Advances in technology and automation have resulted in less human interaction overall. But in today’s tech-driven world, customers, employees, and executives are looking to connect on a personal level once more..
Customers want to build closer, trust-based relationships with the brands and products that they love. Employees, especially in a world that is becoming increasingly driven by remote work, want to feel like they are part of the team and connected with the people that they work with on a deeper level. Executives and leaders want a way to engage with their customers and employees in a way that feels genuine and authentic.
Salesforce is meeting this need through Salesforce Communities. This platform provides an open forum where customers and employees can share ideas, make suggestions, and discuss the products and industries. As a result, customers have better experiences and companies are able to collect more feedback.
What Are Salesforce Communities?
Salesforce Community Cloud is a software product that allows companies to build branded communities where they can share information and users can connect and collaborate. Designed to supplement the standard Salesforce features that companies use internally, Salesforce communities are simple to set up with easy-to-use tools and templates.
Companies can create different types of communities depending on their needs, including customer communities, employee communities and partner communities.
Salesforce customer communities are essentially support and self-service portals that allow customers to:
- ask questions of customers and staff
- participate in discussions with other customers
- review other questions and discussions
- access published documentation
- find answers to questions through articles
- review FAQs
In the best communities, employees will participate along with the staff.
Employee communities function a bit differently. They are internal networking websites that act as an intranet of sorts, giving employees the ability to:
- share files with one another
- manage projects and tasks
- access internal documentation
- participate in discussions
- ask questions
- make announcements
Partner communities also have their own nuances. They allow sales teams, resellers, and vendors to collaborate, access important company and product information, and facilitate more sales.
Salesforce Lightning External apps also offer a lot of extended functionality and customizable options for Salesforce communities. You could use their external apps to develop new features for a customer forum, share data in your Salesforce communities, or build feature-rich enterprise portals for all of your different user types.
There are several different editions of the Salesforce Community Cloud offering.
Salesforce Community Cloud Edition Information
Create customer communities. The minimum for collaboration without investing in specific licenses. Provides external access to your community. An example would be for use in a support portal.
Designed for B2B engagement, discussions, and interactions. Can pull in and use sales data in a variety of ways. Think of this as a PRM (partner relationship management) system.
More customization options for customers, employees, and partners. Create forms. Display external data. Build enterprise portals.
Getting Started with Salesforce Communities
There are many reasons why a company may want to start a Salesforce community. Using Salesforce Community Cloud, you can start your own online social platform for customers and employees, or separate communities for each. A Salesforce community can function as your own branded social platform.
A strong community will empower each and every community member and give them more options for learning and improving how they utilize your product or engage with your customers.
By fostering a community inside your most important software solution, you'll be able to improve adoption rates, drive home best practices, and help new employees ask questions and become acquainted with the system.
Some of the many benefits of Salesforce communities through Salesforce Community Cloud include:
1. Create an Engaging Branded Experience
Salesforce communities are customizable in a variety of different ways. First, you can customize the look to make sure that it matches with your company’s branding. Making these changes is intuitive and simple.
Among customers, employees, and partners, a branded community can help to enhance your brand image and grow trust. A customer community not only allows them to engage with other customers and employees within your company, but it also allows them to see engagements between other customers and your team as well.
Customers in customer communities spend 19% more on average than customers who do not participate in branded communities.
This is invaluable. They get to see how your employees conduct themselves and the type of customer service that they offer.
2. Know Your Customers, Discover Pain Points
Giving your customers a community where they can discuss their issues and engage in an open and honest way with your team is perhaps the most valuable aspect of creating a customer community.
A customer community can act as an essential arm of your customer and user research processes. It gives you a central location where your customers can come to you, ask questions, and receive assistance from other customers that have solved similar problems.
Salesforce’s IdeaExchange is a great example. There, users can suggest new ideas and tweaks to the platform that they would like to see. The result? Thousands of customers pour into their community to highlight pain points, suggest new features, and agree with others’ suggestions.
That is the kind of customer research that companies pay tens of thousands of dollars for—and Salesforce communities allow you to put them on autopilot.
3. Build Relationships and Collaborate with Brand Ambassadors
If you aren’t constantly engaging in conversations with your customers, there is a high likelihood that you have valuable would-be brand ambassadors waiting for you to engage with them and take your relationship to that next level.
Salesforce communities make it easier for you to identify who the power users and public ambassadors for your product and brand are. They make themselves obvious in the time that they dedicate to participating in your community and the responses that they give to other customers.
With Salesforce communities, you can pull those people in closer and give them the tools that they need to effectively become a true high-level ambassador for your brand. You can even add them as an employee-level account in your system where you can use the collaboration, file sharing, and documentation features to make sure that you are on the same page.
You can plan content, share resources, and collaborate with ambassadors all through one simple dashboard.
4. Improve Employee Communication & Facilitate Collaboration
It sounds shocking, but 60% of companies have no long-term strategy for managing their internal communications. And yet, communication is a must. Employee productivity increases by 25% in organizations where employees are connected and practice good communication habits internally.
Employee communities are a great way for companies to build camaraderie. By providing a social platform, you give your employees the ability to get to know others within your company and improve communication in an organic way.
Using Salesforce communities for employee communication can be a powerful way to increase interaction and engagement among your teams. It can break down walls and help to create alignment between departments through open and public communication, data sharing, and stronger information distribution.
In employee communities, your team members can share thoughts, data, and insights instantly. They can help to connect others with critical information that would be hard to effectively disseminate across an organization through email. They can more easily find experts within your organization that can provide insights and help them to solve problems more quickly. Further, when those insights are shared publicly, it will help others to solve problems in the future as well.
Communities are a powerful tool for Salesforce companies. To manage Salesforce data and maximize the benefits of those communities, use Insycle.
Salesforce Data Management
Insycle is a Salesforce customer data management tool that helps sales reps, managers, and operations teams to improve their efficiency, make more data-backed decisions, and create collaborative data management processes that drive their organizations forward.
Using Insycle, you can:
- Check your Salesforce data health on an ongoing basis using Insycle’s Customer Data Health Assessment, which monitors your database for the most common customer data issues, then provides you with direct links to tools and templates to fix those issues.
- Deduplicate Salesforce contacts, accounts, and leads in bulk.
- Link Salesforce leads and contacts to Salesforce accounts in bulk.
- Quickly and simply reassign and balance leads, contacts, and accounts to sales reps.
- Create custom data handling processes to solve data problems that are unique to your organization.
- Automate your data cleansing process for true data health improvement on autopilot.
Would you like to see how Insycle can help your Salesforce organization? Sign up for a free trial today by filling out the form below.