Salesforce.com has made a series of changes to its support services that include the removal of certain features from the Standard tier, but which the company says overall will provide a better experience for customers.
First, phone support for Standard support customers will be now be focused on "severity one" issues, such as if no users can access the system, said Dean Robison, senior vice president for global services, in a video interview posted this week on an official Salesforce.com blog.
Standard plan customers can submit critical issues via phone during regular business hours, with a response time of two business days.
"But if it isn't critical, the best way to get in touch with us is our Web portal," Robison said. "And on the Web portal, we will deliver an experience where they log a case, we know what type of category that case is, and what skill that requires."
That's going to be better than in the past, where "you hit our phones and you might get somebody who's not an expert, and it's not the best service experience in the world," Robison said. "We want to change that. We want to make sure that when you log a case, you get an expert."
That's not to say that Standard support customers can only call if they have a critical issue, just that they're being encouraged to limit calls to such matters, said Salesforce.com chief operating officer George Hu, in an interview Wednesday.
"What we saw was the opposite issue," Hu added. "People were taking critical issues and logging them through the portal. If it's a real critical issue, we want you to pick up the phone and call us." Still, "I think you could talk to us for any issue," he said.
Salesforce.com is also "scaling back, or better refining" its developer support capabilities, Robison said in the video interview. Standard support customers will be able to log development bugs and issues with Salesforce.com, he said. "We'll capture that and get the information back to you when and if we are able to solve and remove that bug."
Meanwhile, Premier support customers still get a higher level of support, including code troubleshooting. "So it's a little bit better of a clarification and a differentiation between Standard and Premier," Robison said.
Thirdly, Salesforce.com is taking the resources it had devoted to its Standard support chat channel and diverting them to the Premier channel, he said. Chat will no longer be an option for Standard support customers.
Finally, Salesforce.com is changing the way password resetting is done. "We used to handle password resets on behalf of all of our customers. What we found is customers were actually relying on us a little too much," Robison said. "We don't think that's a really safe way to go."
Salesforce.com has developed some "amazing tools" that customers and their IT staffs can use to conduct password resets, he said. "We're going to be coaching and suggesting that customers do that in the future."
A "significant" amount of support resources was being spent on password resets, and all customers will be redirected to the self-service tools regardless of their support plans, Hu said.
The support changes went into effect on Feb. 2, according to the blog post.
Along with these changes, however, Salesforce.com's self-service capabilities are going to dramatically improve, according to Robison.