February 1, 2012 – With its first release since acquiring Assistly, Salesforce.com wants to tap into the social and mobile sales needs of millions of small to mid-sized businesses.
The cloud customer relationship management vendor this week launched Desk.com, an on-demand customer service and marketing platform based on a software as a service backdrop established in an earlier offering from Assistly.
Desk.com features a “social help desk” that integrates messages, mentions and requests from Facebook and Twitter in an interface similar to a traditional email inbox, a briefing Tuesday revealed. The SaaS platform includes access and collaborative notes that can be shared across enterprise departments and users. In addition, the help desk features the same functionality built on HTML5 through a mobile app. Additional reporting tools, social connections and integration capabilities are planned throughout the year.
Although it is based on Assistly’s previous customer support tool, Desk.com features a new agent interface, mobile client, reporting service and integration with its new parent company, Salesforce, which was previously an Assistly partner. The existing thousands of SMB customers left over from Assistly were automatically moved onto the Desk.com service with this week’s launch.
Alex Bard, VP and general manager of Desk.com, as well as former founder and CEO of Assistly, says that the target client base for Desk.com are the multitude of SMBs with minimal staffing and support for social networking outreach. Bard says that SMBs often have no tools in place for customer service and marketing aside from email, which cuts down on integration obstacles found at their larger counterparts. However, he says that integration is available through Salesforce’s Sales Cloud customer support service.
“Small businesses are being overwhelmed by this exploding demand from social media. Email inboxes are overflowing, phones are ringing off the hook, and [SMBs] are trying to enable self-service on their sites and that’s only further compounded by interacting with customers on Facebook and Twitter,” says Bard.
Bard says that the creation of a help desk with mobile capabilities and quick set up was the primary reason Salesforce bought out his company approximately five months ago. In September, Salesforce acquired Assistly for $50 million among a couple of deals that surrounded its annual Dreamforce conference.
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