- By Keith Kirkpatrick
- March 6, 2023
Salesforce announced in late February several new solutions aimed at the communications industry that are designed to help improve agent productivity and performance, streamline contact center management, and enhance the customer experience.
The company announced its Contact Center for Communications, which extends the Salesforce Contact Center suite of capabilities with solutions specifically tailored to communications service providers (CSPs). These offerings include:
- Einstein Conversation Insights, which uses AI to give service teams a complete view of what is happening across their contact center and proactively notifies them of issues, like outages or dissatisfied customers.
- Identity Verification lets agents quickly verify a customer’s identity by using automated workflows, which can be easily configured to help service providers meet business requirements and comply with legal requirements in different regions. According to the company, the beta capabilities in Salesforce Communications Cloud leverage an identity verification script to verify a customer using either traditional ‘knowledge’ based verification (e.g., an account number, address information, or personal details such as mother’s maiden name), but will be expanding to other verification methods in the future. Salesforce also says that it is working on voice verification together with its telephony partners.
- Service Availability Check allows agents to see what services are available to customers interested in adding or changing a service with a quick and simple address search.
- Action Launcher gives administrators the ability to quickly create common workflows, like prepaid top-ups or address changes, which can be easily triggered by agents to serve customers faster.
- Order Fulfillment Date Predictions, a data-rich predictive model, uses AI-based predictions to recommend expected fulfillment dates to help set customer expectations before they place an order.
- Order Delay Predictions will then leverage CRM Analytics to identify orders likely to be delayed due to issues like an incorrect address so managers can act quickly to correct it and propose a new fulfillment date using AI-powered insights.
“Service providers are under more pressure than ever to reduce operational costs — even as consumer expectations soar,” said David Fan, VP and General Manager of Communications, Salesforce. “Salesforce’s new solutions are tailored to help providers remove inefficiencies, deliver faster service, increase productivity with AI and automation, and deepen customer engagements to provide differentiated experiences with every interaction.”
Salesforce also announced the expansion of a WhatsApp + Salesforce strategic partnership, which includes new integrations that help companies improve customer engagement and reduce churn. WhatsApp for Service is a new integration that will be available in Salesforce’s Contact Center for Communications, enables providers to deliver consistent, personalized experiences in real time, automate routine requests with AI-powered chatbots, and engage in richer conversations using audio and video files, list messages, buttons, stickers, and emojis within the popular messaging app.
Meanwhile, a WhatsApp for Marketing integration allows marketers to connect with customers directly through WhatsApp to send rich promotional messages based on a customer’s unique interests and needs. New enhancements to the integration, including WhatsApp for Marketing Rich Media, will make it easier for customers to get in touch with service representatives in the same conversational thread, and add support for rich media capabilities.
These integrations provide additional native support that builds Salesforce’s omnichannel Contact Center solution for Communications, whose engine includes pre-built support for voice, web chat, in-app messaging, SMS, email, Facebook Messenger, and its newly announced support for WhatsApp for Business.
Salesforce adds that many customer implementations use Salesforce’s APIs to provide bespoke integration to other social media platforms and tools. Salesforce also leverages partner tools to provide pre-built integrations for Twitter and LinkedIn.
While Salesforce Contact Center for Communications is optimized for Salesforce’s Customer 360, the company says that data stored in other source systems, such as in other CRMs, CDPs, MDMs, ERPs, and various front-, middle-, and back-office systems can be surfaced through several integration patterns, including direct real-time queries, canvas-style page-in-page, or data copy.
Salesforce says that real-time queries function most effectively when MuleSoft, its API management tool, is utilized. Further, Salesforce’s Console in Communications Cloud is prebuilt to connect to other components of an OSS/BSS and data sources, including billers, data lakes, and asset management sources, as well as traditional contact center technologies, such as automatic call distribution telephony systems.
According to Salesforce, WhatsApp for Marketing Cloud and Contact Center for Communications are available now, while WhatsApp for Service Cloud will be generally available March 16, 2023. Order Delay Predictions will be available in June 2023, while WhatsApp for Marketing Cloud Rich Media support will be generally available in the second half of 2023.
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