In January 2011, McDonald's sponsored the hashtag #McDStories, asking users to tweet in about positive dining experiences at its restaurants. Instead, social media users joked about obesity and dog food. In the wake of it, the burger company pulled the campaign within two hours, but users were still tweeting the abandoned hashtag a week after it was removed. It is one of the many examples of a social media disaster.
When Ragy Thomas observed the difficulty of corporate houses and a series of such corporate crises on social media, he realised the tremendous power of the connected, empowered consumer. Today, business communication is no more a one-way line but is a two-way street. Consumers can engage directly with brands, and more importantly, with one another. Brands no longer have control over their voice and image; instead, a brand is made up of everything everyone else is saying about it.
In his observation, Ragy saw a fundamental gap in the way enterprises were trying to manage this new class of consumer interactions. Without a holistic view of each customer, it was clear to him that businesses would never be able to communicate with their customers in an impactful way. In 2009, he introduced Sprinklr, a New York-headquartered SAAS-based platform that helps employees across the front office come together and engage with customers through one unified platform.
“With this platform, brands can truly know their customers – not as data points, but as people. With deeper, richer context across touchpoints, organisations can seamlessly craft meaningful experiences customers will want to share with others. Our technology is purpose-built to help large enterprises manage social relationships and improve the experiences of their customers,” says Ragy, 43, Founder and CEO of Sprinklr. Prior to Sprinklr, Ragy was the president of Epsilon’s Interactive Services from 2006 to 2008, and the CTO of Bigfoot Interactive, an email marketing leader that Epsilon acquired in 2005.
Ragy says that the company is serving more than half of the Fortune 50 companies. Its 1,000-plus clients list include Dell, Microsoft, Gap, P&G, and others.
Sprinkl raised $5.2 million in Series A round led by Battery Ventures in August 2011. In March 2015, the company raised another round of funding, which valued the company conservatively at $1.17 billion. According to the company, it has just completed its seventh acquisition in 18 months.
Last year, Sprinklr launched several premium modules that complement the product in a powerful way, and allow brands to manage customer experiences all in one place. “For example, Benchmarking allows brands to stay ahead of the competition with a deepened understanding of social performance and analytics across the industry, while Paid Advertising enables brands to simplify ad management and optimise paid budgets seamlessly,” says Ragy.
As we move forward, we’re going to continue to be focussed on serving the needs of our current customers. We aim to expand it globally and are working to deliver the best product possible to every enterprise brand in the world.
Market and competition
According to Gartner research, 89 per cent of companies now compete mostly on customer experience. Another report by Forrester says that 57 per cent of executives aim to use customer experience as a competitive differentiator in their industry.
In this space, Oracle Social Cloud, Adobe Social, and Salesforce are the other similar platforms that help companies manage and scale your relationship with customers on social media channels.
According to Ragy, the world has changed in profound ways over the last 20 years. The Internet, mobile connectivity, and the advent of social media have all confounded to give people more power, access to more information instantaneously, and the ability to engage directly with large businesses. However, large organisations continue to struggle to adapt to this major shift. Sprinklr’s or similar kind of technology enables brands to confront this challenge by connecting departmental divisions and providing holistic views of each individual consumer.