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Salesforce upgrades its marketing, field service and sales tools with AI – TechCrunch

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Today, at a conference in Sydney, Australia, Salesforce announced new analytics-driven features in its Service and Marketing Cloud suites designed to “humanize” the engagement between companies and their customers. . While could Promising too much, the new updated tools aim, in Salesforce’s words, to simplify processes like talking to customers and bringing together disparate marketing data.

“With these latest innovations, Salesforce explores how the combination of marketing and customer service solutions can help global brands turn to the direct consumer and strengthen customer relationships as they navigate social and economic uncertainty. , heightened customer expectations, and an evolving hybrid world of work,” a spokesperson told TechCrunch via email. “These technologies help service teams and marketers create more personalized experiences that foster lasting customer relationships.”

Service Cloud Voice is gaining connectors from third-party vendors that integrate customer data, allowing companies to automate call notes and provide customer service agents with real-time suggestions. Among the connectors is a simpler integration with AWS Contact Lens for Service Cloud Voice with Amazon Connect, which brings call transcription and sentiment analysis. Eagle-eyed readers will recall that Amazon Connect began supporting integration with Service Cloud Voice in July 2020, the same year Contact Lens became generally available.

Salesforce’s sentiment analysis technology for voice calls. Picture credits: Selling power

With the new connectors, a service agent at a retailer can receive recommendations on the best actions to take to process a return or sell a warranty, Salesforce says. Or, they can track customer conversation trends to spot product reviews and manage agents based on keywords.

Anonymous Profile Tracking

Through (and through) related upgrades, Marketing Cloud now supports Streaming Insights and Data Actions, which aim to capture near real-time data signals – such as a new customer, recent product transaction, or payment issue – to trigger workflow events. Another new feature, Advanced Identity Resolution, leverages AI to match and merge customer data such as duplicate fields or records with names that have multiple spellings or are frequently shortened to nicknames (e.g., “Sam ” and “Samantha”).

These are trending features. Research shows that marketers are embracing automation, with up to 63% planning to increase their marketing automation budgets in the near future, according to a report from Invespcro. (With the understanding, of course, that “automation” is a broad term.) Social Media Today estimates that three-quarters of all businesses used at least one marketing automation in 2019.

Salesforce Identity Resolution

Identity resolution in action. Picture credits: Selling power

“The advanced identity resolution solution is made up of two parts: matching and reconciling,” Bobby Jania, SVP of Product Marketing at Salesforce, told TechCrunch via email. “Our solution creates a unified profile that links the original profiles so that the original data is preserved. [An] The Identity Graph ties them together, allowing source systems to easily query unified profiles based on the ingested original data, regardless of the reconciliation process and vice versa… [The solution] also brings in-image fuzzy matching allowing records with misspelled names, nicknames [and more] of different systems to be automatically associated… [Finally,] in addition to fuzzy matching, we also provide normalized email, phone number and address matching. This helps match records, which are not normalized before identity resolution, which improves consolidation rates because also normalized data is matched.

More importantly, Marketing Cloud now offers anonymous profiles, which can track anonymous people in a customer data platform until, as Salesforce explains, “the unidentified data merges with the known customer.” It’s a step back, of sorts, from the movement against customer data tracking led by consumer advocacy groups, which seeks to make a reasonable degree of anonymity the norm on the web.

Salesforce Anonymous Profiles

A screenshot showing the anonymous profiles feature. Picture credits: Selling power

Jania clarified: “Anonymous profiles refer to profiles that are stripped of any personally identifiable information (e.g. name, email, phone and address) and are therefore labeled as anonymous. [T]These are first-party anonymous profiles, meaning profiles of visitors who visit a company’s website and the company has generated a first-party cookie to track them. These are not third-party cookie identities. We fully track anonymous behavioral data linked to each anonymous profile. If, and when, that person identifies themselves, we take all that data and merge it into the known profile where further enrichment and combination with other data sources is possible.

Virtual Service Calls

Elsewhere in the Salesforce portfolio, employees using the Salesforce Field Service app for in-person service can now view records offline (e.g., custom work plans, flows, and safety checklists), which was curiously not possible before. When not physically present, they can provide virtual service through Visual Remote Assistant, a new feature that gives customers the ability to schedule virtual assistance sessions with augmented reality (AR) from their phone. Salesforce writes, “For example, customers can schedule an appointment with an appliance technician to visually show what’s going on with their dishwasher, and the technician can point, draw on the screen, and otherwise direct the customer on the way to solve the problem in real time. -time for themselves.

“Consumers will be able to pre-schedule a virtual session through our Field Service Appointment Assistant product. People who host a service person in their home or business receive updates and notifications about their service session through the appointment assistant,” said Brenda Bown, vice president of marketing at Salesforce, at TechCrunch. “Another way for consumers to have the option of a virtual session is through customer portals or Experience Cloud products. Our customers will be able to integrate the option for consumers to initiate or schedule a virtual session through the portal. We expect contractors providing field services who interact with a headquarters through a portal to also use this feature to connect with a subject matter expert. »

Salesforce Virtual Service Calls

The improved service experience. Picture credits: Selling power

The market for AI and AR-based virtual service applications has grown significantly in recent years, with companies such as CareAR, TechSee, Aquant and Neuron7 vying for dominance. As customers eschew in-person calls for video conferencing — at least when it comes to equipment maintenance — the industry could still grow. This is surely the bet that Salesforce is making.