The Service Leader's Guide to Resiliency

How to empower your team and center around your customer.
Mark Abramowitz
SVP, Product Marketing, Service Cloud

When the COVID-19 health crisis upended business as usual, it was amazing to see service teams step into important new responsibilities. Agents doubled as a shoulder to lean on. Messaging channels became a place to build a trusted relationship. Field service teams reinvented processes and repurposed trucks to deliver groceries to high-risk populations.

At Salesforce, we are committed to helping our customers lead through change. We created industry-specific solutions like Salesforce Care, with an integrated customer service component, as a rapid response for healthcare organisations. We launched with tools and assessments to help businesses reopen safely.

Now, we are helping service leaders navigate their next journey. Through regular conversations with our customers and our partners, we’ve compiled the best practices to help your service organisation find resilience in the new normal. I look forward to seeing what you and your team accomplish.

Almost overnight, service organisations made the unprecedented shift to virtual contact centers, with every agent working remotely. Service leaders were faced with new challenges as they prioritised employee safety and wellbeing while supporting customers like never before.

With a strong sense of urgency, commitment to the goal, and dedication to our customers, amazing teams across our company moved almost 2,800 people to work from home in 16 days.
Jim Roth
EVP, Customer Support, Salesforce
As businesses reopen, we know that service leaders have even more questions. Use the best practices in this guide as a framework. The key is to empower your team and center around your customer today while building a resilient service organisation to handle the challenges of tomorrow.
Three steps to resilience
Based on ongoing conversations with our customers, our framework addresses three core areas in which service leaders can improve response and resilience:
Chapter 1: How you make decisions for customer service management
Find a structured approach to decision-making for your service organisation.

As a service leader navigating change due to the health crisis, you have a lot going on. You’re trying to keep business afloat, work with service teams virtually, and handle fluctuating contact volumes across channels.

To help manage it all, you need a structured approach to planning, gathering information , and making decisions . Uncover the key considerations to set up your service team for success with a long-term plan for working in the new normal.


Assemble your go-to team

Identify a go-to group of people to help you make decisions. They will become your sounding board and collaborate with you to improve employee and customer engagement. Include stakeholders from sales, marketing, and IT so everyone is on the same page.

Plan for a new kind of working environment

As businesses reopen, we’re likely to see service organisations keep most service teams at home while only some return to the office. This is largely dependent on having a solid set-up and secure internet connection.

Another consideration is distance to the office. We may see a “hub approach” in which service teams work within a certain distance to the office and only go in for specific activities, such as in-person training, new hire onboarding, and conversations that are difficult to have virtually.

As you develop your plan, continue to rely on business continuity with respect to regional guidelines. When it’s time to reopen, survey employees to prioritise who is open to returning to the office. Some may have caregiving responsibilities or pre-existing conditions that will prohibit them from returning.

For employees who do return to your physical location, such as contractors or mobile workers, create clear guidelines with local governmental guidance and medical expertise in mind. Reconfigure your floor plan to allow for social distancing (this may mean staggering schedules or adding partitions). Communicate details to your teams early and often to ensure everybody feels safe.

Create a contingency plan in the event that employees and operations in your physical location are disrupted again. Run drills. Spread teams out to work from home to test connectivity and identify any potential problems.

Make data-driven decisions

As a starting point, survey employees to understand how they are doing during this time. Use these insights to gauge employee satisfaction and wellness.

Then, visualise data to make smarter business decisions. Break down silos and connect your teams, technology, and data for a 360-degree view from a single platform to manage your response now and prepare for future challenges. For example, you can analyse reporting dashboards with artificial intelligence (AI) to accurately staff resources, view trends across agent performance, track metrics, and jump in to help your teams.

“We use Einstein Analytics to keep a pulse on agent productivity - measuring average handle time, agent capacity, and performance. Our reports refresh every half hour, so we see how agents are doing even when they work from home. If we see productivity drop, we can reach out right away to see if they are having connectivity or other issues.”
Jim Mitchell
Senior Business Systems Solution Architect, VIZIO
Look at your data on customer service use cases. How many customers are reaching out via phone versus digital channels? What does traffic look like on your help center, portal, or community? Based on this information, highlight the places to shift resources and change workflows.
“I run daily reports to see what type of service requests we have per client. Since all of our service channels are linked with Salesforce, I call pull omni-channel reports instead of trying to align multiple reports per channel. As things shift, I can reposition my staff to help with the client accounts that have the most incoming requests.”
Penny Davis
Senior Manager, Contact Center at George P. Johnson

In field service, a connected field service solution helps dispatchers visualise data so they can determine if jobs require in-person visits or can be done virtually. From your workplace command center, you can also manage shifts by modeling site capacity, optimising schedules, and staggering arrival times for employees.

Lastly, use a single dashboard for contact tracing. If an employee in your physical location tests positive for COVID-19, you can see who was potentially exposed and reach out with information and guidance to minimise the spread.

Refocus KPIs around the customer
At the beginning of the health crisis, service organisations were focused on case close rates as call volume surged. Now, it’s all about the customer. Were agents empathetic to customers? Was each experience personalised? Prioritise customer satisfaction. Capture and evaluate customer feedback across channels to ensure customers receive the best experience to improve loyalty.

About the Author

Mark Abramowitz
SVP, Product Marketing, Service Cloud
Mark Abramowitz is a Marketing and Product Executive at Salesforce.

He’s an experienced Vice President of Product Marketing with a successful history of working in the internet industry.

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