HelpSocial has launched a new social platform designed to enable companies to provide better customer care. It enables companies to monitor social media channels in real-time and make sure that individual business teams across an enterprise have access to the social data they need to sell to and support their customers.
Using the HelpSocial API, companies can add social functions to their existing software tools. Intended to support enterprises large and small, the API gives businesses the ability to determine which functions and social data sets are needed on a team-by-team basis. For instance, the API can be employed to deliver individual social conversations of relevance to a sales or support team, while aggregated analytics and trend data are delivered to a product team.
HelpSocial is a Rackspace spin-off and its technology was used by Rackspace for three years to power its customer care efforts on social networks. The HelpSocial website explains some of the ways that the company's API can be used to make social work within an organization. For example:
The social media team may be the first place where a customer is engaged but the specialist needed to solve the issue might be in the support center, using a different tool-set.
The support center tool can check to see if any tweets have been assigned to the agent. The agent then replies to the customer from their support tool. Both teams can work together in realtime, from different tools, quickly solving the customer issue.
According to HelpSocial's CEO, Matt Wilbanks, use cases like this are typical. "We've discussed social goals and plans with companies all of over the world from startups to major enterprises. They all talk about social eventually becoming another mainstream channel of communication for their companies," he explained in a press release. "The problem is that they can't afford the disruption associated with converting the entire organization to a new software ecosystem and they haven't found a tool that can scale across their diverse list of applications. The HelpSocial platform is built exactly for this problem."
APIs as glue
Wilbanks' comments demonstrate why APIs are increasingly becoming the glue that binds a company. One-size-fits-all platforms often look good on paper, but even the smallest and most flexible of companies often have diverse groups of stakeholders and existing systems and processes that they've invested heavily in. That means platforms that try to be all things to all customers are frequently too rigid to be viable.
API-based offerings, however, which allow new functionality to be added to existing systems and can be integrated in any number of ways, are increasingly far more attractive and more and more companies are acquiring the technical resources and know-how to put APIs to use within their organizations. As such, it's no surprise that upstart platform companies like HelpSocial are launching with robust APIs to ensure that they can meet the needs of potential customers and win them over without asking that they completely retool and change their processes.