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How Customer Service Teams Can Lower Costs and Deliver Quality at Scale

A woman with a headset takes a service call.
Think of Shift to Scale as the ideal way to harness digital channels, AI, and automation to free your service teams from mundane tasks. [Katleho Seisa / Getty]

A new service strategy shifts higher-touch interactions to lower-cost methods while improving customer response times and satisfaction. Here’s how it works.

As the CEO of Service Cloud, I’m constantly seeking to understand what’s working for our customers, and what’s not. 

What’s become clear is that the most successful companies are customer companies. They are obsessed with their customers, willing to break down silos, and deliver truly awesome, personalized experiences that reflect what customers want and need, rather than the company’s organization structure. Of course, in this environment, the digital transformation required to become a customer company must happen with a strong focus on costs and ROI. 

Two ways to unlock cost savings

The first “unlock” on cost savings comes from consolidating expensive, siloed point solutions. Eighty percent of service professionals say consolidating the platform they work on and the vendors they use drives efficiency and reduces risk. This consolidation spans the full range of customer experiences: no-touch interactions, like self-service and bots; light-human touch interactions, like agent console, telephony, and digital messaging channels; and high-touch interactions, like field service techs going on-site to the customer’s home or worksite.

Once all of your customer experiences are on a unified platform, the second major cost “unlock” comes from being able to create once and deploy everywhere. Create a knowledge article once, and then expose it on every channel from your self-service website portal, mobile app, and chatbot to your contact center agents and field techs.

With both of these methods, a digital transformation strategy we call “Shift to Scale” is at play. Shift to Scale is all about shifting higher-touch interactions to lower-touch, lower-cost interactions in order to cut out costs while improving customer response times and satisfaction. This is especially impactful to drive success now. (By the way, we’re introducing “Shift to Scale” today on the main stage at World Tour NYC!)

How Shift to Scale can work for you

Think of Shift to Scale as the ideal way to harness digital channels, AI, and automation to free your service teams from mundane tasks while delivering faster, higher quality service to your customers. What does that look like? Here are two examples:

  • Field service organizations can shift some in-home maintenance visits to virtual ones, using remote assistance from a lower-cost contact center agent. 
  • A contact center can shift calls involving routine questions and tasks to self-service portals and bots. For example, say you want to change your email address at your favorite retailer. Instead of repeating the same request from agent to agent, a self-service portal or chatbot can handle this request from the start.

Give service agents what they need for success now

In a recent study*, six in 10 service professionals said they’re being asked to do more with less. This is where Shift to Scale shines. If you have a contact center and customer support team, Shifting to Scale means moving some of those conversations to self-service and chatbots.

With Service Cloud as part of Customer 360, companies can take advantage of the intelligence capabilities of Einstein and Tableau, the collaboration and case-swarming capabilities of Slack, and the integration capabilities of MuleSoft

Hit your customer experiences out of the park

You want to provide incredible customer experiences to all your customers — not just a select few. That means throwing out “one-size-fits-all” responses to make automated interactions feel personal — and the ones with an agent or out in the field feel like white-glove experiences. 

The secret to success: service agents need a single source of truth that reflects every customer interaction. The Salesforce Genie Customer Data Cloud and its real-time data capabilities provide this single source of truth, allowing agents to leverage past and real-time interactions to personalize engagements in the moment. For example, companies can integrate data from order management systems in real time to predict inventory levels, and proactively reach out to customers if an order may be delayed.

How Intuit does more with less

Let me tell you about an experience with Intuit.

For the past decade, Intuit has helped its more than 14,000 employees deliver a unified experience that puts the customer first. The company has made it even easier for team members to collaborate and solve customer problems, saving time and boosting satisfaction – especially during tax season.

“Service Cloud has been key in our ability to realize immediate cost savings and increased customer retention,” said Jet Hansen, principal architect, Intuit. “By centralizing customer data and communicating with customers, our service agents more efficiently engage in personalized ways to answer our customer’s most pressing questions. This has helped us secure millions in retained revenue by reducing service handling times and increasing usage of new products.”

Boost efficiency and cut costs

These business improvements can happen today. Learn more about how our new Service Efficiency Bundle — now with Slack — helps service organizations tap into team knowledge and collaborate.

*Source: Salesforce Business Pulse. Data is from a double-blind survey of 1,002 knowledge workers in the U.S. conducted between Nov. 14 and 22, 2022. Respondents were sourced and verified through a third-party B2B panel. Sample sizes may vary across lines of business. Knowledge workers are defined as full-time employees who must have a job that focuses on mental labor (i.e, professional services, business management) over manual labor (i.e, construction, onsite manufacturing, warehouse operations, retail store service/operations, food service/operations).

Clara Shih CEO, Salesforce Service Cloud

Clara Shih is CEO of Salesforce Service Cloud, the world’s #1 customer service, digital service, and field service solution that powers 360-degree customer experience conversations. A digital pioneer, Clara has been named one of Fortune’s “40 under 40” and “Most Powerful Women Entrepreneurs,” Fast Company’s “Most Influential People in Technology,” and a “Young Global Leader” by the World Economic Forum. Clara is a member of the Starbucks board of directors and serves as Executive Chair of Hearsay Systems, a privately held digital software firm she founded in 2009. She graduated #1 in computer science at Stanford University, where she also received an M.S. in computer science. She also holds an M.S. in internet studies from Oxford University, where she studied as a U.S. Marshall Scholar.

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