Zendesk brings embedded customer service tools to mobile apps

Customers who don't get help immediately will use another app, Zendesk said

Zendesk sees customer service as a way for its users to distinguish themselves from competitors and now allows them to bring that customer service advantage to their mobile, game and Web apps.

The company says a new feature, called Embeddables, will keep people in a mobile or Web app instead of having to exit the app and search for customer service contact information when a problem arises. By using the mobile SDK (software development kit) or Web widget, companies can embed features that allow users to have a real-time chat with a customer service agent, report an issue via a ticket submission or search a help guide. The company, which sells cloud-based customer service software, says that the SDK can be embedded with one line of code and a developer can add the Web widget with three clicks.

Customer service has been disconnected from the overall mobile and Web app user experience since the main way to get help entails leaving the app, said Sam Boonin, Zendesk vice president of product marketing. Users, though, expect the opposite, he added. Factor in the Internet of Things connecting devices to the Web and Zendesk predicts that people will want help functions easily accessible from apps on their devices.

"The idea is to provide customers with a native experience in their app," he said.

Customers expect help immediately and companies that can quickly offer a resolution have a better shot at retaining users when problems occur.

"Consumer trends show they're not willing to wait for help. If they can't get help, they'll switch to another app," said Boonin.

For companies, embedding help features provides them with the ability to capture customer information and app usage data that can improve a product, he said.

People who encountered a problem when playing a mobile video game from Gree International would have to use a function that launched the device's email app to send the company a line of code and customer information. That method, though, removed players from the game and allowed them to edit the email before they sent it, said Chris Tabasa, director of customer operations. That led to incomplete customer data and Gree wanted as much data as possible to improve the customer experience, he said.

By using Embeddables, players receive help from within the game and the company receives device and user information without relying on a person to send it. With this information Gree can determine if a problem is only occurring on Android devices, for example, Tabasa said.

Allowing people to resolve their problems from within the game allows Gree to stand out among other companies that develop free games, he said.

Embeddables, which launched Wednesday, is included in Zendesk's customer service platform and is available now to its 48,000 customers, the company said.

Fred O'Connor writes about IT careers and health IT for The IDG News Service. Follow Fred on Twitter at @fredjoconnor. Fred's e-mail address is fred_o'connor@idg.com

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