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- Date Established
- Assistly was procured by Salesforce in 2011, beginning the first stage in evolution of desk.com.
- San Francisco, CA
A small business generally attracts the concerted attention of a corporate giant in one of two ways: when it is seen as a threat, or when it distinguishes itself with something that the bigger fish wants. Either way, when the little guy is bought out, it is a huge compliment.
Salesforce found such an investment in a young product formerly known as Assistly. Assistly itself was founded in 2009, and in two short years, gained the attention of Customer Service giant Salesforce. The check was for around $50M, which is incredible, given Assistly’s brief life span. It is now Desk.com; the sole small business platform under Salesforce’s Service Cloud umbrella.
Desk.com helps growing businesses engage with their customers across every social media channel. Wherever your starting place, it is desk.com’s mission to be your springboard to the next level of growth.
Some have said that while desk.com’s feature package is fairly cookie-cutter, their real edge is in their scalability. If your business is poised for rapid growth, this might be a no-brainer solution to meet your customer service demands.
To see if this SaaS meets your Help Desk needs, read the full review.
Table of Contents
Desk.com offers a standard 14-day free trial of their service, with no credit card required. After that, you’ll have a variety of pricing tiers to choose from:
- Starter – $3 per month, billed annually, up to 3 agents. 1 Email Inbox, 1 Twitter Account, 1 Facebook Account, Phone Support
- Standard – $30 per month per agent, billed annually. Unlimited Email, Twitter, and Facebook Accounts, Phone, Chat, Q&A
- Plus – $50 per month per agent, billed annually
- Enterprise – $135 per month per agent, billed annually
Each tier has a growing list of included features. To see which plan best suits your needs, see their pricing web page.
Web-hosted or Licensed:
Desk.com is web-hosted, but their mobile apps are (obviously) downloaded locally. However, the service can also be accessed on mobile browsers without downloading the app.
Hardware and Software Requirements:
The standard suite of desk.com is cloud-based, and therefor only requires an internet connection and an updated web browser. However, the mobile app is downloaded locally. I have listed the system requirements for several platforms below.
- iOS: requires iOS 7 or later. Compatible with iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch. Optimized for iPhone 5.
- Android: (“Coming Soon” as of the date of this article)
Specific Size of Business (or Company Size):
Salesforce was already an industry leader in software development for larger companies. They acquired Assistly in 2011 in an attempt to bridge the gap between smaller would-be customers and their usual roster of well-established companies. Rebranding Assistly as their own desk.com, they are definitely aimed at the smaller and medium sized businesses. Their goal seems to be to facilitate everyone growing into Enterprise status.
Ease of Use:
From my first log-in, there were immediately two emails in my inbox, both of which pertained to the setup and learning curve for the software. These emails provided links to their own knowledge base, with well-thought-out articles detailing the steps to complete the setup process. These emails and articles were helpful, but were hardly up to the standards set by a few of their competitors in welcoming new users.
Upon entering the admin panel, I was notified that I was using an outdated web browser which is no longer supported. This was not true: I was using the most recent version at the time. It may have been a result of the fact that I was using the service from my iPad, but they expressly claim to be mobile-friendly. At any rate, the error message and suggested steps to correct the issue were wrong.
Many users said that although their overall experience with desk.com was positive, they still had issues with it being slow. In my experience, navigation was very fast (faster than I expected a SaaS running from a mobile device on questionable internet to be.) the only lag time that I experienced was when closing a case, and then navigating away. The case took about 15 seconds to show up as Closed in other panels.
Rated independently from the rest of my review, I give their Ease Of Use a confident 4 out of 5 stars.
Desk.com is feature-rich. And since it comes from the Salesforce folks, there are other services that are designed to tie in (relatively) effortlessly. But in order to stay on target, here are the headlines strictly related to desk.com:
- Multichannel support – Receive support requests from all the top social media streams, and pull relevant data for a clear customer snapshot.
- Universal inbox – Customer contact from any source can be sent and received all in one email-like inbox.
- Reporting tools – Track the raw data of your CSR’s performance, and get a cross-section of the most prevalent customer feedback.
- Mobile app – Whether you’re an admin or an agent, take your office with you wherever you need to go.
- Quick and easy to launch – Hit the ground running with a quick learning curve, and ready-made features.
- Highly scalable – Desk.com is designed to grow alongside your business, staying useful and relevant every step of the way.
Integrations and Add-Ons:
The recent software update released in June of 2014 brought about a huge leap in 3rd party connectivity. Their list of apps and API integrations can be found here.
The dashboard design is clean and organized. It is relatively easy to make minor changes to the default theme (I strongly recommend creating a copy of the default theme, and alter the copy.) To make deeper changes, a source code editor is available for those with web design experience.
Customer Service and Technical Support:
I’ll keep this brief. Their customer service needs a lot of work. I sent in a very simple question via email, and it took them 5 days to get back to me. And when they finally did, their “answer” only re-worded the question.
I had originally asked them about their mobile app. I informed them that I had been testing their software from my tablet’s web browser, and I wanted to know what functionality the app could provide that I wasn’t already doing with their browser-based system. Their reply? “The mobile app allows you go to mobile.” Sorry desk.com… Way too little, way too late. A company ostensibly specializing in Customer Service should know better.
If you’d like to try your luck, here are the primary modes of communication that I found:
- Support Center: includes articles, guides, and a FAQ, as well as their email portal.
- Email Portal
- Phone: 1-877-226-9212
Negative Reviews and Complaints:
User reviews for the mobile app were evenly split between 1 star and 5 star ratings until the most recent software update. Apparently this update addressed the majority of concerns, as the app now has a 5 star rating almost across the board. However, some users still had a few complaints:
- Disappointment… Very disappointed with this update after such a long time. The look is certainly better but app is very slow and still has almost all the bugs from the previous version… This is a shame. Besides that, I see no new functions and even some has also been removed. The new design is not intuitive at all and very confusing. I was hoping this update would fix issues and bring new functions but I guess I was wrong…
- Basic functionality, but nothing more. Writing a long reply to a customer is impossible because the composer screen doesn’t scroll. Then, sometimes your replies are “unable to be saved” for whatever reason. Seems like they gave this app the old college try but it still needs a lot of polish. On the plus side, you can execute macros.
- Bring back swipe functionality! New design is slick (and hopefully more reliable than the last regarding lost drafts/messages) but really miss the ability to easily resolve cases with the swipe. Bring that back please.
Positive Reviews and Testimonials:
Once their mobile app saw a major update last year, their user feedback overflowed with praise. While most of the feedback pertained specifically to the mobile app, some similar praise was directed to the overall service of Desk.com.
- Finally a native app. Awesome. So far app is great and is a great tool to have for doing support on the go with small businesses. I have to say this is one of the best support systems I have found to date.
- Desk creates Positive ROI and makes supporting customers easy! The best features of Desk.com are a simplified unified inbox. All cases from all channels(Phone Calls, Social Media, E-Mail) are all in one place for our agents to work on. It enables everyone in our company to provide support and know what problems the customer may have had in the past. The workflow for our support team is easy and they pick it up with very little training needed.
- Very Good Product. Incredible out of the box application. Did everything our help desk needed so that they could start using within the application the same day. Great features like the following are key for us: Capability to customize the customer-facing portal, Integration to our knowledge base app
Desk.com did a fantastic job disclosing their security measures. I am fully satisfied that if I were to use their service for my business, I would not have security issues stemming from them. Read what they had to say of themselves here.
Like so many SaaS platforms out there, desk.com goes to Amazon Web Services (AWS) for their computing infrastructure. For more information about Amazon’s security, see their website.
Desk.com has a corporate buzzword that they are quite find of: they frequently use the phrase “WOW your customers.” Caps lock and all. However, I can’t say that I was WOWed. The software is good. It’s better than most. I confidently give it a solid 4 out of 5 stars for a good, clean implementation. But I was neither shocked nor awed.
Their feature set is fairly standard. It does the job, and it does it well enough. I saw very little that separates them from the pack, however. Topping the list of “bad news” for a business owner considering desk.com, I have two things to say. First, the reporting capabilities are passable. If you’re looking for a Help Desk that gives you a clear picture on any data you might want to know, there are other software solutions that do a better job. Second, the URLs for articles in your Knowledge Base are static. This isn’t a huge problem, but a savvy business owner knows the importance of tip-top SEO.
Should you use desk.com for your business? Sure. It does a good job, and the price point is agreeable. Just be advised that the free trial period is a great opportunity to test out another software side by side with desk.com.
To get started with your free trial, click here.
We've done in-depth research on each and confidently recommend them.
We've done in-depth research on each and confidently recommend them.