Monday, January 2, 2012

Salesforce for Customer Support

I work for a company that designs and manufactures solar powered lighting products. My company has been using Salesforce for three years but I wasn't that involved with this software until about a year ago. After some company restructuring I was thrust into the position of Salesforce administrator. Our first objective was to improve our customer relations. At the time we had a poor reputation for handling issues. Not at all the fault of my co-workers but simply because we had no cohesive system that ensured all issues were given the proper attention.

I'm a software architect, designer and developer with experience managing a customer relation management system. So I knew that we needed to capture every email correspondence both incoming and outgoing in one central location. This allows a team of support staff to work together in a mutually supportive manner. It allows staff to cross-train each other and this lets people take holidays and to advance into new opportunities; without sacrificing consistency.

The central location also becomes a valuable source of solutions. Technical problems rarely happen just once. But it is very inefficient to solve them over and over again. With a central repository it should be possible to locate problems quickly. If you ask Salesforce about this they will promote Solutions or Knowledge Base. Either or both are likely good but they do not help with the initial research. Before you can say that one needs a Solution or KB Article one needs to know that a problem exists and is worth writing about. To get this initial information we need to be able to search how our staff (our experts) solved end-customers real problems.

Salesforce Email-to-Case

It was remarkably easy to set up a system to manage customer issues (Cases) with Email-to-Case. I'd like to write about the customization made last year but my current interest is the new extensions that I'll add over the next week or so.

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