Creating an Internal Salesforce Support Programme

One of the most rewarding things I’ve done at my current job is creating our internal Salesforce Support Programme. We have around 250 users and a 5 person Salesforce team. We needed a way to ensure that people got answers to their questions, while our team can still work on lots of new development simultaneously.

Our company was already using Freshservice for other internal helpdesks, so while I personally would have liked to use Salesforce Cases, we used Freshservice, which has turned out to be a really easy programme to learn. People email our support email, which creates tickets in Freshservice. We can also transfer tickets to other internal helpdesks.

Here’s some best practices I’ve learned in no particular order:

  1. Regardless of whether you communicate them to your internal customers, create some SLAs as bench marks. Ours are that we aim to respond to someone within 1 hour of receiving their ticket, and we aim to resolve all tickets within 3 working days. The 1 hour response time is only during core business hours. Even though we don’t publicly share these SLAs, it’s good for our team to have standards that we strive to hit. This has made our customers trust us since we are accountable and never leave them hanging.
  2. Have one person whose job it is to allocate  and manage all tickets. I have this role on our team. I tend to do a lot of the tickets myself, but I allocate tickets to other team members when it’s busy or if a ticket is related to a particular project they’ve worked on. Even though I might assign a ticket to a colleague, I keep track of all the tickets and follow up with the assignee if they haven’t responded or if I think they’ve provided enough information and can close out the ticket.
  3. Use a friendly and approachable tone in all email communication. You want people to feel comfortable, not stupid, asking questions. The best way to do this is to validate their question. Though it seems obvious, adding in “good question!” to a response can really make people feel heard.
  4. Don’t underestimate phone or in person communication. While sometimes it might feel easier to just have a long back and forth communication with someone, it’s often more efficient to just pick up the phone for clarification. I often call people if I don’t understand their question or go over to their desk to have them show me an error or process they’re trying to complete. Support is all about matching the interaction to the person’s style. If your customer tends to be in lots of meetings and doesn’t have time to read multiple emails, schedule in 15 minutes to go over their question. When I first started in my job, I sat in a different building than all of our users. Once I moved to the building where all the users sat, getting to know them in person helped me to gain their trust and respect.
  5. Treat each ticket as a learning experience.  Though it might be quicker to just create a report for someone, they will have a better Salesforce experience if they feel empowered to create a report themselves. Internal support should be an ongoing series of teachable moments. Getting people to a higher level in Salesforce increases their satisfaction and confidence in the product. They also might not need help the next time since they’re more self-sufficient.
  6. Identify “super users” and create a Salesforce Champions Programme. Through the types of questions they ask and their engagement level with Salesforce, select special colleagues to join a Salesforce Champions Programme. I’ll write a separate post on this, but in relation to support, our champions are the first contact for other people in their departments. They support other Salesforce users on the front lines.
  7. Be empathetic. Even if you can’t totally imagine someone’s frustration, you’ve been in challenging job situations too, and should be able to relate to having one of those days where everything seems broken. So be kind and try to see the question or issue from the requester’s point of view.
  8. Say sorry. As admins, we’ve all had a time when we made changes without properly communicating to all users or overlooked a user experience issue. Admit that you made a mistake and then fix it.
  9. Categorise your tickets. Our categories are Login Issue, Integration/Sync Issue, Permissions, Telephone, Reporting, Dataloader, Feature Request – Quick Fix, Feature Request – Moved to JIRA, User Education, and Other. If someone’s request should actually be a larger project, we have them submit a development work request in JIRA. We still ultimately help them, just on a different timescale.
  10. Ask for help. No one can know the answers to everything. Remember, support is a learning experience for everyone. Get help from your teammates, other teams, the Success Community, or Salesforce Support. You can’t solve it all on your own.
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