Salesforce Debuts Lightning Snap-ins for Multi-Channel Support

Salesforce built out its Service Cloud to include Lightning Snap-ins, SDKs that enable companies to offer service across all the channels customers want it.

Salesforce Lightning Snap-ins has introduced Service Cloud Lightning Snap-ins, in its latest effort to emphasize "the customer" in customer relationship management.

The Snap-ins are software development kits (SDKs) that can be dropped into an app or Website to provide connected, personalized, friction-free service across any device.

"Customers are moving between different apps, different devices—we don't really even distinguish between what's a service or what's an app," Eric Bensley, director of product marketing at Salesforce, told eWEEK.

While service used to be one channel, he continued, all that moving around demands "service across every channel," said Bensley, but "businesses aren't keeping up in this regard."

It's been reported, he added, that 61 percent of people use multiple channels to resolve a single customer-service issue.

Consider the example of a canceled flight, which most people will respond to with a hunt for information across the airline's Website, its app, its customer service phone line, sometimes even posting complaints to social media.

"Customers are adapting to the ways companies work, but companies need to adapt to customers," said Bensley.

The Lightning Snap-ins include Chat for Apps, which allow instant messaging with a support agent without leaving the app; Tap-to-Call for Apps, which offers live phone support from any mobile app, with a single click; Cases for Apps, which let users monitor their cases from any mobile device; Knowledge for Apps, which helps users find answers from various sources and keeps them a single click away for fast reference; and SOS for Apps, which delivers live, instant video support.

Companies can incorporate one, some or all of them.

Bensley also offered a demonstration of the new SOS, which now includes two-way video support. It uses a phone's front-facing camera to provide a Facetime-like experience between a customer and a service representative.

In the demo, a nurse in a maternity ward struggles to use a new style of identification tag. She could submit a case, or hit a big question mark button in the corner of the Salesforce Customer Success Platform to read through FAQs and other information. But because she has an immediate need, she taps the SOS video and is quickly connected to the tag maker's customer service rep. The rep can see what the nurse is doing, and the problem is quickly identified and resolved.

Part of the "friction-free" experience is that the little video window the representative is in can be moved around—ditto for a chat, or a quick link to the online reference materials—while a person is moving around his or her phone doing what she needs to do. Support becomes ubiquitous, always there, whether the user is in the Customer Success Platform, on the Internet, checking email or in another app.

The interaction is also automatically recorded in the Salesforce database, and a company can request that the service videos also be stored.

Service Cloud is Salesforce's latest attempt to stay ahead of what it calls a "rapidly evolving service landscape." In 2013, it introduced Service Cloud Mobile, so companies could provide service via the mobile Web. In 2014, it added in-app support with SOS, and in 2015, it extended that with Service for Apps, to include Cases, Knowledge, Live Chat and Tap-to-Call for mobile. With Service Cloud Lightning Snap-ins, it brings those features to the Web.

Service Cloud Lighting is generally available now, with editions starting at $75 per user, per month. The Service Cloud Lightning Mobile Web Snap-in SDKs will be available for iOS in June and arrive later for Android and the Web. For Salesforce users with a Service Cloud Lightning Enterprise license, the Snap-in SDKs and Cases will be included at no additional cost.

SOS with two-way video chat is now available for iOS and Android and is forthcoming for the Web. It starts at $150 per use, per month.