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Salesforce.com targets SME “sweetspot” with social service dashboard

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31st Jan 2012
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Salesforce.com is hoping to level the playing field for small to medium sized businesses with the launch of its new social media customer service dashboard, Desk.com.

The latest in Salesforce.com’s expanding portfolio aimed at supporting the ‘social business’, Desk.com sees its sights moving from enterprises down to small firms.
Enterprises are often perceived to have an advantage in dealing with multiple conversations across Twitter, Facebook, email and telephone thanks to their superior resources.
But with the launch of Desk.com, Salesforce.com believes it will enable SMEs and sole traders to quickly and simply provide customer service across a variety of channels.
“Small and medium sized businesses are companies that don’t have social media command centres like firms like Dell do,” explained Xabier Ormazabal, director of product marketing at Salesforce.com. “They need to be able to engage socially and connect with customers on Facebook pages and through Twitter handles, and also be able to use it very quickly on mobile devices, and get all of this up and running very quickly without any major investment or time.”
Desk.com, which is a rebuild of the Assistly product that Salesforce.com acquired last year, supports all of these channels on one agent desktop, and according to the vendor it enables SMEs to deliver social service in minutes – requiring fewer than five clicks to be able to connect a company’s Facebook or Twitter accounts to the dashboard.
Furthermore, the Cloud giant insists that affordability has also been top of mind, with Desk.com free for a single full-time agent to use, after which it is $49 per user per month (in US pricing). There is also a flex pricing offer at $1 per user per hour as required to ramp up operations during sales spikes such as the holiday season.
“You might see larger scale social adoptions, and it might be bigger news when a large company adopts social media, but it is still highly relevant for SMEs,” said Ormazabal. “It is simply a channel for relationship building. If you can give good quality service to your customers on a low cost channel that is easy to access and is gaining a lot of popularity then it is equally relevant to a small business as it is to a large multinational.”
He continued: “The Desk.com agent is ramped up quickly to help out on support cases, and monitor emails coming in, Twitter mentions, calls that have been logged and things that have come in to the Facebook page, all on a single feed, and then quickly engage and interact and reply. It has also been a big pillar of our social enterprise model to ensure that our apps are mobile and easily accessible. Wherever a small business owner or entrepreneur is running around they need to give good quality service, so the mobile piece is also very important, supported by multiple types of device.”
Initial customers of Desk.com include Bonobos, Klout and Shopify.
The helpdesk launch sees Salesforce.com further flesh out its social enterprise offering.
“The SMB community is very fast growing and has strong demand on capital and on time and training and a lot of times the people in smaller businesses wear many hats – the owner, the person who is doing the marketing, the person who is dealing with the suppliers day in and day out,” added Ormazabal. “We targeted that as a sweetspot for this launch and we already also have our Service Cloud offering, which is a bigger enterprise offering for larger companies, so we have the full spectrum from end-to-end.”

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