Contact Center Solutions Featured Article Rolls in Service Cloud: The Next-Gen Customer Service/Support Solution

January 15, 2009 has lifted customer service, including technical support, literally to the next level, in the cloud. It has rolled in the Service Cloud: which combines live agent voice, e-mail, and chat customer interactions with social networks and communities and with hosted knowledge solutions to provide coherent, effective, and lower cost service and support.
Contact center agents and support reps will use the Service Cloud as a community/social network informal presence tool by quickly reaching out to experts in these communities and sites that will be created, defined, and limited by their organizations. Through these connections, companies will be able to funnel this information directly into their knowledge bases. The Service Cloud ensures that they will have the most up to date support information sourced from community experts.
Built on Salesforce’s the platform, the Service Cloud brings together cloud computing platforms like Google (News - Alert), Facebook, and to capture every conversation and leverage every community expert within them. provides the necessary building blocks to quickly build and run business applications including database, workflow, logic, integration, customization, mobile, and user interface capabilities.
“For the typical calls the agents are just fine, but for the complex, difficult calls, the advantage of the Service Cloud is that it provides a community of experts available to them,” explains Alex Dayon, Senior Vice President, Customer Service and Support Applications.
Taking customer service and support to the cloud also helps (News - Alert) by opening a vast new market for its well-known, popular, and respected hosted CRM solutions. The firm clearly believes that the unique, customer-focused, and cost savings features of The Service Cloud and its ease of implementation will prove popular with existing clientele and draw new ones.
“Customer service and support is the largest segment of CRM,” explains Dayon, who is founder and CEO InStranet, a knowledge base management solutions firm acquired by in August 2008.  “We see that as our next billion dollar opportunity.”
The Service Cloud solution has been developed in response to customer dissatisfaction with poor service and support delivered by organizations. That has led customers to obtaining the answers via their cloud-supporting networks, reports Dayon. says already 50 percent of all service conversations are taking place in the cloud and expects that to climb to over 66 percent.
“The new generation of consumers trust content created by peers,” adds Michael Maoz Vice President and Research Fellow, Gartner (News - Alert). “This consumer expectation that they can create answers and content as part of a community will lead businesses and other organizations to adopt similar techniques to succeed. Ultimately, organizations will have to change their singular emphasis on tools for agents, to a broader strategy that also supports the role of community experts."
The Service Cloud threatens to blow down the traditional and costly support level tiers and escalation processes between them. It rips apart the crumbling old pattern of call avoidance and minimization that have annoyed customers and endangered loyalty.

“Traditionally the focus of customer service and support spending has essentially been about lowering costs by deflecting calls to self-service,” explains Dayon. “There has been some $20 billion spent in technology to lower interaction costs. Yet the other side of the equation is the customer. Has that money spent improved customer satisfaction? The answer is generally been no. Now companies are realizing and struggling how to put the right information to the right channel. The Service Cloud is the answer to that huge problem.”

The Service Cloud can provide equivalent if not superior support at what Salesforce executives would say are ‘significantly lower costs’ than traditional solutions. The cost savings, they agree, may be enough to permit some firms to reintroduce or enhance live agent contact handling.

Products and services that have low pricepoints cannot be supported with live agents. According to The Complete Guide to Customer Support, business-to-business phone-based support requests cost about $33 apiece; the support costs for consumer hardware or software begin at $149 per unit: often exceed the costs of making them. Support can consume about five to 25 percent of corporate revenues.

The Service Cloud packages start at $995 per month, which includes creating a customer community with unlimited usage for up to 250 customers and a contact center with up to five agents. It also permits a connecting with native cloud computing sites like Facebook (News - Alert) and Google and inviting up to 5 partners to participate.

The Service Cloud supplies a framework to community/social network ensuring that the quality of customer service is consistent across every channel. Organizations can define the size, scope, and members of the community that the agents can rely on, rather than on the sometimes wild, wooly Internet with no assurance other than trust if the information is any good.
This feature enables firms to boost their Web marketing strategies. More times than not, says Salesforce, customers begin with a Google search to find answers to their questions. By creating an active online community with the Service Cloud, companies can ensure that their site is one of the top results returned in a customer's search. It is through the power of sites that the expert knowledge of the community is made available in search engine results.
The Service Cloud is customer-friendly. Companies can easily set-up and maintain an interactive cloud community for their customers by leveraging Salesforce CRM Ideas and Sites as building blocks.
The platform enables the Service Cloud to connect to leading social networking sites such as Facebook, community forums, and blogs. Using the Service Cloud, companies can also share all of the information in the knowledge bases quickly and easily with their partners. easily and securely connects separate Salesforce CRM deployments, allowing companies to share cases, contacts, and company information, without the need for complex integration software.
“The Service Cloud is the first customer service solution that empowers companies to join and manage all service conversations happening in the cloud," says chair and CEO Marc Benioff (News - Alert). “This has been made possible through the emergence of native cloud computing platforms like that are built to harness the power of other clouds like Facebook, Google, and”

Brendan B. Read is TMCnet�s Senior Contributing Editor. To read more of Brendan�s articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Stefania Viscusi

Article comments powered by Disqus

Related Contact Center Solutions Articles

Ytel Picks VoiceBase for Cloud Contact Center Speech Analytics Enhancement

It is no secret that contact centers are now intensely interested in Big Data and sophisticated analytics to improve operational efficiency, effectiveness and the customer experience. Let's face it, knowing who is saying what, when, where, why and with what result is extremely valuable. In fact, it is this need to know that has driven large volume contact centers to increasingly look to sophisticated speech analytics to give them the business intelligence they desire not just about customer inte… [ Read More ]

Carrier iQ Showcases New Capabilities at 2015 Mobile World Congress

Carrier iQ adds three enhancements for obtaining actionable business intelligence from mobile devices. [ Read More ]

Plantronics' DA80 Makes Customer Service Centers Smarter

The moniker smart is now attached to phones, TVs, homes and even cars. As the size of computer processors get even smaller, more products will be embedded with the technology to make them smarter to deliver improved efficiency and productivity for many different industries. For contact centers, the goal is to always improve customer service, and then new Plantronics next-generation USB audio processor not only increases the effectiveness of service center operations, but it makes customer intera… [ Read More ]

Contact Solutions Launches Adaptive IVR that Learns from Caller Behavior

We are all familiar with Interactive Voice Response (IVR) systems as the first thing we typically encounter when calling a contact center. The fact of the matter is that today's IVR capabilities can do a lot more than just give us options for directing calls to the appropriate resources. They are in fact valuable tools for contact center administrators in terms of improving the customer experience. In fact, as illustrated by the recent announcement by Reston, VA-based cloud-based customer care s… [ Read More ]


Weekly Live Demo
Contact Center Solutions

Register Today!

Weekly Live Demo
CaaS Small Center

Register Today!