Salesforce brings cross-channel service a step closer with new 'Snap-ins'

One module offers two-way video chat, so customers and agents can see each other

You can't always bring customers to your best customer-service tools, but now you can bring those tools to them thanks to a new addition announced Wednesday for Salesforce's Service Cloud.

Dubbed Service Cloud Lightning Snap-ins, the new offering allows organizations of any size to take key support features from Salesforce's Service Cloud and "drop" them into their websites or mobile apps. Case-management and live-chat capabilities can now be added to mobile and Web apps, for example, and a tap-to-call feature is available for Android and iOS.

A new module enabling two-way video chat, meanwhile, allows customers and agents to see each other. A customer could also use a smartphone's front-facing camera to show the agent the problem at hand.

"Customers today expect service that is smart, personalized and fast -- wherever and whenever they are interacting with a brand," said Mike Milburn, general manager and senior vice president for Service Cloud.

Sixty-one percent of consumers use multiple channels to resolve customer-service issues, so it's essential for companies to connect with them across channels, Salesforce said.

Service Cloud Lightning targets customer-service departments, and the Snap-ins are designed to make their service more personalized via software development kits (SDKs) for Web and mobile. The idea is that agents can use contextual customer details from app data to point customers to the right solutions quickly.

Last year, Salesforce launched Service for Apps to help companies integrate Service Cloud into mobile apps. Now, it's extending that in-app service to websites and Web apps and simplifying the process through the new SDKs.

Service Cloud Lightning is available in editions starting at $75 per user per month; most Snap-in functions are priced separately. Snap-in SDKs are expected to be generally available next month and will be included for users with a Service Cloud Lightning enterprise or unlimited license at no additional cost.

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