Salesforce has revealed that its Communities update will be made generally available this summer, allowing businesses to easily create social communities for their customers around business data.
Salesforce first launched Communities in August last year, suggesting it was the next step in bringing customers and businesses closer together. Now after a long period of beta testing, Michael Lazerow, Salesforce chief marketing officer, told V3 that Communities was ready to launch.
"The product is about helping businesses create external connections with customers and partners but also opening up their employees to conversations as well," said Lazerow.
"Legacy portals provided a one-to-one interaction that was very transactional. For example a customer trying to pay a bill could normally have a one-on-one conversation with a customer service agent if they needed assistance, or could tap into a customer forum that was disconnected from the business data, but they now have that bigger community as part of the transaction process."
The idea of Communities, according to Salesforce, is to help businesses answer customer questions quickly – whether it be from a business' knowledge base, members of its community or directly from its own employee experts or service representatives.
Businesses will be able to embed the Communities application on websites or directly on mobile applications. Pricing for Communities will start at $500 per month.
Communities is built from Chatter, the Salesforce business collaboration platform that launched in 2009. The original goal of the platform was to more easily connect businesses and employees. Over time, Chatter expanded to offer companies a better way to work with partners. Last year the service began to offer messenger and screensharing tools.
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