Natalie L. Petouhoff, Ph.D. By Dr. Natalie Petouhoff

It must be in the air… but seems like there are a bunch of announcments this week. Next up? RightNow Technology’s acquisition of HiveLive. So if you were doubting that “social media” is for real or executives in your company are not sure if they should go down this path… I’d say the answer is “YEAH!” and yesterday was not soon enough.

The reality is- whether you realize it or not- your customers are talking about you in the cloud. The “cloud” here means – on blogs, on thirdparty review sites, on Twitter… And you can do the “ostrich” and continue to stick your head in the sand or you can decide to join the revolution. I know I sound a bit fanatical… but the truth is that the concept of what customers think about your company, customer as well as employee feedback is not new. If you remember… We as a nation sent Mr. Deming, as he tried to reach the American Auto Industry years ago, to Japan. And the rest is history!

So do you want to end up like industries that don’t take customer and employee feedback to heart or do you want to take that information and transform your company!?!?

What the Acquisition Means to You

RightNow has had social media on their roadmap for about 5 years. In May 2009, they announced Cloud Monitor (this is a video of how it works) and now they are partnering with HiveLive. In talking to 100 companies and looking at the various platforms, RightNow choose them as part of their strategy.

RightNow’s vision for social is beyond just a community platform. RightNow felt that HiveLive would provide the best broad capabilities for social media. And there were strong similarilities in the technology stack. They also felt it was a great melting of minds, cultures and passion for delivering great customer capabilities and experiences. And they have had hundreds of inquiries just this morning!

Click here for Greg Gianforte, CEO of RightNow’s blog post on social customer interactions.

With the HiveLive platform, companies will be able to easily:

  • Implement prebuilt communities for customer support, engagement and loyalty, and ideation
  • Configure these communities for unique business needs
  • Incorporate forums, blogs, ideation, question and answer dialogues, media sharing and more
  • Integrate customer generated content into the the RightNow Knowledge base.

Jason Mittelstaedt, CMO for Rightnow, told me that ten years ago – when he tried to talk to customer service professionals about email… way back then- he said there were alot of push back and there was alot of non-belief that customers would want to interact via that channel. That’s why they had the phones. The rest is history…

Now he sees the same kind of pushback from some companies on social media. I also see it and had an S.O.S. message from a client- trying to deal with the non-believers within their organization.

The non-believers is why I spent the last 10 months of my life dedicated to studying social media, talking to dozens of companies that not only implemented social media but have solid business results-  in the millions of dollars worth – from cost savings to revenue lifts.

But he and I predict that social media is here to stay and that its business critical- not just for customer interactions, but for brand value, for voice of the customer feedback integration into all aspects of the company- to make it a much better company, for customers to become and stay fans.

Am I fanatical?  Yep! I own that I am just that –about social media. A fan and fanatical.

Congrats to RightNow and HiveLive!

Learn. Share. Grow. follow me on Twitter @drnatalie or email me at