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It’s pretty much a given that any business function that exists these days is moving to the cloud. Tracking sales contacts and leads? Salesforce.com. Marketing? Marketo. Human resources? Workday. Running your business? Netsuite.
Even customer service has started a shift to the cloud, and a company that specializes in precisely that is Parature. I first encountered it in 2011. The basic idea with its cloud-based software is to reduce the cost and time commitment required to answer the same support questions over and over. Simple as that.
Well, Parature is just about to announce that it is teaming up with Microsoft — which makes Dynamics CRM software — building on a partnership the two first established two years ago.
The new integration will give Dynamics users a platform from which to engage with customers on the Web, via live chat session, on their mobile devices or through social networks.
A few key features includes a self-service part that creates a knowledge base that customers can use to get quick answers to regular questions on their own. Repeated questions tend to eat up a lot of time and attention that could be better spent elsewhere.
There’s also a chat service, so your service agents can be right there in real time. And there’s a social component as well, including Parature for Facebook and support for Twitter. Yes, customer support happens there, too.
The point of the integration is to get customer data that lives in the CRM application all in the same place as records of support calls and help requests. Logical, right?
Anyway, Parature has come a long way since I last looked in on it. It has been used to support approximately 55 million end users worldwide, and its customers include IBM and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. It’s backed by about $30 million in VC investments from Accel Partners, Valhalla Partners, and Sierra Ventures.
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