Salesforce.com’s Trust App Provides Status Info During Outages

Salesforce.com has introduced a new application to give users status updates about system performance. Uponlogging in, they can access current information about incident reports, maintenance schedules and other performance-related topics. The service is free.

It is little secret that Salesforce.com customers have been frustrated by a number of system outages over the past few months, due in some part to bugs in the code. One incident occurred a few days before Christmas — a very busy period for most firms as they race the clock to close out the year. The outage reportedly lasted several hours.

Stopgap Measure

Salesforce.com has said it is making long-term changes that will prevent the occurrence of events that deny users access to their data or at least drastically reduce their number.

Meanwhile, Trust.salesforce is viewed as a stopgap measure to pacify users should another outage take place. It may be impossible to make them happy, but it can at least let them know when the system will be back up.

“We want this site to keep customers as informed as possible,” Bruce Francis, vice president of corporate strategy, told CRM Buyer. “So we will publish estimates of service restoration whenever we have a reasonable estimate.”

Third-Party Links

Salesforce.com will be entertaining additional ideas for the system, Francis said.

One possibility is expanding Trust.salesforce to include visibility intothird-party linkages with Salesforce.com, Martin Schneider, an enterprise software analyst at the 451 Group, told CRM Buyer.

Companies are becoming increasingly sophisticated in their use of on-demand applications, with more firms integrating into on-premise as well as other on-demand providers. Allowing better visibility into these linkages would be a welcome development for users, Schneider said.

Ticking Off the Minutes

The first order of business for Trust.salesforce.com, though, is to serve as a conduit of information to customers when they are unable to access their data.

Providing immediate status reports is a common device that can work surprisingly well to keep potentially irate customers calm. For example, some contact center providers will tell callers that they have, say, a five-minute wait ahead of them. Customers who are told how long they can expect to be on hold are typically more patient. Power companies do the same thing when widespread outages occur after a storm, providing customers with an ETA for power restoration.

Salesforce.com is relying on the same principle here. “This is as much a customer service initiative as it is an information service,” Schneider said.

Companies may not like any interruption to their service, but knowing how long they will have to deal with an outage can help them determine how best to work around it.

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