Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Salesforce.com Support: Is Quickly Not Helping Really Helpful?

So a funny thing happened on my way through a normal workday. Wearing my Salesforce.com Admin hat, I was contacted about a problem by one of our users. After guessing at the first answer -- what would be most logical -- then diving into it myself, I found myself mired in another one of those "this is something that people have been requesting from Salesforce for years and they haven't done anything" problems. That by itself would probably merit an annoyed blog post, but it's what happened after that that sent me straight to Blogger.

Let's start with a bit of background. Imagine you're in Salesforce and you're on a custom object page (I think this actually applies to standard objects, but I don't really want to explore the nuances of things that don't work). Let's say the object is a "Quote". Now you've just created this quote and you want to use Salesforce's email tool to send the Quote to your customer. But you don't want to send it just to Bob, your primary contact. You also need to send the quote to Sue in purchasing and maybe Alex in administration. Here's the screen that you'd see:
From here, you'd enter Bob's contact information in the To: and Salesforce would link the email to his contact info (including using the email address from his record). But for Sue and Alex, you'd expect to use the Additional To or the CC fields. However, if you click on the Additional to link, what you'll be brought to is a window with this at the top:
Now, what several online items suggest -- and you might expect to happen from "All Co-workers in Company" is any contacts on the Account linked to the Contact. However, what the list actually holds is all of the Users from your company. This happens from any of the search window buttons as well. Oh, and you might expect that the "Show" would let you choose from another list option. It doesn't.

If you want to add Sue or Alex, you have to type their email addresses into the Additional to or CC email windows. And if this is part of a process that you repeat frequently, you can expect to do a lot of typing.

But Wait, There's More...
This has been a problem in Salesforce for a long time. When I went looking for solutions on Google "Salesforce email additional to", I came across these outstanding ideas:

First, here are three Ideas covering the exact same issue, going all the way back six years ago.

Next, here is some misinformation in their help knowledgebase that incorrectly informs people of how the functionality is supposed to work:

Are you frustrated yet? Discovering this, I went on Twitter to share my frustration with @asksalesforce. Usually, they're pretty responsive, and the got back to me quickly. They also created a case. And this is where it gets even funnier.

The Quick Customer Service Response You Didn't Really Want
So this afternoon I received a call from Salesforce Customer Support. The call came from slightly soft-spoken Indian woman calling from a rather noisy call center room. I mention this because, between her accent and the background room noise, it made it a bit challenging to understand a lot of what she was saying. Without much of an intro, she requested that I go to GoToMeeting.com. I explained that I was in the middle of a project and she repeated her request that I go to GoToMeeting.com so that she could see the issue.

Now, the security guy in me would normally be pretty wary, but I have to admit that I was finding this so ludicrous that I decided to play along. So I fire up GoToMeeting and she gives me the meeting ID. And, of course, when I open the meeting, it immediately wants to share my screen and access my mouse and keyboard. No introductions, no gentle ask to access my screen.

Anyway, so I turn on the screen share and she asks me to demonstrate the issue. So I take her to a record and show her. Then we discuss it briefly. I also show her the Ideas. Then she proceeds to confirm that this is standard functionality. Rather than me explain, here's from the case file:
This is the standard functionality of salesforce and you also confirmed that you saw a couple ideas which were for the same issue. These ideas are under point threshold which means that they have been planned as a future roadmap and may be available in future releases. 
Needless to say, the call was a waste of both of our time. I told her she could close the case and I hung up.

In this case, Salesforce customer service was very quick in trying to help. Unfortunately, what they accomplished not only wasn't helpful, it actually annoyed me more than it did anything else. For example, they didn't even note that the ideas actually covered the same issue and, if combined, might reach their threshold for consideration. But beyond that, I could have told the Twitter team at @asksalesforce that this wasn't worth a case because I already knew they weren't going to do anything about it. I mean, the Idea Exchange shows that they've had six years to address it.

The whole thing reminds me that, several years ago I'd actually installed a component that would at least auto-complete email addresses in the Additional To field based on scanning the existing contact table. Unfortunately, like many free little add-ons over the years, I don't think that one works any longer.

So what's the take-away? While monitoring customer service channels like Twitter are great, it's probably not so great if you don't actually intend to fix the issue. For whatever reason, there are some functional issues -- like email sync that isn't using Microsoft Exchange -- that just don't rank highly (although they're supposedly close to fixing that for Gmail). Honestly, I'd be disappointed in Salesforce, but this is one of those where I really got what I expected -- I'm just no better off for having been there.

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