On the most recent earnings call for Salesforce.com, CEO Marc Benioff touted growing adoption of the company's Service Cloud and Analytics Cloud, the latter of which is the fastest-growing product in the company's history, Benioff said.
Not surprisingly Salesforce is rolling out updates to both products. Just a few weeks after introducing new features for the Analytics Cloud, Salesforce is launching the Service Cloud Intelligence Engine, an improvement it promises will improve customer service in several ways.
First, said Sarah Patterson, VP of Marketing, Service Cloud, the engine utilizes data science to automate agent workflow. Instead of customer service agents logging onto their desktop console, seeing a list of cases that require attention and choosing which ones to respond to first -- perhaps assisted by a manager manually pushing cases to particular agents -- the engine determines which cases should go to which agent, based on factors including the agent's skill set, their case history and current workload.
"The intelligence engine looks at a case, and it can see whether an agent has previously assisted that customer or whether he has the right skill set to do so," Patterson said. "It pushes the work to the agent in real-time. We are switching from a pull model to a push model."
Examples offered by Salesforce include routing cases from VIP customers to top agents or sending potential sales leads to agents with proven success in converting leads to sales.
Omni-channel Customer Service
The engine also helps companies provide better omni-channel support by automatically distributing cases to agents based on their expertise to handle specific types of cases, as well as their caseloads. So, for example, Service Cloud will suspend pushing cases to an agent if they're on a video chat or factor in how much to decrease the workload for an agent who will soon be on break and unavailable.
In addition, Patterson said, the engine offers agents a complete view of a customer across all channels. If a customer opens a case with a tweet on Twitter, but then follows up with an email or a phone call, the agent will view the entire case history so a customer does not have to re-identify himself or rehash the problem. A customer with an open email case who requests a video chat will automatically be routed to the same agent working on the email case.
"We preserve the customer context and conversation across channels," Patterson said.
Because the Service Cloud Integrates with all of Salesforce's other products, both customer and agent records reflect activities in other Salesforce systems. This is a significant competitive differentiator, said Michael Ramsey, VP Service Cloud Product Management.
"Not only are we providing multi-channel capability and the ability to push work to the best available resource for customer interaction in real-time, we also understand all the operational data associated with it, from any channel or any business process," he said.
Customers already using the Salesforce Service Cloud include Activision, Eurostar, HP and The Container Store Group
Service Cloud Intelligence Engine will be generally available later this year, with pricing announced at the time of general availability, according to the company. Service Cloud pricing starts at $135 per user, per month.