This article originally appeared in the DEC. 2012 issue of CUSTOMER Magazine.
Customer service used to be all about phone conversations and face-to-face interactions, but today many people prefer to communicate with the companies with which they do business via social media, mobile communications, or whatever mode or device is the most convenient at a given time.
Indeed, customers are increasingly bypassing the letter, the fax, the telephone, the contact form and even e-mail in favor of Twitter and Facebook (News - Alert) because it’s faster – and because they can.
This creates both opportunity and risk for businesses. When customer complaints and company responses are publicly visible in social media, every service interaction becomes another data point in the overall perception of your brand.
That can be problematic, but it’s also a chance to tell the world you care about your customers.
“Different channels have built in different expectations from users in terms of speed of response,” noted Tony Kavanagh, vice president of marketing for Salesforce Service Cloud. “Social media in general moves quickly, so things spin out of control very, very fast. If you’re not looking, you can have a rebellion on your hands within a matter of hours or less.”
That means the onus is on business to meet customers where they are, and to deliver the kind of experiences they desire.
“You have to be totally connected with everyone who touches your brand," said Angela Ahrendts, CEO for luxury fashion brand Burberry, which has more than 10 million Facebook followers. "You have to create a Social Enterprise today. You have to. If you don’t do that, I don’t know what your business model is in five years."
The challenge for businesses in doing that is not only cultural; it also involves figuring out how to efficiently and effectively manage multichannel communications, and to do it in a way that delivers a consistent and quality experience.
From the contact center to self-service communities, social media and beyond, Service Cloud is changing the game in customer service. Service Cloud from Salesforce.com delivers a multichannel, collaborative and operationally efficient contact center; social support; customer communities, including Chatter; and more.
Activision (News - Alert), creator of the popular game Call of Duty, is among the companies benefiting from Service Cloud. Activision leverages Service Cloud to stay on top of what gamers are saying and to provide them with exceptional customer service in the places where they live, such as Twitter (News - Alert), online forums and beyond. Burberry uses Salesforce.com collaboration technology to power Burberry World, where the company says visitors can engage, entertain, interact, and experience the ultimate online luxury shopping experience.
The Social Contact Center aspect of Service Cloud enables employees to work smarter by providing them with a unified agent experience. That allows work in the form of service cases or tickets to be created, tracked, routed and escalated across all channels for more efficiency.
Social Customer Service brings questions and comments from social media channels into an agent’s case queue, and routes them through a single hub so they can be monitored and prioritized by sentiment and influence, and combined with data from their online profiles.
The result is the delivery of better service faster.
The Communities aspect of Service Cloud empowers customers with collaboration and breaks down the silos between traditional self-service and peer-to-peer service. Communities give customers one place to go to get the answers they need.
Service Cloud include tools that can keep tabs on key milestones and metrics by providing an interface that lets you continuously track progress against service milestones to ensure quality service and compliance with service level agreements; visual workflow that streamlines and automates support processes, from call scripting and returns, to quotes and resolutions, and the ability to instantly create and assign cases from incoming e-mail in any volume; filesharing; web chat; and instant messaging; customizable dashboards and reports that offer complete and real-time insight about your customers including mobile access, so executives can also get the latest performance metrics anywhere and anytime.
For more information on Salesforce Service Cloud, visit http://www.salesforce.com/service-cloud/overview/.
Edited by Braden Becker