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Last night we were invited to join Salesforce and some of their local customers for dinner at The Lace Market Hotel. We took lots of photos, ate some gorgeous food created by Nottingham chef Luke Holland, and even presented an educational piece on Salesforce Communities. Here's what went down. 

Welcome from Salesforce

Salesforce Account Executives Owen McCabe and Sasha Shaverdi kicked off the night with the trusty ol' Safe Harbor forward-looking statement and the plan for the evening. Then, it was onto discussing Communities and how despite what lots of people think, they aren't just for knowledge sharing.

Communities have multiple uses for customers, partners and employees, and they can be created completely bespoke, out-of-the-box. You can create personalised views for each member and customise them to fit any brand. With real-world examples, they showed us the seemingly-limitless potential of Communities.

After this brief introduction to Communities, the 5 courses and wine started flowing — and so did the conversation. We met lots of lovely people from a whole range of local businesses, each asking for advice and best practices on how they can get the most of Salesforce's powerful features. 

Salesforce Service Cloud Bots

Stephen Stubley from MHR was up next to talk to us about automation, Einstein, and bots! The statistic of the night came from Stephen, who said he recently learned that 60% of Adidas' cases are now handled by an AI-powered chatbot! Of course, this prompted lots of questions: How do they work? Don't bots turn customers off? Isn't that lazy service? 

The Adidas case shows that when connected to deep customer data, chatbots can deliver powerful new customer service experiences while helping organisations save time and money. The only thing organisations need to do is be transparent! Consumers are smart enough to realise when they're not talking to an actual human being, so there's no point pretending it's not a bot.

With chatbots, you should always offer customers the option to be referred to a human. But if they can get a question answered by the bot without needing extra help, then both parties are winning! The customer is happy because they've resolved their issue quickly, and the service agents are freed up to concentrate on bigger cases. 

The road to Community implementation

Paul was up next to talk about the process we as a Salesforce partner take to implement a Salesforce Community. Whether it's a 10-user Community or a 90,000-user Community, we still follow the same process:

  1. Discovery
    The 'Why?' — what are you trying to achieve?
  2. Project definition
    Produce and agree with the business user stories. Agree acceptance criteria and drive for minimum viable product.
  3. Solution design
    What can be delivered through standard components? Are there any technical spec components requiring development? 
  4. Deliver in sprints
    Define what's going to be delivered in each sprint to break it up a little. 
  5. Acceptance testing
    Test against the user stories
  6. Launch planning
    Make sure your internal team are aware of the Community, migrate data from any existing platform and communicate to your customer base on how to access it.
  7. Launch
    Measure the success, review usage for improvements, and plan future releases. 

Afterwards, we received lots of questions on how to increase user adoption, getting set up internally, and the best way to educating teams about using Salesforce to the best of its ability. This gave us loads of ideas for some helpful blog posts, so keep an eye peeled for those in the coming weeks! For now, please enjoy these photos I took with Mark's fancy camera:

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