5 Ways Salesforce Customization Can Help You Improve Customer Experience and Conversions

The importance of Salesforce Customization

It’s not often that a CRM (customer relationship management) system doubles up as a tool to help build customized and connected customer journeys.  But when a company claims a market share as large as 19.8% of the global CRM market, there is no doubt that it can be your most trusted partner in charting customer journeys.  It is none other than Salesforce that continues to help raise the bar for customer experience year after year. 

The customer experience (CX) has been the primary focus of successful companies, and 68% of marketing leaders admit their companies compete based on customer experience.  It would be impossible to create a meaningful CX without substantial data and a deeper understanding of the customer journey. 

67% of marketers believe a connected customer journey across all touchpoints is crucial to enhance customer loyalty, but only 23% were delighted with their ability to leverage customer data. 

Image source: Salesforce state of the connected customer report – Third edition

Salesforce CRM helps you manage your customer data, gives a 360-degree view of the interactions between you and your customers, and offers constant updates about customer activity.  Most importantly, it helps you create experiences that lead to conversions and brand loyalty. 

The milestones in a customer journey

Offering tailor-made solutions to customers and enhancing the overall experience can be challenging. The customer journey typically involves six important stages:

  • Awareness – It’s when the customer comes across your brand for the first time.
  • Acquisition – It’s the stage wherein a consumer converts into a lead by interacting with your products or services.
  • Onboarding – The customer is now interested in your brand enough to make the first purchase.
  • Engagement – This is the time to deliver new and personalized experiences to keep the customer engaged and connected to the brand. 
  • Retention – This is a crucial phase as you have to ensure customers are not losing interest in the brand and stop them from going off the trail.
  • Advocacy – It’s the time for happy customers to speak about their experience with the brand through reviews and positive feedback. 

All of the above phases need solid communication and collaboration tools and tons of data.  You will have to visualize diverse scenarios and the numerous paths customers take to reach your brand and engage with it.  You need to use data effectively to take your customers on a more rewarding journey. 

That’s what American Express did by combining data and the power of Salesforce Customer 360 to empower their customers to make smarter decisions.  The company had a broad view of their customers’ spending patterns, and Salesforce customization helped the company convert this data into insights to make their lives easier.  It transformed the travel experience for customers with secure phone payments and helped their employees with business tools to solve customer pain points.

The WOW in customer experience

Out of 15,000 global consumers and business buyers participating in a survey, 85% of business buyers and 79% of consumers said the experience offered by a company is as important as the products and services it provides.  

This is particularly true in a day when it is difficult to distinguish products by brand and price.  Customer experience has become the distinguishing factor helping companies build lasting relationships with customers.  But the wow in customer experience comes through customization. 

As per the State of Sales report, customer satisfaction has become the most critical metric.  This is precisely why salespeople who once focused heavily on closing transactions are monitoring it more than any other metric.  Customer experience is now the most critical factor for growth and success.  Salesforce customization helps you enhance it. 

Image source: Salesforce.com

While Salesforce configuration has been popular due to simple ‘point & click’ and ‘no code’ features, it is Salesforce customization that is helping companies manage their business.  It helps carry out routine tasks like sending email alerts, creating custom reports, customizing page layouts, and adding/deleting/modifying fields and objects. It integrates with third-party applications like Outlook, Gmail, Echosign, Docusign, and Quickbooks. 

The Salesforce Catch-22 

Salesforce ensures better business performance and offers you the functionality that goes beyond typical of mass-produced, cookie-cutter software.  It gives you the power and freedom to create your own unique processes.  But there comes a time when you realize that it is not as perfect as you thought it would be despite having the best solution. 

Some dashboards may not be as enlightening, a report may seem incomplete, a field or two may have to be added, and the processes may not be adequately automated to achieve the desired result.  You may want your Salesforce CRM to work with existing third-party systems to address specific requirements.  You may also want to get a detailed view of customers to broaden sales prospects.

It happens to the best of us and often requires us to go beyond standard configuration and customize what needs to be done.  88% of survey respondents in a recent research report said it is imperative to have a complete and consistent view of their customers across channels and platforms. Yet, only 31% have such a unified view. 

Examples of Salesforce customization include third-party integrations, visual force emails, and modification of page layout with CSS. 

You can change the look and feel of the user interface if you wish to make it more relevant.  For instance, you may want your employees and customers to see the corporate logo and colors and make the whole user interface branded.  Top companies are constantly working towards addressing the pain points at scale to define and offer the perfect customer experience. 

Here’s what you can achieve with greater customization and capabilities:

Highlight a message 

AIDS United is a classic example of Salesforce customization for how they customized their donation forms.  They leveraged the open API of the Salesforce solution to create a more engaging donation page.  Through a simple Click & Pledge, they encourage visitors to dedicate their gifts and make a recurring monthly donation.  

Build a centralized database 

Data centralization is crucial for fast decision-making.  The right data can be used effectively to improve the user experience. College Track wanted to manage volunteer check-ins across six locations and hence chose to create a customized volunteer profile page. 

Volunteers entered their names into the tablets available at the entrance of the facilities every time they signed in and out.  Information was now readily available, and the connected endeavor gave the feeling of the tablets talking to each other.

Add a functionality 

You may want Salesforce to autogenerate quotes and email them to your clients.  Or you might want it to automate processes to auto-generate contracts to send them to customers for e-signing.  After all, better digital capabilities are critical for day-to-day functioning. 

BOKS relies on its custom-built page to allow trainers and coaches to monitor attendance and send out bulk messages.  It uses WordPress as the content server allowing users to add updates that typically translate into a Visualforce page.

Build custom apps 

You may have to customize Salesforce to address a particular need.  Perhaps, you may want to build an app to manage specific onboarding processes or a lending management application.  With Salesforce customization, you can build a secure app that can be scaled as the business grows.

Companies leverage Einstein features to build artificial intelligence-powered apps that get smarter with every interaction. 

Integrate with existing tools

Salesforce offers APIs to enable developers to integrate with existing solutions.  Such integration tears down silos and allows decision-making based on data related to different aspects of the business.  Without integration, it is difficult to see how a specific change affects the organization.  On the other hand, integrating data helps reduce data entry burdens and errors.

Penneo, a RegTech company, improved productivity and end-user experience by customizing Salesforce solutions.  The company customized Salesforce CRM to give their people and marketing agents a complete overview of leads and customers to get the data and connectivity they wanted.

Create the perfect CX with Trigent

Dynamic and user-centered experiences always lead to conversions and an increased Salesforce ROI.  Our technology experts can evaluate your current business structure and make recommendations based on your unique business needs. 

Get the necessary support and tools to implement complicated customizations.  Call us today for a business consultation. 

Is Conversational AI Right for Your Business?

Alex is desperate to get his vehicle tire replaced ahead of the long drive early the next day. The local tire store is closed for the day and opens late morning. Looking for options, he logs into the tire company website and is greeted by a new avatar.

Emma: Hello, I am Emma, here to help you. What are you looking for today?

Alex: Hi – I need replacement tires for my SUV.

Emma: Sure, I will be glad to help with that. Please select your vehicle make from the options provided ……

A few minutes later, Alex signs off, thanking Emma. He just placed an order for express delivery of two spare tires for his SUV to be delivered by 5:30 am. He is relieved. He can now catch a good sleep before he sets out on his long drive the next morning. 

In today’s world, while humanity sleeps, smart AI bots stay awake and keep your business ticking, answering routine questions, taking queries, recording service requests, or even helping complete a sale. With little or no human interaction from the business. An incredible upgrade to customer experience –unimaginable just a few years ago. That is the power of Conversational AI. 

As businesses transform digitally, they find that conversational AI for customer experience (CX) are viable options that must be considered.  

Read more: 5 Points to Evaluate Before Adopting AI in Your Organization

Key elements of Conversational AI

Conversational AI is an interesting blend of tech Natural Language Processing (NLP), machine learning (ML), deep learning, contextual awareness, and Art. It allows bots to converse like human beings by recognizing speech text, understanding context, understanding multiple languages, and creating as close to human interaction as possible. Art brings a human touch, elements of empathy, mannerism, and contextual personalization, making it seem very real.

Conversational AI comes in two flavors: AI chatbots that are predominantly text-driven and AI voice bots that serve voice responses. The realism in voice (personal language preferences, dialects, and tonality) brings a new stickiness level to the CX instance. 

Unlike older generation chatbots, Conversational AI bots are not script-based, rule-driven programs. The AI element (especially in voice bots) aims to ‘understand’ unspoken emotions and customize the menu’s responses to ensure a more meaningful experience. 

Technology components

Conversational AI technology includes NLP, machine learning, dialog management – which might need NLU (Natural Language Understanding) – where unstructured customer inputs are mapped based on context and keywords to something that can be interpreted. It then gets presented using NLG (Natural Language Generation). 

The process uses orchestrated responses for conversation flow, using the client’s history, context, and past responses as required. For Conversational AI voice bots, ASR (Automatic Speech Recognition) and TTS (Text to Speech) routines need to be integrated with necessary customization and training. This throws up unique challenges as language, and human interactions have cultural elements that vary widely across geographies. 

Successful deployments of Conversational AI are driving a change in the business rationale for its consideration. Initially, the business case for AI Chatbots evolved around reducing the human resource costs required to provide 24×7 Customer Service. However, when implemented correctly, it reduces people costs, saves on training, unlocks efficiency, and increases sales – a priceless return on investment!

Examples of successful conversational AI deployments

  • Financial Services: PwC, a globally reputed Big 4 Accounting firm, deployed AI-powered NLP-based chatbot to answer queries on HR, finance, and business process policies. Available to 10,000 employees in one region, PwC frees up the HR team to focus on more strategic issues and less on routine matters. 
  • Airline Sector: Lufthansa’s Elisa, Nelly, and Maria are the airline’s trained AI chatbots that go beyond answering routine questions from passengers. These chatbots will even connect a passenger to a live speaking human agent when required. The passenger doesn’t need to wait in line, and the agent has a complete context to address the query quickly.
  • Services & Utilities: Bluehost is a leading hosting services company with a chatbot well equipped to handle most client queries. This includes billing details, pending bills, current plans, renewals, and some others.
  • Insurance Industry: Geico, a leading insurance company, has its now popular and friendly AI virtual assistant, Gabby. Gabby is also in constant learning mode as it trains on customer inputs and queries to improve further. 
  • Fashion Industry: Sephora is a popular fashion brand that is an early adopter of conversational AI chatbot tech. The bot throws up a quiz for a new visitor, which it uses to customize recommendations and create a user profile. The bot allows you to apply various products to your selfies to visualize how you look in them. The popular bot is now rolled out across multiple platforms, including FB Messenger.

Not a panacea

Understanding customer process, system maturity, and knowing which customer touchpoints to automate are critical. If AI is introduced in a hurry before all customer interface contexts, workflows, and escalation paths are clearly defined or understood, it can create chaos and do more damage than good. 

Make sure you ask for the latest version of the AI model from the vendor, understand the road map, and consider the best for your deployment. The AI models need to be trained for your specific business context, product categories, and business logic. Also, test internally or do a pilot for early adapters and measure feedback to see the response before full-fledged large-scale deployment. Remember, AI is a tech solution and will not fix a broken business or client process.

Watch our video to learn more on improving your capabilities for AI/ML testing

Conversational AI is here to stay. Apart from all the apparent benefits stated in this article, the bot is a goldmine of data that can help conceptualize targeted campaigns and build memorable engagements if mined correctly and integrated into CRM. As other related technologies improve (such as gesture tech), expect AI chatbots to become a ‘must have’ for most businesses.

AI deployments are soaring in the business world at multiple touchpoints – from websites and social media platforms to apps and HR systems catering to customers and employees. 

Start a conversation with Trigent today

Conversational AI ensures your customer experience goes up a notch. Find out at what customer touchpoints in your business you should consider deploying conversation AI and how best to implement the solution. Ask our retail gurus at Trigent. We have developed AI solutions for our customers in the healthcare, banking and finance, transportation, and logistics industries. Benefit from our experience. We are optimistic this chat will help drive an entirely new conversation with your customers.

Over 70% of customer interactions will rely on chatbots in 2022. Delight your customers with Conversational AI. Let’s talk

Improve the quality of digital experiences with Performance Engineering

Quality at the heart of business performance

“In 2020, the key expectation is fast, reliable, and trustworthy software.” *

As businesses embrace the Agile/DevOps culture and the emphasis on CI/CD is growing, quality assurance is seen as a standalone task, limited to validating functionalities implemented. When QA and Testing is an afterthought in an Agile/DevOps culture, the result is a subpar consumer experience followed by an adverse impact on the revenue pipeline. Poor customer experience also directly impacts brand credibility and business equity. While UI/UX are the visible elements of the customer experience, product, or service performance is a critical element that is often neglected. Performance Testing identifies the gaps that are addressed through Performance Engineering.

Small steps, significant gains – the journey towards Performance Engineering

The deeper issue lies in the organization’s approach towards quality and testing – it is considered an independent phase rather than looked upon as a collaborative and an integrated approach. Performance engineering is a set of methodologies that identifies potential risks and bottlenecks early on in the development stage of the product and addresses them. It goes without saying that performance is an essential ingredient in the quality of the product, there’s a deeper need for change in thinking – to think proactively, anticipate early in the development cycle, test and deliver a quality experience to the end consumer. An organization that makes gradual changes in its journey towards performance engineering stands to gain significantly. The leadership team, the product management, and the engineering and DevOps at different levels need to take the shift-left approach towards performance engineering.

Make Performance Engineering your strategic priority today

Despite the obvious advantages, performance testing is typically a reactive measure that is addressed after the initial launch. However, organizations need to embrace performance engineering measures right from the design phase, start small, and take incremental steps towards change.

Covid-19 has rapidly changed the way consumers behave globally. Businesses caught onto remote working; consumers moved shopping, entertainment, banking, learning, and medical consultations online. Consider the quantum jump in usage triggered by the pandemic.

The dramatic increase in the use of digital services has covered decades in days.**

Companies that adopted scalability and performance centric design have moved swiftly to capture the market opportunity.

With multiple user-interfaces across sectors being the norm and the increasing complexity of digital experiences, it is critical for businesses to get it right the first time in order to gain and retain customers’ trust.

As cloud migrations continue, whether rehosting the app on an IaaS or rebuilding a new approach, performance engineering ensures that migrated systems withstand sudden surges in usage. According to a Sogeti and Neotys report, 74% of the load testing infrastructure is operated in the cloud today. Cloud infrastructure providers ensure reliability but they may not be aware of the performance metrics that matter to the business and their impact. As organizations move from monolithic systems to distributed architectures provided by an assortment of companies, corporate leaders need to recognize the importance of performance engineering and embrace it to deliver the right solutions for the first time.

Our approach to Performance Engineering philosophy

At Trigent, we put the customer experience at the heart of planning the entire testing cycle. Our performance engineering practices align with ‘metrics that matter’ to businesses in the DevOps framework. While testing identifies the gaps in performance, the onus of architecting it right lies on the DevOps engineering team with proactive inputs from QA and Testing.

Performance engineering is also a way of thinking, the ability to plan for performance at the time of design, right at the beginning. As for quality, besides testing for functionality, anticipating potential bottlenecks helps us assess the process in its entirety in the beginning.

Asking some of these customer-centric questions early on shifts the perspective right at the outset. Ask them early, and you’re on your way to a performance engineering culture.

Parameters that matter

‘Will my application meet the defined response-time requirements of my customers?’

Consider an app that doesn’t respond within the expected standards of the customer; the chances of that application making it to the customer’s phone screen is pretty slim.

‘Will the application handle the expected user load and beyond?’

An application that tested well with 10 users may fail when that number is multiplied by a thousand or two.

We take the viewpoints of multiple stakeholders, consider parameters that matter to the customer, and assess impact early on.

Customer experience matters

Performance Engineering takes into account the overall experience of the end-user and their environment.

Asking pertinent questions such as ‘Will my users experience acceptable response times, even during peak hours?’ or ‘Does the application respond quickly enough for the intended users?’ does well to anticipate potential pitfalls in network usage and latency.

‘Where are the bottlenecks in my multi-user environment?’

Understand the real environment of the user and their challenges to provide a quality user experience.

Early Focus

The non-functional aspects are integrated into the DevOps and an early focus on performance enables us to gain insights into architectural issues.

‘How can we optimize the multi-user application before it goes live?
‘How can we detect errors that only occur under real-load conditions?

Quick course corrections help optimize performance and make the product market-ready. Besides faster deployment, quality assurance gives our clients an added advantage of reduced performance costs.

Architect it right

‘What system capacity is required to handle the expected load?’
‘Will the application handle the number of transactions required by the business?’

Important questions like these focus on architecting the product for performance. As part of the performance engineering methodology, our teams consistently check and validate the capabilities at the time of developing the product or scaling it up. We take the shift-left and shift-right approach to anticipate, identify, and remove bottlenecks early on. Getting the architecture right enables us to deliver and deploy a high-quality product every time.

Performance engineering done right is sure to improve the planning-to-deployment time with high-quality products. Plus, it reduces performance costs arising out of unforeseen issues. A step-by-step approach in testing makes sure organizations move towards achieving performance engineering. Talk to our experts for scalable performance engineering solutions for your business.

Learn more about Trigent software testing services.


Reference:
* The State of Performance Engineering 2020 – A Sogeti and Neotys report
** Meet the next-normal consumer – A McKinsey & Company report

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