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Salesforce.com Intros Social-Focused Help Desk App for SMBs

By Thor Olavsrud     Feedback

Salesforce.com introduces Desk.com to help SMBs deliver customer service via social media and mobile channels.

Aiming to empower small and medium businesses (SMBs) to deliver customer support in an increasingly social and mobile world, CRM specialist Salesforce.com on Wednesday introduced a new enterprise cloud service designed for social media.

Dubbed Desk.com, the cloud service is a help desk that gives organizations the ability to work with customers over any major social network, whether from a desktop workstation or a mobile device. Salesforce.com (NYSE:CRM) said the help desk is so simple that even a company without an IT staff can get it up and running over a weekend.

"We built Desk.com so that every company can deliver personal customer service in a social and mobile world," said Alex Bard, vice president and general manager of Desk.com. "Desk.com is social at its core; its mobile app instantly lets any employee, anywhere, deliver awesome customer service. And it can be deployed quickly and easily."

The Desk.com help desk uses a single-use agent that is integrated with Facebook and Twitter out of the box, in addition to other standard support channels like e-mail, phone and voice. The company said organizations can connect their Facebook or Twitter accounts to the Agent Desktop in fewer than five clicks.

Pricing for the service starts at $49 per full-time agent per month for unlimited usage. But to further support the flexibility required by small businesses that may not have full-time customer support agents or that need to task staff with temporary customer support duties, Salesforce.com is also offering flex pricing of $1 per part-time agent per hour.

"At Bonobos, we need to move quickly because if we don't support the customer, there won't be a customer to support," said John Rote, director of customer experience at men's clothing company Bonobos. "We have a huge volume of inquiries and a small staff, so customer service is everyone's job. After deploying Desk.com in two days, we had a complete social help desk that everyone in our company can use."

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To help organizations that are increasingly relying on mobile, Salesforce.com also introduced Desk.com Mobile, which runs on any device that supports HTML5, including iOS and Android devices. Salesforce.com said users can access all their information through the app, and they can alleverage the same filters from their desktop client and the entire macro library. Desk.com Mobile users can also reassign cases, change groups, change status, change priority for cases and modify customer information associated with cases through the app.

The Desk.com Mobile app is available at no additional cost for full-time agents.

An additional feature, Desk.com Reporting, is planned for release in the first quarter of 2012.  Salesforce.com said companies that use the feature will be able to see important metrics detailing the performance of every aspect of their customer service. The metrics include data on how many cases customer service agents open, resolve, reply to, reassign or reopen, regardless of who was assigned to the case. It also offers 12 pre-built reports providing data on average handle time, time to first response, first contact resolution and other information.

 Salesforce.com has not yet released pricing information on Desk.com Reporting.

Salesforce.com has made a series of social and mobile moves in the past several months, including releasing the Radian6 Social Marketing Cloud and tweaking its AppExchange to better support mobile devices.

Thor Olavsrud is a contributor to InternetNews.com, the news service of the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals.

This article was originally published on January 31, 2012
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