Someone at Salesforce.com (NYSE: CRM) must be getting a little antsy about the mobile apps market. The company announced it will be focusing strongly on taking its technologies to mobile devices this year, starting with a new platform it's calling Salesforce Service Cloud Mobile.
Designed to provide mobile co-browsing, mobile communities, mobile chat and touch-based agent interface technologies, Service Cloud Mobile is meant to provide Salesforce users with the ability to "deliver breakthrough customer service anytime and and on any device." Essentially, the new platform is meant to put customer service in the cloud. And according to Alex Bard, Salesforce's senior vice president and general manager of Service Cloud, this will be the first in a series of innovations the company plans to launch in 2013.
There are plenty of mobile solutions, apps and platforms on the market, so what's the big deal with Salesforce's new offering? There are those already offering mobile apps that connect to Salesforce, after all. Well, here's what Salesforce has put into its new offering:
- Co-browsing for hands-on customer service from any device. According to Salesforce, the co-browsing technology enables agent-guided assistance to customers on mobile devices using any browser. Agents will be able to help customers deal with complex forms or transactions, set up accounts and resolve issues faster without needing to downoad any piece of software. It will be available in the second half of 2013.
- Mobile communities for quick access to knowledge and experts—a new portal designed for Service Cloud Mobile and optimized for mobile devices to help customers find quick answers to their problems, either through the existing knowledge base or through peers and company experts. The mobile communities are available today.
- Mobile chat, which provides click-to-chat capabilities from mobile devices to connect customers with live agents. Salesforce claims it's as easy as SMS texting. Mobile chat is available today at $50 per user per month.
- Service Cloud Touch, which builds on Salesforce Touch Platform and is designed to make it easy for service agents to manage and resolve cases on the go using an Amazon Kindle, Android device, iPad or iPhone. The idea is that service agents are no longer tethered to a desk, but can work from anywhere and still provide high levels of customer service. It's available today.
What Salesforce has in store for the rest of the year or how the channel will fit into the go-to-market strategy for Service Cloud Mobile are currently unknown.