It’s time for yet another salesforce release and the Summer 15 release notes are now available to review.
In Part 1, we covered all of the new features around Sales Cloud, salesforce1 and the platform updates. In this part we are going to cover all of the Service Cloud enhancements and there are some big ones.
- Presence / Omni-Channel – These two features go hand-in-hand and this is probably the biggest new feature for the Service Cloud since they rolled out the Console. These features are the beginning to a drastic change to how you assign work in salesforce. Today, if you are using all of the different channels to receive Cases (Phone, Email, Chat, Community, etc.) you are using a mix of passive and active assignments. Email is a classic example of a passive assignment. An email comes in via Email-to-case, you push it through the assignment rules and then assign it to an Owner or a Queue based on the criteria of the Case. You don’t know if that agent is actually working that hour or even day, and unless you’ve done something fairly custom, you also don’t have any view into the workload of that agent. If you dropped it into a queue, you’re counting on agents – or someone dedicated to watching the queue – to pluck that Case out in a timely manner to work on it. Phone and Chat leverage active assignments. They are looking at who is flagged as “available” and then routing the call or chat to the next agent in line. The problem with the phone channel is that check of who is available to receive calls is done on the phone side – not in salesforce. Again, without building something custom, the Avayas and Ciscos of the world can’t peak into salesforce to see that agent’s current workload. All they can see is if the agent is on a call already. Chat is the closest to getting all of this together. Live Agent can see all of the Chats an agent is working on so it knows their capacity. It can also see who is online or offline. The slight issue here is, Live Agent can only see the Agents Chat workload. What if that agent is also working email Cases? This is part of the reason it’s tough to manage a Service Organization today. With Presence and Omni-Channel, this is all going to change.
Wouldn’t you rather assign work to a user that you know is available, that you know has capacity and has the skills to handle that particular piece of work? Maybe even go the extra step and instead of just assigning it, literally pop the record for them to work on immediately? I think a lot of you are nodding your heads right now. So, the first step to get to this world is to be able to see who is available to receive work, and maybe even what kind of work they can receive. With Summer 15, we now have Presence, which allows your users to flag whether they are available and what they are available for. If you’re familiar with Live Agent, you’ll see below this is pretty much an expansion of that, except with Presence Statuses you can also set this to show what type of work they are available for.
Ok great, now we know who is actually working. This alone is a big improvement. I can’t tell you how many clients have asked for the ability to assign records based on who is working. “Give me a round robin of everyone working that shift”. Until now that was pretty impossible to do. Of course, salesforce being salesforce, they didn’t stop just there. With Summer 15, you now have the ability to intelligently balance your agent’s workload – across all channels. There are now Routing Configurations, that allow you to classify different types of work. For example, let’s say you decide your agents can handle “10 units” of work at a time. A standard Email-to-Case is pretty basic and not time urgent, so they are worth 2 units each. Meanwhile, a Case being generated from an Alarming system about a piece of equipment being down is extremely critical and also time-consuming, so that will be worth 10 units each. When a Case comes into Omni-Channel, a few things are happening. First, it’s looking at what type of Case it is. Based on the Case criteria, the Case will be assigned to a Queue. From there, it is checking all members of that Queue to see who is available to receive work and who has the capacity to handle that Case. So, if it’s an Alarming Case, only agents with an empty workload will be given that Case. If it’s an Email-to-Case, it’ll find someone with the most open capacity in that Queue and assign it to them. Now, the icing on the cake is, once that Case is assigned, it’s not just passively dropped into their name. Instead, using the Service Console – just like a CTI or Live Agent pop – that record will pop in a tab for that agent to begin working on immediately. And did I mention this works across all channels? Huge!
This warrants its own blog post to dive into all the details and features of this – there’s a whole setup on how to show what records are actively being worked vs. which ones are completed, among other intricacies like how to report on utilization and others. We’ll probably write that up once we have some more hands on time with this and really get to learn it.
Obviously, I’m excited here. A few things on this though. First, it’s a beta. Not only is it a beta, but this is a massive mental shift on how you assign work. Test this out with a certain type of Case first before re-arranging your entire team to work this way. This will take your users and your management some getting used to. Second, you might have noticed I purposely said “work” vs. “Cases” in a lot of places above. Another beautiful part of this feature is it isn’t just for Cases. As long as you are using the Console, you can use this for Leads or even Custom Objects. Lots of power there. Third, there is soooo much potential with these features, that you know there is a road map of enhancements to this coming. All the more reason to take your time, but I definitely recommend thinking about how this fits into your process even while you are taking your time. Finally, I just need to get on my soapbox for a second. These are the type of features and new enhancements that just make me laugh at these publications that predict how salesforce is due to be disrupted like they did to Siebel 15 years ago. Anyone who says that, clearly doesn’t use the product. It’s pretty tough to disrupt an incumbent when they just keep pushing the envelope and rolling out game-changing features that no one else has. It’s tough to disrupt when you’re still trying to catch-up and the incumbent won’t sit still. These type of features are what get me excited about working with salesforce – and why we would never work with another CRM product. Alright, stepping off the soapbox. Huge feature though!
- SOS Video Chat– If you attended the Service Cloud sessions at Dreamforce or the World Tours that are going on now, you’ve seen salesforce show off SOS Video Chat. This is another feature that is in beta, but it is an exciting one. SOS takes a page from Amazon.com where right from your webpage or app, you can launch a video session to get help. Launching this session will instantly create a video chat session with the customer and the agent. It’s a one way video chat that allows your customer to see the agent that is helping them. Along with the video chat, the agent is able to view the content of what the customer is looking at on the mobile device. So, if your customer is trying to fill out a form and is stuck, they can launch an SOS session and the agent can see exactly where they are stuck. In this first release, there is a lot of power here for customers with mobile apps, but this is another item that is probably just the beginning. I’m guessing next up will be the ability for the customer to turn their phone around and show the agent exactly what they are looking at. “Oh, you mean the yellow plug, not the orange one you keep telling me you’re using” light bulb moments will be so much easier if your agent can see what the customer is looking at. Again, this is in beta, so you’ll want to tread lightly here, but if you have a use case, this is definitely something that can be a massive customer satisfaction booster. Finally, it wouldn’t be “Omni-Channel” unless it covered all channels – so the new Omni-Channel features we described above also works with Cases coming in via SOS Video Chat.
- Email-to-Case Enhancements – Two great updates to email-to-case. Both of these have been pet peeves for a while, and I’m (and a bunch of our clients) certainly thrilled to see these in Summer 15. First, emails received by Email-to-Case that have inline images or are HTML, now will display the HTML and the inline images within salesforce. This is a big improvement for the agents, as these emails were pretty tough to read before and usually were full of garbage characters. Also, customers were trying to send images that weren’t coming over. One word of caution is this will only work in the new compact Case Feed layout (so not only do you need to use Case Feed, you also need to make sure you’ve switched to the new Compact Layouts that came out in Winter 15). A very big hooray here. One hooray isn’t enough though. Summer 15 also brings another big update in that Email Signatures will now work with Email-to-Case replies. Hooray! Previously the out of the box signatures never appeared when an agent was replying through Email-to-Case. This was particularly frustrating if you wanted to show a more personal touch by having the agent sign off on their reply while still using a generic Email-to-Case address like email@example.com.
- Live Agent – After a few releases off, we get some big new features for Live Agent as well.
- Conferencing – Chat conferencing is here! This was probably the single most requested Live Agent feature among our clients, and even in the release notes salesforce calls out how heavily this was requested. Great feature that allows you to turn any chat session into a conference session. The agent that is taking the chat can now invite additional agents into the conference chat to get help. This is big when you need to get specialist or Tier 2 type agents into a session to help out. As with normal chats, the full conference will be logged in the transcript and is trackable via reporting.
- New Look & Feel – With Summer 15 comes a new look and feel for Live Agent. The new look does a cleaner job of breaking out the different dialogues within a chat and makes it a lot easier for the agent to read. No functionality changes from this.
- IP Blocking – An interesting new feature that we haven’t really needed, but once I read about it I could see how this would be important. It’s one of those features that is critical once you need it, but otherwise not something you think about. Basically, this will allow you to block an IP address from being able to access your chat. So, if your agents are being harassed by a spammer (or maybe even a competitor), you can block the IP address of the person doing the abusing. When they try to launch their next chat they will just see that chat is unavailable – just like if it was offline.
- Entitlements Time Tracking – With Summer 15, the time remaining on a Milestone can now be displayed in Actual Hours as well as Business Hours. Before, you could only see how many Business Hours remained before the Milestone was violated. Now you have the option to also see the Actual Hours remaining. Especially useful for 9X5 call centers.
- Knowledge Updates – A couple of nice new features to Knowledge in Summer 15. First, the Synonym limit has been bumped up from 300 to 1,000. For those of you using synonyms, this is a big bump and much needed. (if you’re a knowledge user and not using synonyms, you might want to re-look at that). Next is a beta that allows you to change how you can get feedback on your articles. Instead of the existing 5-star system, you can now opt to go with a simple Thumbs Up / Thumbs Down voting (see below). Personally, I prefer this as I think you’re more likely to get true metrics on if the article is helpful or not. Again, this will be your choice on which system to use. A small update to how you can link Cases to an article. Previously, you could only link an article directly to the Case (without being in the actual case) from the Article search results. Now you can also do it right from the article itself. Handy. Finally, a quick enhancement for Social Service allows you to insert an article link using the Social Action within the Case Feed. A nice improvement for the Social Service agents out there.
- Macro Enhancements – Macros was one of the big new features in Spring 15, so it shouldn’t be a surprise we see a slew of enhancements in Summer 15. The biggest one is the ability to run Macros in bulk. Now, from a Case List View, you can select multiple Cases and then select a Macro to run against them. Terrific feature if you can bucket a particular issue into a list view and then process them in bulk. One thing to note is no matter how many you select, looks like salesforce processes the bulk action 10 records at a time. Shouldn’t have any impact on your users though. Almost as big, you can now set values – or replace existing values – of fields within the Case that macro is running against. I felt this was one of the missing elements in Spring 15, so really glad to see this as part of Summer. Now not only can you fire off communications automatically with a macro but you can update and close out the case in the same macro. In addition to the new field updates, you can now also automatically add a Knowledge Article to a Case with a macro. Any case that can quickly be solved using a macro should have an article associated to it, so this makes perfect sense. Finally, you can now also use Macros to fire off a Social response via Twitter or Facebook. With these enhancements, every Service Cloud admin should be looking at macros at trying to see where they can be used to help raise productivity.
- Service Console Dashboard Elements – A handy new component for the Console is part of Summer 15 as well. Now you can add dashboard components to the sidebar as a standard component. Users have the ability to refresh the dashboards right from the component as well. From what I can tell, the dashboards are not contextual to the record you’re on – like the dashboard components you can add to a page layout. This is still very useful in a lot of instances. One off the top of my head that we hear a lot is the need to give agents more ability to see how many new Cases are in each Queue. Now you can have a dashboard on the sidebar one refresh click away from showing the agent that data.
- Service Console Tabs – Two quick updates to Service Console tabs that will be helpful. First is the ability to re-open a close tab. This works similar to how it does on your web browser when you accidentally close a tab. When re-opening a primary tab, all of the sub-tabs will also re-open. Second is we now have the ability to bookmark or pin tabs. If there is a tab you’re constantly in – you can pin it or bookmark it for easy access.
- Case Feed Highlight – A nice little enhancement to the continually improving Feed within Case Feed. Now, any feed item that is public facing via the Community can be highlighted to make it obvious to anyone looking at the feed. This is an optional setting, but seems like a no-brainer to me.
- Case Assignment Checkboxes – Small fix, but a fix to an incredibly annoying issue. The checkboxes on a Case to force Case assignments and allow end-users to turn the rule on or off are now independent checkboxes. They used to be tied together. A very popular request to fix, so this deserves a another hooray.
Speaking of Assignment Rules, as a side note, we’ve started to release a few free unmanaged packages of Flow components. The first one is a flow component that can force a record into the Assignment Rules for either Cases or Leads at any point. Pretty useful.
Well, that’s it for the new Service Cloud features in Summer 15. Overall, I think this is one of the biggest releases yet for Service Cloud with two very big new features and a lot of strong enhancements to the old favorites. Love to see it. In Part 3 we’ll be covering the Collaboration features which include Communities, Chatter and Work.com. See you then.