Welcome to the third part of the Cloud Hopper Series, where we discuss how to maximize the value of your Salesforce Clouds. This week’s topic is Salesforce Service Cloud, and we’ll be discussing not only how to make it more cost-effective-y, time-saver-y, and customer 360-y, but more importantly how your documentation can be the key to realizing Service Cloud’s true potential: making Service Cloud obsolete. Stay with me.

The Best Support Interaction Is No Service Interaction

By the time the customer-company relationship has reached the point where Service Cloud comes into play, you’ve either set up the relationship to succeed or fail. Service Cloud is there to help you when it’s the latter. Through the management of cases, Service Cloud allows small and large businesses the opportunity to support more customers, more efficiently. Let’s face it, time is the most important issue when it comes to Support, and who has time to wait around for it to escalate from Level 1 support to Level 2 when things are burning to the ground?

In an ideal world, support isn’t necessary because the product works flawlessly and customers have been properly educated through the buying and onboarding program that they know what’s happening. Since this is never the case, though, we as consumers have been trained to rely on support when something goes wrong, because they hold the answers to our problems. But call and email volume often necessitates a large Support team to respond to all the cases.

Service Cloud makes managing these cases simple, and provides insights into the effectiveness of the Support team. What’s missing, though, is the means to break the Support cycle of breaking, calling, waiting, fixing, and waiting more for the next thing to break. In highly technical industries like manufacturing and software, Support can become a crutch that keeps customers from realizing the full value of the products because every step is coupled with the waiting and the frustration of relying on someone else.

Breaking the Cycle with Salesforce Service Cloud

Industry leaders are tapping documentation delivered through self-service as the way to break their customers from needing to rely on Support interactions to be successful. Documentation already plays a key role in the Service Cloud world, because it is the resource that Support Agents offer to customers to solve the issue. But this information that is incredibly valuable to the customer is often locked away as a separate resource available only to Agents.

So Agents have their Knowledge Base, customers have their communities and smattering of FAQs, all the while the Product team is creating product manuals. This division creates an inconsistent experience that not only frustrates Agents and customers, but inhibits you from helping your customers escape from the relying on Support.

By enabling customers with self-service, and integrating that self-service into the Support Agent (and Field Service Technician, for that matter) experience in Service Cloud, you’re doing more than unifying the content experience. With the proper content strategy in place, this synergy lets your Support Agents not only solve problems, but they can put customers on the path to succeeding on their own. By re-training customers to rely on self-service, rather than phone calls and emails, you’re removing the frustrating intermediary and wait periods and encouraging them to dive deeper into product knowledge than a single stub article ever could.

Lowering the amount of times customers reach out to your Support team not only allows them to provide better customer service to the customers who truly need it. (Let’s be real: how many of your call are repeat issues across the customer base? How many are really “new” issues?). It provides them the bandwidth to address these issues in detail and to produce articles that will help grow that self-service resource, which will further reduce the stress placed on Support teams.

By integrating your documentation as a crucial part of your Service Cloud instance, you’re helping close the loop of the customer 360. With a single source of content acting as the basis for employees and customers alike, Service Cloud can provide Agents historical views of individual customer’s content use, from self-service to support interactions.

By taking a broader look at the way content is used through self-service and support interactions, managers have a view of the customer experience beyond the vague measures like CSAT. This way, it’s tying the customer experience to product features, providing actionable insight that will help improve Support, as well as the product.

That’s the ultimate goal of Support interactions: they lead to measurable improvements in the product and the customer experience. If those things are constantly improving, the need for support falls and customer success rises. It’s only possible though when you’ve got SMART content as the backbone of the customer and agent experience.

The Post-Sale-Jail or Pre-Sale #2?

As we move towards an increasingly subscription and service-based economy, what happens in Service Cloud will increasingly have impacts beyond the post-sale customer experience. With SMART content as part of the Service Cloud experience, those insights that help you improve the product and support experiences. Industry leaders are investing in the post-sale experience because they understand that it’s the key to the next sale, upsell, or cross-sell. Post-sale is now Pre-sale #2.

All of that insight provided by having SMART content incorporated into Service Cloud is a roadmap for keeping customers from churning. It also provides the understanding necessary for marketing to effectively offer new products and services that relate to that customer’s individual experience.

So while Service Cloud will never become obsolete, with SMART content along for the ride, Service Cloud can go beyond a cost center that makes Support Agents more efficient. It can be an integral part of product road maps, customer success initiatives, and drive customized marketing campaigns.

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Additional categories: Industry Trends