The service management team at BrightGen provides on-demand case support to our customers every day. The team works with customers on an on-going basis to constantly improve and enhance the way they use Salesforce.
They must be doing something right, as over 95% of the customers BrightGen have ever had are still a customer today.
We asked Head of Service, Clive Platt, with the help of a couple of his Service Managers, to tell us more.
What’s a normal day like on the Service Team?
I’m not sure there is such a thing! I suppose a normal day would be best described as a string of tasks to help our customers. The Operations Manager reviews and assigns cases as they come in from our customers. Then the assigned Consultant will gather the information we need and move the case forward. They will let the customer know we are dealing with it, and off they go!
Consultants also regularly speak to our customers outside of specific cases – we have service review calls and catch ups, it really does vary customer by customer. It’s important the team have a good relationship with customers so that we can provide the best service.
Internal communication is a big part of each day too – for knowledge transfer, to seek advice and so on. We operate a process of peer review of all solution summaries, for example, so to be honest, we can be a pretty noisy team!
It sounds like a very collaborative way to work.
It is, everyone in the Service Team brings something to the table. Salesforce is powerful, so it’s also complex, and we need a lot of technical expertise within the team across the whole product suite to cover every possible case that might arise. Although we assign everyone individual cases to work on, nobody works alone.
Why do you think clients benefit from working with your team?
We work really hard to provide a personalised customer service so they get whatever they need – we see this as fundamental for the Service Team and feel our customer feedback and rating is a reflection of this. The benefit for our customers is that we don’t just know Salesforce and how to develop, we know them, their business and what they want to achieve – often from being part of their Salesforce journey from day 1! Working towards their goals together means we can provide effective advice, make suggestions for solutions to reduce their business pains, and take their use of Salesforce to another level.
With Salesforce always developing, I imagine this is no small task.
It’s certainly a continuous task. We provide a way of keeping them up to date on important Salesforce updates and releases, and personalising this to make sense for their Salesforce org and processes.
Tell us some detail about the work – what sort of cases have you dealt with this week for example?
This last week the team have transitioned in and road-mapped a new client, closed 114 cases, participated in workshops for a new prospect, completed installs and a critical improvement project. We had a new colleague join the team too, so some training. A normal, busy week!
Why do some projects sit with the service team rather than the BrightGen projects team?
They tend to be smaller than the ones the Projects team work on, perhaps 5-10 days. An example that has come up a lot this year is where a customer wishes to transition to Salesforce Lightning Experience, the newer user interface from Salesforce. To do this we need to assess what features they have, what will or won’t work once they upgrade to Lightning, if we need to provide training and so on. Anything that might need to be considered to keep the transition smooth.
Another great project recently was a real estate client of ours that needed to capture the buyers of the properties preference for design and wanted to keep this in Salesforce. The team built a user-friendly solution for this.
It sounds really varied! What experience do you need to be a Service Consultant?
My team does have a varied background. We have a graduate scheme that has been running for five years. It has been, and continues to be, a great success for us. The majority are still with us now as Salesforce Consultants. In 2017, we took on three apprentices through the StepForward scheme (run by The Challenge).
We also actively recruit those with Salesforce experience, sometimes from end user companies. For some people, being involved in a Salesforce implementation sparks a deeper interest in the technology and these are great prospects for a career in consultancy. I know I may be biased, but it’s a fulfilling career with lots of opportunities.
What about the Salesforce certifications, are these essential?
They are important to have or be working towards. To be a Consultant, you will need to have passed ADM201, AppBuilder, Service Cloud & Sales Cloud (plus Dev 1 for developers). I have high expectations of my team, and we need to deliver technical expertise plus a high standard of customer service, so a great service team member must have technical ability but also the right personality.
I look for drive, ambition and determination, tempered by honesty and pragmatism. Talking to and managing customers is just as much part of the job as delivering solutions.
Speaking of talking to customers – I know you star in a webinar three times a year…!
Yes, it’s my moment of fame! But it’s really Bob Buzzard who is the star (our CTO, Keir Bowden). We try to cover the essential information in each of the Salesforce Releases. The notes that Salesforce provide are very detailed. The recent ones have all been over 500 pages of information each time. The releases have an impact on functionality so we summarise it and make it relevant to our customers as users, and guide them with any action they need to take. Most importantly we want to make sure they don’t miss hearing about something until it’s too late and their work is affected. They can also ask questions, and try and stump us live on the webinar if we don’t know the answer!
So, what’s next for the service team?
Work-wise, my priority at the moment is to keep growing our customer portfolio. But avoiding compromising the personal service and the supportive team environment is an absolute essential, so all this will happen steadily.