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Salesforce.com Inaugurates the Era of Cloud Computing for Customer Service With the Service Cloud

OpSource Cloud Virtualized by VMware Combines the Availability, Flexibility and Community of the Public Cloud with the Security,

Salesforce.com (NYSE: CRM), the enterprise cloud computing company, today announced the Service Cloud, its next generation solution for customer service. Built on the Force.com platform, the Service Cloud transforms customer service through the power of cloud computing, and brings together industry leading cloud computing platforms like Google, Facebook and Amazon.com to capture every conversation and leverage every community expert in the cloud.

 

By capturing these conversations, the Service Cloud empowers companies to deliver the expertise of the community to customers, agents and partners regardless of location or device - ensuring that the quality of customer service is consistent across every channel. The Service Cloud represents the future of customer service, where more than two-thirds of all service conversations will take place in the cloud.

"The Service Cloud is the first customer service solution that empowers companies to join and manage all service conversations happening in the cloud," said Marc Benioff, chairman and CEO of salesforce.com. "This has been made possible through the emergence of native cloud computing platforms like Force.com that are built to harness the power of other clouds like Facebook, Google, and Amazon.com."

According to Gartner analyst Michael Maoz, Vice President and Research Fellow, Gartner, Inc., "The new generation of consumers trusts content created by peers. This consumer expectation that they can create answers and content as part of a community will lead businesses and other organizations to adopt similar techniques to succeed. Ultimately, organizations will have to change their singular emphasis on tools for agents, to a broader strategy that also supports the role of community experts."

"Increasingly, people connect with organizations and products through the trusted friends and communities of experts that are part of their online social network," said Elliot Schrage, VP, communications, public policy and platform marketing, Facebook. "Organizations need a powerful way to become part of the conversations about their products, and we believe Force.com for Facebook and Facebook Pages enable companies to engage with customers on a more personal level."

"Salesforce.com is the only company demonstrating a cloud computing vision for the future of customer service," said Bill Hoban, CIO of Extra Space Storage. "Customers are already sharing knowledge and having meaningful support conversations in the cloud with their community of friends and experts. Salesforce.com will allow us to join the conversation with this expert community to improve the way we serve our customers."

The Service Cloud - The Future of Customer Service

Traditionally, contact center technologies have been removed from the experts and knowledge found in the cloud. Yet already 50 percent of all service conversations are taking place in the cloud. The Service Cloud unites these two disconnected, yet vitally important, worlds to establish the new model for customer service. Capturing and funneling information from inside the enterprise and in the cloud into the knowledge base is at the heart of the Service Cloud. The Service Cloud is made up of seven main components around the knowledge base to gather, distill and disseminate the expert knowledge found in the cloud to customers, agents and partners:

-- Community: Developing an online customer community is an integral part of the Service Cloud. The Service Cloud represents a fundamental shift in how companies approach their online presence - its not just a place to post information, but a community where customers can interact with each other and have conversations with the company at large. Companies can easily set-up and maintain an interactive cloud community for their customers by leveraging new salesforce.com technologies such as Salesforce CRM Ideas and Force.com Sites as building blocks.

-- Social: The Force.com platform enables the Service Cloud to connect to leading social networking sites such as Facebook, community forums, blogs and more. Through these connections, companies will be able to funnel this information directly into their knowledge base. The Service Cloud ensures that the company's knowledge base has the most up to date support information sourced from community experts.

-- Search: More times than not, customers begin with a Google search to find answers to their questions. By creating an active online community with the Service Cloud, companies can ensure that their site is one of the top results returned in a customer's search. It is through the power of Force.com Sites that the expert knowledge of the community is made available in search engine results.

-- Partners: Using the Service Cloud, companies can now share all of the information in the knowledge base quickly and easily with their partners. Cloud computing's unique model has enabled salesforce.com to easily and securely connect separate Salesforce CRM deployments, allowing companies to share cases, contacts, and company information, without the need for complex integration software.

-- Phone, Email and Chat: The Service Cloud will give agents access to knowledge in the cloud, regardless if they use phones, email or chat to service customers. By providing the contact center with the same knowledge found in the community, the Service Cloud ensures that the quality and cost of service across every channel is strengthened by the expertise of the community.

The Cloud Computing Leader in Customer Service

Salesforce.com has long evangelized the benefits of cloud computing for the enterprise, and already 6,500 companies, including Misys Banking Systems, Enterasys and Plantronics, have standardized on Salesforce CRM and the Service Cloud for their customer service operations. In addition, the Salesforce CRM service and support product posted its strongest quarter ever in salesforce.com's third quarter fiscal year 2009 with more than 600 new customers, including Extra Space Storage. With the acquisition of InStranet in August, salesforce.com is completely reinventing the customer service experience with a highly-efficient knowledge base application that can be deployed quickly and easily.

The Service Cloud Builds on the Power of the Force.com Platform

Force.com provides a comprehensive, trusted platform for quickly building and running business applications in the cloud. Force.com provides the necessary building blocks to quickly build and run business applications including database, workflow, logic, integration, customization, mobile, and user interface capabilities.

The Service Cloud utilizes the latest Force.com capabilities, including Force.com Sites, Force.com for Facebook, and more to uniquely join together knowledge and conversations regardless of where they take place online. The Service Cloud also taps into the power of more than 100 customer service extensions on the Force.com AppExchange for areas like chat, field service and CTI. Additionally, customers using the Service Cloud gain all the benefits of the proven security, reliability and scalability of salesforce.com's trusted global infrastructure.

Pricing and Availability

Service Cloud packages start at $995 per month, which includes the ability to:

     -- Create an online customer community with unlimited usage for up to 250
        customers
     -- Set up a contact center with up to five agents
     -- Connect with native cloud computing sites like Facebook and Google
     -- Invite up to five partners to participate in the service cloud

 

More Stories By Yeshim Deniz

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