Lithium & Spredfast Merge to Drive Brand Loyalty & Trust
A few months ago, we covered the release of Lithium Technologies' new platform called Lithium Messaging, which connects their customers through a digital conversation channel. The platform gives brands the opportunity to connect with customers by channels that a consumer would use to interact with their friends and family.
Well, as if that release wasn’t exciting enough, Lithium just announced last week they have merged with Spredfast, a digital customer engagement platform for global enterprises.
Spredfast, based in Austin Texas, works with over 800 global brands, media companies and agencies to help those companies strengthen their brand by utilizing their social media presence in order to help grow their businesses.
By combining the two platforms, the merge “will enable businesses to engage with their customers in the customer's preferred channels across the entire customer journey, giving brands the ability to generate and retain more profitable revenue.
Lithium's expertise in customer care combined with Spredfast's leadership in social marketing creates the industry's most unique and complete platform.”
Together, Lithium and Spredfast will offer:
- A single platform to connect, manage and interact across all of a company's owned brand channels, including brand communities and social media
- Deep insights and analytics across the entire customer journey
- A combined 20+ years of award-winning solutions and industry best practices
Hot on the heels of this partnership, I was fortunate enough to connect with Pete Hess, CEO of Lithium Technologies and Rod Favaron, CEO of Spredfast to hear more about the merger, their thoughts on digital customer engagement, social marketing and how businesses can use the customer journey to improve customer experience. Check out my exclusive CMSC interviews below.
Lithium CEO Discusses Building Customer Loyalty to Increase Customer Engagement
Why was partnering with Spredfast and Vista Equity Partners a good fit?
"Merging with Spredfast is a major step in fulfilling Vista and Lithium’s vision to build an end-to-end customer engagement platform - one that is enterprise-grade and transcends care and marketing silos to more comprehensively meet the needs of global brands. Lithium and Spredfast are the category creators across branded communities, social marketing and social care – so the merger will position us as the clear market leader for digital customer engagement."
In the press release you mention "Brands focus on improving the trust they earn with their customers. Their success depends on world-class digital engagement, and the merger of Lithium and Spredfast will provide them with the best platform to earn that trust and help grow their business.” What is the most effective way that companies can earn trust with their customers?
"Well, developing trust in any relationship requires reliability, competence, sincerity, and strong communication. These are the same basics expected out of digital customer care and marketing. The trouble is that these typically degrade at scale. Your customer wants to feel like you’re listening and that you care. With the powerhouse platform that Lithium and Spredfast will offer, brands can make interactions with customers more meaningful.
The most effective way a brand will earn trust and build loyalty is to be on their customers’ channel of choice with a fast and authentic response. And, today, that channel could be a social media site, a brand’s community page, any number of messaging apps, or traditional customer care channels, such as web chat. Brands have to be everywhere their customers are to continue to build trust.
The real superstars are the brands that go beyond the bare minimums for customer experience by surprising and delighting customers. By utilizing the tools available, a simple gesture that shows you’ve been listening go a long way."
With your vast knowledge in digital customer engagement, what would you say are some of the biggest challenges businesses are facing right now in that regard?
"Customer preferences for connecting with brands have dramatically shifted to digital-first experiences and quick, personalized responses are an absolute must. Brands have really struggled to build an integrated, responsive, and secure method to meet customers where they are, in their moment of need.
Secondly, businesses are now forced to look across all their customer touch points – whether that’s marketing, customer care or community spaces – and deliver exceptional, frictionless customer experiences or they risk losing a customer for good. So, the stakes are high and brands are seeking a partner for an end-to-end customer engagement platform that our combined entity, Lithium and Spredfast, will be uniquely positioned to offer."
Social Media Marketing and Customer Engagement With Spredfast CEO
In the press release you state “No other company will offer the unparalleled industry and technology expertise to reimagine how businesses think about customer engagement.” Can you go into a bit more detail in terms of the value or expertise that the mergers of Spredfast and Lithium now offer?
"It’s simple – Lithium and Spredfast will create the industry’s most powerful platform for customer engagement. With more than 20 years of combined expertise, we’ve got the highest standards for our products and our people that exist on the market. Both Lithium and Spredfast are pioneers – we’re the category creators of branded communities, social marketing and social care. We’re stronger together, and we are positioned to be the clear market leader in customer engagement.
And combined, we’re operating a scale that is unmatched with a community of 2,000+ brands. We manage over 1 billion connections between people and businesses and analyze 500M consumer touch points per day.
The value of the combined entity is a huge win for our customers. The united interface will offer one view of the customer, one engagement interface, and one way to measure results."
With Spredfast’s knowledge and leadership in social marketing, what are some social marketing trends that you think will dominate in the years to come?
"Businesses will stop looking at the marketing bucket in its own silo. In fact, we’re already seeing the delineation between marketing and customer care. Brands will instead be thinking of trends impacting the customer experience and what tactical elements along the journey can be shifted or modernized. What you will not see, however, is a trend away from human interaction or the interest in social."
The press release states “Together, the combined platforms will enable businesses to engage with their customers in the customer’s preferred channels across the entire customer journey, giving brands the ability to generate and retain more profitable revenue.” What are some ways that businesses could utilize the customer journey to improve customer experience?
"All throughout the journey, customers are giving you clues into how to serve them better. Whether it’s through their initial research, tapping into the community or further along the journey, customers expect you to leverage this information in thoughtful ways. Consider something as simple as planning a hotel visit. There are so many touchpoints from research, customer service, their stay, post trip and loyal programs. All of these pieces can work together to create a truly personalized experience, that until now have been entirely fragmented."
There was one response to my question that really stuck out in my interview with Pete when he said “The real superstars are the brands that go beyond the bare minimums for customer experience by surprising and delighting customers. By utilizing the tools available, a simple gesture that shows you’ve been listening go a long way.” Which reminded me of a really great article written by one of our contributors Rachel Williams entitled Why Delight is the Right Strategy in Business that made me think of what Pete said. Really understanding what your customer wants and recognizing that can really have an impact on their reaction to your company or brand and in return can lead to a positive word of mouth.
There was an interesting statistic that I came across from Adobe that said “Customers who had an unpleasant experience on your site are 88% less likely to return to your website”, does this hold some truth behind your online user experience? If so, I think it's important for brands to really put themselves in their customers shoes and think about what it is that they want, chances are, your customers are thinking the same thing.