• September 22, 2011
  • By Leonard Klie, Editor, CRM magazine and SmartCustomerService.com

Salesforce.com Acquires Assistly

Salesforce,com yesterday announced its acquisition of Assistly, an instant customer-service help desk built for the cloud, for approximately $50 million.

Assistly lets small companies and emerging businesses set up and deliver social customer-service in minutes, with zero-touch onboarding. With Assistly, companies can manage service cases and engage with customers in real time over a range of channels, including Facebook, Twitter, Web chats, email and phone, all from one interface.

Assistly's flexible pricing allows companies to pay by the hour – allowing employees from different teams to pitch in to handle peak loads or meet seasonal demands. Companies can upgrade these users to full-time agents at $49 per person per month for unlimited use.

George Hu, executive vice president of platform marketing and operations at Salesforce.com, called Assistly, which has offices in San Francisco and Commack, N.Y., "a pioneer in the new world of instant customer service," noting that the company signed more than 1,000 customer in its first year. The company was founded in 2009.

For Salesforce.com, the acquisition further expands its reach into the small business space. Hu said in a conference call to announce the acquisition that the deal gives Salesforce.com and opportunity "to win in the small business market and help us acquire customers that we can grow with over time."

And as part of the Service Cloud family, Assistly customers that continue to grow will have the option to migrate to other Service Cloud products and services over time.

Salesforce.com already has about 17,000 customers using its Service Cloud applications, and the deal gives it potentially millions more considering the number of small businesses in the country, he explained.

"With Assistly, we're making customer service a major component of the small business Service Cloud," Hu said. "The small business Service Cloud is going to be an exciting part of our overall business strategy."

"Salesforce has spent over a decade democratizing enterprise applications in the cloud," said Marc Benioff, chairman and CEO of salesforce.com. "The Assistly acquisition doubles down on that strategy by putting us at the heart of the new trend of customer service help desk applications that have instant sign up and zero-touch onboarding, expanding the potential reach of the Service Cloud to millions of companies around the world."

"We're committed to making the Service Cloud number one for the smallest to the largest companies in the world," said Alex Dayon, executive vice president of applications at salesforce.com. "We are excited that with Assistly's innovative technology and business model, the Service Cloud will now enable even the smallest company to become a social enterprise."

Hu also said that Salesforce.com will leverage the technologies and talents of Assistly "to improve our business processes across all our small business products." That, he added, should be an easy process since both companies have been business partners for a while and many of the integrations between their products have already been built.

"We started Assistly with the goal of bringing awesomely responsive customer support tools to the millions of small businesses struggling to serve customers in today's social world," said Alex Bard, CEO of Assistly. "As part of salesforce.com and the Service Cloud family, Assistly can continue to deliver and improve one of the world's most-innovative customer-service applications. For our customers, this will be an unbeatable combination."

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