Parature Introduces Parature for Facebook (and Proves Me Right)

Parature (not a client, in case you are keeping track of who is and who isn’t) introduced this morning a new product: Parature for Facebook.  It is the first in a line of products they say are going to be introduced in the next few months where they port their customer service solution to Social Networks  – in this case, the Facebook Social Network.  Using this product companies can put their existing  knowledge base on Facebook, conduct customer-service Chats, and let customers create and manage support tickets via the FBML-based solution. In addition, systems administrators can manage the product via a FBML interface, and can even manage tickets via it if they are so inclined (not sure why they would, but it’s there). See this next picture to get an idea of the interface:

There is not much (well, some admin actually) existing Parature customers must do to use this product.  Non Parature customers will need to implement Parature Customer Service first, then they can leverage it on Facebook.  Here is what results would look like:

The key aspect here is that you don’t need to do integration, migration, or support two different solutions (silos, if you may).  A single  solution presented over two different interfaces is a much better solution.  Being able to leverage existing rules, knowledge, workflows, integration, and all other channels via Facebook makes it easier to deploy.

I saw the product, and it is quite well done.  Works the same way as in a regular web site, but it uses the Facebook look-and-feel.  Organizations that decide to do Customer Service over Facebook Like Pages (can we go back to Fan Pages, please?) benefit from having more than just a wall and a messaging interface to carry out those functions (standard Facebook offers).  I have not had the chance to talk to anyone who implemented it – yet, but expect to do so soon.  Finally, here is the admin console (before the analysis begins):

Now the gloating.

Back in the good old days before we embarked in a race to define Social CRM I said in a post relating the nascent SCRM to the failed e-CRM of yesteryears:

The prospects of having a “new” hot technology skewed the decision to launch e-CRM

Eerie, similarities ensue… The point is that Social CRM is an extension to CRM, and that smart companies will actually take their existing CRM strategies and implementations and adapt them to the Social channels they want to use.  Thusly, a company wanting to do customer service over Twitter would have to create an entire sub-strategy for that (Mission, Vision, Goals, Objectives, Step-by-Step planning, etc.) that extends their Customer Service and CRM strategies.  In other words, it is not about rushing to just “do something” over the new social channels, rather “do the right thing if it makes sense” over the Social Channels.

Yes, before you attack me, there are new “things” that Social CRM brings, but they are things like getting to know your customer better, understanding their needs and wants, embracing them in c0-creation, reducing the barriers to proper service — all things we were promised in 1991 when Siebel CRM was first introduced (and ever since, continues to be so).

What Parature introduced today is one technology step in that direction.  You want to do Customer Service over Facebook? Make sure it makes sense for your organization, that you have the right people, and you have the processes to do it right — then look at what they have and see if does what you want it to do.  Fits? Then, by all means — they are  the first vendor to introduce business functions inside of Facebook (until someone proves me wrong in the comments below), and I am dying to see what happens with it.

As for the gloating, well — will try to remain humble…

Disclaimer: Parature did not pay me for this, nor do I expect them to become a client because of this write-up.  Wish it was that simple. I am presenting at their user conference today and was offered a pass to the conference (I believe there is a charge for that) and I am hoping to score a lunch out of it — but they made no promises (actually, they don’t know that yet).  However, you already know I am not that cheap of a date, takes more than one meal and a conference pass.  These are my impressions and opinions, feel free to argue them.  Social CRM is just CRM with Social Channels (and, since this is in a legally-required disclaimer, it is now a legal opinion — so there, I just made it law by precedence).  Please do your own due diligence before taking anyone’s opinion at face value.

8 thoughts on “Parature Introduces Parature for Facebook (and Proves Me Right)”

  1. Nice blog, particularly your argument regarding SCRM as an extension of CRM, and just because you can, does not mean you should. The Parature application is pretty awesome, but I don’t believe it is the first, I know we have been toying with the GetSatisfaction.com plugin for facebook:

    http://www.facebook.com/notes/get-satisfaction/now-you-can-get-satisfaction-for-your-company-on-facebook-too/399877776678

    Which appears to offer some similar functionality, although it is more of a community driven support model than in internal support model.

    The conclusion: There will be a host of options in the near future giving organizations the perfect toolkit to provide customer service through a variety of means.

    Thanks! 🙂

    Garry
    .-= Garry Polmateer´s last blog ..DarthGarry: Blogged: Customer support call, setting up #Salesforce workflow in our NU Members application http://bit.ly/9Vti26 #Nimble =-.

    1. Garry,

      I am not sure if I did a bad job explaining what this one does. I know of GS, and they are very different models (just answered Mark with the same comment).

      I still believe that this is not like GS at all — actually, they are partners and you can see GS at their conference today and tomorrow! (I will). If would be very cool to integrate end-to-end FB, GS, and Parature for a total FB-based experience including traditional support and communities… there is an idea.

      Thanks for the read!

      (BTW, to forestall all others — I did not say Parature was the first one to put any app on FB, just a traditional support app…)

  2. Hi Esteban,

    Just for the fun of it, I thought I’d prove you wrong by showing your which company did it before Parature ;). Dr Natalie broke the news on this one last month 🙂

    http://drnatnews.com/2010/04/new-developments-at-f8-mean-facebook-needs-getsatisfaction-coms-involver-solution/

    GetStaisfaction Social Engagement Hub
    http://getsatisfaction.com/partners/facebook/

    The Facebook is used as a “front-end”, the workhorse appliation is still in the GetSatisfaction environment.

    I have to agree though that you need to answer the “does it make sense for my organisation?” and “can I support this?” questions.

    Cheers!
    .-= Mark Tamis´s last blog ..Data-Driven Social CRM =-.

    1. Mark,

      Nice try — wrong products. GetSatisfaction and Parature work very differently, while GS is a community-hub, which can now be deployed in FB, Parature is a traditional self-service, knowlede-base-driven product that is used for support (while GS can be used for different things, really).

      I really like what GS is doing, but not just because it is in FB. It allows companies to bring FB communities and content into the organization (when done well) — the opposite direction of where Parature is going (pulling content out of the enterprise into FB). Sure, it can do community-generated content, but the main differentiator here is the ability to deploy a support tool over FB.

      Thanks for the comment, and for agreeing with me (you know that ultimately you always will :)).

  3. Hi Esteban:

    Since most companies don’t have their assisted-service and self-service support effectively and efficiently executed through their primary support channels, where would you place extending support through FB relative to other customer care priorities?

    Thanks!

    Chuck
    CEO and Founder
    FuzeDigital

    1. Chuck,

      Since I am an analyst, I am allowed to say this: it depends.

      Seriously, though, it really does depend. To me FB is just another channel, just like email, chat, telephone, SMS, Twitter, communities, forums, etc. So, I’d suspect that companies that use this module are those that have taken proper care of fulfilling all customer needs through other channels (wishful thinking, I know), or those that have set a strategy where Facebook makes sense (le-sigh, more wishful thinking), or those that committed to have a FB “Like” Page (Fan Page sounded so much better) and want to offer support as if it was an extension of their web site (I suspect this is what will constitute the early adopters).

      There is definitely value to offering support via FB as long as there is a strategy and an understanding. Will it replace traditional support? No, it won’t. Just like email, chat, SMS, etc. did not replace it. Alas, well done, and this is where I like this new product giving organizations the chance of doing the same solution via different channels, it could be similar to having an extension to their web site.

      As I said, it depends… but am not holding my breath on any of the above models… Experience.

      Thanks for the read!

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