Freshworks today launches Freshworks CRM for eCommerce, designed to help direct selling brands and digital retailers connect with customers through conversational marketing, sales and customer support. All of this runs on a unified customer record stored in the vendor’s underlying Neo platform, as Prakash Ramamurthy, Chief Product Officer at Freshworks explains:
All the things we gather and announce reinforce our idea that a unified view of the customer must be built out of the box. It shouldn’t be left an exercise for our customers to go out and buy integration software and millions of dollars from a partner to bring it together. Everything should be available out of the box, that has always been our position.
Today’s announcement integrates Freshworks’ sales and marketing automation solution with its core customer support platform, and adds a range of new messaging and automation features as well as integration ready for use at popular e-commerce platforms, starting with Shopify. It sums :
This launch is to bring support and marketing together, add additional channels for support and marketing, improve our modern agent, conversational experience and include bots on the front-end, add multilingual support for bots and add natural language support to understand intent. .
The new offering responds to growing demand for an integrated e-commerce experience following the shift to online retail during the pandemic, as well as growing consumer adoption of messaging channels. As part of the shift to more conversational interactions with online retailers and brands, customers also expect these companies to have all of their information at their fingertips when they come in contact, rather than from their request to resubmit details when changing channels. Ramamurthy says:
We’ve brought together sales, marketing and support, fully integrated into the unified customer record. All channels fully integrated, bots and chat fully integrated. So that e-commerce businesses can simply take care of their customers, whether it’s to give them a better marketing offer, to take care of them when they ask for help, or to give them information when they ask for it. ‘Where is my order?’ “What are your opening hours? All of these things, all available, 24/7. In the end, that’s what these guys are after.
Available messaging channels include WhatsApp, Apple Business Chat, SMS and Line, with Instagram expected soon. Agents can also use Freshdesk’s native Textline messaging product to interact with customers. There are various pre-built chatbot templates for e-commerce, and agents can see order information when dealing with customer issues. So, for example, if a customer contacts support with a return request at the same time they are filling out a new cart, the agent can see that this would be a good time to bolster the customer’s goodwill by waiving the fee. restocking on this return.
It is also possible to allow customers to set preferred messaging channels. For example, if a customer has put several items in their cart and then leaves the session, they could receive an automated message an hour later on their preferred channel, reminding them of the outstanding items and perhaps offering a discount if they complete. the order within a certain time.
Integration with Shopify includes connections in pre-built chatbot models, with natural language processing (NLP) and the ability to recognize intent, so conversations can feel natural. If a chatbot is unable to resolve a problem, it can automatically forward the conversation to a human agent with all information attached. In addition to today’s integration with Shopify, others including Magento and WooCommerce will soon follow, says Ramamurthy.
Automating chatbots will help businesses reduce operating costs while improving customer experience. He explains:
In e-commerce, in particular, there are high-volume support requests coming in. Often, these are transactional requests, which are repeated. The most asked question to an e-commerce business is: “Where is my order?” People ask for it, sometimes twice a day and five times a week, until it comes up. So what we want to be able to do is have the bots process those requests, automatically find the data, and send it back to the customer in their channel of choice.
The platform also allows marketers to define cross-channel engagement journeys, so they can run segmented marketing campaigns, personalized based on customer buying behavior via email, chatbots, SMS, WhatsApp and social platforms such as Instagram and Facebook. They can also leverage information collected from e-commerce platforms and synced with contacts and purchase history to create campaigns and actions aimed at generating recurring revenue and creating value at life for customers.
Freshworks will continue to develop the solution with more integrations and new features. An example is to provide additional support for long-running asynchronous conversations across multiple channels. Ramamurthy says the goal is to continue to make interacting with customers more natural:
When I try to text my wife, the iPhone doesn’t tell me, “Your wait time is three days because she doesn’t want to talk to you.” You have just delivered a message and it is up to her to react.
Ultimately, we think the most important thing is that we want our businesses to interact with their customers in their natural habitat and give them everything in one place.
Our point of view
There is a clear trend, particularly in e-commerce, to converge channels and functions and to make engagement between customers and retailers as natural and seamless as possible. For many businesses, the effort of assembling a disparate collection of e-commerce, customer service, and digital marketing tools becomes an impossible burden. An out-of-the-box built-in alternative is likely to prove an attractive proposition for many.