This is a public Blog  publicRSS


    James W.
    How Costco Increased Agent Productivity with Simple Oracle...
    Entry posted March 6, 2018 by James W.Journeyer, tagged Member Spotlight, Product / Product Release 
    1143 Views, 29 Comments
    How Costco Increased Agent Productivity with Simple Oracle Service Cloud Toolbox Innovations

    I've been a software developer with Costco for almost 20 years! I actually started in the food court, moved to the tire center, and applied for a programmer trainee position. I took the aptitude test, and got into the training course, and came out as a developer! This transition marked the beginning of a career working on many different systems across multiple departments at Costco.

    Over the last five years, I've been part of a small IT team dedicated to supporting our Member Service Center. In May 2016, I started working on Oracle Service Cloud. We’re focused on offering web self-service, chat and capturing phone calls. We recently launched chat, which has been very popular with both our customers and agents and is accelerating our first call resolution rate!

    We have loved how we can configure and customize Oracle Service Cloud to meet our business needs. I wanted to share an example of how I used out of the box functionality in order to deal with a unique business challenge within Costco.

    The Challenge

    Many Oracle Service Cloud customers use web forms for email submissions and benefit from the native SPAM filtering functionality built into the system. However, Costco’s email configuration is a little unique, because we use a separate email-only domain and a 3rd party email host for our direct emails.

    While our email host has been great and has several SPAM avoidance options, the Oracle client doesn't provide SPAM feedback to our email host. Consequently, our email host can't get any "smarter" or learn what we consider to be SPAM. And we keep getting SPAM (e.g. vendors who want Costco to carry their products; “spray and pray” marketing emails; trashy spam that you’d see in your personal email).

    The problem was twofold: (1) we needed agents to get through emails faster and (2) we wanted to prevent future SPAM.

    The Solution

    I knew that our Oracle Service Cloud agent workspace—with all of its required fields—has a “minimum time required” to complete it correctly. For a customer email, all of these fields are valuable for solving customer issues and for creating great reporting. However, when agents are dealing with SPAM, they just need to get to the next email and not waste any time filling out required fields. And it’s even better if they don’t see another SPAM email from that Contact.

    To address this problem, I started by developing a “big click target” SPAM workspace. Now if an agent gets a SPAM email, they can just hit the SPAM button in the workspace ribbon and the incident disappears…POOF! No required fields. No more of the agent’s time wasted. This addressed the first problem of helping agents get through emails faster.

    Of course, if the agent made a mistake, they can go into Recent Items, re-open the incident, open the contact and change the AutoSPAM flag. As a side note, we did have some agents accidentally hit the SPAM workspace button, so we moved the button away from the Send & Exit button. Position matters!

    In order to prevent future SPAM email from a sender, I added a business rule that checks the AutoSPAM Contact field on incoming emails. If the AutoSPAM field is flagged “Yes,” it goes into an AutoSPAM queue. Future incoming emails from this email address will be reviewed by a supervisor to confirm it’s SPAM.

    In addition to solving the problem, our agents loved the ability to quickly process SPAM (“Wow, I’m done with that!”) and appreciated that we made their job easier. Can you tell that I love the configurability and customization options within Oracle Service Cloud? You can check out the step-by-step instructions with screenshots in the attached PDF.


    Even if you don’t have the same SPAM problem that we do, this concept has many different applications. You can take the top five disposition codes for incidents and make five buttons to set fields. Even auto-insert an answer. You don’t want to miss the right reason codes from a reporting perspective, but you also don’t have to bog agents down with repetitive clicks.

    By sharing this innovation, I hope to encourage and inspire you to learn about the different tools within the Oracle Service Cloud toolbox and how you can combine them to create simple yet effective solutions for your organization.