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What is Community Cloud?

In this post, we explain what exactly Community Cloud is and how it can help your company.

Originally named ‘Salesforce Customer and Partner Portals’, Community Cloud is among the most popular cloud options from Salesforce.

As with the rest of the platform, it is known for its remarkable integration and collaboration capabilities. Community Cloud offers business integration, personalization, customization, branding and engagement. 

Often referred to as a ‘forum’, ‘support site’ or ‘portal’, Community cloud can be looked at as an online social platform for collaboration, communication and more. Simply put, a community is a place where a group of people with the same interest or goal can connect and collaborate. 

There are many different offerings out there providing solutions similar to Community Cloud. So, what sets Salesforce Community Cloud apart from these other community programs? The answer - Integration. Community cloud is integrated with everything in your salesforce system, as well as the ability to connect with most, if not all, 3rd party platforms.

Over our next series on the blog, we will cover Community Cloud in greater detail. 

Redefining the Customer Experience

If you’ve read our previous blogs, you probably heard us talk about the Customer 360-degree view. With Salesforce, all your relevant information and data are synced in one place. Community Cloud’s primary function is to use this data to improve your customer’s or partner’s experience when dealing with your organisation. 

With Communities, you can connect your customers, partners and employees directly to the information, apps, and experts that they need to take action. As a result, Community Cloud has a number of licenses aimed at different users. For example, with a Customer Community license (B2C), you can provide a better user experience and customer support by allowing customers to self-serve and solve issues by themselves. With a Partner Community license (B2B), accelerate sales by providing your partners with access to opportunities, leads, campaigns and quotes.  If you’re looking to empower your employees and improve communication and collaboration, then the Lightning Platform Starter/Plus is for you.

Community Cloud can help companies of any size and are fully responsive across all mobile devices. No matter the user profile, anyone crucial to your company can be added to a community. You can even have multiple communities within one org for specific purposes. 

Streamline key business processes and expand them across departments, offices, customers, partners and more. Communities are easily managed with the Community Management Console. 

You can watch a demo of Community Cloud here.

What are the different types of Community Licences?

There are a few different options when it comes to licencing in Community Cloud. Depending on what the purpose of the community is will determine the license type. Below is a list of the different licence types. 

  • Lightning External Apps Starter

    Mostly used to actively engage with external stakeholders.Custom experience for brand Engagement, etc.

  • Customer Community

    This Licence is aimed for B2C with large numbers of users who only need access to basic features like a knowledge base or case objects.

  • Customer Community Plus

    Similar to a standard Customer Community licence with more advanced access. These users may need access to dashboards, reporting, etc.

  • Partner Community

    B2B with access to Partner Relationship management and more sales data. 

  • Lightning External Apps Plus

    This is a hugely customised community that requires extra storage for objects and data. Mainly aimed at partners such as Dealers, vendors, franchise or similar. 

  • Channel Account

    B2B licenses that are based on numbers of partners, rather than specific users.

  • Lightning Platform Starter/Plus

    Extend the power of CRM to every business process, every app, and every employee to build engaging employee communities and concierge sites.

If you are using Enterprise, Performance, or an Unlimited org, you can create up to 100 communities without having to buy new Community licences. Nonetheless, if you want to use Partner Central template, then you will need to buy one or more Partner Community licenses.

You can read more about licencing here

Common Use Cases

This is a brief overview of the 3 most common use cases, we will cover these more in later blog posts. 

Customer Community - Customer Service and Account Portals

This use case is mostly aimed at B2C customers, with an emphasis on customer service and support. With self-service at the core of this solution, customers can solve issues by themselves, as well as ask and answer questions with each other within the community. 

This solution increases case deflection and allows customer service reps to concentrate on more complex support issues. 
 
You can read more about a Customer Community project we have implemented in our case studies here

Partner Relationship Management and Channel Sales

With Communities, you can also create Partner portals/hubs. This can be used for distributors, affiliates, resellers, etc. and measure performance in detail.  What’s really great about Partner community is the complex sharing capabilities. Control what opportunities are pushed to what partner and when.

Partner and Channel Management is a great way for communication between you and partners. Partners can raise issues to the supplier from within the community. 

Employee Relationships

Communities for employees. Whether it be for HR assistance, on-boarding, payroll, or learning about benefits, communities can be extremely beneficial within your organisation. Merging the real-time collaboration of chatter and use any mobile device to share data and files is what makes Communities a next-generation portal. 

Features and benefits of Community Cloud

  • Files Connect

    One thing to mention here is Files Connect. This feature is what is used to integrate 3rd party files (Microsoft OneDrive, Google Drive, etc) to salesforce, which gives users instant access to them on mobile and social devices. This means that you can share files with customers instantly. 

  • Custom Landing Pages

    Creating a custom page/s in a community can not only create a community that has a certain look, style and feel to it, but can increase productivity, conversion rate and reduce time waste. Perhaps you want everything on one page for an optimised screen for partners. 

  • Collaboration 

    One of the most important parts of Community Cloud is the ability to collaborate with colleagues, partners, customers, external suppliers and more. The ability to work with people inside and outside your company is very helpful for time-saving and security. 

  • Security 

    Built on the Salesforce1 platform, Community cloud inherits the robust security architecture. The platform is trusted by leading organisations that operate in severely regulated sectors like Financial Services, Health & Life Sciences and Government/Public Sector. 

Takeaway

To conclude, if you want to improve your relationship with customers, partners and employees, then Community Cloud is for you. Here are some of the key takeaways you should keep in mind when you are considering Community Cloud: 

  • Complex sharing capabilities
  • Self-service & Knowledge Hub (case deflection)
  • Accelerate Deals
  • Performance tracking
  • Custom landing pages 
  • Integrations
  • Real-time collaboration with chatter 
  • Streamline key business processes

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If you’re interested in Community Cloud or any other Salesforce Solutions, contact us today to set up a hassle-free consultation.