• March 23, 2009
  • By Marshall Lager, founder and managing principal, Third Idea Consulting; contributor, CRM magazine

Spring Brings Service Tweets from Salesforce.com

NEW YORK, March 23, 2009 — Success often attracts success. Having just this month celebrated the 10th anniversary of its founding, Salesforce.com has led the way with software-as-a-service (SaaS), and is hailed as one of the main drivers behind the reinvigoration of CRM following the dotcom crash. Twitter, the 140-character microblogging site, has been around for less than one year, but has grown 1,000 percent in that time, now serving more than eight million users. Naturally, the two companies are working together.

As announced today, Salesforce.com has made Twitter the latest integration for what the enterprise applications provider calls the Service Cloud, a collection of apps that leverage some of the most popular social media to aid businesses' customer service efforts. It joins existing integrations with Amazon.com, Facebook, and Google.

Salesforce CRM for Twitter allows contact center agents to search for and monitor relevant conversations, and respond to them as appropriate. Just as important, the Twitter integration lets Salesforce users add valuable information to their knowledge base, and display the conversations on their Web page.

"Since its introduction in January, we've seen tremendous momentum and validation from customers, prospects, and partners that the Service Cloud represents the future of customer service," said Marc Benioff, chairman and CEO of Salesforce.com. "Today's announcement builds on this momentum by enabling companies to join the conversations happening between the more than eight million users on Twitter."

It's fitting that today's announcements revolve around Twitter, as CRM magazine was on the scene live-twittering the event in 140-character snippets using the popular service; see #cloudforce tweets (many by CRM staffers @Lager and @kitson) for proof, and to follow the presentation.

Many CRM industry analysts were working the event live as well. Denis Pombriant's blog for consultancy Beagle Research Group, for example -- where he is founder and principal -- had this to say:

"Benioff's message was that multitenant is not a nice thing to have but essential. You can't divorce multitenant from the benefits of low cost, scalable, and highly deployable solutions. For example, some vendors have brought to market solutions that implement some of the gains from on-demand such as stateless computing and browser-based user interfaces. To make Benioff's point, the company was happy to dive deep into new service and support ideas that access user acceptance from Facebook and now Twitter. The ideas might have been exposed at earlier Salesforce events but the detail provided today was new."

Rebecca Wettemann, vice president of research for CRM consultancy Nucleus Research, echoed the thrust of the Salesforce presentation in a statement accompanying the announcement. "Today, customers are looking to the cloud for experts to help answer their service questions," Wettemann said. "With more than eight million users, Twitter is a new destination for customer conversations, yet most companies don't have a strategy for joining those conversations. Salesforce CRM for Twitter and the Service Cloud provides companies of all sizes and efficient and effective way to join the Twitter conversation."

News relevant to the customer relationship management industry is posted several times a day on destinationCRM.com, in addition to the news section Insight that appears every month in the pages of CRM magazine. You may leave a public comment regarding this article by clicking on "Comments" at the top; to contact the editors, please email editor@destinationCRM.com.

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