Salesforce unveils

Jennifer Scott News
31 Jan, 2012

The cloud giant launches a customer service tool for small and medium businesses.

Salesforce today unveiled, aiming to bring its customer service tools to small and medium businesses (SMBs).

The idea behind the new solution is to bring together the management of company social networking profiles under one umbrella, enabling firms to interact with their customers through the likes of Facebook and Twitter from one pane of glass.

Running this ‘social help desk’ from the cloud cuts on costs – due to the lack of licenses or on-site hardware – and opens the door for SMBs to compete with their larger rivals, which could have entire teams dedicated to social networking customer service.

The other selling point though is the ability to use this tool on the move. Mobile lets employees access the platform from any device compatible with HTML5, including iOS or Android-based phones and tablets. As such, even the smallest business can stay connected with their customers every hour of the day.

However, after seeing the trouble caused by letting the wrong people onto a company’s social network – check out our sister title IT Pro and its top ten social media slip ups – security is a must have when accessing

Virtual Clouds asked Salesforce what features it had put in place to keep safe from stray tweets or updates, but a spokesperson wasn't available to comment.

The cloud service does aim for simplicity, as well as having “social at its core.” Salesforce claims the whole system can be introduced to a company over a weekend.

Sign-up only requires four fields of information to be filled out and integration of Facebook and Twitter can be done in less than five clicks, the firm claimed. It also said the interface was as simple to use as “Facebook or Gmail” and there are 12 template reports to remove complexity of building your own.

A training checklist is also provided, with each employee gaining credits as they work their way through. and Mobile are both available today. Businesses will pay $49 per agent per month for unlimited use of, with the mobile version coming free for each fully paid full-time agent. Companies can also add ‘part-time agents’ for $1 per hour.

The reporting function, however, is not yet available – it is expected this quarter – and will come at an additional cost, also yet to be revealed.

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