Salesforce Service Cloud: How to Optimize the Use of a Powerful Solution

Salesforce Service Cloud is an enormously popular customer service management solution with incredible potential to improve customer relationships, thanks to an extensive range of features that automate service processes and streamline workflows. But like any tool with great potential, all that ingenuity goes to waste if the user fails to take full advantage of it.

It’s a bit like failing to make the most of what your smartphone has to offer. Imagine you just purchased the newest $800 iPhone. It’s a sleek, powerful piece of technology featuring Apple’s latest A14 chip and support for 5G cellular networks, not to mention access to more than 2 million available apps for iOS.

And yet, you don’t download a single one.

Instead of sharing photos with Airdrop, you save the pictures to your computer first, and then send them to your friends.

Rather than using an email app, you opt to log in to your inbox via a mobile web browser.

In fact, you use that web browser for just about everything—Facebook, Amazon, banking, weather updates.

You know apps are out there, but you don’t have time to download and figure out how to use them. And why bother? The only apps you really need are already on your phone, and everything else can be done on your mobile web browser anyway, right?

Getting the Best Out of Salesforce Service Cloud 

This example may seem a bit extreme, but you get the idea.

When we have powerful tools with innumerable capabilities to make our lives easier but don’t have the time or patience to learn how to use them, we’re inadvertently complicating even the simplest tasks and needlessly wasting time and energy, not to mention associated costs.

The same issue, albeit with different needs and circumstances, can cause a company’s customer service management solution to become a hurdle rather than a helpful tool.

Salesforce has been ranked first for customer service applications based on IDC 2020 revenue market share. But, like the example with the iPhone, a system of helpful tools is only as powerful as the operator wielding it.

Some of the most likely causes for Salesforce Service Cloud not being used to its full potential include:

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  1. Service agents and supervisors are too busy. It’s a catch-22. Due to the busy and hectic nature of the job, customer service agents often don’t have much time available in the day to take a break and go through a retraining program. Nor do they have time to consider their manual processes and then communicate those processes to their supervisors and/or Service Cloud administrators. But those manual processes could have been automated by the powerful features of Service Cloud, thus reducing the effort involved in many routine tasks that agents perform every day. And retraining could improve their overall efficiency 10-fold, leaving more time available to dedicate to other tasks.
  2. The company’s needs for the system have changed. Initial implementation is based on the budget and most urgent needs of the company at the time. But businesses evolve, and the ideal arrangement back then probably isn’t the same as it is now.

The system likely needs to be scaled up to a new level, or at the very least, optimized to ensure the current needs are being met.

  1. Integration with other tools for a smooth workflow. Oftentimes, Salesforce Service Cloud is integrated with other tools to create, in theory, a smooth workflow. But that can lead to confusion if agents aren’t utilizing their intended resources correctly, or if systems have not been integrated in a manner that covers all data and process flows between external systems and Service Cloud.

Conversely, sometimes Service Cloud needs to be integrated with other tools and hasn’t been yet, thereby disrupting the intended flow.

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Critical Problems to Address When Tools Are Ineffective

Whether the pain point is a single issue or a combination of several, the inefficiency is sure to have a negative impact on a business’s ability to service its customers, in addition to fostering a stressful environment for its support agents.

This can lead to issues on both the front and back ends of the business, including: 

  • Poor customer service. An inefficient support specialist inevitably results in frustrated customers, which can have a severe impact on the company’s reputation and customer retention. Polls show that 89 percent of clients are willing to switch to another brand after a single poor experience with customer service.
  • Overwhelmed support agents. Juggling the unpredictable needs and demands of customers is a challenging job to begin with. Without the proper training, automation of repetitive tasks, and access to all of Service Cloud’s features, agents aren’t able to address these issues in an efficient manner—creating extra work and stress.
  • Waste of resources. When support agents use only a small percentage of what Service Cloud offers, the company is paying for Service Cloud licenses and failing to utilize the system at full capacity.

How to Ensure Support Agents Are Operating at Peak Efficiency

Regular evaluation of the system in action is crucial in order to adapt to changing processes and customers, as well as agent needs. This includes:

  1. Analyzing scenarios from the customer’s perspective, as well as customer journeys, to ensure all needs are being met
  2. Defining the best-case utilization of Service Cloud features from the agent’s perspective
  3. Identifying disruptions in the workflow on both ends and how those issues can be resolved, such as retraining, scaling up the existing system, or integrating with another system
  4. Implementing the necessary upgrades
  5. Reevaluating the system again to gauge the effectiveness of the changes

Every case study and company will have a different solution based on individual needs and budgets. Efficient systems integration has been shown to drastically improve customer satisfaction.

But when a process isn’t working right, agents are stressed and ineffective—and while customers don’t know the exact reason for the poor service, they know they aren’t getting the best experience. 

The key to successfully utilizing a complex system like Service Cloud is to consistently take stock of bottom-up support processes versus centralized decisions on implementation, and then adapt the tools to be used most effectively.

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Oksana Tokar

Oksana Tokar is a Salesforce Service Cloud consultant for Astound Commerce DACH.