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Snap-ins (1)

Salesforce is expanding its Service Cloud platform to let companies offer web-based customer service and support comparable to what they provide inside smartphone apps — reflecting a broader movement in the industry to create consistent experiences across devices and services.

The San Francisco-based company announced its new “Service Cloud Lightning Snap-ins” this morning, letting companies offer web apps with access to live chat, knowledge base documents and customer case tracking. Also included is the Salesforce SOS system for live video chat and on-screen assistance from customer support reps — essentially a corporate version of Amazon’s “Mayday” technology.

With the new features, Salesforce is seeking to strengthen its position against other tech giants such Oracle, SAP and Microsoft and fend off a new wave of startups in the broader market for customer service technology.

The move builds on Salesforce’s existing customer service technology for smartphones, aiming to unify the Service Cloud experience across different devices. Part of the idea is to help companies deal with the proliferation of channels that customers use to interact with companies — spanning the web, mobile phones, text messaging, social media, email and specific apps.

Eric Bensley, director of product marketing for the Salesforce Service Cloud business, pointed to what happens when a flight is cancelled as an example. Customers will do everything they can to get in touch with an airline in such situations, making it more difficult for companies to track communications and customer cases. “Service used to be one channel,” he said. “Now it’s every channel.”

Salesforce also announced two-way video for the SOS system on smartphones, including the ability for customers to use the front-facing camera to show a support representative whatever challenge they’re grappling with. In addition, the company announced a new unified software development kit for Snap-ins across iOS and Android, seeking to make the development experience more consistent, as well.

Editor’s Note: Salesforce is a GeekWire annual sponsor.

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