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Salesforce.com to Offer Twitter CRM App
March 24, 2009
In a nod social networking’s increasingly prominent place in business settings, San Francisco’s Salesforce.com – a Web-based customer relationship management and Software-as-a-Service provider – reportedly is poised to offer a CRM application for Twitter.
According to Marc Benioff, chairman and CEO of Salesforce.com (News - Alert), the company has, since January, seen "tremendous momentum and validation" from customers, prospects, and partners that the Service Cloud represents the future of customer service.
“Today’s announcement builds on this momentum by enabling companies to join the conversations happening between the more than eight million users on Twitter," Benioff said.
According to a story by Mary Hayes Weier of Information Week, the new app will identify customers who – rather than call a customer service number – go to the larger Twitter community to solve problems with products.
Hayes Weier interviewed Alexandre Dayon, Salesforce’s senior vice president of product management, who said customer-service agents searches for tweets will work well for the company because its offerings already are provided as a cloud subscription service.
“I think a lot of [software vendors] would like to do this, but they’re not cloud native,” Dayon reportedly told the Information Week writer. “Most of our traditional competitors are stuck in walls of the call center.”
Here's a screen capture of the new offering (click image to enlarge):
This isn’t the first time that Salesforce has looked to social networking sites.
Earlier this year, the company made a similar move, building an app that let companies leverage Facebook to find and assist customers with product issues.
Within the social networking space, Facebook (News - Alert) and Twitter are vying for visibility and inclusion in mashups – though the former is far larger, with about 175 million users.
As TMCnet reported, Facebook recently capitalized on some Twitter-like real-time functionality by redesigning its homepage and making it easier and faster for “friends” to find out what their online mates are doing.
Facebook notified users that it would remake its homepage “to make it easier to understand what’s going on with the people you care about,” company Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg reportedly said status updates through his site would come in real-time, instead of every 10 minutes or so.
“With the new homepage, that will reflect a much faster flow of information,” Zuckerberg said.
The new functionality is good news for companies such as TMCnet, which got into the Facebook game just a few weeks ago with new functionality on its Web site that will allow visitors to connect to their Facebook accounts.
“Connect TMCnet with Facebook to interact with friends and share stories on Facebook through your Wall and friends’ News Feeds,” the company says. “The TMCnet Facebook connection will enhance users’ experience and how they use and interact with news supplied by TMCnet.”
Benefits in development include: access to premium content; automated sign-in for TMCnet blog comments; automated Facebook photo included with blog comments; seamless connection to TMCnet applications for iPhone and MobileTMCnet; automated access to free resources including white papers, webinars, podcasts; simplified process means elimination of multiple log-in names and passwords; and automatically posting one-line stories back to Facebook.
With its new Twitter app, Salesforce – according to Hayes Weier – will help companies identify and keep customers who are more likely to look to their social networking communities for help. That could be because they’ve had bad experiences (who hasn’t?) with customer service representatives.
“Comcast (News - Alert) Cable, Dell, and European telecom company Orange are among the Salesforce customers that have signed up for the Twitter app,” Hayes Weier reports. “They’re using Twitter, of course, as a complement to more traditional methods of customer service.”
The new Twitter app will be available next week, she says.
“Simplicity has played an important role in Twitter’s success, making it quick and easy for consumers to connect to their community," said Evan Williams, founder and CEO of Twitter.com. "With Salesforce CRM for Twitter, enterprises can replicate this same experience by keeping track of the conversations happening right now on Twitter."
Don’t forget to check out TMCnet’s White Paper Library, which provides a selection of in-depth information on relevant topics affecting the IP Communications industry. The library offers white papers, case studies and other documents which are free to registered users.
Michael Dinan is a contributing editor for TMCnet, covering news in the IP communications, call center and customer relationship management industries. To read more of Michael's articles, please visit his columnist page.
Edited by Michael Dinan
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