Customer Service Gets Smart Thanks to Salesforce Einstein
By Shirley Siluk / Top Tech News. Updated February 20, 2017.
Done right, customer service has more potential than ever to help companies grow their businesses, but it's also become increasingly complex. That's where artificial intelligence (AI) can step in to help, according to Salesforce, which recently announced its new AI-powered Service Cloud Einstein.
Designed to help contact centers provide their customer service employees with faster, smarter insights, Service Cloud Einstein comes with new support for case management, mobile CRM (customer relationship management) and analytics for supervisors. The new offering builds on the initial Einstein services announced by Salesforce in September.
Salesforce is rolling out its latest Einstein services one at a time. Einstein Supervisor is already generally available. Its Intelligent Mobile Service for iOS was launched earlier this week (an Android app is also available as a pilot), while Einstein Case Management will become available as a pilot offering later this year, the company said.
AI Has 'Enormous Potential'
The artificial intelligence capabilities provided through Einstein are built in part on technology developed by a company called MetaMind, a deep learning startup acquired by Salesforce last year. However, Salesforce itself has been working on CRM-focused AI for more than two years, and Service Cloud Einstein marks its next step forward in putting that research into action.
"There is enormous potential for intelligence in customer service -- from smart image recognition to intelligent upsell & cross-sell to service bots -- and the companies that can harness all that AI has to offer will deliver better experiences for their customers, create competitive advantage, and disrupt entire industries over the next few years," Bobby Amezaga, Salesforce's senior director of product marketing for Service Cloud, wrote in a blog post.
Artificial intelligence and machine learning can help business contact centers get deeper, real-time insights into their customers, Amezaga said. Organizations that make use of that technology will better be able to deliver a "transformational customer service experience," he added.
Combining New and Existing Services
Service Cloud Einstein encompasses three separate tools: Einstein Supervisor, Einstein Case Management and Intelligent Mobile Service. Supervisor, which combines several existing services from Salesforce, is included for customers that subscribe to the company's Service Cloud Enterprise edition and higher services, with pricing that varies according to the number of users and volume of data.
The Einstein Intelligent Mobile Service, also known as Field Service Lightning, costs $150 per user per month and is available to businesses with at least one Enterprise Edition or Unlimited Edition Service Cloud license. The mobile app uses algorithms to help service professionals in the field optimize schedules and routing, Salesforce said.
For example, a solar panel company could use the app to ensure that repair requests from customers go to the most experienced employees who are closest to the jobs. The application also provides workers with information about customer history, and can route them to the closest warehouse if they need to pick up parts ahead of their appointments.
Meanwhile, Einstein Case Management uses machine learning to automatically classify and escalate customer cases as they come in. A high-priority case, for instance, can be routed to the next available agent with background details on the case so the customer has a "seamless" experience, Salesforce said.
"For instance, a customer calling a networking device company could be asked a series of basic questions by a bot -- name, reason for the call and serial number on the impacted device," Amezaga noted in his blog post. "After gathering the information, Einstein Case Management knows that the customer's home networking gateway is not working and can route the case to the best agent with key details about the issue, empowering the agent to dive into troubleshooting-mode and immediately fix the problem."