With Spring ‘15 just released, it is a great time to highlight some key changes in production instances relevant to your business. Salesforce.com is adopting the phrase “Omni-Channel Service” as a theme for the upcoming Summer ’15 release of Service Cloud. The evolution of service channels for most contact centers has evolved rather significantly for organizations. As we enter this new era of omni-channel everything, it is important for a business to determine the relative priority in which service channels should be handled. Going forward, many of the new features in Service Cloud will help you make decisions around establishing an omni-channel service capability, including the ability to more quickly and effectively handle incoming work or efficiently route issues accordingly.
Overall, salesforce.com’s goal with its Spring ’15 release was primarily around improving the Agent and Admin experience for customers. Speed and efficiency are two of the biggest drivers for customer service departments today. There are a number of keyboard shortcuts, drag-and-drop features, and point-and-click functions designed to help agents save time navigating the system.
Beyond some of these shortcuts and service efficiencies, here are some of my favorite Spring ‘15 features that used to require AppExchange Apps or custom development to accomplish:
Assets Redesigned as Standard Object
Assets are no longer the controlled child of an Account. They now have a standard top-level tab, an Owner field (which will help to drive sharing), field history tracking and Record Types. Most importantly as not being a child of Accounts, they now have their own sharing capabilities. In the past, if a user could see an account and had read access to assets, they would see all assets that belonged to that account. There is often a use case where in a channel sales/service model, the partner provides first level support for products they have sold to the end user, in this case the partner would only need visibility to assets they have sold and not all assets the end-user may have. Now, you can put in fine-grained controls over which assets a user can see at an account, so that they only see the assets that are appropriate for their role and not all assets at the account.
Gone are the days of implementing custom sharing rules (spending time and money on development efforts for this) to share/hide assets a user does not/does have access to because they didn’t/did have access to the associated account, respectively.
Duplicate Alert/Blocking (GA)
Many companies struggle with duplicate data. Until now, to prevent duplicates from being created, companies had to purchase third-party tools to keep their data clean. With the introduction of Duplicate Blocking, this is no longer a challenge or a hassle for companies. Now you can maintain clean data with Data.com’s Duplicate Management tool. Duplicate Management runs on the Data.com platform but without the purchase of the Data.com license. This means there are no added costs for this feature from salesforce.com or a 3rd party to keep your data clean.
Define when (if at all) you allow users to create duplicate records inside Salesforce, like most everything in Salesforce, customize the logic used in identifying dupe records. Keeping your database clean is now just a click away!
Visually Automate Your Business Processes
The Process Builder and Visual Workflow features provide point-and-click tools for automating and simplifying complex business processes—even processes that required code in the past. Spring ’15 has unlocked a bunch of functionality for flow administrators and users. Among other things, with Visual Workflow you can enable your users to pause flow interviews, customize the condition logic that’s used in Decision and Wait elements, and more.
Lightning Process Builder is a workflow tool that helps you easily automate everything from daily tasks, like follow-up emails, to more complex processes. With the Process Builder, you can create and manage processes more efficiently, as well as automate processes through a simple point-and-click that previously would have taken developers hours to cultivate in the past, like:
- Mass update information on child records when an identified field on the parent is updated
- Submit records for approval without requiring users to manually submit after saving the record
- Create child records with the data from the parent record and other associated records when the parent record meets the criteria. For example, when a support agent identifies the need for a Return Merchandise Authorization (RMA) and sets the case status to RMA, an RMA record can be automatically created to initiate the RMA process.
One-click Functionality with Macros
With the Spring ’15 release, you can now help support agents complete repetitive tasks and save a considerable amount of time performing multiple actions in ONE click! Now with Macros, you can help agents drastically reduce the amount of time needed to complete a number of basic case management functions. (Salesforce reports 60% time saved, 85% clicks saved). There are a number of use cases where an agent can use this new feature:
- Search and select email templates
- Combine email response from multiple sources
- Qualify cases with one click
- Send a response to the customer (via email, social, community)
- Create a work order
Social Customer Service
The introduction of social media as a customer service channel is becoming more prevalent. However, often times organizations lack a centralized tool to engage with their customers through social channels. With Salesforce’s tool, Radian6, “Social Customer Service” is now possible under a Social Account Manager profile so agents can do social listening, proactively look for company mentions on Twitter and Facebook, and respond through the new social publisher without ever leaving Salesforce.
The Future of Service Cloud for Salesforce Customers
As you can see, the Spring ’15 release is full of enhancements for improving the efficiency of your customer service operations using the Salesforce platform. The contact center of the future will be viewed as an “Engagement Center” in which customer service will be more of an integrated function going forward. As a result, it will be increasingly important to have the tools and technology in place to drive efficiency and deliver value for customers in entirely new ways using digital channels.