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How To Add A New Layer of Value to Your Startup: Check Out the Social Customer Service App Built On The Rackspace Managed Cloud

A great idea or product is a great thing to have, but it can be even greater with the right approach to customers
Customer service agent. She's smiling, but what about the customer? (Photo credit: Courtesy)
Customer service agent. She's smiling, but what about the customer? (Photo credit: Courtesy)

I am now starting my eighth of an initial twelve-week journey of a mission to #BeHelpful to the startup community in Israel. Being sponsored by the Rackspace Startup Program, I’m primarily focused on helping startups in areas of startup PR and strategic communications strategies.


In these initial two months, I have conducted multiple one-one-one mentoring sessions at most of the accelerator and co-working spaces in the country, speaking at events, attending many meetups and conferences, engaging on the social web and of course, sharing my observations here in my columns.

When people here in Israel ask me what Rackspace does, I explain that they are really a service delivery company that happens to offer this pretty cool thing called “hosting.”

Hosting comes in lots of flavors like public cloud, private cloud, and managed cloud.   I’m often challenged on technology issues and questions, which I am very clear that I am not a “technologist,” in the literal sense and in turn can hand off any questions to the technical support team and the many talented and knowledgeable Cloud Architects who can step in and help.

One thing I do know and have now seen in action having been here and having on-boarded multiple startups who are joining the Rackspace Startup Program, is that deep in its cultural DNA, Rackspace is focused on something they call Fanatical Support®.

Screen Shot 2014-12-21 at 11.13.12 PMBeyond the credits, you get to engage with a human who really cares about your startup and wants you to succeed.   I’m getting feedback from the startups who have signed up telling me that they are getting a totally different customer experience – one based on a high level of customer service and, yes, well… love.

Now About That Customer Service Thing

Shortly before leaving for Israel, I had a chance to meet and hear HelpSocial CEO, Matt Wilbanks give a talk at 1,000,000 Cups in San Antonio and his story of how his company was born and spun off out of Rackspace.

The idea behind HelpSocial was born from a need to support Rackspace customers who used the social web – and primarily twitter – as a means of outreach to the Rackspace support team.   While Facebook  is huge here in Israel, twitter is not that widespread.

Having tried many social engagement tools, the Rackspace social media team discovered there were very few options built for customer service in social media – most were only built for marketing purposes. With no real platform to support this social approach to helping customers, the team built their own Social Customer Service app, which came to be known as HelpSocial.

Now being a stand-alone company, HelpSocial has made its social platform available for use and can help your startup integrate social customer service as an added layer of value to your brand.

Adding the layer of providing real time social customer service can be a huge differentiator. As hard as it is to acquire new customers, once you have them, you’ll want to be there to help them, to listen, and when needed get the right person at your end to respond.

They are offering their social monitoring tool and API so you can integrate social help into your startup and step things up a bit. Social is becoming more and more a mainstream channel of communication.   If you’re based in Israel, have part of your team in Europe, the U.S. or Asia, you can easily glue your whole startup team, connect data sets, win new sales and reduce customer churn.

I’d like to see more startups in Israel step up their game a bit.

Beyond the cool and disruptive technology you might be building, don’t forget that at the end of day, you are building and scaling a business based on the foundation of customers.   It’s not just about numbers. It’s also about engagement and loyalty.

So this is your chance to do some re-thinking about what you want your startup to be in 2015.

Do a slight re-set with your team.

Think about introducing #CustServ into the fabric of your brand with a little help from HelpSocial.

Related Story:   From the Rackspace Blog: Rackspace Startup Program Spotlight on HelpSocial: A Customer Service App Built on The Rackspace Cloud











About the Author
Alan Weinkrantz is a Tech PR / Startup Communications advisor to Israeli and U.S. companies, and is the Brand Ambassador and Senior Advisor for James Brehm & Associates, one of the leading IoT (Internet of Things) strategy and consulting firms.
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