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Salesforce Service Cloud adds Einstein generative AI tools

Salesforce Service Cloud will soon get generative AI tools that contact centers could theoretically use to turn CX from a cost center into a profit center.

Salesforce Service Cloud users will get more Einstein 1 generative AI tools in June and October. Perhaps more importantly, the company will roll out more places to deploy automated customer conversations.

Today Salesforce released Unified Conversations for WhatsApp, which automates bot responses to customer questions related to targeted marketing messages on the popular messaging app. Similarly, Salesforce plans to support Line, the messaging app popular in Japan, later this year.

These services are built on Salesforce's Einstein 1 generative AI platform, whose bots aggregate structured and unstructured CRM, product, service and other data through Salesforce Data Cloud to generate personalized responses. These new features enable the routing of those conversations to the channels where a Salesforce user's customers congregate online.

Salesforce also plans to release a "bring your own channel" connector to support digital channels that the platform might not cover natively. Current examples of those might include TikTok, Discord and South Korea's KakaoTalk, said Ryan Nichols, chief product officer for Salesforce Service Cloud.

"It's about getting data from all your conversations with customers from Service Cloud into Data Cloud and using that to not just do a great job of delivering customer service, but actually growing your business," he said.

Salesforce Einstein Conversation Mining for Service Cloud screenshot.
Salesforce Einstein Conversation Mining, a Service Cloud feature currently in beta, aggregates conversations across customer channels to surface insights on the topics with which they need help.

Turning inbound customer service from a cost center into a revenue center has been a seemingly unachievable goal -- but it's an idea speakers and vendors at conferences such as Dreamforce and ICMI have floated for the last several years. Performance metrics such as time-to-answer and hold-time reduction push agents to spend the least amount of time on the phone with customers as possible to keep their jobs.

While skeptics might scoff at the suggestion that generative AI is the magic bullet to bring such a fantastic idea to life, it just might be, Constellation Research analyst Liz Miller said.

While she has been a skeptic in the past -- having run a contact center herself in a previous job -- generative AI looks like a transformative technology so far, Miller said. Armed with data, bots and their copilot counterparts assisting humans could save time and show the right information to enable agents to up-sell customers during service engagements.

Nichols hinted that Salesforce is working on up-sell automation features for contact center service bots that might be unveiled later this year.

The copilot-type technologies for contact centers could be the leap forward needed to enable human agents to generate revenue during service interactions with customers, according to Miller.

"Contact center leaders have been trying to etch out a space of strategic importance for themselves in the business that isn't just 'how do we get angry people off the phone?'" Miller said.

Generative AI tools can eliminate the mundane, repetitive work that takes up a lot of contact center agents' time, she added.

"If they no longer had to summarize the call, and they could actually go to the next call? [Generating revenue] sounds really big, and it sounds really ridiculous, but if we took all the garbage off of these people's plates that no one wants to do, we give them an awful lot of time to actually be better mouthpieces for their organizations," Miller said.

Don Fluckinger is a senior news writer for TechTarget Editorial. He covers customer experience, digital experience management and end-user computing. Got a tip? Email him.

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