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Salesforce Strengthens Service Desk Cloud Platform Push

Deciding on a service desk platform, especially when a company is just starting out, is difficult. You'll need to carefully balance features, functions and pricing. When the company I most recently worked for was looking to cut costs, we tried several service desk platforms and even hired someone to code us one to use.

When it came down to it, we ended up sticking with the one we were originally using, as it was expensive, but had the majority of the features we needed.

Salesforce is hoping to make choosing a platform easier by releasing a next generation of Service Cloud. Built on the Salesforce Lightning component-based framework, Service Cloud is easy to set up, learn, customize and scale for the long haul, the company claims.

Salesforce Service Cloud: What's New?

Some of the newly announced features incoude:

Service Out-of-the-Box - Lets companies build a modern customer service center quickly. Case management is now pre-built into Service Cloud, and a new streamlined setup experience can simplify the steps needed to create and deploy service workflows. Service admins can add a customer community and knowledge base, as well as connect to email, Facebook and Twitter feeds, like we mentioned in our service desk of the future post. There is also a gamified learning platform to help anyone figure out how to deploy, configure and customize Service Cloud called Trailhead.

AppExchange and Lightning App Builder for Service - Provides customer service teams with an easy way to customize and extend Service Cloud. Using the Lightning App Builder, companies can drag-and-drop one of the new service Lightning Components—such as the knowledge sidebar or related record—into Service Cloud. Companies can further extend Service Cloud functionality with more than 75 Lightning-Ready service partner apps available today on the AppExchange. Among the service apps available today are telephony and call center management capabilities from Dialpad, NewVoiceMedia and Talkdesk; IoT asset tracking and mapping from MapAnything Live; and patient education from Healthwise.

Lightning Service Console - Unified desktop experience for customer service agents with a visual dashboard of cases in the queue for agents to triage and prioritize. The console also includes Community Agent 360, which allows the agent to quickly see the customer's history to give more context to each call or request. The Federated Search feature helps an agent quickly find records across Salesforce and external data sources such as Confluence, YouTube, Dropbox and Box and the Macro Builder lets agents quickly create reusable macros for specific customer service scenarios that agents can easily deploy if the issue arises again.

Service Cloud Mobile app for iOS and Android - Empowers agents to provide personalized customer service from anywhere. With the new native mobile app, employees will be able to triage, manage and resolve cases while in meetings or on-the-go. Push notifications will help keep agents up to date on the status of their cases, making it easier for them to provide customers with fast, responsive service.

With these new features integrated into Service Cloud, Salesforce could become a major player in Service Desk platforms -- though rivals like ServiceNow and FreshDesk certainly loom. All three could be worth including in your research when deciding how to mange your service desk tickets.