Social Networking Continues to Permeate Customer Service Solutions

Social networking continues to stomp directly on the heart of companies' conventional customer service processes, as more CRM vendors and firms are joining together in order to deliver this 21st century utility to consumers looking for another avenue when reaching out to companies to inquire about products and services. CRM strategic consulting and systems integration services firm eVergance and software company Jive Software expanded their partnership late last week in order to deliver Enterprise Web 2.0 social productivity to service and support environments. We already reported Sage Software's launch of ACT! Online Community, which allows users and prospective buyers to interact with each other in a virtual community setting. The eVergance/Jive Software partnership expansion looks to fill the same need to provide a higher quality experience for consumers in a growing forum--the online community. The partnership expansion allows eVergance to incorporate Jive Software's Clearspace solutions, which will allow for increased social productivity and online community capabilities--a growing customer desire for those who want to help themselves and others beyond many Web self-service solutions currently available. "We see a lot of potential to deliver new Clearspace solutions in the service and support market," says Jive Software CEO Dave Hersh. "We already have many customers asking for the type of solution and services that this relationship will enable." Judging by recent partnerships and analyst reports, the online community function is here to stay, and must be incorporated into any legitimate customer service strategy if companies want to keep consumers happy and prevent them from going elsewhere. A recent Forrester report explains that customer forum and community tools are one of three solution gaps many companies must fill soon in order to fight widespread customer service dissatisfaction. Research firm Gartner also recently weighed in on the growing clamor for companies to offer avenues to foster an online community to discuss products and services. According to Gartner, forum tools essential to foster a collaborative online community include:
  • discussion boards;
  • chat and instant messaging;
  • content creation and management tools;
  • email,
  • message and document posting;
  • search;
  • blogging; and
  • analytics.
In fact, when Gartner Vice President Michael Maoz was posed with choosing the most essential customer service of the seven he lists in "The Top Seven Customer Service Processes, 2008 to 2011," he indicated collaboration and community management, because he says an increasing number of people "are trusting information from their peers more than they trust information from the enterprise." Chad Wolf, eVergance president, believes the expanded partnership will allow eVergance to become a major player in this increasingly popular customer service solution area. "The combination of Jive's best-of-breed collaboration tools with our domain expertise and consulting capabilities provides a great option for our clients to harness the potential of Enterprise Web 2.0." Related articles: ACT! Enacts an Online Community Riding the Web 2.0 wave, the Sage Software unit provides a place for users and experts to interact. KANA: On the (e)Verge of an Acquisition The e-service player enters into a definitive agreement to grab management consultancy and systems integrator eVergance Partners; KANA will operate eVergance as a wholly owned subsidiary. Yackety Clack Text chat is no longer exclusively for the tech-adept, buddy-list teen set--it's picking up steam as an enterprise touch point to facilitate multichannel strategies for service and sales efforts. Jive Talking for Online Communities Jive Software enters the Web 2.0 world with Clearspace X, a solution that helps companies develop public communities for consumers, tightening the relationship between company and customer. 7 Essential Customer Service Processes A new study by Gartner identifies the top priorities for any business trying to improve its customer service.
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