How salesforce.

com uses the Service Cloud and Salesforce Chatter
Just like our customers, faces the daily challenge of keeping a growing number of customers happy and productive. It’s a task that changes constantly as customers seek different ways to solve their problems, as new technologies become available, and as the workforce changes. At, we provide follow-the-sun coverage around the world, with more than 800 support reps in 12 locations across the Americas, Europe, Asia, and Australia. Among them, they speak 11 languages. We support more than 87,000 companies and 2 million end users, including both trial users and customers. In addition to basic (standard) support, we currently offer Premier Support, which is a profit center for our company. We also offer developer support and partner support. Abstract
Find out about the programs and processes uses in its support organization.

By Radha Penekelapati Charles Oppenheimer Eric Moore

In this paper, we’ll share information about our programs and processes, which are evolving along with our technologies. All efforts are supported by the functionality of Salesforce CRM as well as a number of partner products. These efforts are aligned with three high-level goals: 1. Engage with customers to proactively provide the information they need before they need to contact the Support organization. 2. When customers do contact us, give them lots of options and make sure they have a great experience. Our case management and escalation management processes are crucial to achieving this goal. 3. Drive accountability with tools and metrics that give visibility at all levels and help us to keep improving our service. To meet these goals, we actively communicate with our customers, try to eliminate known problems quickly, and focus on anticipating and meeting customer needs before they come to the attention of the Support organization.

Engaging proactively with customers
To borrow from the title of the best-selling book The Best Service is No Service, we believe the best support is no support. To keep working toward this goal, we stay in contact with our customers—not with generic communications, but with personalized information about where they are, where they should be, and how to get there. Here are some of the tools in our arsenal:

▪ Self-service portal. Designed as a one-stop

resource, we’re using the knowledge functionality of Salesforce CRM to search across all content areas (developer resources will be included in the future). The content is organized into “gadgets” that can be customized or removed; for example, for the highestrated articles, the user’s reports, and video content. Because the portal can be personalized, customers see only what they want to see, the way they want to see it. In addition, customers can open, edit, and and track cases directly from their home pages or contact Support directly. Administrators can run reports from the portal and export data by type, priority, and status. And because teams can collaborate and contribute to content, content remains fresh.

▪ Early warning system. Because we have the

advantage of knowing what functionality our customers use, we’re able to set up a predictive model that shows which customers are at the greatest risk of attrition. Using more than 100 usage variables, we segment customers into four categories: not using the app (no reliance), using it primarily for data storage, using it to manage their processes, and automating those processes and integrating with back-end systems. This information—along with information about service entitlements—is available on the account record for every customer. We send out monthly personalized account reviews (PARs) to all customers that summarize usage information and make recommendations. For Premier Support customers, the support account specialists use this information for check-in calls and for creating account plans. These plans include milestones associated with a set of deliverables. For each account, we can see at what stage it is and how many milestones were completed.

▪ Red account escalation and root analysis. We use a process

called “red account escalation” as an internal way of responding to customer issues that have the potential of becoming bigger support issues. Any customer-facing employee can start this process by creating a red account object, which triggers an alert to an escalation manager. The escalation manager creates an action plan that rallies the resources necessary to get the customer back on track. Again, everyone involved can see the status of the action plan at any time. While resolving a problem, we analyze the root cause and try to resolve it so the problem won’t reoccur.

The graphic below provides an overview of this process. Note that in all initiatives, our executives participate to remove any organizational obstacles. This is a cross-functional effort across departments, led by the Support organization. In this way, Support plays a key role to actually fix underlying issues, not just in resolving individual cases. Because all information is tracked in the application, everyone has access to it. With the introduction of Chatter, people can follow individual objects (such as trigger alerts or red account objects) to be notified automatically when there are updates to those objects. That capability makes it easy to stay informed; it’s no longer necessary to email everyone with status updates.

Ensuring a great support experience
To evaluate and improve the experience customers have with our organization, we recently reviewed our channels and processes and made several changes. In particular, we revamped the approach to our phone channel and are incorporating the latest social technologies into our mix, supported by Service Cloud technologies.

▪ Improving the phone channel. Because our phone channel represents about 50 percent of our support

▪ Case management. As mentioned, phone

communications, we made a major effort to improve it. In the process, we transformed the phone channel from a cost center into a strategic asset. By moving from a mix of technologies—which made it difficult to do case-based routing—to an on-demand telephony system, we simplified infrastructure and administration. For example, we recently acquired another company and got that company’s reps answering the phone within 2 days. is our biggest channel, followed by cases that come in on the Web, via the customer portal, email, or—increasingly—social media. Regardless of how cases are created, they flow into our skill-based tier-1 agent pool, which consists primarily of outsourced resources. Behind the scenes, Service Cloud technologies such as skills-based routing create queues and views for different skill groups, assignment rules, escalation flows, list views, and so on. Case management is fully integrated into our process. When a case comes in, agents are prompted to search the knowledge base. Once they find a relevant article, they can send directly to the customer. If there isn’t an article that addresses the issue, the agent is prompted to troubleshoot it, contribute new content, and tag it to make it easy to find. To ensure that such content is accurate before it’s published, we have a review and approval process. One big advantage of this approach is that those employees who are most in touch with customers and their issues are actually creating content. For Premier Support customers, the support specialist acts as a quarterback to manage the resolution and possible escalation of the case. workflows and customized layouts for different skills groups. In addition, escalation information is available to other groups with a need to know. For example, a salesperson who wants to up-sell a customer can check cases for that customer to make sure there are no outstanding escalations.

▪ Escalation management. As cases flow through the skills groups and the agent tiers, we use escalation

We also make sure every agent is trained on and embraces Chatter—we replaced all email discussion groups with Chatter. Because many of the agents in tier 1 and 2 are outsourced, it’s important to present a unified “face” of the company to our customers, which Chatter helps us to achieve. Each skill area and associated R&D resources have a Chatter group, which has made agents more efficient and decreased the number of escalations. For example, the screenshot below shows how a tier 1 agent was able to collaborate with a tier 2 agent to solve a case, without having to escalate to tier 3.

For customers, Chatter means cases are closed faster. Agents find their work more interesting and collaborative. Specialists for Premier Support customers can provide more consultative expertise. And because Chatter is extending 1:1 conversations to take advantage of everyone’s expertise, escalations have decreased. The bottom line: Chatter has increased agent productivity and made it easier to bring new agents up to speed. And by involving experts from across the company, Chatter has flattened the escalation management process.

For example, the feed below shows how Audrey, an outsourced Tier 1 agent, had a difficult case she posted to her Chatter skills group. A Tier 2 agent familiar with the quickly responded and worked with Audrey. Before Chatter, Audrey would have escalated to Tier 3; with Chatter, she was able to close the case—and learn more about the issue.

Driving accountability
To reach a goal, you first need to know where you stand and then move in the right direction. With ready-made dashboards and easy reporting, Salesforce CRM makes it simple for service managers to get real-time status updates as well as trends over time. At, we measure bread-andbutter metrics such as customer satisfaction, case volumes, open cases, and productivity. Because our Premier Support offering makes our service organization a profit center, we also closely monitor bookings and renewals. All this information can be sliced and diced based on an offering, skills group, customer, agent, geography, or other criteria. Whenever we’re not hitting the mark, we can drill down to see the details of a particular case or record and review how it was handled. Service organizations that don’t use Salesforce CRM may also have this information, but most don’t have the analytics that bring it all together to make the metrics both accessible and actionable.

Key takeaways
This document described’s customer support organization’s three high-level goals and the four strategies below used to achieve them: 1. Proactive support tactics to anticipate customer needs 2. Support delivery strategies to make it easy for customers to contact us 3. Collaboration strategies to make the most of everyone’s knowledge 4. Measurement and analysis of the results, to make sure everyone knows what’s happening in real time and to ensure accountability

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