Customer Portal: Helping Customers Help Themselves in the Cloud
In our Web 2.0 world, people are highly connected and have easier access to information than ever before. Finding solutions via self-service has become a way of life. Today’s generation is fluent in the Web, and appreciates the no-waiting, 24/7 convenience of a customer self-service portal. Not only are customer portals highly effective, but people often like them better than conventional, more time-consuming, agent-assisted support. With salesforce.com’s Service Cloud, you can quickly build a customer self-service portal that caters to this preference.
The Salesforce CRM customer portal is true self-service software as a service (SaaS): It all runs online, in the cloud, eliminating the expense and headaches of software and hardware infrastructure. And because our customer portal runs on the same Web-enabled platform as the Salesforce CRM call center, your customers can help themselves to the same intuitive tools, powerful search capabilities, and extensive knowledge base our own agents use.
With the Salesforce CRM customer portal, you’re up and running in a matter of weeks, delivering fast, cost-effective self-service. It’s no wonder that more than 6,800 service organizations put their trust in the leader in enterprise cloud computing.
The Salesforce CRM Customer Self-Service Portal Builds Loyalty
- Web 2.0 comes to the customer portal. Salesforce.com’s self-service software-as-a-service fully harnesses the people-friendly capabilities of Web 2.0. The result is a customer portal that makes it easy for customers to find the answers they want, when they want them.
In contrast to conventional self-service software, the Salesforce CRM customer portal is as intuitive to use as popular consumer Web sites like Amazon.com. And because it lives in the cloud, our customer portal is not limited to resources within the four walls of any single enterprise. It leverages the vast knowledge resources of the Internet so you can deliver relevant customer information based on data from any source. Our customer portal also lets you share any application built on our Force.com cloud platform. This way, every department from service to sales to operations can engage with customers online.
Users can even employ the customer portal to share ideas, questions, and conversations with their peers by linking into social networks like Facebook and Twitter.
- Self-service case resolution. Unlike traditional self-service software, Salesforce CRM’s customer portal comes with self-service case management, too. Right online, your customers can open new cases and check, update, and close existing ones at any time of the day or night—all without the need for agent intervention or assistance. They can also use the customer portal to search your knowledge base, explore previously resolved cases, and find solutions through customer-driven communities. It all adds up to a superior customer portal that lowers your costs and frees agents for high-value assignments. That’s what makes Salesforce CRM the ultimate customer self-service portal.
- Knowledge base. As people become more comfortable doing research themselves on the Web, the Internet is fast becoming the preferred service vehicle. When you publish your full knowledge base—or selected portions—on Salesforce CRM’s self-service customer portal, customers gain access to your expertise without having to get an agent involved.
- Case management and then some. Salesforce CRM’s customer portal takes you well beyond standard cases and solutions with additional self-service capabilities using custom objects and tabs. To add even more value to your customer portal or address industry-specific concerns, you can quickly add preintegrated, best-of-class applications from the AppExchange.
- Escalating cases for review. Even with the world’s best self-service software as a service, occasionally customers can’t resolve an issue on their own. When that happens, they don’t have to leave your customer portal to get help. Using branded forms, they simply submit a new case that is automatically routed to the right queue or agent for review, as determined by assignment rules you control. Those who prefer email can choose the customer portal’s email-to-case functionality to send an inquiry—it will be similarly routed to the appropriate agent or queue. You can tailor responses to the question topic or to customer-supplied information.
- Tapping into social networks. It’s a safe bet that your customers are already having conversations about your company on social networks, Internet discussion forums, enthusiast Web sites, and blogs. Because the Salesforce CRM customer self-service portal also makes its home in the cloud, users can employ it to harvest insights and answers from fellow customers, anywhere and everywhere they may be on the Internet. With Salesforce CRM’s customer portal, expert know-how is always easily accessible, whether from a Web community forum or a discussion between friends on Facebook.
- Personalize your customer portal. If all this isn’t enough, there’s yet another advantage to Salesforce CRM’s self-service software as a service: the unlimited customization capabilities of the Force.com platform. Thanks to an intuitive style editor, you can quickly modify the look and feel of your customer self-service portal. And advanced tools like mashups and Force.com code let you add, change, and transform elements to create a unique customer portal experience.
You can create multiple, individually tailored customer self-service portals for different service levels, so each user segment sees the information that is most relevant to them. Enhance your customer portal with your corporate identity, restrict access according to user roles, and set up custom layouts based on user profiles. Unlike conventional self-service software, your flexibility is boundless: The sky’s the limit with Salesforce CRM’s customer portal in the cloud.
- Branding and style configuration. It’s easy to put your company’s signature stamp on your customer portal by customizing the home page, header, and footer. Personalize the colors and fonts as well—all with an easy-to-use style editor.
- Customer-tailored layouts. What’s the first thing your users see when logging into your customer self-service portal? It’s all up to you: With the Salesforce CRM customer portal, you control the layout and information presented, and you can customize the view for each user. With multiple user profiles, record types, account role hierarchies, and sharing capabilities, the Salesforce CRM customer portal can show each customer exactly the right information.
Beyond Traditional Self-Service Software: Case Management in the Cloud
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