Refresh 19 : Unveiling the future of customer engagement
Amid cheers from an energetic crowd of over 500 people gathered at Tobacco Dock in London, Freshworks kicked off the latest edition of its annual global user conference Refresh 19.
Getting the ball rolling for two days of discussions around the theme of this year’s conference ‘Experience Matters’, Girish Mathrubootham, our founder and CEO, spoke about why customer experience matters and what Freshworks is doing to win customers for life, and help our customers win customers for life.
The world of SaaS is undergoing a transformation. It is getting harder for businesses to stand out from the competition with only their product features or pricing, and what tilts the balance towards you will be the kind of experience you provide, and how you make your customers feel.
“Last year, in New York, we had a similar two-day conference, Refresh 18, and I want to share something I learnt there,” Girish said. “During the course of the two days, many customers came and spoke to me and told me how happy they were about receiving support from our team. Some of them even called out names of people they enjoyed working with. When I heard such stories multiple times, I realized that we have built a culture of customer support where we will be there for our customers,” he said. “At the end of day 2, I told customers at the conference there – don’t think of Freshworks as your vendor or your partner, think of us as your friend.”
“And today, I’m saying this to you all at the beginning of this year’s conference. We want to be your friend. That’s my promise. We’re not here just to make money. We’re here as a friend for good times and bad times,” Girish said, unveiling and announcing Freshworks’ new brand promise and brand identity.
Over the last nine years Girish has always emphasized the importance of making our customer go ‘wow’ at our service, and on helping teams deliver such moments of wow to their customers. We firmly believe that only businesses that consistently deliver these moments win customers for life.
And how are we as a company doing this? What are we investing in to ensure that we make the best customer-for-life software? Girish took the audience through the key trends that are redefining customer engagement.
The first is the concept of customer 360. This brings together data and information from multiple silos, and stitches them together to present a holistic view of the entire lifecycle of the customer.
“The reality of business today is that it is fragmented. Companies are using marketing software to acquire customers, and all the data resides inside the software. Then your salespeople are using sales software. It is the same customer but his marketing data is in one database and sales data is in another. Then once he becomes a customer, you have the support software and all the data is in another database. The customer is siloed. If we want to really bring together the customer 360 vision, it has to start with a unified product vision,” Girish said.
Freshworks is fixing this by creating a master customer record for the customer.
“What we are doing as we speak, is moving data to a master customer record across all products and we can construct a 360 degree view. This is just the beginning of taking customer experience to a whole new level,” Girish said. “If we can help you know more about your customer, you’ll be able to use the data signals to identify opportunities to better serve your customers.”
The second trend Girish drew out was collaboration between multiple customer support professionals working together to solve a customer’s problem.
“When you are in customer engagement, it is not the job of the support person alone to take care of the problem. Collaboration becomes key. However, most software was built assuming it is only the support team that works on this. We’ve seen many successful tools but the problem is that context resides in a different place and collaboration happens without context. That’s what we are attempting to solve with Freshconnect,” Girish said. With the collaboration tool from Freshworks, you don’t have to repeat the customer context with the person you are collaborating with. The context flows automatically, enabling multiple support executives to work together and solve the customer’s problem.
Making all of this easier, and more efficient, is artificial intelligence.
“There has been a lot of talk about AI and ML. We believe that there is a tremendous opportunity in AI. Progress is being made to automate entire business processes,” Girish said, moving on to talk about how Freshworks is adopting AI to make customer experience better.
“We have Freddy, our AI-driven omnibot, that makes life better for customers, agents, and managers.”
Using a hypothetical story of a family planning a visit to a zoo on a Saturday morning, Girish, and Freshworks CMO David Thomson demonstrated to the attendees how the Freddy bot that the zoo uses helps the family plan their day to the zoo, and also seek help when they run into trouble during the day.
Girish showed the audience how Freddy doesn’t stop with just giving the information the family asked for, but went the extra mile. For instance, when Freddy was asked what time the zoo opens, Freddy didn’t just provide them with the timings but also helped them purchase tickets for their visit.
“We’ve been trained to look at things in silos. Why would anyone just ask for information about zoo timings on a Saturday morning? You could throw a business workflow bot into Freddy. Think about the intent. That’s a great example of the future of customer engagement,” Girish said.
With features like this, Girish showed the audience how the zoo was able to wow the family and win them as a customer for life, and how Freshworks’ products enable them to do this.
Our loyal canine Freddy, man’s best friend, is now your best friend and he espouses everything we stand for. This quality of being as helpful as a friend would be is in the core of every product we build and every service we provide. With a 360 view on redefining the customer experience, Girish has certainly kicked Refresh 19 off with a flourish, and left all of us here at London eager for what’s to come over the next two days.
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