Salesforce today rolled out the next generation of Service Cloud, including enhancements to Cloud Voice and Einstein Bots. The company says that the features and products are intended to address the new reality brought about by the coronavirus pandemic.
Over the past year, service agents moved quickly to work from home but were forced to rely on legacy technology that wasn’t designed to manage distributed workforces. Today, parts of the world are beginning to reopen, but these reopenings are raising questions around updated policies, protocols, and safety measures. This adds a new level of challenge for agents, who are already contending with increased workloads.
Service Cloud Voice, Salesforce’s service that brings together phone, digital channels, and customer relationship management data, can now connect with existing phone systems via a new product called Service Cloud Voice for Partner Telephony. With Service Cloud Voice for Partner Telephony, enterprises with landlines can benefit from features including real-time call transcription and AI-powered guidance on recommended next steps.
Beyond Service Cloud Voice for Partner Telephony, Salesforce is introducing Service Cloud Workforce Engagement, a workforce planning product that uses AI to predict how many requests will come into a contact center and on which channels (for example, phone, email, web chat, text, and social). First announced in December, Service Cloud Workforce Engagement provides agents with a workspace that integrates data, as well as real-time coaching and on-demand training with Salesforce’s MyTrailhead online learning portal.
Chatbots and remote service
Salesforce also today previewed Pre-built Einstein Bots, a collection of chatbots powered by Einstein Bots, the company’s platform for conversational bots that resolve issues like processing a return or checking a flight. And the company furthered detailed Visual Remote Assistant, a service launched last year that helps companies deliver service without coming on site by walking customers through solutions remotely.
Visual Remote Assistant, an offshoot of Salesforce Field Service, provides tools like annotations, a live pointer, and more. Leveraging AI-powered character recognition and scalable video, the service launches sessions in a browser, integrating customer service data from Service Cloud, Field Service, and third-party systems.
Service Cloud Workforce Engagement and Service Cloud Voice for Partner Telephony are expected to be generally available in June 2021. Pricing information will be made available at general availability. Visual Remote Assistant is generally available today, while Pre-Built Einstein Bots are currently in beta and are expected to be generally available in October 2021.
According to Kate Leggett, VP and principal analyst at Forrester, the new Service Cloud features align with trends accelerated by the pandemic. For example, according to Salesforce, 61% of salespeople believe their roles have changed since the pandemic began. Even when salespeople are able to return to the road and in-person workplaces, 51% expect to travel less than they did before the pandemic — and fewer than half expect to go back to an office.
“Customer service leaders must stay abreast of three megatrends in 2021 as they weather the storm,” Leggett wrote in a recently published report. “They are: AI-fueled digital experiences underpin great customer service, modern agent desktops empower agents to best serve customers, and customer service technology enables resilience and sustainability.”