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Take Your Customer Support to the Next Level with these Salesforce Service Cloud Features

By June 30, 2020 No Comments

Customer service is a huge undertaking for any organization. You want to employ the right amount of CSRs and give them the resources they need without completely overwhelming them. But inevitably, as a company gets bigger, so do their customer support needs.

And 95% of consumers prioritize brands with stellar customer service (Microsoft)

Adding agents isn’t always the best solution. Eventually, you’ll hit a point in your growth in which you can add a tool to help you manage things with a lean team.

We’ve found that the Salesforce Service Cloud is an excellent solution and tool to deliver omni-channel customer service. The best time to make an investment in the product is when you feel like you shouldn’t need to hire any additional CSRs, but know your team could be doing more with more efficient resources and strategic data automation.

Better yet, it scales with your business. You can continue to customize your system to meet your needs easily due to its strong foundation.

Calculating Your Return on Investment

Let’s get one thing out of the way – yes, Salesforce can get expensive. License costs per agent do seem high at first glance. However, we’ve found through our clients’ implementations that CSRs who use it save so much time, make fewer mistakes, and better serve their customers as a result of its capabilities. They get a sound return on investment sooner than they expect.

And keep in mind how much revenue you stand to retain (and gain!) with exemplary customer service. U.S. businesses lose $62 billion every year as a result of bad customer experiences (Vonage).

Here’s how Salesforce Service Cloud features can transform your customer support model:

Automated End-to-End Customer Support

Tracking Your Support Process KPIs & Managing Customer Support Experience

Support teams are collectively responsible for one of the key touchpoints of customer experience – the support experience. Supervisors of this team have a tough job as well – how can you make sure everyone focuses on responding to the right customer problems in a reasonable amount of time across the preferred channels of support while respecting issue priority?

Support Team Responsibilities
  1. Respond to customer issues
  2. Respond quickly
  3. Connect on the best channel
  4. Prioritize issues efficiently

Support teams need insights on trends and metrics to better manage to and optimize their support processes. These can include trends for new cases opened, cases closed, and resolution times over a period of time as a measure of throughput. You can consider case volume by support channel, type of issue, and criticality of the issue as an indicator of product/ service improvement opportunities. Case volume resolved in a month by criticality is a measure of support team’s value to the organization.

With specific Salesforce Service Cloud features, we can setup discrete support processes for different types of issues to represent the differences in the complexity of resolving any given issue type. We can determine different priority levels (critical, high, medium, low, etc.) and support channels (email, web, phone, etc.) to distinguish an issue type further. And we can set up any other custom attributes relevant to your specific business’ support experience.

We can then turn around and create a dashboard of relevant metrics and KPIs to direct your support team’s focus.

For example,

  • If the trend of cases created is rising, perhaps a new product has been launched, or a critical aspect of an existing service is broken. Work with the product team.
  • If the trend of cases closed is going down, perhaps we have newer support staff on the team who need to be trained.
  • If the case volume by a particular case type is rising, perhaps we should shift team members to handle that crisis versus overwhelming the entire support team.

That and more is possible with Service Cloud, and best yet, this does not require months and months of implementation. Check out our service cloud accelerator; we can get you up and running in weeks!

Omni-Channel Support Capabilities

As technology evolves, so do customer expectations. They expect service and support on the channels they already enjoy – email, social media, live on-site chat, and more. The call center is no longer the center of the customer service world.

This, of course, not only means companies need to add customer support resources – they have to train them across channels. And they must figure out how to organize their responses. Salesforce Service Cloud features can solve this too. There are so many moving parts, but you can easily centralize communications across any of these channels seamlessly into the case view. Support agents can then deliver a delightful and thorough customer experience.

Case Assignment & Omni-Channel Routing

Once a customer creates a support case via one of the available channels, Salesforce Service Cloud features can automatically route each case to the appropriate available agent or self-managed case queues. This can take the shape of configuring a few simple assignment rules, which can be very effective, especially if you are tip-toeing your way into the world of customer support and just getting started.

But for more mature and larger support teams, Omni Channel Routing can provide even more intelligent routing capabilities based on agent skills and availability. This comprehensive solution automatically prioritizes and ushers customer service requests from each active channel to an assigned CSR. Each gets queued, and when a rep becomes available, the application funnels it to that agent. This ensures quick and efficient issue resolution without excessive oversight.

This functionality frees up significant time for management, who can focus on training new CSRs, reviewing KPIs, and strategy development instead of just managing case queues and assigning work. It also empowers employees working in the trenches to self-organize and manage their workload.

Queue Workflow and Escalation Rules

Between these milestones, customers sit in a queue. Using process automation tools – such as Process Builder, Flows, Workflow Rules – Salesforce Service Cloud features can automate the process of moving customers from one step to another, eliminating the responsibility of manual oversight. This functionality also allows management to easily track key customer KPIs, such as time to first response and time to resolution.

For customer support cases not getting enough traction, escalation processes allow management to keep an eye on product and staffing areas of concern and find suitable resolutions. You can define escalation rules that automatically reassign the case to a more experienced agent or a supervisor and helps direct the right kind and level attention on particularly vexing cases.

Taking key learnings from such escalated cases tends to be a great way to:

  1. Identify underdeveloped support areas in which support agents need additional training
  2. Identify specific staff members who may need additional coaching

Einstein Case Classification

An exciting new development in this arena is Einstein Case Classification. Imagine Artificial Intelligence supporting your hard-working agents by automatically classifying cases into different buckets. You can repurpose this time saved from menial data entry into what the agents are really supposed to be doing — delivering outstanding customer service!

This is especially helpful when agents are supporting many different types of cases related to many types of customers and products. You can eliminate the coaching burden on managerial staff and the data entry burden on support agents. As a result, you get to happy and empowered support agents, and in turn, happy customers! 

Case Feeds

Support agents do a great job of documenting the many activities that happen as part of resolving a support case. Most obviously, they may write emails to customers, document internal comments on the case, request assistance from other staff from the support of other departments, complete tasks associated with a case, updated fields on the case, etc. The case feed becomes a centralized, chronological way of visualizing said activity in a visually appealing and extremely functional way. This is incredibly helpful in support scenarios in which the same agent may not look at the case during multiple touches with the customer but yet has a detailed history of events on the case right at his/her fingertips.

Service Console

For organizations handling customer service interactions at a rapid pace with unassigned customer representatives, like a call center, the Salesforce Service Console can make a big difference. The application allows CSRs to quickly create or locate and then update multiple records at a time, perfect for on-the-fly interactions in which a rep spends the first 20 seconds of a call listening to a customer discuss their issue while simultaneously looking up their account. Support agents can multi-task on multiple cases at a time and, best of all, have related contextual information at their fingertips. This is powerful in high volume support environments.

Customer Account Portal & Customer Community

Customers these days expect more than one support channel enabled to reach out to customer service. Customer portals tend to help facilitate this in a digitally connected world. Some companies choose to empower their customers through self-service capabilities. They find that allowing customers to avoid the hold music and access answers themselves saves everyone involved time and energy. This works well for tasks such as setting appointments, bill pay, checking on an order, and more.

This is especially useful to support teams as a case deflection mechanism to reduce support costs. You can make customers go through a self-service flow driven by a knowledge base integrated with Community. Customers can leverage existing knowledge – either created by support agents having resolved similar issues or by other customers who had & solved similar issues – to get answers quickly. Support agents then avoid getting overburdened with common issues that have well-documented resolutions.

Knowledge Base

A knowledge management solution serves as a repository of information for reps to find the answers they need to serve their customers best. As customers start outlining their issue, reps can search the knowledge base for the best answer. This application serves as a holding place for all of these needed documents and ensures they remain accurate and updated as things shift and change in a business.

The knowledge base also comes in handy for companies using a self-service company portal. Knowledge bases generated by support agents or by peer-to-peer customer communities provide self-service to customers. You can decrease support costs in the form of a reduced volume of cases.

Social Media

As brands continue to expand their presence on social networks, they also open themselves up to addressing customer questions and issues on each network. Salesforce Service Cloud helps with the handling of tickets, feed tracking, and moderation and approval for customer support responses.

85% of consumers expect a response from a brand representative on Facebook within 6 hours. (Eptica)

Email

These days, many customers are happy to shoot off an email and wait a day or two for a response. It’s easy, doesn’t require a major time commitment, and helps them avoid hold music. That being said, companies can’t afford to keep them waiting for an answer.

By far, it’s the easiest support channel to enable. Salesforce Service Cloud features come with auto-response capability for cases, making it easy to send a case creation confirmation email to the customer. In addition, Service Cloud allows agents to respond from the case itself while the customer responds from his/her email client. Salesforce routes the customer’s email response back to the case so the agent can continue email back and forth until issue resolution. All of this is tracked and viewed chronologically in the case feed.

The application also encourages the creation, storage, and use of email templates for standard email responses to common case types. Beyond that, support agents can create macros to record their repetitive actions and merely execute those set of actions as needed just by running the macro! Imagine automating almost the entire email-based support process for at least the most common issue types freeing up the agent to solve the most vexing customer issues.

Live Chat

An option growing in popularity is on-site live chat. This gives customers an immediate resource – no hunting for a phone number or email address – as soon as they visit the company website. This, of course, is a logistical nightmare. In live chat, customers expect an immediate response. The question needs to immediately be routed to a CSR, who has access to a knowledge base and can provide support quickly. Queues cannot get clogged; customers can’t be kept on read. This Salesforce application routes tickets to CSRs promptly and connects them to customer profiles to get better insights, and even supplies prewritten messages to streamline the conversation.

To save even more time and resources, you can implement chatbots powered by AI. According to Accenture, 80% of chat sessions can be resolved by a chatbot. For the remaining 20%, an agent can step in. Consider how much time that could save your agents and how

Live Message (Mobile/Text Message)

You can also connect your CSRs with your customers via their mobile devices. When needed, bots can also expedite this communication with prewritten and defined messages. Like in live chat, agents have access to a knowledge base and can quickly provide support. Because of this efficiency, they can manage several conversations at once, increasing productivity and customer satisfaction.

And this moves beyond standards SMS text messages – the application can work on WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, WeChat, and more.

Web Forms

Many websites have a web form for customer support, and Salesforce simplifies this even further, by submitting cases directly to your instance through a branded HTML form. The platform classifies and organizes the case and then assigns it to an appropriate agent through a predefined workflow.

Phone Support

Of course, Salesforce still supports traditional phone support. It cross-references phone numbers with customer accounts to route incoming calls to the appropriate department or agent, delivering insights to the company representative to help the conversation along. The application can record conversations and save them to the customer file for later reference.

Even better, it can be integrated with many company phone systems, eliminating a step and roadblock in the communication process.

Analytics and KPIs

Of course, with all of this data comes opportunity. Salesforce Service Cloud features deliver powerful metrics and analytics to your management team, encouraging ongoing improvement within your support process.

With these data insights, leaders can not only refine their customer support process to ensure customers have a high-quality experience with agents, but they can also uncover opportunities for growth and better practice standards.

Service Analytics App

If you’re not sure where to start, you can use the Salesforce Service Analytics App, which delivers prebuilt dashboards to help your management team get a clear view of their team’s performance. The app provides actionable insights for your customer service data. You can monitor KPIs such as open ticket time, first-contact resolution, escalation percentages, and more.

Advanced Reporting Salesforce Service Cloud Features

Advanced reporting allows you to develop out more dashboards and customize them further, all with a simple drag and drop builder. You can even drill into historical trends to analyze data from day to day, as things change quickly in the customer service world.

Your Salesforce Service Cloud Implementation

Salesforce Service Cloud features deliver innovation and efficiency to customer service teams, resulting in greater customer loyalty. If you want to quickly launch Salesforce Service Cloud, we offer an accelerator to get you up and running quickly, leveraging the platform’s functionality fast.

We also work with companies with an existing Salesforce Service Cloud implementation to further improve and enhance their capabilities on the platform with custom architecture, strategic integrations with other business applications, and more.

Contact our team to learn more about how we can help your organization improve your customer support and improve customer relations by leveraging Salesforce Service Cloud features and functionality.

Amit Parker

Amit Parker

Amit is Practice Lead (Platform Strategy) and Senior Business Solution Architect at Soliant Consulting, Inc. working out of the San Francisco office. He is Salesforce certified as a Sales Cloud Consultant, Marketing Cloud Email Specialist, Pardot Specialist, Admin & Platform App Builder. He strongly believes in driving differentiated customer experiences for businesses big and small and that CRM has a key role to play in that. As a result, he loves solving problems in this space and is deeply passionate about the Salesforce platform. While helping businesses grapple with complex problems at the intersection of technology, product, and business is his day job, he loves to dabble with mobile apps, AI etc using - you guessed it - the Salesforce platform. In his personal life he is a practitioner of the performing arts as a vocalist and likes to dabble with mixology as well.

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