Portals for Customers, Partners, and Users using Salesforce Experience Cloud

In Best Practices, Project Management, Tips & Tricks by Andy YangLeave a Comment

This is the first article in a multi-part series on Salesforce Experience Cloud. The entire series can be found here.

Salesforce Experience Cloud (formerly Community Cloud) is a powerful Salesforce product that enables companies to create an online place, portal, community, forum, or gathering place for their customers, partners, users, etc.. Whatever you’d like to call, it provides ways to interact that add value, improve the brand, and increase loyalty.  For simplicity’s sake, we’ll be referring to the Experience Cloud capability as a portal, but it could just as easily be a developer community, user portal, or partner relationship management (PRM) portal.

Experience Cloud includes two Salesforce superpowers. First is the breadth of tools, templates, capabilities, customizability, and extensibility to get you started. Second is being part of the overall Salesforce platform so that the portal can leverage your customer data, sales data, customer service issues, and more in one cohesive solution. 

In this blog series, we’ll cover some aspects of creating the portal of your dreams, such as:

Customer Experience – It’s all about the experience.  Is it seamless with your website and avoids the danger of being clunky?  Making sure you are using modern responsive design techniques, single sign-on so you don’t have to use a separate login, and branding that makes it indistinguishable from your other customer-facing assets will enhance the experience.

Self-Service – Except for certain “high touch” industries, providing the facilities for customers to service themselves is not only helpful in reducing caseload but is an expected necessity.  Customers expect this capability to be there so that they don’t have to go through the sometimes cumbersome and time-consuming process of contacting a live person.  Providing as many facilities in an easy-to-use fashion is an incredible value-add for customers.

Knowledgebase – Reinventing the wheel is costly.  When an issue is resolved, the organization can benefit, as you can leverage that resolution when other customers run into that same issue.  Knowledge is an excellent way for CSR’s to document best practices resolutions so they can be leveraged again and again with great efficiency.  Even better – you can expose a customer-facing knowledgebase so that customers can self-service better as well.  Just think how more efficient you’d be when you can publish your best issue/resolutions so that customers can easily find it and address the issue on their own.

Partner Relationship Management – The Salesforce Sales Cloud Partner Relationship Management (PRM) product enables organizations to move their interactions with partners online. Salesforce PRM extends Salesforce to the partner network so the channel can sell more, faster, as well as support customers better. A partner portal enables your partner users to massively scale their relationship with you and grow business together.

Components to Customer Portals – Every customer is different, but we often see many best practices in terms of components to put on the customer portal. You probably want a news feed, event calendar, FAQ, searchable knowledgebase, log/manage cases, and account status section. We have also designed and developed more innovative components like appointment schedulers, start a claim, warranty/repair status, map locator services, and SMS alerts/reminders/chat.  We’ll provide a breakdown of different options to give you some ideas of what is possible.  You can even create your own custom application flow replete with capabilities like workflow, forms, upload of documents, e-signatures, drag and drop configurators, and more.  The more you can move your business online, the more scalable it can become while also being a value add to your users. Learn more about the breadth of capabilities in building Salesforce portals in the whitepaper, “Salesforce Experience Cloud – Building Blocks For the Ultimate Customer and Partner Experience.”

A great place to start is to have a chat with one of our team members to help envision your customer or partner portal.  We can share what other customers have done to co-design the best portal for you.

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