software leader Salesforce.com just rolled out the latest edition of its Desk.com help-desk solution, positioning the new version as the 'future of
service'. Innovations include a new intelligent-agent console, a mobile app, and a reporting engine.
Salesforce says these and other new features will help customer service agents provide faster, better service, which in the end, leads to happier customers and increased sales.
In case you aren't familiar with Desk.com, it's a real-time interface that lets customer service agents handle traditional one-to-one communications and also monitor and respond to social media. All customer communication is actionable and reportable, allowing customer service managers to handle a variety of different support needs.
"Awesome customer service is the new competitive advantage," said Leyla Seka, general manager and senior vice president of Desk.com for Salesforce. And, it's an advantage that small businesses as well as large enterprises can leverage.
Indeed, Salesforce may be hitting a nerve, especially with small businesses. More than half of small businesses fail in the first five years, according to the Small Business Administration. In response, Salesforce is pushing this message: Exceptional customer service is a competitive differentiator and growth driver -- and Desk.com can help.
According to its Salesforce-commissioned research, Desk.com customers on average experience a 42 percent faster response to customers, 38 percent increase in agent productivity, 27 percent decrease in support costs, and 36 percent increase in customer satisfaction.
Some businesses already using Desk.com include the HotelTonight room reservation service, and, SoundCloud, a social platform for recording and sharing music.
One Kings Lane, an online home décor company, is also using Desk.com, with beneficial results for its customers and its customer service team.
"With Desk.com, One Kings Lane has maintained outstanding service and high customer satisfaction rates," said Alexis Chapman, director of Customer Operations at One Kings Lane. "Now, our customer care team has greater visibility into customer needs and they are empowered to work more efficiently and continually offer an exceptional experience for our shoppers."
Can Desk.com Disrupt?
We caught up with Brad Shimmin, a principal analyst at Current Analysis, to get his thoughts on the new and improved Desk.com. He told us Salesforce seems to be working hard to make its applications interoperable with apps and cloud services from other companies. Desk.com, with its improved Application Protocol Interface, is another example.
Salesforce is also working hard to compete with the likes of Zendesk. In fact, Salesforce is offering customers who switch from Zendesk to Desk.com a free subscription for the rest of 2014. That's a serious incentive that could help bring the Desk.com brand into more conversations as companies look for ways to boost customer service.
"Desk.com is priced and delivered such that it can be disruptive," Shimmin said. "This market has been slow to adopt the cloud because of large on-premises deployments. Customer service has been moving rapidly to the cloud over the last year, but it's still moving slower than other aspects of the software industry."
The latest version of Desk.com is available now, with pricing starting at $30 per month, per agent.