A Desk.com Review (It is Awesome)

03/06/2012 by Justin Edelstein
A review of Desk.com which was launched as a Salesforce.com property at the end of January to boost mobile and social customer service in the cloud.

Desk.com is based on Assistly, a product that Salesforce.com purchased for a reported $80 million back in September of 2011. While Desk.com is based on Assistly it is a completely different product because it was rebuilt with new APIs from the ground up. Desk.com is a breeze to setup and use for all help desk interactions but where it really excels is in the social help desk space. Below I’ll outline my experience in setting up a free version of Desk.com.

The Initial Setup

One of the greatest things about Desk.com is that you get one free “Agent” to setup your desk with. So, if you are a customer support team of one you are in luck because  you have a free scalable product to use. My goal was to setup the product as quickly as possible to see how fast I could get a working help desk up and running. Turns out I was able to configure and launch my help desk in under one hour. The initial setup is really slick, you sign up for an account, it goes through a series of steps to start up your cloud instance, build out your email routing, setup the shell of the knowledge base, and sets up the ability to connect your social channels. This all happens in the background in about one minute.

The Configuration

The configuration of the system could not be easier. It’s worth pointing out that I have no prior experience with Desk.com and this was my first time ever logging in to the system. When you login for the first time you have three options of where you want to navigate - the admin console, the agent console, and the analytics console. I headed over to the admin console and started by configuring my social channel by adding my own Twitter account as the account for the help desk. Immediately I was able to setup searches and rules for when to create new tickets via those searches and if people @mentioned me. Once a ticket is created via the Twitter channel you can very easily reply back from within the ticket using Twitter as the communication channel. In addition to setting up Twitter as a channel I was easily able to setup Email as an additional channel. Within minutes I had a service that routed emails being sent to my address into Desk.com and creating new tickets. The third channel that was setup automatically for me on initial setup was a public facing support center that allows users to both contact me with questions as well as browse my knowledge base via a website (which could be a custom URL if I wanted it to be but I left it as is for this purpose).

User Experience

I have never used Desk.com or Assistly before and within minutes I was able to figure out how to browse for new tickets and respond to them. There is a dead simple inbox look and feel with pre-defined filters based on statuses, channels, and priorities that are really familiar to navigate within. Once you click into a ticket you can use “macros” that can perform multiple actions at one time such as “change status and send canned response” all in one click. These macros seem to be a very powerful tool in terms of being able to answer tickets in the most efficient way possible.

Service Cloud vs. Desk.com

Not to do a full on comparison but it would appear to me as if in it’s current state Desk.com is far beyond Salesforce.com in terms of being able to support customers via social channels. I only setup Twitter but it took about a minute and I could have setup Facebook if I took another minute. Does Desk.com have the rich 360 degree view of a customer and all their sales and support activities? No, it does not. Does Desk.com do the specific job of being able to support customers via multiple channels? Absolutely it does, and it does it really well with about a half hours worth of configuration. If you are running a small service center that wants to support your customers via multiple channels I would recommend using Desk.com - or at least investigate it by setting up the first free user.

If you’d like to discuss further with me feel free to tweet me @JustEdelstein or comment on our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/arkusinc.