It is hard to believe that 2013 is coming to an end. Maybe it’s my age, or maybe it’s the technology, but everything these days seems to be on fast forward. The pace of change and innovation certainly did not slow down this year at salesforce.com’s Dreamforce. With more than 100K in attendance, salesforce.com did another great job of bringing the “wow.” This year’s mantra was “The Internet of Customers,” with saleforce.com rolling out their new Salesforce1 customer platform and app. Salesforce1 allows companies to leverage all preexisting apps, data, and functionality, all in the palm of your hand.
When I compare the Dreamforce conversations we had in 2013 to those of 2012, it’s clear that the contact center and Salesforce Service Cloud—are hotter than ever. Bluewolf’s recent State of Salesforce Report confirmed that 70% of Service leaders are measured on increasing customer engagement. Companies are quickly realizing that customer service is more than just solving problems, it has to be about engaging the customer in their preferred channel, and providing answers in the most convenient form.
During the Service Cloud keynote, salesforce.com rolled out new or improved functionality in seven key categories: Mobile, Console, Communities, Multi-channel, Knowledge, Agent Collaboration and Social Customer Service. I was especially impressed with the following three categories:
- Mobile Customer
Service Short-burst communication is the new reality. While not every interaction can fit into a 140 characters, customers now have the power of the internet in their pocket. Whether it is a partner who wants to check a case status, or a customer who wants to check your knowledge-base, developing a service tool that is mobile ready is a necessity. Channel integration, SMS, self-service options, text-chat, secure messaging, and mobile knowledge is all part of the new normal.
This year, salesforce.com released new functionalities designed to improve the agent experience. Two of them stood out to me: co-browsing and dual-monitor capability. Co-browsing functionality will allow agents to interact with customers across multiple operating systems: desktop, tablets, and phones. They will be able to walk the customer through the support process when appropriate. The console will also allow agents to “pull” browser tabs into a side-by-side second screen. Now the agent can solve problems across two monitors (allowing for more screen real-estate) while staying within the same case or account. A company or agent can now design a much more customized approach to how they manage information. Smarter, more informed agents means a better customer experience.
There are many changes and improvements with this feature, but the bottom line is that Communities will continue to evolve with the goal of allowing agents, customers, and partners to communicate at a whole new level. Companies will be able to solve service requests faster “inside” Communities where customers will be able to access the knowledge base, help each other, or get help from an agent when needed. Companies will be able to leverage a common platform to set up branded communities focused on customer engagement.
Behind every interaction and every device, there is a person who wants to solve a problem or purchase a service or product. Dreamforce showed us that the cloud will continue to change the speed at which customers and devices will become even more connected in 2014 and beyond. For innovative contact centers, apps related to surveys, telephony, and agent productivity are all on the rise.
To recap all of the growth and change that the contact center and Salesforce Service Cloud saw this year, take a look at our contact center 2013-in-review.