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Where Customers Go, Salesforce Service Cloud Follows

Where Customers Go, Salesforce Service Cloud Follows

These days, customers are calling the shots when it comes to service -- perhaps not in terms of final outcomes but certainly in terms of how they engage. Anytime, anywhere access is what customers increasingly are demanding, and Salesforce.com addresses that preference with its Service Cloud Mobile offering. It provides mobile co-browsing and chat, as well as touch-based agent functionality.

By Erika Morphy CRM Buyer ECT News Network
02/26/13 5:00 AM PT

Salesforce.com on Tuesday unveiled Salesforce Service Cloud Mobile, the first of a number of mobile computing initiatives planned for this year.

Salesforce.com is stepping up its focus on mobile in 2013, Michael Peachey, senior director of solutions marketing, told CRM Buyer. "We will be making a number of mobile offerings -- starting with this one, which is all about supporting customer service on the mobile device."

The Trouble With Legacy Systems

salesforce service cloud mobile
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Companies realize that customer service has expanded beyond the online environment to the mobile sphere. The problem is that their legacy service platforms do not support mobile very well, Peachey said.

"They are disconnected, in fact, entirely from the mobile existence." he maintained.

The new features in Salesforce Service Cloud Mobile will allow companies to offer mobile co-browsing with an agent, mobile access to a community knowledge base, mobile chat with an agent, and touch-based agent interface technologies.

The co-browsing technology Visit the VMware Tech Center lets users provide agent-guided assistance via any Web browser. Using the feature, agents can guide customers through forms or transactions, set up accounts or resolve issues. The end-user activates the co-browsing by clicking on a link to share the screen with the service agent.

The access to cloud-based communities lets customers create a single designation for branded communities, such as forums where users pose questions and provide answers to one another, or FAQ maintained by the company and updated on a regular basis.

The new mobile chat for service lets customers chat with a live service agent to resolve more complicated issues.

Service Cloud Touch provides service technology for the agent on a mobile device, such as an iPhone or iPad, an Android phone or tablet, or an Amazon Kindle Fire.

Different Scenarios

There is any number of scenarios where these various features will come into play, Peachey said. Suppose a customer is standing in line and decides to browse an online retail site like Gilt while waiting but can't find a certain product viewed earlier. Enter the agent co-browser.

"The customer just hits a live help button, which automatically opens a case," said Peachey. "The agent gets a view of the customer's information and is able to open a session."

When the problem is resolved, the case is closed, leaving the customer in the site's shopping experience.

The communities feature is geared toward someone looking for information that a fellow customer would know best. For instance, in a gaming community, a user might want to know how to achieve a certain goal, Peachey said. The gamer could go to the community to see if that question ever came up -- and if not, ask it.

Alternatively, the user could escalate to live help for immediate assistance.

"All of these scenarios are of how mobile is transforming the service relationship," Peachey said.

Co-browsing is scheduled to be generally available in the second half of 2013. The rest of the features are generally available now as part of the Service Cloud platform.

The Evolving Nature of Mobile

This latest offering by Salesforce dovetails with how service is evolving, Jeff Kaplan, principal of THINKstrategies, told CRM Buyer.

"In general, the world is moving to mobile, so anything software-provided that makes an application more readily available on a mobile device is good news for a company," he said.

It's essential for industries whose primary outreach to customers is via the mobile channel, Kaplan added.

Even companies whose service outreach is PC- or phone-based have a need to mobilize their back end, he pointed out. "More and more we are all finding it is important to be tethered to applications that make us more productive and responsive to our customers."


Erika Morphy has been writing about technology, finance and business issues for more than 20 years. She lives in Silver Spring, Md.


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