Simon JohnsonSimon JohnsonMay 19, 2020
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9min1671

Video conferencing has been established as a new communication norm since the majority of the UK population began working from home.

Whether it’s conducting work meetings or catching up with friends and family in the evenings and at weekends, major players such as Microsoft Teams, Zoom, Skype and Google Hangouts are some of the technologies fostering face-to-face interaction, albeit through a camera.

So, while this form of communication has temporarily become the go-to for many of us, will it continue to be in the future?

According to figures released in March, yes.

Pre-COVID-19, the global video conferencing market was expected to nearly double over the next seven years, growing from $6.1 billion in 2019 to $11.56 billion by 2027. The technology isn’t new and has been a trend since the early days of Webex and GoToMeeting, but continued growth is being maintained by business leaders’ desire to improve productivity and reduce international travel. Video conferencing offers real-time, face-to-face interaction anytime, anywhere around the globe.

However – when it comes to customer service – ask most people to describe their typical interaction with a brand and they’ll likely give examples of telephone calls, emails, or maybe even text-based chat. Video doesn’t even come into the equation.

But as consumers become more comfortable with video conferencing in their work and personal lives, will we see more businesses turning to video to provide customer support? All signs point towards “go”.

Here are some of the reasons why I believe a video revolution in customer service will occur. The business benefits will be too irresistible to ignore.

1. The human touch

Live video chat will represent a powerful evolution of live text chat and phone support. By providing video support, customers are more likely to feel that they are receiving undivided attention – and that they are important to the brand.

This in turn will help drive customer loyalty, provide a more ‘human’ customer support experience, and ultimately enables the business to build deeper connections with its customers.

2. Effective problem solving

Today, video tutorials are already an integral part of customer self-service. It is much easier and quicker to watch a video explaining how to solve any product issue, than it is through reading text or images. Furthermore, these guides can help build engagement and offer a personal touch across the customer life cycle.

However, while they are a great asset for solving common problems, it is not an efficient use of a business’ time to make a video guide for every single issue that could arise with a product or service.

Let’s take an internet service provider (ISP) as an example here. If your internet connection keeps cutting out and you need assistance, a tutorial video on how to reset your router or test your internet speed would be helpful.

However, if this fails to solve the problem, it is likely that you will need to call your ISP and explain the issue over the phone. If it’s a technical issue, this can present a challenge for both the (let’s assume, non-technical) customer and the (technical) agent, and could likely result in the agent sending out a technician to solve, what could have been, a fairly straightforward fix.

Had this been a video call, the agent could have combined live video chat with a screen sharing tool – simultaneously reviewing the problem in real-time and testing solutions on-the-go. Not only would this have saved the ISP both time and money, it also enables agents to build a closer relationship with the customer, and the customer to get back online much sooner, with less hassle.

3. Scale and stand out from the crowd

While many large businesses may not have the infrastructure to efficiently run live video customer service just yet, it is likely that it will become a key solution for those that provide a premium service and want to differentiate by offering a more personalised and real-time experience.

It is a cost-effective way for companies, especially those who are looking to expand their customer bases and scale-up, to provide an ‘above-and-beyond’ service.

4. Laying the foundation for future technology

Of course, video isn’t the only innovation currently being explored in the domain of customer service.

Applications of augmented reality (AR) and voice assistance (VA) are still on the horizon but could soon provide a wealth of opportunity to brands when it comes to sales and customer support.

For example, in future, businesses could use AR-enabled devices to make agents appear in a customer’s own environment – making the interaction appear more human and natural – imagine a scenario where support literally appears beside you and shows you how to overcome the ‘blue screen of death’.

We’re already seeing the huge benefits this technology can bring to customers – IKEA has had enormous success with its IKEA Place augmented reality app which helps shoppers visualise how the furniture will look inside their homes.

Investing in a video platform now will help companies keep pace with changing customer demands and enable them to use the learnings and infrastructure to deliver a superior support experience, once technology such as AR becomes more accessible for customer service.

Will it become the norm?

The business benefits of using video conferencing for customer service are clear. However, for it to really catch on, it will have to be both more effective and more efficient than traditional support channels.

Customers will always want to maintain the shortest route to an answer or solution, and they will likely sacrifice the human experience to get there. This doesn’t mean that humanising the customer support journey isn’t crucial, it is, and video conferencing has an important role to play in this.

It will, however, need to be part of a wider omnichannel strategy, and used to augment, not replace, existing self-service support channels.


Sandra RadlovackiSandra RadlovackiMay 14, 2020
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2min1109

The current situation has made it clear that businesses need to adapt and prepare for the contact centres of the future.

Whether this crisis leads to an economic downturn or not, you need to start preparing your contact centre for the future. Don’t wait for mandatory budget cuts to optimise your customer service operations. Learn how to enhance flexibility, spend wisely, and keep customer connections strong. Be the voice of reason in your customer service organisation.

The webinar features Ian Jacobs, Principal Analyst at Forrester and Arun Mani, President of Freshworks Europe who will be giving a helping hand and discussing how you can maintain customer loyalty while optimising you contact centre costs.

The webinar will offer insights on:

  • Balancing cost optimisation and customer experience
  • Automation-first approaches for effective cost-performance
  • Shifting customers to low-cost digital channels and improve CSAT
  • Temporary trends that will permanently impact contact centre operations

The number of attendees is limited, so make sure to register to reserve your spot for the webinar HERE.

The webinar offers three different dates and timezones, for 19th, 20th and 21st May.


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2min1195

Global innovator in customer engagement software Freshworks Inc. has announced the integration of its customer support and engagement software Freshdesk with Slack, which is a leading channels-based messaging platform with over 12 million active daily users.

The Freshdesk and Slack integration allows teams and customers to collaborate and communicate through a platform to provide the best support to customers.

With the Freshworks and Slack integration service teams can:

  • Automatically post tickets from Freshdesk to relevant Slack channels, providing real-time updates and enabling agents to swiftly resolve issues
  • Easily collaboration with teammates and customers
  • Help agents work faster – View, create and update tickets directly in Slack, without having to change workflows or switch screens

Prakash Ramamurthy, Chief Product Officer at Freshworks, said: “Deploying technologies that make it easy to connect with customers and address their issues is more important than ever before as companies adjust to an increasingly digital service environment.”

“As Slack’s first-to-market customer support partner, we are uniquely positioned to help enterprises respond to inbound customer requests via the most popular channels-based messaging platform. Freshworks is committed to bringing the latest innovations to businesses as they seek to best serve their customers while markets continue to evolve.”


CXM Editorial TeamCXM Editorial TeamMarch 2, 2020
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2min1042

CRM software specialists Freshworks is bringing together a community of experts in Customer Experience and IT solutions for an incredible one-day online summit.

The Refresh Connect summit is set to take place on March 12 and will feature speakers from across the globe discussing CX and tech solutions to boost business growth. The virtual gathering is being held to celebrate the launch of the new Freshworks Community – a unified platform for all content centred around CX, ITSM, sales, and marketing.

Leading the speakers on the day is Freshworks founder and CEO Girish Mathrubootham (pictured), who will be joined by a line-up including Diane Magers, founder of Experience Catalysts; Nate Brown, founder of CX Accelerator; Charles Betz, Principal Analyst at Forrester, and many more.

Master the art of delivering delightful experiences to your customers across every channel— consistently. Tap into actionable insights starting from building your CX team to keeping your customers for life.

Click here to register for Freshworks’ Refresh Connect summit.


Paul AinsworthPaul AinsworthDecember 11, 2019
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2min2880

Customer engagement software specialists Freshworks has shed light on how customers interact with AI tech such as chatbots in an insightful new report.

In AI in Customer Service: A Survey Report from Europe, responses from 6,000 customers and 800 senior business leaders across the continent were analysed to provide answers on what consumers think of the growing technology.

The research reveals that 41 percent of European consumers “see no benefit of chatting with a bot”, while 29 percent said answers from bots “did not help solve their problem”.

For brands, Freshworks has found that 25 percent are currently using artificial intelligence solutions to improve customer service.

The research was commissioned to highlight the disconnect between what brands believe they are providing, and what exactly customers themselves say about the services.

Among the experts providing insight in the report is CX advisor and author Adrian Swinscoe. He said: “There’s been a significant gap in brand and customer perception of the type of service being delivered and received for some time.

“The addition of new technology and new channels, in many ways, is exacerbating the situation, as customer expectations increase, and businesses have to manage more ways of communicating than ever before.”

Click here to download the full report.

 

 

 

 

 

 


Paul AinsworthPaul AinsworthNovember 28, 2019
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4min3740

The UK is trailing behind Europe in customer service as brands race to adopt AI technologies to transform how they engage with customers, according to new research.

Customer engagement software firm Freshworks found that just over half (54 percent) of UK senior decision makers state their business currently  uses AI – in areas such as chatbots, virtual assistants, Natural Language Processing (NLP), and facial recognition – for customer service departments, compared to 97 percent in the Netherlands, 86 percent in France, and 81 percent in Germany.

The company’s report, The Good, The Bot and The Customer Experience, shows that AI investment reached a record $1bn (£803.9m) in the first six months of 2019 according to Tech Nation, making the UK the third biggest AI market in the world behind the US and China.

However, this investment does not yet seem to be far-reaching for UK customer service. The Freshworks study, which surveyed over 800 senior decision makers in customer service departments, found that only 20 percent of UK businesses have invested more than £250,000 in AI for customer services in the last 12 months, compared to nearly half (46 percent) of German companies, 41 percent of French firms, and 35 percent of Dutch organisations.

Across all territories, chatbots (37 percent), NLP (34 percent) and Robotic Process Automation (31 percent) were the most popular AI technologies for businesses to be adopting to improve their customer service.

The report suggests people do not want to take on responsibility for bringing AI in to overhaul current systems. Over a quarter (26 percent) of senior decision makers in the UK claim no one is driving AI deployment within their customer service department. Yet, C-Suite executives are leading the integration of AI in the vast majority of Dutch, French, and German companies (97 percent, 95 percent, and 91 percent respectively).

Addressing the brand perception gap

The findings also suggest a large gap between business and consumer perceptions of how good their customer service actually is. Eighty percent of senior decision makers surveyed in the UK believe their customer service departments to be excellent, while only nine percent of UK consumers have no frustrations when dealing with customer service agents.

According to the research, a quarter (25 percent) of businesses are using AI to improve their customers’ experience of the brand, for example using AI-powered chatbots to resolve issues quickly by filtering through simple questions and channelling the trickier customer scenarios through to human service agents. Yet, one-in-four (25 percent) of the 1,871 British consumers surveyed who have previously used customer service channels said that being left on hold for too long is their biggest frustration.

UK General Manager at Freshworks, Simon Johnson, said: “Our research shows that British brands’ deep distrust in AI risks leaving them lagging behind Europe in their approach to customer service. It’s incredibly difficult for brands to keep up with consumers’ expectations, but it’s non-negotiable that they constantly evolve their technology to include AI and Machine Learning and approach to keep their customers engaged and happy.

“For those who get it right, it can be a game changer that distances them from the competition.”


Paul AinsworthPaul AinsworthSeptember 18, 2019
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2min2686

Customer engagement software firm Freshworks Inc. has been named in the Forbes Cloud 100 list for the third year running.

Compilers describe it as “the definitive list of the top 100 private cloud companies in the world”, and Freshworks has moved up the list to number 40, having first entered in 2017 at number 95, before climbing to 60 in 2017.

The Cloud 100 Judging Panel, made up of public cloud company CEOs, reviewed the data to select, score, and rank the top 100 private cloud companies from all over the world. The evaluation process involved ranking companies across four factors: market leadership (35 percent), estimated valuation (30 percent), operating metrics (20 percent) and people & culture (15 percent).

Freshworks CEO and founder, Girish Mathrubootham, said: “Providing simple yet powerful customer engagement software has always been our main focus, and the market continues to embrace our approach. As our 2019 momentum continues, our latest jump in the Forbes Cloud 100 List completes a trifecta of analyst, customer and investor recognition we’ve received this year. Forbes’ just-released ranking comes on the heels of our technology landing in three Gartner Magic Quadrant reports and recognition from peer review platform G2 Crowd.”


CXM Editorial TeamCXM Editorial TeamSeptember 12, 2019
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2min1949

Customer engagement software firm Freshworks Inc has announced its Freshsuccess customer success management software, delivering an integrated customer view for marketing, sales, support, and success professionals.

From January 2020, all go-to-market teams can leverage unified, holistic data of both accounts and contacts yielding the most up-to-date account activity and health information to identify accounts that are either at risk or ready to buy more goods and services. 

With Freshworks’ Freshsuccess, users get detailed analysis of past behaviour to create and configure customer health scores, allowing companies to grow an established customer base, identify any red flags and increase customer retention rates. In addition, Freshsuccess helps teams operationalise customer success in other important ways.

These include keeping customer success teams organised, allowing everyone to centrally manage all of their customer-related activities such as alerts, workflows, and tasks.

Users will also be able to streamline business intelligence and easily identify behavioural trends while uncovering valuable customer insights.

Girish Mathrubootham, founder and CEO of Freshworks, said: “Our Customer-for-Life vision revolutionises customer engagement to take advantage of the never-ending customer journey. Meaningful customer insight doesn’t end at market, sell, and support. You need to engage continuously to get a customer for life.

With Freshsuccess integration, businesses will be able to leverage actionable data across the entire suite of products – including Freshmarketer, Freshsales, and  Freshdesk – for predictive analytics, customer intelligence and workflow management to proactively court, close, keep, and grow customers for life.”


Paul AinsworthPaul AinsworthSeptember 10, 2019
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7min2093

A new report from customer engagement software firm Freshworks Inc has cast light on a staggering number of hours wasted annually by sales and service agents who struggle to navigate software they are forced to use, despite having no say in its implementation.

The Voice in the Choice survey, which was released at Freshworks’ user conference, Refresh ‘19, shows that US-based sales staff waste a combined 516 million hours a year as a result of top-down ‘software dictatorship’. The report shows that having no say in the choice of software, and using it despite the problems it creates, is costing firms time, money, and morale.

It is also affecting firms’ ability to control customer retention and satisfaction. It is estimated that in the US, the wasted hours amount to an incredible $8.3 billion in lost productivity every year.

The survey, which questioned 400 frontline customer service and success employees, showed that respondents feel powerless to determine which software they use, with 96 percent having little or no influence into its selection. Likewise, 57 percent have no clue who chooses the software they use, and 43 percent don’t know why the software was chosen. In fact, respondents indicated that they have greater control over snack selection at their offices than they do regarding the software that they use day in and day out.

Employee’s influence in decisions affecting their work life

  • Personal work schedule (28 percent)
  • Seat or desk assignment (20 percent)
  • Office snack selection (17 percent)
  • Software they use (7 percent)

Conversely, when it comes to the biggest impact on end users’ ability to do their jobs well, software becomes the top factor. Forty-seven percent say the software they use has a major or complete impact on their ability to do their jobs well.

Work life factors that improve employee performance

  • Software they use (47 percent)
  • Work schedule (41 percent)
  • Seat or desk assignment (16 percent)
  • Office snack selection (6 percent)
Demand freedom: ‘Hated’ software brings frustration to the workplace

The report shows that the pain of software dictatorship has both quantitative and qualitative ramifications. Half (50 percent) of respondents say that when they have to use software they hate, it is harder for them to satisfy their customers. One-in-five report that when they are frustrated with software, they are more likely to be rude to customers.

Exclusion from their organisations’ software decision-making also impacts overall employee morale and, ultimately, employee retention. Nearly one-in-four end users (24 percent) say that using software they hate makes them want to quit their jobs. This flight risk is more acute with millennials, with 30 percent reporting that handcuffing them to bad software makes them want to pack up and leave.

Tellingly, using ‘hated’ software brings frustration and unhappiness at work to more people (26 percent) than the drudgery of long hours and working overtime (23 percent).

The survey revealed that increased user involvement not only increases productivity but increases their job satisfaction as well. End users report that if management involved them in deciding what software to use, it would make them feel respected (60 percent) and empowered (40 percent) while boosting employee morale (43 percent).

The survey revealed that increased user involvement not only increases productivity but increases their job satisfaction as well. End users report that if management involved them in deciding what software to use, it would make them feel respected (60 percent) and empowered (40 percent) while boosting employee morale (43 percent).

Enlightened managers are adopting a more democratic approach to selecting software for net positive gains. Over half of end users say that helping to choose the software their company uses to engage with customers would result in happier customers (53 percent) and higher employee productivity (52 percent). In fact, over half of millennials (52 percent) report that they’d be at least 25 percent better at their job if they could choose the software they use.

Freshworks CEO and founder Girish Mathrubootham, said: “This lack of employee involvement is an outrage for those on the frontlines of the customer relationship and should be a wake-up call for companies who are looking to increase both employee productivity and customer satisfaction. Organisations have a responsibility – to their employees, their customers and themselves – to bring the voice of their workers into the technology-buying process. The happiness of their employees and customers depends on it, as does the health of their business.

“As our productivity and happiness at work becomes more closely tied to the technology we use, executives and managers have a true opportunity to make better software choices by giving a voice to their employees. Organisations can enact a more democratic selection process through a number of best practices, including employee surveys, pilot programs, employee committees and many other tactics to ensure worker voices are heard and can be as productive as possible.”


Paul AinsworthPaul AinsworthAugust 21, 2019
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3min1947

Global customer engagement software firm Freshworks has announced a 61 percent year-over-year billings growth in the second quarter of 2019, driven by considerable momentum in multiple areas.

In addition to the Q2 growth, Freshworks broadened its corporate footprint in Europe by opening offices in Paris, France, and Utrecht, Netherlands. On the heels of expanding its existing office in London, Freshworks hosted Refresh19 London, its first ever UK user conference, attracting over 400 attendees.

Outside of the EU, the company also grew its presence in APAC by partnering with OrangeOne Corporation, a leading software services provider in Japan. Freshworks also opened its third office in India in the city of Hyderabad, and Melbourne, its second in the Australia-New Zealand region.

The company rounded its Customer 360 platform with the acquisition of Natero, which leverages artificial intelligence and machine learning-powered technology to help put actionable data in the hands of customer success professionals. With Natero, Freshworks helps companies engage with their customers from first web visit to latest inquiry.

Earlier in the quarter, Freshchat, the company’s modern messaging software added an integration with WhatsApp Business solution. As part of Proximity, a bundle of features aimed at bringing businesses closer to their customers, businesses can now send customers text, images, GIFs, attachments or canned responses via WhatsApp’s enormously popular messaging platform.

Additionally, Freshworks launched Freshrelease, an agile product management tool that helps teams quickly complete bug fixes and get new products to market faster.

Building upon this momentum, Freshworks has exponentially expanded its ecosystem of partners. The Freshworks Marketplace has grown to 700 apps and counting, created by more than 350 partners globally.

Overall, the business from the partner network from over 40 countries registered 100 percent YoY growth in the first half of the year ending June 2019, underscoring its value to solution partners and ISVs working closely with Freshworks’ customer engagement suite.

Girish Mathrubootham, Founder and CEO of Freshworks, said: “While we are pleased by our growth, we continue to invest in product development efforts to expand our addressable markets. The ultimate reward for us is seeing greater customer success as businesses court, close, and keep customers for life.”


Paul AinsworthPaul AinsworthJuly 22, 2019
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3min1989

Global innovator in customer engagement software Freshworks Inc has been chosen by the UK Government to run its Find a job service.

The company has been chosen by the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) and will provide the support and service functionality embedded within Find a Job, allowing jobseekers and employers to request help and get their issues managed quickly and efficiently, and enabling vacancies to be filled quickly by qualified applicants.

Find a job was launched in May 2018 to provide jobseekers with access to hundreds of thousands of roles across the UK, making it easier to find and apply for different jobs. As part of the service, the team behind Find a job wanted to provide a simple and easy to use support function that would help anyone that had a problem quickly get the attention they needed. Without this support function embedded into the service, jobseekers would not be able to use the service effectively or leverage the personalised job alerts.

The team at DWP chose Freshdesk from Freshworks to provide support to those that need it, including automation of the processes to save time and reduce potential mistakes, and workflow management to allow team members to collaborate on issues as and when required. The team also use Freshdesk to provide management with information when jobseekers and employers are having problems using the service, helping the service team to redesign elements and make continuous improvements to the Find a job site.

Dally Singh, Product Support Manager at DWP, said: “Implementing Freshdesk has allowed the Find a job service team to work more effectively, as well as giving us data on where people are having problems using the service. This helps us improve and enhance the service continuously, helping jobseekers stay online and quickly find roles that are right for them. The team at Freshworks made the implementation process fast and simple for us, helping us provide an excellent customer experience to jobseekers using Find a job.”

Simon Johnson, General Manager UKI at Freshworks, added: “Running any large online public sector service means thinking about how you will support members of the public at scale. Using cloud services, automation and AI can help solve problems quickly and efficiently, making it easier to help citizens use the service and get the value that they require. Getting data out of these interactions helps everyone improve the Customer Experience over time.”




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