For years, Salesforce customers have leveraged communities to deliver Salesforce-powered interactions to their users. However, these communities were limited to singular portals and websites. In 2020, Salesforce revamped the existing solution to make it a wholesome digital experience platform. Formerly called ‘Community Cloud’, Salesforce renamed it to ‘Experience Cloud’. This was done to reflect the spectrum of experiences users can have within the platform. The Experience Cloud platform allows users to build more than just communities. With the revamped Experience Cloud, users can create portals, forms, help forms, mobile apps, and websites to manage their organization’s content. The cloud focuses on delivering personalized digital experiences, better security, strong customer engagement, and easy data integration.
The Experience Cloud digital platform helps companies build content under one roof and deliver it anywhere. The platform also has responsive site templates for rich digital websites. There are various touchpoints in the platform that can be used for improving the digital experience, including the Customer Account Portal and Partner Central to build their templates. Experience Cloud helps organizations connect with third-party data or systems directly from the community.
Who Uses Salesforce Communities?
There are various Salesforce Communities users. The platform can be used by existing customers, internal employees, and company partners. It is used to improve communication among key stakeholders who impact the growth of the business. The community users collaborate and share insight and information with the other users within this community.
Don't forget to check out: Permissions In Salesforce Experience Cloud Explained | Salesforce Communities
Why Salesforce Communities?
There are various types of communities to build within Salesforce. While each has its purpose, the following three are the biggest benefits of Salesforce Communities —
- Brands can customize their communities to offer personalized brand experiences for all types of users.
- Considered intelligent spaces, communities empower users to use the platform to find answers, collaborate with others, and voice opinions.
- The collaborative nature of the communities allows users to connect and work together in real-time, ultimately creating a powerful user culture.
Types of Communities in Experience Cloud
Employees can use Experience Cloud as an HR and IT help desk to search for knowledge, instructions, payroll, onboarding, IT troubleshooting, and more. The 24*7 platform can be used as a social intranet to search and share content and collaborate with others in real-time. Employee communities act as internal websites that can also be used to manage projects.
The Experience Cloud allows brands to create a self-service portal for customers to find answers and respond to queries by creating an extensive knowledge base and a passionate customer pool. Customers can get answers through relevant articles, process documentation, FAQs, and discussions with other customers. This community-building exercise helps brands reduce customer service cases while improving customer engagement and satisfaction.
The Partner Portal is the gateway to access various resources and expertise such as product information, critical sales assets, and training and certification courses. These communities are considered information hubs for resellers and sales teams to collaborate and access company data to close more deals. Partners can collaborate directly with internal and external sales teams to access various sales records, monitor lead generation, and track revenue.
Communities for Business Functions
The next-generation platform helps organizations in various ways. Community participation has been one of the biggest advantages of Experience Cloud, as it can help businesses build a powerful branded experience. Improve brand experience by allowing users to customize based on their brand look. This can be used to engage, monitor, and improve brand image in the community. The platform also enables users to interact with each other to resolve queries. This saves the need for customers to reach out to the support team and also serves as a self-service portal.
Salesforce communities can be personalized by defining the criteria of the user segment. This categorization helps offer personalized, relevant content. Moreover, the same site can be presented with different content topics to suit the needs of each audience category. If the number of topics in an Experience Cloud site grows, curating them helps improve usability. There are three types of topic categories to structure the community’s content or highlight key discussions. They are — navigational, featured, and content topics. Site members can choose to receive email notifications to be up-to-date on their focus areas.
Experience Cloud improves collaboration among peers, employees, and customers. Sales teams can work together in real-time to close deals; customers can answer each other's questions. The on-cloud platform allows users to contribute from different parts of the world. This feature improves customer user experience based on needs using the Experience Builder tool. Customization can include restricting access to certain users and featured recommendations. This can help improve engagement within the community.
Creating customer users in the Salesforce community site differs from creating internal ones. Community users can be created only when they have a contact created in the system. So, to create a community user, the first step is to create a contact for the user and follow the steps to assign a role to the portal account owner.
Check out another amazing blog by GS Lab here: Managing Product Bundles Effectively with Salesforce CPQ
Launching the Community
To set up a Salesforce community, it is important to do three things - identify the target audience, conduct tests to understand user experience, and constantly review to improve the experience.
Users can build Salesforce community editions based on their needs. There are three types of communities with individual prices - customer community, partner relationship management, and external apps.
Salesforce communities leverage Salesforce Experience Cloud to improve communication within the company. While the platform caters to customers, employees, and partners, Experience Cloud has a large user base for its customer experience offering. The online social platform is used by various big brands around the globe. While the platform is still evolving, users worldwide have benefited immensely from using the Experience Cloud.