Salesforce bets more into customer service for apps

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    Today, the customer-handling giant announced a private beta of Service for Apps, a new lineup of functionality out of its Service Cloud. It’s also making its mobile SOS service — an Amazon Mayday-like button for calling up a one-way video stream of a live customer service agent — generally available.

    SOS had been in a pilot beta since April of last year. A Desk.com version for small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) is also moving into a private beta. Service for Apps is available only for iOS apps during this phase, which the company said will last six to nine months. Service Cloud’s mobile Web customer service launched in early 2013.

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    Marketing data provider Comscore has found that 88 percent of users’ mobile time is spent in apps. Industry research firm Gartner says that 20 to 40 percent of customer interaction with a brand takes place via mobile on average, although many companies are finding that most of their customer activity is mobile-based.

    And few — under five percent — of mobile-based, customer service issues are simply resolvable, single questions.

    The feedback to the SOS beta phase bears that out, SVP of product marketing for Service Cloud Sarah Patterson told me, as clients reported they wanted more functionality.