Five Shipping Strategies to Keep Customers Happy While Protecting Profits

Please customers and protect margins: here's how to determine the perfect eCommerce shipping strategy for your store and the right tools to accomplish it.

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Introducing Hearing Scheduler – A Seamless Way for Public Planners to Schedule Hearings

Urban Planners manage multiple responsibilities. They review planning applications and meet with the public to provide them information regarding zoning ordinances and the preparation of planning reports. What they do daily varies from planner to planner but their main motivation is their sheer passion for making their community a better place.

Cities and counties in the United States host public hearings in which the residents of a neighborhood are informed of any new residential or commercial development in their city. This forum allows residents to voice their concerns, if any. Planners schedule these hearings to achieve their overarching goal to serve community needs. Making sure they do this seamlessly became our goal.

Using Oracle Public Sector Hearing Scheduler, planners can view the hearings scheduled for planning applications quickly. Each application is displayed as a card. Applications that need to be scheduled are listed in the left pane. Planners can easily drag and drop an application card to the date slot of their choice.

From our research, we discovered that hearings are not scheduled on all days. Hence the scheduler displays only the days when the hearings are conducted as configured by the city/state agency.

Applications can be rescheduled as well using drag and drop. More details of the application can be viewed by expanding the card. Related actions are also available for planners to take quick action for the application.

Aside from Hearing Scheduler, Public Sector Community Development also supports the management of additional hearing activities such as Hearing Decision Updates and Appeal.

Interested to know more about the Planning and Zoning solution? Click through here to watch this Quick Tour.





Blueprint for Building a Global Commerce Site

Building a successful global business is a never-ending juggling act. With what can seem like an unlimited number of moving parts, compromises feel inevitable. Efficiency is traded for simplicity. Optimal long-term solutions are traded for quick and dirty fixes. These tradeoffs can be especially problematic for e-commerce businesses. For companies aspiring to go global, what initially might seem like a sensible decision to ramp up a new country on its own platform can snowball into 10 different websites running out of 10 different codebases.


Partners: From Van Life to Cacao and Coffee Roasters

Katie and Kyle Wilson, owners of Soul Chocolate in an illustrated image. Katie and Kyle Wilson began traveling, working, and living out of a van together shortly after they met. Now, as owners of a chocolate and coffee roaster, the couple shares how they are managing the intricacies of running a business and a household—a household that includes chickens in the backyard. 



New Group Aims to Help Bridge E-Commerce Digital Divide

The United States Business Association of E-Commerce is poised to open for business. Its mission is to help SMEs, as well as minority- and veteran-owned startups, to bridge the e-commerce digital divide. The B2B marketplace platform will connect small and medium-sized firms to domestic and global buyers. USBAEC founder Tayde Aburto expects to have at least 70 companies signed on and 17-20 exporters from Mexico on board for the official launch. The USBAEC bills itself as a disruptive business ecosystem of buyers, partners and suppliers.


Lessons from Successful Online Store Owners

4 online store owners reflect on their journey, share how they started, & reveal what they wish they knew beforehand. Spoiler: nothing ever goes as planned.

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How Trine Larsen Found Her Passion in Support Using Oracle B2C Service

How often were you asked as a kid, “What do you want to become when you grow up?” Quite a few times, I’m sure. If you are one of those lucky few who always knew what they wanted to do, kudos to you. As for most of us, well, the answer didn’t reveal itself right away.  

This is a challenge Trine Larsen faced growing up. “I never really knew what I wanted to do in life, which was annoying when I was growing up because everyone, and I mean EVERYONE, would ask me all the time. It didn’t make it any easier having a younger brother who was pretty much born with a wire stripper in his hand, so everyone knew he would grow up to be an electrician.”

With no specific dream job in mind, she knew she wanted to do something fun and engaging. Trine started out working in hospitality. After a few years, she moved into a customer service position at NRGi, one of the largest electricity suppliers in Denmark.

A New, Complex Project Provided the Stepping Stone

Trine’s first role with the company revolved around answering customer’s requests via email or phone. She advised them regarding their energy consumption or their bills. Not long after, she was assigned a service stakeholder, responsible for implementing a new Oracle billing system along with Oracle B2C Service, part of Oracle CX.  

She made the most of this opportunity to learn more about NRGi’s business and how Oracle B2C Service could help. “This is where I used Oracle B2C Service for the first time. The more I learned the more fun it got,” she commented. “My job now is to help and support all users, including the agents in front by making sure Oracle B2C Service is as good as it can be, to help them deliver the best possible service,” Trine described.

An important part of her work still involves talking to people, just like earlier in her career, when she worked in the frontline of customer service. The difference is that now her customers are her colleagues using Oracle B2C Service.

With her advanced knowledge of the system, she supports the internal and external users of Oracle B2C Service, making sure her solutions work in real life, not just in the test environment.

“I like to describe my role as the ‘voice of Oracle B2C Service’ inside NRGi, balancing agents’ requests with business needs and Service Cloud functionalities. I like bridging the gaps between developers and users in the real world and translating the Oracle B2C Service lingo and capabilities to outsiders and the other way around,” she said.

Using Oracle has also helped Trine discover her passion and career goal. “Using Oracle B2C Service taught me a lot about myself and my strengths. It challenges me and pushes me to do better. I never knew I was an IT kind of person, but it turns out that I am! I’m a nerd and proof that you can accomplish your goals if you work hard,” she said. Her project assignment has evolved into a fulfilling and exciting career.

To continue growing, Trine is preparing to get certified on Oracle B2C Service, which will increase her expertise and guide her projects at NRGi. She also hopes it moves her towards her dream of working one day as a consultant to help other organizations across different industries transform their businesses and optimize their processes, plus help her travel the world.
Trine’s Proudest Accomplishments with Oracle B2C Service at NRGi

Being the main architect behind the Oracle B2C Service system at NRGi from its creation, Trine has helped establish a strong foundation. Here are a few of her milestones:

  • Created custom agent workspaces: Six months into using the system, she wanted to apply initial learnings and optimize the way agents worked. The out-of-the-box workspace had primary fields and functions scattered over multiple tabs. She wanted to remove or hide fields that weren’t needed to help agents avoid unnecessary clicks and going back and forth between tabs in the incident workspace. Trine gathered the remaining fields in a column, giving agents an immediate overview of the incident thread, as well as fields relating to either the incident, or the contact itself. NRGi still has tabs in the workspace, but all relevant fields are always visible to make sure agents don’t have to go back and forth between tabs. This way, Trine removed 2-3 clicks per incident being handled. It’s been more than two years, and they’re still using those workspaces.

  • Optimizing the knowledge base for NRGi’s digital self-service: Two years after launching Oracle B2C Service and a year after launching the customer portal, Trine tackled optimizing their knowledge base. Up to that point, their knowledge base was a copy of the Q&A from their previous support site. She leveraged Oracle best practices on knowledge base search effectiveness and a knowledge base tune-up checklist that she found in Cloud Customer Connect. She applied the new information to optimize search words and restructured all the content in the customer portal, making it easier and more effective for users to find information. Her disciplined approach paid off. In the first year, 22% of visits to their support site ended in an incident being submitted. After she optimized their support knowledge base, that number dropped below 8%. Answer efficiency increased from 82% in the first year to 91% in the second year. Visits to the portal more than doubled during this time.

  • Setting up chat: In 2020, NRGi soft-launched chat for one of their three brands to offer real-time support to their customers and gather some knowledge before broadly deploying it across sites and brands. Taking this type of phased rollout allows the company to make iterative improvements and help train the team on supporting chat while gathering data to guide the decision on investing in chatbots. For the first phase, Trine handled most of the changes in the test environment while the third-party partner reviewed and deployed. Her efforts helped complete this milestone before the deadline.

Advice for Others Looking to Make an Impact and Find Their Passion

For individuals who are working the frontlines and looking to grow their career, Trine recommends, “First, stay curious. If you see something that doesn’t make sense to you, ask. Then, offer your help, even for temporary, non-essential tasks. It will help you learn and build relationships within the organization. Finally, take responsibility. This doesn’t mean you can’t fail. You just have to own it if you do.”

For others who are stepping up to manage a business-critical support system and take on a bigger leadership role in support, Trine encourages them to embrace working with multiple stakeholders. When she works with other teams, she recommends, “Always challenge the requests and needs, with a smile. No matter how urgent a request might be, you need to understand why this exact thing is needed. There might be a better, or easier way around it.”

Connect with Trine on LinkedIn. If you’re an Oracle B2C Service customer, join the Oracle CX Hero Hub to connect with her and other Oracle B2C Service advocates.



Transforming to Customer Intelligent Marketing Part 2

Marketers need to lead their enterprise in using more customer attributes to deliver exceptional customer experiences. Those that do will become the future winners of their industries while those that don’t will likely wither and fade.  To read part 1 of this series, click here.

To leap-frog the competition, marketers need to help move beyond today’s world of batch and blast or basic personalization (messaging based on a few attributes) and become like Amazon, Google, Uber, Netflix, etc. This requires breaking through a wall of complexity and making personalization possible on hundreds – to – thousands of attributes.

The new data intelligence technology all comes around to how you do personalization. These are two very simple steps to think about at a high level:

  1. Get serious, even fanatical, about capturing every facet of your customer’s interactions with you – their interests, intentions and desires.
  2. Load these signals and customer attributes into machine-learning decisioning models to deliver hyper-personalized experiences.

Then, continuously experiment and iterate on the attributes used while refining your decisioning models to deliver exceptional personalized customer experiences.

Your marketing can grow in phases as you add additional attributes and decisioning capabilities. Think about starting by personalizing your messaging using segments and rules-based dynamic content, and the number of available segments will grow as you add more attributes. You can then begin to blend customer specific content such as product recommendations to produce truly personalized content.

The Key Systems and Components to Transform

Marketers have always had the goal of sending the right message to the right person at the right time. We can now execute on this vision by collecting data on the customer’s micro moments, in real-time, to make in-the-moment decisions and orchestrate the delivery of that message across channels.

To break through the wall of complexity, consider addressing each of the four key technical components you will need to develop. You don’t have to take each of these steps at once, but when combined, they become the architecture that will power your ability to deliver exceptional customer experiences. When done well, you’ll see incremental gains in your marketing performance as each of these components are implemented.

  1. Get serious about the customer profile. The ability to unify, enrich, segment and analyze your customer profile data in real time is essential to enabling your ability to engage with your customers on their terms. Capture customer interaction events and signals across your web sites and mobile apps. Pair these events in real-time with the appropriate content and offers to capitalize on personalized retargeting opportunities. Remember, it is not enough to collect massive amounts of data. You must also put that data into context, derive meaning or understand customer intent from it, and use it to produce an actionable output.

  2. Develop a library of content and content components and tag each content item within your content management system. This will allow you to perform rapid experimentation to deliver the content that drives the best results.

  3. Match machine learning and AI-based decisioning tools with your profile data and content management system to enable real-time personalized messaging that combines intelligence from customer attributes with the context of customer interactions.

  4. Use machine learning, customer preferences and engagement history to determine the right channel (or channels) and timing for best results. Use customer engagement to determine the appropriate cadence, timing, and channel mix for additional follow up messages to deliver a delightful customer experience and turn your loyal customers into brand advocates.

If you have not already started your journey to customer intelligent marketing, it’s time to get started.

Your goal should be to start with a firm foundation based on quality customer profile data. Deriving context and customer intent from that data, combined with automated content and a cross channel delivery system will enable you not just to grow your business, but to develop brand champions as well.

Click here to read the blog "Defining the Customer Intelligent Platform – and Why You Should Care."