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Learn About Outbound Messaging

Learning Objectives

After completing this unit, you’ll be able to:

  • Explain outbound messaging and proactive service.
  • List the benefits and prerequisites of outbound messaging.

What Is Outbound Messaging?

Sita Nagappan-Alvarez, the CEO of Ursa Major Solar, is thrilled that her solar panel company is engaging with customers digitally. Instead of only supporting customers over voice and email channels, service agents can respond to cases and questions with chatbots, web chat, social media, online communities, SMS messaging, and more. But as usual, Sita wants to improve her team’s service delivery. She understands that service is a business asset. The better Ursa Major Solar is at delivering incredible customer service, the more of an edge they’ll have over their competitors.

Enter proactive service. It’s a term Sita has been reading a lot about lately. Proactive service means that instead of waiting for customers to reach out with problems, you can preempt complaints by reaching out to customers first. This lets you proactively, as the term suggests, handle issues before customers feel the need to get in touch.

Sita asks her rockstar admin, Maria Jimenez, which Service Cloud features can help them deliver better proactive service. Maria narrows down the options to outbound messaging, especially since she read on the Salesforce blog that it has the potential to save 50% over the cost of using voice calls.

Sita and Maria standing alongside the Ursa Major Solar logo with a mobile phone.

Outbound messaging lets your customers stay engaged and informed in ways that are most convenient for them—on their mobile devices using a phone number or messaging apps, such as SMS text messaging, Facebook Messenger, and WhatsApp. 

There are two types of outbound messaging:

Messaging Type
Description
Examples
Outbound
An agent initiates a conversation with a customer. Outbound messages are ideal for proactively engaging with a customer to either resolve an issue, follow up to a previous question, or as a check-in to strengthen the overall relationship.
  • Agent follow up to an existing case or customer question
  • Account rep connection with their customer
  • Sales order follow up
  • Shipping error resolution
  • Appointment rescheduling

Triggered
A process or workflow that automatically sends a message to a customer’s preferred mobile messaging app based on changes to their customer record.
  • Shipping update
  • Purchase confirmation
  • Payment received
  • Appointment confirmation or reminder
  • Security alerts like identity verifications or password resets
  • Order status or where is my order (WISMO) updates
  • Bill payment reminders
  • Surveys or feedback

While we’re talking about messaging, it’s important to differentiate messaging from a chat session. Messaging happens over third-party channels like WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, or SMS, whereas chat is a window that pops up on a desktop or mobile web browser for customer service conversations. Messaging is an asynchronous channel, meaning communication doesn’t have to happen at the same time. Rather than waiting for an immediate response, a user can send a message and continue on with their day. Chat, on the other hand, is synchronous, meaning that communication happens at the same time, or is in sync. 

Note

Note

Before using messaging, make sure to follow carrier compliance requirements, industry standards, and applicable laws. For US compliance, consumers need to provide explicit consent to engage in a conversation on short codes. Short codes are phone numbers with five or six digits, such as 549-362 where customers can give a company permission, or opt in, to receive a message.


SMS messages are subject to carrier filtering and may not be delivered if they break country or network specific rules, or if they’re flagged as spam. To avoid filtering, make sure that your messages follow the guidelines of the country that you’re sending them in. For more information, see the Messaging Data Protection and Customer Privacy article in Salesforce Help.

For sending large volumes of one-way communications, short codes or toll-free numbers (US only) are great options. To see how outbound messaging and short codes work, watch this video (2:06 minutes). 

Sita is impressed with the capabilities of outbound messaging, and she asks Maria to explain some of its additional benefits.  

Benefits of Outbound Messaging

Just like other channels, messaging appears in the Service Console so that agents have a 360-degree view of each customer and their service interactions. The console is a virtual help desk that lets anyone on your service team, or anyone at your company, see a personalized view of each customer and their cases.

A Service console with messaging displayed.

Along with the benefit of agents being able to communicate across many different channels with customers simultaneously, messaging includes these perks.

Benefit
Description
Help anytime from any app.
Connect agents to your customers at any time—and across international markets—through mobile messaging apps. Use customers’ preferred messaging channels, like SMS text messaging, Facebook Messenger, and WhatsApp.
Proactively keep customers informed.
Send customers updates or notifications without them having to reach out to your agents for help or information. Avoid or deflect cases by sending outbound messages to customers based on CRM field changes on their records.
Messaging in one place.
Have instant access to all the customer information you need to address customers within the console. Agents can quickly start outbound conversations from customers’ lead, case, contact, person account, or opportunity records.
Automate service with simple conversations.
Add Einstein Bots to SMS text messaging and WhatsApp conversations to automate routine tasks and satisfy high customer demands. Off-load simple, common questions to chatbots so that agents can resolve more complex cases.

Sita is impressed with what she has learned about outbound messaging. She asks Maria what it takes to get started with an implementation.

Prerequisites for Outbound Messaging 

Maria mentions that there are many ways to set up outbound messaging. An implementation depends on what you want messaging to do and which apps you want to use.

Maria compares setting up messaging to buying a kitchen sink. When you walk down the store’s kitchen sink aisle, you see all kinds of different sinks with different sizes and styles. Regardless of the sink you choose, you still have to have some fundamental items in place, such as pipes and water, in order for the sink to work. The same goes for messaging; these are the prerequisites you need to consider before you begin.

  • A Salesforce org with Service Cloud or Sales Cloud and the Digital Engagement add-on: This gives your org and users access to messaging capabilities.
  • Omni-Channel: Messages are automatically routed to agents who are logged in to the Omni-Channel utility in the console. Customer responses go directly to the agent who initiates an outbound message when logged in or to an available agent logged in to Omni-Channel. Outbound messages do not count toward your Omni-Channel capacity.
  • Customers must give their consent to receive messages. All channels have slightly different methods for giving a business consent. For example, with short codes, agents can initiate outbound messages after short codes are set up and a customer sends a message to the short code explicitly agreeing or opting-in to two-way communications on their mobile devices. Customers can opt-out when they choose.
  • Messaging user fields: Outbound and inbound messages create Messaging User records to which you can add or remove specific fields. Default fields include each customer’s name, phone number or Facebook name, and opt-out status.
  • Messaging templates: Create messaging templates to add content for an automated message notification. Use the Process Builder or Flow Builder to define processes that automatically send messaging templates to customers when certain conditions are met, such as when their cases are closed.

Maria mentions that these prerequisites may sound like a lot, but if Ursa Major Solar implements messaging with a guided setup flow, most of the items are easy to take care of.

Sita is excited to add outbound messaging to Ursa Major Solar’s support tools. She asks Maria what they need to do next. The answer: Plan for outbound messaging.

Resources