If you are an organization that leverages (or is considering leveraging) Salesforce.com’s Service Cloud1 platform to manage your customer service function, here are five best practices for your implementation.

By: Michael Manfredo 

Now that Dreamforce ’14 is officially over (and looking forward to Dreamforce ’15), we can begin to digest the copious amounts of new features, roadmaps, and best practices. One of the key themes prevalent throughout the week was the focus on providing a world-class customer experience through an efficient and engaging customer service function. Salesforce.com continues to invest in its Service Cloud platform, officially rebranded as “Service Cloud1”, to help organizations transform the way in which they service their customers. If you are an organization that leverages (or is considering leveraging) Salesforce.com’s Service Cloud1 platform to manage your customer service function, here are five best practices for your implementation:

1. Define your customer service processes. The underlying message was clear: If you don’t know what your processes are, or they are not clearly defined, any tool you implement will lack user adoption. Defining your processes first allows your organization to take an “outward-in” approach – as in thinking about and fully understanding the experience you will provide when servicing your customers to meet their needs, and not forcing your customers into a box defined inside an organization. These processes should be defined across your organization holistically, where possible, and not segmented by line of business, product, or other natural silo. Your process definition should also include the service channel (e.g. Web, Email, Phone, Social, etc.) of origination and management, the key steps to resolution, and any escalation business rules. This allows your organization to serve any client, regardless of circumstance and preference, in a consistent manner.

2. Include support of omni-channel case management. Customers today expect to engage with your organization through any channel they wish at any time, requiring organizations and their agents to support and manage multiple channels. Leveraging tools such as the Case Feed or newly-announced Intelligent Routing and Presence capabilities within your Service Cloud1 implementation will help your organization achieve this in a single location. The Case Feed allows users to view all activities related to an incident in a single view with indicators of the type of engagement activity that occurred, and allows users switch between multiple channels to engage with a customer in single screen. The intelligent routing functionality allows you to auto-assign cases to your agents based on an agent’s listed expertise, priority of cases, or agent’s presence/ability, reducing the amount of “non-value add time” (or time where cases are sitting idle in a queue).

3. Achieve automation through Entitlements Milestones and Milestone Actions. Once your organization defines its processes, they become much more effective when automated within the tool. The Service Cloud1 platform allows organizations to automate its service processes using Entitlements, including the Milestones and Milestone Actions functionality. Milestones provide organizations the ability to designate certain stages (or milestones) within a service process, and have a case proceed through the defined milestones. During the milestones, certain automated tasks can occur using the Milestone Actions – similar to Salesforce.com’s workflow engine, but specifically tied into a Milestone for an Entitlement. Leveraging this functionality will help your agents work the case through the service process without having to manually facilitate and drive the case to completion, providing a better experience for the agent.

4. Leverage the Service Console to boost agent productivity. The Service Cloud1 platform includes the Service Console, a single unified desktop with a modern user experience aimed at increasing agent productivity. Combined with the Case Feed, the Service Console allows an agent to view all of the necessary and relevant information needed to resolve a customer’s case. Throw in Chatter Publisher Actions, and you have an efficient toolkit at your agents’ disposal.

5. Build a real-time feedback loop for your agents through key metrics and dashboards. As part of your service process definition, it is important to identify the key metrics your organization will use to measure your performance and success servicing your customers. Take advantage of the native Reporting and Dashboards functionality offered through Salesforce.com – along with the recently announced WAVE Analytics Cloud – to track and provide key leading and lagging indicators to help your organization understand and make important business decisions, including First Time Response, Customer Communication Cadence (Activity by Channel), Same Day Resolution, and Average Queue Times. These metrics should be both agent-specific and management-specific to help users understand their own performance, ultimately holding agents accountable.


Salesforce.com’s Service Cloud1 offers a wide array of functionality to help organizations build out successful service centers. These five best practices serve as the primary building blocks to ensure organizations provide a consistent and engaging experience for each and every customer.

For additional information on this topic, please reach out to Michael Manfredo.