Salesforce Relevant Products/Services said Tuesday it was "doubling down" on mobile with the release of new features for its Service Cloud software-as-a-service platform that are specifically designed for customers using smartphones and tablets. The new Service Cloud Mobile offers chat, communities, and co-browsing for Apple and Android devices, including the Amazon Kindle.

Service Cloud is Salesforce's platform for customer Relevant Products/Services service, encompassing contact center, self-service communities and social media. The mobile-targeted version is intended to help companies increase their ability to offer mobile services to customers. Salesforce's innovation director, Charlie Richey, told news media this initial announcement is the first of several mobile-specific ones that the company will soon make.

Although Service Cloud previously had mobile capabilities, the new features are designed to improve the overall customer experience for mobile users and to recast the company's offerings for the mobile era.

Co-Browsing, Communities

With the new co-browsing technology, customer service agents can guide inquiring mobile customers through shared browser-related actions, such as setting up a new account, without the need to download new software. The functionality is based on technology Salesforce acquired last summer when it purchased browser collaboration provider Goinstant for $70 million. Mobile chat provides instant interaction for issue resolution via a chat window within a mobile app, such as a customer service rep discussing product choices with a potential customer.

The Communities feature provides a centralized, brandable portal for mobile devices, so customers have a single destination to find answers through self-service, other users or experts provided by the company.

The mobile additions also include Service Cloud Touch, a set of functions that can be used by agents on supported mobile devices to resolve customer issues from any location. Its previously existing Salesforce Touch Platform is designed to assist developers in writing custom mobile apps once, and then deploying them to any device.

Optimizing for Mobile

Salesforce said its Service Cloud has more than 34,000 company customers, such as GE and NJ Transit. According to a third-party research report commissioned by Salesforce, Service Cloud has resulted in an average 37 percent decrease in first call resolution time, 36 percent decrease in support costs, and 34 percent increase in customer satisfaction.

Optimizing its Service Cloud for mobile is a necessity for Salesforce, as mobile devices have become the center of gravity for communications, and as start-ups, such as a company called Base, attempt to fill in the gaps for mobile service existing in the customer-facing offerings from Salesforce and others, which were originally designed for desktop or laptop screens.

Service Cloud Enterprise and Unlimited Edition customers can utilize mobile Communities at no additional cost. Mobile chat is available at $50/user per month for Service Enterprise and Unlimited Edition customers, and co-browsing will be available in the second half of this year at a price to be announced.