Engagement, Innovation, and a Bucking Bull – The Refresh 18 Flashback

There’s always something in the works at Freshworks (pun intended), and one of the most exciting recent efforts has been Refresh 18 – our first ever global user conference! 

Across 60+ knowledge sharing sessions, 10+ roundtable sessions, and 15+ partner exhibits, more than 450 attendees from over 265 businesses around the world contributed to the successful two-day conference, on 11-12 October 2018.

Held at Grand Hyatt, New York, this user conference was designed to engage with our customers and partners, yes, but the most compelling pull was the invaluable experience of bringing thought leaders, peers, and industry experts under one roof.

For me and for all of us at Freshworks, this wasn’t just about the scale or the numbers. We hold Refresh 18 close to our hearts for altogether more valuable reasons – and it begins with our determination to always deliver what’s best for our customers.

At a foundational level, our collective focus behind this conference was towards one common goal:  The need to engage directly with our customers and help them leverage maximum utilization from our products.

Refresh 18 gave us the opportunity to meet with our customers one-on-one, see the impact our products had on their businesses, and understand their expectations.

To experience our customers’ passion for our products first-hand and learn from them was truly an inspiration for our product evangelists, and a reaffirmation of why we do what we do. 

In Girish Mathrubootham’s (or G, as we fondly call him) affable words, every day and every challenge brings another opportunity to serve our customers better and more efficiently – and this was the driving force behind the Freshworks Customer Engagement Platform, which was introduced at the conference.
“Our products aim to seamlessly work together, to present a holistic platform to engage with the end-user,” said G.

From AI, ML, omnichannel support, CRM, self-service adoption, integration challenges, and more – the amount of knowledge shared was overwhelming. There was a lot of conversation around AI, and rightly so, considering the rapid impact it has on all businesses.

Customers engaging at our user conference
Customer engagement across the globe

As Adam Champy, Senior Product Manager at Google, who leads Interactive AI for Google Cloud, said in his keynote speech – the role and importance of machine learning in enhancing customer experience and conversational AI is upon us – and we are looking at very exciting and innovative times ahead.

Partner booths at our user conference
Partner booths – sharing experiences and learnings

At Refresh 18 though, nothing was more exciting than the little surprise we had rolled up our sleeves that nobody saw coming.

Welcoming Freddy – the Freshworks Omnibot

The Freshworks 360 demo was touted to be the highlight of Day 1, but the surprise was the launch of our very own AI-powered-canine-omnibot – Freddy!

Freddy - the Freshworks omnibot - unveiled at our user conference
Welcome to the world, Freddy!

He was introduced to the world with pomp, fanfare, and a flash mob dance no less! Practically the entire conference room was on its feet, cheering the arrival of this omnibot platform, powering the next era of customer engagement, and delivering WOW experiences to our customers.

What transpired over two days?

With roadmaps, panel discussions, experience centers, roundtable discussions, partner tracks, best practices from industry experts, thought leaders and more, the two days of the user conference gave attendees everything they needed to know about our products and a plan of what’s to come.

Of course, it goes without saying that a futuristic vision and a roadmap cannot be complete without accounting for change. Kate Leggett, VP & Principal Analyst at Forrester, gave us a deep-dive into how customer expectations have changed, how CRM carries the single source of truth about customers, and the impact this has on the SaaS industry.

The stars of any user conference are undoubtedly  – the products! Our products are constantly evolving and we want our customers to know how they can leverage maximum potential from them.

The Freshworks product tracks - at our user conference
Product Tracks – Engaging sessions by industry experts

What added the edge to Refresh 18 were the roundtable discussions. From relevant trends that questioned innovation standards, to debating what can bring out the best from the SaaS industry, the participants actively responded and picked each other’s brains enthusiastically.

Engaging roundtable discussions at our user conference
Discussing, debating and contemplating – Across the roundtables!

As G aptly summarized, Freshworks is looking to be a friend and guide to companies that are looking for the right customer engagement solution.

And this includes riding with our customers atop a mechanical bucking bull in Johnny Utah’s, in a ‘Bollywood meets Texas’ success party. We’ll just let the pictures do the talking here.   

Ending the user conference in style with our closing party!
Hitting Refresh – Freshworks style!

We finished with quite a bang, with the promised party living up to New York’s standards of being the city that never sleeps.  

What’s next? Refresh 19, of course!

In the two short months in which Refresh 18 came to life, our customers overwhelmed us with their kind and enthusiastic response. The sheer passion and camaraderie that prevailed at Grand Hyatt energized all of us towards proactive engagement and productive discussions.

Our customers, partners, and speakers made Refresh 18 the success that it was, and we can’t thank them enough for their participation and response. 

Refresh 19 is already in motion, and Big Ben strikes as we come closer each day to our second user conference, and we hope to see you there!