Many medical equipment manufacturers encourage their customers to send an email to a customer support address (rather than telephoning) when they have a hardware or software issue with a piece of equipment.
The email address often has the format firstname.lastname@example.org. “Support@” plus domain name is easy for customers to remember as it is somewhat of a standard.
Early stage equipment manufacturers may simply forward all emails sent to this address to the one or two people who are responsible for resolving customer service and support issues.
Customer support cases—a.k.a. tickets—are therefore managed in individual email inboxes.
Limitations to managing customer support issues in the email inbox
As a manufacturing company grows, ticket management in the inbox becomes increasingly unwieldy. There’s no team visibility as to how long support requests have been open, why certain tickets remain open and what the relative priorities are among tickets. Customer support requests can fall through the cracks.
Often, the default action by the customer service team is to subscribe to standalone, email-based ticketing software.
In the meantime, a growing equipment manufacturer’s sales and marketing department may be evaluating or implementing Salesforce for sales automation and Salesforce Pardot for marketing automation.
What the customer service department may not know is that email-based ticket management is available in the same system that sales and marketing are planning to implement or have already implemented.
Enter Salesforce Email-to-Case
Salesforce customer support case management includes a capability called Email-to-Case.
Here’s how it works.
The email@example.com email address is forwarded to a Salesforce-hosted email address.
Whenever Salesforce sees a new email, it creates a new Case record. (Since the word “Case” has other connotations in life sciences, sometimes “Case” is renamed “Support Case” in Salesforce). The Case can be assigned to a support queue or to a specific user who is responsible for triage.
If the customer’s email address is in an existing Salesforce Contact record, the Case will be automatically linked to that Contact. If not, a new Contact record can be optionally added after the fact.
The customer immediately receives an auto-response email. The auto-response contains a Thread ID, which serves to keep subsequent email interactions contained within the support Case. The dependency on a single support tech’s email inbox is eliminated.
In this example, John, the current Case Owner, can send an email to the customer right from within the Case. John notifies the customer that the Case will be reassigned to a field service dispatcher.
From there, the field service capabilities of Salesforce come into play. The customer support issue is efficiently managed through to resolution.
What’s more, there’s a single view of the customer that includes Contacts, Sales Opportunities, Contracts, Support Cases and more.