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Salesforce1-#MobileApps: Life Without Them?

“Going mobile,” “working in the cloud,” “being virtual,” are all phrases that are beginning to sound passé. Today, most of us would agree that being able to work and live without walls and wires is a given, pretty much mandatory.

Salesforce1 Mobile AppsWhile the personal benefits of mobile apps are easy to relate to, the business benefits are easy to understand as well. Here’s an eBook that salesforce.com recently published on the “10 Advantages of a Mobile Sales Team.” https://www.salesforce.com/form/pdf/advantages-of-mobile-sales.jsp

The benefits outlined in their review are spot-on and can be applied to most other functions in an organization ─ customer #support, #marketing, #operations, etc.

What’s missing in the eBook, most probably by design, is the impact of mobile to a company’s brand. Think about it…when you have a sales representative using a tablet to share important product and performance information with you, you can’t help but think that this is a progressive company, one that is sophisticated, savvy. You feel smarter, more secure about working with a company that uses technology effectively. “This company is going to help me succeed. What’s better than that?”

Don’t forget that mobile apps positively impact employees that are using them to transact business too. We’ve heard many end-users say they feel more productive, happier, less stressed, more informed than ever before. A few of our customers have also told us that they can’t imagine working any other way now…we are working the way we live.

To learn more about how Perficient’s Salesforce Business Practice can help your enterprise unlock the power of Salesforce1, please email us at sales@perficient.com.

Travel and Hospitality Reaches for the Cloud

In the last few years, many of the major global hotel groups and travel companies have started to move to leading cloud solutions, such as #Salesforce, to replace and enhance their existing reservation system, customer loyalty programs, inventory management processes, casino operations and more.

Travel and Hospitality Reaches for the CloudWhile many industries have rapidly embraced the cloud, #travel and hospitality is only recently seeing broader cloud adoption to take advantage of more efficient distributed computing services, lower infrastructure costs, and built-in toolsets for building and connecting applications.

The slow/recent adoption of cloud computing in this industry may come as a mild surprise since travel and hospitality were early adopters of information technology for reservations and other systems. But that means the industry is loaded with legacy systems—some of the oldest in the business world. Now, increased competition, shrinking margins, and perhaps most of all tech savvy and demanding consumers who are becoming brand agnostic and instead voting with their wallet, are motivating travel and hospitality companies to reach for the cloud.

Consumers in Driver’s Seat

As we all know, consumers today take to social networks to plan travel itineraries and vacations. Recommendations and reviews from friends and other travelers hold greater sway over their decisions than does advertising. Some travel companies offer booking apps that run right in Facebook. Fans like, share, and tweet travel deals with their friends. Post-trip, and through mobile technology while still traveling, consumers rate and recommend their travel experiences over social networks, helping to influence their friends’ travel decisions.

Because customers discover travel opportunities, recommendations and even caveats on social networks, travel and hospitality companies must monitor and respond to consumer activity. If they don’t participate in the conversations and respond to negative comments, they risk having consumers define their brand and risk losing business.

When the most valuable consumer information originates outside the company walls in social conversations, it no longer makes business sense to continue investing in on-premise infrastructure that must scour the Internet to pull in consumer intelligence. A cloud-based CRM system can do it better, faster, and more cost effectively, and a CRM that provides social engagement capabilities is no longer an option for travel and hospitality companies.

The Next Generation of Caller ID

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While CTI technology in recent years (especially Salesforce’s Open CTI platform) has helped make the phone experience more intelligent for customers and agents, a new service from NextCaller aims to turn the traditional concept of caller ID on its head.

NextCaller is the most recent in a trend of new services (similar to Datacoup and others) that offer value on both sides of the consumer/business coin. With these services, consumers typically get something useful for free (or even get paid) while businesses pay on the back end for access to that consumer data.

So how does NextCaller work?

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Businesses can put this button on their support site

  1. Consumers sign up for free and fill out a basic profile (including language, contact info, billing info even)
  2. In return they get to cut to the front of the phone queue when they call a company who uses the NextCaller service
  3. When the support agent takes that call, they get instant access to the customer’s profile/billing info (regardless of whether that customer is in the CRM or not)
  4. Businesses pay 10 cents for every customer profile they access through NextCaller

It’s a win-win situation for both consumers and businesses, and according to NextCaller, the 10 cent per profile cost is easily justified:

Inbound identification can cost $2 per call, including name, address, and billing info. Our data-rich profiles can reduce these costs by up to 90 percent.

What does this mean for companies on the Service Cloud platform? NextCaller already has an API available that could be easily called from the Service Cloud console when a new call comes in. I would also expect that an AppExchange package or a pre-built integration will be available in the near future.

The service is of course only as good as the data it can provide to businesses, but it is a promising new option for a very painful part of the phone support experience.

Let us know what you think, would you try using NextCaller? Either as a consumer or a business? Leave us a comment or reach out @perficient.

Best Way to Improve CSAT? Respect Your Customers!

We believe that demonstrating respect for your customers is the best way to keep them happy and engaged. But what does “demonstrating respect” mean in the context of customer support? It could translate to,

  • Being transparent about your policies and acknowledging issues when they arise
  • Providing customers with valuable self-help resources so they are empowered to solve their own problems
  • Guiding customers to the right support channel based on their issue and need
  • Bringing support to your customers, wherever they are (in your product or on mobile devices)

Turning these scenarios into reality often requires both a smart use of technology AND a clear organizational policy built on mutual respect. Today I’m going to showcase a company that has implemented an innovative blend of technology and policy to great success.

manifesto

Riot Games is the Los Angeles based developer of the free-to-play online game “League of Legends”. With over 27 million players daily, it makes sense that “Player Experience First” is the #1 tenet of their manifesto.

Riot has taken a common challenge faced by many companies (reports of abusive behavior/language) and demonstrated incredible respect for their player base by building The Tribunal.

tribunalcase

When a player is frequently reported by other players for abusive behavior, a tribunal case is automatically created. Other players then review the case and pass judgement (pardon or punish). Riot has offered incentives in the past for passing judgement, but many players participate because they care about the quality of the community.

By building The Tribunal system Riot has,

  • Demonstrated respect for their players by trusting them to review cases and pass judgement
  • Saved an incredible amount of time for their customer support team (they no longer need to review these cases)
  • Helped capture and keep an 80% share of all gamers in their space

This blend of innovative technology and policy is a win-win situation, and something that many companies could benefit from emulating, regardless of industry.

It’s just like any successful relationship, don’t just tell your customers they are #1, show them why!

Thoughts, comments, ideas? Leave a comment or reach out @perficient.

 

 

Close More Deals: How Implementing Salesforce Console for Sales Can Help Your Team Work Smarter

Salesforce.com launched the Service Cloud Console (now called the Salesforce Console for Service) several years ago to enable customer support agents to manage cases more effectively and efficiently by giving agents more access to key data with fewer clicks inside of a single browser window. It was so popular that Salesforce extended it to Sales in Winter ’14. Inside sales representatives who handle large volumes of leads are likely to be the first to beg their managers for this time-saving feature; however, both inside and outside sales can increase their efficiency by implementing a Salesforce Console for Sales. Here are three Salesforce Console for Sales features that will make your entire sales team work smarter and close more deals!

  1. Access more data with fewer clicks in a single browser window. The console allows you to have multiple records open at the same time and using keyboard shortcuts, flip between the different records without ever using your mouse. You can also ensure that Opportunities have key Account data showing above the Opportunity record in the highlights panel that may help you while working the deal (i.e. if you have a field that tracks the total number of open cases, it could be useful to know that your client has three open cases as this might impact your sales cycle while working a renewal opportunity).
  2. Log call notes against an Opportunity while viewing or editing your Opportunity, Account, related Quotes and more at the same time. In native Salesforce, if you want to log a call against an Opportunity, you are taken away from the Opportunity to a new page where you can log your call notes. The challenge with this it that most sales people want to be able to look at the Opportunity while they talk to the prospect; they may also want to navigate over to one or more quotes during the call or look at Account details at the same time. They cannot log call notes at the same time they do all of these things. With the console, you can log notes against an Opportunity while looking at the Opportunity record, the Account record, a related Quote, etc. This means that you can continue to take notes as you access the data you need during your sales call without toggling between multiple browser windows.Console for Sales Cloud
  3. Easily pickup where you left off yesterday with a single click: When starting your day, do you want to come back to exactly you left off the night before? With the Console for Sales, you can choose to save users sessions, allowing your reps to come back to the same records they were working before without a single click. For sales reps who are on the go and frequently log on and off of Salesforce, this can be a huge time saver.

If you have Enterprise or Unlimited Edition, you will need to purchase the sales console feature licenses for your team but the gained efficiency should pay for itself many times over the minimal cost of the license.

3 Ways To Mass Activate/Notify Users in Communities

communitiesYou’ve done the hard work of configuring your new community, building in a great search experience, and branding it with Site.com. Now it’s time to go live!

But first you need to get thousands of new users created and activated before you can flip the switch. Mass adding users through the API (Data Loader) may be the most efficient way to upload and activate, but how do you notify users of their new login info?

Before Communities was introduced, in order to mass upload and inform external users, you had to manually trigger reset passwords page by page for all users, or write a script to send login notifications. Today with Communities there are a few options that do not involve code.

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3 B2C Support Trends & Lessons Learned

With hundreds of implementations under our collective belt, Perficient’s Service Cloud Practice has worked with an incredible range of companies, business models, and end customers.

Being data nerds at heart, we’re always on the lookout for trends and patterns among this diverse group. Clients like Activision, Minted, Kabam, and Twitter have taught us that much like the tech world at large, consumer focused companies tend to be ahead of the curve with customer support too.

Image from http://www.exacttarget.com/products/web-personalization

Today’s consumer – more power than ever.
(Image from http://www.exacttarget.com/products/web-personalization)7

Today we ask, what are these companies doing so well and what can our other B2B clients learn from their unique approach to support?

Let’s start with some common data points and characteristics from our B2C clients, what do they have in common?

  • High volume of transactions (a large customer base means lots of cases!)
  • A larger percentage of usability/enablement questions vs technical issues/bugs
  • Product/market is growing rapidly, support org structure is changing and not afraid to experiment
  • Technology is at the core of their business and customer experience

In a challenging high-growth environment, how do these companies maintain a high quality support experience? Every company and industry has unique challenges but we’ve distilled our learnings into three key areas that almost always drive success and customer satisfaction.

1) Self-service is king

B2C companies are forced to make self-service a priority in order to scale but it’s really the best strategy no matter what your business is. Our B2B clients are investing more and more in features like peer to peer support, mobile support, in-app knowledge, and Google-style easy search, with great returns. With self-service in the B2C world, it’s not about deflection, it’s about creating empowered and invested customers who can help themselves.

2) High volume, high quality

Every support organization struggles with efficiency; the battle between headcount and customer satisfaction is probably as old as time. From a traditional B2B point of view, our B2C clients may seem “picky” about agent experience and productivity, but they know that every unnecessary click delays the moment of customer gratification. Companies like Activision and Twitter prove it’s possible to scale efficiently without sacrificing the quality.

3) Make evangelists, not enemies

Our B2C clients don’t have traditional sales teams – they understand that customer evangelists are a powerful sales tool.  The same holds true for B2B companies as well. So how do our clients grow these super customers?

  • Establish a foundation of trust and respect by offering quality self-help resources
  • Provide a positive support experience, even when there’s a problem or issue out of your control
  • Don’t be afraid open up about issues and share your roadmap plans – be flawsome!
  • Recognize customers who help others and are passionate about your product (start with retweets/reposts and start building an MVP program)

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B2C companies may have pioneered these concepts, but I think you’ll agree that these three areas are critical for almost any support organization, regardless of size, model, or industry. Thoughts, comments, something we missed? Follow @PRFTSalesforce or leave a comment to chat.

CRM and EMR: Close in name, different in purpose

These two acronyms share two of the same letters but are very different in their purpose and history. We share a perspective on how customer relationship management (CRM) and Electronic Medical Record (EMR) systems combined can be invaluable at what they do best and result in the best of both worlds for providers and patients.

CRM and EMRCRM and EMR: A Different Starting Point

Despite the acronym similarity, each has a very different focus.

  • CRM, such as from salesforce.com, puts the “customer” and the company’s “relationship” with that customer front and center
  • EMR puts the technology first with the terms “electronic” and (database) “record”

EMR shows its age as an older classification, with the prefix “electronic”. Can you imagine putting “electronic” in front of any customer facing application or service today?!

Shared Purpose

While they may have different starting points both categories are focused on the customer albeit from different perspectives.

  • EMR applications are incredibly complex systems with a myriad of integrations to systems (labs, billing, prescription/ pharmacy etc.) and many have powerful algorithms to predict, detect and potentially prevent adverse events based on patient data. However the primary users are the healthcare providers and not the customer/ patient/ health plan member.
  • CRM systems, while they may not provide the complexity of what mature EMR systems provide, put the member at the center of the application.
  • Read the rest of this post »

Posted in Communities, Healthcare

Making Search Work in Communities – Part 2

If you saw our overview post last week on making search work in Communities – you’re probably looking for more info on each option.

Here at Perficient we believe that “seeing is believing”. For each search option covered in our previous post, here are some screenshots and details to help you figure out which option is best for your community.

1) Global Search

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As of the very first Communities release, external users now have access to the same Global Search capabilities available to standard Salesforce users. That means the ability to search across all objects and chatter posts, smart filters, and direct links to files and results. Despite that great functionality, Global Search is not the most user friendly search experience. It can be overwhelming with a large set of results, and functions as a pure keyword search (not natural language).

Recommendation: Standard Global Search is free and great for newer communities, but not optimized for service communities or self-service.
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Create A Patient Portal Using Salesforce Communities

When I think of major healthcare trends one of the most interesting is that of connected health, the idea that healthcare delivery uses technology to deliver patient care outside of the hospital or doctor’s office. Patient – doctor interactions can now extend past visits to a more engaging ongoing relationship with providers, where patients have ready access to the same information previously only available to providers.

What does this have to do with salesforce.com you ask?

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