Salesforce Customer Portal
This year's winner in online service takes its inspiration from the consumer Web.
Our judges chose Salesforce Customer Portal from San Francisco-based Salesforce.com as the winner in the Online Service category for SearchCRM.com's 2007 Product of the Year awards. It garnered especially high marks for usability and support.
"With search and knowledgebase capabilities, along with full online case management, this easy-to-deploy and [easy-to-] maintain Software as a Service (SaaS) customer service suite should be on the short list of buyers," one judge said.
The product, which is delivered over the Internet as a service via a multi-tenant model, lets companies deliver customer information from any data source and allows multiple departments to engage with customers online and share with them applications built on Salesforce.com's on-demand platform. Salesforce Customer Portal includes the latest Web 2.0 collaboration technologies, allowing companies to create online, customer-driven communities to further empower their customer base.
"[The] company has reinvigorated its customer service offerings and has produced a solid core that can be easily extended through their partner network," another judge said. "[It's] fast to implement and easy to maintain."
Salesforce.com customers using Customer Portal said they like the ability to customize each view based on varied needs and roles. For customer service departments, a new self-service portal allows representatives to use the Salesforce.com knowledge base to suggest products to customers or tap into user communities to deliver customer-driven solutions.
Because some customers prefer email, automatic email-to-case functionality routes email inquiries to the appropriate agent or queue. Companies can tailor responses based on the nature of the inquiry or information supplied by the customer.
Using the Force.com Web Services API, Salesforce Customer Portal can be integrated into homegrown applications, front-office systems like Office, or back-office systems such as Oracle and SAP. Customers can write their own integration processes using standard XML and SOAP interfaces. Salesforce.com claims that more and deeper integrations have been accomplished by their customers over the past year.
Showing its dedication to support, Salesforce.com has a systems status website giving customers and the entire community access to real-time and historical system performance information and updates, incident reports, and maintenance schedules. The site is designed to keep customers informed of service availability and to help users increase productivity.
Salesforce Customer Portal is available for Enterprise and Unlimited customers starting at $1 per log-in per month.