We write about customer experience a lot here. And we also spend a fair amount of time talking about the modern consumer. So we keep an eye out for deal activity in the CX space. After all, companies delivering customer service need to follow best practices. And if they can’t build that capability, well, they just have to buy it.
CX involves a combination and soft and hard attributes. Soft attributes convey principles like authenticity and transparency. The more tangible aspects of CX involve using technology to create better experiences. And so much of that today involves using modern messaging tools to interact with customers.
In this vein, we noted Hootsuite‘s acquisition this week of Sparkcentral. Hootsuite is, of course, a very well-known social media marketing platform. Sparkcentral, based in New York and Belgium, is a digital customer-care platform. The company sites several brands as users, including Slack, AirCanda, Careem, and others.
While deal terms were not disclosed, we can’t least share the funding history of the two companies.. Privately held Hootsuite, founded in Vancouver in 2008, has raised about $300 million over six rounds to date. Meanwhile, Sparkcentral was founded in 2011 and has raised just under $38 million. Figures courtesy of Crunchbase.
From Calls to Messages
Sparkcentral’s operating premise is that there is a shift underway in customer service delivery from calls to asynchronous messaging. That’s a fancy term for messages that are not always answered in real-time. For example, if you DM someone on a social channel, you can’t assume they will respond immediately. So instead of automated call distribution, the Sparkcentral platform allows businesses to deal with messages from across all social channels in a single automated platform. We can see why this would be a powerful capability to plug into Hootsuite’s platform.
So Sparkcentral CEO Christoph Neut now becomes VP, Sales at Hootsuite. Here is what he said in the deal announcement.
“We have built a robust social customer care platform to enable some of the world’s leading brands with scalable SLA based engagement throughout every step of the customer journey. From the marketing and sales phase to the post-sales phase. Together our two best-in-breed technologies will be a disruptive force, as we support organizations of all sizes in providing their customers with the highest level of customer care at scale.”
Citing its own data, Hootsuite notes that more than half of the world’s population is on social media. So it makes sense that socials channels play a bigger role in customer experience. As well all know, younger consumers prefer newer communication channels like texting and social messaging.
In a statement, Hootsuite CEO Tom Keiser emphasized that the deal bolsters his company’s ability to use social media as a service channel.
“Our world is digital. Social and messaging platforms have increasingly become where people are looking to engage with brands and organizations,” he said. “Our customers have been asking for more capabilities in the area of social customer care. And we’re excited to expand our offering with this new acquisition.”