People have been using text messaging to communicate with one another for years. But any conversation using text messaging with a company has been decidedly one-sided. Salesforce today unveiled a Salesforce LiveMessage service that organizations can employ to communicate in a bi-directional manner using services such as Facebook Messenger.
Meredith Flynn-Ripley, vice president of product for messaging with Salesforce Service Cloud, says Salesforce LiveMessage is based on technology Salesforce gained when it acquired HeyWire earlier this year. That capability is now being embedded within Salesforce Service Cloud.
In addition, Salesforce is making available Service Cloud Bots that can be employed to automatically gather customer data in a way that eliminates the need for a customer service representative to manually collect that data every time they interact with a customer.
“Customers are already telling us they are seeing an increase in agent utilization of between 15 to 20 percent,” says Flynn-Ripley.
Finally, Salesforce also announced it is making it possible for developers that have created their own bot to invoke a Salesforce LiveMessage application programming interface (API). That Bring Your Own Bot (BYOBot) initiative is intended to make it feasible for organizations to create a bot that could, for example, interactively query customers as to when they might want to schedule a service appointment.
Flynn-Ripley says the goal is to provide a turnkey application delivered as a service that reduces reliance on voice communications to interact with customers in a medium that most people use every day. That may not eliminate the need for customer service representatives altogether. But it does go a long way toward making the whole customer service experience a lot less painful for all concerned.