How SimpleCRM is helping companies reach their customers better using AI and ML

Singapore-based SimpleCRM has been in the customer relationship management space for seven years, during which time it has mastered the Asian geography when it comes to helping enterprises target their customers better.
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For Indraneel Fuke, the zeal to start his own business was inculcated when he was studying at IIM Ahmedabad. He had a professor who always encouraged him and his fellow students to take the entrepreneurial plunge — but Indraneel did not immediately start his business until sometime later, when he was working with a startup to implement a customer relationship management (CRM) software for a US-based company.

While working there, he realised that while nearly 90 percent of the businesses in the US used some sort of a CRM solution to optimise customer relationships, there was a major gap in the CRM space in Asia. In India, under 50 percent of the total businesses had deployed a CRM solution — quite underwhelming given the number of ventures, both mid and large size, that operated in the country.

In 2014, he finally decided to get his feet wet, and founded SimpleCRM — a customer relationship management software based out of Singapore, that helps companies optimise the way they reach potential customers, build a relationship with them, and maintain that relationship.

A low-code, plug-and-play solution, SimpleCRM enables companies to take a more targeted approach when it comes to reaching out to new customers. Instead of sending random email blasts to a contact list in the hope that 10 percent of them would convert into actual customers, the software identifies people who would be more likely to buy whatever the company is selling, based on a host of factors, such as their web activity, searches, and what ads they linger on longer.

It also helps salespeople make targeted phone calls, automatically push incentives on a website to influence buying behaviour, as well as remember people’s purchase histories so that the next time they engage with the company or the brand, they’re able to get a more personalised experience.

Basically imagine walking into an ice cream parlour and being greeted by a salesperson who exactly knows the flavours you like, the kind of price point you’re comfortable with, your mood, the flavour of ice cream you last bought, and the one you’re likely to buy next.

SimpleCRM has customers across Asia — particularly India, Sri Lanka, the Philippines, Singapore, and, to a small extent, the UK.

SimpleCRM founder and CEO, Indraneel Fuke

When Indraneel, founder and CEO of the venture, started out, his first client was HSBC Invest Direct in Asia Pacific — and, over the years, the company has specialised in building CRM solutions for the banking, financial services, and insurance sector.

“Since we started with a large financial services organisation as our first customer, we developed certain domain expertise, so we’ve ended up picking up more customers in the BFSI sector,” he tells YourStory.

However, over the last couple of years, other sectors have opened their eyes to the benefits of a CRM solution too — and SimpleCRM has captured some of that opportunity.

“Now we have customers in education, real estate, manufacturing…even NGOs. In Sri Lanka, one of our clients is a casino,” he says.

The venture’s customers include IBM India, Wipro, Ebixcash Solutions, and Connect, among others. It usually works with mid and large-cap companies, although small and medium enterprises, as well as the startup sector are waking up to the benefits of a CRM solution too, and form a solid part of SimpleCRM’s clientele, the company says.

The bootstrapped, profitable startup has not raised any institutional funding yet. It raised around $350,000 from friends and family.

The age of hyper-personalisation

Indraneel says this is the age of hyper-personalisation, and not just in the way companies target customers over calls and email, but other touchpoints such as websites and social media too.

“With email blasts irrespective of what the customer wants, you are bombarding customers with irrelevant information that can be annoying and a waste of customers’ time. Instead, if you are able to give curated offers based on what they are interested in, or are likely to be interested in, it’s more efficient and useful for both, the company and the customer,” he says.

SimpleCRM enables this via its AI-powered customer-360 module that recommends products and services based on a potential customer’s online and offline behaviour.

Offline, to help salespersons make better sales pitches, it carries a host of options — such as a sentiment analyser, which assigns a sentiment score based on previous interactions; a chatbot platform that helps insurance companies, for example, manage their claims processes; a digital customer onboarding platform that automates the process of onboarding customers — right from processing their credentials, to verifying their ID card pictures, among other things.

“The Customer-360 module is very helpful for sales agents — it provides all manner of relevant information at their fingertips — who the customer they’re calling is, what have been their past interactions across channels like (including calls, WhatsApp, others), what policies they’re currently holding, the status of those policies, are there any open issues or tickets related to this person, and more,” Indraneel says.

Ultimately, the agent is completely prepped to deal with any customer calls,” he adds.

SimpleCRM’s customers regularly see a 25 to 30 percent increase in the number of leads generated and converted by the platform, it claims, and a nearly 35 percent increase in customer satisfaction scores.

Value proposition

While most CRM solutions provide much of what SimpleCRM does, it says its biggest value proposition lies in its focus on Asia, and the things it has gleaned from catering to businesses located in the geography.

For example, the first few things Indraneel focused on while building SimpleCRM was its ability to scale businesses and the software’s pricing, which he says were two important aspects. Asia is a price-sensitive region, with young businesses that want to scale quickly.

Also, the barriers to entry for a business expanding outside of any of the Asian countries is generally low, especially when compared to western geographies. With SimpleCRM, which has managed to capture the way Asia works, a company deploying its solution can easily scale and explore international markets.

“Most international players in the CRM space have less than 20 percent of their business coming from this region, whereas for us 80 percent of our business comes from this region. So naturally our product orientation, localisation capabilities, understanding of the needs of the local organisations are far ahead,” Indraneel says.

Over the last four to five years, the company has seen an average growth of nearly 25 percent, including during COVID-19 last year. In the current year, SimpleCRM expects an 80 percent growth in revenue.

So far, the startup has managed over 3.5 million workflow requests, captured over 2,000 AI insights, and serviced 10 million-plus cases and tickets.

CRM applications, like SimpleCRM and its competitors EngageBay, Zoho, Salesforce Ventures , Freshsales, Maple CRM, SalesBabu CRM, and others are expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 3.3 percent to about $2.3 billion by 2023, GlobalData, a data analytics company said.

With applications like Cloud, AI, and ML helping more businesses access CRM software, companies like SimpleCRM have a lot of room to grow.

Edited by Teja Lele Desai

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