Technology is now the greatest change agent and the driving force for companies in today’s connected and digital world. The rise and convergence of many new and emerging technologies has changed the way how customers, partners and employees communicate, engage and collaborate at work. In the age of the customer, companies don’t decide how customer-centric their organizations need to be, customers drive and decide on that. Providing great customer engagement and experience is a key differentiator for companies and will drive customer loyalty and satisfaction.

Companies are facing a critical inflection point as these trends are empowering customers, influencing their expectations and creating new & disruptive business models. In order to become leaders in this connected and digital world, companies will need to leverage the right technologies and solutions, connect and engage with their customers, partners and employees in new ways. This will help them to become customer centric organizations.

Forrester recently published a report on the top trends of 2015 on the future of customer service, and they are right on target. Salesforce’s product and solutions are well aligned to meet these trends. Following are some high-level insights on how you can leverage Salesforce’s products and solutions to meet these trends in the lens of 4 critical P’s - to get maximum value, become closer to the customer and transform into customer centric organizations.

Pain Free (P)  – Deliver Pain Free Customer Service & Engagement

Customers are looking for a continued, integrated, effortless and seamless experience across all touch points, interactions and devices, especially in the self-service and mobile support channels. To meet these expectations, companies need to streamline the customer engagement process to deliver the quality support, right information to answer customer questions at the right time & moment of need in the customer’s journey. 

Proactive & Pre-Emptive (P) – Deliver Proactive & Pre-emptive Customer Service & Engagement

Customers are looking for proactive engagement & service in terms of best offers, product recommendations, next best actions based on their profile, past interactions and purchases etc. Customer support organizations will need to provide automated proactive and pre-emptive engagement and support driven customer, sales and marketing data. They will also need to gather necessary business insights and continuously improve customer support & engagement processes to drive operational performance improvement and predict the customer’s future behavior and needs.

Personalized (P) – Deliver Personalized & Guided Customer Service & Engagement

Customer support organizations need to extend personalized and guided customer service to the next level by delivering the right experience and engagement to the right customer and connect to the right support agent. To meet these needs, companies need to leverage the power of customer and support data, past interactions, lifetime value and analyze the data in real-time. This will also help customer support management & executives to make better business decisions.

Productive (P) – Drive Productive and Optimized Customer Service & Engagement

Customer support organizations need to provide differentiated experiences across all channels. They need to deliver this in a cost efficient & effective manner. To meet this, they need to empower their support agents with modern & robust customer engagement tools that provides them with a full 360 degree view of their customers, including sales & marketing data, guided support tools, automated scripts, discover expertise and information quickly and easily, effortless experience to access info from other systems.

Following figure shows a snapshot of how Salesforce can be leveraged to meet the above 4 P's and trends.



Key to Success 

  • Review customer support organization’s top goals and objectives.
  • Identify the right customer support efficiency and effectiveness metrics to measure and monitor success
    • Agent performance & productivity metrics (Cost of service)
    • Service operations metrics (Conversion ratio, cross-sell/upsell, no of product upgrades)
    • Customer experience metrics (NPS, effort score, lifetime value, retention, likelihood to recommend, reluctance to switch brands)
  • Review the current customer journey and experience across all touch points, interactions and channels (including voice of customer, user research).
  • Review the pain points and challenges across the customer journey.
  • Identify the opportunities and use cases for improvement that addresses the pain points/challenges and aligns to the goals, objectives & metrics.
  • Design the next generation future state vision for customer journey, engagement & experience.
  • Measure, monitor and continuously improve the customer engagement & support processes.

Key to Customer Engagement & Support Success - Integrated Customer & Internal Community Networks


About the Author

FKarthik Chakkarapani is currently a Director in the Salesforce Services Cloud Practice team at Salesforce. Chakkarapani is an accomplished leader with 15 plus years of experience in technology strategy, transformation and enterprise architecture consulting across many industries. Chakkarapani has expertise in driving digital, social and customer-centric transformation leveraging Salesforce products, solutions and other emerging technologies. Chakkarapani is a Salesforce Certified Technical Architect (CTA) and also certified in Social Business Strategy, Design Thinking, Lean Six Sigma Black Belt, ITIL and KCS. Chakkarpani leads the Dreamforce Emerging Trends track.