How can you turn your Salesforce Community into a case deflection engine? Let’s back up a little.

Thanks to the global pandemic, consumers increasingly expect a top-notch virtual customer experience; 85% of Americans expect companies to ramp up digital customer engagement as a direct result of COVID-19. 

Customers expect seamlessness across their digital journey, and companies must now compete on customer service over products. Yet most businesses continue to face gaps and findability issues with their self-service experiences.

Successful customer self-service (and to some degree, case deflection) makes customers happier and your business better. But what does successful customer self-service look like, and how can you bring it into your Salesforce community? What’s more, how can you turn your Salesforce community into a case deflection engine?

Give Customers What They Want: Integrated Self-service

Even before the pandemic, companies rolled out new channels (remember the chatbot hype, anyone?) throughout the years in an attempt to provide better service via digital. The problem is that these channels were ideated, constructed, and operated in a siloed manner—what’s discovered in one channel isn’t carried over to the next, or preserved for a future communication need. 

Today’s customers don’t want to stay on hold with a contact center or wait for a response after filling out a contact support form anymore. According to a 2020 Salesforce study, 82% of respondents currently use or are interested in using self-service account portals.

Chart shows breakdown of how interested customers are in different service channels

Besides fulfilling something your customers want, self-service is also beneficial to your business’s bottom line. Self-service is also dramatically more cost effective than other support channels, both in cost per resolution and because it reduces the overall caseload on your shared team inbox or customer service team. 

According to a 2019 poll from Gartner, live channels such as phone, chat, and email support cost over 80x per contact than self-service channels.

Chart shows average cost per contact for service
Generated from: Gartner Says Only 9% of Customers Report Solving Their Issues Completely via Self-Service 
Connect With Customers
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It’s pretty clear that there’s a need for self-service; what’s more important is that there’s a need for successful self-service. 

Turning multichannel customer service experiences into a seamless and connected (read: omnichannel) one is one of the biggest challenges in CX today. Feeding into this challenge is the need to address the underlying data across your technologies. 

To create that good experience, you need to be able to analyze the behavior of an individual’s journey across all digital touchpoints, not just one.

3 Essential Capabilities for Successful Self-service (And Case Deflection)

Measuring case deflection is a tricky thing; what’s “good” for your company will vary greatly for both someone in your industry and someone in a completely different line of work. Using our relevance platform, here’s a snapshot of case deflection results our customers have experienced as a result of using our relevance platform:

  • AARP saw a 62% increase in confirmed cases deflected
  • Tableau’s case deflection saved them more than $1 million per month
  • Informatica improved explicit case deflection by 120%
  • Boomi saw a 3x increase in case deflection

While metrics can be important, the focus should be on the customer experience. Problems that you have the solution to should be easy for customers to find, either prior to submitting a support case or during the process. 

Case deflection should be a reflection of frequently asked questions being handled with self-service, allowing novel issues to rise to the top. These issues can then be resolved with a human touch, maybe via an Intelligent Swarming℠ framework*, and can inform your business, product, and customer experience growth. 

This is possible with a relevance platform that links your content repositories together and feeds that content into a central platform, like Salesforce. With all of this in mind, here are three essential capabilities that can help provide a successful self-service experience and improve your case deflection.

Access to All Case-deflecting Knowledge

Your Salesforce community is a great foundation. But, the information and answers your customers need to self-serve typically don’t all reside within Salesforce. In most organizations, much of this case-deflecting info is sitting in SharePoint, Confluence, file shares, blogs, a company website, knowledge articles, other sites, and more. 

To maximize case deflection, you need to give your customers intuitive and effortless access to ALL case-resolving knowledge from across your entire organization, right on your Community using a unified index.

Proactive Content Suggestions

Providing swift search across all case-resolving content from within your community is an essential first step, but case deflection really kicks into gear when your community proactively recommends helpful content to each customer based upon their unique situation. 

By analyzing in real-time each customer’s site activity, product & support history, and other profile characteristics (for authenticated users, of course), great communities using tools like Salesforce Service Cloud can automatically deliver personalized messages highly likely to be helpful, based upon what similar customers found helpful in the past. 

For example, this community automatically suggests content as the community user types, with the recommendations customized based upon what previous customers found relevant. 

A screenshot shows an AI-powered Salesforce community
A search for ‘light’ on Salesforce’s Help site, powered by Coveo, presents both most frequent queries and suggested articles based on what has been useful to other customers using a similar search term.

And should your customer begin to create a case, your community should offer self-service alternatives during thecase creation process. Great communities analyze in real-time the information your customers type into case fields – such as Product, Problem, Case subject line text, and Case Description – then instantly present likely solutions before the customer even hits the “submit case” button.

Analytics You Can Act On (Without a Computer Science Degree)

Finally, make sure you have an integrated analytics engine that lets you monitor, understand, and act upon the insights from the community in real time. Specifically, you need line-of-sight into content gaps, knowledge article usage patterns, relevance, and answers to questions like: 

  • What content is actually driving case deflections?
  • What types of answers are your customers looking for, but unable to find?
  • What search terms are proving fruitless and leading customers to “dead ends”?
  • What type of content is working well on desktop browsers, but not well on mobile? 

Without the answers to these and similar questions, it is effectively impossible to manage and tune your Community for case deflection at scale.

Want to See These Self-service Essentials in Action?  

It’s one thing to read about all these different components and procedures you can implement to improve your self-service and case deflection. But seeing is believing—to that end, check out our demo video, Successful Self-Service on Your Salesforce Communities, to see the thinking and methods that gave AARP, Tableau, Informatica, and Boomi such successful results. 

Watch the Demo
Successful Self-Service on Your Salesforce Communities

Then let’s talk and see how we can enhance your customer support experience! 

Dig Deeper 

Ever wondered if focusing solely on case deflection is actually hurting your business? You might be on to something.

Ebook | The Many Problems With Case Deflection

*Intelligent Swarming℠ is a service mark of the Consortium for Service Innovation™