Salesforce’s game-changing launch of a Service Cloud tech support feature for mobile apps signals a new way for VARs to capitalize on providing assistance to their customers.
Salesforce1 Service Cloud SOS will enable integrators to embed into their clients’ mobile apps a button that connects them directly to agents providing live audio or video support and on-screen guided assistance. Salesforce describes the SOS feature as the next breakthrough innovation for mobile customer service -- a product that "will revolutionize in-app support."
While SOS has drawn plenty of comparisons to Amazon Kindle's Mayday button, the implications of the two features for channel partners are worlds apart. Salesforce's option is essentially a white-label tech support feature, allowing the cloud giant's partners to craft their own unique solutions for their customers.
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The feature, powered by the new Salesforce1 Platform APIs, will allow VARs to create cloud-based support infrastructure using instant video with parameters they control and manage. The partner can offer various plans as they see fit, with the option of customizing service to the size of the account, or different times of the day when agents are available.
Salesforce views SOS as an extension of its desktop web products to users of Apple iOS or Android mobile devices -- a great fit for gaming companies, retailers with concierge services and many other businesses.
The company said it will release pricing information once beta testing is completed in the second half of this year.
Perficient of St. Louis has been growing its Salesforce systems integration business, and General Manager of Salesforce West Practice Andrew O’Driscoll told CRN the SOS feature is "providing another channel for their customer."
O’Driscoll thinks of the new feature as allowing customers immediate and direct contact with agents as part of an evolution in support "from email, to chat, to online communities. And now SOS."
"We're really excited about this because we see it as a big opportunity to really implement Salesforce features and help our customers grow."
In a press release, Salesforce wrote: "Connected companies understand that today's customers expect instant and effortless help. Service SOS is a new mobile solution that will empower companies to connect with their customers in a whole new way." It will solve the existing problem of mobile users in need of assistance having to exit their app, or wait until they get back to a desktop to seek help, according to Salesforce.
Gabe Romero, vice president of marketing for CloudSherpas Salesforce practice, was at the SalesForce1 World Tour in Chicago last week when the company announced the feature.
"There was a lot of great buzz during the show about what this meant for Salesforce and Service Cloud," Romero said.
The Atlanta-based cloud VAR is one of three Salesforce boutique integrators worldwide, and the practice accounts for more than half of all CloudSherpas' revenue. "So we are always eager to see new functionality being added,” Romero said.
"I personally think the addition of the SOS button is a great feature and fits in perfectly with the Salesforce.com focus on customers," he told CRN.
The new feature is the latest in a series expanding Salesforce's Service Cloud solutions for mobile applications. Last year, the company introduced a series of mobile communities, mobile chats and Knowledge-base website.
"We like to think over the years as Salesforce has evolved and brought out new products, every time they buy or integrate technology into their core stack it creates huge opportunities for us to go and integrate technology for our customers,” Perficient's O’Driscoll told CRN.
PUBLISHED APRIL 28, 2014