Salesforce.com has announced the “next generation” of its Service Cloud platform that has been redesigned with new features as well as improvements for easier application setup and management.
Service agents can manage and resolve customer issues regardless of whether they are on the road, at the home office or at a customer's site using the new native Service Cloud mobile app for iOS and Android that are due for release later this year.
Salesforce customers can also extend Services Cloud functionality with additional apps available from the Salesforce AppExchange or they can customize the platform with Lightning Builder.
Lightning Components can be added simply by dragging and dropping them to Service Cloud. Currently-available Service Cloud apps include several with telephony and call center management features from Dialpad, NewVoiceMedia and Talkdesk; internet of things asset tracking and mapping from MapAnythingLive, and patient and healthcare provider communications from Healthwise.
On the management front, Salesforce has added new capabilities to the Lightning Service Console including the “Case Kanban” visual dashboard that shows cases in the queue to help service agents prioritize their time.
Another component, Community Agent 360 shows a customer’s community history giving the agent some context about recent customer activities, such as a recent support article the customer may have read so the agent doesn’t repeat information or suggest a fix the customer has already tried.
A Federated Search feature lets agents find relevant information across Salesforce and external data sources such as Confluence, YouTube, Dropbox and Box.
There is also a Macro Builder capability that helps agents quickly create reusable macros for specific customer service scenarios. Agents can then easily deploy that macro if the issue comes up again.
As a measure of how easy it is to set up, Salesforce asserts that companies of any size can use Service Cloud to build a feature rich customer service center in a day or less.
“Any company, large, medium and small, can be empowered to deliver personalized service experiences in less than a day with clicks, not code,” Keith Pearce, vice president of marketing for Service Cloud at Salesforce, told eWEEK.
Features such as case management are now built-in to Service Cloud. In as little as five steps, service administrators can add a customer community and knowledge base, as well as connect to email, Facebook and Twitter feeds, according to Pearce.
“We’ve set up service flows for Twitter and Facebook and it takes all the learnings from similar cases the agent can get to" in just a few clicks, said Pearce.
For additional features and customization, Salesforce offers Trailhead, its online, gamified training platform, with more than twenty free, guided modules to learn how to deploy, configure and customize Service Cloud.
“The new cloud-based deployment and management features Salesforce has added to its Service Cloud are designed to address core issues of concern to its business clients,” Charles King, principal analyst at Pund-IT, told eWEEK in an email.
“Central to that is the evolution of digitally-enabled, proactive customers with access to powerful communications technologies and platforms to highlight unusual experiences and share their feelings," King said.
Proactive customers with access to social media and other web communications will often freely vent their frustration with service providers that perform poorly, King noted.
"Anyone who doubts that their business or brand might suffer from this often unconstrained venting hasn't been paying attention to the news. The new Salesforce offerings aim to help clients address these issues with next gen service cloud solutions that are quick to deploy, simple to learn and easily managed,” he said.
The Salesforce Service Out-of-the-Box, Lightning App Builder for Service, Lightning Service Console, Federated Search and Case Kanban view are available today at no additional cost with any edition of Service Cloud.
A pilot edition of Community Agent 360 is available today at no additional cost with a Customer Community Cloud license. A beta version of Macro Builder is available now at no additional cost with any edition of Service Cloud. Salesforce said it plans to make a pilot version of the Service Cloud Mobile app for iOS and Android available in the second half of 2017 with any edition of Service Cloud.
In February, Salesforce released Service Cloud Einstein, with artificial intelligence features designed to help contact center personnel.
Editor's Note: This article was updated to clarify that the Salesforce Service Cloud provides tools to serve a wide range of service agent types.