Parature is trying to become the main support tab for corporate Facebook Pages so that customers can easily interact and get the support that they need either via chat, submitting a request, or even share their positive experiences with friends. Duke Chung, CSO and founder of Parature, told us, “We’ve been in this business for 9years, are well funded, and work with over 800 customers, serving over 15 million registered users throughout 45 countries.”
While not the first services company to have a Support tab, Parature already provides support for many companies across several online spaces including: Playfish, RockYou, Citrix, WebMD, and Second Life. “Ultimately I think Facebook wants to eliminate websites all together” says Chung, “but since we already offer support for companies on the web we are looking forward to leveraging existing expertise to the Facebook Platform”. Others in the space have been trying out support tabs on Facebook (like GetSatisfaction) as well as websites (like UserVoice), but very few companies are in the finals to be the premiere Facebook provider of customer support.
Customer service is not a new business challenge though. Service providers with proven experience and existing networks will certainly have an advantage to make a claim at acquiring larger portfolios, like Facebook. When asked how Parature is different than ZenDesk, a small support software based in San Francisco, Chung answered that its all about scale, telling us, “our target market are companies that are medium to large in size with up to 5,000 employees”. While larger companies quickly realize the value of social media, Facebook recognizes the need for visibility and interaction which Parature hopes to execute.
Many of the features that come with their Support Tab makes customer service fast and easier, enabling users to search for questions already answered online, positive experiences shared within news streams, instant chat with customer service reps, and monitor your past requests. The partnership is not yet confirmed but specific discussions with Facebook have been rumored to be in the works. When talking with Duke Chung he explained how Parature has scaled to be a leader in Customer Support online, having raised $30 million to date, with $16mm in their latest B-Series in 2008.
Business growth aside, Facebook will need to fill the gap in customer service and signing on a main partnership with a reputable and established company would align with a long-term strategy to make Facebook more central than external websites themselves.