Assistly, a provider of socially-networked customer service, has raised a $3 million second round of funding from Bullpen Capital, Index Ventures and Kenny Van Zant, with participation from existing investors True Ventures and Social Leverage. This follows a $1.7 million round from last year.
Seated comfortably in the social customer relationship management (CRM) space, Assistly offers a customer service solution that consolidates agent-customer conversations--email, phone, Twitter, or chat--all in one place. The startup also provides clients with tools for building their own help center knowledge bases, so that customers have a place to answer their own questions.
Every department in your organization--marketing and sales, development and manufacturing, executives and accounting--should somehow be able to contribute to customer service, according to the Assistly philosophy, and they provide the tools to make that happen.
The product is free for 30 days, after which customers can choose between three different pricing plans. While the most essential Assistly features are included in each plan, the more costly plans come with more email and Twitter accounts. Standard (for small businesses, $39/agent/month) comes with two of each, Professional (for growing support teams, $69/agent/month) comes with five of each, and Enterprise (for large organizations, $99/agent/month) comes with 10 of each.
Current Assistly clients include Bonobos, Twitter, Rdio, DIRECTV, Vimeo and Grooveshark.
The young startup argued in a recent blog post that social CRM in 2011 will progress from childhood to puberty, suggesting that social business won’t be just a concept anymore, but a very real method and culture being put into practice. A compilation of arguments made by social CRM analysts, the forecasting post first quoted Brent Leary from Inc.com:
It was just a few short years ago the idea of Social CRM began being discussed. Most of the conversation was around social media's impact on marketing, branding, and promotion. But over these past few years Social CRM has gone from "just talk" to products, services and processes that are bringing the best of both worlds closer together. And while there is no one product or service that can do it all, we're seeing a maturation process take place, that has companies looking to Social CRM to do more than get the word out. It is being used to really improve the communication process with customers from beginning to end -- from initial conversation to ongoing collaboration in the vendor/customer relationship.
I guess we’ll have to wait and see how social CRM gets through its awkward, adolescent stage.
I've embedded a pretty entertaining animated pitch for Assistly below.