Social media platforms are where people go to get information and help from (and sometimes to complain about) the brands they do business with. Until recently, the designers of social engagement tools have primarily focused on marketing functions, not customer service or the increasing demand for support. HelpSocial, a Rackspace Startup Program member founded by two former Rackers, hopes to change that with its social engagement platform built specifically to provide customer service on social networks such as Twitter and Facebook.
Businesses realize how critical social customer service is, but often struggle to find the right tools for the job, explains HelpSocial CEO and co-founder Matt Wilbanks.
“We created HelpSocial to solve this problem,” Wilbanks says. “It all started on the Rackspace Social Media Team when we were trying to figure out how to keep track of who our customers were in Twitter, who we had worked with in the past and how to keep our team from doubling up on repeated support replies with same customer.”
From there, the startup was ready to execute on its social customer service application, adds HelpSocial CTO and co-founder Rob Collazo.
“The beta version of HelpSocial started on a few Cloud Servers that were run by the Rackspace Social Media team,” points out Collazo. “The app was built in a live production environment that the support team was using at the same time. Someone would say, ‘Wouldn’t it be awesome if we could do this…?’ or ‘I really wish we could see this info when a customer tweets….,’ so we built the platform feature by feature, solving for the unique pain points a social customer service team experiences.”
Wilbanks says he and Collazo, as former Rackers, recognize the value of the Startup Program and the Rackspace Managed Cloud.
“Who else is set up to provide a fully managed cloud service with an industry leading platform and performance?” Wilbanks says. “Being Rackers, we’re a little biased. As an early stage startup, we’re in survival mode and every cent we raise and bring in through revenue is precious. The Rackspace Startup Program frees up some of that capital so we can use it early on to get other pieces of the business moving.”
According to Wilbanks, HelpSocial is setting up shop at Geekdom in downtown San Antonio as is growing out its team.
“We’re finishing our first funding round, have customers up and running and are on-boarding more from our waiting list,” Wilbanks notes. “We’re building our team out and hiring for key development and sales positions.”
Collazo and Wilbanks bring a wealth of experience in social customer service to HelpSocial and are confident that that expertise will drive the startup to success.
“Rob and I have been doing social customer service since the practice existed,” concludes Wilbanks. “We know what it’s like to do the job without the right tools – it sucks. From the beginning, our strategy was ‘Be Helpful.’ That same strategy continues now with our desire to help other businesses deliver effective world-class customer service in social media. If our traction up to this point is any indicator, we’ll see our customer base growing very quickly.”