Freshworks CEO: Why we think we can win at customer engagement management

CMO chats with the founder and global CEO of the latest cloud-based business software darling to find out how it's building out a holistic customer experience proposition


Looking at organisations today, are there roles you think should be rethought, introduced or must evolve in this era of experience?

I wish I could answer that. What I’m seeing even in large companies is champion leaders or change agents emerging. They’re so fed up with existing systems, they’re rolling up their sleeves and going and finding solutions. These are what in Crossing the Chasm [by Geoffrey A Moore] are called ‘early visionaries’. I’ve not see a formal role; I’ve seen it more as a type of an individual.

What’s more, the big shift in progressive companies globally is they’re no longer going with a rip-and-replace mentality. A $50,000 experiment is ok, but they’re not ok to lose $2 million. Many large companies are starting to behave like small companies – they’re trying out new tech in one or two pilot projects, seeing the results, then rolling out at scale. Because of SaaS, that approach is possible.

Going back to support as a key component of CX: Are there particular technology innovations and catalysts you see really shaking things up?

The biggest change is the role of artificial intelligence [AI] and machine learning [ML] in automating tier-one support. All of us know tier-one support is where the customer wants a quick answer, now. From a business standpoint, 70-80 per cent of queries are basic questions. Only 20 per cent is higher order and complex.

More and more companies will look at automating most tier-one support through chatbots, email auto responders, interactive knowledge bases and so on. It’s saving them a lot of money, and also allowing the customer to get their job done quickly.

My second prediction, however, is people will not move to full automation. People want to deploy automation as the first line of defence, but with the comfort of a customer always being able to push a button to talk directly to an agent.

A third prediction is there will be a lot of business benefit in using agent-assist bots. If you look at the agent support industry today, you’re dealing with a lot of attrition. Using AI for agent-assist bots, you can hire anybody, plug them in, and they’re interacting with the customers while bots are training them at the same time.

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