Customer Service
May 27, 2020


In our post a couple of weeks ago, we spoke about the current status of customer support. We wanted to dive deeper into the topic and talk about how you can improve your communication with customers as well as internal collaboration with Salesforce Communities. We asked our 7x Salesforce Project Manager Sergej Derugo to run through the basic implementation steps. This is useful as an introduction to the Salesforce Communities set up process if you are looking to implement the solution.

After Salesforce introduced Community Cloud in 2014, companies got a chance to develop a fully customized Salesforce Community using Visualforce, custom Lightning Components, CSS and manage internal and external relationships without adding any external applications. Many users however, haven’t gotten a chance to relish the solution to the fullest, because they tend to underestimate the advantage of making their Community branded, personalized, and even intuitive.

With the help of Sergej, Cloudideas team gathered the basic best practices of Salesforce Community implementation, including the issues of UI, functionality and compatibility with your business.

Step 1. Setting the objectives

Before you implement any kind of solution, the first step is to define why you would need it in the first place. Here are three common examples of how to empower your business with Communities:

  1. Partner community. Your partners may need access to the information and subject matter experts or even strive for training courses to deliver more efficient collaboration between internal sales reps and partners, and share leads and opportunities easier.
  2. Customer service community. The most common usage of Communities is making them for customers to log cases, explore the FAQ section, browse trending issues, and get connected with other customers and experts.
  3. Employee  community. Internal needs shouldn’t be overlooked. A Community for HR, easier onboarding of the new employees and training for the current ones as well as the space for chatting and discussing new issues is a must-have for a big company and a good helper for a small business.

Step 2. Understanding the advantages

The logical part of estimating whether the solution is worthy is looking at it from the potential benefit prospective. There are at least three advantages of Community Cloud implementation:

  1. Community Cloud empowers your customers to find solutions to their challenges on their own. Provide your clients with the access to your customer service representatives, knowledge base, and the other customers able to receive advice.
  2. Community allows you to work on leads, opportunities or  cases together with your partner and increase your own and your joint revenue stream.
  3. Community helps you to retain your employees and keep them involved and engaged by providing an opportunity to pass their onboarding, understand their benefits, and proceed with HR cases.

Step 3. Defining the approach to customizing  Communities

There are 5 approaches to customising Salesforce Communities.

  1. Classic Salesforce. If you choose Salesforce Classic, be ready for the obsolete UI similar to the main Salesforce interface for external users. We recommend you not to mix it up with the standard Salesforce ecosystem, and improve your Community with individual styles and branding.
  2. Here’s where Community Builder  comes into play. It allows you to choose to make a responsive site using out of the box templates. Lightning components could make appropriate add-ons to your Community, such as logos, colour schemes, content, analytics and much more. It is also possible to build your own custom Lightning components to satisfy your special needs. We suggest using Community Builder for those who want to make their Community quick and simple but still individual.
  3. Lightning Bolts are purpose-built templates for many industries like insurance companies, retailers, financial services, manufacturing companies etc. These templates are built by Salesforce’s leading partners and contain industry-specific process flows, apps and components which seamlessly integrate with Salesforce CRM. This way, you are able to choose an out of the box solution straight from the AppExchange that will suit the needs of your industry and allow you to customise your community in a shorter time, with less effort and costs.
  4. Sites allow for better flexibility in everything concerning UI and custom functionality. However, it also requires involvement of an experienced Salesforce Architect and may take weeks, or even months to roll it out.
  5. is similar to a CMS system. It may seem a good solution for security and configuration, unless you face the challenge of making the site responsive or applying branding. In terms of time and effort spent on developing a Community, CloudIdeas prefers Sites to

As for the styles, Salesforce has rolled out WordPress themes into Community Cloud that can be tailored  to business use cases.

Step 4. Public or login access and licences types

If you are using one of the most common Salesforce editions, you should be able to create up to 100 communities without buying separate Communities licences. But if you want to create a community using a Partner Central template, you have to purchase at least one Partner Community licence. There are also two possible options of access to communities: authenticated (with login) and unauthenticated (without login – guest user).

You don’t have to buy Community licences, if you want to use your community as e. g. a public knowledge base for unauthenticated users, where they would have access to publicly available community pages with for example knowledge articles. But if you want your community members to log in or give them access to Salesforce objects according to the needs of your business, you have to purchase licences.

Doing so you will be able to create external profiles or also based on the type of the community licence, use advanced sharing and give you members access to analytics. You can find detailed information about different types of communities user licences here.

Step 5. Analysing the efficiency.

After you are done with the basics, make sure you have analytics installed in order to act accordingly based on  the community insights. You would need to dig deeper into your community issues to fill the gaps in the knowledge base articles and define what content customers are looking for but unable to find, what search queries lead to irrelevant data, what  content works better on desktop or on mobile. It is also possible to use Wave Analytics for Community Cloud which will come in handy to cover your needs for integrated analysis.

Ready to see Community Cloud in action? CloudIdeas has extensive experience in building Communities for different industries such as education, finance and manufacturing. Reach out if you have any questions or would like to hear more!

About the author

Sofia Filippova
Sofia Filippova

Marketing and Communications at Cloudideas GmbH

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