• January 31, 2012
  • By Leonard Klie, Editor, CRM magazine and SmartCustomerService.com

Salesforce.com Makes the Help Desk Social and Mobile with Desk.com

Salesforce.com today announced the launch of Desk.com and Desk.com Mobile, new social help desk platforms specifically built for small and midsized businesses (SMBs).

Built with social at its core, Desk.com allows SMBs to instantly work with customers over any major social network, especially Facebook and Twitter, and integrate those social networks with other support channels, like email, phone, and Web, all in one agent desktop.

The SMB market has been "severely underserved," and has had a long history of struggling to meet the demands of social media for customer service, according to Alex Bard, vice president and general manager of Desk.com, and the former CEO of Assistly, a company that Salesforce.com acquired in September.

Features of the new desk.com products include the following:

  • Easy Sign-up: With only four required fields, a company can register for its own social help desk in a matter of seconds.
  • Easy Deployment: Desk.com provides a checklist to help companies and their employees get started, and each setup task that a company completes earns it credits for flex hours.
  • Reporting: which will let companies see how every aspect of their customer service is performing. It includes data on how many cases customer service agents have opened, resolved, replied to, reassigned, or reopened, regardless of who was assigned the case; and 12 pre-built reports providing data for average handle time, time to first response, first contact resolution, and more.

The release of Desk.com also includes Desk.com Mobile. Desk.com Mobile runs on any smartphone that supports HTML5, including iPhone and Android phones. With it, users can access all of their information, no matter where their businesses take them. They can respond to support cases using the same familiar filters from their desktop clients and access the entire macro library without having to type long replies, and also re-assign, change groups, change status, change priority for cases, and modify customer information associated with cases.

"We built Desk.com so that every company can deliver personal customer service in a social and mobile world," Bard says. "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."

According to Bard, the desk.com product was born out of work that Assistly had been doing, but was built from the ground up following its acquisition by Salesforce.com. Assistly had specialized in applications for the SMB market, and the desk.com product signals Salesforce's ongoing commitment to SMBs, he says.

"We realized there was a gap in the support for this market," he states.

Some of the early trials of the Desk.com platform were performed at companies like Bonobos, Klout, and Spotify, all of which were Assistly customers.

"At Bonobos, we need to move quickly because if we don't support the customer, there will not be a customer to support," said John Rote, director of customer experience at Bonobos, in a statement. "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."

Bard says the desk.com platform can be applied across industries and fits with "any business that wants to engage with its customers across social media and other modalities."

Pricing for the product is also established with the SMBs in mind, according to Bard. The first seat is free, and companies pay $49 per month for unlimited usage by each additional agent after that. Flex pricing is also available for $1 per part-time agent per hour. Desk.com Mobile is generally available at no additional cost for full-time agents.

"At most SMBs, everyone is engaged in customer service. They don't have large call centers," Bard explains. "This decreases the cost friction for having everyone in the company be part of the support process and using this product."

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