7 Most Exciting Features in Salesforce Communities in the Spring ’18 Release

Salesforce Spring '18 Communities Features

Here we are looking at another release from Salesforce! It is the Spring 18 release!

In this article, I would like to talk about what is exciting and new for Communities in the Spring ’18 release.  So, I’ll run down our top 7 features based on the kind of work we do with our clients.

1)  Journey Builder for Communities – Sales Funnel Across Channels.

In the last release, the effort to integrate Communities and Marketing Cloud was underway. This feature lets you create a journey for your users to engage more and have a seamless way to curate and update information. This is akin to a Sales funnel but across multiple channels!

Pros and Cons: This feature is exciting to bring in new users and increase engagement. However, it requires you have Community as well as Marketing Cloud license. 

2)  Security Changes

User Self Deactivation

A lot of times you need to provide your users the ability to deactivate their user record in a community. Now we can enable this feature within the community and a new link will show up to enable users to self-deactivate.

Pros and Cons: Less calls to support to deactivate a user. However, users might do it by mistake instead of changing their email preferences or subscriptions, etc.

Device Validation and Different Login Policies for Salesforce Community Users

Now you can enable a feature for a user to validate their device if they login from a different device than they have in the past. This was available for non-community users, and now we can enable this for all customer community users.

Pros and Cons: This is an excellent feature when enabling communities for partners that are extra conscious of their security protocols and would like to fine tune their policies. However, it creates additional configuration and policy management tasks for admins, and additional verification processes (annoyances) for users accessing the Community via multiple devices.

3)  New and Enhanced Components for Communities – Update Now!

Case Deflection Components

This is a two part component.  When you use the ‘Contact Support Form’ and the ‘Case Deflection’ components, the case deflection component will show possible solutions that come from your articles and discussions.

Pros and Cons: As a call center head, this is great — it reduces the creation of new cases when there are already existing solutions. The users are deflected naturally to those articles, However, if you are a new community, and you don’t have many articles, or if they are not classified or tagged correctly this feature will not help much.

Enhanced Navigation

If your Community is catered towards product support, and If your product catalog is much deeper than just 3 levels, no worries! You can now create articles with navigation as deep as your product categorization goes.

It goes 8 levels deep. No kidding! To a total of 2775 topics and sub topics.

Pros and Cons: The ability to match your community and its content to the way your product is structured. However, users might get overwhelmed with the nested navigation and choices. Be careful with your new navigational powers!

Member Profile and Settings Component

OK. This is not a new component; however, this component has been enhanced and made available for the Customer Account portal.

Survey Component

I believe this is could be one of the most used features in any Community. The core of customer interaction is feedback, and this component makes it easier for us to now integrate surveys from the Community without an external App Exchange product.

This component is available for Lightning Apps as well as Community Builder.

Pros and Cons: This allows us to easily create custom surveys and collect customer feedback. However, survey components have been around for a long time, and generally have a lot of features built in. The current component is not as sophisticated as the established products.

Keep Track of Events with Community Calendars

Now you can share your calendar in your Community! Whoo Hoo!.

And, if you have Customer Community Plus, or Partner Community, licenses, your Community users can also create events.

Pros and Cons: The pros are obvious; the con is that CCP and Partner licenses carry higher costs.

4)  Creating Multi-lingual Communities is Much Easier!

This feature is very cool. It is available in the Lightning Community Builder, as opposed to being buried in the Sites settings.  Just pop open the gear  icon and choose languages, and you can setup another language right there.

Users will see a language switching icon in the main navigation area.

Pros and Cons: This is an easy way to enable multi language support for all users. However, this does not preclude us from maintaining the correct verbiage and grammar in the alternate languages.

5)  Sentiment Analysis Dashboard (Pilot)

This is like insights and AI for your Community. This feature will go through your Community’s feed items and comments and marks each comment as: Positive, Negative, or Neutral.

There is a new dashboard available that  can be enabled to show how the whole community is doing based on the aggregate sentiments — it comes with pretty graphs too.

Pros and Cons: I believe this a step in the right direction to show how well your Community users are engaging, and how well people are reacting to your organization and its interactions  the Community base.  However, I hope this feature adds some customization to extend ratings beyond just: positive, negative or neutral. But, this is still in pilot, and there should be a lot more ground to cover in the future.

6)  Files and Folders

Needless to say, every Community aspires to provide its users with as much information as possible, this includes organizes files in a meaningful manner.

So this feature is not new for Communities, however there many enhancements that were provided in this release for files and folders; I am excited about these 3:

Upload Component and Cloud Flow Designer

Lets say, you create new flows for your Community users. In those flows, you need your users to upload a file.  This component allows you to include a screen that allows user to do just that! As easy as drag and drop.

File Preview on the Go!

Now you can access files on your mobile device as well as your laptop/desktop with the same user experience.

Let Users Navigate All of Your Public Files in a New Component

Now you can expose all your folders and files in an easy-to-navigate component. This new component is great to for sharing the way you have structured your documents. And, it can also be controlled by role-based licenses.

7)  Bye bye Branding.. Hello Theme-ing!

You already know how we can change the way our Community looks with custom colors and layouts and such. And, you know we use the “branding” section of the Builder to do this… and that it is kind’a kludgy. Well, now you have “Themes.”

So, what is new? It’s easier to navigate these themes.  There isn’t much scrolling, and the items are more easily accessible.  It is just a better Builder experience.

Pros and Cons: The new themes section of the Builder is easy-to-navigate and follow — similar to the WordPress customization mechanism.  However?… There’s not much I have on the “con” side, I like the way the themes behave now.

Well, there is your rundown of all the features we like in the new release Spring ‘18 for Salesforce Communities.

For more information, please visit:  https://releasenotes.docs.salesforce.com/en-us/spring18/release-notes/salesforce_release_notes.htm

And, Rebecca Saar’s post at:  https://admin.salesforce.com/salesforce-spring-18-release-resources

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