Customer interaction software
2020. Ushur raises $25M for its no-code platform to build customer communication flows
Startup called Ushur that has built a platform for any business to create its own AI-based customer communication flows with no coding required, has picked up $25M in a Series B funding. It brings the total raised by Ushur to $36 million. The startup is currently focusing on the insurance sector (a big one when it comes to speaking with customers and amassing data during the conversation) and it counts Aetna, Irish Life, Tower Insurance and Unum among its customers building chatbots (dubbed Virtual Customer Assistants by Ushur), automated email response flows (branded SmartMail) and tools to help customer service agents serve people more quickly (FlowBuilder).
2020. Tone raises $4M to help e-commerce brands text with their customers
While many companies are using chatbots and other forms of automation to manage their communication with customers, Tone is betting that humans (using AI) will remain a key part of the equation. Tone employs its own team of human agents to actually do the texting, assisted by software that helps them find the information they need. The agents are assigned to specific brands, which means that customers will be talking to the same person whenever they have a question for that business. Tone integrates with e-commerce systems like Shopify and Magento, and it’s already working with more than 1,000 brands like ThirdLove, Peak Design and Usual Wines — which are seeing as much as a 26% increase in revenue and a 15% increase in order size.
2020. Podium rolls out payments for its customer-focused local business SaaS service
Podium, a Utah-based SaaS company focused on small business customer interactions, added payments technology to its product suite. The move accretes a new income stream to the company’s quickly growing annual recurring revenue (ARR). The addition of payments to Podium’s tech allows its customers (the companies using its software) to collect payments from their own customers. This gives Podium customers the ability to charge folks for their goods and services in a manner that is integrated into the rest of the software company’s service.
2018. Wix launched new suite of products for support, sales and marketing
Wix launched a new suite of management and marketing products called Ascend. It allows to manage all your customer interactions from one place, effortlessly capture leads, build relationships, take payments and more. Wix is also developing a workflow editor, so that a business’ website and other channels can respond automatically depending on how customers behave. Ascend by Wix is available as a separate subscription, with pricing ranging from $9 to $45 per month. Other website builders like Squarespace and Weebly (now owned by Square) have also introduced marketing tools, but Ascend seems like a particularly ambitious expansion, encompassing 20 products in areas like chat, memberships, email marketing and search engine optimization (in some cases, these are existing Wix products being brought under the Ascend umbrella).
2018. HubSpot added customer service tools to its marketing platform
HubSpot is expanding beyond sales and marketing with the official launch of its Service Hub for managing customer service. It includes an universal inbox for all your customer communications, a bot-builder to automate some of those customer interactions, tools for building a company knowledge base (which can then be fed into the bot-builder), tools for creating surveys and a dashboard to track how your service team is doing. ServiceHub benefits from being integrated with HubSpot’s existing products, allowing businesses to track their interactions with a customer across sales, marketing and support.
2016. Salesforce adds messaging to Service Cloud
Salesforce launched LiveMessage, a tool that helps customer service reps manage messaging traffic just like any customer interactions in Service Cloud. It supports SMS/MMS and Facebook Messenger, but over the next year the company expects to add support for other message apps, as well. This new functionality is built with technology that came from the HeyWire acquisition in September. All of the message traffic, regardless of the tool, appears in a tabbed view in Service Cloud, just as it does with phone or web chats.
2016. Office 365 gets its own built-in lightweight CRM
Microsoft rolled out a new tool for business owners using Office 365 and Outlook called Outlook Customer Manager, a lightweight CRM for companies that need to track their customer interactions and history, but aren’t yet ready for a more robust platform like Dynamics 365. The new tool lets businesses track tasks and deals in progress directly in Outlook, and will pop-up reminders aimed at helping them stay on top of their customer relationships. Once enabled, Outlook Customer Manager will automatically organize customer information, including emails, meetings, calls, notes, files, tasks, deals and deadlines. This information – which is collected from email, calendar and call log data – is presented in a timeline format next to the inbox. Users can associate certain tasks with a contact, company or deal, so they can interact with their customers in a more timely fashion. It’s also able to present lists of deals by stage, close dates, priority and amount.
2016. Zoho unveiled Zoho Desk - context-aware help desk software
Zoho Desk - is a new name for Zoho Support and it's not just rebranding, but the brand new customer support software that presents customer issues against the broader context of their prior activities and interactions. Agents respond better when they have contextually relevant information about their customers. Zoho Desk brings customer information from Zoho CRM right into the ticket. The system helps agents automatically prioritize support tickets based on customer interactions. Filter tickets based on criteria like due-time, status, or customer type. Team Feed saves the day when you need a little help from your friends. And you can use @mentions to bring another colleague into the conversation, or to hand off the ticket to the right person.
2014. Zendesk adds business intelligence tool
Cloud-based customer service app Zendesk has released a new feature called Zendesk Insights that purports to give companies a deeper understanding of their customer interactions, using data culled from simply working with the Zendesk service. This new tool gives access to pre-built dashboards that provide insights based on their industry, so, for example, if your industry average customer satisfaction score is 85 and yours is 80, you need to work on improving that. According to Sam Boonin, who is VP of products at Zendesk, this as a differentiator from competitors, whom he claimed only provide operational reporting, whereas Insights provides operational and behavioral data, thereby giving Zendesk an advantage.