Rethinking how businesses work: the questions that led to 6 products

Every year, a famous business solutions giant hosts a party.

We’ve been to this party because we once used to be their customers.

But we found that the discussions at this party were very similar; “You can achieve your business goals and trail-blaze innovations in your field with just three simple steps.”

  1. Use our unique business solution – Sure it’ll cost you thousands of dollars, but it will help target your goals better
  2. Train to use our product – Business solutions are seldom easy-to-use or intuitive and we can provide your employees with the special training they will need, to use our product
  3. Oh, you have questions on how to use our product after you’ve bought it from us? Sorry, but you’ll need to pay us extra to have those questions answered. Annually.

The most disappointing part of this? This was an industry standard that a lot of solution providers enforced.

Rethinking Everything

So we began questioning these practices.  Sure, there is always a price for following one’s dreams, but does following dreams requires that you pay thrice?

We began to question this as well.

Why were these practices so common? Why were business solutions so difficult to use? What is wrong in applying the same design and development principles to a business product, as you would to a consumer product? 

That’s why, almost all of the features we plan or the roadmaps we draw up for all Freshworks products, are solely driven by the same questions. 

“Why is it being done this way? How can we make it easier?”

Be it hiring someone new or engaging with a customer who needs help or even planning our own internal workflows – we’ve tried to solve the problems that businesses typically face, by asking what the standard practice is and why that was declared the standard to begin with.

These questions led to the creation of each of the products in the Freshworks suite. 

“Why is it so difficult to have conversations with customers?”

Stuck? Your customers don't like waiting for answers as well.

Businesses have always been able to talk to customers easily. But maintaining conversations and building meaningful relationships across so many communication channels like phone/social media/email, was bound to be difficult. It was also a challenge to build trust and get to know a customer better, if the context of previous discussions kept being inadvertently forgotten.

We wanted to build a solution so simple, that employees wouldn’t need special training to talk to customers. A solution so intuitive and smooth, that you could just focus on helping your customers and not worry about the communication channel being used.  A product that wouldn’t cost as much as a “typical business solution”.

That’s why we built Freshdesk. So that your customers won’t be stuck waiting for an answer, no matter where you or your customers are.

“Why are Service Desks so bloated and expensive?”

“IT does nothing. You’ve to call the IT guy personally to get anything done.”

Companies spend millions on IT service desks and yet stereotypes like these continue to exist. From hospitals to educational institutions and e-commerce websites, we spoke to IT service agents around different industries to understand why. We listened to their problems to get their side of the story.  The only thing we heard repeatedly, was that their support desk was unintuitive. That their service desk had a lot of features but they needed to hunt through it all to find the feature they wanted, and they would have to unnecessarily pay for features they did not need or use.

We wanted to build a solution that treated servicing IT requests like  a conversation, a solution where the minimalist UI would ensure the focus was always on user actions and did not try to show off all the features. A solution where features would be available only if you wanted them, and you didn’t pay extra for something you don’t need. Something that we’d like to use ourselves.

That’s why we built Freshservice. So you wouldn’t have to spend millions on a service desk, and wonder how to use it.

Instead you could set up your desk in 15 minutes and start helping your employees immediately.

“Why should I learn 5 different tools to sell my product?”

Why is the sales team spending 80% of their time entering data?

When we wanted to sell Freshdesk, we wanted a CRM. That’s how we ended up buying the #1 solution from the provider who hosts the gala each year. But we had three problems.

  1. We needed APIs to keep our data synced across our tools. But the #1 solution in the business said it’ll cost us $125 per month, per user. That was expensive for us at that point.
  2. We needed our sales teams to work more intelligently, know what our prospects were looking at on our site, and what their needs were. But easily accessing that intelligence required us to use other tools in addition to our CRM
  3. Sending emails, making phone calls, tracking prospects through the funnel, enriching leads with the right data – all of this required our sales agents to juggle 4 or 5 different tools in addition to the CRM. Additionally, our  development team had to undertake significant engineering work, to integrate them all with one another.

We are a product company. But the amount of engineering time we spent maintaining all these tools instead of building our product was wasteful.

That’s why we built Freshsales. To make it easier for us to sell.

With channels like email and phone integrated, and a tracking system to know what potential customers are looking at on our website, it was easier for us to sell better. With a plan that allows for 10 free sales agents and affordable pricing on other plans, we wanted to ensure other growing businesses wouldn’t have to face the same problems we did.

“Why should hiring slow down growth?”

Is your hiring slowing down your growth?

Most of our early hires happened through employee referrals. This ensured that we didn’t just hire more human resources, but actually got good teammates on board. But as we started scaling, the number of people being referred went up as well and it was difficult for the Talent Acquisition team to manage all the referrals, process other applications, handle conversations and track statuses. Usual tasks became more difficult when it was supposed to scale across tens of candidates each having 5-8 rounds of interviews.

Great recruiters know how to find great candidates, sure. But we found they needed help with all the other things – organizing resumes, finding time on people’s calendars, scheduling interviews, collecting feedback from interviewers – all the operational tasks.

That’s why we built Freshteam. Your recruiters will be able to focus on getting the best people possible to join your team instead of worrying about paperwork, team coordination, and calendars.

“Why can’t traffic always lead to engagement?”

Got traffic but no engagement?

We’ve always had chat on our website as a way of talking to our customers. No matter what page they were on, our customers could always ping us asking for help or any support with their helpdesk.

But as we grew, we found visitors were coming to our websites more to learn about our products, than actually request for support or ask questions. A significant population was not being contacted by anyone, and were leaving the website after merely looking around. We found that we were losing huge sales opportunities here because our chat was focused on support-based messaging instead of sales.

That’s why we built Freshchat. Customers wish to engage with businesses at their own pace and with Freshchat, businesses can still respond to these customers easily without worrying about staffing or availability or peak times.

“Why should call centers be tied down to phones?”

We’ve always believed that phone support is integral to providing a great customer support experience. But the existing solutions always limitations when we tried to setup our own phone channels. Either we couldn’t buy local phone numbers easily or we needed to have a strong existing infrastructure of phone lines to implement their solution.

That’s why we built Freshcaller. You can now set up a call center with just a web browser and a working internet connection.

You don’t need phones to run a call center anymore. We challenged the status quo and built the kind of call centre software that would make everything possible for businesses.

At Freshworks, we try to improve how businesses work. Building products for a newer, more connected era means questioning a lot of previously established “standard procedures” and “business best practices”, and finding solutions for any challenges posed. These are our first steps towards building a better, more efficient workplace.

We can help you transform your business and be more efficient, by streamlining your operations with better software.  Click here to find out how.