Of the two original core Salesforce products, Service Cloud is arguably the most diverse and interesting to explore. Its functionality is broad, and the benefits it can bring to end users and customers alike are extensive. However, defining a focused stream of work can be overwhelming, as all the shiny Dreamforce demos don’t spell out the journey you need to go on in order to reach that point of utopia.
This piece aims to provide you with a strategy to implement your Service Cloud and begin a stream of work that will improve metrics – such as ROI, CX, employee engagement, or efficiency gains. Although it is industry-agnostic, it assumes a baseline of Enterprise edition as a minimum.
Salesforce Service Cloud
Service Cloud picks up at the end of the sales cycle. Your marketing and sales approach has been successful, and now it is time to provide support for those points of contact that your customers may have. Plus, if you’re good, perhaps weave in an element of upsell, as every point of service can become a point of sale.
In terms of features, it offers:
- Lightning Design System: An immediate, versatile, Lego-like UI/UX construction engine.
- Automation: A myriad of productivity tools that can range from basic repeat process automation to intricate multi-step workflows and integrations.
- Knowledge Base: An in-system library of support documentation for your internal team and external channels.
- Customer Support Portals: A window into Salesforce where your customers can interact directly with their case.
- Communications: From simple live chat and bots right up to AI-bolstered telephony.
- Analytics: Reporting that can be simple ad-hoc daily reporting capabilities, right up to a top-tier AI-powered MI/BI suite.
Within these broad umbrellas is a myriad of functionality to unlock, as well as a diverse and mature range of third-party applications that can be leveraged to satisfy more bespoke needs and wants.
With diversity comes the risk of a lack of focus, and any fresh implementation will need a strategy to support it. A lack of vision will lead to an out-of-control shopping cart, half-implemented requests, and development foundations that will crumble as you start to flex your business ambitions using your shiny new Salesforce licenses.
Some of the ambitious showstopper features of Service Cloud are better served with some prerequisites being established first. Focusing on productivity, automation, and process is less alluring but much more practical than jumping in with a high-tech software add-on.
This piece focuses on four stages you should be looking to work through:
- Foundation: Core aspects of your implementation that you should not neglect nor rush through.
- Build: The key features of the platform – either free or low-cost/low-risk – that you should be working to adopt as soon as possible, not just for ROI but also for future ambitions.
- Flex: Looking to invest in the platform to maximize those ambitions, whether it is increased CX scoring, productivity, or achieved upsell opportunities.
- Innovate: This is where you set yourself apart from the competition, allowing ambition to be matched with scale rather than hamstrung by it.
You have established a foothold and are now setting up for the first time. This is where you begin to justify the initial license acquisition costs. Your focus should be on laying the groundwork for future development rather than acquiring additional Salesforce product add-ons. Just as when building a house – you don’t start with decorating the bathroom, but with laying the foundations.
Understanding your support process is the first step. Consider your current process (the “as-is”), examine how Salesforce works, and be ready to make changes in order to achieve your desired outcome (the “to-be”). This is an opportunity to revisit how you work and how Salesforce can support you.
At the most basic level, Salesforce will enable you to establish a support model from the receipt of a case right up to its closure.
Milestones and Entitlements
Milestones and entitlements can be particularly helpful in creating a strong foundation for supporting your customers. Entitlements spell out the support level that your customer is entitled to. If you wish to roll out a premium support add-on with enhanced SLAs, Entitlements is the place to manage it.
In tandem, Milestones break down the support process into deliverable measures. For example, you can measure your case performance in terms of response time to email inquiries to complete the resolution of the case. All of this is supported with a nice embedded indicator for the case itself, light automation, and email reminders for timely nudges for your agents.
Lightning Page Design
Page layout is an art that requires careful consideration of your end users, the job they are looking to do, and the purpose of the object they are working with. For example, Accounts and Contacts require a succinct appraisal of the customer and their relationship to your organization. Cases require a one-screen service control panel to minimize clicking and clutter.
To ensure a better user experience, have a clear design principle behind your pages, and use graphics such as emojis to reduce visual fatigue and increase parse time. If you find yourself cramming every piece of information onto a layout with a myriad of tabs, buttons, and actions – you know you’ve lost sight of the end user.
As an example, when designing a case layout, it’s often necessary to display a large amount of information in a limited amount of screen space. One solution is to use a three-column layout with a header. The header can provide highlights, the left column can show related data for the customer, the center column can display case details and timeline, and the right column can contain tools for the agent. Clever and sparing use of tabs and accordions can help you achieve a no-load, no-scroll experience.
There are actually a few amazing tools that have a user-side configuration that can boost productivity. Work with your stakeholders and roll out:
- Lightning Emails: User-created, rich emails. Previously, email creation was locked away in the Setup menu and was a continual drain on administrator time.
- Quick Text: Text fields gain a little bubble that allows for quickly selectable phrases and merge fields. This is great for live chat or email responses. Once again, this is a user-side tool that puts the power in the hands of the business and not in your inbound support queue.
- Macros: While a lot of the outstanding automation is tucked away in the Setup menu, this capability is another user-side tool. Think of macro recording in Excel, and you’re halfway there. It’s a repeatable process that can involve updating fields, sending emails, using actions on the screen, and inserting quick text. If you can click it, the macro can mirror it.
The combination of all three provides a democratized automation powerhouse.
Flow Automation via Action & Recommendations
This is a fantastic component to embed in your company from day one. Within Actions & Recommendations, you can build up a library of Flow Automations to reduce busywork.
Flows can run invisibly, be triggered by system processes, other flows, APIs – but they can also be used to present guided graphical processes for end users to follow.
While having custom buttons and Chatter actions on your layout is useful in your early days, Actions & Recommendations are more scalable because they can host a large amount of automation in a small amount of screen space.
There are also some behavioral perks, such as pinning mandatory Flows (like caller authentication and wrap-up flows), regularly run Flows, and hosting paused Flows. The latter is particularly useful for support teams, as it allows them to pick up a lengthy information-gathering Screen Flow from where it was interrupted by a dropped call. This provides a great end-user and customer experience and makes a wonderful demo for your stakeholders.
Finally, this technology can be continually developed and supports future Salesforce add-ons, so it’s worth implementing early on in your business.
With all the setup work completed, it is time to open your first integrated channel into Salesforce. Email-to-Case is the most basic option, which allows an email inbox to turn a point of contact into a case. This is the beginning of creating a central picture of your customer as you contextually tie communications to the records you are working on. Also, platform benefits kick in here as you start to use automations such as auto-assignment rules to perform triage.
(Optional) Incident Management
You may or may not have an incident management capability. If you do – adding case management to it can be quite useful and as in-depth as you need. You can lightly adopt the functionality for simple collating of incidents or go all in with full Problem, Change Request, and Resolution management.
Attaching cases to an Incident not only allows you to manage it from a centralized point but also brings the benefits of quality and rich data, as well as communication capabilities such as broadcast email. Best of all, it is free – and just a simple button click away from enabling.
At this point in your Salesforce implementation journey, you should have accomplished a significant milestone – laying the foundations and building a satisfied user base. However, it may still be too early to make a major investment in the platform. Fortunately, there are several products that can help bridge the gap and provide the groundwork for the next stage of your Salesforce implementation. These products, when combined, form a harmonious trio that can set your organization up for success.
In addition, it is important to continue listening to your user base and incorporating their feedback into your plans. This will ensure that your Salesforce implementation remains aligned with the needs and expectations of your users and that you are well-positioned for success in the future.
Knowledge licenses are a valuable resource that can be used in a variety of ways to enhance your service cloud experience. As part of the basic Service Cloud license, every user has the capability to read knowledge, which can help them resolve cases more effectively. Enabling a select few authors to create articles, you can build a library of supportive content that can be used to provide even more value to the audience, both internal and external.
By combining your growing library of Flow automations with the insight needed to resolve a case, you can effectively streamline your service processes and increase overall customer satisfaction. With the right knowledge and resources at your disposal, you’ll be able to quickly and efficiently resolve any issues that come your way – ensuring that your customers have the best possible experience with your brand.
Experience Cloud – Unauthenticated
Experience Cloud offers a free licensing model that you may not be aware of. Typically, the licensing model revolves around named users logging in or a consumable pool of licenses. However, even without logging in, you can still provide a lot of capability for your customers.
One way to further increase the value of your handful of Knowledge licenses is to surface a public self-help library. You can use your skill with Flow automations to publish guided assistance to your customers. While they may not have the ability to log in and work on a case, you can certainly take them through branching troubleshooting with case creation being the final outcome.
The limit of the product is ultimately your creativity and capability. An experienced developer team in tandem with a Customer Experience specialist, has the ability to pivot well beyond the drag-and-drop functionality of the tool. Most importantly, because it is free, prototyping and experimenting carry little risk.
By default, Social Service enables you to connect two social media channels to Service Cloud for free. This presents a great opportunity to connect Facebook and Twitter for support-related duties.
While creating an interaction on a main feed to automatically generate a case and interact with it is possible, it’s more prudent to use DM and Messenger instead. This is because not every feed interaction necessarily warrants a point of service, and divulging case information in public or performing authentication in public is not a best practice.
This is your second set of integrated channels, which allows you to explore some of the more advanced features of Service Cloud. This leads us nicely to the next product.
To put it simply, Omni-Channel helps you manage your inbound communication channels. Instead of manually managing your resources when moving from working on an email queue to checking incoming social requests, Omni-Channel handles it for you.
It considers the capacity of your available agents and the work they are able to do, based on a combination of available capacity, queue assignment, and skill level. Your supervisor can then manage the flow of work from the Omni-Channel Supervisor app.
At this point, you will have access to email, up to two social channels, and Salesforce records to route, so this is the right place to introduce it. The latter point is useful to know, as records hitting queues can be distributed much more effectively than having to code a round robin automation. Also, none of the communication channels require real-time interaction with your customer, so it is a great opportunity to make mistakes without leaving an agent exposed in the wild.
As you progress in your Service Cloud implementation journey, you will reach a point where it is time to start investing in expanding the platform’s capabilities. This is where maturity starts to happen, and you look at spending some money on pushing the platform’s capability.
Your aim here is to bring more channels into your single picture of the customer, reducing the need to hop between platforms. By doing so, you can streamline customer engagement and provide a better experience for both customers and agents.
However, it is important to avoid biting off too much in one go. Instead, focus on one area at a time – such as Digital Engagement, before looking at Integrated Telephony, or Field Service efficiency improvements. You’ll know the pain point of your organization the best, so use that insight to direct where investment goes.
By taking a strategic approach, you can continue to improve metrics such as ROI, CX, employee engagement, and efficiency gains. This will ultimately lead to a more successful Service Cloud implementation and a better experience for everyone involved.
Live chat, digital channels, and AI bots may seem like the first things to implement in a Service Cloud setup. However, it might be best to hold off on that.
For the success of digital engagement, a library of knowledge for your agents to use, automations to reduce busywork, and efficient use of Omni-Channel are all absolutely necessary – especially when dealing with live customers. As the big picture starts to form, you’ll realize the importance of everything you have undertaken in your Foundation and Build implementation stages.
Integrated Telephony enables inbound calls to be brought directly into Salesforce with record pop. This allows your agents to quickly access customer information and history, leading to better service. It also saves time by eliminating the need to manually search for customer records. This feature is especially useful during times of high call volume.
Equipping your agents with a mature support toolset allows them to operate with confidence and effectiveness. They can handle multiple channels at once and manage customer inquiries with ease. Additionally, centralized communications metrics give you an accurate in-the-moment picture of your service world, plus a wealth of retrospective data for insight. In essence, you’re all but there in terms of making a complete command center.
(Optional) Field Service
Not everybody will have a Field unit to send out to customers, but Field Service will support those who do. Out of the trio here, this requires the most configuration and can be a bit of a maze. Once it is up and running, it provides you with a field workforce that can intelligently plan a day and provide resource management – both human and material.
Innovate (Art of The Possible)
At this point, you have successfully established a complete support function. However, to ensure that your business continues to grow, you need to consider developing your capabilities to scale. You may want to explore the potential of using automation and artificial intelligence to create the concept of the augmented support agent.
Service Cloud Einstein
Service Cloud Einstein is a suite of powerful tools that can significantly improve agent productivity. Before diving in, you can test some of its capabilities with freemium trials. Next Best Action, Case Classification, and Case Wrap-Up are included with the basic license, so feel free to try them out before upgrading.
If you see the potential for a return on investment, then Case Routing, Reply Recommendations, Service CRM Analytics, and Einstein Article Recommendations can be added to your license for an exciting but hefty cost.
These products are specifically designed to improve your Customer Experience (CX) scores by reducing call handling time, increasing the effectiveness of calls, and providing insights to better understand your support needs. Your Employee Experience (EX) scores will also benefit from this platform, which removes busywork and makes work frictionless rather than a battle.
Service Cloud Voice
Service Cloud Voice is one of the showstopper demos of Dreamforce conferences. It offers real-time call listening and transcription, along with AI-powered recommendations and automations. While it may be the most exciting aspect of your implementation, it should be one of the last areas you tackle.
Everything you have done up to this point has been to support this capability. Service Cloud Voice will rely on your mature library of Flow Automations and Knowledge articles to assist your agents.
Service Cloud Voice launched with promises of an “80% reduction in call handling time.” However, without the pre-work suggested for the platform at this point, achieving that level of return will be much harder.
End-to-end, this is the frictionless journey that will take you from a brand new license right up to being a Dreamforce/World Tour showcase and beyond. By automating your key support processes, opening up a series of digital channels for your customers, and creating an AI-augmented support agent, you have successfully streamlined your customer service operations and provided your clients with an enhanced experience.
However, this journey doesn’t just cater to newcomers to the platform. Even if you have been using Service Cloud for a while, it’s important to periodically check whether you are making the most of its capabilities. By matching up the key milestones on this journey against your current implementation, you can identify areas that need improvement and take appropriate actions to fill any gaps.
This roadmap is just a glimpse of the extensive capabilities offered by Service Cloud and the wider Salesforce product universe. Depending on your industry vertical, there may be very specific, bespoke solutions available in the market that can further complement your existing setup. As technology is constantly evolving, staying up-to-date with the latest trends and tools is essential when planning your roadmap!