It seems like only a few years ago that Folke Lemaitre and his partner were present at one of our events and asked if they could showcase their new social media platform. Oh, wait, it IS only a few years ago.
I don’t know if you ever organized events but if you haven’t: your mind is everywhere at the same time. Fortunately Folke understood. I remember I asked one of our bloggers to write about it but don’t even remember if he/she did. The social media platform in question was called Engagor. And it still is.
While I had been introducing US-based Spredfast in Belgium and Europe before (2010), I never thought Engagor would go US. But they did in 2013 (mentioned then in an article back then as another Belgian company Selligent went US in the same year, see below here) after having raised 2.6 million USD in a first round, led by Hummingbird Ventures. And then, recently they made a very smart move by going to Dubai. One of the places you want to be and Engagor with its multi-lingual approach could and did that too.
From Ghent to Dubai and beyond
In the years following our first encounter, Belgium-based (Ghent) Engagor would partner with us for some other events and I kept bumping on them at events in other countries. Flashback to CeBIT 2014, Social Business Arena, with SAP’s Sameer Patel and social business expert “par excellence” Dion Hinchcliffe (back then still at Dachis Group but ready to start his new firm). I see a small booth with Belgian chocolates in that Social Business Arena. That must be a Belgian company. I look up: Engagor (and yes, I stole a chocolate and had a quick chat, I’m Belgian).
May 5th, 2015: the Social Customer Service Summit in London where I moderate a small round table: sponsored by Engagor and some of the same people I met at CeBIT. I hear about the launch in Dubai, that Folke has moved to the US a while back (it’s not just the weather that’s better in San Francisco) and the fascinating growth of the company.
After the event we agree that I finally look at the platform but warn it will probably be Summer. And then this on May 21st: US-based Customer Experience Management solution vendor Clarabridge announces it acquires…Engagor.
Customer experience management meets (social) customer service
On top of being very happy for the folks of Engagor and sincerely congratulating them, the little takeaway. Yet another – prominent – player in the field of real-time social customer service and engagement joins a company that essentially is about customer experience management and loyalty.
Quoting Clarabridge CEO Sid Banerjee: “As the market has expanded, leading enterprises are looking for solutions that can bring together customer feedback from all channels into one intelligence hub, and a robust mechanism for intelligently engaging with customers”. And of course for Clarabridge the door to new markets, including Europe, is now open.
Customer service, the contact center, customer experience management, it’s all increasingly connected. The challenges are known, the opportunities are clear, the market is moving as this acquisition again shows.
“Intelligence hub”. It sounds like “relationship hub”, the term Nicola Millard used in our interview about the future of the contact center. An interview at the occasion of the Social Customer Service Summit where I indeed last met Engagor and Nicola “spoke”.
A small indication of the impressive growth of Engagor, launched in 2011: 360 clients in the enterprise space, including Volvo, Ikea, Pepsi and Nintendo.
Congratulations Folke and team. And I’m sure this is far from the end of significant shifts in the social customer service, overall customer service and customer experience management space. The consolidation has not ended with Radian6 becoming part of Salesforce.com in 2011, indeed the year Engagor started. The real consolidation is probably just really coming.
Because as we all know: the customer experience takes center stage. And having an intelligence hub to engage with customers across their preferred channel is essential. Dealing with all the unstructured data and communications in an integrated way is also essential and there we are only in the beginning with artificial intelligence as one of many key technology drivers for the future (and IoT but that’s for another time).