Helpshift, a customer service platform for in-app support, is now offering Campaigns, a feature that arms companies with a more proactive approach to in-app customer service. The company already delivers in-app support but is now making it possible for brands to message their customers directly before a specific customer service issues arises. The new tool lives at the intersection of customer service and marketing, Abinash Tripathy, CEO of Helpshift, says.
“Analysts are already saying that customer service is the new marketing or sales. You’ve probably noticed that now, once you wrap up a service call with Comcast the agent will say, ‘I noticed you’re using our cable but have you heard about our triple play package?’ That’s an example of customer service coming together with marketing and sales,” Tripathy says.
Helpshift Campaigns relies on data signals to pinpoint when customers have an impending problem. One tell-tale sign, for example, is that the customer stops using the app. Another warning sign when it comes to e-commerce is an abandoned cart. Once Campaigns identifies that one of these scenarios has occurred, the company using the tool has the option to send the customer a message either through a push notification or directly to an app inbox, much like the one that Starbucks uses in its app. “Messages that just sit in the notification tray on a smartphone are very easy to ignore,” Tripathy says, “but when it’s in that app inbox, it’s more urgent,” he adds.
The content of these messages is largely up to the brand, but one route that beta users have taken is to solicit app ratings from customers. Then, if the ratings received are too low, the company using the app can follow up with another short message and survey aimed at digging deeper into the issue that the customer might be having. “These possibilities already exist, but they are point solutions,” Tripathy points out. “Companies use one tool to run a survey, another to make a list, and a third to email out that list. We’re bringing it all together in an app on a smartphone,” he explains.
Moving forward, Tripathy anticipates that the customer service space will increasingly borrow tools and functionality from marketing or sales solutions to improve customer experience and break down the “famous silos” that exist between the three areas, he says. “Customer service has traditionally been an inbound field—a customer has a problem and they reach out to the brand. We are making it more of an outbound function, with companies actively reaching out to customers to see if there are problems, or areas that need improvement,” Tripathy says.
Helpshift users have seen success with the app so far, with 66 percent of tickets closed after only two messages between a company and its customer, and Tripathy says that the Campaigns tools will only strengthen the product’s effectiveness. The tool has been in beta testing for three months and was then rolled out to 50 companies before Helpshift made it widely available this week.