• November 19, 2019
  • By Leonard Klie, Editor, CRM magazine and SmartCustomerService.com

At Dreamforce, Salesforce.com Expands Voice Across Its CRM Application Portfolio

Salesforce.com has incorporated the Einstein Voice Assistant into the Salesforce Customer 360 Platform, enabling millions of CRM users to talk to their Salesforce applications, the company announced today at its Dreamforce user conference in San Francisco.

Salesforce first introduced the Einstein Voice Assistant, allowing sales reps to talk to their Salesforce apps to perform routine CRM transactions, like creating or updating customer records, getting personalized daily briefings, or exploring dashboards, at last yea's Dreamforce event.

The voice innovations announced at this year's event, which drew 150,000 attendees, include the release of Service Cloud Voice, Einstein Call Coaching, and the expansion of Einstein Voice Skills, which will empower users to create custom voice apps across the Salesforce Customer 360 Platform.

The new solutions for service and sales teams apply natural language processing to voice conversations and deliver insights that drive smarter, more personalized customer engagement.

"Voice is a huge shift for the industry and will be as impactful in businesses as it's been in our homes," said Bret Taylor, president and chief product officer at Salesforce. "With Einstein, Salesforce is bringing the power of voice to every business, giving everyone an intelligent, trusted guide at work."

Service Cloud Voice, a highlight of Salesforce's new voice efforts integrates telephony inside Service Cloud, unifying phone, digital channels, and CRM data in real time in one centralized console. Service Cloud Voice can also integrate with transcription services and serve up relevant, artificial intelligence-powered recommended responses, knowledge articles, and next-best actions as service agents are on voice calls.

With Service Cloud Voice, Service Cloud users can do the following

  • Integrate telephony and route calls on a single platform;
  • Reduce data entry and call wrap-up time with automatic transcription capabilities;
  • Leverage AI-powered agent recommendations from Einstein AI.
  • Empower supervisors with real-time omnichannel visibility through a supervisor console that lets them view all calls and digital conversations in real time, monitor where calls are being routed and which skills each agent has, and which conversations might require them to assist on or offer coaching live or after the fact.

"Delivering great customer service consistently can be challenging for companies, especially when call volume is extremely high and queries are becoming increasingly complex," said Bill Patterson, executive vice president and general manager of Service Cloud. "These latest Service Cloud innovations will help companies meet these rising demands and empower phone agents to focus on the human side of service — solving difficult problems for customers and doing it with empathy."

Salesforce also today announced an integration between Amazon Connect, Amazon's cloud contact center suite, and Salesforce Service Cloud. Salesforce already relies on AWS as its primary public cloud provider, and through this partnership, Salesforce has chosen Amazon Connect as its preferred contact center technology.

Now, when a phone call is routed to a service agent, it appears directly within the agent's workspace. Amazon Connect is also providing AI-powered speech analytics, using Amazon Transcribe, Amazon Translate, and Amazon Comprehend, to surface sentiment analysis, speech-to-text transcription, and translation into preferred languages, directly to agents through Service Cloud Voice.

Salesforce is also exploring ways to make Einstein Voice Skills compatible with Amazon Alexa, among other voice assistants and devices. In September, Salesforce joined Amazon and several other technology companies to announce the Voice Interoperability Initiative.

"Salesforce's growing partnership with AWS is fueled by a shared commitment to customer success" Taylor said. "Together, we're making it easier for companies to deploy powerful AI and voice technologies to deliver smarter and faster customer service experiences."

Also new this year from Salesforce is Einstein Call Coaching, a Sales Cloud capability that allows managers to see insights and trends within conversational data. Natural language processing identifies keywords in sales call transcripts, alerting managers to trends like spikes in competitor mentions, or best practices on topics like objection handling or pricing discussions. Those insights can then be used to provide sales reps with personalized coaching on how to improve the customer buying experience

Salesforce also used the Dreamforce conference to introduce Customer 360 Truth, a set of data and identity services that enable companies to build a single source of truth across all of their customer relationships. Customer 360 Truth connects data from sales, service, marketing, commerce and more to create a single, universal Salesforce ID for each customer.

Customer 360 Truth enhances data management across Salesforce apps and other systems and provides instant access to consistent, reconciled customer data. Services include the following:

  • Customer 360 Data Manager, allowing users to access, connect, and resolve customer data across Salesforce and other systems, using a canonical data model and a universal Salesforce ID;
  • Salesforce Identity for Customers, enabling a single, authenticated, and secure relationship between customers and all company websites, e-commerce stores, mobile apps, and connected products;
  • Customer 360 Audiences, which builds unified customer profiles across known data, such as email addresses and first-party IDs, and unknown data, such as website visits and device IDs. It then creates customer segments and marketing engagement journeys from those profiles and delivers AI-powered insights, like lifetime value and likelihood to churn.
  • Privacy and Data Governance, which enables companies to collect and respect customer data use and privacy preferences, as well as apply data classification labels to all data in Salesforce.

"Having a complete view of the customer is not a new idea, but it has been difficult to achieve. Companies have siloed data; disconnected apps; a complex, patchwork of sometimes incompatible services; and no way to connect it all," said Patrick Stokes, executive vice president of platform shared services at Salesforce."Customer 360 Truth overcomes those challenges, creating a single source of truth that is the foundation for delivering smart, personalized customer experiences across every touchpoint."

Marc Benioff, Salesforce's chairman and co-CEO, in his opening keynote Tuesday called Customer 360 "a trusted, smart, flexible, and sustainable platform" that spans sales, service, marketing, and commerce.

The single source of the truth "is critical for [Salesforce] customers" he said. "At Salesforce, we love data. It is an important part of everything we do at Salesforce and everything you do as our customers."

Stressing a theme of togetherness, Benioff also noted that business today is undergoing a revolution in which trust and AI will be the deciding factors.

"AI is becoming such a pervasive part of our entire world," he said.

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