Technology like any medium can have a positive or negative impact on the way we live our lives and run businesses. Nudgespot’s team of founders Raveen Sastry , Anubhav Sudha , Alok Shankar and Suresh Harikrishnan found that with the tech boom, customer communication suffered leading to impersonal, ineffective and often one-sided conversations. Nudgespot is an in-app messenger that lets businesses converse with visitors and customers and enables their teams to collaborate and being efficient problem solving skills to address queries. We chat with the founders about the venture.
An excerpt from the interview:
- What made you start your venture?
As consumers who also setup e-commerce companies, it was clear to us that communication between a business and its customers was broken. The primary issues were a) They were impersonal (firstname.lastname@example.org) and b) irrelevant. We also noticed that getting any “help” from companies was much harder than it should be. This is the problem we set out to solve.
- What has been the key to your business’s success?
I think the key element has been to continuously build features that get closer to solving business to customer communication problems.
Initially, we provided contextual one on one communication at scale, so businesses could address customers personally and include customer information easily in an email or SMS. This saw open and click rates increase by more than 2x for our clients! This was because the communication was now based on customer activity and behavior – as opposed to sending random newsletters. Previously, only businesses the size of Amazon who were engineering backed would be able to do this. Marketing departments were heavily dependent on developer teams to do this, but now they can start communicating without writing any code at all!
Second, we made it easy for folks to search and filter through their customer base to send targeted communication. We encouraged businesses to send simple text messages without going overboard on creating HTML designs etc. This was a boon for small business owners and customer success teams to reach customers in a simple, effective way.
Third, we offered our clients the ability to send push notifications on Android and iOS because the future lies in apps. Nudgespot made it easier for product managers to track user activity, get feedback on new features and make quick changes. It helped onboard new customers more efficiently. Product Managers didn’t have to wait and wonder what was making a difference in user uptick or downfall. They would be able to test their features with a select group of highly engaged (and forgiving) users, and could make decisions quickly on whether to roll out a feature or not. We are now working on something that will truly disrupt the way businesses communicate and manage customer experience – a messaging app where businesses are available to talk to customers when they are most needed.
- What are the major challenges in your line of business and how did/do you overcome them?
Finding the right talent has been very challenging. Bangalore has a huge pool of engineering graduates, but most of them prefer to work with IT behemoths when they join the workforce. Fortunately, the tide is turning and young graduates are figuring out that it’s much better to join startups where they get quick exposure to different perspectives of a business – sales, marketing etc. Now, our team says Nudgespot has spoiled them for life and they can’t go work for bigger companies anymore! We built a result oriented culture and took away all other barriers to do this – hire anywhere around the world, allow folks to work from home, no minimum hours at work or no cap on vacation days.
The other continuing challenge from a customer perspective is to change the mindset of our clients. Especially in India – it’s a hard thing to do. Most of them see us as a replacement for email marketing initially, so we do whatever it takes to tell them to focus on the actual message being sent to the customer. We want them to think about who they are communicating to, could customers be further divided based on how they interacted with the business? Then, could they write separate simple messages to each set of customers with relevant information for them? When we start asking these questions, it forces them to re think their communication strategies and the results speak for themselves. End customers feel enthusiastic and respond better to the brand, leading to better relationships.
- Do you have a mentor who guides/advices you on matters of the business?
Our customers are our mentors. They tell us what to build, give us feedback and continue to support us when we need it.
- Have you benefitted from the use of any specific technology for your regular operations?
We use a number of tools to communicate internally and manage tasks. This has helped us become more efficient. Asana and Slack are two tools we cannot live without.
- What strategy do you follow for Customer Satisfaction & Expansion?
We follow a do-whatever-it-takes-approach to achieve end customer satisfaction. This has been easier for us to do because we are building a product that enhances customer experience. But, from another angle – we have to set the benchmark so everyone can see the benefit of our own product!
We focus on:
- Speed – our typical response times are within 5-10 minutes of a customer issue or query that comes in, but we are working to reduce that even further to say under 2 minutes. Our new product, thein app messenger will allow for this.
- Acknowledging & Prioritizing Customer Pain Points – we prioritize all customer response to issues (apart from feature requests) above operations / sales etc. We literally stop doing whatever we are doing to fix and help the customer right then and there.
- Availability & Reach – this is tricky, but with help a little help from our Slack mobile app – we are able to internally contact the best person from the team who can help the customer and then reach out to the customer in the best possible manner: email, Skype or even calling someone in Amsterdam when it is 1AM, India time!
- What, according to you, are the top 3 skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur?
Tenacity: Being stubborn for the ‘right’ things, having the drive to see through the ups and downs and daily operations without losing the big picture, having the gumption to carry forth the end vision without getting swayed by various distractions & issues; getting your first set of paying customers requires single minded focus and tenacity.
Flexibility: Startups like ours are prone to quick iterations and changes. One has to be flexible in implementing new strategies on a daily or weekly basis so that we can focus on what works for the business.
Positivity: A lot of things can get you and the team down. From customer issues to feedback from peers and mentors. Being able to see light at the end of the tunnel is crucial to uplift the mood and encourage the team to dust themselves off and start afresh even if they spent valuable time building something that didn’t work out.
Visit their Website: http://www.nudgespot.com/
Like them on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/NudgeSpot/