on the phone
Customer service reps using Salesforce now have one more way to interact with consumers PHOTO: Alex Holyoake

San Francisco-based Helpshift has rolled out an integration with Salesforce Service Cloud that allows service agents to support customers directly within the app.

The integration connects directly into the Salesforce Service Cloud as a well as a few other points within the Salesforce app, Tushar Makhija, vice president of Helpshift told CMSWire.

The larger point is, this integration makes customer service seamless — or rather invisible — to the end customer using the app. “People have developed certain customer service expectations for mobile operations,” he said.

It Began With Mayday

This bar was raised considerably higher when Amazon introduced its Mayday customer service live agent in 2013 for its Kindle products — a development Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff praised to the skies, which prompted the company to explore development of similar functionality.

However as Makhija noted, few vendors have been able to crack the in-app customer service nut.

Using the Helpshift integration, when customer contacts support from inside the app, a Salesforce case is created in the Salesforce Service Cloud, which the agent responds to, via an in-app conversation. And that is the Helpshift-enabled app’s secret sauce: there is direct integration with systems of record.

Helpshift and Salesforce partnership in action

"Organizations are seeing an explosion in demand for mobile solutions from their customers," said Esteban Kolsky, president of thinkJar, "and they quickly realize they can't offer outdated and incomplete solutions without real time data."

How it Works

Helpshift integrates into several components of the Service cloud: the contact record, the agent management interface, the agent management system, Salesforce’s knowledge base and its case management system.

That integration allows for several service formats, such as sending a white paper or FAQ to a customer (via the knowledge base) or sending a quick note to the customer while locating the right agent to answer the question (via the agent management system).

The end result, Makhija said, is that the existing contact center operation now has another channel through which to communicate with the customer with minimal fuss.

The integration is ready for implementation with Salesforce out-of-the-box, Makhija added. The company is working on building integrations with other providers and will be announcing those in the future.

Meanwhile, if a company wants to use this functionality but has another provider, it can be customized for that use, he said.

Mobile Is the Way to Go

The offering should come as little surprise to anyone watching either Helpshift or Salesforce’s initiatives in the mobile arena.

Helpshift launched in 2012 with a hyper focus on the mobile customer’s engagement and experience, Makhija said.

“We began by focusing on mobile first companies but have since expanded to look at companies that are adding mobile to their outreach.” An in-app service offering fits its model and business approach nicely.

As for Salesforce, well, the CRM giant has focused on mobile as a channel since the early 2000s. At the end of last year it launched LiveMessage, a product that lets users set up a channel for their own customers to contact them via messaging apps like SMS or Facebook Messenger without having to set up a dedicated phone line or other telephony support.