Salesforce.com rolls out Service Cloud

While the details of the initiative seem a bit fuzzy, the main pitch here is that the company is trying to link up social networking and customer service.
Written by Larry Dignan, Contributor

Salesforce.com has unveiled its Service Cloud, a customer service application that's designed for cloud computing and plugged into conversations that occur on Google, Facebook and Amazon.

The effort is built on the Force.com platform. In a statement, Salesforce.com said that "two-thirds of all service conversations will take place in the cloud".

It appears that the Service Cloud is a part of the InStranet integration. While the details of the Service Cloud seem a bit fuzzy--Dennis Howlett will dissect later--the main pitch here is that Salesforce.com is trying to link up social networking and customer service. The idea isn't exactly unique as Oracle and SAP have similar efforts underway. In general, customer service reps will be better able to monitor feedback from customers wherever they go--including Facebook.

However, Salesforce.com is more likely to provide these linkages quicker given that it's a software-as-a-service vendor.

Key components include:

• Customer communities for interaction not just posting. Salesforce.com wants to host corporate communities.
• Social networking connections. Salesforce.com said its Service Cloud will connect to Facebook, forums, and blogs. The goal: Absorb information into a corporate knowledge base.
• Search ranking. Salesforce.com promises that Service Cloud results will be ranked near the top of Google results.
Partner information sharing via the cloud.
• Multichannel--phone, e-mail and chat--support hosted in the cloud.

This article was first published as a blog post on ZDNet.com.

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