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Freshworks launches a load balancer for handling customer inquiries

Posted by on Feb 21, 2019 in base crm, Cloud, CRM, customer relationship management, customer support, Freshdesk, freshworks, Marketing, omnichannel, Zendesk | 0 comments

Customer engagement service Freshworks, which was valued at about $1.5 billion in its last funding round, today launched Omniroute, the latest product in its portfolio of tools for customer service agents.

Omniroute is essentially a load-balancer for routing multi-channel customer inquiries. Freshworks argues that earlier customer support solutions made it hard for agents to switch between inquiry types and for managers to efficiently route traffic.

“Modern consumers are able to reach out to brands across multiple channels and devices, and simply put, customer service teams are under siege,” Freshworks CEO and co-founder Girish Mathrubootham explained.

The promise of Omniroute is that it can automatically route a query to the right agent who has the bandwidth to handle it, based on what it knows about that agent’s skills and the nature of the inquiry. And if you regularly want to hang up your phone when an agent asks you for your order number right after you typed it into the system, then you’ll be happy to hear that the Omniroute will surface this information right on the agent’s screen.

Omnichannel is one of the biggest buzzwords in the marketing world, of course, but there can be little doubt that customers do expect to be able to reach a company across multiple channels, be that an online chat, phone call, text message or a Twitter DM (or, for those who still go outside, a sales agent in a store). Companies want to give customers a consistent experience across those channels, but they don’t always have the tools to do so.

It’s worth noting that Zendesk recently acquired Base, a CRM solution for salespeople that puts it into direct competition with Freshwork’s sales tools. Unsurprisingly, the Freshwork team is not overly impressed. “What Zendesk has done with Base CRM is too little too late,” Freshwork CMO David Thompson said. “You need your Sales CRM and Support CRM to integrate out of the box in order for customers to get the benefit. Bolt-on acquisitions don’t accomplish that seamless flow of data between marketing, sales and support.”


Source: The Tech Crunch

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Japan’s Sansan raises $26.5M to help Southeast Asia get more from business cards

Posted by on Dec 6, 2018 in Asia, business intelligence, computing, customer relationship management, dcm ventures, Europe, Facebook, funding, Fundings & Exits, India, LinkedIn, recruitment, Sansan, sbi investment, Singapore, Social Media, social network, Software, Southeast Asia, t.rowe price, United States, world wide web | 0 comments

The humble business card is a target for disruption in Southeast Asia after Japanese contacts management startup Sansan raised JPY 3 billion ($26.5 million) to expand its business into the region.

Founded way back in 2007, Sansan helps bring business intelligence to companies through a system that helps build connections between users and both internal employees and external contacts using, among other things, business cards.

“Our purpose is to use tech to enhance the utility and value of business cards,” Sansan co-founder and director Kei Tomioka told TechCrunch in an interview. “They are customary for business in most parts of the world, esJapanlly japan, but there’s no easy way to digitize them.”

This new round will bring that focus to Southeast Asia, where Sansan already has an office in Singapore. The capital — which is a Series E round — was provided Japan Post Capital, T. Rowe Price, SBI Investment and DCM Ventures, and it takes Sansan to around $100 million raised to date.

Sansan claims that 7,000 corporations use its core product — also called Sansan — which helps build and organize networks. At its core, users scan another person’s business card which is then digitized, uploaded to the cloud and made part of their database. The Sansan system then allows interactions, such as meetings, calls, notes and more to be added to the entry to help track interactions. The resources are held within companies, rather than employees themselves, which means strategies around sales, marketing and more can be kept organized and centralized.

In addition, Sansan operates a LinkedIn -like service called Eight which is available for free and is linked to the core product, allowing users to update their job, company, etc without having to provide a new business card. Eight has some two million users today, according to Sansan.

Unlike LinkedIn, however, which is commonly used for finding jobs, Tomioka suggested that Eight and Sansan help maintain networks and increase communication and engagement.

Sansan CEO Chikahiro Terada started the business in 2006 alongside fellow co-founders Kei Tomioka, Joraku Satoru, Kenji Shiomi and Motohisa Tsunokawa

Tomioka — who previously worked for Oracle in Thailand — said that he sees much potential for the services in Southeast Asia, where the region’s digital economy is expected to triple by 2025, albeit with a greater focus on SMEs rather than Japan-style mega corporations.

Already, Sansan has picked up some 100 or so clients in the region — mostly by targeting Japanese corporations in Singapore — while Eight has reached 100,000 registered users across Southeast Asia since a soft launch in October 2017.

“We want to expand to globally and Singapore is our first step,” said Tomioka, indicating that there are future plans to look at business in India, Europe and potentially the U.S. further down the line. Elsewhere, the firm is hiring data scientists as it aims to bring additional smarts to its services.

The proposition is interesting — personally speaking I have multiple stacks of business cards sitting idle — but it remains to be seen how open businesses in Southeast Asia will be to paying for the service, even with clear benefits. Saas as a model is still establishing its roots among SMEs while there are already popular options. LinkedIn is, of course, the de facto professional social network while Facebook, which has been ramping up its efforts in that space lately, is also a popular option.

Update: The original version of this article was updated to reflect that quoted comments were from Sansan co-founder Kei Tomioka not Chikahiro Terada.


Source: The Tech Crunch

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Putting the band back together, ExactTarget execs reunite to launch MetaCX

Posted by on Dec 6, 2018 in alpha, api, business software, chief technology officer, cloud applications, cloud computing, computing, customer relationship management, exacttarget, indianapolis, Kobie Fuller, Los Angeles, Marketing, pilot, president, Salesforce Marketing Cloud, salesforce.com, scott dorsey, software as a service, TC, upfront ventures | 0 comments

Scott McCorkle has spent most of his professional career thinking about business to business software and how to improve it for a company’s customers.

The former President of ExactTarget and later chief executive of Salesforce Marketing Cloud has made billions of dollars building products to help support customer service and now he’s back at it again with his latest venture MetaCX.

Alongside Jake Miller, the former chief engineering lead at Salesforce Marketing Cloud and chief technology officer at ExactTarget, and David Duke, the chief customer officer and another ExactTarget alumnus, McCorkle has raised $14 million to build a white-labeled service that offers a toolkit for monitoring, managing and supporting customers as they use new software tools.

If customers are doing the things i want them to be doing through my product. What is it that they want to achieve and why did they buy my product.

“MetaCX sits above any digital product,” McCorkle says. And its software monitors and manages the full spectrum of the customer relationship with that product. “It is API embeddable and we have a full user experience layer.”

For the company’s customers, MetaCX provides a dashboard that includes outcomes, the collaboration, metrics tracked as part of the relationship and all the metrics around that are part of that engagement layer,” says McCorkle.

The first offerings will be launching in the beginning of 2019, but the company has dozens of customers already using its pilot, McCorkle said.

The Indianapolis -based company is one of the latest spinouts from High Alpha Studio, an accelerator and venture capital studio formed by Scott Dorsey, the former chief executive officer of ExactTarget. As one of a crop of venture investment firms and studios cropping up in the Midwest, High Alpha is something of a bellwether for the viability of the venture model in emerging ecosystems. And, from that respect, the success of the MetaCX round speaks volumes. Especially since the round was led by the Los Angeles-based venture firm Upfront Ventures.

“Our founding team includes world-class engineers, designers and architects who have been building billion-dollar SaaS products for two decades,” said McCorkle, in a statement. “We understand that enterprises often struggle to achieve the business outcomes they expect from SaaS, and the renewal process for SaaS suppliers is often an ambiguous guessing game. Our industry is shifting from a subscription economy to a performance economy, where suppliers and buyers of digital products need to transparently collaborate to achieve outcomes.”

As a result of the investment, Upfront partner Kobie Fuller will be taking a seat on the MetaCX board of directors alongside McCorkle and Dorsey.

“The MetaCX team is building a truly disruptive platform that will inject data-driven transparency, commitment and accountability against promised outcomes between SaaS buyers and vendors,” said Fuller, in a statement. “Having been on the journey with much of this team while shaping the martech industry with ExactTarget, I’m incredibly excited to partner again in building another category-defining business with Scott and his team in Indianapolis.”

 


Source: The Tech Crunch

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