Facebook Inc. has acquired Kustomer Inc., a New York-based software company that helps businesses manage customer conversations from multiple services on one dashboard.
The deal was valued at more than $1 billion, said a person familiar with the deal who asked not to be identified because the terms were private.
The social media giant made the deal to bolster efforts to monetize its messaging business, which is expanding to include customer-service products that help companies interact with people via chat apps, like WhatsApp and Messenger.
“Any business knows that when the phone rings, they need to answer it. Increasingly, texts and messages have become just as important as that phone call — and businesses need to adapt,” Facebook executives wrote in a blog post. Kustomer also offers automated tools so companies can handle easier customer requests using bots.
Facebook has made customer service a central part of its business strategy on WhatsApp, the world’s most popular messaging service. It has signed deals with commerce-related businesses in India and Indonesia, and is working on a payments feature to launch in key markets such as Brazil. The hope is that businesses will one day use WhatsApp as their de facto website, allowing customers to browse their product catalogs, make purchases and interact directly with the companies for customer service needs all inside the app.