Freshworks, formerly Freshdesk, is bundling its cloud-based sales, marketing and customer support applications to help level the customer relationship management (CRM) playing field for small and midsized businesses (SMBs).
At large businesses, hefty IT budgets mean that they can afford the application licenses, CRM software integrations and developers that light up connected experiences between their sales, marketing and customer support operations. Data captured in one of these crucial areas of the business help inform the others and provide a fuller, more insightful picture of each customer.
That information, in turn, can be used to provide exceptional customer service, deliver targeted promotions and other customer experiences that help boost sales.
Traditionally, SMBs were required to juggle a handful of applications that essentially trapped customer data into silos, limiting its potential. Now, with the Freshworks 360 customer engagement suite, those hurdles are lifted.
"Across sectors, SMBs have been forced to use unwieldy and siloed solutions for their sales and marketing software needs — solutions that are oftentimes designed for companies with large IT and implementation teams," Girish Mathrubootham, founder and CEO of Freshworks, told Small Business Computing.
"By bringing together CRM, customer support and marketing into one unified platform, Freshworks 360 provides SMBs with a holistic view of their customers' experience and history, helping them to increase customer satisfaction and decrease churn while making more informed decisions about how to engage and convert new consumers," explained Mathrubootham. The company's developers built the software "to provide SMBs the same understanding of their customers that big enterprises benefit from," minus the bloat, complexity and astronomical cost of other solutions.
Omni-channel marketing and customer service may be all the rage, but SMBs often find themselves left out. Effectively capturing customer interactions over the phone, on social media or in a chat or email is practically impossible with standalone business applications and services, some of which may only offer the most basic data integrations.
In short, a customer chat typically stays in a chat application, while an email request for help remains trapped in an inbox. Freshworks 360 works across email, chat, phone, mobile messaging and social media, allowing customers to reach a small business using the channel they feel most comfortable with, spurring engagement and improving customer satisfaction.
In the background, Freshworks keeps a history of each interaction and contact, information that can come in handy while trying to turn a dissatisfied customer into a repeat buyer. In a blog post, Mathrubootham described how the Freshsales module "not only keeps track of customer contacts and history like you would expect but also includes powerful email marketing and web tracking that unifies the sales and marketing experience."
Other components include Freshdesk customer support software and Freshmarketer, a website conversion optimization suite. Freshcaller provides call center capabilities, and Freshchat is customer messaging software that allows businesses to engage directly with website visitors.
Going forward, Freshworks plans to introduce new features that use artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning to enhance the customer experience.
"Using AI, we can build highly reactive systems that can instantly respond to customer requests," wrote Deepthi Vinod in a blog post. "A context-aware AI powered bot can instantly sift through thousands of technical manuals and knowledge base articles, model the user's association with the brand, interpret his/her query using NLP [natural language processing] and provide an answer within seconds."
Freshworks is taking a measured approach to AI, ensuring that the technology lives up to its expectations. So far, select customers who have been using the company's AI enhancements have been able to "derive tangible business value," said Vinod, suggesting that more customers may soon take those innovations for a spin.