In the future, sitting on hold for hours listening to a robotic-sounding “customer-support rep” tell that you your call “matters,” will be a thing of the past.
Today’s tech startups are already setting themselves apart by offering fast and headache-free customer support. As a result, the online helpdesk business is growing with companies like Beetil (acquired by Citrix this month) and Gripevine (a customer complaints service) offering new services.
The next contender in the space is SupportBee, a startup founded in 2010. Launching today, its service should make it easier for companies to answer customer support tickets via email in record time. SupportBee functions as an online helpdesk for Gmail support. The customers that are already using the beta are tech startups and small to medium-sized businesses. It does not support Outlook, typically used by larger companies.
SupportBee is already in use by over a dozen customers. It replaces complicated ticket states, audit trails, and many other complexities. Any member of a team can access the web app it at any time to help customers or learn more about product issues and feature requests.
Companies can get started by forwarding their support email to SupportBee and/or by installing a widget on their website. They then add their entire team to the desk and start replying to customer email. The team can customize their helpdesk further by setting up signatures and autoresponders and can automate ticket routing using filters. For companies looking for more functionality, SupportBee offers an API and supports webhooks.
The founders are experimenting with a new pricing model for their service. SupportBee does not charge customers on a per-seat basis; instead, it bases fees on the volume of tickets a company receives. This means that if a problem requires the support of an entire team, SupportBee’s customers won’t have to worry about escalating costs. Pricing starts at $19 per month.
Based in India and Vietnam, the founders are working remotely on the company. This isn’t their first startup — cofounders Prateek Dayal and Nithya Rajaram developed Muziboo.com, a free music upload tool, and AboutMyBrowser.com, a service to help customer support agents debug browser issues. Dayal also hosts HackerStreet, a tech news site for entrepreneurs in India.
While working on Muziboo, the founders told me they first experienced the pain of doing customer support for a user base of half a million and growing. “We could not keep up with the interactions using Gmail,” said Dayal, who said that existing tools were “slow, complicated and impersonal.”
SupportBee is primarily a bootstrapped effort — company has only raised a $40,000 equity grant from Startup Chile.
Top Image via Shutterstock