4 Steps to Successfully Deploy Your Call Center in Salesforce Lightning
If your organization is exploring strategies for your phone and contact center technology, the discussion is no longer quite as simple as features or price. As more and more companies think about things like customer or employee experience, automation, and artificial intelligence, a more important question arises in the realm of telephony: How can we gather as much data from our phone conversations as possible, and augment our existing data set to provide even greater insight into what our customers are looking for?
While it might be more important, it is by no means a simple question to answer. To simplify our discussion, we will assume you have either landed on or currently use Salesforce as your CRM. The following points are intended to nudge you in the right direction as far as your call center strategy.
1. Do Your Research
There are several tools that will allow you to serve your clients through the telephony channel. Ironically, however, one of the major decisions around the technology you choose involves other service channels as well. How well does the phone system in question allow your clients to seamlessly transition between interactions with you? If they have an open support case, will your agents be able to quickly navigate to the relevant details regardless of where they are being contacted from? This is also part of the broader discussion on the transition from traditional call centers to more robust contact centers.
In addition to the ability to work well with other channels, your organization likely has nuanced requirements or preferences that not every tool will have a solution for. Feel free to bypass sales folks in favor of a vendor’s technical resources if you have very specific technical needs that merit very specific technical responses. For example, if you must provide video call support to your customers like doctors or nurses might do during a telehealth visit, ensure that the tool you ultimately decide on has that functionality. If you want screen sharing or control abilities in addition to simple video, you may be surprised that certain tools have quite varying levels of advanced video calling features. Perhaps for something like a telehealth visit, however, a screenshare is not necessary or even desired, in which case you can look to other points as deciding factors.
2. Give Design its Due Diligence
To get the full benefit of what most call center technologies offer will likely require you to think ahead and outside the box more than normal when purchasing a new product – even several software platforms like Salesforce can have decisions made as things are built.
- But with telephony, there are three major distinctions:
- Configuration is highly dependent on very specific if this, then that logic
- Unwinding of or significant alterations to complex routing logic due to insufficient planning can be amplified compared to other technologies
- You are now allowing a tool outside of Salesforce to dictate what happens inside of Salesforce
A natural place to start with call center setup, especially integration with Salesforce, is defining rules for automatic call distribution. What phone line should a customer be able to navigate to? If the incoming number is in Salesforce, what customer record attributes might help inform us about how to intelligently distribute their call? Answers to these questions often manifest as a tree of decision logic – do not hesitate to document this decision logic before attempting to construct in the system. It will help you hash out issues and land on the appropriate solution prior to sinking time into the implementation effort.
On a similar note, while call routing logic can be some of the most fun functionality to design and build, it is also some of the most frustrating to maintain. If you require exceptionally complex routing, this is even more true. From a technical perspective, when you start to configure your call center technology, hopefully they will have tools to support simple administration of your requirements. If not, you may need to layer in automation using some of Salesforce’s tools, like Flow Builder or Apex. Heading down this route will force you to define an underlying structure to control the routing logic, so you will want to ensure you have landed on a design that can absorb change.
Finally, when integrating CTI with Salesforce, it is imperative to have a crystal-clear picture of what you want to take place when recording data. Several tools will do something along the lines of creating a completed task after an inbound or outbound call associated with the appropriate client record. Is that sufficient for you? Or would you prefer to enable additional features such as triggering a survey to be sent after a client initiates contact with you? Defining these scenarios up front will help protect the integrity of and the strategy around the data in your Salesforce environment.
3. Test All Your Scenarios
It may seem obvious that you should test functionality you are building before launching it to your user base, but this is once again especially true for call center technology. What happens if you have defined a decision tree for a certain path, but never provided the specific location to route the call to? Testing each possible path for both existing customers and contacts unknown to Salesforce is essential to upholding the customer experience and proving that their call really does matter.
- For example, imagine we have defined the following logic for our call routing:
- Locate caller record in Salesforce
- If found, check if Client or Prospect
- If Client, route call to assigned service rep
- If Prospect, send to menu with options for appropriate department
- Route to next available based on department selection
- If not found, send to menu with options for appropriate department
- Route to next available based on department selection
This will merit a minimum of 3 tests – one as a Client, one as a Prospect, and one as an unknown. Through testing we might also realize that the Client’s assigned service rep is unavailable, and we must either accept a voicemail or route to an available representative if the request is urgent. A good rule of thumb is that the end of each decision branch should be its own distinct test run, but this can be doubled if you are attempting to land on an individual that may or may not be available!
4. Be Flexible and Iterate
Ultimately, the success of your call center setup will depend on all the topics discussed here, but perhaps the most important is to recognize that, similarly to Salesforce, no technical implementation is ever truly “finished”. You will have a much more manageable time with what tends to be one of the more delicate technologies by adopting a development operations procedure that involves defining the minimum acceptable requirements and adding complexities incrementally over time. Additionally, with tools like telephony, you will likely find that requirements change frequently over time. Perhaps one of the deciding factors we talked about earlier for the vendor itself should include how adaptable it is!
A strategy you may deploy might start with a basic routing tree as outlined in our testing discussion, simple automation in Salesforce such as logging activities for inbound and outbound calls, and obviously ensuring that your workforce can successfully use the technology from where they are supposed to, whether it be physical equipment, click-to-call within Salesforce, or a mobile app for their smartphones. Starting small and adding on will allow your team of both administrators and users to learn more as they go, and it also is a more forgiving strategy that allows for less design effort prior to configuration.
If you are considering adding telephony functionality to your Salesforce environment or have further questions, please reach out!