What Leaders Need to Understand About Customer Service in the Age of Mobile

By John Hernandez, COO, Service Cloud, Salesforce

As COO of Service Cloud, I have the distinct pleasure of leading an incredibly innovative team that’s been recognized as a leader in Gartner’s Customer Engagement Center Magic Quadrant for eight years running. But if my 20-year career in Silicon Valley has taught me anything, it’s that to continue thriving in an ever-changing industry, you must always be looking at what’s next. To stay on the cutting edge, companies must build a customer-obsessed culture, even looking towards what future customers will be looking for from customer service.

Take my thirteen-year-old daughter, for instance. She’s perplexed by why her smartphone is actually called a smartphone. She may FaceTime her friends while getting ready for school in the morning, but she’d never willingly talk on the phone. In my daughter’s world, her iPhone is a mobile app machine that houses Snapchat, Musical.ly, Whatsapp, SMS and a host of other apps.

I find that I often tell this story in meetings I have with customers or potential customers. Invariably, the customer or prospect chuckles and nods, often sharing a similar story from their personal life. Yet, paradoxically, these same service leaders often think that phone and voice will continue to reign supreme for the near and not-so-near future and that chat, SMS, social media, and in-app service are just nice-to-haves.

I know for a fact that when my daughter becomes an adult consumer, she’s going to try to exhaust all other possible service channels before dialing an 800-number — that’s the absolute last resort. When I can break down the changing service landscape in a human, personal way, you see the lightbulb go off around the room. The first step in moving towards mobile-first service is for business leaders to understand and admit that they have a problem — that they are not providing the level of omnichannel service that their customers are asking for.

What today’s customer demands is frictionless access to information and the ability to answer their own questions — and the solution to these demands is not just a pretty webpage. To use the example of my daughter’s iPhone once more, everything is moving towards mobile apps. Even for seemingly simple consumer brands, an app experience is extremely important, as well as an embedded service experience within that app.

But what would frictionless mobile-first service look like? With our Service Cloud Snap-ins, we’re delivering that mobile-first, mobile-only experience. With Snap-ins, you can integrate customer support features like Live Agent chat and two-way SOS video chat for a completely mobile service experience. If a user is interacting with a mobile app and runs into an issue, they can tap a button that immediately brings up a chat window or even a video concierge that can answer their questions.

I’m a fairly new addition to Salesforce, but technology like Snap-ins is a big part of what drew me to the company in the first place. I’m a tenured, experienced customer care professional, and for years the industry has been ruminating on the big-picture visions of a new customer experience. The problem was that we weren’t able to actually execute on that vision. Salesforce and Service Cloud was touting a very similar vision, but they were also able to point to actual customers that were successfully delivering on that same forward-thinking vision. In the Gartner Customer Engagement Center Magic Quadrant, Gartner ranks companies in two key areas: vision and customer success. Service Cloud leads in both of those areas.

Service Cloud has been thinking mobile-first for quite some time, which enables our customers to keep up with, and exceed, the expectations of their customers. That’s the power behind the cloud — it allows for lightning-fast deployment of innovation cycles that on-premise software simply can’t keep up with. As much as you’d like to think that you can predict the Next Big Thing, you can never truly know. Who would have expected in the summer of 2016 that we’d have a Pokemón explosion? You can’t always see these things coming, but with the ability and flexibility of the cloud platform, Salesforce is in a unique position to be ready when those changes in the world happen.

Originally published at www.salesforce.com.

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