How Case Management Tools Power Customer Service Worthy of a 5-Star Restaurant

Here’s an expensive but worthwhile suggestion: Visit Canlis, a fine-dining destination perched atop Seattle’s Queen Anne Hill. I make this

7 min. read

Here’s an expensive but worthwhile suggestion: Visit Canlis, a fine-dining destination perched atop Seattle’s Queen Anne Hill. I make this recommendation not for the views (though, hey, they’re pretty good) and not for the food (also pretty good). I want you to go so you can experience the service.

Actually, let me rephrase that.

I want you to go so you can experience the experience. Because that’s what dining at Canlis felt like to me — an event. An occasion. An evening that went perfectly right.

As the restaurant’s co-owner Mark Canlis put it in an interview with StoryBrand, this kind of experience means “we’re going to put you first. And that implies that we’ll be second.” Both Mark and his brother (and fellow co-owner) Brian see customers as entrusting them with a treasure — their time. “They’re asking you to safeguard it: ‘I’ve got something precious here; is it safe to let you hold it for a few hours?’ And not only do we hold it, we also charge them for that… Our task is to be trustworthy.”

The proof that they succeed? It’s not in the pudding (though I’m sure the white chocolate mousse with rhubarb and tarragon is divine). No — it’s in the testimony. Two years after my night at Canlis, I haven’t forgotten how special it felt. Two years after, and I’m still choosing to write about my experience, to tell you to go there and spend a fair bit of money. That’s powerful advocacy.

If you’re in the business of serving customers, you want to earn that kind of advocacy. However, I understand that it isn’t exactly reasonable for most people to head to Seattle and drop several hundred bucks on a single meal just to learn a few lessons about great service. Thankfully, you don’t have to.

When I reflect on why the service at Canlis was so memorable, I realize it had almost everything to do with personalization. Personalized attention, personalized problem-solving, personalized messages. Leaders looking to recreate the service experience of a 5-star restaurant in their own companies, then, need a technology that powers personalization at scale — and Salesforce Service Cloud is exactly that. I’m thinking specifically of the system’s case management tools and automatic workflows, which allow you to build timeless aspects of great customer service into the digital aspects of your business.

Here’s more on how to treat your customers like patrons of a 5-star restaurant.


4 Ways to Create a World-class Customer Experience with Case Management Tools:

Accommodate different kinds of customers with queues.

Canlis isn’t just a restaurant, really: It consists of the main dining area, but also a lounge and a trio of private rooms whose range in size means they can host anywhere from 2-100 people. And each of these different aspects of the business demands its own way to accommodate guests (different contacts, systems, staff, etc). These separate branches of the business allow the larger Canlis team to serve those guests in unique ways, taking into account their specific wants and needs.

Similarly, if you need a way to respond to cases from different tiers or categories of customers, try using queues. Queues “prioritize your support team’s workload by creating lists from which specific agents can jump in to solve certain types of cases.” For instance, a software company could automatically route cases to different queues based on the specific products mentioned in customers’ emails, making it easy for segmented support teams to handle individual areas of expertise. In the same way that Canlis directs guests to the appropriate contact, queues can help you do the same.

Find the exact right person for the job with assignment rules.

Once a guest is seated at Canlis, they’re presented with a menu and a wine list. The menu I could parse pretty well, but the wine list I read with about as much understanding as if it were the Egyptian Book of the Dead. So many vintages, varietals and countries of origin — I didn’t know where to start. The prices I could understand, however, so navigating the list was a moot point, anyway. My girlfriend and I each chose an affordable by-the-glass option listed on the first page and turned our attention to dinner.

Of course, for those able to order an exotic bottle, a conversation with Canlis’ sommelier is in order. When a guest makes it clear that they’d like some guidance in navigating the wine list, their server will call for the expert. In many ways, this is like an assignment rule. Assignment rules allow you to “automatically assign incoming cases to specific agents so that the right people work on the right cases.” To use the software company example again, perhaps a customer with a specialized background in development has a question about a particular app’s code. Only a certain kind of employee will be able to handle such a query, and with an assignment rule, the company can route it directly to an expert.

Send big issues to the top with escalation rules.

Though I had no complaints about my experience at Canlis, some guests must inevitably have them. Anyone who has ever spent time serving customers can understand: Despite your best efforts, things still go wrong. It would be foolish to assume otherwise. However, it would be even more foolish not to address these problems in the most customer-centric way possible: By escalating the issue to someone who has the power to make it right. I’m certain that whenever a guest is dissatisfied with some aspect of their experience at Canlis — and when the issue can’t be made right by their server — one of the restaurant’s co-founders pays a visit to their table to offer a solution.

This approach isn’t unique to Canlis, or even fancy restaurants in general. Any business depends on its customers, both as direct sources of revenue and as brand ambassadors. If somebody is unhappy with your products or services and you don’t at least make an attempt to alleviate their frustration, your company risks losing their future business as well as the business of anybody they warn to stay away. Thankfully, escalation rules make it easy to “automatically escalate cases to the right people when the cases aren’t solved by a certain time.” This means dissatisfied customers will never accidentally be forgotten — or just made to wait too long.

Personalize communications with auto-response rules.

Best I can recall, I reserved my table at Canlis online, then received a call from their reservations coordinator asking if I had any special requests, and whether I knew about the dress code. This personalized confirmation left me feeling confident that I was in good hands, that the restaurant would take care to make sure my evening with my girlfriend went as planned.

Auto-response rules in Service Cloud can help you instill the same kind of feeling in your customers, no matter your industry. Designed to give you the power to “automatically send personalized email responses to customers based on each case’s details,” they make it easy to help ensure a customer doesn’t feel forgotten. Customers shouldn’t expect you to resolve their issues immediately, but they deserve to know at least that your team has received their request and that they’ll work on it as soon as they get the chance.

The four case management tools mentioned in this blog only represent a fraction of Service Cloud’s capabilities, but I hope my larger point is clear — as applications, Salesforce’s products have been built to model successful business strategies that predate today’s reliance on screens. Sure, the technology helps drive innovation, but only because the framework is proven.

I guess what I’m ultimately getting at is this: You don’t have to run a fancy restaurant to create a memorable service experience. With Salesforce, you can accomplish that goal no matter what your company does (and at scale, too).

If you’ve got questions about how your company could use Salesforce Service Cloud to create a world-class customer service experience, don’t hesitate to reach out. We want to help you better serve your customers.