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Salesforce, the popular cloud-based CRM (customer relationship manager), and Zendesk, a platform for managing customer support, have deepened their collaboration with an update that promises enhanced integration for users of both Zendesk and Salesforce leading to improved customer service.

As reported by Zendesk, the primary benefit to the new update is the ability to view data from the other platform without having to leave the platform the customer support or sales team member is on. This means that if a support agent is communicating with a customer, he has all of that customer's Salesforce data, including a full history and comments, at his fingertips without having to leave Zendesk.

Conversely, for salespeople performing account maintenance and servicing, Zendesk tickets are now accessible from customer screens, allowing them to spot any potential issues and permitting follow-up to ensure things have been taken care of to their customers' satisfaction. The goal is a better conversation with the customer, as well as keeping both sales and support on the same page.

Custom fields are supported with the new integration, and records are updated in real time. In order to keep tabs on the effectiveness of the platform, built-in reports allow for easy access to metrics, or administrators can customize reports to specific enterprise needs.

Cloud-Based Support and CRM for Midsize Businesses

Salesforce is a dominant player among small and midsize businesses utilizing third-party cloud CRM tools. Zendesk has also greatly expanded into the SMB market since its conception in 2007. The deepening marriage between the two platforms seems to be a logical choice in the quest to improve the customer experience while reducing headaches for sales and support staff.

Why is this relevant to midsize businesses? Improving customer service can boost revenue over the long term thanks to increased word of mouth, repeat business, and better efficiency due to not having to escalate problems to multiple touchpoints within an organization. There can also be cost savings for midsize companies, compared with the expense of developing proprietary platforms and infrastructure or supporting outdated legacy systems.

These reasons make switching to third-party platforms that combine most customer-facing functions into a single interface an attractive option, especially for those companies comfortable with storing and managing their customers' data off-site. CRM and support are not exempt from the inexorable march toward cloud computing. Zendesk and Salesforce's venture demonstrates how it can be used to not only improve the bottom line, but deliver a superior experience to customers as well.

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