Customer service is almost by definition perilous. Tensions are usually running high, which usually means most organizations are potentially only one or two missteps away from losing a customer. But customer service done right is a major opportunity to cement customer loyalty.
To help customer service agents give the best service possible, Salesforce.com today unfurled the Salesforce Service Cloud Intelligence Engine, a layer of software added to the Salesforce Service Cloud that automates workflow across a customer service organization.
Kendra Fumai, director of product management for Salesforce.com, says the Service Cloud Intelligence Engine is based on proprietary algorithms developed by Salesforce.com. It makes it possible to dynamically route incoming requests to either the next available customer service agent, the agent that previously assisted that customer, or the agent with the most expertise in dealing with a particular issue.
In addition, customers are looking for representatives to have previous case information available. This means that customer service representatives need omni-channel support—a way to be able to correlate an inbound email message with all the other communication modes that previously may have been used by that customer. After all, just because someone sends an email it doesn’t mean, for example, they’re not following up on several previous phone calls.
Most organizations have identified customer service as the key to customer retention. By extension, customers that have a positive customer experience are much more likely to buy additional products and services. Rather than build out the IT infrastructure required to support modern customer service applications, Salesforce.com is making the case that those applications should be delivered as a cloud service using the same records used in its namesake customer relationship management (CRM) application. Salesforce feels that it’s more than likely that a customer service engagement is going to generate a potential sales lead to share with the sales organization when both groups are on the same platform.
Whatever the approach, most legacy customer service applications are woefully outdated in a world where multiple forms of communication have become the norm. At this point, the issue facing most organizations is not if they will upgrade the customer service application experience to support these forms of communication, but rather when.