Salesforce announced the latest version of Service Cloud ahead of the Success Anywhere world tour event. The update includes the immediate availability of Salesforce Virtual Assistant with other elements following later in the year. The intent is to address the technology gap faced by 88% of service professionals.
The new features enhance the service professionals’ ability to work from home or in the field. Even as the world reopens with travel restrictions lifted, there is still uncertainty on how the service industry will operate. Organisations have found huge value in delivering remote field service technology such as that provided by IFS with Remote Assistance. Salesforce is now strengthening its solutions.
Clara Shih, CEO of Service Cloud, Salesforce, commented: “We are on the cusp of a great reopening of society, and companies know they need to move quickly to seize the moment. While customers and companies alike are eager to return to in-person experiences, digital behaviors we learned and grew accustomed to during the pandemic are here to stay.”
The update includes improvements to Service Cloud Voice, Workforce Engagement, Visual Remote Assistant, and several features to address industry-specific challenges. Service Cloud 360 now supports the multiple methods of service that are required. This includes online, curbside pickup, or in-person. Service professionals can deliver great experiences whether working from home or on the road.
Video Remote Assistance
Available today, the Visual Remote Assistant enables technicians to assist customers with repairs remotely. Experts can also provide remote support to technicians without travelling, ensuring that a higher number of more complex tasks can be completed without the need for the experts to travel.
The solution works by connecting the customer or technician’s phone camera to the Salesforce desktop. This enables the technician to see what the customer sees and advise them accordingly. The application includes augmented reality capabilities. It enables the engineer to place a pointer on the device screen, directing the customer to the correct switch or location to check something. The application also uses AI to recognised characters, including serial numbers, to increase efficiency.
Call centre integration
The major new feature with this release is the ability to integrate existing phone systems into Service Cloud Voice with Service Cloud Voice for Partner Telephony. This completes the omnichannel solution combining phone, digital channels, and CRM data in a single view for service agents. Service Cloud Voice also includes real-time call transcription and AI-powered guidance for the next steps. This will enable agents to deliver a more efficient personalised experience, with potentially less training.
Service Cloud Voice for Partner Telephony will become generally available in June. The first release will include several launch partners in addition to Amazon Connect, which Service Cloud Voice already integrates with
Enhanced Workforce planning
Previously announced in December 2020, Service Cloud Workforce Engagement is available in June. It provides a dynamic workforce planning application powered by AI to ensure that managers can distribute their workforce to meet demand.
Service Forecast for Customer 360 enables business leaders to allocate resources based on an estimate to plan staffing needs across phone, chat, text, or social engagements. The solution will also provide a personalised agent engagement delivering real-time coaching and on-demand training via myTrailhead, all within one desktop.
The bots are coming
Still in beta but aiming for general availability in October, Salesforce also announced that it is developing Pre-Built Einstein Bots to assist with service requests. It is developing these to provide an intelligent interface to customers with a seamless handover to human agents at an appropriate point. 81% of service decision-makers report that they are accelerating digital initiatives.
Bots are one component of this, and Salesforce has seen a surge in the use of existing Einstein Bots by 706% as customers turn online to seek answers. The implementation of bots organisation to meet increased demand without necessarily increasing staff numbers.
Customers leveraging Service Cloud during the pandemic
Salesforce also revealed how customers are leveraging Salesforce Service Cloud. With physical stores closed, Sonos has leveraged Service Cloud Voice to meet the increased demand. With a single view of the customer, it has increased agents’ efficiency saving an estimated five hours per week. It has leveraged chatbots to deflect 24% of inbound calls and reduced onboarding times for its agents through supervisor visibility for real-time training, quality management, and coaching.
Estée Lauder has leveraged Workforce Engagement to plan agent deployment for its global operation. It has enabled it to spread support across the globe, with different regions covering shortfalls in other areas. It also leveraged chatbots to reduce the burden on agents
SmileDirectClub adopted Service Cloud Automation to streamline its queue management. It is saving several hours every week as cases are distributed across different teams.
Enterprise Times: What does this mean
This is another major update for Service Cloud. The general availability of VRA demonstrates how augmented reality will become an important component of service delivery everywhere. It enables service companies to resolve issues without the time and cost of travelling. This should help profitability, increase safety and reduce carbon emissions from travel.
It may also drive down the cost of support for customers in time as the competition increases. As Einstein bots develop, their sophistication to deliver correct answers to more use cases will improve. There are some questions around whether people should know they are talking to bots. More around liability should a bot answer a question incorrectly. These challenges, once seen as in the realms of science fiction, are rapidly approaching. It is something that Salesforce and others will need an answer for.