The idea of Customer Service as a cost centre isn’t being challenged by the Fourth Industrial Revolution. It’s being demolished.

As trailblazing companies master AI, IoT and a host of other new technologies, they’re increasingly looking to their Customer Service organisations to have a positive impact on their bottom line.

That boost is coming from three sources:

  • Reduced service costs

  • New levels of up- and cross-selling

  • Skyrocketing customer satisfaction


Let’s look at each in turn, and meet just a few of the companies showing the way…


Driving down Customer Service costs

To transform your Customer Service organisation into a profit centre, you first need to minimise your costs. A great first step is to empower your staff to serve more customers, more effectively. Like Marriot Hotels.


Empowering staff

Imagine you’ve just landed after a long flight, tired and more than a little hungry. You get out your iPhone to locate your hotel, and find out what your dining options are – and see you can either call or iMessage the hotel with a tap.

You tap to send a message, and – because Marriott is using Salesforce LiveMessage – find yourself talking to a Marriot service agent exactly as you might your family or friends.

You don’t know it, but that service agent is already working multiple cases – across SMS, Live Chat, Facebook Messenger, and phone – from a single dashboard.

When they switch to your message they can instantly see your reservation history, your status as an elite customer – everything they need to guide their response.

Even better, Salesforce Einstein is crunching all that information, and actually suggesting a response for them. The agent checks it, and drops it, along with a menu recommendation, into your conversation. At the same time – based on your status – they upgrade you to a private suite.

You tap on the menu in your Apple Business Chat to order your dinner, thank the agent, and head off towards the bed and burger you know will be waiting when you arrive.

Your agent, meanwhile, continues handling multiple, simultaneous enquiries, with a little help from their baked-in AI – delighting customers, while keeping service costs low.

Macros, omnichannel routing, guided workflows – today, there are a host of ways to boost agent productivity and streamline processes. So much so that it’s possible for many companies to dramatically increase caseloads, without increasing headcount.

SES Networks provides connectivity in underdeveloped countries – and to do so, has service agents on location, often in very remote or dangerous areas. As Mary Hooft, the company’s Director of Business Applications, explains, the company is using Salesforce to grow its business, without growing its team:

‘We currently have 12,000 cases a year. We expect this to double, but we’re not doubling our resources, so we need those efficiencies to come from the tools we have.”


Empowering customers

Another great way to save on customer service? Empower your customers themselves.

81% of customers attempt to solve problems themselves before reaching out to a service agent. So, help them succeed.

Organisations that have built fully branded, self-service experiences through Salesforce Communities tell us they are now deflecting 50% of their cases to these resources – leading to significant cost savings.

And in 2018, self-service can take many forms. Adidas is using Einstein bots to delight its customers, and resolve their enquiries in chat windows, without a human agent ever needing to get involved.



Increasing up- and cross-sell

Making your Customer Service operations more efficient is a brilliant start. But even low costs are, well, costs; today’s smartest organisations are finding ways to ensure their Service organisation actually adds to their bottom line.

Take Coca-Cola Refreshments, North America’s largest bottler. With the help of Sales Cloud and Service Cloud, it has broken down the barriers between these two functions – enabling Service agents to drive additional revenue. Here’s how.

Let’s say a service agent, Stephanie, logs into Service Cloud, and sees an order that’s going to be delivered in a few weeks. Clicking on it, she gets a 360-degree view of the customer – a large convenience store – including their sales history, and previous orders. She also gets advanced analytics – helping her understand products that have sold well in the store in the past, and even seasonal trends.

She sees that, based on previous years, the current order seems low on Coke Zero. So, she texts the customer directly from her Lightning Service Console, flagging up the anomaly.

The customer texts back, thanking her, asking her to correct the mistake – and also letting her know they’ve just had a run on Sprite, and they’d like to increase that order too.

Stephanie simply updates the order from her service console, and as simply as that, she’s increased revenue.



Improving customer satisfaction

Today’s Service organisations can also drive revenue by delighting customers like never before. Just ask Ben Lyons, Customer Service Operations Manager at The Co-Op Group.

Ben’s team has been able to track the service experience the member-owned group provides to customers, and compare it against their basket spend in shop.

As Ben explains, “We looked at customers pre- and post-complaints, and using Salesforce, we were able to establish that where we get the complaint outcome correct, we increase retention by 6%.”

From an annual revenue perspective, that 6% represented an additional £12.5M in 2017.

Here’s Ben again: “For a service centre to be able to add to the bottom line is really powerful. And using Salesforce, we’ve done that”.


Making it happen

The great thing about the technologies of the Fourth Industrial Revolution? Many are within everyone’s reach. That means, whatever your industry, whatever size your company, you can start transforming Customer Service into a proven source of revenue.

Watch the Salesforce World Tour London 2018 Service Cloud Keynote to see many of these examples brought to life and see how you can start your customer service transformation