Organizations across the world have been forced to shut their doors and rely on their digital presence to maintain business continuity. For some companies, this transition was easy; they had previously invested in their online capabilities and could seamlessly transition to exclusively online interactions with their customers.
For others, being forced to go suddenly virtual brought a whole new set of challenges. They had to help employees adjust to remote working, even if their existing tools did not facilitate an easy transition. Collaboration with partners took place over Zoom calls and emails instead of the face-to-face engagements they were accustomed to. And companies, both B2C and B2B, were left scrambling for ways to connect with their customers without the luxury of in-person interactions.
The companies that survived these rapid changes, and will continue to thrive, are those that have engaging online communities ingrained in their digital experiences. Communities cover a variety of use cases, from boosting partner effectiveness with transparent dashboards and analytics to unleashing employees with collaborative, engaging portals.
One of the most common ways that companies leverage Salesforce Communities is to enhance their customers’ journeys. There are obvious B2C cases such as empowering consumers to interact with your brand as they need support or purchase items from an online store. But these same capabilities are available for B2B companies as well. Organizations that prioritize a great customer experience for their business buyers take more market share. And Communities are one of the most successful tools to make that vision a reality. By leveraging Lightning-based digital Communities to enhance Salesforce’s B2B Commerce robust capabilities, B2B companies will strengthen their connections with customers now and in the future, regardless of the uncertainties that come with safely restarting their business.
Salesforce’s B2B Commerce Cloud is a robust tool that unlocks the unique purchasing functionality that differs from traditional retail shopping. But despite its many useful features, one limitation is that its engagement interface is built on Visualforce. This can make administering B2B Commerce difficult and costly as it requires technical expertise and code development, contrary to Salesforce’s more common mantra of clicks-not-code. Meeting your users’ ecommerce needs requires flexibility and increasing levels of engagement that are more difficult to maintain on Visualforce as compared to the benefits of building on Salesforce’s Lightning platform.
7Summits’ Digital Storefront for B2B Commerce Lightning Bolt community template complements B2B Commerce by leveraging B2B Commerce’s complete database as your system of record to inform a stronger, more agile and interactive user experience on Community Cloud as your system of engagement. The Bolt is built directly on top of Salesforce’s B2B Commerce and is the only solution in the ecosystem that surfaces all functionality in Lightning to enable a far superior digital experience for customers. Giving your B2B customers an efficient, easy-to-navigate commerce experience is essential for reaching goals like driving more sales and achieving higher customer satisfaction. Customers should be empowered with a user-friendly buying process that allows them to seamlessly view and purchase your products and services. Combining B2B Commerce with the Digital Storefront Lightning Bolt lets companies revolutionize how they go to market by building personalized, highly engaging experiences that delight consumers and raise your bottom line.
The Bolt allows you to retain the same great features available in Visualforce, but now with the added simplicity and visual appeal made possible by Lightning. Features like a product catalog with advanced filtering, product details, add to cart and embedded flows extend commerce solutions with process automation. Customers can browse products, easily search and filter, and click in on any selection for additional details, images and videos. You’re able to customize each listing to give consumers exactly what they need to make a buying decision, all while providing greater UX consistency with a custom theme. Together, innovative solutions like Digital Storefront bring B2B Commerce capabilities straight to your community, helping you sell more products, attract new audiences, save costs and give customers a better buying experience.
After implementing the Digital Storefront Lightning Bolt, your community also gains access to the other innovative capabilities available only in Lightning. Now that you’ve enhanced the actual commerce capabilities of your customer experience, communities give your users the opportunity to more efficiently access resources through better self-service and support. This is increasingly important in the current business climate, where your customers do not have the luxury of face-to-face interactions to find necessary information and your own people don’t have the time to triage simple requests.
With Communities, your customers are given quick, easy access to any articles or resources they need, housed by Salesforce’s Knowledge Base. Tools like 7Summits’ Knowledge Base Filter complement this offering by letting you serve your Knowledge Base on any Lightning page, complete with inline results and up to six topic filters. This allows your B2B customers to solve problems independently, saving you time and money by letting your people focus on more pressing issues. For requests that do require a company response, self-service makes it where you won’t be answering the same queries over and over again. After responding to a previously submitted case, Communities are able to display the official company answer so that future customers already have access to the solution. This empowers your users to be more independent when navigating your digital experience, supporting themselves and other users in the process.
Communities also help you enhance your B2B support experience by leveraging intelligent solutions. Features like chatbots (or live agents when necessary) are able to support users in real-time, ensuring that their needs are met quickly and accurately. Increasing case deflection and creating more self-service functionality lets companies reduce cost to serve, while increasing customer satisfaction and overall revenue.
Because effective Communities are collaborative and engaging by nature, including them in your B2B experience is a great way to encourage feedback and ideation from your customers. Implementing the Digital Storefront Lightning Bolt again unlocks the innovative capabilities available with Lightning Experience. Features like Salesforce Chatter and other forums allow users to ask questions of one another (further enhancing the aforementioned self-service capabilities) on a platform you own. This gives you valuable insight into the discussions happening about your brand and specific products. When customers feel that they have a voice and are actually heard within your organization, they are more likely to return to do business with you again.
Lightning Communities also give your business customers the ability to ideate around improvements. Apps like 7Summits Ideas can be implemented directly in your community to let you crowdsource, listen and respond to your B2B customers. Whether they have suggestions related to product enhancements or process changes, users can submit ideas and then let others vote on the ones that they deem most important. This unlocks even more business value for you, as you can identify issues with your current state or gaps in products and knowledge that should be addressed. By taking your customers’ opinions into consideration, you’re able to foster an engaging community and continue to develop your digital experience into one that boosts customer satisfaction and loyalty.
There are many rewards that communities bring to your B2B Commerce investment related to cost savings, revenue generation and customer satisfaction. You want to give your customers the best possible experience to keep them coming back. By leveraging tools like the Digital Storefront for B2B Commerce Lightning Bolt, you’ll maximize the capabilities of Salesforce’s B2B Commerce solution while extending your community’s ability to include the flexible apps and features available on Lightning.
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