customer service agents abstracted

Discover Salesforce’s recipe for customer success

Slack energises enterprise service agents with faster collaboration, knowledge sharing and more

By the team at Slack26th October 2023Illustration by Abbey Lossing

Salesforce is dedicated to creating easy and expert customer experiences. To meet customer expectations and maintain customer loyalty, its customer service teams must provide fast and frictionless experiences.

The traditional support model of transferring difficult tasks up the chain from agent to agent doesn’t cut it any more. In fact, 82% of customers expect to solve complex problems by talking to a single person, according to Salesforce’s State of the Connected Customer report.

Supercharged with Service Cloud, Slack allows Salesforce agents to swarm on cases and speed up case resolution time. It also helps to empower service agents with critical knowledge, quickly onboard new agents and solve customer issues faster to drive top-tier service in a competitive landscape.

Jim Roth headshot 2023

‘For complex issues, adding more support agents doesn’t always solve the problem faster. To gain speed, you need better processes and tools like Slack that enable rapid collaboration.’

Jim RothPresident of Customer Success, Salesforce

Empower agents with critical knowledge at their fingertips

When her team needs to access information for project plans or meeting notes, Tamara Carpenter, Salesforce’s Director of Customer Experience, leans on Slack.

Carpenter shares content with colleagues in channels using features such as canvas and threads to provide related, contextual information that everyone needs to collaborate and work more effectively. The best thing about using channels is that they are highly searchable, allowing colleagues to quickly access information.

‘I like the add-on nature of Slack, in the sense that you don’t have these email threads that go on forever,’ Carpenter says. ‘From a communication perspective, there are aspects of Slack that are a lot more efficient, especially when you need to keep many people in the loop over time.’

Tamara Carpenter

‘After we implemented swarming, our experts resolved cases that had been open for 90-plus days.’

Tamara CarpenterDirector of Customer Experience, Salesforce

Help new agents get up to speed faster with a shortened onboarding process

Too often, companies need more tools and platforms to onboard effectively. Disconnected and non-centralised training systems make it challenging for agents to quickly get up to speed, which lowers productivity and job satisfaction. Using Slack as an intelligent productivity platform to centralise knowledge for new agents – such as training resources and workflows reminding new hires to complete their onboarding checklist – offers new employees easy, searchable access to information and their colleagues without switching tools.

Onboarding experiences created with Slack’s no-code automation tool Workflow Builder can lower ramp-up time and increase new agent confidence and satisfaction by automating routine and repetitive tasks. For example, workflows set up with onboarding objectives can give hiring managers full visibility into how agents are progressing and where they might need additional support.

Resolve issues faster by replacing a tiered customer service model with swarming

A traditional, tiered case management model requires multiple points of contact and escalations, creating slower time to issue resolution and low customer satisfaction scores. Additionally, clients are constantly being moved to the back of the queue, leading to wasted time and lost resolution context.

With a swarming model, a single agent retains ownership of the original case from start to finish. Agents solicit input internally from others as needed to resolve issues, bringing in a breadth of expertise from across the organisation.

Here’s how it works: If an engineer needs help on a case, they initiate a swarm request in Service Cloud and select the Expert Finder tool when prompted. The swarm is created and the workflow automatically brings in the appropriate engineers, pods and cross-functional subject-matter experts through Slack channels to address the case.

Swarming in Slack

Slack’s integration with Service Cloud reduces context switching between the two tools because conversations about the case can happen either in the Service Cloud Console or Slack interchangeably. Users can quickly add important information discussed in Slack to the case details in Salesforce so that vital context doesn’t get lost. 

When a case is resolved, users can create a Salesforce knowledge article in Slack based on the swarm conversation so that lessons from the case can be referenced when another person encounters a similar issue.

Thanks to swarming in Slack, Salesforce’s support team is doing the best it’s ever done in Salesforce history. The customer support team implemented a Slack-based swarming model with a subset of its 3,300 agents. The results included:

  • 26% improvement in case close rates
  • 19% improvement in same-day resolution of cases

‘Swarming with Slack has been beneficial because you can bring the right expert into the problem versus going and trying to find an expert,’ says Sanjeev Balakrishnan, Salesforce’s SVP of Customer Support, who oversees a team managing support across several Salesforce products.

For Balakrishnan, the Slack-based swarming model creates a growing collective knowledge base that agents can reference and build upon. This knowledge base, combined with reduced context switching and a streamlined agent experience, means efficient scaling for the support team. Keeping one agent on a case from start to finish resolves the issue faster, creating a seamless experience that builds customer trust.

Drive connection and community

Slack is more than a knowledge-sharing or onboarding service tool. It’s a platform that helps to build team culture. Employees can do everything from sharing constructive feedback from another department in a private team channel with a clip to uploading personal photos in special interest channels with thousands of colleagues from around the globe.

‘Slack is my digital office,’ Balakrishnan says. ‘As a leader, I can see when somebody on my team asks a question, or sends “kudos” to someone else, and I can add a reaction or reply on that thread to help amplify, increasing my engagement and visibility with the team. In the past, we had those things happening in disparate places, which made it harder to track and be present.’

Salesforce’s customer service leaders say that Slack channels help to incentivise collaboration. Because of the transparency of communication in one system of record, it’s easy to see who is engaged and contributing – as well as who isn’t. This helps management to gauge team health and motivate service agents.

‘Historically, we’ve measured our agents’ productivity based on their case closures and how many cases they completed,’ says Jim Roth, Salesforce’s President of Customer Success. ‘Now we’re giving them credit for swarming assists, and that incentive has been a game-changer in getting the right experts involved to solve customer challenges faster.’

Headshot of Sanjeev Balakrishnan

‘Slack has played an integral role in helping us adapt to an evolving environment and deliver strong business outcomes.’

Sanjeev BalakrishnanSVP of Customer Support, Salesforce

Build a culture of excellence

Productive and satisfied employees are essential in creating an enterprise’s excellent customer service culture. Slack has transformed Salesforce’s service department by helping agents to resolve customer problems faster and making the company a more connected and engaged workplace. Other enterprise companies can do the same. Start supercharging your service with Service Cloud and Slack and contact our sales team today.

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