Salesforce.com picks up speed in global customer service and support market


20 Aug 2008

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Global software-as-a-Service (SaaS) provider Salesforce.com has gained significant ground in the customer service and support market with its acquisition of InSranet, announced today.

The deal, which is worth around US$31.5m, means the addition of powerful knowledge-base Dimensions technology to Salesforce CRM Customer Service & Support, enabling customers and call centre agents around the world to quickly find the answer they need, the first time.

“This acquisition gives Salesforce CRM Customer Service & Support unique technology that provides a better approach to knowledge base management,” said Sheryl Kingston, director, Enterprise Research, Yankee Group.

“And the timing is ripe – companies have been asking for a better way to organise their corporate knowledge to serve customers, and this acquisition will help Salesforce.com to differentiate itself from the competition.”

According to Gartner, at least 75pc of customer contact centres will use a form of SaaS by 2013.

Traditional customer service and support vendors’ ‘search and hope’ approach using keyword search technology has been riddled with failure, according to Salesforce.com.

Customers struggle because they can’t find the right answer to their questions through web-based self-service portals, and call centre agents are more challenged than ever to help customers due to the large amount of and complexity of information buried in their knowledge bases.

InSranet adds the customer’s context, such as product or geography, to the knowledge base to quickly hone in on the right solution and eliminate irrelevant search results.

In addition, because of the technology’s open architecture, it provides rapid time to value, with deployments taking place in weeks as opposed to months, said Salesforce.com.

“We’re excited to add this unmatched technology to our SaaS applications and Force.com platform,” said Marc Benioff, chairman and CEO at Salesforce.com.

“Not only will it make our service and support offering stronger for our customers and further their success, but it will help catapult our growth in the customer service and support space.”

Among the top five global providers of customer service applications, Salesforce.com was the fastest growing by revenue in 2007, according to IDC.

By Sorcha Corcoran

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