Salesforce mascots Albert Einstein and Astro during Salesforce World Tour in Toronto on May 3, 2018.

Published: July 12th, 2018

Salesforce has added chatbots to its customer service platform.

On Wednesday the company announced that its newest update to Service Cloud Einstein would include a full rollout of what it calls “Bots for Service” – a machine learning-powered platform that automates “routine service requests” while transferring unique ones to human agents.

In other words, chatbots, although the company’s press release doesn’t actually use the phrase.

The update also includes what the company calls “Lightning Flow for Service,” a tool that allows businesses to quickly design and automate customized customer service processes; and in its Wednesday announcement Salesforce also said that it’s testing Einstein Next Best Action, which essentially would allow Salesforce customers to replicate Amazon’s smart recommendations feature.

“Artificial intelligence alone will not drive your business forward — AI must be connected to CRM [customer relationship management] data and guided processes so companies can create seamless experiences that put customers at the centre,” Salesforce Service Cloud senior vice president and general manager Bill Patterson said in a July 11 statement, calling the update “a big step forward in empowering our customers with an easy way to provide guided, intelligent service at scale.”

In its 2018 State of the Connected Customer report, Salesforce found that 80 per cent of Canadian customers believed the experience a company provides is as important as its products, and 69 per cent said that their standards for those experiences were higher than ever – yet around half of global customers said that most companies fall short in delivering experiences, and 54 per cent reported believing that companies don’t have their best interests in mind.

This week’s Service Cloud Einstein update makes it easier for companies to deliver the digital transformation their customers are expecting, Salesforce said.

In greater detail, the update’s new features are:

  • Einstein Bots for Service, which allows Salesforce clients to immediately respond to customers, automates routine service requests, gathers basic information from customers, and seamlessly transfers customers to customer service agents when appropriate. “And because it uses machine learning and natural language processing, Einstein Bots improve with every interaction,” Salesforce writes.
  • Lightning Flow for Service allows clients to build digital platforms that guide customers through self-service processes such as customer service requests. “Lightning Flow removes the guesswork from customer interactions, and delivers connected service experiences with a complete view of the customer,” Salesforce writes.
  • Finally, Einstein Next Best Action uses machine learning to provide customer service agents with intelligent recommendations and deals. “Einstein Next Best Actions are delivered at the moment of maximum impact—surfacing insights directly within the Service Cloud console that lead to faster case resolution, increased customer loyalty and upsell opportunities,” Salesforce writes.

In its release, Salesforce illustrates the new features using the example of a customer losing their credit card while on vacation: when they visit the credit card company’s website for help, an Einstein Bot starts a chat session, gathers initial details such as the customer’s name and situation, then silently passes the thread to a human agent who guides the customer through the card replacement process, built through Lightning Flow. Meanwhile, Einstein Next Best Action assesses the conversation and suggests that the agent let the customer know they qualify for free travel insurance, improving the customer’s experience and leaving them with a more positive impression of the company.

Of the three key new features announced Wednesday, two are already available. Einstein Bots for Service is included for all customers subscribing to Service Cloud Unlimited Edition and customers with Live Agent licenses, while Lightning Flow for Service is included with all Service Cloud editions including Essentials, Professional, Enterprise, Performance, Unlimited, and Developer. The third, Einstein Next Best Action, is currently in pilot.

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