Einstein didn’t dance a go-go around the campfire, but if he did, he’d have done with … [+]
Customer service is a touchy thorny subject. Nobody likes having to wait on telephone helpdesk lines, attempt to send enough appropriate paperwork by email to the company they are dealing with or, worse still, interact with an on-screen software bot robot with its chirpy ‘hi there! can I help?’ pop-ups.
What we really want is attentive empathetic customer service delivered by a human, ideally with a charming regional accent (Southern states in the US, Scottish or Geordie in the UK, equivalent provincial charm in the rest of the world) by a service agent and a solid knowledge of what the customer needs.
If automation-driven on-screen bots are still annoying, automation and Artificial Intelligence (AI) can still provide service-centric organizations with a boost… and that can be a human-delivered machine-powered boost if it’s done right. By using data to track customers’ assets and preferences, companies can build up a digital picture of customers to help agents know what a person needs before they have to ‘explain it all over again’ in every interaction.
This is no magic wand, this is just basic Customer Relationship Management CRM) and by 2021 we all know what a loyalty card is.
What has changed is down at the infrastructure level. Where customer data was disconnected in silos and unable to leap between service agent workflows when a sudden or dramatic market (or world) change occurs, we now have the tools at hand to weave those elements of data together and deliver a more finessed and more competent level of service.
This brief history of customer centricity is what has driven the CRM purists at Salesforce to develop the company’s platform the way they have. Specifically, this is part of what drove the company to acquire MuleSoft for its Robotic Process Automation (RPA) technologies.
Salesforce has now built three new Einstein Automate (its branded portfolio of workflow automation, integration, digital interaction and AI capabilities) products to give users of its software use low-code tools so that, regardless of technical background, they can automate time-consuming manual processes and integrate data across systems right from their digital estate.
What we are seeing (and of course the Covid-19 pandemic has exacerbated this reality) is organizations needing to shift to digital-first customer experiences. As such, to be able to achieve that leap in software application development terms, they need automated workflows to handle time-consuming tasks such as verifying user account information.
This is a technology trend that is already happening in the applications and interfaces that we all use every day. So much so that Salesforce is claiming to be currently automating billions of work processes every day and week. Further, it claims to be delivering just over one hundred billion Einstein predictions completed daily as of July 2021.
Using Einstein Automate, users can select pre-built industry-specific best-practice workflows, or use low-code tools to build custom workflow automation. The new products include MuleSoft RPA (Robotic Process Automation), Einstein Document Reader and Digital Process Automation.
“New robotic process automation capabilities replace repetitive tasks with bots that can intelligently process documents, enter data, or take action on the user’s behalf, all without code. With MuleSoft RPA, these bots work for any system or application, including PDF documents, spreadsheets and even disconnected legacy systems,” said John Kucera, SVP product management, Salesforce Platform. “Using Einstein Document Reader, customers can scan documents such as drivers licenses and I-9s to take action on that data with a few clicks in Salesforce Flow – reducing human error and improving accuracy.”
In no way suggesting that Salesforce isn’t doing an admirable job here, we (arguably) still have a long way to go in terms of the kinds of total systems integration, workflow connectivity and data unification (as analyzed here) that we need on the road ahead.
This is the problem or challenge that Salesforce is trying to address i.e. it wants to show how MuleSoft Composer for Salesforce can integrate disparate apps and data by allowing IT administrators (and other users) to use a growing library of pre-built connectors and templates to quickly automate integrations from multiple sources.
We will need automated business processes that trigger changes to data or events like creating a follow-up task… and that is exactly what the Salesforce Flow tool sets out to achieve.
We need all of these technology functions to be present, accessible, scalable, secure, cost-effective and simple to execute. Most of all, we need them to actually work. No doubt the next time there’s a Salesforce Dreamforce conference In Real Life (IRL) we’ll hear the ever-ebullient occasionally-indulgent rarely-recumbent CEO Marc Benioff showcase some working examples.
Einstein has more go-go, let’s hope the beat goes on.
I am a technology journalist with over two decades of press experience. Primarily I work as a news analysis writer dedicated to a software application development ‘beat’;
I am a technology journalist with over two decades of press experience. Primarily I work as a news analysis writer dedicated to a software application development ‘beat’; but, in a fluid media world, I am also an analyst, technology evangelist and content consultant. As the previously narrow discipline of programming now extends across a wider transept of the enterprise IT landscape, my own editorial purview has also broadened. I have spent much of the last ten years also focusing on open source, data analytics and intelligence, cloud computing, mobile devices and data management. I have an extensive background in communications starting in print media, newspapers and also television. If anything, this gives me enough man-hours of cynical world-weary experience to separate the spin from the substance, even when the products are shiny and new.