What is most valuable?
I would say that Omni Channel, which was launched with the Spring ’15 release, is the most valuable feature for me. It’s a way of distributing workload coming in from different channels, cases, leads, chats, and calls.
First of all, it distributes them, saving our end-users on several clicks and searches to get a new record to work on. It’s great for departments used to working with queues and as an administrator, you can also leverage the power of Omni Channel to eliminate the picking of easy work records.
As you may or may not know, when you have cases waiting in a queue, end-users have to accept the records one-by-one to work on them and, sadly, there are users who look at some details first to determine if it’s going to be an easy case or a complex case before taking them out of the queue, leaving the difficult case which take a lot of time to resolve in the queue.
Distributing them automatically and evenly between users through Omni Channel ensures that everybody performs at their best and improves their productivity!
How has it helped my organization?
Because we can give a specific weight on records like cases or leads, we can ensure that every end-user receives an even amount of work to digest per day. You can even assign skills to your users so that nobody receives something they would not be able to solve because they are too new to our company or because they just haven’t learned about a product or service yet.
Another skill you could add is language. As we are an international company, our customers can reach us in three languages (Dutch, French and German), so making sure that customer questions are routed to a user with the correct language skill automatically eliminates endless dispatching from user to another user because they don't know the language.
What needs improvement?
It would be nice if there were several components to download from the app-exchange, like building blocks that we would just plug into the console. As previously stated, the out-of-the-box console looks nice and has some powerful standard functionality, but is nothing like you see in demos. It would be great If there was a package containing some custom console components to put in the sidebars or to tweak it more easily.
To give a simple example: the standard related lists components that you put in the sidebar contain a first column called action with an edit/delete link. In a sidebar, this takes up a lot of valuable space and for me. Those links were not necessary in the sidebar, so I would have liked to be able to disable those or something (but not by taking the edit/delete rights away of the user profile). So we had to build some Visualforce custom component to replicate the exact same functionality but without that first column.
It seems something small, but one of the great powers of the Service Cloud console is to have a lot of information in one screen, so screen space is valuable.
For how long have I used the solution?
We started implementing the Salesforce Service Cloud and Console for our telesales department about six months ago because we needed a way to streamline the workload for outbound calling and handling incoming web requests and wanted to also implement the Salesforce Live Agent on our webshop. Since Salesforce just launched Omni Channel, we decided this would be a great way to do all these things.
What was my experience with deployment of the solution?
Not really, as it’s really easy to follow the implementation guide and watch some tutorials to get it up in running on your sandbox and it’s really flexible so you can model the console to your needs (although you’ll need a developer to create some custom components to get it just the way you want it).
What do I think about the stability of the solution?
There were no stability issues.
What do I think about the scalability of the solution?
There have been no issues scaling it.
How are customer service and technical support?
If you’ve worked with Salesforce products for a couple of years, as I have, you just know that Salesforce provides top-notch customer service! They want to be the best and as a customer you can feel that.
On top of lots of helpful resources like workbooks, implementation guides and instructional videos, you also have access to Salesforce Success Community. It’s full of peers and has groups focused on specific features and products like the Service Cloud. I would recommend to everybody when implementing a new feature and is getting stuck on something to post his/her question in the Success Community. It’s most likely somebody had that same question or problem before and the community is so active that you are likely to be getting an answer to your problem within a few minutes/hours.
If that fails, you can always submit a case with Salesforce support and grant them access to your organization so they can help you in a timely fashion.
Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?
All our users have had a Sales Cloud license and we already worked with queues, but converting the Sales Cloud license to a Service Cloud license for that specific department so that we could integrate Omni Channel and Live Agent was a good choice.
The biggest driver to do the switch was because of the fact we used another Chat provider on our website and the business came with the requirement to implement the chat transcripts in Salesforce. We had two choices: create an integration with Salesforce (which would have required some developers and custom development), or replace the chat function to Live Agent which is automatically integrated in Salesforce and the Service Cloud. It would eliminate the cost of an extra provider, save us money on custom development for integration, and has much more flexibility and scalability towards the future.
The choice was easily made.
How was the initial setup?
I would say that for a beginning administrator it could seem somewhat complex, but there are a lot of resources to help you with initial setup, like the implementation guide and the Service Cloud workbook. Of course everything about every feature in Salesforce is described in great detail on their help and training portal.
For a more experienced administrator, it’s pretty straightforward, although working with custom components can seem overwhelming. You’ll need some programmatic knowledge to get the look and feel just the way you want. Certainly now you’ll need the Lightning Design System to make you Visualforce Components look like native components in the console.
But, hey, that’s why we love working with Salesforce I guess. It would get a bit boring for an administrator if you already knew everything and had nothing new to learn, isn’t it? ;-)
With Salesforce you never stop learning. There is always some new feature or functionality that provides a solution to your use case that you didn’t know about.
What about the implementation team?
We planned and designed the functionality we needed ourselves. We also did most of the configuration and implementation ourselves, but we worked with a consulting partner to create some customized components for the console and to modify the Live Agent Customer Facing chat window style.
What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?
I can’t talk a lot about pricing because that depends on your contract negotiation with Salesforce, number of licenses/users you have, and what features your organization uses.
But in our case the price of a Service Cloud license wasn't a lot different as the Sales Cloud license, and as all our users had a Salesforce Sales Cloud license we just swapped some licenses for a Service Cloud license. But by doing that, we eliminated the extra cost and need of a secondary provider for the live chat function, we could use the Omni Channel feature to automatically manage and distribute the workload saving our agents time and making them more productive.
I would say it was well worth the change!
What other advice do I have?
We are still in the beginning of using some of the features provided through the Salesforce Service Cloud. But from what I can see and the ease and speed with which we have implemented the features that we are using at this time, I guess it loses a point because the demos we see on world tours have a lot of customization in them and are not at all out-of-the-box. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a really nice product with lots of out-of-the-box functionality, but to create a console like you see in demos you have to customize lots of stuff too.
Before you begin to sit down with your users to see how they work today, determine which information they consult from other records because when developing the Console View this is where you can make a difference! Creating some custom components with just that information from other records that they would normally click through links to get is the information you’ll want to create a component for. They will have all that information on the same screen when opening a record and they will save time not having to click and navigate to get the info. Creating an optimal view for your users is where one of the powers of the Service Cloud lays!
Consider investing in a consulting firm to create some custom components to get this done if you don’t have the in-house expertise. It’s really worth it. When using Omni Channel, think about the different skills you would create and give your agents so you can distribute the workload correctly.