The Kustomer Internship Experience in a Remote World

The Kustomer Internship Experience in a Remote World TW

A lot has changed in the past six months, including the way that we all work. As a rising senior at Franklin & Marshall College, majoring in business, I’m finishing my second summer as an intern in the sales operations department. As I reflect on the internship experience here at Kustomer, I’ve expanded my knowledge and stretched my skill set, while also learning to work in this new, remote normal. Here are some insights I picked up along the way.

Diving Into the Sales Operations World

My first summer at Kustomer was a great learning experience. I was finishing up my sophomore year of college, had just switched my major from biochemistry, and was looking for a way to learn more about working in a business environment. Working in sales operations, my job centered around Salesforce administration at first, but has since evolved to include more interdepartmental and substantive work. I’ve been fortunate enough to work on projects alongside marketing operations, customer experience, sales enablement, and sales leadership. The projects have covered a wide range of areas, including tracking pipeline, researching CPQ software, and reassigning sales territory, among others. My time at Kustomer has given me the chance to gain insights and experience in several areas of the business.

Interning in a Remote Environment

When I was asked to return for a second summer, I was thrilled to rejoin the Kustomer team. This time, however, due to the coronavirus pandemic, my second summer at Kustomer looks very different from the first. On the plus side, not having to commute from New Jersey means I get to sleep much later, and I certainly don’t miss the crowds at both Newark and New York Penn Station. I do, however, really miss the one-on-one interaction I had with my team at Kustomer last summer. While working from home and not seeing my coworkers at the office has been different, Kustomer has made it a smooth transition with the help of Slack and Zoom meetings, and I’ve been able to continue to get my work done and to keep in touch with my team and the company as a whole. Other than not being able to go to the office and meet in-person, my internship experience has been similar to last summer. I’m able to work on the same kinds of projects, build upon the same skills, and continue to make similar contributions, while learning new skills and about how the business works holistically.

Being a Part of the Kustomer Community

I very much value the opportunity I have been provided to get so involved in the day-to-day operations of the company as an intern. I don’t think that I would have gotten so involved if I had been interning somewhere else. I have been given the opportunity to truly see what working in sales operations full-time is like, and am much more involved in major projects and tasks than I expected to be going into an internship. This involvement is a huge source of motivation for me.

Most importantly, however, has been the interactions I have had with my colleagues at Kustomer. I’ve been made to feel like part of the team, which was another major reason I wanted to return for this summer. I have learned so much from the colleagues I worked alongside, and admire the vision of the company and its leadership. I felt welcomed from the start. On my first day, Brad Birnbaum, Kustomer’s CEO, invited me and the other three new hires who were starting that day to breakfast. I see this as one of the best examples of the Kustomer environment and the values of the leadership team. Before I had officially started my first day at 9:00 AM, I had not only met the CEO of the company, but had been given the opportunity to talk to him and hear about Kustomer from his perspective. The company as a whole shares this sense of community and welcoming that far exceeded my expectations, even in a remote environment. I’m excited to finish out my second summer at Kustomer in a few weeks, and I am so glad I was able to gather valuable experience and meet so many interesting and special people. I’m excited to see what the future holds for me personally, as well as for Kustomer!

 

How to Use Kustomer Data to Help Forecast Headcount

How to Use Kustomer Data to Help Forecast Headcount TW

As COVID-19 cases began to spike in February and March of 2020, the economy slowed. Many companies were faced with the difficult decision to layoff or furlough a percentage of their workforce to stay afloat. As we move into the summer months, there have been modest gains in economic activity and employment growth. Reuters reports that approximately 25% of private-sector jobs have since been recovered out of those lost in March and April. Still, recovery has been slow as many contemplate future waves of the virus.

Considering the uneven terrain of our current economy, workforce management has become even more critical to maintaining profitability. It also promotes the health of your customer service team. If you’re running a skeleton crew and looking for ways to justify an increase in headcount for your team, read on.

How Kustomer Data Can Help

There are a handful of important metrics within the Kustomer platform that can help you understand whether your team is over- or under-staffed: inbound messages, average handle time, and agent capacity. For the purposes of this exercise, we’ll focus primarily on a single channel: chat.

Here is the major question to consider: what does the data tell us about staffing needs and restrictions? Additionally, how many agents do we need to staff so that all chat customers are served immediately?

Let’s say that you’re an up-and-coming retailer in the Atlanta area. You currently have a 10-person team that handles all of the incoming chat conversations on your website. Each of these agents is trained to handle five chat conversations at a time. Collectively, their average handle time is five minutes.

Every agent works an eight-hour shift. They take multiple breaks throughout the day that add up to approximately one hour; they work for approximately seven hours per day. Thus, every agent is capable of performing approximately 420 minutes per shift (seven hours is equal to 420 minutes). Sixty minutes divided by an average handle time of five minutes means that each agent could theoretically complete 12 conversations per hour (if not multitasking). If we multiply that number by agent capacity (five, in this case), we can speculate that an agent can handle 60 conversations per hour.

If an agent can resolve 60 conversations per hour, and each of those conversations has a collective average handle time of five minutes, then an agent is capable of performing 300 minutes of work in an hour (in the eyes of our reporting). Finally, when thinking through the amount of work an agent can handle in a shift, that number is 2,100 minutes of chat work (300 minutes multiplied by seven hours).

As the lead of this team, you begin by pulling the average inbound messages per hour within the Conversations tab of your Standard Reports. Break up the data by day of the week. You notice that Mondays, on average, see a typical volume of 6,000 inbound chat messages. Again, if we multiply the total number of messages by our average handle time (five), this represents 30,000 minutes of chat work that needs to be completed on each Monday. If we divide those 30,000 minutes of chat work by the 2,100 minutes that an agent is capable of completing each shift, we can guess that we need approximately 14 agents working on Mondays to serve all of the chat customers as they arrive.

You can replicate this process across all days of the week, or certain seasonal spikes, and even apply this method to other channels. With further calculation, you could provide an hourly view of necessary coverage for inbound chats as well.

One final disclaimer: the important thing to remember here is that we are using past performance to forecast the future. Thus, it will not always be a perfect predictor of future staffing needs. It’s important to regularly monitor the ebb and flow of inbound messages to ensure that your team is adequately staffed.
 

6 Mental Health Tips for Working Remote

6 Mental Health Tips for Working Remote TW

Remote work can be challenging and hard on us as individuals. Many of us are learning how to manage our home lives and work lives in a time of uncertainty. And while we’re adjusting to the ‘new normal’ of working from home, many of us are also adjusting to working in environments where we are isolated from each other. Together, all of this can take a hit on our mental health. And while often ignored, as you are managing other aspects of your life, it’s important that you prioritize your wellbeing and practice self-care in order to stay happy and productive.

Here are some ideas to help boost your mental health during this time:

Create a Routine

While there are many factors beyond your control right now, it’s important that you keep and establish structure where you can. This includes building a new schedule; including setting your wake up time, core work hours, scheduling breaks and carving out ‘you’ time. Building out your day in a thoughtful way may take time, but test out what feels right for you and your needs. And while it’s important to outline your goals and tasks for the day, it’s also important to schedule breaks and fun activities. Time away from your screen will give your body and mind a well-deserved break. These routine’s are essential in maintaining boundaries between work life and home life, as well as keeping us productive, on track and feeling good.

Stay Active and Incorporate Wellness Into Your Day

Maintaining an active lifestyle may seem tough during these times, but now is the time to incorporate wellness and activity into your routine. If you used to go to the gym before commuting to work, try building out time for an online fitness class prior to turning your computer on in the morning. If you feel comfortable going outside, going for a walk is another great way to incorporate exercise, break up your day and get some fresh air. This is also a good time to try something new as many apps and websites offer free trials and subscriptions to get you started. Yoga and meditation are two practices that promote balance and can allow you to mentally clear your head. No matter what you choose to do to stay active, regular exercise and wellness activities are a great way to boost your mood and keep you grounded when in isolation.

Stay Connected

Many of us can no longer rely on regular run-ins by the coffee machine or lunch dates to stay connected to each other. It’s important that while in isolation and working remotely that we maintain healthy relationships with our coworkers, family members and friends. Take time to think about how you can stay in touch with each other and find ways to virtually check-in. Whether that be a phone call, zoom date, virtual coffee or happy hour, staying in touch is vital to combat loneliness. Being able to lean on others and support one another goes a long way during this time.

Recognize Your Needs

We are all different, with different situations, needs and responsibilities. What works for one person may be much different than what works for another. Now is the time where you may need to sit down and assess, what is working and what is not working for me? Do you need to define ‘heads down’ work time? Are you finding you need to make adjustments to your work space in order to be more productive? Do you need to adjust your schedule due to family needs? Making these adjustments to create an environment that supports your needs will positively impact your mental health, stability and productivity.

Cut Yourself Some Slack

During this time, many of us may feel the added pressure to prove we’re being the best employee, family member and friend that we can be. Add in a global pandemic and this can result in added stress and times when we feel overwhelmed. And while some days will be harder than others, it’s important that we recognize these emotions and remember that it is okay to not be okay sometimes. Listen to your body and mind and take physical and mental breaks when you need to in order to make tomorrow a better day.

Try a New Hobby

It’s no surprise that week after week our lives can feel like we’re continuously spinning on a hamster wheel. If you feel like you’re in a rut but find yourself with free time that you did not have before, think about picking up a new hobby. Have you been wanting to learn how to cook a new dish? Are there home improvement projects that you’ve always wanted to complete? Have you always wanted to try brewing your own kombucha? Use the time you normally spent commuting to and from the office to pick up a new hobby or skill. There’s no time like the present!

We are all trying to get used to a “new normal”, and it’s sometimes easier said than done. Try to practice patience and compassion with both yourself and those around you, and prioritize your wellbeing when possible. For more remote work best practices, check out our infographic here.
 

Kustomer Acquires Automation Technology Company Reply.ai, Accelerating Kustomer IQ’s Intelligence Platform To Help Companies Effectively Scale Customer Service

Kustomer Acquires Reply.ai TW

Reply is the first acquisition for Kustomer, reinforcing Kustomer’s commitment to AI and machine learning capabilities throughout the customer journey. With Reply, Kustomer will now offer enhanced chatbot and deflection capabilities through its customer service platform.

New York, NY – May 14, 2020 — Kustomer, the omnichannel SaaS platform reimagining enterprise customer service to deliver standout experiences, announced today it has signed an agreement to acquire Reply.ai, a customer service automation company founded in 2016 that helps companies scale intelligent customer service without compromising experience. Reply leverages artificial intelligence and machine learning models to improve agent efficiency through self-service chatbot and deflection capabilities. This announcement comes on the heels of the expanded roll-out of Kustomer IQ, the artificial intelligence engine embedded across Kustomer’s CRM platform. With Reply, Kustomer can provide even deeper intelligent self-service and assistance via Natural Language Processing (NLP) based chatbots, enhanced omnichannel customer deflection and machine learning based response suggestions. Madrid based Reply will also accelerate Kustomer’s European growth by significantly increasing its presence in the region.

“We believe artificial intelligence is essential to helping today’s enterprises scale customer service and efficiently deliver exceptional results. We recently rolled out Kustomer IQ to meet the growing need for companies to have access to the power of AI, and with today’s acquisition, we continue our investment in bringing self-service tools and intelligence capabilities to our clients,” said Brad Birnbaum, CEO and Co-Founder of Kustomer. “Reply has built deflection and self-service chatbots that help companies effectively deflect initial customer communications at an astounding rate of 40 percent. This means that almost half of all initial customer communications can be successfully resolved without requiring live interaction with a service agent, bringing greater efficiency to the entire customer service function. We are excited to welcome co-founders Omar and Pablo Pera and the entire Reply team of world class data scientists and engineers to the Kustomer Krew.”

The Reply suite of tools include deflection capabilities that look at historical and contextual data, continuously improving over time, as well as deflection widgets that can be embedded in forms and email, and features a powerful information retrieval system that extracts relevant answers to customer questions from a company knowledge base. Reply also features a platform to build chatbots that can be deployed across multiple channels and languages, and agent-assist tools that suggest relevant answers to messages and subsequent actions, such as routing or auto-tagging conversations.

“We are excited for Reply to join Kustomer and share its mission to make customer service more efficient, effective and personalized. As a long-time partner of Kustomer, we are able to seamlessly integrate our deflection and chatbots technologies into Kustomer’s platform and help brands more cost-effectively increase efficiency. We look forward to working with Brad and the entire team,” said Omar Pera, Co-Founder of Reply.

“By leveraging advanced AI capabilities and Kustomer’s robust CRM platform, combined with self-service deflection tools, Kustomer is uniquely built for the needs of today’s enterprise companies,” adds Birnbaum. “Since 2015, we have been committed to revolutionizing customer service and today’s acquisition of Reply marks one more step in our journey.”

For more information about Kustomer, visit www.kustomer.com

About Kustomer
Kustomer is the omnichannel SaaS CRM platform reimagining enterprise customer service to deliver standout experiences. Built with intelligent automation, Kustomer scales to meet the needs of any contact center and business by unifying data from multiple sources and enabling companies to deliver effortless, consistent and personalized service and support through a single timeline view. Today, Kustomer is the core platform of some of the leading customer service brands like Ring, Glovo, Glossier and Sweetgreen. Headquartered in NYC, Kustomer was founded in 2015 by serial entrepreneurs Brad Birnbaum and Jeremy Suriel, has raised over $174M in venture funding, and is backed by leading VCs including: Coatue, Tiger Global Management, Battery Ventures, Redpoint Ventures, Cisco Investments, Canaan Partners, Boldstart Ventures and Social Leverage.

About Reply.ai
Reply.ai helps brands scale customer service by providing AI-powered solutions that instantly resolve common customer questions on chat and ticketing channels. The two core products, Deflect for Ticketing and Deflect for Chat, reduce consumer frustration and deliver 24/7 personalized service, ultimately increasing self-service effectiveness and support team capacity. Reply’s customers, like The Cosmopolitan Of Las Vegas, Vail Resorts, Honeywell, Glovo and Paula’s Choice, rely on Reply for innovative and industry-focused solutions to customer service problems. Reply was founded in 2016 by former Google and CERN engineers and is headquartered in New York City and Madrid, Spain.

Media Contact:
Cari Sommer
Raise Communications
cari@raisecg.com
 

How to Stay Sane While Working Remote

How to Stay Sane While Working Remote TW

Remote work has long been controversial. While tools that support remote work have been widely available for some time, prevailing attitudes have not been disrupted as quickly. Companies have tried to create balanced policies everyone can agree on, but the issue is complex because each employee is different. Opinions can also differ greatly by department or even by job function. Your sales manager’s personal policy will not be the same as your engineering lead — trust me. All of this is to say that there’s no silver bullet that will put this debate to rest. But let’s be honest, many of us won’t be working in an office for quite some time, so here are a few simple ways to make the most of a week while working remote.

Create a Space to Work

Swapping your commute for the distance between your bed and home desk might seem like a win, but it’s important to not undervalue what a commute provides. A commute signals that it’s time to clock in or clock out. It forces you to plan ahead and keep a schedule. It gets you out of bed at an exact time so you’re not late for that 9am meeting. And once you show up to work, you show up. There’s very little tolerance for napping or strutting around without pants on in an office––not so much while working remotely! This is why it’s so important to create a dedicated home office and routine.

First, dedicating part of your home into an office should not be more involved than it has to be. It doesn’t make sense to buy an Aeron chair and a wall of monitors if you live in a small apartment or are on a tight budget. Refrain from renovating your living room into a corner office. Instead, appreciate that your work-life balance is now a work-life harmony. The two are sharing the same space and must coexist. So if this simply means having a chosen area for your work computer, then great! (But maybe put a potted plant or two down while you’re at it). Your dedicated work space will let you know when it’s time to work and will help keep you organized.

Speaking of being organized, it’s incredibly important to keep your office space clean. We’re living in extraordinary times and if you read the news on a daily basis it will quickly feel like everything is out of control. Your work space shouldn’t feel equally out of control. Maintaining a clean space will help you keep a sense of order and, frankly, it will give you something to do. I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but the list of available activities has shrunk dramatically in 2020. If there’s one takeaway from reading this, learn to love to clean and thank me later.

Shut Off in the Evening

Most people understand what time they’re going to start working in the morning, but less plan for when they’re going to wind down. Since you now work where you live, it can be harder to know when your work day ends. And it can often feel like companies today are “always on.” Whether it’s a new email, slack message, or even a Kustomer notification, there’s no shortage of applications vying for your attention. And while being virtually available and super connected always gives us ways to be productive, individually we need to recharge. It’s just as important to schedule this time as it is to schedule your next meeting. So before you open up your laptop to start a new work day, have an approximate goal of when you plan to close it.

Share What Works

Lastly, understand that while you’re creating a routine around this new normal, your colleagues are experiencing their own version of the same thing. It’s important to stay connected with them and talk about what is working and what isn’t. Nobody is expected to have all of the answers right now, and for many of us this working environment is very new. But remember that teams are built to solve problems together.

Check out our infographic for more tips on how to successfully work in a remote environment.
 

3 Ways Customer Service Teams Must Adjust During COVID-19

3 Ways Customer Service Teams Must Adjust During COVID-19 TW

Life has become a series of trade-offs and workarounds in light of the pandemic. Curbside pick-ups are my new norm. My inbox is a litany of order confirmations and estimated delivery times. Last weekend, I drove to a local hardware store and found the following handwritten message on a sign at their front door: “Know what you want. Get in and get out.” At times, my interactions with people feel purely transactional.

The world has changed, and customer service is changing right along with it. Businesses are being challenged with a paradoxical conundrum: how do we retain our humanness? How do we maintain trust in a time of uncertainty? Below are three ways customer service teams must adjust in light of the global pandemic.

Empathy Is #1.

Companies who approach customer service with a deeper level of empathy are more likely to maintain loyalty and win new business. This concept is not a newfound revelation. In fact, The Empathy Business has studied the efficacy of empathy in business for years. And what have they found? Organizations that focus on the “emotional impact” they have on employees, customers, and society are valued higher and earn more than their counterparts.

In the world of COVID-19, empathy is even more desperately needed. Quarantine measures and social isolation mean a rise in loneliness and other mental health issues. Think about it this way: what if your organization delivers the only social interaction an individual will experience for a full day? Armed with that information, how should you change your customer journey?

Start small. Use your data. Study the way your customers use your tools and services. Where are they running into roadblocks? Where are you making your customers’ lives easier? Take note and adjust. Document your FAQs in an accessible location, like a Knowledge Base. Have the patience to clearly explain the nuances of your business and policies. Above all else, practice kindness in all of your communication.

“One-Size-Fits-All” Won’t Succeed.

As the pandemic spreads, we’ve seen a spike in conversations for many of our clients. And according to a recent survey by Kustomer, there has been a 17% increase in inquiries across industries. With this influx in communication, it no longer makes sense to force every customer to call the same number to contact your company. Instead, it’s time to get smart about the channels you employ to manage customer interactions, and it’s time to invest in a fully-fledged omnichannel experience.

But beware: you should avoid blindly adding new service channels without a strategy in place. Dig deep into your customer personas and understand their respective beliefs and behaviors. McKinsey notes that “not all customers are the same, and it’s how they differ in their behavior and preferences—particularly on digital—that should have an outsize influence on how service journeys are designed.” Keep this in mind, too: a small percentage of customers — classified as the “offline society” -— may suddenly be forced into adopting digital communication in light of shelter-in-place orders. Take these different customers into account when adapting your customer service strategies.

Automation Is a Necessity, Not a Luxury.

As we’ve seen an increase in the number of inquiries, we’ve also seen an increase in the need for artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies. Agents can become easily overwhelmed by an onslaught of new messages. AI can automate some of the more tedious tasks that those agents might encounter, thereby freeing their time for more important work.

Consider how you can deflect commonly asked questions and save your agents valuable time. Let’s say you’re an airline in today’s world. With the rise of the pandemic, you’re being flooded with requests for information about your refund policy. Instead of directing your team to answer each inquiry individually, you could use automation to serve up pre-written articles that align with the inquiry’s keywords. Not only do you protect your team’s time, but you also deliver a better customer experience as customers receive near-instant answers to their questions. Beyond that, unsuccessful deflections can provide a treasure trove of data to guide your future content.

Those who adapt and adjust their strategies now can influence their fate in the post-pandemic world. The opportunity is there. We have to be good stewards of our time and resources to capitalize on it.

Predict Customer Needs with Kustomer IQ

 

Save your team time and money with AI for Customer Service

Customer service teams are being asked to do way more with much less, and here at Kustomer we want to ensure that your team has all the tools to be as efficient and effective as possible. It’s impossible for teams to achieve this without eliminating manual, time-consuming work, like sifting through queues, escalating issues, or processing transactions.

Identifying the intent of every conversation might be step one in a service interaction, but automating this process transforms how you operationalize support, driving efficient customer service that keeps customers and agents happy.

 

 

Intent Identification, the newest and most powerful feature of Kustomer IQ, analyzes and classifies inbound conversations, and uses those new attributes to trigger process automation that takes work off your team’s plate. In other words, machine learning analyzes your historical data to predict a customer’s intent for contacting customer service. It can also tag spam conversations, as well as automatically flag urgent conversations that need to be prioritized.

Here’s how it works.


  • STEP ONE: First, users select what they want to predict.
  • STEP TWO: Once you select what you want to predict, the tool checks to see if there is enough data that can be used to accurately make a prediction.
  • STEP THREE: If everything checks out, the system is trained to detect specific language in messages.
  • STEP FOUR: Users review the model for expected accuracy.
  • STEP FIVE: Once the training is complete, the model is ready for use and deployed. Intent Identification will tag inbound messages which can then trigger process automation.

Emily Marcogliese, Head of Customer Service from our partner at thredUp recently shared, “Kustomer IQ has had a tremendous impact on my team’s efficiency. Machine learning instantly identifies the purpose of every inbound conversation, then intelligently routes each customer to a specific team based on their contact reason, such as orders, returns, or clean out. Rather than spend time manually routing conversations, my team can focus on delivering personalized service and resolving issues quickly to decrease customer effort.”

Intent Identification in action.

Once conversations are analyzed and classified, Intent Identification can unlock powerful automation. Here are a few of the ways it can be put into action:

  • Automate Rules: Our rules engines can automate any process, like escalating unhappy customers to more knowledgeable teams, or execute transactional interactions like refunds, returns or status updates.
  • Route Conversations: Instantly and accurately route conversations to specialized teams based on how you classify customer outreach, such as by contact reason or product line.
  • Send Auto-Responses: Responses to your most common questions can be automated, freeing up valuable time and energy.

Read more about Intent Identification in our Help Center, and check out our pricing page to view our Kustomer IQ packages.

 

Kustomer Launches Kustomer IQ, Leveraging Intelligence Throughout Its Customer Service Platform

Kustomer IQ leverages advanced artificial intelligence to help agents more efficiently analyze and take action on customer requests. Machine learning models are deployed to allow support experiences to be more rapid and accurate.

NEW YORK, April 15, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — Kustomer, the SaaS platform reimagining enterprise customer service, announced the broad rollout of Kustomer IQ, its artificial intelligence engine embedded across the Kustomer CRM platform. Kustomer IQ is empowering companies to do more with less, and operate as efficiently as possible in the face of a reduction of resources. The solution leverages the power of machine learning to get to the root of customer needs, helping achieve effective customer experiences by eliminating manual guesswork and arming agents with the tools and insights that drive results across responses, routing, and analytics. Kustomer IQ also offers customer deflection tools across web, chat, and email channels, which automate the communication of initial and routine customer inquiries.

“Kustomer IQ delivers quicker and more accurate results to customer service inquiries by leveraging sophisticated machine learning models. Our intelligence tools help companies efficiently automate and scale communication without compromising accuracy, whether it’s routing inbound requests to the right team or measuring a customer’s sentiment,” said Brad Birnbaum, CEO and Co-Founder of Kustomer. “This increase in speed and overall quality experiences translates into more satisfied and loyal customers, which every business needs right now.”

With Kustomer IQ, companies can access AI-powered tools to contextualize every conversation and leverage that data to save valuable agent time for more meaningful and essential customer service. Its highly accurate machine learning models are easily trained with a few simple clicks allowing any company to harness the power of modern AI.

“Kustomer IQ has had a tremendous impact on my team’s efficiency. Machine learning instantly identifies the purpose of every inbound conversation, then intelligently routes each customer to a specific team based on their contact reason, such as orders, returns, or clean out. Rather than spend time manually routing conversations, my team can focus on delivering personalized service and resolving issues quickly to decrease customer effort,” says Emily Marcogliese, Head of Customer Service at ThredUp.

Kustomer IQ includes new features such as:

  • Automated Self-Service: Native omnichannel deflection capabilities provide relevant and accurate content to customers from an organization’s Knowledge Base prior to agent intervention.
  • Intent Identification: Machine learning analyzes and classifies inbound conversations, triggering smarter processes that expedite customer experiences.
  • Agent Recommendations: Machine learning analyzes customer messages and suggests relevant help articles and policy content to resolve issues faster.
  • Global Language Detection: Featuring natural language processing and powered by Amazon Comprehend, language detection helps companies deliver consistent experiences to all customers.
  • Sentiment Analysis: Machine learning analyzes messages and recognizes exactly how customers are feeling, assigning a sentiment score to help agents mirror emotions, and calm frustrations.
  • NLP (Natural Language Processing) Chatbot (coming soon): By leveraging NLP and the advanced CRM data model in the Kustomer platform, its chatbot will be able to offer automated information gathering and human-like levels of customer service to company conversations

Kustomer IQ is being offered in three tiers: Kustomer IQ Lite, Kustomer IQ and Kustomer IQ+. Kustomer IQ includes all of the features above, enabling companies to provide more efficient experiences through sophisticated automation and accurate predictive insights. Kustomer IQ+, coming soon, will provide end-customers a new way to interact with brands, featuring an AI-powered chatbot functionality. The chatbot will be capable of conducting two-way dialogue via live chat and be able to recognize customers based on custom object data, helping brands accurately deflect inquiries around orders, shipping and tracking.

To provide all customers with powerful AI capabilities, Kustomer has included a complimentary Lite version of Kustomer IQ as part of their existing pricing plans. Kustomer IQ Lite includes global language detection and sentiment analysis, so all customers can provide empathetic service and support around the world.

“We’re proud to announce Kustomer IQ Lite includes automated self-service, so all companies can take advantage of deflection and conversational assistant support capabilities,” adds Birnbaum. “Now, more than ever, when companies are struggling to do more with less, we believe that deflection will serve as an added leg up in delivering an exceptional support experience. We are committed to our client’s success and are proud to offer the enhanced AI capabilities that we believe are crucial.”

For more information about Kustomer, visit www.kustomer.com

About Kustomer
Kustomer is the omnichannel SaaS platform reimagining enterprise customer service to deliver standout experiences – not resolve tickets. Built with intelligent automation, Kustomer scales to meet the needs of any contact center and business by unifying data from multiple sources and enabling companies to deliver effortless, consistent and personalized service and support through a single timeline view. Today, Kustomer is the core platform of some of the leading customer service brands like Ring, Glossier, Away, Glovo, Slice and UNTUCKit. Headquartered in NYC, Kustomer was founded in 2015 by serial entrepreneurs Brad Birnbaum and Jeremy Suriel, has raised over $173M in venture funding, and is backed by leading VCs including: Coatue, Tiger Global Management, Battery Ventures, Redpoint Ventures, Cisco Investments, Canaan Partners, Boldstart Ventures and Social Leverage.

Media Contact:
Cari Sommer
Raise Communications
cari@raisecg.com
 

What Kustomer IQ Can Do For You

Announcing AI for Customer Service in your CRM Platform

While these are extraordinary times, your organization’s top priority is unwavering—to provide customers with exceptional, convenient customer service. For many, customer conversations are only increasing, and Kustomer has stuck its course to build a CRM platform packed with the tools and capabilities that help you connect with customers, keep them engaged, and manage processes to perform at max capacity and grow.

We also think our platform should eliminate any barriers between your agents and your customers because time is of the essence—now more than ever. That’s where we think AI comes in, not to take on the role of the agent, but to act as a partner in getting to the root of customer needs in order to handle simple responses or immediately place them in touch with their best, most expedient resource.

We’re excited to announce our suite of AI-enabled capabilities is now available to customers. Called Kustomer IQ, it enables smarter processes that eliminate busywork and help teams better understand what customers need.

“Customer service is one of the first touch points that a consumer has with a brand, and modern companies need the tools to scale automation without compromising the exceptional brand experience customers have come to expect,” said Brad Birnbaum, CEO and Co-Founder of Kustomer. “Kustomer IQ will help companies further serve the needs of their customers by providing self-service tools to bring even more efficiencies to customer service. We are especially proud to broadly roll this out right now.”

AI Makes Every Conversation More Convenient

Kustomer IQ Lite is available to all customers on our Enterprise and Ultimate plans, and features self-service tools and predictive capabilities that help gauge emotions and equip agents with knowledge, content, and empathy to get the job done quickly.

We See Automated Self-Service Differently

Kustomer IQ works alongside your team to tackle easy questions, and elicit details from your customers so agents can get a head start, or possibly deflect simple inquiries.

Kustomer IQ is omnichannel, using content from an organization’s knowledge base to suggest relevant articles when customers reach out via email, live chat, or form submission. Watch our tutorial below on how to get started with deflection in chat today.


We’ve added deflection to our reporting stack, providing real-time analysis so you can verify success, quantify time saved for customers and agents, and understand how content is performing, with insights into what customers are seeking to help plan future articles and deflect more conversations.

Our smart Conversational Assistant prompts customers to provide additional information around their needs, and in the coming weeks, we plan on adding branchable logic to the Kustomer IQ suite, which will extend your ability to gather finer details and help decide the most appropriate service path.

Deliver Empathetic Global Support

Kustomer is proud to partner with organizations representing six continents around the world—we’re a global solution available in more than 60 languages.

For those managing global customer service, Kustomer IQ leverages Amazon Comprehend machine learning capabilities to detect language upon contact, then route conversations to native-speaking agents or enable multilingual translated content if needed. It also analyzes messages to understand how customers are feeling, and assigns a sentiment score to help agents get on even footing as soon as they respond.

 

Get to the Root of Every Conversation

Our basic Kustomer IQ package features more sophisticated predictive and automation capabilities powered by machine learning, which work by analyzing data and content to accurately assess customer needs and activate smarter processes in the Kustomer platform. Check out our pricing page for more information.

Impeccable Customer Service, Fast

Intent Identification, the newest, most powerful feature of Kustomer IQ, analyzes and classifies inbound conversations, and uses those new attributes or conversation tags to trigger process automation that takes work off your team’s plate. This includes intelligent conversation routing, all based on how you classify customer outreach, such as by contact reason or product line. In addition, automated workflows can be triggered to manage communications, initiate greetings, or provide temporary air cover.

Emily Marcogliese, Head of Customer Service from our partner at thredUp recently shared, “Kustomer IQ has had a tremendous impact on my team’s efficiency. Machine learning instantly identifies the purpose of every inbound conversation, then intelligently routes each customer to a specific team based on their contact reason, such as orders, returns, or clean out. Rather than spend time manually routing conversations, my team can focus on delivering personalized service and resolving issues quickly to decrease customer effort.”

 

 

Agent Recommendations (coming soon to Kustomer IQ) use internal and external content to generate content suggestions in real time, which will come in handy for agents-in-training who may be new to policies and brand knowledge. Machine learning analyzes customer messages to accurately offer information for faster conversations and precise resolution.

 

Get Started Now

We’re excited to announce that Enterprise and Ultimate plans come equipped with a Lite version of Kustomer IQ, so all our customers can take advantage of these awesome capabilities. Kustomer IQ Lite includes Automated Self-Service with our Conversational Assistant, Global Language Detection, and Sentiment Analysis.

Our base package for Kustomer IQ will be available on April 30, featuring enhanced AI capabilities to automate more conversations, including conversation classification, agent recommendations, and a more advanced Conversational Assistant.

And coming later this year, Kustomer IQ+ will open up new ways for customers to interact with brands. Featuring enhanced AI functionality, Kustomer IQ+ will automate simple, contextualized two-way dialogue on live chat with custom object recognition, so you can leverage and update information regarding orders, purchases, shipping, tracking, and much more.

Learn more about Kustomer IQ at our live webinar on April 22nd at 1pm ET, and contact us if you have any questions.

 

Kustomer Launches First EU Data Center

Over the past few years, we have experienced rapid adoption of the Kustomer platform by European and multinational businesses that are seeking to transform their customer service by delivering more personalized and efficient omnichannel experiences.

To further power our global expansion and meet the needs of our clients, we recently launched our first EU region data center. The rollout of this new region provides businesses the ability to store their data and access all of the capabilities of the platform on isolated infrastructure hosted in Europe.

EU Region Ensures European Data Storage and Improves Performance and Availability

By launching in the EU, Kustomer has replicated its entire platform infrastructure in Europe. Hosted in Dublin, Ireland and adhering to leading international standards of security and privacy, this new region will allow Kustomer clients with European data residency requirements to store their data in Europe. Building an isolated infrastructure in the EU also improves the availability and performance of the Kustomer platform for businesses operating in Europe, reducing latency and ensuring better agent and customer experiences.

Kustomer already complies with the requirements of the EU-US and Swiss-US Privacy Shield as well as the GDPR. Launching our first EU region extends the platform’s omnichannel experience, so no matter where in the world brands do business, they can engage customers wherever it is most impactful, while running on infrastructure optimized to meet their performance and data storage requirements.

In addition, we are planning to grow our sales and customer experience teams in Europe in the next year to meet the increasing demand for our customer service CRM platform.

Omnichannel Kustomer Platform Adds MessageBird and Twilio WhatsApp Business Integrations

The on-demand economy has made it imperative for businesses to provide service via the communication channels their customers use as part of their daily lives. As a truly omnichannel platform, Kustomer has enabled companies around the world to deliver personalized, efficient and effortless service experiences on the channels most convenient and popular with their customers.

We’re excited to announce that we have added MessageBird for WhatsApp Business and Twilio for WhatsApp Business integrations to the Kustomer platform, extending our omnichannel experience and ensuring brands can communicate with their customers wherever it’s most impactful. With over 1.6 billion global users, WhatsApp has grown into one of the world’s largest messaging applications and become an essential customer service engagement channel for businesses operating internationally.

The Kustomer platform provides an actionable timeline view of a customer’s conversations across channels, as well as their transaction history and other relevant data. Companies using MessageBird for WhatsApp Business or Twilio for WhatsApp Business with the Kustomer platform can access WhatsApp conversations directly on the customer’s timeline, where agents can leverage a customer’s data to resolve issues in real time, without ever having to leave the screen.

By maintaining all conversations through the timeline, Kustomer’s omnichannel platform provides a single threaded conversation with all of the relevant context. Agents and customers can switch between channels as needed, while continuing to progress conversations. Customers won’t need to repeat information and agent collision will never occur.

While other customer service solutions provide multiple channels, only Kustomer gives brands a true omnichannel experience by providing a complete picture of their customers, including real-time and historical conversations across all channels in a single location.

The new MessageBird for WhatsApp Business and Twilio for WhatsApp Business integrations are easily installed like other channels on the Kustomer platform. Once a company has inserted their MessageBird or Twilio API key, agents can begin exchanging messages, images, and other rich media with customers on the timeline.

Companies can track the impact of this service by using Kustomer’s native customer satisfaction solution to survey customers engaging via WhatsApp. In addition, WhatsApp Business is incorporated into the reporting and analytics of the platform to give brands complete insight into the performance of their customer service teams.

In addition to MessageBird for WhatsApp Business and Twilio for WhatsApp Business, the Kustomer platform supports e-mail, web and mobile chat, SMS, voice, Facebook Messenger and Twitter, enabling brands to communicate with today’s customers via the channels and applications they demand.

Learn more about Kustomer’s integrations with MessageBird for WhatsApp Business and Twilio for WhatsApp Business here.

 

Kustomer Introduces KustomerIQ, Bringing Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning to Enterprise Customer Service

NEW YORK, NY — October 3, 2019 — Kustomer, the SaaS platform that is reimagining enterprise customer service, today introduced KustomerIQ, embedding Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning across the Kustomer platform to enhance the customer service experience of companies competing in today’s on-demand world. KustomerIQ uniquely integrates Machine Learning models and other advanced AI capabilities with the Kustomer platform’s powerful data, workflow, and rules engines to enable companies to provide smarter, automated customer experiences that are more personalized, efficient, and effortless. The Kustomer platform stands out among customer service solutions for the comprehensiveness of available customer data and its business process automation that is driven by branchable, multi-step workflows and custom business logic.

“In today’s crowded market, excellent customer service is often the differentiator that builds loyalty and trust between one brand to another,” said Brad Birnbaum, Co-Founder and CEO of Kustomer. “With KustomerIQ and the inclusion of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning into our omnichannel platform, Kustomer will now go even further in helping brands automate their business processes, while making it easier for their agents to take action on customer information, ultimately developing a stronger and more profitable customer relationship.”

KustomerIQ brings together a wide breadth of Artificial Intelligence methods such as Machine Learning, Natural Language Processing (NLP), Predictive Analytics, Deep Learning, and Multi-dimensional Neural Network Mappings. Companies adopting KustomerIQ use their own data to train the predictive Machine Learning models, automatically customizing them to address their own business needs. With each new interaction and piece of data, these models learn and self-tune increasing their predictive accuracy and improving the decision making of both the models themselves and the customer service organizations using Kustomer.

Through KustomerIQ, companies will be able to automate manual, repetitive tasks and essential processes of their customer service experiences. In addition, KustomerIQ changes the way companies manage knowledge during a service inquiry by surfacing relevant insights and predicting future outcomes to enhance customer self-service, facilitate real time intervention through recommendations, and streamline proactive outreach. By automating everything and providing the right information at the right time, KustomerIQ frees up agents to focus on more complex and emotional customer interactions, resulting in reduced costs and faster resolution of calls.

KustomerIQ is bringing new smart customer service features to the Kustomer platform, including:

  • Automated Conversation Classification: Intelligently categorizes and classifies conversations using Machine Learning and attributes of the conversation and customer. 
  • Queues and Routing: Routes customers to the most appropriate agent using conversation classification, agent skills, and overall team capacity to drive the machine learning model. As a result, KustomerIQ helps companies improve customer satisfaction, increase first call resolution, and reduce wait and handle times.
  • Customer Sentiment Analysis: Using Natural Language Processing, the Kustomer platform can read messages between customers and agents and quantify how a customer feels about a brand in real-time. Seeing customers’ sentiment helps agents empathize with customers in a digital medium, and thus determine the best way to communicate with them. 
  • Automatic Language Detection: Using Natural Language Processing, the Kustomer platform can automatically identify the language being used in a conversation and then route the customer to an agent that speaks the language. In addition, if a company has pre-written responses (shortcuts) set up in multiple languages, those responses will automatically switch to the language used by the customer to ensure a better experience for both customer and agent. 
  • Suggested Agent Shortcuts: Provide recommended pre-written responses to agents based on conversation and customer attributes to help agents immediately access the knowledge they need to resolve customer issues faster.
  • Customer Self-Service: Automatically suggests help articles from a company’s knowledge base providing an immediate answer to a simple customer questions without interacting with an agent, so customers get answers faster and agents can focus time on more complex customer inquiries. By giving a customer more self-service options it also lowers agent volumes and improves resolution and handle times.
  • Workforce Management: Helps to predict future conversation volume and staffing needs based on historical and trend data of items, such as SLA attainment and seasonality. Can also assist in identifying training needs by providing insights into areas where an agent or agents are deficient. 

To further increase its rapid pace of innovation, Kustomer will triple the size of its development team in 2020. The team will focus on ensuring the continuous improvement of KustomerIQ’s machine learning models and further expansion and integration of innovative Artificial Intelligence capabilities throughout the platform.

About Kustomer

Kustomer is the omnichannel SaaS platform reimagining enterprise customer service to deliver standout experiences – not resolve tickets. Built with intelligent automation, Kustomer scales to meet the needs of any contact center and business by unifying data from multiple sources and enabling companies to deliver effortless, consistent and personalized service and support through a single timeline view. Today, Kustomer is the core platform of some of the leading customer service brands like Ring, Rent the Runway, Glossier, Away, Glovo, Slice and UNTUCKit. Headquartered in NYC, Kustomer was founded in 2015 by serial entrepreneurs Brad Birnbaum and Jeremy Suriel, has raised over $113.5M in venture funding, and is backed by leading VCs including: Tiger Global Management, Battery Ventures, Redpoint Ventures, Cisco Investments, Canaan Partners, Boldstart Ventures and Social Leverage.

To learn more about Kustomer visit www.kustomer.com or reach out by email to info@kustomer.com.

Extending the Customer Experience Conversation Beyond the Product

If I’ve learned anything from 23+ years as a digital marketer in the software industry, it’s that customer experience is not just the interaction with a product, but the relationship it starts to build by continually offering relevant content and valuable insights. Having recently joined the Kustomer Krew, I can already tell – they get it. In a company who dedicates itself to helping brands provide a great customer experience, it’s my mission to ensure every interaction with our brand is a great experience, at every touchpoint.

As I make my long commute into the office today, I think about recent conversations of traditional marketing outreach being replaced by content-driven marketing. Essentially, “If you build it, they will come.” But it makes me wonder, with content alone driving my strategy, will I be able to gain the loyalty and the share of voice (SOV) we desire? I imagine our customers are asking themselves does my company’s customer experience lend itself to building the loyalty we desire?

Bringing the Customer Experience to Life

As I embark on bringing the Kustomer Book Club back to life, our second book, “The Effortless Experience: Conquering the New Battleground for Customer Loyalty” by Matthew Dixon, Nick Toman, and Rick DeLisi, we’ll explore the idea of whether or not we need to ‘dazzle’ our customers.

Now I realize these authors aren’t talking about the marketing side of the house, but without the marketing, how does anyone know anything anymore? If we don’t search for that keyword, read that blog, or attend that webinar how will we gain those insights, find those solutions to help us drive revenue and retain our customers?

This book lays out the four pillars of a low-effort customer experience, with robust data, insights and profiles. The authors provide the tools and templates one can start applying right away to improve service, reduce costs, and ultimately generate the elusive loyalty that the ‘dazzle factor’ fails to deliver. The rewards are there for the taking, and the pathway to achieving them is now clearly marked.

A 4 out of 5-star rating on Goodreads, I invite you to grab a copy of this book and join the discussion on September 4th. Here are a few thought-provoking questions to get those academic juices flowing:

    1. What are the implications for the future? Are there long or short-term consequences to the concepts the authors outline?
    2. Are the authors recommendations doable and will you be implementing any of the templates provided?
    3. Do you agree with the concept that customer experience should be effortless ?

Get the details to join this conversation: subscribe to the Customer Experience Book Club.

 

Kim Hahn is the Director of Demand Generation at Kustomer.

Happy Pride Month

This year is a special celebration because it marks the 50th Anniversary of the Stonewall Riots.

Early on the morning of Saturday, June 28, 1969, people who identified as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer rioted following a police raid on the Stonewall Inn, a gay bar located in Greenwich Village in New York City. The bar was a gathering place for many in the LGBTQ+ community and had been the target of multiple police raids on the basis that the patrons were members of the LGBTQ+ community. The narrative changed when the patrons decided to stand up for their rights to be out in their community without the fear of being arrested. Subsequent protests and riots followed. This revolution ignited a spark filled with bravery and determination, and the communities’ march towards equality was born.

One year later, on the first anniversary of the Stonewall riots, people assembled on Christopher Street and walked 51 blocks to Central Park for the first Gay Pride march in U.S. history. Every June, New York City honors that Pride March on the last Sunday of the month.

Pride is an annual global celebration where the LGBTQ+ community, family, friends, allies and peers come together. It’s a time where hugging, hand holding, or kissing, can be shared publicly without the fear of retaliation, judgement, or violence. It allows our community the chance to come together to celebrate, remember, reflect, love, and live. Pride is diversity, inclusion, and belonging.

Here at Kustomer, we strive to provide the ability to create exceptional experiences for our clients and their customers with an expectation of those interactions being human and personable. As an out-and-proud gay male working in the tech space, I’m so proud to be working for a company that allows me to be my most authentic, and sometimes sassy, self everyday.

Happy Pride from the Kustomer Krew!

Kustomer’s $40 Million Series D Brings Personalized, Efficient, and Effortless Customer Service to all Enterprises

A note from our CEO Brad Birnbaum

Read the full series D press release here.

Zappos and other companies with a similar “do anything for the customer” mindset have changed what’s expected from customer service – forever. Now, whether a year old or fifty years old, companies across industries and around the world are trying to provide the rich customer experiences necessary to compete.

This is why my Co-Founder Jeremy and I started Kustomer. After years of building technology for contact centers, we made it Kustomer’s mission to reimagine how a software platform could make personalized, efficient, and effortless customer service a reality.

Our latest round of funding, a $40 million Series D announced yesterday, will further accelerate the development of the Kustomer platform and help our customers deliver an even better service experience to their customers. Led by Tiger Global Management, this round of funding is our third in the past twelve months following our Series C this past January and our Series B last June, and brings our total funding to $113.5 million.

We are humbled to have had each of these rounds led by three of the leading venture firms in Redpoint Ventures, Battery Ventures, and now Tiger Global Management. All of our investors offer us tremendous expertise, sound business insights, and support a CEO can only dream of receiving. The opportunity to now partner with Tiger Global Management is particularly exciting as they are true believers in the customer service and CRM spaces and share our vision for the future.

That future is a bright one because of the dedication of our Krew to building a next-generation platform and developing strong relationships with our customers. Through their efforts we have grown by 350% over the past year and extended our technical lead over legacy, outdated solutions in the space.

The Kustomer platform uses intelligence to automate repetitive, manual tasks and provide service agents unprecedented insight into a customer’s history. By unifying customer purchase and activity history from all of a company’s systems on the Kustomer timeline, agents have data-driven, actionable conversations without changing screens. As a true omnichannel platform customers and agents can switch between different channels as needed during a conversation, while maintaining the context to progress conversations forward without customers repeating information. Kustomer supports seamless communication through email, chat, SMS, voice, Facebook Messenger, and Twitter.

The additional funding dramatically increases our runway even as we ramp up our already aggressive plans to build on our unprecedented growth. This includes significant investments in our product and engineering teams to drive innovation. In particular, we will double down on artificial intelligence and machine learning to further enhance our business process automation capabilities. We will also continue our international expansion and will open our European data center later this summer. Most importantly, we will enlarge our customer experience team to ensure that our customers receive the same strong support from us that they provide to their customers.

Finally, I want to thank all of our customers who make this journey possible. Your passion and customer-first focus is an inspiration to us everyday. Thank you.

Meet the Krew: Cameron Ackbury

Why I joined Kustomer

The date was Thursday January 24, 2019 that TechCrunch alerted me to the article: Kustomer nabs $35M to take on Zendesk and Salesforce with its Slack like approach to CRM. The Series C, led by Battery Ventures, with Redpoint Ventures, Canaan Partners, Boldstart Ventures, Social Leverage (Howard Lindzon’s fund) and Cisco Investments also participating, comes just seven months after the company raised a Series B of $26 million. This article caught my eye because of the gravitas of investors and the investment amount.

As a 15-year industry SaaS software veteran, having grown the likes of NetSuite and Mindjet from nothing to over $100M, I am intimately familiar with companies that raise significant amounts of money, but never quite find their footing in the marketplace. Co-Founders Brad Birnbaum and Jeremy Suriel have a vision that an omnichannel, single customer view — where customers’ histories and live questions exist together to provide agents the full picture to deal with the customer more efficiently — is more valuable for a company than a Zendesk or a Salesforce. I had to learn more about Kustomer.

The commitment that I made to myself early on in my career was that I would only work for a company in which I would invest my time and possibly my money. That company would have to be unique, different, defensible and desirable. In this case, Kustomer was the only company in the market that had an omnichannel, single timeline to engage with customers. They were different from Zendesk and Salesforce in that Kustomer is a workflow enabled application that encompasses all customer related systems into one application. They are defensible in that they have a four-year head start in the market and a well-funded war chest. They are desirable by customers because, well, customers love Kustomer. I needed to meet the team.

My background is the intersection of SaaS software and business technologies. I reached out to Vikas Bhambri, SVP of Sales and CX and asked for a meeting. Interestingly, he responded to me within a few hours. Within a day or so, I was put into the hiring queue. The initial conversations were intellectually stimulating, reflecting a culture to hire the best, while making the experience as pleasant as possible. Within a few weeks, I had met with the sales leadership and executive teams and was sold on the vision. I had to work at Kustomer.

Of course, the team wouldn’t make their decision on hiring me until the following Monday, so I had a long weekend thinking about Kustomer. The customer list was vast and their stories were filled with benefits like “improving visibility by 100% across channels”, “increasing customer satisfaction” and “40% improvement in response time.” These value propositions are music to my ears.

That Monday came quickly and I was happy to learn I was the new Head of the West. Thinking about the gravitas of the investors, the company stability, the culture and the product, I knew that I made the right decision. I am now a happy member of the Krew at Kustomer.

Announcing the Kustomer Book Club for CX Leaders

I’m thrilled to use my first-ever Kustomer blog post to announce the launch of Kustomer Book Club. Every other month we’ll be building out a recommended reading list for CX leaders interested in professional and personal development, including staying up-to-date on the latest customer management thought leadership.

If your first reaction is to think you’re too busy for a book club, I get it. Working a long day and then reading a business or industry book can feel like just more work. But I also truly believe that opening ourselves up to new ideas and perspectives is one of the best things we can do for our colleagues, customers, and our careers.

Agree? Please read on.

Our first book club pick is all about bucking convention and becoming a leader who champions new ideas (especially unpopular ones!). Here’s a short description for Originals:

It’s one thing to have new ideas, but another to stand up for them. Adam Grant, one of his generation’s most provocative thought leaders, explores how individuals can recognize good ideas and speak up without getting silenced, parents can raise creative children, and leaders can build cultures that fight groupthink and promote innovation.

Sounds like valuable skills for listening to customer feedback, changing company cultures, and being a better leader. This is also a book blurbed by both J.J. Abrams and Sheryl Sandberg, so you know it’s good. Or the author is just very well-connected.

Topics to think about (and discuss with your teams) while we read Originals:

  • When’s the last time you championed an idea that you knew was strong even though it was unpopular or complicated to execute?
  • Do your teams know they can come to you with dissent or disagreement? (Hint: just ask them).
  • How can our brands encourage AND act on more customer-generated feedback and ideas?

 

Kustomer Book Club FAQs

Q. Are we reading only books about CX and customer service?

A. No! We believe that the best leaders and the best teams are made of well-rounded, curious people. This is a book club intended for professional development, but that is not limited to trends in customer service or experience. In fact, there’s a lot of research on the benefits of being a T-shaped employee/person, especially within industries undergoing rapid digital transformation. (The “T-shape concept” of valuing a broad, cross-functional mindset is typically attributed to McKinsey).

Q. Are you taking recommendations?

A. Absolutely. Especially because there seem to be gender, racial, and age gaps in business book authorship. We are striving to highlight diverse voices in Kustomer Book Club, and would love to receive recommendations. If you’ve got a must-read book, pretty please send it to jesse@kustomer.com.

Q. When will the next book be announced?

A. We’ll announce a new pick every other month here on the blog. To make sure you don’t miss updates, subscribe using the form below.

Subscribe for updates here.

 

Jesse Feldman is the Content Marketing Manager at Kustomer.

Behind the Kustomer Brand Refresh

Have you noticed our brand refresh?

Thank you. We love it too.

Our brand is a reflection of our team, our customers and our mission. It’s one of our most precious assets.

Customer Friendships are created with Kustomer. We are dedicated to making people and relationships matter in a complex, noisy, hyper-connected world.

Customer Friendship? I don’t want to be friends with my customers!

Not that kind of friendship. Customer Friendship doesn’t mean your customers should buy you a beer on the weekend. At Kustomer, Customer Friendship means every customer should feel like they are attended, served, cared for by…a friend. It’s what happens when you act in the best interests of your customers. It’s what people-first companies strive to achieve: a deep, meaningful relationship with their customers.

Keep reading and see why Customer Friendship is so important. Then, reach out to us and let’s see how the Kustomer platform can help your company achieve this goal.

Here we go…

Customer Friendships are created with Kustomer

In the experience economy, Customer Friendship wins

In the experience economy, technology impresses no one. Customers expect to form a deeper relationship – a friendship – with brands. They seek open, trust building communication and personalized attention. White glove is no longer a premium. It’s the standard. People-first brands are winning the competitive game in their industries. What’s their secret? Customer Friendship.

Customers are reaching out in friendship

Customers are already actively committing to a more intimate and closer relationship with brands by following them on social platforms, obsessing about their products, identifying with their brand values and leaders, and supporting their community causes.

What’s in a name? The agent’s role is changing

Notice what people-first companies call their agents: Neighbors, brand ambassadors, advisors, stylists, consultants. Agents are now expected to deliver personalized value at every interaction to make customers feel as if they are being helped by a friend.

Outdated technologies and an endless queue of tickets

However, outdated technologies have been weighing companies down by limiting their view of customers and making it difficult to connect customer data spread across internal and external systems. Using currently available CRM solutions, companies are handcuffed to their vendors ‘best practice’ processes,  preventing them from meeting their customers’ and agents’ expectations, and getting in the way of building Customer Friendships.

Every interaction is labeled a ticket. Every question is considered a snag. Instead of delivering personalized value to their customers, agents are expected to clear tickets and solve problems. Fast. Agents are growing frustrated because they lack the tools to do their job. Customer data is not instantly available, requiring them to switch between screens, logging-in and logging-out of disparate solutions in search of information that will help them help their customers. They often share or are assigned tickets without context, while still expected to deliver an exceptional experience…

…Then came Kustomer

Kustomer is a next-generation customer management platform for the people-first enterprise.

It was built on one simple idea: to make the customer the atomic unit of an open platform that’s intelligent, easy to use and accessible to everyone. Our customers improve their agents’ productivity and performance metrics by promoting operational efficiencies, and they stand out and grow in their competitive markets because they offer a people-first service experience that creates long-lasting and profitable Customer Friendships.

How Kustomer helps companies create Customer Friendships

At Kustomer, we’re putting the customer back at the center of the experience. Agents become friends. Everyone they serve should feel as if they’re being helped by a friend.

A friendship designed around a lifetime of conversations

A true friendship has a history, and a future. We don’t believe in tickets or case numbers. We manage conversations. Kustomer pulls and organizes all customer data into one single Timeline view that presents the shared history from all channels and conversations in a way both agent and customer can immediately access and remember all key moments like:

  • That time when we shipped the red dress to the wrong address.
  • That time when you were billed twice on the sneakers you bought.
  • That time when you wanted to return the extra device that didn’t fit.
  • That time when you didn’t know how to install the device and we sent you the guide by email.

Agents can immediately see conversations the customer had with other agents or through the website chat or mobile app. They can also collaborate and handle a conversation at the same time. There’s no need to look for customer data in another app since Kustomer seamlessly connects to other systems to pull out the relevant data for each interaction. And it’s all presented on one omnichannel thread.

A friendship is created when customers and agents connect across​​ any channel

Whatever device or communication channel we use, humans remember conversations. We may start a conversation on a brand’s website, and seek to continue it through email.

Kustomer enables customers to reach you through their preferred means of communication, and empowers agents to switch from channel to channel without losing the conversation or its context. Brands always know the best way to reach their customers depending on the situation — a text to inform and a call to proactively address a problem.

A friendship is proactive

Friends know what you need before you can ask for it. Friendships are surprising, delightful and low maintenance. When you have all the necessary context about the people buying your products or using your services, it becomes the foundation for a long-lasting, more meaningful relationship. You can respond to their wants — and even anticipate their needs. Just like a friend would.

  • Rain in Atlanta? Communicate delays in service.
  • New line of wedding dresses goes on sale? Send an alert to interested brides.
  • Seeing the battery is about to run out of the camera? Send an alert to replace it.
A friendship with a heart: sentiments are important

Friends know what you like and dislike, sometimes even better than you do. They can tell when you’re upset, and when you’re happy, and will modulate their message to match. Kustomer always checks the pulse of the relationship. Is everyone happy? Satisfied? Disappointed? When you add heart to the conversation it becomes more meaningful and agents can have a conversation that can truly help the customer.

Now, let’s see it in action. Ask for a demo or check out our website to learn more about how Kustomer help create Customer Friendship magic.

From Series B to Series C in 6 Months…And You Haven’t Seen Anything Yet

A note from our CEO Brad Birnbaum

It’s been an incredible few months filled with exciting activities and milestones here at Kustomer. We have much to celebrate! It’s hard to imagine we raised our Series B only six months ago, and here we are, celebrating another huge milestone – our $35 Million Series C led by Battery Ventures.

I couldn’t be more proud, and like any proud CEO – I want to give you a brief taste of our Krew’s journey this past year, including a sneak peak of what’s to come.

2018 was a terrific year for everyone here at Kustomer. I can report our Krew keeps doing what we do best – building a cutting-edge product, growing a solid team and deepening friendships with our customers. We’ve grown revenue by 500% year-over-year. 500%! That puts us as one of the fastest growing startups against industry benchmarks!

The Kustomer platform is second to none. We provide a next-generation alternative to outdated technologies. We’re a solution to an endless queue of tickets that weighs companies down and frustrates their agents and customers. We designed our platform from scratch, focusing on a first-of-its-kind data model and incorporating a single view of customer interactions in our timeline. We are the disruptor brand – focused and fierce.

And we’re being noticed.

Brands at the top of their game, logos like Glossier, Away, UNTUCKit, Ring and others, are the companies who choose Kustomer. We’re also being noticed by our competition as we quickly take their market share, offering a better alternative to legacy and decades old products. Finally, we’re being noticed by the VCs. Kustomer is fortunate to have top VCs believing in our mission to disrupt the customer management space. Adding Battery Ventures continues to level up the prestige of our investment team. We’re disrupting one of the largest growing SaaS markets in the world.

I am especially excited to have Neeraj Agrawal join the Kustomer Board of Directors. You may already know Neeraj as the originator of the T2D3 (triple, triple, double, double, double) cadence for measuring hyper-growth in startups. He’s a seasoned investor and has been supporting the momentum of great products and companies. Check out the Midas list. He’s been a member of this exclusive group for 8 consecutive years!

With the additional capital, we’re investing in growth.

2019 will be epic. There’s so much on the horizon for Kustomer and many opportunities ahead of us this year. If you haven’t noticed our new branding, check out our new website. We’re maturing as a company and I am proud of our brand’s new look and feel. We will continue accelerating our go-to-market strategy and investing in our marketing and sales organizations to reach a wider base of companies, faster.

We’re also continuing our international expansion this year. With brands like Glovo and Paddle in the EU using Kustomer every day, we feel this market is ready for us. We’re targeting more up-market companies.

The Kustomer platform will continue to add capabilities and innovations as it evolves. Our product roadmap is extensive and includes significant investment in AI and efficiency capabilities. Keep an eye for our product releases and announcements throughout the year. Exciting stuff is coming your way.

We’re doing all this for our customers. The most passionate, people-first brands, because like you, our customers always come first. That will never change; no matter what we take on in the future. Without our customers, none of our achievements would be remotely possible.

Kustomer is the first company making real Customer Friendships possible.

And we’re only getting started.

Come with us.

Brad

Why Companies Are Switching from Ticketing Systems to Kustomer

Ticketing systems have been around for decades. Ticket numbers, formal emails (“don’t reply below this line”), isolated data (“what is your order number?”), have been a part of our lives as customers and customer support professionals. It’s hard to believe a better world is possible. Kustomer, built by industry veterans, was created with a different vision in mind—a customer-centric platform that ties together all the conversations and business information about a customer into a single timeline, together with powerful workflows that enable customer-first companies to execute their customer experience vision. In the past year, a number of customers have successfully migrated from ticket-based solutions to Kustomer. Here are a few items that CX agents and executives who made the switch have highlighted about making the move:

1) From Isolated Tickets to a Single Timeline View of the Customer

How many platforms does your team use to communicate with customers? Is your team in constant need to merge tickets? Because tickets from different channels are often disconnected, it’s easy to run into a customer who is chatting with another agent while you’re in the middle of replying to their email. Or worse, you might reply without knowing that they’re already being helped.

In Kustomer, you can see all the communications with your customer in one place. That means that real omnichannel communication is possible. You can go from emailing with a customer to chatting with them, to calling them on the phone, and see all those records in one conversation. That’s because the customer is the atomic unit of our platform—everything revolves around them.

2) From Disconnected Solutions to Actionable Integrations

How many tabs does your team need to keep open at the same time? When your customer support platform is disconnected from the rest of your platforms, agents need to keep copying and pasting customers’ email addresses into your admin systems to get even basic information about the history of their interactions with your company—past orders, delivery status, etc. Kustomer pulls data from all your platforms and tools and arranges it in a way that makes sense for your business.

With Kustomer’s single timeline view, the customer is the focal point, not individual conversations. Not only does Kustomer merge every interaction into the same conversation automatically, it also integrates with your other systems—like Shopify or JIRA, just to name a few. That means you can see when orders are dispatched and delivered, or previous items that customers have added to their carts or subscribed to on your site. All of this is displayed in that same timeline, so you have a deeper context whenever they reach out. Everything is completely customizable, so it’s easy to create a view that empowers your team to tackle your specific business challenges.

With this level of integration, tasks like returns or reimbursements can be completely automated (as we’ll discuss in the next section). No matter if your business is pizza, shoes, or software, Kustomer can be customized to show your agents everything they need to know in a single window. Orders, shipping info, product or version number, buyer and seller information, and social interactions can all appear beside each customer in bespoke “K Objects”. This makes it easy for agents to get the whole picture and take the next best action, or communicate with the right parties while staying on one platform.

3) From Repetitive Tasks to Intuitive Automation

Kustomer makes it easy to automate commonly-used workflows so that your agents can focus on connecting with customers rather than rote tasks. Don’t be limited by basic workflow functionality that won’t simplify your agents’ day-to-day work. Now you can define intelligent, branched workflows and reports encompassing all customer-related systems in your business.

Because Kustomer integrates with your other platforms, it’s way more powerful than just showing your customer history—it allows you to act on it. These branched, multi-step workflows make it easy to efficiently scale your team and automate simple tasks. Sending instant follow-up emails or processing a return is now only a click away and no longer has to take your agents’ attention away from the customer.

4) From Reactive Support to a Proactive Experience

Proactive service solves for what your customers need. That means it may be something they haven’t even asked for, like a faster delivery to avoid an incoming storm that might cause delays. It’s one of the best ways to build stronger relationships and deliver meaningful experiences. Ticketing systems are inherently reactive, as agents only respond when customers have a problem or a question. Because Kustomer keeps all of your customer information in one place, you can create granular searches for customers around specific behaviors or qualities, all on the same platform. That means your service isn’t just efficient—it’s smart.

If you want to build customer loyalty, you can search for customers that may have bought a product that could give them an issue, then send them all a message proactively. Let’s say your new mascara is mislabeled as “Vegan”—you can look up all the customers who have preordered it, then send them an email letting them know the mistake and offering a free refund or exchange if they don’t want it—all before their orders have arrived. Or if there’s going to be a storm that affects customers in a certain geographic area, you can notify all the customers with orders going to that region with a list of options before their shipment is delayed. With all your customers’ information in one place, it’s easier to surprise and delight them than ever.

When you combine this robust search capability with automated workflows, intelligent and proactive outreach can become a reality.

By putting all the information about your customers in a single view and making it easier than ever to act on it, Kustomer is winning over companies across industries. To try our powerful platform for yourself, schedule your demo today.

Deliver effortless, personalized customer service.

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