Salesforce taps into Facebook and Twitter

The web services company has added social-networking features to its Cloud Service platform
Written by Toby Wolpe, Contributor

Salesforce.com has reinforced its drive into customer services with social-networking software to help firms exploit consumer expertise.

In an announcement on Wednesday, the software-as-a-service (SaaS) vendor unveiled three applications for its Service Cloud platform, launched in January. According to the company, Service Cloud has already acquired 8,000 customers and 55 percent of the customer-services SaaS market.

One of the new features in what the vendor is calling 'Cloud Service 2' is Salesforce Answers, which allows customer-service centres to use the web — including social-networking site Facebook — to discuss problems, product use and best practice.

Firms can create websites to facilitate dialogue between customers and encourage the user community to deal with problems. Salesforce Answers is at the pilot stage and should be available in the first quarter of 2011.

Salesforce for Twitter, which is available immediately, allows businesses to automate the process of creating a channel on the micro-blogging site to deal with customer-service queries. Firms can also use Twitter to track user conversations about products. The Twitter service is free to Professional, Enterprise and Unlimited Edition customers using Force.com AppExchange.

The third element of Cloud Service 2 is Salesforce Knowledge, a knowledge-base application that is designed to let firms rapidly create a pool of information for customer-service agents, drawing on data from a range of sources.

Salesforce Knowledge is due to be available in the final quarter of 2010 and will cost $50 (£30) per agent.

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