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Kustomer: Transforms The Way Your Team Operates With Intelligent CRM

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Kustomer provides a platform for companies to easily manage their communications and data. The company makes a CRM for customer support teams which was centered around the customers’ needs through a unified platform. The platform consists of a basic interface with an entire view of your customers, which makes for quality CRM support while ensuring positive feedback from the user. The company officially launched last year with $12.5 million in funding led by Canaan Partners with participation by other investors including Boldstart Ventures and Social Leverage. Kustomer’s leadership team is made up of well-known former Salesforce and DataSift executives who are considered experts in customer-centric technology. Co-founders Brad Birnbaum and Jeremy Suriel have spent more than two decades building customer service software. They were early movers in SaaS-based customer service applications as co-founders of Assistly, which was acquired for a reported $80 million by Salesforce in 2011 to become

Birnbaum, the company’s CEO, believes that while customer relationships are one of the most important assets a company has, businesses are using outdated point solutions to manage them. He wants to change that and help team members more effectively collaborate with great tools that give them a fuller understanding of their customers as real people. Kustomer recently announced an integration partnership with call center provider Talkdesk, and we sat down with Brad Birnbaum to learn more about it and the technology behind the platform itself.


Q: Why did Kustomer choose to partner with Talkdesk and why now?

A: Partnering with Talkdesk is a natural fit for Kustomer because we share the same mission. We both want to make it easier for support teams to connect with and serve their customers across virtually any channel. Our platform unlocks customer insights from multiple systems so that support teams have the tools they need to provide high quality customer service through email, chat and text. To expand this capability, we needed to integrate voice functionality into our platform. We talked to hundreds of potential integration partners and Talkdesk stood out as the most popular voice provider out there by far. The new Talkdesk integration makes it possible for companies that already use Talkdesk to improve the insight and service they deliver to their customers. They can access call activity and voice functionality directly from inside the Kustomer platform itself and use the rich data and support capabilities of Kustomer to automate tedious tasks so they can spend more time serving customers. For example, Kustomer identifies and opens a customer profile automatically when an existing customer calls, or it creates a new profile or note for new customers. Kustomer also offers a wide range of team member intelligence features to help improve the productivity of support teams that use Talkdesk, such as custom objects and workflows tailored to their specific needs.

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Q: What advantage does Kustomer have over its competitors? What is unique about Kustomer’s offering?

A: Kustomer is built on the premise that all team members need to have the full story before interacting with customers. It’s more complicated than ever to get full context because both the number of channels customers use to communicate with companies and the applications that store customer data have exploded. To provide a high-quality, individualized customer experience at scale, everything from conversations and custom objects to tracking events needs to be in one place. Kustomer solves this problem by unifying customer information into a timeline-based dashboard where you can communicate directly with customers across lots of different channels, view a customer’s history, and even complete transactions and actions from third-party systems like Shopify and Slack. The timeline view lets you see the customer journey and provides context for service requests and Kustomer’s sentiment analysis motivates support teams to increase customer satisfaction.

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Q: Tell us about Kustomer’s evolution from a customer support platform to a full-featured customer CRM solution.

A: When we launched Kustomer back in September, our focus was on the SMB market. We started getting a lot of interest from bigger companies who wanted us to scale the platform to meet their needs. At just five months our customers at Kustomer are ten times the size of the customers we had at that same time at Assistly, before it was acquired by Salesforce. We always planned to grow Kustomer into a full-featured CRM, but we’ve accelerated our timeline in part to better serve these larger, more complex customers who need a true CRM for support teams with more integrations and features.

Q: Can you tell us about the types of clients/customers you have and why they’re choosing Kustomer?

A: Everyone is seeing Kustomer as a natural hub for all of their customer data. One of my favorites is a company that is already using the Talkdesk integration with great results. Slice is a two-way online marketplace in New York City that connects diners with local pizzerias. They use Kustomer to identify the source of customer-service issues and can directly contact the local pizza shop with the call center integration. Kustomer also gives Slice the context of the customer’s order history so they know if they are a frequent customer and can pass that loyalty information directly on to the pizza shop. Another customer is Outdoor Voices, a maker of high-tech recreational apparel. They came to us because they felt their current customer support solution didn’t allow for the kind of customization they needed. Team members had to constantly switch between tabs to track down order information and customer history, which was frustrating for them and diminished the customer experience on the other end. They use Kustomer to display each customers’ Shopify order information in-line with site interactions and previous conversations across channels so they have a more complete view of each customer and their relationship with the brand. They told us that Kustomer made it possible for them to better manage the high volume around the holiday season in a much more seamless way, but still maintained their signature personal touch which was very important to them and their customers.

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Q: Tell us a bit about your executives and why they started Kustomer.

A: Our executive team has been lucky to work with a lot of up-and-coming tech companies over the years. There aren’t that many people in the customer support segment who have a track record of not only creating technology that has changed the way the industry sees itself, but also how it influences other tech companies to change the way they approach customer service in general. We’ve been lucky to be part of that revolution.. Companies like Nest, Fitbit and Spotify were unknowns when we first brought them onboard at Assistly, but we knew right away that they represented an important shift in consumer behavior and it was clear that a new model for customer service was necessary. These companies became household names and part of their success came from their ability to meet and exceed the needs of their customers from a support standpoint. We’re convinced that the CRM industry needs reinventing every ten years or so and we’re at another inflection point because of the confusion around the many ways of interacting with customers. Kustomer is different because it’s a true CRM for support teams, and provides everything that a customer support teams may need to be able to serve their customers in one place. We’re already attracting a new generation of winners like Motiv. Motiv made a huge splash at CES a few weeks ago and using Kustomer makes it easier for their support team to spend more time serving customers and less time struggling and flipping between all of their different software tools to find the right customer data.

Q: Care to tell us about any of your future plans or offerings?

A: We’re on track to integrate more than a hundred customer experience solutions into the platform this year, including things like billing, ordering, self-service, service fulfillment, and digital content delivery. We’re also making significant investment in building out advanced tech and AI capabilities and working on major data integrations. We’re determined to maintain a robust integration and feature rollout schedule, but our customers love our friendly and personalized support so we’re also determined to make sure we’re continuing to live up to that expectation as we grow the platform. As a platform solution for customer support teams, providing a great customer experience and top notch support is important to us.

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