Salesforce.com (NYSE: CRM) announced late today that it has acquired Assistly, a cloud-based customer service help desk, in a play for the small business customer relationship management (CRM) market.
Salesforce said Assistly lets small businesses set up and deliver social customer service in minutes, with zero-touch onboarding. Users can manage service cases and engage with customers in real time over a range of channels – including Facebook, Twitter, Web chats, e-mail and phone – all from one simple interface. All employees can join in and engage with customers as they're needed.
Salesforce is positioning the $50 million acquisition as part of a planned "small business cloud."
"Salesforce has spent over a decade democratizing enterprise applications in the cloud," Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff said in a statement. "The Assistly acquisition doubles down on that strategy by putting us at the heart of the new trend of customer service help desk applications that have instant sign up and zero-touch onboarding, expanding the potential reach of the Service Cloud to millions of companies around the world."
Salesforce boasts more than 17,000 Service Cloud customers and more than 100,000 customers overall; by focusing on small businesses, the company says it will expand its market to include more than 5 million small businesses, according to company officials on a conference call late today.
Assistly lets any employee sign up and start to deliver support in minutes. The customer service application pulls all customer conversations, regardless of channel, into a single interface. Assistly said it brings social CRM to the smallest companies, letting them manage service cases and engage with customers in real time over both social media and other channels.
Assistly's pricing is also targeted at small businesses. Any employee can have an account, and companies can choose to pay by the hour. Companies can upgrade temporary users to full-time agents at $49 per person per month for unlimited use.
New customers can sign up at http://try.assistly.com/salesforce.