Salesforce Service Cloud is straightforward to set up and offers comprehensive omnichannel communications management, falling just short of market leaders in terms of its features and pricing.
Flexibility is a key benefit of cloud-hosted software. Of all the contact center software platforms we’ve reviewed, Salesforce Service Cloud stands out as being uniquely customizable. The sheer number of available upgrades will daunt industry newcomers but delight established firms who want to bring their omnichannel communications under a single cohesive platform. Service Cloud also scores highly in terms of aftersale and community support. From the 87,000 suggestions and recommendations in the firm’s online IdeaExchange platform through dedicated webinars and YouTube support channels, we were impressed by the plentiful resources at customers’ disposal. We also appreciated seeing the Salesforce telephone number prominently displayed online — this transparency is something rivals like GoTo Contact Center may want to consider. [Read our GoTo Contact Center review to learn more.]
8.8 / 10
If you’re willing to sign up for an annual contract, you’ll pay anywhere between $25 and $300 per user, per month, for a Service Cloud package. These pricing options reflect the vast differences between the various Salesforce Service Cloud packages. Small businesses that want essential omnichannel routing and webchat functionality can choose the most affordable platform. In contrast, enterprise clients needing advanced reporting features and offline access can upgrade to a premium platform.
Many pricing levels are available even if you sign up for the most expensive Unlimited tier. Optional features include partial sandboxing, on-demand agent training and integration with Amazon Connect. We were impressed by how Salesforce Service Cloud’s multiple options ensure customized solutions that meet even niche requirements. We especially like the Einstein AI system, which suggests the best recommendations to solve issues or potential problems. Intelligent automation also extends to the drag-and-drop flow builder for approvals and actions.
Salesforce Service Cloud’s Einstein AI bot conversations can suggest the best recommendations to solve issues or problems. Source: Salesforce Service Cloud.
The sheer wealth of available Service Cloud features can seem daunting, but the primary interface is reasonably simple to navigate. Agent dashboards place critical information on a single workspace pane, including incident management tools and relevant milestones. When an agent accepts an issue, their dashboard lets them take action, commence guided workflows from third-party systems or request assistance from colleagues and managers.
More advanced functionalities are surprisingly straightforward to set up. For example, we were impressed that guided workflows use a point-and-click interface and reusable building blocks to automate even complex processes. Natural language processing can identify common customer queries and create conversational chatbot support with a few mouse clicks. Similarly, machine learning can facilitate triage workflow before dynamically routing issues to the most appropriate agent or queue. We liked that these functions don’t feel like advanced processing — they’re handled visually with no code while broadening Service Cloud’s functionality beyond the reach of many competitors.
Salesforce Service Cloud agent dashboard displays routing tools, conversations and contact information. Source: Salesforce Service Cloud.
|Build intelligent chatbots||Customized bots can schedule appointments, relay automated instructions or hand off more complex inquiries to agents.|
|Handle multiple inbound streams||Service Cloud combines voice, messaging, web, social media and in-app chat input streams into a single agent interface.|
|Personalize agent views||It’s possible to build a custom page layout for any use case using drag-and-drop components.|
|Track agent and team efficiency||Prebuilt dashboards track everything from key performance indicators (KPIs) to whether particular channels are being underutilized.|
|Build support into your website or app||Embedded support options mean customers don’t have to leave your site or app to contact you.|
|Optional video chat assistance||Upgrading to the Visual Remote Assistant enables video chat assistance.|
Artificial intelligence (AI) chatbots can route cases automatically to the best or most appropriate agent or team, depending on their skills and availability. They can also schedule appointments and relay automated instructions. We appreciate how bots encourage self-service by recommending content on a website, portal or mobile app, with analytics tracking the most and least effective solutions.
AI bots can set and track field appointments automatically. Source: Salesforce Service Cloud.
Service Cloud covers everything from email to webchat streams. We like that every customer interaction is presented in a chronological timeline in a single-view dashboard, irrespective of how customers initiated contact.
If you don’t like a generic interface or it’s not optimized for your business, you can use a blend of prebuilt and customizable components to build bespoke page layouts using a simple drag-and-drop editor. We appreciate how this functionality ensures that the information agents need is center stage instead of buried in submenus.
As an SaaS market leader, we’re not surprised that Salesforce Service Cloud performs strongly in terms of setting and measuring KPIs. Customer relationship management (CRM) data can be populated automatically, predictive analytics insights identify issues and churn risks and agents and supervisors can escalate issues from agent dashboards.
Unlike many of its rivals that encourage contact through social media channels or secure messaging apps, Salesforce includes embedded website support, so your customers don’t have to leave the website or app they were using. Embedded support includes knowledge articles and live case management tools installed where you want them.
We really like the Visual Remote Assistant, a paid upgrade to the two most expensive Service Cloud packages. The Visual Remote Assistant offers live interactive video guidance, including annotations and a live pointer. Video streams adapt to the available bandwidth in real time, delivering the highest call quality the connection can support.
Salesforce Service Cloud’s Visual Remote Assistant feature offers live video help with annotations and a pointer. Source: Salesforce Service Cloud.
Service Cloud is an excellent option for companies with an international customer base. Its supported languages include French, Spanish, Portuguese and Japanese.
Unlike some rivals, Salesforce is transparent about its Service Cloud package pricing. However, many of its more advanced functionalities are paid extras customers must negotiate with a sales executive:
Salesforce Service Cloud includes workforce engagement forecasts. Source: Salesforce Service Cloud.
As is typically the case with cloud-hosted contact center software, Service Cloud turns the physical virtual. On-screen controls govern inbound and outbound calls, internal communication tools and a customizable agent workspace. The software’s default setting is fine for beginners, but we suspect most clients will soon find themselves tweaking the available templates, macros and keyboard shortcuts.
Users of other Salesforce solutions, such as the Salesforce Marketing Cloud email marketing platform [read our Salesforce Marketing Cloud review to learn more], will be pleased by Service Cloud’s familiar, intuitive interface. To optimize your customization level, Salesforce runs an AppExchange marketplace where you can access thousands of apps to combine with Service Cloud. Only advanced users will truly benefit from this, but we were impressed by the option. It rivals other platforms like Five9 for its sheer number of integrations [Read our Five9 review to learn more].
We were impressed by Service Cloud’s customer service transparency. Unlike some competitors, Salesforce does not attempt to hide its contact details, prominently displaying a telephone number online. However, 24/7 toll-free support and the Salesforce Knowledge Base are only available to Unlimited account holders.
Live chat support and the ubiquitous online form are augmented with webinars, written guides, company blogs and a thriving online community. The community is a two-way street. Users can recommend improvements to Salesforce software and discuss existing platforms, their limitations and workarounds with knowledgeable fellow users.
While Service Cloud’s functionalities are undeniably impressive, we must reiterate that the most expensive Unlimited package costs $300 per user, per month, with more than 20 additional services commanding separate fees, such as service analytics apps and intelligent forecasting. That makes it the most expensive contact center package we’ve tested. You’d have to want these features to justify their costs.
Service Cloud’s functionalities and costs are justifiable if you want to unite your telephone and CRM systems or operate in a sandbox. For everyone else, Service Cloud may seem unduly complex and involved. Many smaller businesses want an out-of-the-box platform ready to go from day one with good technical support. It’s worth repeating that 24/7 toll-free telephone support is only available to Unlimited customers, who receive exclusive access to Salesforce-certified experts as part of the Premier Success Plan. Everyone else makes do with the Standard package, which is far less comprehensive.
Service Cloud doesn’t offer valuable features found in rival suites, including webinar tools, performance management tools like training and coaching packages, sentiment analysis and advanced analytics. You’ll need to explore the broader suite of Salesforce tools or invest in third-party software for these features. For example, an integrated tool called Salesforce Service Cloud Voice provides interactive voice response via an Amazon Connect integration.
When exploring contact center software solutions like Service Cloud, we investigated the capabilities and features of different contact center software, speaking to agents and researching websites and user forums to identify key pros and cons. We prioritized three key areas — customer support, pricing and available features — while investigating platform-specific features like Salesforce’s Einstein AI system and sandbox capabilities. We also ignored generic attributes like the 99.999 percent service level agreement any contact center software provider should promise to honor.
The list is extensive, from email and Google Apps to other Salesforce applications like Slack. You can handle omnichannel inputs from short message service, chatbot, phone and messaging platforms, with every interaction from a particular customer displayed chronologically in the agent’s dashboard.
Unlimited is the only Service Cloud package to offer premium tech support around the clock, the only one to offer pro sandbox capabilities and the only one with Einstein bots available for customization.
The list includes 3M, PayPal, GE Appliances and OneUnited Bank. The Salesforce parent brand boasts a larger array of blue-chip clients — Coca-Cola, SONOS, Ford, L’Oréal and T-Mobile.
We recommend Salesforce Service Cloud for:
We don’t recommend Salesforce Service Cloud for:
Read related article: See how Salesforce Service Cloud compares to its rivals in our overview of the best contact center software suites of 2023.