As the first big storm of the year is hitting a lot of the north, Spring 15 is coming around the corner. This is part two of a three part write-up and is focused on the Service Cloud features for Spring 15. The parts of the full write-up are broken out as follows:
- Part 1 – Sales, Salesforce1 and the general platform
- Part 2 – Service Cloud
- Part 3 – Collaboration – Chatter, Communities and Work.com
Before we begin, one quick note about the pre-release org. To get access to all of these Service Cloud features you need to select the Developer option, not Enterprise. Developer unlocks the Service Cloud features. With that, let’s get going. As always, these are in no particular order:
- Macros – Macros! Funny to use an old-school name like this, but this is a terrific new feature that will be a game-changer for Service Cloud. Macros will allow your agents to rapidly perform repetitive tasks – similar to a macro in Excel. The release notes call out selecting an email template, sending an email and updating fields within the Case. I tried playing with this in the pre-release org, but unfortunately the “Instructions” part is not working where you would set the actions, so I can’t tell if we’re limited to those types of actions or if these are just examples. From what I can see though, there will now be a Macro widget in the tray of the Service Console. From there an agent can select a macro and it will fire for the Case that they have open within the Console. Have those type of Cases that require the same resolution every time? Today you’re blasting an email with the KB article on how to fix it, filling out a resolution field and then closing the Case status every single Case. Instead of doing that in 6 clicks and some repetitive typing, create a macro and have it all done with one click. Huge time-saver. A few screenshots from the pre-release org shows how you’d create and then fire these. Very slick. If you are a Service Cloud customer – there is almost no reason to not use this.
A few notes on this from the release notes and also from my playing around with it. First, you need to be a Case Feed user to use this according to the release notes. We wrote way back (Wow, that was 2 years ago now. Insane.) about how you need to adopt Case Feed and with this release, we need to update that post, as this is a huge feature that you will be losing if you don’t. If you are a Service Cloud customer, and not using Case Feed, you need to sit back and re-evaluate why you are not – as you are missing out on a lot of productivity. Second, it’s hard to tell from the pre-release org, but it almost looks as if your users can create their own Macros. I need to confirm this once the Sandboxes get Spring 15 and will update here once I do. If that is true, frankly I’m not sure if that’s good or bad. Lots of pros and cons there.
- Email Defaults – A nice new feature especially if you are supporting multiple product lines or brands. With this you can now set defaults for emails including the From Address, an Email Template, Subject line, etc. based on field values within the Case. So, if the Case is from a particular brand, when you click to send an email, you can automatically set the defaults for your agent instead of them having to do it each time. Another productivity gainer – but again, one that requires Case Feed. Just a quick warning, to activate this, you will need to do a little bit of Apex, so it’s not completely out of the box config to enable.
- Business Continuity – If you are a 24X7 support call center, this is a must have feature and probably a bit overdue. With Business Continuity, you can now set up a Secondary Org that you can fall back to when your primary instance is having scheduled maintenance or even unscheduled downtime. Amazingly, this leverages Salesforce to Salesforce which has been around forever, so interesting to see that as the backbone for this. Looks like you’ll need to set up the secondary org in the same way you would Salesforce to Salesforce and it’ll sync from there. Clearly there is some way to guarantee this second org is on a difference instance – and one that is on a different release schedule than your primary. The release notes doesn’t specify, but I am assuming this is a paid feature that you’ll need to purchase. That said, if you’re 24X7 this type of insurance is critical.
- Social Customer Service – We talked about this a little bit in the Winter 15 write-up when it was in Pilot, but the Social Service Starter Pack is now available to everyone with Spring. With the Starter Pack, you can now setup up two Twitter or Facebook accounts to monitor. The posts to these accounts will automatically generate Cases within salesforce for your agents to respond to. The Starter Pack includes some nice integration to Twitter and Facebook to allow your agents to interact with these posts without actually having to go to Twitter or Facebook. Right from the Case Feed (again – this only works in Case Feed. We officially have a trend) agents can favorite / like the posts, go straight to the original post, and then obviously respond to these posts. In addition, agents can associate a post to a Lead, which will allow your Sales team to see the Social interaction within their own Lead Feed. Pretty cool addition that will help Service show some revenue generating activities. Great new feature and if you’re not using something like this to monitor your feeds, it’s worth doing a pilot of this. Social Service is a huge customer satisfaction driver for your company and brand – in particular giving you the ability to turn a very public negative post into a positive response and publicly show how you satisfied an unhappy customer. It’s a very public world now with Twitter and Facebook – brands can’t afford to leave negative posts about yourself hanging out there unanswered.
Being a starter pack, this has a couple of limits we need to mention. First, it’s limited to only two Social accounts. If you have more accounts that you need to monitor, you need to upgrade to the paid version. Second, you can’t control what posts create Cases with this. Basically, all posts to these accounts will. With the paid version you can modify the trigger that generates the Cases to put in criteria of when to create a Case. Even with the limits, give this a try and learn from the free version.
Finally, a quick note on two pilots related to this. There are pilots to expand the different kind of accounts you can monitor to Google+ and Sina Weibo. Sina Weibo is apparently the Facebook of China, so if you do business there you probably already know it. I’m assuming Sina Weibo has full support for double byte characters.
- Questions to Case – Chatter Questions came out in GA with Winter 15, and we are huge fans of the feature. With Spring, agents now have the ability to create a Case from a question. Very useful if you enable Chatter Questions within Communities that your agents are monitoring. Right from the post, they just need to select “Escalate to Case” and a Case will be generated. In addition, from the Question itself, you can click directly to the Case that is linked to it.
- Assets – We discussed Assets in Part 1, but this is a big new feature for Service. With Spring 15, Assets is now like nearly every other object in salesforce. Assets now can have a Tab, Record Types, Sharing Rules, an Owner and even Field History tracking. Very big for Service Cloud – in particular Service Orgs supporting multiple products and also ones trying to expose Assets through the Community.
- Linked Cases for Articles – Nice new KB feature. Now from an article you can see a list of the Cases that have been linked to that article. It includes the version of the article that was actually used for the Case which is a nice touch. A few small limits to this: It can only show up to 200 cases and it’s always sorted in descending order by the date the Case was linked to the article. This can’t be changed. These limits shouldn’t be a big deal though, especially since you didn’t have this visibility before.
- Send an Article via Email – This is a beta, but a very interesting one if you leverage email as a support channel. Basically, you can now convert an Article – and multiple fields within the Articles – into the body of an email, versus having to use a PDF attachment. Getting rid of PDFs for this helps in two areas. First, PDFs are pretty unfriendly for mobile. A lot of your users are reading your email from their phone, and do not want to have to click into a PDF to figure out how to fix their problem. Second, attachments always hurt your delivery success rate a bit. Looks like the only potential negative here is that Smart Links within the article won’t render. I’ll need to play around with this some more, but a nice feature for sure.
- Other KB Updates – A few really quick KB changes. First, is a fix for one that was always awkward. The KB widget for Cases now respects whether the Article is in a Public channel or not. If an Article is not visible to the public (basically an internal article), the options to send it via email or attaching it as a PDF are not available to the agent. Glad to see that fixed. Next, the max number of articles allowed has been bumped from 10k to 50k. (if you have that many articles – I’m sorry). Article properties are now visible on the preview page – no need to hit Edit anymore. Third, when you cancel a draft of an article it no longer creates a new version. A little annoying and nice to see it corrected.
- Re-Designed Entitlements Widget – The Entitlements widget gets a nice re-design. It’s a little easier to tell where the Milestone is as far as approaching – or exceeded – the SLA.
Well, that’s it for the Service Cloud features. Not a ton of new features, but a huge one with Macros. Part 3 is next covering all of the Collaboration items.