This is officially our 200th blog post here at Gears. We started our blog way back on 1/9/2010 – and by we, I mean me, because at that point we were a company of one. I guess you can draw a nice parallel to how our blog has grown at Gears and to how Salesforce has grown. This is our first post:
That was the entire post. Nowadays, we can’t even fit all of the new features across eight much larger blog posts, and here I was with 6 bullet points and able to capture the entirety of it in a single screenshot. Clearly, that post leaves a little bit to be desired in terms of explaining the features, so we’ve matured as blog writers there – but it’s also just comical that we could describe all of Spring 10 in six bullets. By the way, the “new look and feel” demoed at Dreamforce was the introduction of what we now call Classic. Like our blog posts, Gears has gotten a bit bigger too. From being all by myself writing six bullet blogs, to now our team is made up of over 125 Gearys, having the honor of being named one of Inc. Magazine’s Best Workplaces of 2021 and we are expanding and looking to bring even more people onto the team! Back when I first wrote blog #1, Service Cloud wasn’t even a concept – it was all one cloud – and my sense of synergy loves that our 200th blog is about Service Cloud as it’s evolved into my personal favorite cloud and the one I enjoy writing about the most. Let’s get at it.
Last week we wrote about all of the Sales Cloud and general platform features coming out in Summer 21 and how it was really an admin-focused release with lots of great enhancements to help out admins. In this post, we’ll go into Service Cloud, Salesforce Surveys, and Service Cloud Einstein. Like in Spring 21, we’re going to do separate break-out posts for Service Cloud Voice and Field Service since there’s a lot happening there this release. As we have said for a while, everything below assumes that you’re on Lightning now. If something also works in Classic, I’ll call it out. The order is also fairly random – mostly based on what I think is the most interesting first. I have a trip hop mix playing in the background which is perfect blogging music. Massive Attack is up with the sublime Teardrop, so terrific place to start.
Inline Editing within Reports – Wait, what!? Didn’t we already write about this in the Sales Cloud post? Yep, we did, but this is that big of a new feature that we’re going to re-post here for the Service Cloud admins out there! This has to be the most frequently requested feature out there – Call Center Supervisors / Managers ask for this as much as Sales Managers – “I’d love a report where I can just update all my stuff from.” Well, boom, here it is. You’re going to look like a hero marching into that Service Supervisor’s office and showing them this one once it’s live. Basically, you’ll be able to click on a cell within a report and a pop-up will appear where you can change the value. There are some fields this doesn’t work for yet – and those will be marked with a little “lock” icon to make it clear. It’ll work with text, numeric, and checkbox fields so the big exceptions are picklists (probably due to dependency problems), date/time fields, and long text/rich text types of fields. There are a few other exceptions like the Task and Event objects (not sure why they are left out of the fun), compound fields (like address fields), and record type fields. You’re still going to be a hero with this feature – but you’re going to need to temper expectations a little bit when it’s not every single field. Either way, this is a huge feature for users and will be exciting to roll out. It is in beta for Summer 21, so test this out some before just flicking that checkbox and activating it. Besides that, get some cred for this and hype it up anyway before you flick that checkbox. Bask in the glory of this one.
Omni-Channel Flow – This is a really interesting one for those of you with complex routing rules. Basically, you can now leverage Flow to build complex routing processes that leverage Omni-Channel. Previously you could do this with apex and to some extent get pretty complex with the standard Omni routing. With this, you definitely have more flexibility and you can leverage attributes of your customers that aren’t on the work record itself (which is a limit of the normal omni-routing) like data on the Account, Contact, or even Asset records. In particular, if you’re using omni-channel for routing of non-Case work and you’re pushing custom objects that have complex object models, this gives you a ton more flexibility. In general, we still see a lot of customers not using omni-channel and instead just using assignment rules to drop Cases into queues. There are a ton of benefits to “pushing” work via Omni-Channel rather than more passively letting your agents “pull” work from queues. With Omni – especially with features like this – you can ensure the work is getting to the right person at the right time. It lets you prioritize work, weight work, route only to agents that are available immediately to receive it, and add complex skill criteria to your routing while queue-based routing simply drops work in queues (granted you can build multiple queues for different types of work) but once it’s in there, you’re at the mercy of your agents and brute force to ensure those records are actually worked on time. On top of that, omni-channel eliminates the cherry-picking issues where agents can see a work record from a certain customer and simply say “I’m not touching that one” and let someone else get stuck with it – or worse, you have the whole department playing a game of chicken with that case. Finally, you just gain more efficiency pushing the right work to agents by saving the time it takes your agents to figure out which work record to grab next. This feature makes omni that much more flexible and powerful – but in general, this is one of the best Service Cloud features out there and it’s way underutilized. If you’re an admin or a supervisor leveraging queues for work – do yourself a favor and dig into this. You won’t go back. Back to this feature, this is a beta for Summer 21 so definitely test this out before pushing it to production – and it actually works in Classic as well as Lightning – so no excuses not to try it!
Omni-Channel Capacity Increases – Speaking of Omni-Channel, with Summer 21 the limits for the amount of work an agent can have open at once has been increased to a whopping 100 simultaneous work items (I actually can’t find what this limit was before – but it was lower than 100 🙂 ). I have to admit, my OCD literally shudders at the thought of having 100 tabs open at once. I would go berserk with that much happening. I don’t know what agent could possibly survive with 100 tabs of work open at once – but hey, Salesforce now allows it. Send me screenshots!
Email Case Threading Changes – While this came out in Winter 21, it was adjusted pretty heavily after it was released and we did a big write-up in Spring 21. Basically, if you’re a new customer, this feature is terrific and is the new-and-improved way to connect email responses with the Case in Salesforce and it is a big improvement. For existing customers that have been using the thread ID approach, there are some implications to turning this on. I’m going to re-post those below since it’s a pretty big deal. This is a mandatory update – but one of the changes with Summer 21 is that Salesforce extended the deadline to switch to this from Winter 21 to Summer 22. Basically, we just got an additional 6 months to complete the move and in total, you have about a year to do this. That said – you should be planning now for this. In addition to the extension, we also got an additional enhancement – where automated Case Email alerts (emails that fire from process builder, workflow, or an entitlement process) now also support this. Previously only emails sent within the email component of the Case worked. We mentioned this in the Spring 21 write-up as an issue, so I’m glad it was updated with Summer. Here’s what you need to take into account if you’re an existing customer (if you’re a new customer, or not using email-to-case, you can skip to the next bullet):First, any replies to emails sent prior to Summer 20 (that’s July 2020) will create a new case and won’t match up. At this point, that is over 9 months ago, so if a customer is replying to an email that’s 9 months old, it’s going to be a one-off. This really shouldn’t be an issue anymore – but it’s something to keep in mind when that one customer does decide to reply. Probably a much bigger consideration is if you’ve built a custom email service using Apex. This is something we’ve done quite a bit to really tailor matching logic and in particular, if we’re trying to parse the content within the email to more intelligently pre-populate the Case with information. These will need to be updated with the new method. The old method getCaseIdFromEmailThreadId will no longer work come Summer 22 and you’ll need to use the new method getCaseIdFromEmailHeaders. Basically, you’ll want to search all of your code for anything using the thread ID for matching. Finally, there is a bit of a weird bullet here: “Make sure the emails sent to Salesforce contain the correct required Threading headers for matching.” This is a bit of a tough one as we can’t control what our customers include in their emails they send to us. I don’t know what percentage of email services out there still don’t use this approach – my guess is all modern ones do – but you might have some customers (I’m thinking government ones that still use antique versions of Internet Explorer too) who might be leveraging some email clients that don’t provide this info. The problem is you might not know until you’re live, so once you’re live, it’s worth keeping a lookout for strange behavior from certain customers – and this is probably the problem. On something like this, you probably want to leverage your IT team to analyze the incoming headers and see what’s going on. Overall, this isn’t the no-brainer cut-over it looked like in Winter 21, we have about 12 months to make it though. This is one you’ll want to have a plan for and to babysit once you turn it on. Also, just to mention it – this applies to all Service Cloud instances – whether you are in Classic or Lightning. If you want to read this directly from Salesforce’s mouth, they have a nice KB article that walks through these challenges for existing customers.
Einstein Article Recommendations – Einstein Article Recommendations will be applied to your Knowledge component automatically but rolled out over a very vague period of time. Sort of a weird roll-out description from Salesforce: “Over several releases, we’re phasing in article recommendations as active in orgs with Knowledge”. Basically, you’re going to get this eventually but we’re not sure over how many releases, or which org gets it when. I’m assuming if your org is about to get it, they’ll update your sandbox with it first so it’s not a total surprise, but that’s my assumption and not stated anywhere. Overall, the Einstein Article Recommendation model is much better at recommending articles than the non-AI enhanced one, so this should be all positive. Agents will still have the same tools to associate and send the articles they need, but the search to recommend the best article for the Case they are handling will be improved. In addition, you have the ability to modify that recommendations model to tell it which fields are more important to filter results better. You do have the ability to turn this off once it hits your instance or even just roll it out to certain users if you want to pilot it first. I’d give it a try though as there is a lot more intelligence in this than just the normal contextual search algorithm.
Other Knowledge New Features – While we’re talking Knowledge, let’s hit some of the other new features we get with Summer 21. First up is a super handy new feature for Knowledge editors and publishers – a side-by-side comparison of versions. You can now select two different versions of an article, press a “compare” button, and be presented with two versions side by side with a color-coded tracking of what changed. Very similar to how track changes look inside of Word – the screenshot is below. This is super useful, especially for those older articles that have gone through a lot of revisions, or if you have a larger team of editors that are all working the articles together. One nice additional touch is that you can add this as a tab in the layout tool so you can have even more real estate to do the comparison. Super cool. I should note that this requires you to be in Lightning, but it works in all editions of Knowledge. Next up we get a pretty neat enhancement for search. Now with Einstein search, when users select Knowledge from the global search options, they automatically get put into an advanced search screen that allows them to pre-filter their results before running the search. Another search enhancement is in pilot, (and it looks like they need people to sign up for the pilot) where you can leverage the contextual Einstein search approach with Knowledge as well as it introduces some guided help to get to the right articles. Definitely seems like an interesting pilot – and if you’re on Lightning Knowledge and a heavy user – it might be worth signing up for. Finally, the editor gets two quick enhancements – it now gives you more space to edit (yah!) and it also now supports right to left languages.
Einstein Case Classification Enhancements – Einstein Case Classifications gets some exciting new features. The first one is really tied to Service Cloud Voice – Einstein Case Wrap Up – so we’ll cover that in our Service Cloud Voice break-out post. In addition to this though, the biggest new feature is more flexibility in how you train your case classification model. You can now define custom filters to build a subset of closed Cases for the model to review. Maybe you have a lot of old historical cases that had an old case classification list and you don’t want that polluting the model – or maybe you’re using cases for multiple purposes and you want to tell the model “this subset of cases is for this model” – either way, this really helps hone your classification model. In particular, this is a huge help if you’re leveraging the one free model that you get with Service Cloud. With just one model, you need to make sure it’s looking at the right cases (as a reminder, if you want more models, you need to purchase Einstein Service Cloud). The setup process has been consolidated for Einstein Case Classification as well, letting you build out the different types of Case Classification models from one place in an improved flow. You also now get email notifications as the model is successfully building out and learning different fields. Once again, you get a free model with Service Cloud – there’s really no reason not to try this and get smarter case classification results and save your agents time. Add some AI to your Service.
Einstein Case Wrap Up – Einstein Case Wrap-up was in pilot previously and goes GA with Summer 21. This is a cool new feature that builds on top of the Einstein Case Classification concept but is specifically for Chat with Digital Engagement. In a nutshell, Einstein Case Wrap Up is reviewing the content of the chat conversation and gleaning important nuggets of data that allow it to automatically provide recommendations for Case fields. Especially if you’re in a high-volume environment for chat – and double especially if your agents are managing multiple chat conversations at once – this can be a great help to your agents to save time and allow them to focus on the other conversations they are in. To turn this on you need at least 400 closed cases for the model to review (so you can’t do this out of the gate with a new implementation) and the model will get smarter as it goes. Similar to the Case Classifications above, you get 1 free model with your Digital Engagement licenses. If you need multiple models for different case types, you’re going to need to add on Service Cloud Einstein. However, with the 1 free model, this is absolutely worth rolling out if you leverage chat as a service channel.
Einstein Reply Recommendations – Finally, speaking of Chat & Einstein, we also get some new updates to Einstein Reply Recommendations. The first is a pretty straight notification to you as the admin when it has added new reply templates to the model. Basically, if you start your model with 1,000 chat transcripts, when you get up to 10,000 chat transcripts the model will automatically refresh itself and create a new model. From this refresh, if it discovers new reply recommendations it will notify you to let you know they are now available. You’ll also be notified if for some reason that refresh has an issue. Next for the admin as well, we get a search within the model to search and find suggested reply templates. From the search, you can choose which ones to publish and make available. Finally, there is an interesting pilot where you can now suggest replies in 16 different languages. Like the other multi-lingual Einstein models, you’re going to need at least 1,000 transcripts in each specific language for this to work. If you’re a heavy international instance though, that shouldn’t be an issue. The languages available in the pilot are: Arabic, Chinese-simplified, Chinese-traditional, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Dutch, Polish, Portuguese, Spanish, Thai, Turkish, and Russian. If you’re interested in trying this pilot, you need to contact your Account Executive.
Macro Enhancements – Macros gets a couple of nice enhancements here as well. First, bulk macros now support both Classic and Lightning email templates. With those templates, you can now include images, letterhead, and merge fields across both types of templates. Super handy. Finally, you can create more complex macros that can now send multiple emails – if you have one that needs to send repetitive emails for example. It looks like these emails can also leverage different templates as well. Overall, all good stuff to make macros that much more powerful to help reduce work for agents.
Salesforce Surveys Updates – Three nice new updates to Salesforce Surveys as well. The biggest one is the new ability to send to a list instead of just to individuals. You can target a list of leads, contacts, or even campaign members (being able to leverage campaigns here is a nice touch). You do this by building out a list view on one of those three objects and targeting that within the survey builder. Lots of potential with this. The remaining two updates are around the survey responses themselves. First, you can now allow customers to upload attachments within the survey flow as supporting information. Probably not something you’ll use a lot, but when the use case hits, it’s super nice to be able to do. The attachment will be linked to the survey result and can be either a PDF, document, spreadsheet, or graphic. Finally, we have a new Like or Dislike question type. Basically a nice and easy binary “do you like or dislike what we’re doing.” Short and sweet and effective. As a reminder, Salesforce Surveys are not part of Service Cloud and it is an additional product. If you want to learn a bit more about it, we recently did a webinar highlighting it. It’s worth checking out as Salesforce has really built this product up.
Send Multimedia via SMS Messaging – Salesforce gives a single sentence to describe this new feature: “Now your agents can send multimedia messages to support customers in new ways,” but this is a pretty big enhancement for customers leveraging SMS conversational messaging. Pictures are huge to be able to send – especially for customer service – and video is right behind it. I don’t see the use case for audio often, but nice to have as well. Previously this was impossible to send when leveraging 1-800 numbers (which most customers do for messaging) so it’s terrific to see this update.
Chat Connections without Cookies – If you’re using the Embedded Web approach for your chat vs. the old buttons, there is now a new enhancement that allows your customers to chat even if they are restricting cookie collection in their browser. This includes if someone is trying to chat with you in Chrome’s incognito mode (worth noting, this doesn’t work with Firefox when a customer has the Enhanced Tracking set to “strict”). With this improvement, a customer in this mode will be able to launch a chat session and chat with your agent. The one big but here is they can’t move to new tabs or pages while in the chat. One of the huge benefits of the embedded chat window is that it remains open even as the customer moves to different pages across your site. This requires cookies to be able to re-pop open the chat conversation with each new page or window – so if the customer is in this restrictive/incognito mode, they will get a warning that this will end their chat when they try to navigate to a new page. Customers are getting more and more careful about what they share and leveraging cookie blockers more and more – it’s good to see we can still provide chat channels to them even with a slightly lesser experience.
Send Longer Emails with the Case Email Quick Action – A quick hit here that increases the character limit of emails sent via that Case quick action to 384,000 characters. Previously this was at 131,000 characters, so we’ve tripled our length here. By the way, this doesn’t impact the length of email drafts which is still at 131,000 – a tiny bit annoying, but we’ll take the new limits where we can get them. High limits are almost always better!
That’s it for the main Service Cloud, Surveys, and Einstein for Service new features. There are a bunch of other Service Cloud features we will be doing break-out blogs for. Service Cloud Voice and Field Service for sure will have their own blogs. In addition, we are going to try and do a blog about the new Workforce Engagement product that was actually launched in Spring 21 but has a huge list of new features in Summer 21. This might be getting a bit aggressive on the blog count, but we’ll try. We’d love to do a webinar showing it off as well, which might be when we do the blog post. It’s on our radar, but we’ll see when. In addition, we have an exciting new product around IT Service Center which leverages the Work.com platform that was just launched so we’re going to try and write a blog on that as well. Basically, that’s five blogs just to cover all the different aspects of Service Cloud – which is pretty nuts. So much happening in this space it’s awesome, but it’s a ton of stuff to cover. Our next post is going to be about Manufacturing Cloud & Rebate Management, and then I think Service Cloud Voice right after that. Thanks for reading and if there’s anything you have questions on or want help setting up feel free to reach out and we’ll have a Solution Architect get right back to you. Our 200th post is done! At the pace Salesforce is going, we’ll be talking about #300 sooner rather than later.
Harry is the CEO and founder of GearsCRM, with more than 18 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.