Get Satisfaction raises $6 million, plots social CRM expansion

Summary:Community platform company Get Satisfaction has raised $6 million in funding, expanded its management team and launched plans to expand to take on the enterprise social CRM field.

Community platform company Get Satisfaction has raised $6 million in funding, expanded its management team and launched plans to expand to take on the enterprise social CRM field.

Get Satisfaction, which is undergoing a bit of a rebranding, plays in the competitive---and very fragmented---social business software space. Lithium would be Get Satisfaction's biggest rival. Jive Software would probably be more of a partner than foe. Salesforce.com would also fall more in the partner category for Get Satisfaction.

The company, which was founded in 2007 and has 21 employees, essentially provides hosted communities for enterprise customers. Thus far, there are 42,000 Get Satisfaction community. Get Satisfaction provides communities for Procter & Gamble's Tide brand, Intuit's Mint, a Microsoft unit, Zappos and other companies. Half of the company's revenue is enterprise with the remainder being self-serve direct Web sales.

In many respects, Get Satisfaction's service is an on-ramp to CRM, help desk and ticket systems. The goal for Get Satisfaction is to cultivate customers, keep them happy and cut customer service costs. In the Get Satisfaction set-up, community moderators serve as a proxy for customer service reps. These communities also provide a continuous product feedback loop. For instance, Mint garnered 50,000 product ideas via Get Satisfaction, which helped the Intuit unit cut help desk costs by 70 percent.

SAP veteran Jeff Nolan, recently named vice president of product marketing at Get Satisfaction, detailed Get Satisfaction's various revenue models. On the surface, Get Satisfaction is a freemium model where you can start a community and then add services. Web direct plans range from $19 a month to $289 a month. Get Satisfaction's enterprise services include service level agreements, whitelabel service and more support under an annual contract. "We're going to market with five pricing plans, 4 self-serve and 1 enterprise," said Nolan.

In addition, Get Satisfaction will launch a private community product, which should appeal to enterprises.

With its new funding, Get Satisfaction plans to expand its sales partnerships and distribution. To that end, the company also named Tony Pribyl, director of strategic partnerships.

So what's next? Get Satisfaction could garner from real traction with hosted communities, especially if it can bring along a few return on investment cases from Mint. Overall, partnerships, notably with the likes of Salesforce.com and Jive, could drive sales as Get Satisfaction adds value to those companies' offerings. On another level, Get Satisfaction is an interesting experiment. Can an enterprise software company scale with relatively few employees? Most enterprise software companies would get funding and run out and hire 150 sales people.

In the long run, Get Satisfaction has the chops to be included in Gartner's magic quadrant. Gartner in June released its social CRM magic quadrant and it could be easily debated. For starters, Gartner's quadrant has companies that aren't exactly purely social CRM. Meanwhile, Gartner ranks Salesforce.com relatively low on the execution scale---something that's a bit comical given the launch of Chatter. In any case, Gartner documents a muddled field. Don't be surprised if Get Satisfaction is included in the next quadrant update.

Topics: Enterprise Software, Banking, CXO, IT Priorities, Software

About

Larry Dignan is Editor in Chief of ZDNet and SmartPlanet as well as Editorial Director of ZDNet's sister site TechRepublic. He was most recently Executive Editor of News and Blogs at ZDNet. Prior to that he was executive news editor at eWeek and news editor at Baseline. He also served as the East Coast news editor and finance editor at CN... Full Bio

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