• October 16, 2014
  • By Leonard Klie, Editor, CRM magazine and SmartCustomerService.com

At Dreamforce, Salesforce.com Unveils Road Map for Service Cloud Updates

San Francisco—Calling the Salesforce.com Service Cloud a product that the company has developed and advanced in close partnership with its customers, Mike Milburn, senior vice president and general manager of the Salesforce Service Cloud, boasted that there were more than 120 new features to the platform this year alone.

During one of many Wednesday product keynotes as part of the DreamForce 2014 conference, Milburn noted that customers who have already deployed the Service Cloud have, on average, experienced a 38 percent increase in Net Promoter Scores, a 40 percent increase in agent productivity, a 40 percent reduction in customer care costs, and 42 percent faster case resolutions.

Of the product improvements, most so far have been "designed for the connected world," Milburn said.

In this connected world, three new pillars have emerged for organizations to differentiate on customer service. They are personalization, intelligence, and speed, according to Milburn.

With new tools around personalization, companies can now know who their customers are, where they are, and what devices they are using, he added.

Key to the new personalization capabilities is the Salesforce SOS for Apps, which is similar to the Mayday button that Amazon offers on its Kindle Fire phones and tablets. With SOS for Apps, companies can deliver "personalized service for every customer wherever they are," Milburn said. It can be made available "anywhere in the mobile app," he added.

Also key to personalization are new self-service and community templates.

Central to the intelligence factor is the new Smart Agent Console, which presents the agent with every piece of available customer information, as well as access to search and knowledge base records "right there for the agent, across channels," Milburn said.

The agent intelligence is being supplemented with the new Analytics Cloud, which Salesforce.com first announced earlier in the week. With the Analytics Cloud, companies "can bring in every single piece of information it needs to run its business right at [the agent's] fingertips," Milburn said.

Speed has been enhanced through direct integration with the Salesforce.com Desk.com platform.

The Service Cloud has also benefited from several other enhancements being incorporated into the forthcoming Salesforce.com winter release. Chet Chauhan, senior director of Service Cloud product management, in an afternoon session noted that the Service Cloud has already seen new template and designer user interface, more direct routing, case escalation features, and several new social media and multichannel features.

Also launching this winter is a social customer service Starter Edition, a free offering that allows companies to get started on social media with templates and data flows for Facebook and Twitter. Salesforce also launched templates for Google+ and LinkedIn brand pages, and the new Journey Builder tool.

Customer journey mapping, until now, "was for marketing," Chauhan said, but this new tool—now integrated with Service Cloud—allows companies to create service and support cases in Journey Builder as well. Users can also create case activity and contact activity reports that then flow into the Service Cloud.

Going forward, Salesforce.com is working on customer case feeds, auto case escalation features, and greater integrations with existing knowledge bases, according to Chauhan. Other future endeavors include broader listening capabilities across blogs and social forums, social leads support, and closed case trigger capabilities.

In another session, Michael Ramsey, senior director of product management for the Salesforce.com Service Cloud, noted that the winter and spring releases will incorporate more knowledge base functionality as well. Part of the case management enhancements will be a "similar cases" feature, which will allow customer care agents to access information related to other incidents and problems, responsive sidebar and list views, multifield search capabilities, responsive app design templates, and a more intuitive dashboard.

"This is the biggest release [for Service Cloud] in at least six years," he said.

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