Cloud CRM company Salesforce has come up with a new way to empower SMBs that want to tap into customer service strategies to drive growth. The company is billing the Desk.com App Hub as a one-stop shop for SMBs to access over 50 customer-service oriented partner apps.
The apps promise to help SMBs manage functions like e-commerce, e-mail marketing, text messaging and telephony support with a single end-to-end view of the customer. The App Hub works to do away with the need to build one-off integrations. Companies like HotelTonight, SoundCloud and ZenPayroll are already using the Desk.com App Hub.
“SMB-sized firms already drive more than half of global cloud consumption, since they recognize the benefits of using low cost, effectively hosted applications,” said Chris Chute, Vice President of SMB Cloud and Mobility Practice at IDC. “IDC forecasts global SMB cloud revenue growth of 22 percent over the next five years, as more SMBs utilize a wider set of cloud apps. However, they will quickly realize they need cost effective ways to integrate and manage these alongside their existing environments.”
Why Do SMBs Need This?
Salesforce always makes its pitch clear when it rolls out a new product. This time around, the company is highlighting a SMB pain point -- customer service is often disconnected from other areas of the business, which makes it difficult to get an accurate single view of the customer.
Salesforce actually points to a recent survey that reveals only 21 percent of SMBs integrate their apps without third-party help. As the company’s executives see it, that reality signals an industry need for a trusted and centralized location where SMBs can access apps that help them grow the business. The Desk.com App Hub aims to be that location.
The App Hub features new Canvas technology that will display third-party apps directly in the Desk.com agent console, which does away with the need for agents to toggle between different apps. Meanwhile, SMBs can complete the cycle of multi-channel support by adding telephone support via new integrations from vendors like Five9, NewVoiceMedia, OneReach, RingCentral and TalkDesk. Finally, there’s New Desk Connect, which lets SMBs create a single view of the customer by synching data from Desk.com support cases to Salesforce.
As IDC’s Chute sees it, the Desk.com App Hub will “help SMBs focus on growing the business, rather than dealing with these integration hassles and the high IT costs to manage them.”
We caught up with Rob Enderle, principal analyst at the Enderle Group, to get his thoughts on Salesforce’s latest innovation. He told us the Desk.com App Hub addresses a problem that the small side of SMB has in this new connected world and that is supply access and maintaining control over a set of approved and company licensed apps.
“The bigger issue for all companies is selecting the apps that are best for the firm independent of any one vendor and a really good online solution for that doesn’t yet exist,” Enderle said. “Ombud is about as close as we get right now and that is still best for larger firms. They’ve addressed access but not full choice diversity and quality and I think, eventually, firms are going to want all aspects in a solution.”
Salesforce Desk.com is generally available now. Pricing starts at $30 per user per month. Desk Connect and telephony integrations are available in the Desk.com Plus plan with pricing starting at $50 per agent per month. Canvas technology is expected to be available in early 2015 and pricing will be announced at the time of general availability.