Salesforce Launches Service for Apps for Service Cloud

Following announcements Salesforce made at its Connections conference last week, the CRM provider has taken another step today toward delivering superb customer experience, revealing Service for Apps for Service Cloud.

With Service for Apps, any company can embed multichannel customer service directly into its mobile applications. The Chat for Apps feature allows customers to message an agent directly from within an app, while giving customer service representatives access to a user's pertinent information. Similarly, the Tap-to-Call feature lets customers hit a button to activate contact with a qualified agent. The Knowledge for Apps function enables users to insert instructional articles and FAQs into an app to give customers access to crowd-sourced guidelines for resolving issues before seeking an agent. Cases for Apps equips customers with camera and location functions that fill in agents about the details of the claim, while keeping customers notified about their status. The SOS capability is comparable to the Amazon Mayday button in that it gives customers access to video guidance and screen-sharing capabilities.

For Salesforce, the releases are in alignment with ongoing efforts to offer superb mobile functionality, an area the vendor believes is integral for companies hoping to outshine the competition; Salesforce has been foreshadowing these advancements since as early as 2013, when it released Service Cloud for mobile. Sarah Patterson, senior vice president of Service Cloud product marketing at Salesforce, sites a statistic from comScore indicating that 88 percent of total time spent on mobile phones is spent within an app. Yet, she adds, most companies have had a hard time offering customers adequate support. "Customer experience is [now] the number one brand differentiator, over price and product," Patterson says. If companies don't focus on improving mobile service, she says, they will suffer, as customers will not hesitate to switch to companies that make it a priority.

Patterson notes the various uses of the apps across several verticals, particularly travel. If a person has to rebook a plane ticket, for example, she doesn't have to leave the app and restart a process and waste valuable time. The SOS function will be of use to healthcare providers, too, Patterson says. A homebound patient, for instance, might be able to notify his doctor about his status using a mobile app.

Of great impact will be Knowledge for Apps, Patterson adds, "because most people today, especially those that are more app savvy, want to have the question solved for themselves before reaching out." 

The company is also releasing Desk.com for Apps, which will allow SMBs to work support features into their mobile iOS and Android applications using an embeddable SDK.

Service Cloud is now generally available and pricing starts at $135 per user per month. Salesforce SOS is the first Service for Apps solution to be generally available and is $150 per user per month with Enterprise Edition licenses of Service Cloud. Chat for Apps, Tap-to-Call for Apps, Knowledge for Apps, and Cases for Apps are planned for private beta later this year, and pricing will be announced at general availability. Desk.com for Apps is currently in private beta and pricing will be announced at general availability.

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