Salesforce in-app mobile customer service hits beta

Salesforce has released Salesforce 1 Service Cloud SOS in beta, a mobile customer service application with live chat.

Salesforce.com's new Salesforce 1 Service Cloud SOS enables companies to deliver better mobile support to customers on mobile devices.

Many companies connect through mobile apps; more than 100 billion apps were downloaded last year, according to Gartner Group Data from January 2014. That is 12 apps for every person on the planet, said Larry Robinson, VP of product management for Salesforce Service Cloud.

Companies have suffered from a "blind spot," he said, where their customer service models require customers to make phone calls and take consumers out of the channel they are in -- a mobile app -- to get help. The new mobile offering, in beta, embeds the customer service experience in the application. Customers can click on an SOS button to be connected with a live agent for help. Salesforce has styled this mobile customer service feature on Amazon's Mayday customer support feature for its Kindle Fire.

Banking customers, for example, doing transactions on a mobile phone should be able to engage in live chat on their phones rather than have to make a phone call outside the app. Salesforce 1 Service Cloud services customers while they are in the context of the mobile app.

Companies, including Cars.com, will be beta customers of the service and Salesforce expects to make the service generally available in early 2015.

The question may be whether consumers are ready for mobile live chat where personally identifiable information is available onscreen, as in financial services. One-way video with audio allows agents and two-way audio enables customers to maintain privacy while getting personal service. The live chat feature doesn't allow agents to push buttons and screen capture certain information, so Salesforce doesn't anticipate an adoption hurdle given information privacy concerns.

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