and select Contact.Acquired.

  15. Click the Select Operator drop-down menu and select Less Than.

  16. Click Save to save the new relative time condition for the rule.

How You Use Customer Promotions

Promotions include the product or message you want agents to present to customers who belong to a specific target group. Promotions also define the active dates, the promotion’s priority, URLs to open when customers express interest in or accept a promotion, and scripts and tips for agents.

You may find it helpful to use existing promotions as the basis for new promotions. In those cases, you can save the promotion with a new name and then make any changes. Even if you do not intend to make any changes, you should rename the promotion so it is possible to distinguish between them in reports.

Because every promotion requires at least one target, you must define the promotion’s target before you can complete the promotion. When you add a promotion, you may already have a target you want to present the promotion to, or you may decide to create a target specifically for this promotion. If you begin creating a promotion before defining a target, you can save the promotion and return later to assign a target.

If your promotion applies to a sales product, you must also be sure the product is in the product catalog. For example, you might create promotions that offer a discount on a new model of cell phone or a free warranty with a purchase. In these examples, the sales products are the cell phone and warranty. In another example, you might want to offer free shipping on all purchases or create a promotion that simply makes an announcement to your customers. In those cases, do not specify a sales product when you create the promotion. See Add or Edit a Sales Product.

After you know what product and targets are included in your promotion, you can add the remaining details. These include start and end dates, priority, URLs for taking the next action, and information to guide the agent in presenting the promotion to customers.

Note: Even though the Promotions editor lets you create a promotion, it does not make other changes that may be necessary to enact the promotion. For example, if you create a promotion that offers an extended service agreement, you must also change the customer’s SLA to reflect acceptance of the promotion.
Add or Edit a Promotion

Follow this procedure to add or edit a promotion.

  1. Click Configuration on the navigation pane.

  2. Expand Opportunity Tracking, and then double-click Promotions.

    The Promotions tree displays on the content pane.
  3. Do one of the following:

    • To add a promotion, click New to display the editor.
    • To edit a promotion, click it in the tree.
  4. Enter the name of the promotion in the Name field.

  5. To define properties, see Select Details for a Promotion.

  6. To enter a summary, guide, and keywords, see Provide Promotion Information to Agents.

  7. To specify targets, see Select Targets for a Promotion.

  8. Click Save.

Select Details for a Promotion

You can define the start and end dates, the product associated with a promotion, its priority, and the URLs that agents are directed to based on customer response.

  1. Click Configuration on the navigation pane.

  2. Expand Opportunity Tracking, and then double-click Promotions.

    The Promotions tree displays on the content pane.
  3. Click the promotion in the tree to display the editor.

  4. Enter field information.

    Table Promotions Editor

    Field Description
    Activated

    Select this check box to activate the promotion. To discontinue a promotion during its active period (between the start and end dates), clear the check box.

    Start Date

    Click this drop-down menu to open the current month’s calendar and select a start date for the promotion. Use the arrows at the top to change the month, if necessary, and then select the date.

    End Date

    Click this drop-down menu to open the current month’s calendar and select an end date for the promotion.

    *Priority

    Click this drop-down menu to select a priority for this promotion. 1 is the highest priority and 10 is the lowest. Priority determines the promotion’s order in the list seen by agents.

    If two or more promotions with the same priority are offered to the customer, their positions in the promotions list are random.

    Sales Product

    Click this drop-down menu and select the sales product (if you want the promotion to have a sales product).

    Promotions do not require a sales product. For example, you might want to offer free shipping on all orders, so you would not make a sales product selection.

    Yes URL

    Enter the URL the agent is directed to if the customer accepts the promotion. For example, you might direct the agent to an order form with a discounted price.

    You can pass variables through this URL to populate the page with contact information or other fields you select.

    Interest URL

    Enter the URL the agent is directed to if the customer expresses interest in the promotion. For example, you might direct the agent to a form for entering leads.

    You can pass variables through this URL to populate the page with contact information or other fields you select.

    Create Opportunity on Yes

    Select this check box to add an opportunity when the customer accepts the promotion. The opportunity is added automatically with no input required from the agent presenting the offer.

    Create Opportunity on Interest

    Select this check box to add an opportunity when the customer expresses interest in the promotion. The opportunity is added automatically with no input required from the agent presenting the offer.

    Notes

    Enter comments, reminders, and other information about the promotion.

Provide Promotion Information to Agents

You can provide information to help agents present promotions to customers. In addition, you can add a summary of the promotion and keywords associated with the promotion.

  1. Click Configuration on the navigation pane.

  2. Expand Opportunity Tracking, and then double-click Promotions.

    The Promotions tree displays on the content pane.
  3. Click the promotion in the tree to display the editor.

  4. Click Description to open the Description page.

  5. Enter field information.

    Table Promotion Information

    Field Description
    Summary

    Enter the text the agent will see in the list of promotions displayed on the Offer Advisor window.

    Guide

    Enter a script, sales tips, or other guidelines to help the agent present the promotion to the customer.

    Keywords

    Enter keywords in this field. Offer Advisor compares these keywords, along with other words associated with the promotion, to the search terms the agent enters to find offers matching the customer’s interests.

  6. Click Save.

Select Targets for a Promotion

You can assign one or more of the available targets to the promotion you are adding.

If you want to define a new target for this promotion, see Targets and Target Rules. If you define a new target before you finish creating the promotion, you must activate the target rule and reopen the Promotions editor. The new target then appears in the Available Targets list so you can assign it to the promotion.
  1. Click Configuration on the navigation pane.

  2. Expand Opportunity Tracking, and then double-click Promotions.

    The Promotions tree displays on the content pane.
  3. Click the promotion in the tree to display the editor.

  4. Click Targets to open the Targets page.

  5. Select a target for this promotion in the Available Targets list and click the right arrow.

    The target displays in the Assigned Targets list.
  6. To assign additional targets, repeat the previous step.

  7. To remove a target, select it in the Assigned Targets list and click the left arrow.

    The target now displays in the Available Targets list.
  8. Click Save.

How You Modify Promotions

You can edit and delete promotions as necessary.

To edit a promotion, click it in the tree. Make your changes and save the promotion. You can also copy a promotion, edit it, and save it with a new name. The default name is Copy of [Promotion Name].

If you want to edit an existing promotion to use as a new promotion, it is good practice to open the promotion and save it with a new name. If you merely edit the properties of a promotion and do not change the name, your historical data regarding the effectiveness of that promotion may become skewed, preventing accurate reporting.

For example, if you create a Holidays 2020 promotion by renaming the Holidays 2020 promotion, you can distinguish statistics from each promotion, even if everything else in the two promotions is identical. If, however, you do not change the name, two years worth of data are combined in one report, making it impossible to distinguish between them.

This practice also allows agents to present the Holidays 2020 promotion to customers who were not interested in the 2019 promotion. If the name does not change, the promotion is not available to customers who said no to the previous year’s promotion.

To delete a promotion, click Delete. A message asks you to confirm the deletion.

Note: Deleting a promotion may prevent accurate reporting by causing some reports to be incomplete. It is good practice to delete only old promotions that are no longer required for historical purposes. You can also add a folder for archiving purposes.

Offer Advisor

Overview of Offer Advisor

When working with customers, you are in a unique position to anticipate their needs and provide them with specifically targeted information. B2C Service Offer Advisor identifies current promotions for which customers are eligible, and generates product suggestions based on their purchase histories.

Note: B2C Service includes a component known as “Service” where you work with offers, promotions, and related information.

Offer Advisor does more than simply provide you with a list of offers. It also displays guides to help you present the offer or information to the customer. It may contain product information and direct you to URLs to enter information about orders or leads. Offer Advisor can help you deliver high levels of personalized customer service by providing customers with reminders and service opportunities.

Promotions are special offers made to specific groups of customers. Examples of promotions include free shipping for customers who buy certain products, extended warranties for customers whose basic warranty is about to expire, and discounted prices on accessories for products customers have already purchased. A staff member in your organization, usually from the marketing department, defines a promotion.

Suggestions, on the other hand, are generated automatically. These are product recommendations based on customer characteristics and purchase history. Just as SmartAssistant searches the knowledge base and suggests possible answers to a customer’s questions, Offer Advisor searches for customer characteristics and past purchases to suggest possible products they may be interested in. For example, Offer Advisor may suggest a Caribbean cruise to a customer who has previously purchased a Mexican cruise vacation.

How Offer Advisor Works

B2C Service Offer Advisor evaluates customer information when you open an incident, and searches for promotions the customer is eligible for and product suggestions that the customer might be interested in.

If it finds promotions, product suggestions, or both, the Offer Advisor button is enabled on the ribbon.

After you solve the incident, click Offer Advisor. The Offer Advisor window displays and contains the promotions and suggestions found during the search.

Promotions Found Section

The Promotions Found section of the Offer Advisor window displays promotions for which the customer is eligible.

The maximum number of displayed promotions has been set by your administrator, so it is possible that the customer is eligible for other lower-ranking promotions that do not appear unless you scroll down.

Note: If the customer previously expressed no interest in a promotion, the promotion does not appear on the Offer Advisor window, and you will not be put in the position of presenting a promotion the customer has already rejected. Nor will the product associated with the rejected promotion appear in the Suggestions Found list.

When working with promotions, keep the following points in mind.

  • You can revise the order of the promotions using any of the column headings in the Promotions Found section, although the Rank, % Yes, and Match columns are the most useful. The Name column is simply the name assigned to the promotion by the marketing staff member who developed it. The Summary column provides a brief overview of the promotion.

  • Promotions are initially ranked by priority, which is the relative importance assigned to it by the staff member who created it. These values appear in the Rank column. Although a rank of 1 indicates the highest priority, multiple promotions that have the same priority are not differentiated by rank in this list, so lower promotions may have the same priority as the first promotion.

  • The % Yes column lists the historical response rate, which is the percentage of times customers have accepted this promotion. To rearrange the promotions in order of acceptance, click the column heading.

  • You can enter search terms that indicate the customer’s interest. The Match column prioritizes promotions based on how well your search terms match keywords and other text of the promotion or product. To list the promotions in order of match, where a high value indicates a strong match, click the Match column heading. Lower-ranking promotions that did not appear when the list was prioritized by rank may now be displayed based on their match with the search terms you entered. To learn how to search for matches, see Enter Search Terms.

  • The column titled Dup? is used to indicate whether the product in the promotion is duplicated in a suggestion. If the same product appears in Promotions Found and Suggestions Found, the Dup? value in the row is Yes and is highlighted.

Suggestions Found Section

The Suggestions Found section of the Offer Advisor window displays recommendations for products that Offer Advisor has determined are a good fit for the customer.

The maximum number of displayed suggestions has been set by your administrator, so it is possible that other lower-ranking suggestions are available even though they may not appear until you scroll down. Just as you can with promotions, you can revise the order of suggestions using the Rank, % Yes, and Match columns.

Guide Section

The Guide section of the Offer Advisor window contains information about a selected promotion. This information was entered for your use by the marketing staff member who created the promotion.

Depending on your organization’s practices, the information may be a script for a phone conversation, text you can enter into an email response, or simply talking points for the promotion. For example, if most of your customer support requests come through phone calls, the marketing staff member may write a general script for you to use when talking with a customer. If your main channel of communication with customers is through email, the guide may contain text you can copy or append to the response.

The Guide section displays “Offer Guide is unavailable” if you have selected a suggestion instead of a promotion or if marketing personnel did not enter information when creating the promotion.

To copy information in the Guide section that you want to paste into the response, right-click in the Guide section and select Copy. To append the information to the response, right-click and select Append To Thread.

Product Details Section

The Product Details section contains information from the Sales Product Catalog about the selected product suggestion or the product for the selected promotion.

Promotions do not require an associated product. If the selected promotion does not involve a product, this section displays “Product Details are unavailable.”

To copy information in the Product Details section that you want to paste into the response, right-click in the Product Details section and select Copy. To append the information to the response, right-click and select Append To Thread.

How You Present Offers

After you have opened the Offer Advisor window, you can review the promotions and suggestions to determine which one to select to present to the customer.

You can revise the order of the lists of promotions and suggestions to help you decide which offer has the highest potential of success. You can select the offer’s rank or its acceptance rate, or you can enter search terms to determine how well the offer matches the customer’s interests and use the match value as your selection criterion.

Tip: You should strongly consider any offer with Yes displayed on a green background in the Dup? column. This indicates a product that appears in both promotions and suggestions.

How You Select a Promotion or Suggestion

After you have opened the Offer Advisor window and reviewed the promotions and suggestions, you can select one to present to the customer.

To use rank as the selection criterion, select the promotion or suggestion ranked 1.

To use acceptance rate, click the% Yes column heading to list the promotions in order of acceptance rate.

Enter Search Terms

You can enter search terms to determine how well an offer matches the customer’s interests and use the match value as your selection criterion.

  1. Click Search on the bottom of the Offer Advisor window.

    The Offer Advisor Search window opens.
  2. Enter the search terms, separated by a space or comma, and click OK.

    Note: The search terms you enter are applied only to the promotions and suggestions available to this customer, not to all promotions and suggestions.
    The list of offers is automatically ranked according to match value.

Present an Offer

Present an offer you have selected for the customer.

  1. 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.
    • If you are responding to an incident, right-click in the guide or product information section to copy the text or append it to the response. Modify as necessary before sending the response.
  2. 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.
  3. Click the drop-down menu and select an option.

    Table Offer Advisor Response Options

    Option

    Description

    Yes Select this option if the customer accepts the offer. Depending on how the promotion is defined or how Offer Advisor is configured, this button may take you to a URL for follow-up action (for example, an order form).
    Interest Select this option if the customer expresses interest in the offer but is not ready to accept it. Depending on how the promotion is defined or how Offer Advisor is configured, this button may take you to a URL for follow-up action.
    No Select this option to indicate the customer’s lack of interest in the offer. The promotion or suggestion is disabled in the Offer Advisor window, and the response is recorded to prevent the offer from being made to this customer in the future.
    Defer Select this option when you are sending the offer by email and do not yet know the customer’s response.
  4. Click OK to return to the incident.

  5. Click Save to save the incident and record the customer’s responses to the offers. If you do not save the responses, the reports generated by managers and marketing staff will not account for these responses, and the historical information with this customer will not be accurate for future interactions.

    Note: If you send an email to a customer who replies with an indication of interest, you can reopen the incident, open the Offer Advisor window, select the promotion or suggestion, and select Yes, Interest, or No to document the response appropriately.