Enhance Your Customer’s Experience with a Heroku App

January 13, 2015 John Gorup


When Salesforce acquired Heroku in 2010, it seemed like an odd addition. I like to think of Heroku as that hippie cousin who starts a goat farm in Vermont. He’s cool and innovative, but not quite comfortable in the corporate world. But like a Ben & Jerry’s or Burt’s Bees, some hippie businesses evolve their way into the mainstream market. Best of all, these firms managed to grow into giants without losing what made them special. Heroku has come of age, and found its place in the CRM world.

Of course, this is not to say that Heroku is some new-fangled toy. Indeed, there have been over four million applications built on Heroku. For organizations used to Salesforce, with its self-contained database and configurable objects and business processes, Heroku is a different mindset. While Salesforce is the leading Software-as-a-Service platform, Heroku is a pure Platform-as-a-Service. Developers love Heroku for its flexibility, and now CRM managers can love how it can take their CRM system to the next level.  For complementary apps for CRM systems, there are two use cases to highlight: Loyalty Apps and eCommerce.

Creating a loyalty app for your customers which ties into Salesforce CRM is now easier than ever with Heroku. Loyalty apps are most often seen in the consumer world, and are usually aimed at building a relationship with the customer. They can be used for “check-ins” at physical locations, to offer special deals, or can be a part of a gamified rewards program, for few examples. But while the apps vary greatly by industry and business, the ultimate point is to give customers a mobile tool to build deeper loyalty in customers.

Heroku is a great platform for building a custom loyalty app. First of all, the costs of using a Heroku app are based on how much computing power is needed (called Dynos), rather than by user license. Because of this, you no longer have to worry that your app will become TOO popular, and raise your licensing costs too high. Next, with Heroku Connect, the data from your customer-facing app can live in the same world as your employee-facing CRM. This prevents data silos and lets customer-facing apps and employee-facing apps access the data each one needs. Finally, one of the best aspects of building a customer-facing mobile Heroku app is that you can use your existing open language development expertise to create “pixel-perfect customer experiences” on any device. And to get you started, Heroku has rolled out a sample loyalty app called Nibs, which you can find here.

The same benefits for a loyalty app apply for an eCommerce site. The idea is to give your customers the ability to manage their orders and have that data synchronized with your CRM system. Third-party add-ons make development easier. Cornerstone for eCommerce, for example, can be plugged into the app to give customers a great buying experience. Best of all, organizations no longer need to have eCommerce data divorced from their CRM data. One holistic system can be created around the customer from marketing, sales, service, to complex order management.

Heroku has become the Ben and Jerry’s of platforms. They’ve done this by maintaining a developer-friendly environment while establishing itself as a business-ready tool. Now is a good time to see how Heroku can bring your customer experience to the next level.

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