Sprinklr Sets Off to Cut Down Noise in Social Media Monitoring

5/13/14Follow @jpruth

There is plenty of chatter about brands on social media these days; figuring out how to use that information can be tricky, though.

Whether it is the outrage of a disgruntled customer or the praise of a happy one, people are not squeamish about speaking their minds online about companies. Sprinklr, based in New York, has developed software that helps large brands capture and better understand what people publicly say about them—and match that with direct interactions with the companies.

CEO and founder Ragy Thomas says Sprinklr’s software lets brands coordinate the handling of customers regardless of which departments are involved. For example, the software can keep a record of the experiences a customer has with a sales department and then make those details available to that company’s customer service staff. That can also include the customer’s mentions of the brand, positive or negative, in social media. “That’s what the new world demands,” Thomas says. “You can’t isolate sales from marketing, customer care, and investor relations.”

Social media monitoring is itself a very noisy sector, but Sprinklr is growing and distinguishing itself. In February, the startup acquired social analytics company Dachis Group in Austin, TX. And at the end of April, Sprinklr said it raised $40 million in a Series D round led by ICONIQ Capital, with participation from Battery Ventures and Intel Capital. That funding will go towards market growth, product development, and expansion, Thomas says, which includes hiring at its offices in Austin, Delhi, Bangalore, Kiev, and New York. Last month, Sprinklr also released software for planning, running, and measuring paid social media such as ads on Facebook and promoted tweets on Twitter.

Thomas says Sprinklr typically serves Fortune 1000 companies, such as Intel, Dell, Samsung, Cisco, and General Motors, that have presences around the world and broad needs of social media. Companies at that size, he says, have many product lines that are available in multiple countries. Each of those product lines may have different teams for sales, marketing, and customer care.

Managing social media for large-scale operations calls for robust technology, he says. That can lead to enterprises using different software to handle specific functions, such as content planning, social analytics, and benchmarking. All that information can get lumped into a digital morass, Thomas says, with data about each customer not matching across departments. Sprinklr brings together many functions into one platform, he says.

“Every time anyone talks to a consumer, the system is automatically collapsing that information into a profile,” Thomas says. That way a person complaining about a brand via Twitter will be recognized when that brand’s marketing person communicates with them on Facebook.

All this may sound a bit familiar; Thomas acknowledges there are many rival software offerings. Synthesio in New York, for example, developed a platform for enterprises to monitor their brand reputation across social networks. And then there is HootSuite of Vancouver, BC, whose software is used by brands for managing social media, tracking mentions, and measuring traffic.

Free software is available for keeping track of a few mentions per month on social media, Thomas says, but that might not be suitable for large brands that see millions of mentions. Furthermore, as more social media channels emerge, it can be hard to capture what is being said publicly across new networks. Sprinklr’s software can normalize information from those disparate sources, Thomas says, whether it is a “Like” on Facebook or “retweets” on Twitter, for brands to understand more easily.

Prior to founding Sprinklr in 2009, Thomas worked in the startup scene as chief technology officer for e-mail marketing company Advaya. He remained onboard when it was acquired in 2001 by Bigfoot Interactive. In 2005, Epsilon acquired Bigfoot Interactive and Thomas went on to become president of the interactive services group at Epsilon.

Thomas believes platforms such as Sprinklr will become the infrastructure companies rely on to manage customer experiences across different channels. As consumer voices grow stronger on social media, he believes businesses must meet them on their turf—or risk letting negative comments damage their brands.

“This is the kind of stuff we talked about in the 1980s when CRM [customer relationship management] and ERP [enterprise resource planning] were coming around,” Thomas says. “Finally the time has come.”

João-Pierre S. Ruth is the editor of Xconomy New York. He can be reached at jpruth@xconomy.com and followed on Twitter @jpruth. Follow @jpruth

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