Salesforce Communities: What They Are, and Why You Want One

May 14, 2019 Nicole Sholly

Salesforce Communities man with glasses Salesforce logo and Appirio logo

Like most businesses, you’re probably interested in helping everyone in your business ecosystem service customers more effectively and close deals faster. Maybe you’ve heard that implementing Salesforce Community Cloud can help you accomplish those things -- by streamlining key business processes and extending them across offices and departments, and outward to customers and partners.

Built on the trusted Salesforce platform, Community Cloud enables companies to easily customize a branded site (an online community) that connects customers, partners, and employees with each other and to the data and records they need to get work done. 

Community Cloud is the most efficient and cost-effective way to create a custom interface for customers/employees. Key benefits of communities are that they're easy to customize, they save money by digitizing business processes, and they provide a consolidated interface. These benefits help foster customer loyalty by making day-to-day interactions easier. 

Let’s take a closer look at what you can do with Community Cloud.

Build better relationships with customers

Customers want a personalized experience that does not require them to navigate multiple digital properties just to conduct their day to day business with a brand. They want a seamless digital experience from commerce, to service, to knowledge centers, 360-degree profiles, and community. 

Communities allow you to do that by consolidating data and interaction points. Instead of having to log into separate account management, customer service, and POS portals --- all of which may be on different systems -- customers can now see all of that data in one place. Additionally, rather than building and maintaining a custom application, your IT team can accomplish this through "click not code" when they use a Community.

By creating a community platform with people at the center, you can deliver that personalized and seamless digital experience while helping to control the perception of your brand: High-quality interfaces convey credibility, reliability, and trust.

Provide better service

The self-service aspect of any online environment is appealing to users because people like to access information on their own. You can provide better service by enabling customers to find information for themselves at an online community and to assist each other. 

Delivering personalized information in a straightforward manner makes customers feel the information is provided exclusively for their benefit. It also provides customers with direct access to information most relevant to them. 

As important as it is to let customers find what they are looking for—quickly and without fuss—so too should employees be able to find information quickly, whether to provide customer service or to complete other daily work - or HR-related tasks.

Connect external partners

Connecting external partners, agents, or brokers can reduce friction by enabling open and transparent communication channels. By providing immediate access to resources, product information, experts, and even training material, you ensure your partners have what they need to get their work done, which can accelerate deals. The online community can connect internal and external sales personnel, easing collaboration, and allowing both sides to see records, track revenue, and more -- all in real time.

Empower employees

Having an online community where HR and IT employees, for instance, can find and deliver information or instructions can save money by reducing the time and labor spent on completing service-related tasks. This also ties into the self-service aspect users enjoy because employees can find answers themselves quickly, either for themselves or for others. In this way, a community can support your business processes and make employees’ day-to-day work easier. 

Tools

Built-in tools encourage customers to spend greater amounts of time inside your environment, and thus strengthen their bond with your brand. This community element can be even more useful—to both your customers and your business—when your online community and its analytics tools are integrated with your CRM solution.

Thanks to the responsive design of the templates, there are many mobile options for using Community Cloud, and it’s available on any mobile device.

Allowing your customers to quickly find answers and advice from both your internal resources and their peers will help you create a community that makes it easy to find answers they’re looking for. To learn more about creating your own Salesforce Community, reach out to an Appirio expert. 

This blog is the first in a two-part series. The forthcoming blog will cover using Community Cloud templates versus full customization and real-world scenarios for maximizing communities. 

 

About the Author

Nicole Sholly

With two decades of writing, editing, and author coaching experience, Nicole has written on topics ranging from big data security to improving employee workspaces to how to be a better wordsmith -- for Rackspace, Office Depot, Macy’s, Social Media Today, and others. When she’s not writing, editing, or otherwise playing with words, Nicole enjoys reading them.

Follow on Linkedin More Content by Nicole Sholly
Previous Article
Fueling a Seamless Commerce Experience Through Connected Devices, Systems, and Data
Fueling a Seamless Commerce Experience Through Connected Devices, Systems, and Data

Next Article
Bright Lights, Big City! Takeaways from Salesforce World Tour New York
Bright Lights, Big City! Takeaways from Salesforce World Tour New York

Have questions about Salesforce implementation?

Let's Talk