Lithium goes mobile, brings customer service back to customers

Sales software company Lithium Technologies was on a roll through the second half of 2009. With accounts like Playstation, Dell, AT&T and PayPal, Lithium is clearly a big league player less than three years after its first round of funding. On December 31 we announced that Lithium had taken an $18 million third round of financing. Now, Lithium has another component set to help it tear up social CRM: Lithium Mobile.

The company operates in what they describe as the social customer relationship management space. Basically, Lithium is in the business of building two-way relationships with customers over media like internet forums to provide product support. Lithium builds customer support web sites and manages content to alleviate trolls, flamers and other inappropriate behavior. The result is a sort of crowd sourcing of tech support.

The customer company, AT&T for instance, can then browse the most common problems and write up the fixes or integrate them in to the next model or software version. This saves the client substantial amounts of money and provides the customer better service, according to Lithium. Personally, I’m in favor of anything that gets customer service back to North America. With Lithium Mobile, announced in October and just released at the end of Q4 2009, Lithium has developed a site design for their customers that brings full service to a variety of mobile devices.

In fact, Lithium Mobile detects which handset you are using and reshapes itself for optimal performance. Many companies are proving interested in this unique take on customer service apps for mobile. Chief executive Lyle Fong comments, “We had formed a Lithium Mobile Advisory Committee comprised of existing customers such as Research In Motion Limited (RIM), T-Mobile, Verizon, Univision, Palm, Nokia, and AT&T to make sure we built something that would lead the market… We already have many, many deals in the pipeline…”

With regards to speculation about further funding, Lithium execs are coy. Asked about another $5 million in possible funding, Fong notes “We’’re not in the middle of a formal process as we have closed the round [the recent C series funding], but have not ruled out anything.”” He elaborates that Lithium didn’t need the series C to begin with. According to him, Lithium was doing so well that the company was driving smaller firms out of business.

In the interest of pressing the advantage and seizing as many opportunities as possible, though, Lithium decided to take on additional capital. In Fong’s words, “this space is just phenomenal – every company on the web needs some way to manage social media. As we are in the leader position… we wanted to distance ourselves even further.”

As we watch in 2010, we’ll be reporting on how this effort plays out.


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