Freshdesk today announced the launch of Hotline.io, an in-app, real-time messaging service, to help mobile-first businesses provide real-time support to their customers . This announcement comes a two months after its acquisition of Chennai-based messaging app, Konotor. Hotline is a result of the collaboration between Freshdesk and Konotor teams and the product has been built on Konotor and Freshdesk’s Mobihelp.
Founded by Girish Mathrubootham in 2010, Freshdesk is one of the leading providers of cloud-based customer support software. The company is headquartered in San Bruno, California, with offices in London, Sydney, and Chennai. Freshdesk claims to have 50,000 customers around the world, including 3M, Honda, Hugo Boss, University of Pennsylvania, The Atlantic, and Petronas. Freshdesk was one of YourStory's Tech 30 2011 companies and since then has gone on to scale rapidly and also raise USD 95 million in total funding.
Related read: 10 high flying startups from the TechSparks stable
Freshdesk's flagship product allows organizations to support customers through email, phone, websites, mobile apps, forums and social media. Used by small startups and large enterprises Freshdesk works on a freemium, scale-as-you-go model.
Freshdesk noticed that there has been significant growth in on-demand businesses globally over the past few years. In 2014, investment activity in the on-demand mobile services rose 514 percent. These businesses generally face strong customer service challenges because customers expect instant resolution without having to leave the app. These unique challenges require native in-app customer support that can scale. So with Hotline.io, Freshdesk aims to enable real-time customer support through in-app messaging and provides agents with the context and tools to efficiently handle high volumes of time-sensitive inquiries. Girish, Freshdesk CEO said,
Phone and email are not ideal channels for mobile app users. Support needs to be in-app, engagement should be real time, context must be readily available, and the solution has to be massively scalable. We built Hotline with these in mind.
In addition to real-time support, Hotline.io enables companies to proactively engage with customer segments through in-app announcements, status updates, promotions and other targeted messaging.
Freshdesk claims that Hotline currently has around 500 customers across a variety of sectors. Global restaurant discovery and food delivery service, Zomato is one of Hotline's earliest customers. Kritymoy Boroowa, senior manager of operations, Zomato said
I think the future of improving customer experience and customer delight lies in real time proactive engagement. Once we moved to Hotline, there were quicker responses, much quicker resolution, and a drop in people moving to social media for them to be heard.”
Over the past two months, Freshdesk claims that early adopters have seen faster resolution of customer issues –– a 45 percent reduction in first response time and a 40 percent reduction in resolution time.
Platforms like Whatsapp, Facebook messenger, WeChat and other popular messaging apps have become the main channel for personal communication. Now Whatsapp and Facebook Messenger are trying to leverage their massive user base by opening them up to business to reach out to their customers directly. But this may still require users to jump between multiple apps and the context may be lost.
Some other interesting players in the same space as Freshdesk's Hotline are- Intercom.io which raised a $35M series C round in August 2015, San Francisco based Helpshift, which claims to be active on one billion devices and has so far raised a total of $13.2M in funding and YC backed Hipmob. Closer home in India there is Applozic which provides in-app messaging through their SDK.
Chat based interactions have a wide range of use cases. Most recently, Quartz launched an iOS app to help readers consume news in the form of custom messages, photos, GIFs, and links, based on what they wish to read.
Mobile apps have gained mainstream popularity around the world and now the focus is on improving the end user experience and resolving issues faster. Voodoo, a YourStory MobileSparks 2015 is an app-only digital assistant that provides relevant coupons and discount codes through a floating bubble while the user is inside a particular app. Flynx a TechSparks 2014 company, operates as a floating browser inside other apps and loads articles and links in background. It will be interesting to see how the mobile app sector evolves over the next year and how interactions between customers and businesses become more streamlined.