This is the first post of a series of posts intended to cover the Salesforce Service Cloud. The Service Cloud contains many useful functionalities. One of those is Entitlements Management. Today we’ll discuss what Entitlement Management is, and why it is so useful. In future posts, we’ll be discussing the following topics:
- Choosing an Entitlement Model
- Creating milestones and entitlement processes
- Validation and Reporting on Entitlements
- Automation using Clicks
- Automation using Code
There’s a lot to cover, so let’s jump right into it.
What is Entitlements Management?
In a couple of sentences: Entitlements Management is a Salesforce-native functionality. It allows an organization to provide appropriate service levels to its customers.
“Big Deal. We do a good job providing support as it is. We already have routing rules, assignment rules, workflow rules, escalation rules, dashboards, monthly reviews, CSATs, etc… What is this going to do for us?”
For starters, Entitlements Management will allow your support reps to verify. An Entitlement becomes a way to confirm that a customer is eligible to receive support. It may also affirm their eligibility for a specific level of support. For example, suppose your company offered standard (“Gold”) support and premium (“Unobtanium”) support. It’s helpful for the support rep to know that kind of information. By using Entitlements Management, this information is available in an organized and coherent way.
Using Entitlements Management also creates a framework for defining different levels of service. If you already have a support agreement in place, now you can make it real to your agents. Entitlements Management can provide agents with clear guidance on the next-steps in a case. Salesforce calls these “Milestones”. These are the time-specific steps that happen in managing a support case. When these steps get put together, they comprise a milestone timeline. A milestone timeline lays out the order of the steps your reps should take. This guidance can promote improved communication and sets clear expectations for the customer experience.
Having the ability to specify service levels overcomes a barrier to scalability. Entitlements Management facilitates the creation of different levels of service for different products. Remember those Gold and Unobtanium levels of support? It’s much easier to specify those with Entitlements Management. It also allows you to distinguish between different channels of support. Maybe it’s more important to get back to your twitter followers in a timely fashion. Perhaps the email cases have a longer timeline. Entitlements management makes it possible to do this without getting deep into custom development.
Sometimes the problem is in exercising restraint. You could have different entitlements for each channel.
Supporting your agents is important. So is making sure everyone adheres to the timelines as defined by service agreements. Entitlements Management provides functionality to support your agents in helping customers. For example, a case might have a milestone to follow up with a customer every business day. If it gets to be the end of the day and the milestone is incomplete, a milestone action can help. It can prompt the case owner or the whole support team to warn them that this milestone is at-risk. Each milestone can have ten different time-dependent actions for completion, violation, or at-risk. These milestone actions fire with more precision than other time-based workflow rules, too. Systematic support of meeting SLAs and Service Agreements = Better KPIs. Everyone wins.
“Customers are happier. CSATs are up. Performance is better all around. High-five!”
A major value of Entitlements Management is in reporting. By using Entitlements Management, you are creating a large new set of data that is useful in reports. My favorite example of this is looking at the trends in how a team is meeting a milestone. I’ve seen organizations try to get this using complicated formulas, triggers, and workflow rules. Even then, it didn’t get them quality data. Entitlements Management makes it so easy to get this important KPI in a report. It’s there without any custom development or coding. You don’t even have to write a formula! I like to develop, but having this data available on the surface is good. It’s more time for me to spend earning badges on Trailhead.
I hope you now have a better understanding how Entitlement Management can help. Since we’ve covered some basics here, let’s consider a few examples:
- A customer calls your organization’s help desk. The agent looks up the customer’s Entitlement. Having verified that this customer is eligible for support, they create a case. The case gets created with some pertinent details already filled in. The agent sees that his or her first responsibility is to get the details of the case and send an email to the customer. After doing so, they mark that milestone as complete. The timeline then shows the agent their next milestone. In this case, someone needs to follow up with the customer once every 48 hours until the status changes. Since this is a recurring milestone, the agent can expect to have a prompt to follow up again if necessary. If the agent changes the status of the case, the milestone may change.
- A customer files a high-priority case through an online form. The case gets created in Salesforce. Because the organization wrote a trigger, the case already has the appropriate entitlement attached. As a result, the case has a milestone of first response and the clock is ticking. Thirty minutes before the milestone target, an alert goes out to the whole support team. The alert warns that if nobody responds in the next 30 minutes, they will miss the milestone. This prompts an agent to grab the case and send out a response. They complete the milestone, which fires off another milestone action. This action creates a task for the agent to contact this customer’s account manager. The agent contacts the account manager to let them know about this ‘hot’ issue.
- The customer operations team has a goal to exceed their target response times by at least 2 hours. In the past, it has been hard to figure this out and they’ve tried to use formulas or special reports to work it out. They’ve exported it to excel, and at best the data is questionable. They read a nice blog post on Entitlements Management and decide to try implementing it. After a couple of months, they are reporting on response time. They are reporting on violations. All the data is factoring in business-hours. They are including this data in dashboards. And this is all happening inside of Salesforce. It turns out that the support team is outperforming their goals by 80-90%. Management is now leveraging technology that they are already paying for. Best of all, it turns out they can share this data with their customers. When the customers see how good this support is, they are going to be impressed!
So, there you are. By now, you have a good sense of the potential benefits of Entitlements Management. It’s a flexible system and there are a lot choices you can make in how to set it up. We’ll discuss some of those choices in an upcoming post.