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Self service is terrible

Are there any plans to improve the self service capability in salesforce.com?

It's just plain awful - so bad in fact, that clearly salesforce.com don't even use it.

I may be missing something but:
  • Why can't I write solutions in HTML with formatting?
  • Why is the width of the page hard-coded to a maximum size (why not a percentage)?
  • Why must I have the enormous salesforce.com logo at the bottom of every page - I mean, how much advertising does it need?
It feels like something that was thrown together, but should never have been released - I mean, these are REALLY basic problems and I've only just started researching its capability.

The reason I ask is because we want to add a self-service support management system to our site and ideally we'd be linked to our customer data.  At this moment in time, salesforce.com feels like a very poor solution and I'd like to think it was going to improve.


Chet ChauhanChet Chauhan
Hi Steve,

Thanks for your feedback. We do use our existing self service capability internally for customers to log cases and many customers have found the product to be good enough for their specific needs. However, many customers have told us they want a lot more capabilities from the portal and last year we decided to make a major investment to build a new self service portal on a more powerful and flexible architecture that would allow us to address all the requirements our customers have. The new portal is currently in development and planned for release in spring/summer this year. It will allow you to use HTML in solutions, search for cases, create custom list views, sort lists, edit/close cases as well as add custom objects, s-controls, documents, web tabs and do a lot more in the portal. We are very excited by the capabilities the new portal will offer our customers and I would like to give you a demo and get your feedback.

Kind regards,

Chet Chauhan
Senior Product Manager, Service & Support
Hi Chet,

That would be great.  I have some time at the end of next week if that works for you.

Just to continue, I'm really not clear on:
  • Managing LEAD support requests - these seem completely unmanaged yet are absolutely KEY to our sales (as they are with most companies)
  • Further to this, for public access to support we have to:
    • Manually create a lead
    • Convert the lead to a contact
    • Manually link the case to the contact
    • Enable web self service
  • Seems a bit over the top doesn't it? Or am I completely missing something?
  • Why can't we have public support access - i.e. you can search but must register to submit?  This is pretty bog standard stuff - they could then become a lead in our system.
  • We'd like to have leads automatically gain access to support over the course of their trial - we can't do this without converting them to full opportunities
Anyway - I'm either missing something or you guys are!  I guess the process seems a bit disconnected and I'm finding I'm getting thwarted at every turn to provide a more seamless support portal.

Again - a demo would be great.  Please contact me with your availability.

All the best,


Chet ChauhanChet Chauhan
Hi Steve,

Have you looked at our Web-to-Case solution?  It allows anyone to create a case without requiring a login to the self service portal. You can find in Setup->Self-Service->Web-2-case.

On the roadmap for the new self service portal we are also planning to support self registration of portal users. This may also help with the scenario you outlined.

I have sent you an e-mail to setup a time for a demo at the end of next week.

Kind regards,


FWIW, I just got a demo of the new portal, and it is sweeet :smileyhappy:  Its a very major upgrade over the current system.

It's been more than a year since the last posting and I wonder if the new Solutions portal has shipped yet because I still cannot figure out how to use HTML in our solutions. We are *trying* to move our support site to SF.com and thus far it's been fairly unsuccesful, mainly because we can't format lists, tables, etc. Any text we enter is converted line by line into HTML with hard line breaks and HTML tags are escaped to their HTML literal equivalents, thus causing them to render as markup on the display.

Is there a time frame for shipping the new portal? 

Hi Jason,

Unfortunately, I have some bad news for you.  Though the self service in the next release looks great, Chet forgot to mention one very important point.  It costs a lot extra!  The price I was quoted was $900 USD per month for 200 support users - that's A LOT for support.  Simple math says it's $4.50 per user per month!

I would suggest looking at something like kayako.com unless you have a limitless budget - it costs $40 per month, unlimited users - so a fraction of the price and just as capable - if not more - forgetting the link to customer data which is a big deal I confess.

Hopefully it will be free to Enterprise users in subsequent releases, but this remains to be seen.  I understand that things need to be charged for, but the price was way off for us - might be OK for you.

All the best,



Thanks for the information and suggestions for alternatives. I only need one support account so $900/month is a bit steep! :-0

Thanks again,