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Choose a Community Type and Template

Learning Objectives

After completing this unit, you’ll be able to:
  • List the main use cases for a partner, customer, and employee community.
  • Describe the difference between the Customer Service template and the Salesforce Tabs + Visualforce template.
  • Identify highlights of the Customer Service template.

Determine How Your Business Can Benefit from Communities

Now that you’re familiar with the framework and licensing, let’s switch gears and discuss which community use case your company can best identify with. While you can use the Community Cloud in multiple ways, we’re going to focus on three use cases:
  • Connecting with customers
  • Driving sales with partners
  • Interacting with employees

When considering use cases, it’s helpful to keep both sides of the coin in mind. Sketch out potential interactions between a community member and someone from the company.

Let’s meet three people who can illustrate these use cases.

Regina

Regina is a marathon runner who, after a particularly nasty bout of plantar fasciitis, has decided to start running again. (Go Regina!) She’s retired her old shoes and is now in the market for a new pair. Regina wants to know what other athletes and customers think of Cloud Kicks before purchasing. Here’s what Regina wants from her community experience:
  • Articles and videos about pronation
  • Live chat with a rep about shoe arches and width
  • eCommerce site to buy the shoes she wants
  • Order and shipment details after purchasing the shoes
  • Contact with customer service if she’s not happy with her purchase
  • Interaction with other runners with plantar fasciitis for tips and advice
Here’s what Cloud Kicks wants out of Regina’s interaction with the community:
  • A new shoe purchaser
  • Feedback regarding products and messaging, especially for shoes most suited to plantar fasciitis
  • No costly calls to customer service

Katie

Katie is the VP of Sales at Cloud Kicks, working to increase channel sales. She wants to keep her partner sales teams knowledgeable on products, keeping them updated whenever changes occur. Here’s what Katie wants from her community experience:
  • Constant updates to products and marketing materials
  • Fast onboarding of partner sales teams
  • Co-marketing campaigns
  • Tracking leads and opportunities
  • Analyzing partner sales performance through dashboards
Here’s what outsourced sales partners want out of interaction with the community:
  • Converting leads and closing opportunities
  • Access to the latest marketing materials from Cloud Kicks’s marketers
  • Inventory management
  • Friendly ears to discuss sales strategies in an ever-evolving market

Michael

Our last superstar is Michael, who markets Cloud Kicks products to the world. As Cloud Kicks’s marketing guru, Michael uses the employee community to follow company news and work on new product line development, which involves cross-functional team and cross-department collaboration. Here’s what Michael wants from his community experience:

  • A more cohesive work environment with teammates scattered across the globe
  • Collaboration with people in research, development, and manufacturing
  • Access to training materials
  • Answers to common questions about HR, like health benefits and tax forms
Here’s what Cloud Kicks wants out of Michael’s interaction with the community:
  • Fewer easily-answered questions escalated to HR
  • Happier employees
  • Faster onboarding for new employees
  • A safe space to discuss work issues

Erica is busy setting up a community to meet the needs of Regina, Katie, and Michael. Here are the short-term goals she’s trying to achieve.

User Cloud Kicks Goal Metric Action
Regina Avoid costly calls to customer support Measure call deflection Create articles based on common search terms in the community
Katie Ask each partner reseller to post an FAQ that lists contacts at their organization and covers the nature of their partnership with Cloud Kicks Check the FAQ for each partner and make sure that it’s publicly available Ensure that the liaison for each company approves the draft and final FAQ by a certain deadline
Michael Ensure marketing efforts are consistent with innovation and product roadmap Track all newly modified products and unlaunched shoes for the upcoming financial year Engage with all teams working on new product lines and make sure marketing budget allocations are aligned

Keeping track of goals ahead of time helps you steer your community in the right direction and make sure that it’s on course.

To Code or Not to Code

You’re now ready to build a community, and you know which use case to target. You have a few options of how to approach this.

Let’s take Regina’s use case. Based on the business requirements of the communities that Erica wants to build, her choices come down to Salesforce Tabs + Visualforce or the Customer Service template. How do the two stack up?

  • The Salesforce Tabs + Visualforce template uses the classic Salesforce user interface, unless you choose to change it with Visualforce pages and developer resources.
  • With a preconfigured template, like Customer Service, you can create a community with a rich and responsive UI, themes, and styling options built into Community Builder.

Erica’s a list person, so she made a handy table to figure out how the options compare.

Table 1. Salesforce Tabs + Visualforce
Pros Cons
Some theming options available out-of-the-box for tabs Visualforce is the preferred approach for better customization, yet Visualforce requires coding capability
Support for all sales, service, marketing, and platform features Requires some knowledge of the Lightning Platform
Majority of Lightning Platform capabilities

That brings her to the Customer Service template.

Selecting this preconfigured template when creating a community means that Erica uses the user interface of Community Builder.

Table 2. Customer Service
Pros Cons
Pre-built components for core features (Chatter, objects, reports, dashboards) Not all features have pre-built components
Drag-and-drop Community Builder UI great for non-coders
Page variations and themes
Page-specific access
Search-engine optimization
Responsive design

Benefits of the Customer Service Template

Erica doesn’t have many developers on hand who can help her out. She wants to maximize customization with minimal technical resources, or at most, with the help of Linda, the Salesforce admin. After weighing the pros and cons of both options, she selects the Customer Service template and isn’t disappointed. The Customer Service template gives Cloud Kicks lots of customization options with clicks rather than code.

Here’s what sold Erica on the Customer Service template.

  • Point-and click-customizations with Community Builder
  • Collaboration
  • Autocomplete search
  • Self-resolution of cases through knowledge and case creation
  • Sharing Salesforce records, with all the security checks in place, of course
  • Recommendations
  • Profile-based access
  • Topics and topic email notifications
  • Gamification
  • Rules to weed out trolls and bots