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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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Ambitious Singapore startup Delegate wants to bring its event booking platform to the US

Posted by on Feb 9, 2019 in Asia, austin, Companies, delegate, funding, Fundings & Exits, Jacqueline Ye, Melissa Lou, Pinterest, Singapore, Southeast Asia, taiwan, United States, Zendesk, zopim | 0 comments

It’s not often that you hear about a startup from Singapore with ambitions to expand to the U.S, but that’s exactly the goal for event booking service Delegate.

Founded in August 2015, the company aims to be a one-stop shop for booking an event, that covers corporate and professional functions, celebrations like weddings and more personal events such as birthdays or get-togethers.

Beyond the essential step of securing a venue, Delegate’s platform covers a range of different needs that include: food and beverage, photography and videography, flowers and decor, entertainment such as bands, invitation and gifts, event staff, production equipment and transport.

“We saw a huge gap in the market,” co-founders Melissa Lou and Jacqueline Ye, who both worked in the event industry prior to starting Delegate, told TechCrunch in a recent interview. “There was no one resource for finding events and resources.”

The Delegate platform covers venue booking, catering, staffing, entertainment and more.

But, beyond being a booking platform for consumers, Delegate has a smart hook that attracts those on venue and event hosting side. In addition to helping them generate bookings via its sites, Delegate offers a subscription ‘Pro’ product that helps them manage daily operations, generate leads, collect bookings and handle collaborations with others in their supply chain.

There’s also an element of granularity with the consumer side of the business. Delegate has set up options to make the myriads of suppliers, venues and more navigable for less experienced customers. That includes a ‘deals’ section for, well, deals and an inspiration board for the planning process which is itself inspired by Pinterest’s visual approach.

Coming soon, the company hopes to add payment plans to help make it easier to pay for major events, as well as a new offering focused squarely on business users and API integrations for third-party services.

Lou and Ye started the business nearly four years ago with around 100 vendors thanks to their personal and business networks. Today, it claims 1,700 vendors and 70,000 users across Singapore and Hong Kong, its first expansion market.

Delegate co-founders Jacqueline Ye and Melissa Lou (left and right) want to expand their service to the U.S. market.

Already present in two of Asia’s top event locations, where average spend is among the highest for the region. But since those countries are limited in size — Singapore’s population is just shy of six million, Hong Kong’s is around seven million, it makes sense that Delegate is now looking for its next moves. Lou and Ye said they plan to launch the service in “key cities” in Australia and the U.S. to tap what they see as lucrative markets, while Korea and Taiwan are also on the radar closer to home in Asia.

“We see these markets as a good fit for us,” Lou explained. “They have a fair share of corporate events already and, in particular, Australia is a good country because we have a good network there.”

Entering the U.S. might sound implausible to some, but already soft launches of the platform in LA and Austin have drawn interest from over 100 vendors, the Delegate co-founders said. That’s without any major marketing push to either businesses or consumers, and it gives the company optimism. Already the U.S. is a listed location on their service but, for now, there are less than a dozen vendors and there’s no specific location.

Beyond early outreach, the company has raised funds for expansion. Last month, Delegate announced a $1 million pre-Series A round from an undisclosed family office (with apparent links to the event industry) and angel investors who founded Zopim, the Singapore-based startup that sold to Zendesk for around $30 million in 2014.

That network and Saas expertise is likely to help with those ambitious global expansion plans, although Lou and Ye said they aren’t planning to raise their Series A just yet. They say they plan to stretch their runway and keep their costs lean, a practice the founders say they have stuck to since bootstrapping without outside funding for the first year of the business. It’s unlikely bet for most startups in Southeast Asia, but if Delegate can gain even just a small foothold in the U.S, it would be a massive validation of its business model and niche, and no doubt precipitate that larger Series A round.


Source: The Tech Crunch

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