I hope everyone had a terrific New Year and that you’re staying warm in this deep freeze. Hopefully things start thawing out soon and a good precursor to the real spring coming is that Salesforce Spring 18 is just a few short weeks away from going live. The release notes have been out for a few weeks now, and in our last post we covered the new Sales Lightning, Sales Einstein and Platform changes that were coming. With this post we’ll be diving into my personal favorite cloud – Service Cloud and Field Service Lightning (by the way – if you love Service Cloud and Field Service as much as we do, we’re hiring! Take a look at some of these great positions we are looking to fill as soon as possible and join a terrific team of Salesforce fans).
Overall this is a big release for Service Cloud and the biggest part is the progression of features into Lightning. A lot of what Classic offered is now available in Lightning – and with great enhancements over how Classic worked. There is very little left that doesn’t work in Lightning that does work in Classic. If you haven’t already started, you need to start planning for your Service Lightning migration. The current value is huge between the Service Console and Knowledge improvements alone. The biggest factor is that you’re not going to get ongoing new features unless you do. One of the reasons I love Service Cloud is Salesforce is always pushing the envelope and innovating. They do in other clouds of course, but in Service, it really feels like they are ahead of the curve and changing how the entire industry works. In an industry where once your competitors are offering a way to service their customers, your customers will be demanding that as well. You aren’t going to get these enhancements by remaining on Classic. Everyone should seriously be looking at how to move to Lightning and what that timeline will be. By Summer 18, there should be very little remaining holding you back. If you need help with this, we offer free Lightning Assessments and can help you build that plan. Feel free to reach out. Alright, let me climb off that soapbox…
There are some great new features in this release, so, let’s dive right in. As always, the order is based on just what I think is the coolest stuff.
- Forward Emails from Case Feed – A HUGE hurray here (my original Woody Woodpecker was shut down – thanks NBC for actually caring about a 12 second clip of a cartoon from the 60’s – but this is even better with live people. No way I’m not doing this if I ever go to Niagara Falls)! This has probably been one of the few real pet peeves I’ve had about Case Feed for years. I never understood why there was no Forward for email. Well, it’s been corrected in Lightning. Lightning now gives us the ability to Forward an email from Case Feed. Completely critical when agents need to send emails to people within their company about a Case. Along with this, the Reply, Reply All and Forward buttons are in other spots too – the Email Message record itself, and the Case Email related list. So you can use these actions all over. Yay!
- Macro Improvements – Some pretty big updates to Macros in Spring 18. First, we can now use them in a lot more places. Previously you could only run macros on Cases. Contacts, Leads, and Custom Objects. Now any object that allows quick actions and the page layout can be modified can have Macros run against them. That’s pretty much all of them, but the big new one there is Accounts and the Field Service objects like Work Orders. There are a few objects they recommend not trying this on: Opportunity Products, Knowledge Articles, and the Email Message object. They also specifically call out not doing this for the Crew Size field on the Service Crew object – so I’d definitely avoid that one. Actually creating the Macros also gets improved. We can now add Email Templates and Attachments directly into a Macro. What’s slick here is you can take pieces of multiple Email Templates to build the Macro – like the subject from one and the body from another. Within the Macro you can now add up to 4,000 characters into most text fields. Previously, they could only handle 1,000 characters. I go into more detail below, but you can also now use Quick Text when building the Macros. Finally, the Macro Utility itself gets a slick new look and can also be opened with a keyboard shortcut now. Great features to improve agent productivity.
- Omni-Channel Skill Based Routing – Another huge new feature. This is in beta, so definitely test this a bunch before rolling it out into Production, but man, play away with this one as it’s a game changer. Basically, Skill Based routing gives you another option for routing Cases or work items through Omni-Channel. Instead of having to use Omni Queues for everything we can now route items to agents based on their Skills. Essentially you can give your agents different Skills and then setup rules that route different types of work / Cases to them based on if they have those Skills. There’s not a lot of detail in this, but for the Skills, it’s leveraging some of the objects that were built for Field Service – Service Resources and Skills. On the Skills object you can set a rating of how strong the agent is on that Skill, so my guess is this is also in play for the routing. It looks like this is not turned on by default, so you’ll need to contact customer support to enable it. That said, definitely get this turned on it your Sandbox. The ability to assign Skill to your agents and then drive Cases that require those Skills directly to available agents with those Skills is huge. There’s so much you can do here. Keep in mind, there’s nothing forcing you to put in true Skills like “Service Cloud Administration”. You can even do this for levels of service – like white glove service for your top customers – or maybe even industry types. It’s a way to make sure the agents that know a business or provide a specific type of service well get those Cases – and more importantly – the ones that don’t, don’t. Just like the rest of Omni-Channel, this is just the start so expect this to keep getting cooler and stronger.
- Mass Quick Actions – Big potential time saver here. Now your agents can perform actions that are normally in the record’s quick action but instead of having to do it record by record, they can hit up to 200 records at a time. Agents would do this directly from a List View and be able to select the records they want to do this to. This isn’t just limited to Cases by the way – Leads and Custom Objects are also supported. By doing this, an agent can mass update a Case Status, create a common Case Comment to all of the Cases, and other actions. This is pretty big for common bulk actions like trying to shove spam Cases somewhere or even to update a group of Cases that their defect has been corrected. Definitely something to dig deeper into and explore!
- Case Path – Sales has had all of the fun with the Path feature in Lightning with Path on Leads, Opportunities and custom objects. Now, Service Cloud also gets path on Cases. With the Path component you can show off the Case progression of the Case Status or other custom picklist fields in a nice visual chevron. If you’re not familiar with how this works, essentially you can add key fields to each Status and even a pointer of what the agent should be doing at that point. This allows users to very quickly see where they are in the Case progression as well as what they need to do for this step to progress it. Paths can be setup different for each record type. This is worth taking a look at and giving your agents a nice visual to work with.
- Lightning Flow for Service – This one is pretty exciting. Exciting enough that even though it’s just a pilot it’s worth mentioning. You can now associate Lightning Flows to different Case types. What this means is that if an agent opens a Case – and that Case type has a flow associated to it – it will automatically start that flow in a sub-tab belonging to the Case. Basically, there is now a new junction object called Record Actions. These actions determine if a Flow should be popped. You can even add more than one Flow at a time. It’s unclear if these Flow pops can be criteria driven or if it just always happens. For example, it’d be nice to not pop the Flow if it’s already been run through for that record or if the Case is already closed. Huge potential here to really guide and drive your agents through your processes. Just as an FYI, for our 4th blog post we’re going to be writing about all of the new Lightning Flow features, and we’ll be sure to include some more details around this if we can get them.
- Quick Text in Lightning – Winter 18 had a big update for Live Agent in Lightning, but it didn’t include support for Quick Text. This is obviously a huge feature for agents in Live Agent, but also across other channels. Spring 18 now allows for Quick text and as with almost everything moving to Lightning, we get some enhancements as well as having it support in Lightning. First, creating the Quick Texts has a nicer interface. From that interface you can preview a Quick Text and also add in merge fields to the Quick Text. You can personalize the Quick Text with merge fields from any of these objects: accounts, cases, contacts, custom objects, leads, opportunities, organization, users, and work orders. Finally, when launching Quick Text, the UI to display which ones to grab has been improved making it a lot easier to find the Quick Text you want. A big thing to note here is the way to use Quick Text is different with Lightning. In Classic, you’d use Quick Text with “;;” and then start typing to search. With Lightning, you get to the search by typing “Ctrl+” if you’re in Windows and “CMD+” with a Mac. Might be a little bit of agent re-training due to this. So, where can you leverage Quick Text with Lightning? Across all standard and custom objects, you can use it in the following quick actions: Email, Log a Call, Social, and Live Agent chats. In addition, you can now also pull Quick Text in when creating Macros. Big update.
- Live Agent Updates for Agents – In addition to getting Quick Text support, Live Agent gets a few other updates as well. In Lightning, you can now leverage Knowledge within Live Agent. We get a new Lightning component that allows an agent to search Knowledge and then attaching a Knowledge Article to a chat conversation. It looks like the old method of dropping in an abbreviated “chat friendly” Article blurb into the Chat is gone and the full Article is attached to the Chat – just like with Emails. I prefer this, so good to see. In addition to this, we now have the ability to delete Transcripts that are in a Waiting status. Previously you were blocked from doing this and it could add a lot of records that add little value. Finally, Live Agent now has seamless updates. For 24X7 support organizations, this is huge. Now, when a new release comes out, it can push to your Salesforce instance without killing the Chats that your agents already have in progress. Previously, you needed to basically shut down chat while you waiting for Salesforce to update, so this is terrific.
- Live Agent Web Snap-In Updates – Not only do we get some agent facing improvements for Live Agent, but with the next version of web snap-ins, Live Agent gets a slew of enhancements around initiating a chat. First, you can now build pre-chat forms using a Lightning component. Previously, this needed to be Visualforce. We get some added power with these Lightning components as well. You can now route to the Live Agent Button based on answers provided in the Pre-Chat form. This used to be pretty custom to do before and is a huge value to be able to dynamically pass a customer to the right agents based on their answers to the pre-chat form. You can’t always route just based on what button they pushed, sometimes you need that extra information they provide and this new feature allows you to do that without code. Another enhancement allows you to pull in pre-chat values based on if that customer is already logged into your Community. Again, this is something that is very popular but always required development. Now, if someone is logged in, no need to ask their name – you already know it! Annoy your customers less and streamline those pre-chat forms by pre-filling answers. Great feature. On the post-chat form, if you have a survey that pops it will stay within the snap-in. It looks like you still need to use a web page for this though or I think they would have called out that you could also use Lightning for the post-chat form. Finally, proactive chat is now supported with the snap-in deployments as well. Now you can send out those automated invites while using the ever-expanding snap-in features.
- Return Orders – The Orders functionality has been expanded to now include the ability to track Return Orders. We get two new standard objects – Return Orders and Return Order Lines to track these. This can be used to track true order or product returns, but also can be used to track a technicians part return through Field Service Lightning. These objects are pretty versatile and can be related to a lot of different objects. The Return Order Lines needs to be linked to any of the following: product, product item, asset, product request line item, order product. This means you can track a lot of different types of returns which it’s a real order, a simple product or maybe even a component within an asset. The Return Order Header is just as flexible and can be linked to product requests, cases, accounts, contacts, or orders. Pretty nice to see this standardized and so flexible out of the gate.
- Field Service Reports Updates – A couple of updates to the Service Reports in Field Service Lightning. First, one the Service Report itself, you can now add filters to the related lists. So, if you only want completed work order line items to appear, you can add a quick filter to the related list and that’s all that will be visible. This is a beta, but pretty low risk to play with. The cooler update is you can now preview and send Service Reports from Lightning. You could only do this from the mobile app previously. Now within Lightning you have a great new preview of the Service report that can be launched from the Work Order, Work Order Line Item or the Service Appointment. Right from the preview you can then create and send the report. You can now also delete the Service Reports if needed after you created them. Last but not least, you can now also add Page Numbers to your Service Reports. It’s an easy toggle from the setup to enable this. Very nice.
- Field Service Mobile App Improvements – The Field Service Mobile app also gets some updates with its latest version – 4.0. First, the flows get a bit of an upgrade. Now you can setup flows just for the Field Service app. These are completely localized flows (which I think means they work offline – but I could be wrong there. I will confirm). All of these flows can now be in local languages leveraging the Translation Workbench. You can also add flow actions to page layouts within the mobile app so users can launch these flows directly from the app. Coolest of all, within these flows you can also give them the ability to embed images or attach files. Huge for your mobile technicians to be able to load a picture from their phone directly into a flow. Lots of power there. On the mobile app setup side you can now give different settings to different users. The mobile settings can be different per profile. Finally, you can view and manage Service Crews from the mobile app.
- View Work Order Milestones in Lightning – You could always link Milestone records to Work Orders but you couldn’t view them in Lightning before. Now, you can. It looks just like the Case Milestones and functions pretty much the same way for the agents. Handy update.
- Social Service Updates – A bunch of improvements to Social Service in Lightning. First, as an agent you now have an assortment of new social data about the person reaching out to you at your fingertips. This includes being able to see if the Twitter or Facebook is a verified account and also if they have any author labels. From a verified account stand-point, I’m sure there are a lot of instances of someone reaching out pretending to be someone high profile or a business. Being able to see if they are verified should help sniff that kind of activity out. On the flip-side, author labels like if they are a VIP or an Expert gives you a better sense of if you’re dealing with someone that is higher profile and has a lot of social influence. Agents now also get the ability to see the sentiment temperature of the poster. There aren’t a lot of details of where the sentiment temperature is coming from (no details at all actually), so I’m not sure if that is something being derived by Einstein, or if that is coming from the social services themselves. Wherever it is coming from though, it’s a pretty cool piece of information. It will allow your agents to see whether this poster is currently positive, negative or neutral in their recent posts. It’s a good temperature check before responding. In addition to the new nuggets of data, we also get the ability to add a Note to a social post. Social Service Cases are also now able to be routed though standard assignment rules instead of needing apex to get them routed. Finally, Social Service now works in Professional Edition as well. Some great updates here!
- Privacy Preferences – Interesting new feature here. We discussed this in our Sales Cloud post, but this is just as important for service organizations to worry about. With all of the new privacy laws coming into play – like the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) being passed by the EU, you are now responsible to honor your customer’s wishes about what can be stored about them. To assist with this compliance, Salesforce has created a new Individual object that hangs off of Leads and Contacts. Essentially these will act as the “policy” that these individuals are asking for. For example, if a Contact asks you to delete all personal data about them, once you delete that data you can reflect this requirement in their Individual record. There are some standard fields on the Individual object for the main compliance needs like Collecting, Storing and Sharing personal data or Deleting records and personal data but you can also add custom fields to add your own policies. A pretty cool concept and I can see a lot of potential here to expand this. Globally these data requirements are getting more complex to manage and this is a great start.
- Email Approvals for Draft Emails – Another cool Email enhancement. If you have Email Drafts enabled, you can now add approval processes to those draft emails before it is sent. This works a lot like how you can add approvals for Social Service posts. Obviously, only do this if you are dealing with really sensitive customers or issues as this would be a huge burden to approve all emails.
- Search Emails in Global Search – Small but terrific update. Now Email records are searchable in the Global search. No more trying to remember what Case that email was associated to – now you can just search and find the email you were looking for directly. Huge.
- New Time Field Type – In Winter 18, this came out in a private beta, so it wasn’t fully available. This is now in beta and available to anyone. You can now add a field type to represent Time without having to mess with Dates. Really big for Service Cloud, but also time and project management. To support this, we get a few new functions as well: TIMEVALUE, TIMENOW, HOUR, MINUTE, SECOND and MILLISECOND. I assume this always goes off of the running user’s time zone, but it could be GMT. Definitely something to check.
- Knowledge Updates – A couple of smaller Knowledge updates beyond the new Live Agent component. First, you now have the ability to insert Article content into an Email. There is literally one sentence explaining what this means and I couldn’t get this to work in the pre-release org. Seems like that you can parse out parts of the Article from the Knowledge Component and just drop it into an Email being created. Not sure if that is limited to the entire content of a field or if you can even go less than that – at that point, it’s basically copy and paste though, so my guess is it’s field by field. Pretty nice option if that is the case. In addition, you can now assign draft articles for approvals just like you could in Classic. Finally, importing translations is now supported as well.
- Increased Omni Limits – Omni can now handle more. Total work items per hour can now handle 30,000 items which is doubled from the previous 15,000 limit. The total queued items gets an even bigger bump going from 30,000 to being able to handle 100,000. Nice (this one is also in Classic).
- Person Account Updates – We also get a few good improvements to Person Accounts. First, you can now email to Person Accounts using the same Send Email functionality as you can in Contacts. Also, if you use Assets with your Person Accounts, you can now view these from the Person Account record in Lightning. Previously this didn’t work if you filled in the Contact of the Asset as a Person Account. Critical update for B2C service organizations.
- GearsDataMask Updates – It’s not an official Service Cloud feature, but it is a Service Cloud app that we’ve built. 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. In Winter 18, we launched 2.0 which we included support for LiveMessage and added a new auditing feature. The audit feature allows you to review your instance for PII and clean-up your objects in bulk. In time for Spring 18, we will be launching version 3.0. This version will include the ability to partially obfuscate a pattern. So, if you want to save the last 4 digits of a credit card number for example, we can leave those in place and eliminate the rest to protect you. In addition, we now have Social Service support as well. Even if a customer sends over their sensitive information in a private social post, you’ll be covered. Don’t let customers just shoot over credit card numbers and leave you responsible for the PII liability. Check out GearsDataMask for free on the AppExchange.
- VF CTI Support in Lightning – A small update, but this is a key on for Service organizations considering migrating over to Lightning. There are a lot of older CTI connectors out there and a lot of these aren’t supported anymore, so they’ll never be converted to Lightning. With this update, the click-to-dial functionality within these older visualforce connectors will work in Lightning.
- Classic Features now Support in Lightning – Some of these were listed above, but here is the list of enhancements that were in Classic and now work in Lightning for Service Cloud:
- Pinned Regions in Service Console
– You can now pin regions – like a highlight panel – that will remain consistent even as you toggle through sub-tabs. You have three templates to choose from: header, left sidebar or both.
- Accordion Console Components – We still don’t have all of the display options, but you can now have an expanding / collapsing component for the console. Currently, this only supports the accordion view – which looks pretty slick in Lightning.
- Knowledge Publication Approvals – You can now submit a draft for approval.
- External Routing for Omni – This is only a beta in Spring 18.
Big update for Service Cloud. Some really great productivity features and we’re also at the point where Lightning is nearly at parity with Classic across the Classic features, but has definitely surpassed it with the functionality already supported. As I mentioned at the beginning, you need a plan to move to Lightning if you’re a Service Cloud customer. If you still have some features you need that only work in Classic, you’re probably just one more release away from being able to cut-over. Start planning now. As always, if you’d like some help, we offer Lightning Assessments and can help guide you on how to make the change. Or, feel free to contact us for anything. Alright, next one will be on the Collaboration features – Communities, Chatter and Files.