Salesforce Launches Tools For Managing Customers Through Social Networks

Thursday the company unveiled Service Cloud 3, a set of social contact center applications for monitoring social networks, blogs, forums and discussion groups.

Service Cloud 3 includes applications that link the Salesforce CRM application to Facebook and Twitter, and a link through Radian6's social media monitoring and engagement platform for keeping track of other social Web sites.

Social networking technologies have "changed the game for customer service," said Alex Dayon, executive vice president of CRM, in a statement. "Facebook and Twitter taught consumers to expect social customer service in real time. Service Cloud 3 is the next-generation social contact center that lets companies prioritize and manage a high volume of customer issues over any social channel."

The new Salesforce for Facebook application helps companies manage interactions with their customers by converting Facebook wall posts and comments into cases within Service Cloud 3. Likewise, the new Salesforce for Twitter lets a business join conversations on Twitter and create cases and share knowledge within Service Cloud 3.

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The new AppExchange application Radian6 for Salesforce lets businesses engage with customers through social channels such as blogs, forums, discussion groups, and video and photo sharing sites – as well as Facebook and Twitter. Users work entirely within Service Cloud 3 and use the customizable workflow rules engine provided by Radian6.

And new software called Live Agent can be embedded within a company's Web site to provide instant chat functionality.

The core Service Cloud 3 platform is available today. Salesforce for Facebook will be available by the end of April at no additional cost for subscribers to AppExchange Professional, Enterprise and Unlimited editions. Radian6 for Salesforce will be available as a closed beta by the end of April and generally available by the end of October. Live agent will cost $50 per agent and is slated to be available by mid-summer.

Salesforce has continued to aggressively expand beyond its core CRM space in recent years, adding more development and social networking applications to its product lineup. Last month the company said it expects sales to exceed $2 billion in the current fiscal 2012.