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Salesforce Releases New Tools for Service Cloud
A new user interface and app aim to smooth customer service operations.
Posted Sep 1, 2015
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Salesforce further expanded its Service Cloud offerings today with the launch of Lightning Console, a modern user interface, and the Service Wave Analytics App, which aims to give service professionals easy access to customer insights.

According to Larry Robinson, senior vice president of product management at Salesforce Service Cloud, the new tools are designed to let service organizations keep pace as the Internet of Things (IoT) gains momentum; with the number of connected devices set to grow, the standards for customer service interactions will rise as well, Robinson says. And as outreach increases, agents will have to adapt to customer expectations for engagement. "[Service teams will] really have to evolve their infrastructure to accommodate this new world," Robinson says. "Our mission and opportunity is to help them make the transition with the Salesforce platform."

The Service Cloud Lightning Console aims to improve agent productivity by bundling service tools in one location. Within this central interface, agents can complete recurring activities—such as listing new contacts and handling returns—without having to toggle between screens. Smart Productivity tools give agents access to resources—like articles geared toward relieving customer pain points—to help them think on their feet and problem-solve. Team leaders can use the platform to manage and facilitate agent activity using the Intelligent Routing and Presence functions. Robinson points out that the new platform can keep managers updated on case status and allow them to promptly transfer tasks to the agents best suited to carry out particular assignments.

And developers can use the Lightning package to design service-related apps, which companies can download through the AppExchange.

In addition, just months after releasing its Sales Wave Analytics App, Salesforce has released an analytics app for service teams—the Service Wave Analytics App. The app taps into information stored in the Service Cloud to illuminate various aspects of a company’s operations. Using the app, teams can draw correlations between problems and causes, relationships that previously required extra analysis. Service agents can view chat history, call logs, and other operational data, to better understand problems and how to solve them. Agents can also place analytics dashboards from Service Wave directly into the Lightning Console, to view a complete outline of a customer’s history and status relative to similar customers, without losing track of the task at hand. Additionally, users can keep track of their performance compared to those of their colleagues. Meanwhile, managers can monitor key performance indicators, such as customer satisfaction ratings and average handling times, via preset templates.

For Salesforce, the release is another in a series of enhancements it has made to the Service Cloud over the past year, the most recent of which was in June, when the company introduced Service for Apps.

According to Esteban Kolsky, founder of ThinkJar, "Salesforce's latest release showcases the company's commitment to expand the vision [it outlined at] last year's Dreamforce into the existing products." So far, he's impressed with how quickly the company has integrated the Lightning and Wave elements into the Service Cloud. 

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