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Engage with Your Customers

Learning Objectives

After completing this unit, you’ll be able to:
  • Describe some typical use cases for a customer community.
  • Define measurable goals for a customer community.
  • Define which Service Cloud features can be used to improve your company’s customer service.

Use Community Cloud to Engage with Customers

You’re interested in creating a community for your customers. Why? Because a customer community:

  • Lets customers share experiences and expertise with other customers
  • Provides customers access to their data (accounts, service tickets, bills, and so on)
  • Supports customers as they make purchasing decisions
  • Gives customers a one-stop-shop for finding information about your company and products

Let’s look at some customer support via a community in action.

Lira Financial is a software company based in Boulder, Colorado. Lira makes cloud-based accounting software for both individuals and businesses. Around 25,000 customers worldwide use Lira’s products.

Individual clients use Lira to create budgets, track bills, and do their taxes. Business clients use Lira to calculate sales tax, do online accounting, manage their payrolls, and more. Sarayu Jain, the head of IT, has been looking to upgrade the company’s internal- and external-facing digital experiences. She’s chosen Salesforce and Community Cloud to meet her goals. With Community Cloud, Lira Financial can create multiple communities in their Salesforce org, so they can tailor experiences for individual and business customers.

Jasper Hare, the company’s VP of service, wants each client, whether an individual or a business, to have their own space in the company website. There they can maintain their account, post questions to a user forum, view knowledge articles, and if need be, open cases with support.

Jasper works with Sarayu and Alessandra Pesola, the community manager, to come up with specific goals for Lira’s customer community. As the three of them brainstorm, they realize that there’s a different list of goals for each type of customer. They actually need two distinct communities. Luckily, Community Cloud makes that easy.

Lira’s Individual Client Customer Support Community Lira’s Business Client Customer Support Community
  • Enable peer-to-peer interactions, with the aim of deflecting cases away from support
  • Let customers create cases online when needed
  • Expose Lira’s knowledge base to customers
  • Give access on mobile devices
  • Give access to their account information for easy updates
  • Enable businesses to manage their orders
  • Review monthly statements
  • Let customers create cases online when necessary
  • Expose Lira’s knowledge base to customers
  • Give access on mobile devices

Integrate with Service Cloud Features

We’ve already mentioned one of the biggest benefits of building your community on the Salesforce platform: You’re building your community on the Salesforce platform. Being on the platform means that you can integrate various Salesforce features seamlessly into your community.

Let’s see how a few Service Cloud features can really make Lira Financial’s customer service pop.

First off, Lira can now easily expose its Salesforce Knowledge articles outside its internal org. A few clicks in the Community Builder are all it takes for customers to access helpful articles about Lira products and support. What if customers don’t find what they need in an article? Well, they can easily ask a question (powered on the back end by Chatter), or file a case directly from the community.

Salesforce Knowledge in community

All the cases filed in the community show up in Salesforce—which means they can be tracked and reported on. How’s this reporting helpful? Well, every year, just before U.S. taxes are due, Lira sees a significant increase in cases about calculating deductions. Based on this increase, Lira’s product teams decide to publish a video showing how customers can figure out their deductions, and where to enter that information. The number of cases about deductions drops.

Lira Financial then decides to add live chat capabilities to its communities with the Embedded Chat component in Community Builder. When a client, Veronica Sigismondo, has a problem, she just clicks the pop-up that offers help. Veronica starts chatting with a Lira support agent, James McGuire.

James, on his end, is using the Service Console, where he see Veronica’s information in one glance. James notices that Veronica has been a Lira business customer for 6 years, and in that time she’s opened three cases. All her cases have to do with calculating sales tax for her specialty knit hats.

James helps Veronica resolve the case quickly (her company has to ship goods to Oregon, which doesn’t have a state sales tax). At the same time, he offers her a deal on a new Lira sales tax wizard, which takes the guesswork out of a complicated process. Veronica doesn’t commit to buying, but James can tell that she’s thinking about it. He enters a note in her account for the Lira sales team to follow up with her soon, just to see if her piqued interest actually amounts to a new sale.

Measure the Return on Your Community Investment

How can Sarayu know if Lira’s communities are worth the time and money the company plans to invest in them? She decides to meet again with Jasper and Alessandra to understand how they want to measure success. As the guy who has to manage customer relations, Jasper is keen on keeping both individual and business clients happy.

He’s looking at the following numbers, gathered before and after the implementation of the community.

  • Number of cases deflected because of the community
  • Time spent by a support agent on each case
  • Customer satisfaction
  • Net promoter score (NPS)

When all these numbers come together, the Lira communities team can look at overall trends. Are there fewer support cases? Are support costs decreasing? After a few months, Sarayu, Jasper, and Alessandra reconvene and discover that both individual and business customer communities are having an amazing impact. No one is surprised, but everyone is delighted.

Community score card dashboard

Sarayu is happy because she’s using one system to connect her business processes to external customers.

Jasper is over the moon because the cost of closing a case decreased from $55 a pop (for a phone case) to less than 50 cents for an online interaction.

And Alessandra is pleased that group engagement levels are increasing at a steady clip, and folks are helping each other out with difficult questions.