Salesforce's Desk.com app targets SMBs

Salesforce.com's upgrade of its Desk.com application includes a new agent console, a mobile app and new reporting capabilities.

Salesforce.com has released a new customer-service application that targets SMBs.

Salesforce on Tuesday released an upgrade to Desk.com, a help desk and ticketing application. The upgrade includes an improved agent console to aggregate customer communications via various channels, as well as new mobile and reporting capabilities. The goal is to speed and enhance customer relationship management (CRM) among all channels. The app's capabilities include a multi-channel presentation and the ability to integrate with Salesforce core apps in an effort to get a 360-degree view of the customer, said Leyla Seka, Desk.com's senior vice president and general manager.

"SMBs need to be good at personal customer service in order to compete with large businesses," Seka said, noting that customers have high expectations of company support in today's landscape.

Desk.com, which is available on the Salesforce AppExchange, features a customizable console, allowing the agent to view customer data -- such as account and sales information -- with filters to organize the data how they want to view it. Agents can execute multiple actions in one click -- such as responding to or making changes to a case -- using the bulk editing feature, and all customer interactions, whether they be through email, live chat or social media, are organized into a single inbox. For example, if an agent responds to a customer's social media post in the Desk.com interface, the agent's response is posted back to the particular social network so the customer sees the history of the interaction in one place. The platform also has a built-in predictive answers function to foster self-service and a mobile app with end-to-end case management capability with a new advanced search engine.

Customers can also configure the severity of each case that they submit, making it easier for agents to devote more attention where it is needed. If many customers are dealing with the same issue, Desk.com organizes it for the agent so multiple issues can be resolved at the same time. Customers can also self-serve and try to answer questions without agent involvement.

Salesforce has added application programming interfaces so Desk.com can integrate with marketing automation, CRM, ERP and other back-office systems. Agents can view the sales, marketing and other interactions of customers when providing support, so "when [an agent] is talking to their customer, they talk to them from a place of knowledge," Seka said.

In contrast to Salesforce's enterprise-level product, the Service Cloud, Seka said Desk.com's main attribute is its ability to be up and running quickly -- possibly within hours. Desk.com is also lower-cost compared with Service Cloud ($65 per user per month Professional plan, $135 per user per month Enterprise plan, and $300 per user per month Performance plan).

Desk.com offers a $3 per user per month Starter plan, a $30 per user per month Standard plan ($35 month to month) and a $50 per user per month Plus plan ($65 month to month), which includes a flex-pricing option that allows companies that are busier at certain times of the year -- such as retail companies during the holidays -- to hire more agents and satisfy their peak sales periods.

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