Customer engagement is the new growth engine

Nearly a decade ago, the idea of Freshworks was born out of a bad customer support experience that Girish Mathrubootham, our CEO and founder, faced. He’d just moved back to India and shipped some household items including a television set that broke on its way. 

After talking to the shipping company for days, he decided to talk about it on an online forum. It quickly blew up and top executives from the shipping company had to intervene. The money was in the bank the next day. These were rare instances back in 2009. 

Cut to 2019 and you’ll see that customers are increasingly talking about their experiences online. Sometimes all it takes is for a negative post on social media to go viral and the brand, built over the years, takes a beating. 

It can be overwhelming for companies to handle this explosion of customer interaction across platforms, and could even be the death knell for a company. Nearly 70% of customers will leave your company for good if they have just one bad experience. 

How can companies tackle this, and win customers for life? 

“It all boils down to four key aspects: having context about your customer, being able to handle their concerns wherever they are, collaborating within teams, and proactively engaging with them to win customers for life,” said Girish on Wednesday, at our user conference Refresh 19 in Las Vegas. 

At the conference where nearly 600 people, including our customers, partners, and investors attended, Girish unpacked the four trends that serve as the foundation for a well-rounded customer experience that helps companies acquire customers for life. At Freshworks, we categorise the four trends as contextual engagement, anywhere engagement, collaborative engagement, and predictive engagement. 

Anywhere engagement and contextual engagement are about engaging with customers wherever they are, be it on social media, email, chat, or on the phone. They involve understanding customers across different channels like marketing, sales, and support. Having context across platforms and channels is incredibly powerful.

To that end, Freshworks 360 unifies a customer’s information across channels, to create what is called a ‘Master Customer Record’. 

Now when you’re talking to a customer, you know everything—ranging from the first time contact was established with the customer to the last interaction, whether it was to provide support for an issue or sell a membership to a happy customer. The Freshworks 360 suite, an industry first, now also packs in modules that help you with customer success. With our reporting tools built into the suite, you can also tell the health of customers both company-wide and at an individual level.

During his keynote, Girish also announced the launch of Freshsuccess, our customer success management software. Freshsuccess integrates with the Freshworks 360 suite to give users a view of past customer behavior, create customer health scores, and improve retention rates. 

Seamlessly integrate Customer Success with the entire Customer Engagement suite

Collaborative engagement is simply the ability to bring teams closer to address customers. Say a customer lost their phone on a visit to your office. The support team will probably need to work with the facilities staff and maybe even the IT department to be able to track the phone down. Freshconnect, our collaboration tool, will seamlessly pass on the information from support to IT to facilities without each department having to repeat themselves. 

The fourth big trend in customer engagement is really the megatrend here. “If software was eating the world a few years ago, it won’t be off to say that AI is eating software now,” said Girish. With artificial intelligence, not only can companies help customers better but also faster. 

The evolution of AI in customer engagement

With Freddy, our artificial intelligence platform, organizations can address repetitive customer queries without having to waste human resources on it. The platform is designed to take on the load of repetitive, mundane tasks so that support executives can take on the more critical problems. At the same time, when a query is beyond its scope, Freddy does a graceful handover to a human agent. Within our solutions for sales and human resources management, our AI can tell if a lead is more promising or if a candidate is better suited for a role. 

With our commitment to helping each of our customers to create “customers for life” of their own, we’ve constantly pushed to make good business software great.

What else happened on day 1 at Refresh 19? 

After the keynote, and a an interview with our special guest, NBA legend Shaquille O’Neal, attendees went to check our demo booths and also participated in our workshops and hands-on sessions. They also had some fun with Yoga and Bollywood dance. 

We had sessions on a variety of topics including how to make the most of chatbots, optimizing processes to better manage incidents, the growing shift to the software-as-a-service model, how we scaled our self-service experience, and how AI can impact businesses.

But what’s a conference without a party, right? We ended the day with a party at Topgolf, an upscale entertainment destination in Vegas.

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