Salesforce Launches Tools To Enhance Mobile Customer Service
The new in-app customer support offering from Salesforce, announced today, includes an Amazon Mayday-like SOS button that instantly puts users in touch with agents for live, on-screen video help. The new cloud-based Service for Apps will also enable companies to provide customers with in-app knowledge bases, chat support, case monitoring and tap-to-call access to phone support.
While Salesforce SOS is available now, the other app tools are scheduled to roll out in private beta later this year. Salesforce said Service for Apps will let enterprises easily embed multi-channel customer service directly into their mobile apps and fills a gap in existing customer relationship management. While 88 percent of mobile users' time is spent in apps, most organizations aren't yet making mobile a part of the service experience, according to Salesforce.
Smaller businesses looking to improve their mobile support for customers will have another new tool from Salesforce: Desk.com for Apps. Powered by the Desk.com customer support app, the new SDK, currently in private beta, will let small and midsize enterprises embed support into native apps for iOS and Android devices.
Demand for 'Instant, Always-On' Service
"The mobile app revolution has created a new requirement for instant, always-on service," said Mike Milburn, senior vice president and general manager of Service Cloud for Salesforce. Salesforce's new Service for Apps will allow companies to "deliver a whole new level of service to customers" from within their apps, he said.
There is currently "an immense gap between mobile adoption and success customer service and support on the mobile device," according to recent research from Gartner Inc. Despite the widespread use of mobile devices today, only 20 percent to 40 percent of customer interactions occur on such devices, and less than five percent of customer service is "one and done" on mobile devices, Gartner said.
Moving forward, Gartner said customer experience, rather than products and services, will define "the new competitive battlefield" for companies in many industries.
"The reality is that focusing innovation on new products -- and even new business models -- is subject to shrinking periods of competitive advantage," Jake Sorofman, research director at Gartner, noted earlier this year. "Competitors and alternatives abound. To meet this challenge, nearly three-quarters of companies expect to increase technology spending on customer experience in 2015."
Intelligent Routing for Personalized Support
Service for Apps will enable companies to easily expand their support options for customers who are interacting with them through mobile apps, according to Salesforce.
The Chat for Apps function, for example, will allow a mobile gamer to ask an agent for advice in real time while providing the agent with information on the specific game and level the customer is using. Cases for Apps, meanwhile, will add camera and location details for better case creation and monitoring. For instance, someone could use a city government app to send a picture of a pothole, which automatically generates a repair case with the city.
Supported by Salesforce's recently added Intelligent Routing Agent, Service for Apps can also automatically route cases to the agent who's most appropriate for handling a specific type of request. Service for Apps is the latest addition to Salesforce's Service Cloud offering, which the company said can help companies resolve cases 48 percent more quickly while reducing support costs by an average of 45 percent.
Pricing for Service Cloud starts at $135 per month, while Salesforce SOS is now available for $150 per user per month for Enterprise Edition customers. Pricing for other Service for Apps features -- including Chat for Apps, Tap-to-Call, Knowledge for Apps and Cases for Apps -- will be announced when those offerings are released for general availability, according to Salesforce.