Out of all of the Salesforce Clouds, you’re likely most familiar with Sales Cloud – after all, the marketing-sales lead hand-off and/or account-based marketing requires tight alignment between teams and the technologies they use (i.e. your marketing automation platform and Sales Cloud).
In the quest for team alignment, one source of intel and data goes untapped: Service Cloud. Service Cloud is geared towards service agents and service managers. Key functionality is focused on agent efficiencies, customer experience, and managing customer service issues in line with your company’s processes and SLAs.
While Sales Cloud does come with basic Case management, Service Cloud adds a whole array of additional capabilities.
Being one theme at the Connections ‘22 event, the benefit of the Salesforce platform is that you can dip into different areas of the business, in order to inform how other teams should operate, such as marketing with Service Cloud, to:
- Inform what marketing content you should make available, or improve, for customers.
- (While not every marketer wants to volunteer themselves for more work!) Refining the company knowledge base (knowledge-centered support). These document service agents’ experiences when solving cases, curated and made accessible to customers for self-service support should they encounter the same question or problem.
- Inform what content you should create for prospects. Get insight into typical customer pains, and how they’re resolved, and feed this into top-of-funnel content to reassure prospects and give your organization a competitive edge.
- (Further to content) Getting familiar with Case reports is only a good thing as you may decide to work Case activity into your campaign segmentation. The classic examples include suppressing marketing communications (especially up-sells) for Contacts/Accounts with open Cases to avoid looking like you have bad taste. Being cautious when communicating (even in mass) with customers who are not brand advocates, or are related to an Account “in the red” if they’re having a bad experience using your product.
Funnels, Bowties – Then What?
As Timo Kovala, regular contributor at The DRIP, said: “It’s important to understand how your customer interacts with your solution. What’s the product [/service] adoption cycle?”
Get Familiar With Service KPIs
The first step that I recommend is to get familiar with the key performance indicators (KPIs) that your service teams are tracking towards. This will give you the context of how service is delivered in your organization.
For example, if average handle time (AHT) is key, then agents will be aiming to resolve cases as quickly as possible. After-call work (ACW) is another metric that measures the tasks the agent needs to complete after the customer call has ended, which will include adding context to build a richer overview of the case (issue, solution). A Salesforce Admin/Service Cloud Consultant’s job is to make completing these tasks (eg. entering data, call outcome notes), as efficient as possible for the user. You can find more service KPIs here, or on our Salesforce Acronyms guide:
You will be pulling more Salesforce reports later in this guide. For now, you can use the service dashboards your teams have set up, or check out the pre-configured dashboards package to get clued up on typical service KPIs.
Get Familiar With the Service Cloud Data Model
Service cases (including assistance, repairs, or complaints) influence the marketing automation “what,” “when,” and “how” (and vice versa). No surprise that there are many objects involved to power the service machine.
Most of the Service Cloud data model is not applicable to us, here. I’ve stripped back the data model to what is likely to give you the relevant insight:
- Case: The hub for managing the service request, to which all service interactions are related.
- Related Contacts (and Accounts): Who from the customer made the request, and who is involved on their side while finding a solution.
- Accounts and Assets: Products that the customer has purchased. The service case can be about a specific asset/s.
- Case Comments: Internal teams add notes to a case (customers can also create comments when exposed via an Experience Cloud Site using the Case Comments Publisher).
- Case Solution: A detailed document related to the case with relevant information about your products and services (internal-facing).
- Case Article: Articles related to the case with relevant information about your products and services (public-facing), to encourage a self-service model for your customers to solve their own queries.
- Case Team Member: Which users were involved in solving the case, in case you need to follow up with them for more context.
Out-of-the-box, you have the following report types available:
Note: You can create Custom Report Types if you need to report on a data relationship that isn’t available above.
We’ll now go through each of these objects in more detail.
These reports will give you a high-level overview of Cases in your organization. Key fields include the subject, description, status, priority, date/time opened, comments, age. For example, you will be able to see what the common issues raised have been in a period of time, or which types of Cases are taking the longest amount of time to resolve.
You will also be able to see the related Contacts within the Accounts that are involved in the Case. As I mentioned, you may consider suppressing these Contacts/Accounts from marketing automation while the Case is being worked. It’s good to be aware if these are key Contacts/have a certain level of seniority/are decision-makers in the Account.
Note: To use Cases with Pardot, you will need to set up a Pardot custom object.
Cases and Assets
Assets are the products that the customer has purchased. The service case can be about a specific asset/s. If there’s a recurring theme around one or more of your products, you can work this into your product positioning.
Case Solutions and Articles
These are detailed documents with relevant information about your products and services to help resolve Cases. Solutions are internal-facing for agents to use, whereas Articles are public-facing, to encourage a self-service model for your customers to solve their own queries.
It’s a good idea to get familiar with the documentation that agents and customers are referring to. Do they align with your marketing messaging? Does a frequently used article, that’s successful in case resolution, contain golden nuggets of information that you can use in your top-of-funnel content? While it may take some time to sift through these documents, reporting on these is possible with Salesforce reports.
Case Team Member
Which user/s were involved in solving the Case. Not only is this useful if you need to follow up with them for more context, but it will also give you insight into who is solving the most complex Cases (and/or having Cases escalated to them, indicating experience).
Bonus: Case Scoring
Salesforce Case Scoring can be achieved with a minor bit of configuration that can have a great impact on how your organization operates. When case volume is high, customer service agents can become overwhelmed with work – how can they determine what to tackle first?
As a marketer, you will be familiar with Lead Scoring – it goes without saying that Case scoring is very similar. Case score can be based on a multitude of factors e.g. priority, customer type/tier, support contract type, time with support (Case age), and more.
Also, as a marketer and someone who is not “close” to or “in the weeds” with service operations day-to-day, this score is useful for compiling many factors into one metric.
The inspiration for this guide came from the Connections ‘22 event. While many marketers may find it challenging and time-consuming to secure interviews with their customers, it suddenly occurred to me that there was valuable data, hiding in plain sight.
With the Salesforce platform bringing multiple business functions onto one platform, you can easily dip into different areas of the business in order to inform how marketing communications and messaging should improve.
With many of the guides you’ll find on The DRIP, no one size fits all, meaning that I can’t advise you on exactly what to do, and neither can I set your expectations for what you may find. That’s why I’ve: a) given you the option of standardized dashboards, if your service teams don’t have dashboards readily available, and b) shown you a few object/object relationships that you could strike lucky with. Remember, the aim of your investigation is to spot ways you could incorporate typical service requests into marketing content.