Since launching Community Cloud in 2013 Salesforce has continued to grow the functionality and extensibility.
But what is a Salesforce Community? Communities isn’t a social media application, it’s a customer/employee/vendor/client communication application. It lets you create an online space to speak with the people you do business with even if they aren’t on Salesforce.
So, what can you do with an online portal? One major use in our business is the Help Desk and Work Ticketing systems. By logging into their Community account, any AltSolut customer can create an emergency ticket, update a ticket, or see responses on a previous ticket in our Help Desk. Through the power of Salesforce, many processes are automated behind the scenes like routing the work to a capable agent who has the availability to work the ticket, or notifying a lead if the work isn’t completed in certain timeframes.
In the Work Ticketing System, we developed in-house, clients can see Sprint progress on current development as well as provide feedback or review/upload documentation. Housing our Work Ticketing System in Salesforce allows us to manage our Project Management process in detail rather than paying a 3rd party provider for less extensible services.
Is that all? Of course not. Communities can also act as your Employee Intranet or Vendor Management system. Pull employee metrics directly from other Salesforce Objects and create a KPI dashboard. No more waiting until that 6-month review to see your progress. Vendors/Clients can manage PO’s and Invoices with less work on your team through the power of Salesforce’s Contracts and Entitlements automation feature. And you can even leverage Salesforce Chatter to maintain that air of personal acquaintance.
I already have a website, though! With Lightning Builder, you can build easy to maintain public web pages with the look and feel of the modern era. Salesforce can dynamically pull in content from their CMS (or Amazon’s AWS), and without the need for a team of developers to manage the process. Customers can see your normal website, or login to their My Account area and see & make changes custom details. By linking Commerce Cloud (or a 3rd party payment processor), they can purchase items without ever leaving the site or signing in again. Community also comes with robust blog management features, and can integrate a forum quickly with great moderation options. Or, you can integrate Community Builder on top of your existing website.
You’ve certainly made a point that Community Cloud can lift heavy, but IT says they can’t add extra cost and time! Salesforce.com is built by both Business Users and IT Rockstars. Compliance and Audit are key in any business, and Salesforce provides many tools to help. Through help desks, knowledge (very robust permissioning), and easy configuration with outside sources like Active Directory SSO, Oracle, and more, IT will be very happy with all the time they aren’t spending answering simple questions or chasing down the equipment you forgot to return (We sent you an email five minutes before your shift was over to bring it back on your way out.
Spencer Gibson, Alternative Solutions Salesforce.com and Customer Life-Cycle Management Consultant