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September 25, 2010

Parature Helps 25 New Customers Turn Facebook Into an Effective Marketing Channel

By Tracey E. Schelmetic, TMCnet Contributor

Facebook (News - Alert): it's something your kids use regularly to keep in touch with friends, and something you use from time to time to rib your old college friends about their golf games. It's beneath your notice beyond that, right?

Wrong. Facebook is now the Internet's top destination for Web users, beyond Yahoo and all of Google's (News - Alert) sites. Americans in all age groups spent over 41 million minutes on Facebook last month alone. If you run a business and you ignore Facebook, it's possibly at the peril of your business' health. If you find that the prospect of trying to figure out how to connect your business to the world's largest social networking site makes you break out in a cold sweat, you're probably not alone. Luckily, there are solutions that will help you navigate the unfamiliar water.

On-demand customer support software provider Parature, which introduced a customer service application for Facebook support in the spring, this week announced that more than 25 companies have purchased Parature (News - Alert) for Facebook, a customer service and support application that enables direct customer engagement through Facebook, in the first 30 days of the product’s general availability.

Parature for Facebook can help companies effectively use Facebook to accomplish a number of tasks. For starters, it allows companies to monitor their Facebook wall conversations, posts and comments in real time and automatically route, respond to and report on those interactions; it also helps companies respond directly to the community with public or private answers. It lets “fans” of a company share answers with their friends, capturing those interactions in the company's central customer support database.

In addition, it facilitates direct engagement with customers via Facebook's chat function, and offers self-service capabilities that help customers find answers to their own questions in a knowledge base, saving contact center time and money. Integrated with Parature’s customer service software suite, organizations can gain a 360 degree view of customer and prospect communications from every channel including Facebook, phone, Web, mobile, Twitter and others.

Parature customers using the Parature for Facebook application span a variety of industries, including Internet and traditional retailers, higher education, government, telecommunications, media, non-profit organizations and gaming industries. Among the first 25 Parature for Facebook customers are language learning software company Rosetta Stone; e-learning tool provider SoftChalk (News - Alert); e-mail marketing software company Delivra; independent game studio Meteor Games; and Yoostar. Additional customers include recognized brands in retail and gaming, which Parature plans to announce shortly, as well as one of the largest U.S. federal agencies, and several state and private universities and colleges.

“We’re seeing tremendous market interest in Parature for Facebook since our announcement in May, not just from existing Parature customers, but from new companies who want to implement a full suite of online customer service channels,” said Parature CEO, Tim Davenport. “Due to the blistering pace of social media adoption by consumers, we believe the ability to connect with customers for service via social media will be a must-have in very short order. We’re very proud to be first to market with a proven solution.”

Tracey Schelmetic is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of Tracey's articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Patrick Barnard

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