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Kustomer + SaaStr: Brad Birnbaum on Transitioning from CTO to CEO

Kustomer CEO and Founder Brad Birnbaum joins SaaStr’s podcast to share how he made his way into the world of customer experience and SaaS over 20 years ago.

Brad tackles a range of topics including:

  • The core benefits of repeat entrepreneurship
  • The challenges and surprises of transitioning from CTO to CEO, and what advice he’d give other CTOs looking to make the transition
  • How the product should lead your go-to-market strategy

For the latest from Kustomer, follow us at @Kustomer on Twitter.

Kustomer Localization is made for Global Teams

Many customer service teams today have to support a global customer base. Kustomer has launched Localization, a suite of features that allow you to easily detect, respond, and provide help to a multilingual customer base. Customers and support teams deserve an seamless experience in their respective language, across any channel.

Whether you service customers around the world, or have a team that communicates in multiple languages, our localization features will help you provide personalized customer support. We focused on developing features that make teams more efficient as well as automating tedious tasks associated with providing multilingual support.

Automating Language Detection

 

When your customers contact you, Kustomer is now able to automatically detect the language of the message using Amazon Comprehend dominant language detection. Oftentimes a new message will require your team to have to identify the language, and then assign it to another team or agent. This manual triaging by language is time consuming and ineffective. Automating the language detection for inbound messages allows you to route conversations to the correct team or agent, providing quick reply times. When language detection is enabled, you’ll also be able to get sentiment analysis in multiple languages, helping you to better understand your customer. Language detection will allow agents to work more efficiently by automatically sending messages and displaying Knowledge Base articles in the customer’s’ own language.

Making Translation Easy

We focused on making processes as time-efficient as possible. One of the Localization features that enables this is Snippets. Teams can easily insert translated content into messages, email templates, and Knowledge Base articles. Let’s say you want to provide your agents with an automatic response to questions about returns. You can quickly create a snippet for “return policy” with corresponding translations for languages you want to support. Then, when your agent uses a shortcut with the “return policy” Snippet, it’s automatically translated based on the customer’s language. Adding in personalization is easy too, just combine Snippets, Shortcuts, and Dynamic text and your agent is fully empowered to provide quick personalized support in the correct language.

Enabling Agent Adoption

It’s not just your customers that are global. Many support teams are based all over the world, and it’s important that users can access and use Kustomer in their native language. Unlike other tools where translations are limited to certain features and interfaces, in Kustomer you’ll have full access to language translations across all our features and the user interface. The user interface can be used in over 51 languages (both Right to Left and Left to Right). See a list of all available languages in Kustomer.

For more information about Localization and its included features, check out this article.

Magento Technology Partnership: Integration Enables Actionable Service

You get the most out of Kustomer once you’ve connected all of your customer information and data. As an official technology partner, our Magento integration allows you to personalize your support based on your Magento customer profiles, including your customers’ online behavior, their purchases, and their return history.

Now your support team can see all the purchases made by every customer, set up searches based on Magento information, provide proactive service using workflows, and more. For example, you can create a search for customers with Magento orders worth more than $200 who have made a purchase more than once a month, then assign them to a higher-tiered support level and send a bulk message with a coupon thanking them for their loyalty.

Integrations should be more than delayed, view-only glimpses. As part of this integration, we’ve added a real-time shopping cart card, which lets you easily see the contents of your customers’ shopping carts while you provide support. Your team will have all the necessary information to quickly resolve your customers’ issues, decreasing shopping cart abandonment.

Our integration will sync standard objects out of the box such as customers, orders, and more. You can also easily send your own custom events (like items in cart) and have them populated as custom objects. As with all custom objects, you can create reports to gain deeper insight into how your shopping is connected to customer support and service.

To set-up the integration, have an admin follow our instructions.

Product Updates: New Workforce Management and Chat Capabilities Are Here

Our engineering and product teams have been busy launching new features, adding new channels, and making your top requests a reality. Here are the highlights of what we’ve added in this past quarter, in case you missed any.

Workforce Management

Team Pulse

Admins often spend extra time monitoring and following up with agents to ensure they’re working efficiently. Team Pulse lets admins view and jump to the customers, searches, reports, and conversations that their agents are currently working on, in real-time. Admins are also able to view which members of their team are using Autopilot, as well as how many conversations or customers they’re currently working on in the search.

For example, use Team Pulse to monitor your remote team’s activity during their shift.

Chat

Conversational Assistant

Chat Conversational Assistant is a pre-conversational feature that helps your team collect information from customers automatically, before reaching the agent. Collecting information upfront will speed up response times and the ability to quickly close conversations by cutting down the interactions between agents and customers. Conversational Assistant can also automate team assignment, by asking your customer what team they are trying to reach.

You’re able to create an unlimited number of open ended questions for end-users to respond to. We’ve also provided a few required fields to self-identify customers who may already exist in your Kustomer app such as email and name.

For example, use Chat Conversational Assistant to require the end-user to provide their order number so agents can easily access that information, and not have to wait for it to be provided.

Chat Availability

Chat Availability incorporates Business Hours into the chat experience, allowing admins to determine what the after hours experience will be for chat users.

We’re providing two options to choose from:

  1. Show Available: This will keep your chat available on your website regardless of your Business Hours. The chat window will display your available online greeting and allow end users to create new conversations.
  2. Show Offline: This will keep your chat icon available but display your offline greeting. You’ll be able to add an offline greeting image within the chat window and end-users will be prompted to leave a message.

For example, use Chat Availability to appear offline during holidays like New Years Day, when your team may have limited or no availability.

Chat Deflection

Chat Deflection helps to set proper expectations for your customers with estimated Reply Times. Our Reply Time display is fully customizable, so admins can choose from an automated, template, or custom message. Since Chat is a fast moving channel where your customers expect real-time support, we’ve added additional functionality around deflection and alternative follow-up. Deflection will help divert traffic when your Chat team doesn’t respond, by directing your customers to other channels. Admins can also set a deflection time, with automation around closing a conversation.

For example, use Chat Deflection to give customers the option to reach out via phone, text, or email when an agent doesn’t respond within the allotted two minutes.

Proactive Messenger

Proactive Messenger lets customer experience teams automatically engage website visitors with targeted messages. You can proactively send chat messages to specific target audiences based on a multitude of factors, including session information like time on page, last page visited, the geographical location as well as customer attributes if the user is logged in. Custom customer attributes allow for more powerful campaigns, letting you target customers based on information like VIP status, favorite color, last activity, last CSAT value, and more.

For example, create a campaign that displays a 10% discount offer to customers whose last CSAT value was lower than a 7 and have been on a product page for more than 5 seconds.

Knowledgebase

Multilingual KB

Multilingual Knowledgebase (KB), enables teams to provide help content in the correct language to their customers all over the globe. Multilingual KB lets you create KB articles in multiple languages and serve the correct version to your customers. Snippets, another new feature and component of Multilingual KB, will automatically detect the language of your customers and then adjust a specified block of text to the correct language.

New Channels

Kustomer Chat Android and iOS SDK

Your customers use apps and your support team needs to be able to help your customers where they are. Enter Kustomer Android and iOS SDK. Designed specifically for Android and iOS, it enables customers to interact with your team from within your mobile app. Our Chat Android SDK supports both logged in and anonymous chats. Fully customizable, it’s easy to match our Mobile Chat to your application’s brand.

You can check out our latest product updates here.

Kustomer + UJET: Provide A Unified Customer Experience

Today we’re excited to announce our innovation partnership with UJET, an incredible company that makes live customer support your competitive advantage. Our companies share a similar vision to improve customer service with modern technology and deliver a radically better experience for customers. By integrating within UJET channels, we’re now able to provide one, unified experience built around the customer.

More About UJET

UJET came out of stealth last month with over $20M in funding led by Kleiner Perkins, DCM Ventures, and others. UJET offers a holistic platform for voice and chat channels that customers can reach via in-app, in-web, or in-1800 routes. The technology behind UJET replaces all of the convoluted systems, lines, and contact numbers with a stunningly simple SDK to take the frustration out of customer support and in turn provide a sleek, modern smartphone-era experience.

How Does Kustomer & UJET Integrate Together?

The UJET voice channel integrates easily into the Kustomer timeline.

Here are some of the integration benefits:

  • You automatically get the context of the inbound caller and see historical events that happened in the phone call, in addition to any inbound or outbound communications that have happened through email, text, chat, or Facebook Messenger.
  • This means that when a customer calls, Kustomer loads the customer’s timeline for review and creates a note draft where you can begin taking notes on the conversation.
  • As you control the call, we automatically add events to the timeline to indicate what’s happening. If you are not available, we also add a link to the voicemail (and transcript, if available).

Benefits of UJET & Kustomer

Using Kustomer and UJET together enables you to boost your team’s productivity, especially with regards to first call resolution. Customers will also receive a higher level of customer service.

Product Updates: New Feature Updates and Integrations

Our engineering and product teams have been busy launching new integrations, adding new features, and making your requests happen. Here are the highlights of what we’ve added, in case you missed any.

New Integrations

Looker Integration

We announced our partnership with Looker to create a solution that enables companies to integrate their support team’s data into broader, company-wide insights and analysis.

To make it even easier to get started with your analysis, we created a Looker Block for Support Analytics by Kustomer. Looker Blocks make it easy for companies to quickly deploy expertly built, tailored solutions specific to each business unit or data source. They are also a great way for partners like us to make the data we’re replicating into your data warehouse immediately actionable.

The Looker Block for Kustomer allows you to easily explore your customers, conversations, and teams data to provide a comprehensive view of Customer Support team operations.

Aircall Integration

We announced our partnership with Aircall, an innovative company that makes it easy for sales and support teams to integrate voice calls with their existing tools.

With this partnership you can now add your Aircall phone experience to the rich customer information you already have in Kustomer.

Using Aircall and Kustomer together enables you to get to the right information faster when a customer calls. We put all of the customer’s information together in one place to help you deliver an improved customer experience overall.

Check out our blog post to learn more.

Exciting New Features

Priority

We launched Priority, a new feature that helps you prioritize and gain insight into customer issues. Every new conversation receives a default priority of 3. To sort based on Priority, just add it to your conversation Search Columns.

For example, create a search for customers with a priority greater than 4 to identify and provide immediate support, resulting in happier customers.

Autopilot Improvement

Autopilot saves your team members time by loading the next customer in your active search automatically when you finish or snooze a conversation. Now, we’ve added the option to go to the next customer while your current customer is still open. These Autopilot updates will help your team be even more productive.

For example, while you are waiting for your customer to respond, use next customer to get started answering another customer’s question!

Autopilot is included in the Enterprise Plan.

Search Improvement

We’ve added new fields including oldest inbound un-responded message, last inbound message, and last outbound message. These new fields can be added as Search Columns.

We’ve also expanded upon sort, letting you choose a primary sort and secondary sort option using the new fields.

Here’s how to sort:

  • When viewing a search, click on the column you want to make it primary
  • Shift-click on the header of the column you want to make it secondary
  • The primary sort column will have a 1 and secondary will have a 2

Timeline Improvements

Snooze Customization

We’ve enhanced Snooze to include customized times. Now, you can create Relative (15 minutes from now) or Dynamic (Wednesday at 2:00pm) organization wide snooze times. Just head to the settings section to customize your Snooze settings.

In addition, we’ve added these options for compliance: you can now also disable the ability for users to set a custom snooze time or the ability to snooze until a customer replies.

Note Attachments

Many companies spend most of their time communicating via notes. We’ve added attachments to notes, which makes it easier to collaborate. Get started today sending images and documents.

The Next Big Feature

We’re listening to you! Email us at support@kustomer.com with any ideas or requests.

Kustomer + Aircall — Use Support Data for Better Voice Calls

We’re excited to announce our partnership with Aircall, an innovative company that makes it easy for sales and support teams to integrate voice calls with their existing tools. Our companies both share a vision of helping Support team productivity and the first-touch customer experience. With this partnership you can now add your Aircall phone experience to the rich customer information you already have in Kustomer.

More About Aircall

Aircall is a next generation cloud-based global phone solution that allows businesses to set up their phone operations quickly. Aircall customers are able to deploy a phone system in minutes, provide local numbers in over 40 countries and integrate their phone channel with essential business tools like Kustomer — streamlining their existing workflows and transforming the way sales and support teams interact with their customers.

How Do Kustomer & Aircall Integrate Together?

The Aircall voice channel integrates easily into the Kustomer timeline and the rest of the Kustomer platform.

Here are some of the integration benefits:

  • More Productive Team: A deep integration between a call and the rest of the Support experience means that team members can be more effective
  • Improved Call Quality & Customer Loyalty: High quality calls lead to happier customers that are more engaged
  • Customer Upsells: Support team members can even leverage the Kustomer Workspace to turn inbounds calls into opportunities for sales or subscriptions upgrades

Benefits of Aircall & Kustomer

Using Aircall & Kustomer together enables you to get to the right information faster when a customer calls. We put all of the customer’s information together in one place to help you deliver an improved customer experience overall.

See how the integration works.

Introducing ‘Collaborators’

Support isn’t a back office cost center anymore, it is a strategic team at the center of a company’s operations. For this to happen, Support teams need to be better connected with other teams. With this in mind, we are proud to announce the launch of a completely new feature — Collaborators.

What Is A Collaborator?

Collaborators are users from other teams outside of support that can view conversations, customer history, and searches. These users can help you solve customer questions with internal notes and @mentions, see customer feedback and more. Don’t worry though — we’ve also set them up so they don’t do any harm or cause confusion. They can’t have conversations with customers, or edit organizations, profiles, etc. This ensures that your external communications with customers are consistent and owned by your Support team.

Here are some ways Collaborators can help your support team today:

  • You get a difficult technical question and need a developer’s help to get the answer
  • You need approval to authorize a refund over a certain amount
  • You need an answer from your product team about when an item is coming back in stock
  • You need to ask your Shipping department if a package has left the warehouse
  • You want to find a customer’s original sales rep

What Are The Benefits of Collaborators?

Finally, you won’t have to worry about the number of seats you have in your support system. Collaborators help your support teams provide more efficient service by making it easier to communicate with other departments. Whether these internal users want to stay informed about individual customers or learn more about your business operations, they can view and research any customer of interest. Collaborators can help support teams respond quickly and flexibly to complex customer requests, solve issues faster, and surface common issues with the rest of the company.

How Do I Set Up Collaborators?

Collaborators are free and available to the Enterprise Plan. Instructions on how to add them can be found here.

Blurring Lines in Enterprise SaaS; The Race to Own Customer Data

By Ed Sim
Original Source: http://www.beyondvc.com/2017/04/blurring-lines-enterprise-saas-customer-data.html

Note: This blog post was written by one of our investors. We loved it and thought you would too.

I’ve written before about the competitive nature of SaaS and the amount of entrants in every category.

Lately after every conversation, I feel like the world is being divided into two camps and there is a massive battle going on in terms of who is going to own them and how. To oversimplify, I’ll call it pre-customer and post-customer domination. And there are companies looking to blur both of those categories as well.

It’s pretty hard to create a new system of record these days as Salesforce, Marketo, Gainsight and the like are building tighter lock-in around their products. That’s not to say it can’t be done as those companies have larger fish to fry, mainly huge enterprise customers and $1mm + deals. Opportunities abound in the SME (small, medium enterprise), and we’ve seeded a number of founders going after that space.

The Race for the Customer — Owning the Central Repository for Customer Data

After every pitch, I seem to hear one thing — we will be the central place where all customer data resides to make intelligent decisions. Forget about web analytics, marketing automation, email platforms, customer support, customer success, and sales intelligence. The world is moving towards an all-in-one place and holistic view of the customer. This is the blending of tons of different SaaS segments and every company is adding more data to their approach. With APIs everywhere, this is making it easier for companies to start integrating data from multiple sources. Doing that is not the hard part; getting in the mind of the end user of these apps and ensuring seamless workflows will be much harder. At the end of the day, the more you know about your customer, the easier you can understand their mindset, and increase their happiness, and thus your revenue.

Data-driven platforms like segment, looker, and mixpanel have an interesting view as a central repository for customer data which feeds into apps. Mixpanel, it seems, is going one step further trying to capture more value from their customers by creeping into customer success. App players in various segments want to move beyond customer support and into proactive marketing campaigns. Gainsight is pitching how to operationalize the customer lifecycle with cross-functional collaboration and proactive marketing. I can go on and on. This race also plays into another theme, automation and intelligence. Once the data is clean and in one place, it is easier to analyze and make predictions. We made an investment in March of 2013 in Preact, a SaaS platform for customer success which sold to Spotify. The company never completed its mission but big on Gooley’s mind was proactive intelligence. I now believe we have the tools and customer understanding to start to pull this off.

What Are Buyers of SaaS Doing?

As this is happening, more forward-thinking companies I’ve been speaking with are starting to organize their teams around a total customer happiness experience. What this means is onboarding to success to renewals and expansion are starting to fall under one leader. In addition, they have 3–4 various systems where customer data resides and separate teams for success and support and marketing are attempting to integrate data for their workflows. Lots of money and time is wasted and these companies are looking for a better way. Some more technical startups are even building home-grown solutions to solve this problem.

This all makes sense because at the end of the day what companies really want is a holistic view of their customer. This includes every touch point from first web site visit to email conversion and sign up to onboarding to customer success and expansion and finally to customer support. All channels should be monitored and when a support rep answers an email, call or chat, all of that information should be at their fingertips with no hunting around. When a marketer wants to send out a new email campaign, they should be able to segment based on how many interactions with the customer support team, customer success team, and sales and drive a better data driven email. When looking to expand account size, customer success or reps need to understand every touchpoint and interaction, they need to know the sentiment, and have that all in one place to convert.

Who is Going to Win?

My bet is that a startup will win this battle, one that is not burdened by legacy customers, one that can be Switzerland sitting on top of all of the other platforms, and one that will build real intelligence (using machine learning) with the data they are extracting from all other systems. It may start from an application first view solving a specific problem (customer support, customer success, CRM, email) with expansion into gathering more data or from a data platform/analytics first approach with further expansion into applications. Ultimately though, what’s needed is not just a unified data layer but also a single pane of glass to allow any workflow to seamlessly communicate with customers. As the team at kustomer likes to say, “customers are the atomic unit” and all decisions should be driven off the customer as the unique ID and not tickets or other tech jargon.

Whoever wins this race will surely be a massive company, and I look forward to watching this play out over the next few years.

Schedule a demo.