Microsoft (News - Alert) today announced plans to buy cloud-based customer service software Parature for $100 million. The news comes just a day after Verint revealed it is purchasing KANA Software.
This news is important because it is part of a wave of recent acquisitions of major players in the customer engagement space to expand their offerings. They’re doing this to address the social media boom, and the desire by consumers to interact with businesses via an array of communications options – including not just voice and e-mail, but also via chat, mobile apps, the web, and even sites like Facebook (News - Alert).
As Duke Chung, chairman and co-founder of Parature, told TMCnet in a mid-2012 interview: “Online customer service has been the ultimate game changer. As customers, we have gone from patiently standing in line and very personal face-to-face and voice-to-voice interactions to an online world where everyone perceives they’re at the front of the line, and they have a level of anonymity and detachment that allows them to be bolder and more demanding of an organization’s customer service department.”
Parature (News - Alert) addresses this by enabling its medium and large business customers to offer their customers the ability to interact with them via a broader array of channels, which can even include a select company’s Facebook page. That will enable Microsoft, which offers the Microsoft Dynamics CRM platform, to broaden end user touch points for the companies it serves.
Founded in 2000 at Cornell University by Chung and some classmates, Parature now serves some 70 million end users of such customers as Ask.com, the U.S. EPA, IBM, and gaming company Playfirst. Parature, which has received $30.2 million in funding from Accel Partners (News - Alert), Sierra Ventures, and Valhalla Partners, offers the Parature Social Customer Service Suite, which includes a monitoring and response solution for customer service teams called the Parature Social Monitor, and the Parature Facebook Portal, which seamlessly integrates customer support including a self-service knowledge base, help desk ticketing and live chat into a company’s Facebook presence.
Parature Social Monitor was a finalist for the 2013 TMC (News - Alert) Social Business Award.
“Using social media, companies have the ability to not only measure and monitor customer satisfaction in real time but to actively participate in the daily dialog that shapes their brand perception. Ultimately social media has an impact on sales and satisfaction levels in the market,” said Rich Tehrani, TMC CEO, in announcing the awards last fall.
Edited by Cassandra Tucker