Oracle On Demand CRM Customer Service Software Review
Oracle Customer Support Software Review
Oracle CRM On Demand offers both service and call center modules that can be combined to deliver customer support functions. The service module allows for creation and management of incidents or service tickets, including capture of the service request profile, contacts, activities, and comments. The service module also provides a knowledgebase of solutions that resembles FAQs (frequently asked questions) that are common on many web sites. The call center module is separate and distinct from the service module. Interestingly, Oracle CRM On Demand continues to market these as separate modules. While modularity is generally a good thing in CRM systems, the concept of managing the calls from customers requesting support separately from the support case itself seems at best illogical. Data from the call must be used to create the case which consumes critical time while on the phone with a client.
The call center module includes tools to integrate with phone systems so that incoming calls provide a “screen pop” with the customer details in the CRM database. This is a carry-over from the core Siebel CRM system that is deployed on premise and thus allows for development of tight integration with phone systems. It remains to be seen whether phone system integration is viable in the hosted CRM model and performance is likely to be highly dependent on the distance from your call center to the Oracle data center in Austin, Texas. For buyers who need phone system integration with their CRM, we recommend a very deep inspection of the Oracle CRM On Demand service and call center modules as there are likely significant costs to connect the “standard” phone system functionality to the myriad of phone systems available. This is especially true when voice response systems are used to route calls prior to directing them to an agent. Between performance issues and high costs to connect the CRM to phone systems, this is a feature set that is only for “big companies who are big spenders.” Also, as discussed above, be cautious of the need for call center as a separate component from the service management module.
While the telephone has historically been the primary method of incoming service requests, the trend is shifting toward self-service systems and email ticketing. Call centers that handled 70 percent of inbound service requests as little as two years ago are reporting that phone represents less than 40 percent of inbound requests now. Email is a convenient method for case submission and Oracle CRM On Demand offers tools to enable emails to be associated with CRM data via synchronization to the core email service such as Notes or Outlook. This approach is dramatically different that that taken by service management industry leader like RightNow. Embracing best practices, RightNow allows for direct creation of support cases by emailing to a centralized service that applies workflows to create and assign cases. While email is a growing channel for support cases, self-service via web portals is growing even faster. In this model, customers can manage their own support needs using searchable knowledge bases and self-creation of service requests. This approach is far superior to email case creation because it can impose basic data requirements on the customers to ensure that your support personnel have the data they need to work the case. RightNow has led the industry into self-service with its patented “you must ask a question before we will help you” portals. This approach creates a common and rigorous process for case creation and unfortunately allows for very little customizability to make your portal unique. Oracle CRM On Demand has taken an even less well-defined strategy which is to let each customer use web services to build their own.
While providing the most flexibility, this approach adds cost and time to CRM projects. Oracle CRM On Demand offers some basic but helpful workflows built-in the core CRM product, but does not offer a configurable and integrated workflow management capability. For customers that have software programming/development staff or who employ consultants for programming, it is feasible to use the web services API to develop advanced workflow capability. The base product contains workflows that focus almost exclusively on SFA functions. For example, leads can be assigned to a sales representative based on territory. As a rule, this is something that even the most basic CRM systems are able to do effectively.