Mobile technology has delivered a lot of useful functionality to vendors and their customers enabling the parties to be more frequently on the same page. But the screen size has an inherent drawback; it only shows a very narrow slice of a reality—typically one idea at a time. The problem is especially acute in two key areas, sales and service.
There’s nothing worse than getting “help” from an app that misunderstands your problem or its role. It can be a source of pain, frustration, or even customer churn that a mobile app can’t deliver help that the customer values and we’d be kidding ourselves if we didn’t see that problem. The advent of good AI and machine learning have done a lot to help vendors to ensure that the sales offers they place on customers’ small screens are the ones that customers actually value.
The same need exists in customer service—putting the right information before a customer but it might not need AI. However, because the screen will only support one idea at a time it’s critical that the help is, well, helpful. There’s less to wonder about in a help situation and therefore less need for analytics. What is needed is simply step-by-step help as a customer traverses a process.
Helpshift, an emerging company in the customer service space, has been supporting service processes with an innovative approach to placing help at every step in a service process. This approach ensures the app’s help keeps up with the customer’s need.
This week Helpshift did something really cool, the company announced integration with the Salesforce Service Cloud and made the integration available on the AppExchange. Importantly, Helpshift FAQ’s are mapped to and managed by the Salesforce knowledge base making it possible to manage Helpshift from the Salesforce dashboard. At the same time, when a mobile user initiates a chat in a Helpshift powered mobile app, it automatically creates a Salesforce case. The case contains all of the metadata and data from the user’s phone saving time and increasing accuracy and time to resolution.
It’s not hard to create a first level integration with Salesforce and many vendors do this. What’s interesting about this approach is that Helpshift has created an integration that not only satisfies the end user in the moment, but it goes on to work within Salesforce to enable knowledge base updating over the life of the mobile app. From here you can imagine more functionality being added over time. For instance, how long before natural language processing becomes part of the interface?
Customer self-service was once thought to be the peak of customer empowerment but we soon discovered that self-service systems were, in some cases, the same support systems used by agents but possibly with nicer front-ends. That didn’t work at least in part because there’s a lot of knowledge capital that agents have as employees that customers by definition don’t. So customer self-service had a rocky start and customers who used those systems could easily be discouraged.
But today’s self help exemplified by Helpshift does away with old style self-service while really empowering customers and if an issue needs escalation, that’s a standard part of the solution. Conventional indirect service channels have been highly successful with better than 80 percent of customers checking them before calling a service center.
That’s resulted in fewer calls but the ones that get through are often more complex and require the help of a real person. So don’t expect this or any service automation to replace the agent, the real benefits of the Helpshift integration will be two fold. For customers it will provide fast answers in a channel that might have lacked them before. For vendors, it might be another way to limit the high costs of customer service. Given people’s propensity to solve their own problems this should be a benefit to all parties.