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Salesforce Winter 18 Features – Lightning Service Cloud

Winter 18

Winter 18 is just a few short weeks away from being released and right behind that is Dreamforce. Between the two, we are going to be inundated with a slew of new features. To start with, the Winter 18 release notes are a massive 575+ pages of new features. In Part 1 of our write-up we focused on the Sales Cloud features. For this part we’re going to focus on Service Cloud (my personal favorite cloud). Normally, we’d include Field Service features as part of this update, but this is a really big update for Field Service, so we’re going to do a separate post just to cover that.

Unless you’re completely new to Salesforce or been living under a rock for the past two years, you should be fully aware that Salesforce is all about Lightning. For a while there it was the future and where Salesforce was moving everything. It’s no longer the future though. It’s here. It’s been here for a while for Sales Cloud, and with Winter 18, it’s legitimately here for Service Cloud as well. As you’ll see below, this release closes most of the main Service Cloud Lightning gaps. If you’re on Service Cloud, you need to figure out your plan to move to Lightning. If it’s not this release, it should be soon after and you need to start planning.

To help with this planning, we are doing a webinar to go through all of Service Cloud Lightning – the benefits, what still might be a feature gap, and a bit on what to plan for during your cut-over to Lightning. The Service Cloud side is very different than Sales (we’re doing a different one for watch the Sales Cloud recording) which is why we’re dedicated an hour to it on its own. It’s a free webinar and we’ll be doing a live demonstration of Lightning Service Cloud and Lightning Knowledge. We’d love to see you there and here are the details:

Alright, onto the release itself. In no particular order for the features – except my own ranking of feature coolness, here are the new Service Cloud & Field Service features:

    • Community 360 – This is one I’m super excited about. We mentioned it briefly when it came out in Pilot in Summer 17, but Community 360 is now GA. Community 360 allows agents to see what your Community users did in the Community right from the Service Console. So, now, if a community users logs a Case, your agent can see that they looked at three different Knowledge Articles prior to submitting that Case. That’s huge information as it’ll prevent your agent from re-sending the same Article to that user and frustrating them more – or if one of those three Articles is actually the right one, acknowledging that there may be another issue at play as the Article should have solved their issue and get some details on what went wrong. Agents are able to see back a whopping 15 months of activity. For now, the activity tracked are Article and Case views. Would love to see this get extended to all Community content at some point, but this is still a great start. With the Case views being tracked, this could also be a good clue to show a user logging multiple Cases and tipping your agent off that two people might be working the same issue. Finally. if your user belongs to multiple Communities, they are all tracked buy your agent can filter out the activity by Community.A few questions and assumptions here that are tough to tell from the release notes and the pre-release instance. First, I’m assuming the 15 months of activity goes back from the release and doesn’t start the day Winter 18 is released. I’m guessing we get immediate value there versus needing this to build up over time. Second, from the licenses this supports, it looks like it works on Visualforce AND Lightning Communities. We’ll need to confirm that, but that is great if it’s the case. Next, it’s unclear if this works with public communities. For sure, the user needs to login at some point for this to work. If this is entirely public it clearly can’t know who the user is. The question is, if the user looked at public articles prior to logging in, will those public pages appear in the activity. I hope so. One last note – this is one of those rare new features that will work in Classic as well as Lightning. All Service Clouds that have a Community should be adding this to their consoles. This is a terrific feature and can make an immediate impact on your customer satisfaction scores.


    • Live Agent – A bunch of changes for Live Agent as it’s now available in Lightning. Just to be aware, it’s not 100% supported with Lightning as part of this release as there are some features still missing that we’ll go over – but make sure you review all of your features before jumping in. If you can, it’s a great improvement. First, a whole new look and feel that is way easier to read for your agents. As you can see from the image below, the window is much crisper and the conversation much easier to read. The chat window not only starts off with way more real estate, but you can also decide where you want your Live Agent components to go. Want the chat right front and center? Check out the second screenshot below – boom. Just build out your custom page and put the chat and parts of the chat where you’d like. In Classic, you really couldn’t control where it went so this is nice. Second, they’ve cleaned up how the chat pops. No more of that ugly and unchangeable “details” tab as the core tab. The chat itself is now the main tab / component. You can also still see the details as a sub-tab (or also as a component) but now we get a “Past Chats” tab. With just the click of the tab agents can now see past chat transcripts that were had with this customer. Chats are notorious for the customers getting side-tracked and not finishing their chats. So now, when that customer says “I was almost done with what I needed with Joe”, your new agent can just flip over and see what the conversation was. Huge. Along with this big stuff, there’s a few look and feel things that are new as well. Transferred chat tabs now appear as a green color. This is a nice visual indicator to an agent that the whole chat is new to them and they are going to need to catch-up some. When flipping into a chat tab, there is now a nice highlight panel for the chat window. It shows the last 100 characters from the customer. An agent can get this right from the chat too, but, this is a nice way to make it front and center instead of making the agent search for it. Should help with the back and forth across multiple chats and tabs. Finally, there toolbar of actions has been re-vamped a bit. All in all, this is a great looking and flexible agent experience. I love it.However, we need to mention what’s not supported so you can make the decision of whether you can make the switch to Lightning. First, Lightning only supports the Omni-Channel routing version for Live Agent. You can’t use this if you are routing chats the old way. Typically the big reason for staying in the old routing is the Supervisor page and the ability to sneak-peek and whisper into the chats. This unfortunately isn’t in the Omni-Channel Supervisor pages yet. If you need this, you need to stay on Classic. Another bummer is that it doesn’t support Quick Text. So, if you’re using Quick Text (and a lot of chatters do), you can’t move just yet. Finally, the Lightning Knowledge component doesn’t work within chats yet. Those are some pretty significant features left out. If you’re a heavy user of chat, you’re probably going to need to wait as you’re certainly using these features. However, if it’s more of a casual channel for you, you might be ok. Either way, with the aggressive Lightning roadmap, I’m guessing these features are not far out.

      Live Agent in Lightning

      Live Agent Components for Lightning


    • Macros – Some big changes to Macros. First, they now work in Service Cloud Lightning. As with a lot of the Lightning roll-out, Salesforce isn’t just settling to make the current functionality work, but they are expanding it a lot. Winter 18 brings a slick new Macro editor where you’re able to build and test macros much easier. It’s a tiny bit clunky in the pre-release org (I don’t think it’s fully baked in there yet), so I couldn’t completely play with this – but, it’s interesting how it’s built. Now, you select the actions of the macro by working on a test record and telling it what to do. From the editor you can test and modify as needed. In addition to the new editor, Macros now have their own object. From the Service Console, you can view the Macro home just like any other object and build different Macro list views. This will make it a lot easier for agents to find and manage their macros. The old tray item for Macros is still there – but sleaker looking for Lightning – and from there you can do a search across all Macros. Great update to a critical feature in Service Cloud.

      New Macro Editor


    • Case Milestones – Milestones are also now visible within Service Cloud Lightning. A new looking Service Console component is available to add and they are also now part of the Case Feed. You still can’t view the related list for Milestones, but between the feed and the component, you can get at all of the data you need. A nice touch with the new component is for those Milestones that are manually closed, agents now have a one-click “Mark Completed” on the milestone. That saves a couple of clicks. One other thing to note, the component is only usable on Cases as of Winter 18. So, if you’re using Milestones on other objects, that still isn’t visible in LEX.

      Lightning Milestones Component & Case Feed


    • Email Updates – Emailing from Lightning now allows agents to select templates that previously were created in Classic. So, no matter when the template was created, your agents can use them. A nice time saver for administrators cutting over to Lightning. Another pretty nice update is a change to the Recipient Fields on the Email object. Now, there is a distinct field for To Recipients, CC Recipients, and BCC Recipients. This combined with a new junction object allows an email to be associated to multiple Contacts whether they are CCed or BCCed. This is pretty awesome especially for those more “Account Management” type use cases where you could be emailing with multiple people at a time for your customer. Now, that email will appear on all of their Contact records. A few other additional updates to the email publisher as well. Agents can now use merge fields within the editor – and not only when grabbing a template – but in the body itself. Agents can now also preview their email – when previewing they’ll see the merge fields as they’ll appear when the email is sent. Finally, the can now remove attachments and they can also start over on an email by Clearing and Reverting it. When doing this it goes back to its original values.


    • Omni-Channel Updates – First off, Omni-Channel is now GA, where in Summer 17 it was just a beta. So, all of the features we discussed in our Summer 17 write-up are now full GA. Along with that the Omni-Channel Supervisor pages are now available in Lightning as a beta. Looks like the same pages as classic. One nice change on the Supervisor pages is that you can now create configurations for supervisors to allow them to narrow the list of agents that want to view. Instead of having to see all agents and then filtering, supervisors can be setup to have that list narrowed automatically. Especially for larger call centers this is nice. These Supervisor page changes are all in beta. Finally, the limits have been bumped up again. The maximum amount of queued work items has been tripled from 5k to 15k an hour. If you’re hitting 15k an hour, man, I feel sorry for your agents.


    • Knowledge Embedded Videos – A awesome improvement to the embedded videos functionality. Previously, it was pretty locked down on what services the video needed to be on to be embedded within the article – basically just YouTube or Vimeo. We see a big expansion of this with Winter 18. Brightcove, Dailymotion, Sprout, UsSteam, Ustudio, Vidyard, and Wistia have all been added to the list. YouTube has also been extended to support different countries as well. Probably the coolest is that Salesforce has also been added. Now you can simply store the video within Salesforce and it can be embedded into an Article. This is a great improvement and a bit overdue. What’s best is this works in both Lightning and Classic.


    • Create Articles from the Knowledge Component – From the new Lightning Knowledge component, agents can now create an Article right from there. The cool thing about this is it seems like the agent stays within the context of the Case – so they’re creating the Article entirely from the component. There’s no mention of what actually maps from the Case to the Article though. In Classic you needed a little bit of Apex to make that work. Will be interesting to see if that still applies with Lightning.

      Create Articles from a Case in Lightning


    • Asset Hierarchy – Lightning now has a great looking new view of the Asset Hierarchy. From any Asset detail page you can now click “View Asset Hierarchy” and you’re brought to an expandable view of the Asset Hierarchy. It’s a nice looking component. As of now, we can’t modify it by adding or removing columns, but this is still a much easier way to view your Assets.

      Asset Hierarchy in Lightning


    • Social Service Updates – A few improvements to Social Service too. To start with, they’ve added a new license called the Social Customer Service Pro Add-On. This let’s you up the free versions two accounts to ten accounts. This does cost extra, however, previously you had to buy Marketing Cloud to get above the two accounts. This will be cheaper and an easier setup. A nice option to have. Whether you are using this new Pro version or the out of the box free version, setting up the Social Business Rules just got easier in Lightning. Previously you needed to use Apex to setup rules on how to automate the inbound posts. Now you can do this with a business rules engine right within Lightning. Very nice. Agents now also have the ability to attach images right into a social post and then preview it before sending. This also only works in Lightning and is for Facebook or Twitter. Speaking of Facebook, right from Service Cloud, agents can hide a post or reply in your public Facebook stream – but still act on it. When hidden, it won’t appear to the public in Facebook anymore, but will be visible to your agents in Service Cloud to address. Nice touch for negative or inappropriate posts. Finally, you can also now pull in more information to your Social Personas. Now you can also pull down Verified, Influencer Score and Author Labels. This works in both Classic and Lightning.


    • External Files are now Related to the Case – You’ve always been always to link Articles to a Case that your agents have used to solve the Case. Now, from the Lightning Knowledge component, you can also attach External Documents to the Case. If you have a federated connection to SharePoint, YouTube, etc. when they appear in the component’s search results they can be added to the Case to show they are what solved the issue. This then appears in a new External Documents related list and also on the Case Feed. Finally, like Articles, these can be reported on as well.

      External Files Related List


    • Favorites in Console – The cool Favorites functionality that was added to Lightning Experience is now also available in the Service Console. It doesn’t look like you can Favorite a “tab cluster” similar to how recent items work, but anything you open from Favorites will pop in a tab within the console.


    • Service Admin Changes – The Setup for Service now is a bit more streamlined. There’s actually a “Service Setup” option that brings you to a dedicated area for all of the Service Cloud setup. It’s nice having everything in one place. Lightning Knowledge also has a whole new setup flow that is easier to you. In addition, the Lightning Console setup has been beefed up with more options added to the wizard. Between all of these, administrating Service Cloud just got easier.


    • GearsDataMask Updates – It’s not an official Service Cloud feature, but it is a Service Cloud app that we’ve built. Our 2.0 version will be coming out around the same time as Winter 18. GearsDataMask helps protect your Service Cloud from inadvertent PII / PID – like credit cards and social security numbers by obfuscating them across all the Service Cloud objects. Don’t let customers just shoot over credit card numbers and leave you responsible for the PII liability. With 2.0, we now support LiveMessage and have added a new auditing feature. Audit allows you to review your instance for PII and clean-up your objects in bulk. Read more about it on our GearsDataMask 2.0 blog post.


  • Classic Features Now Available – Same quick hitters that were only in Classic and now are available in Lightning.
    • Service Contracts – Lightning now supports Service Contracts. One nice new feature in that it now lets you manage multiple Contract Line Items from the same screen. Pretty slick.

      Lightning Service Contracts

    • Case Cloning – Same as in Classic, but it’s now available in Lightning.
    • Add Case Comments – The related list for Case Comments now let’s you add new Comments.
    • Milestones – On top of the new features mentioned above, Milestones are now visible and editable from the Case.
    • Omni-Channel Supervisor Pages – As mentioned above, these are now available, but in beta.
    • Multi-language Knowledge – Lightning Knowledge can now support organizations with multi-language Knowledge activated. However, the built in process flow around Submit for Translation, still requires Classic.
    • Knowledge Data Categories – You can now pick Knowledge Data Categories within Lightning.

Well, that’s it for Service Cloud. Big release with lots of new features in general but also a huge amount of stuff now supported in Lightning. We’ll update this post when we do our Field Service Lightning post, which will be our wrap-up post. Prior to that, Communities and Chatter will be next up. As a reminder, make sure to join us in our Service Cloud Lightning webinar on Tuesday, October 19th at 2:00pm EST. We’ll be showing off most of these new features live, so you’ll want to check it out for sure. Thanks again for reading and as always if you have any questions or want to learn more about how to get ready for Lightning, feel free to Contact Us and one of our Solution Architects will get right to you.

Harry Radenberg

Harry is the President and founder of GearsCRM, with more than 15 years of experience working with the Salesforce platform. Outside of Gears, Harry enjoys debating Star Wars and Marvel with his son and sharing music and videos with his daughter. He is an avid racquetball player, bleeds Dodger blue, cries Jets green and always tries to find spare time to read a good fiction novel.

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