We’ve just gotten our first look at Assistly, a new startup that’s looking to provide businesses with a robust platform for engaging customers on everything from Email to Facebook and Twitter. We first caught wind of Assistly back in October when its founding members left AOL in tandem, but until now the company remained firmly in stealth. Today it’s launching a new ‘sneak preview’ version of its site at Assistly.com, and they’ve given us a handful of screenshots to showcase some of the features we can expect. The company is also announcing that Mark Cuban and David Liu are officially coming on as advisors.
CEO Alex Bard says that Assistly looking to capitalize on some key trends: first, that more and more businesses are establishing themselves on the web, and that consumers now have louder voices than ever with their presences on Twitter, Facebook, and blogs which makes customer service more important than ever. Bard says that existing customer service solutions are either old and difficult to use, or are new and easier to manage but lack much depth. Bard says that Assistly is looking to provide a platform that combines the best of both worlds, offering a robust customer service with self-service ease of use. You can see some of the upcoming features, including engaging with a customer on Twitter and managing multiple customer service tickets, in the screenshots below.
We still have’t gotten a chance to try out Assistly for ourselves, but the team behind it is enough to make us optimistic about its potential. The site was founded by Alex Bard, Gary Benitt, Jeremy Suriel, and Brad Birnbaum, each of whom previously worked together in building customer service-based companies back in the 90’s. The first, called eShare, was acquired in 1999; the second, called eAssist Global Solutions, was eventually acquired in 2004 after stumbling through the dot com bubble burst. Following the eAssist acquisition three of the team members left the space to start Goowy, a Flash widget maker that later sold to AOL. Now all four are reuniting as they return to the customer service space.
Bard says that Assistly is targeting an early 2010 public launch.
Other startups looking to help businesses interact with customers via social media include BuzzGain, PeopleBrowsr, Viralheat, and Scout Lab.