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Salesforce today announced new AI-powered automation and digital channel technologies for Service Cloud to power features for service agents and customers. The first set of tools aims to predict, route, and solve customer needs, while the second set — voice, video, and text capabilities for digital contact centers — let customers reach out in the most convenient channel for them.

Amid the pandemic, customer service has arguably become more important than ever. According to HubSpot, 93% of consumers are more likely to purchase again from brands with exceptional customer service. On the other hand, 51% of customers would never do business with a company after just one negative experience.

Customer service automation

Back in 2018, Gartner estimated that approximately 25% of customer service operations would use AI and chatbots by 2020. According to a more recent survey, 71% of IT decision-makers believe that AI and automation can improve customer service during the pandemic.

Against this backdrop, Service Cloud’s new Customer Service Incident Management feature automatically connects service cases on the same issue, enabling teams to prioritize based on urgency. Partner integrations power monitoring, alerts, and remediation pipelines — for example, bringing the right experts into a Slack channel to take action and notify customers with status updates on the resolution.

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Another new Service Cloud addition, expanded automation with Flow, brings a deeper level of process automation to service teams to connect processes across channels and external systems. Flows unify AI capabilities to triage cases, apply routing requirements (e.g., skill-based, queue-based, and direct-to-agent routing), and auto-respond to customers with articles to deflect cases and drive self-service. The complementary Einstein Conversation Mining feature uses natural language processing to identify the most common types of interactions with customers, recommending how to optimize their processes and self-service channels as well as their knowledge bases.

On the call center side, asynchronous messaging joins Service Cloud’s offering, allowing customers to start a chat in-app or on a website and pick up the conversation where it left off. Service Cloud’s Visual Remote Assistant now enables two-way video and audio for a face-to-face conversation between agent or field technicians and customers. And Service Cloud Voice updates bring together phone, digital channels, and customer relationship management data in a central view for service agents.

The Service Cloud enhancements come a day after Salesforce launched new Sales Cloud features for digital channels, including AI-powered insights and self-service options. Those arrived on the heels of tighter Slack integration with Salesforce’s Customer 360 platform, as well as an expanded partnership between Salesforce and Amazon to launch integrations and no-code applications.

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