Consumers today use so many channels to communicate, they don’t even think twice anymore. Whether it’s email, texting, chatting, tweeting, Facebook messaging or even the old fashioned phone, people love using many methods to communicate, and it doesn’t stop at their friends and family. They want to talk to their favorite brands in the same way. But while the options for how to communicate have multiplied exponentially, what brands are using to support that communication remains rooted in the past. Most companies continue to rely largely on legacy systems built back in the 90s, and while I love a 90s boy band as much as the next girl, those bands have long retired and so should many of these systems. Why? Because these systems have treated new channels as a-la-carte add-ons, with the result being customers stuck in silo’s. And in the end, there’s still a person in the middle of all those channels, not a case number.
For our founders at Gladly, this was a situation that needed to change.
In a new podcast with Greylock Partner and Gladly Board Member, Jerry Chen, and two of the three Gladly co-founders – CEO, Joseph Ansanelli, and VP of Engineering Michael Wolfe – talk about lessons learned from past ventures, their experience starting Gladly, the importance of being channel agnostic, and their vision for the future of customer service.
Identifying the gap
When they first started talking, Joseph and Mike noticed a huge gap in the market between the way customers were using technology to communicate, and how companies were handling these communication channels. While customers often used more than one channel when reaching out to companies – companies were stuck in the past, dependent on platforms that still hadn’t innovated on the decades old system of tickets and case numbers. Those systems simply do not provide a customer service agent with the full history of a company’s interactions with them. The solution seemed so simple yet so different than any other customer service platform that existed – one focused on a the conversation and the person at the center of it, not the channel.
“In all of those conversations it’s really about (the) relationship…it’s not about the text or the email or the phone call or the chat. That’s just the tool.”
— Joseph Ansanelli, CEO, Gladly
Customers don’t know, or care, that a company’s support teams are separate and siloed according to the type of channel. They don’t want to have to repeat themselves when they’ve already explained their issue to a previous agent. They simply want their issues resolved quickly, and with minimal effort on their end. That’s why Gladly was designed to be channel agnostic, so every conversation, regardless of channel, gets pulled into a single platform and every agent is caught up with a customer’s full history in just one glance.
“If you call somebody, email somebody, they should know exactly who you are. They should also have the complete history of (the company’s) interactions with you, as well as the issue that you’re contacting the company about. And they don’t expect that to change per channel.”
— Michael Wolfe, VP of Engineering, Gladly
The future of customer service
Most companies realize that a single unified platform is the future – it’s just a matter of when they decide to finally abandon their legacy infrastructure and embrace the change. As for 10 years down the road, Joseph and Mike are optimistic that Gladly can change the landscape of customer service into a natural part of our every day. Imagine missing your connecting flight, then seeing a text message from your airline offering you a choice of flights at the press of a button. That future is not so distant now.
Hear this and more in the Greylock Greymatter podcast.