Portals for users with Salesforce Experience Cloud

Community for customers, partners and users: Part 1 of 5

Nov 03, 2020
Business applications Salesforce

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 would like to call, it provides ways to interact that add value, improve the brand and increase loyalty. For simplicity’s sake, we will 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 will cover some aspects of creating the portal of your dreams, such as:

Customer experience—It is all about the experience. Is it seamless with your website and does it avoid the danger of being clunky? Making sure you are using modern responsive design techniques and single sign-on so you do not 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 do not 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. 

Knowledge base—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 client service representatives to document best practice resolutions, so they can be leveraged repeatedly with great efficiency. Even better—you can expose a customer-facing knowledge base, so that customers can self-service better as well. Just think how more efficient you would 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 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 and 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 knowledge base, log and manage cases, and account status section. We have also designed and developed more innovative components like appointment schedulers, start a claim, warranty and repair status, map locator services, and SMS alerts, reminders and chat. We will 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.