Overview of Helpshift: Pune-based Mobile Customer Service Software Product Company
Helpshift, the Pune-based company that builds customer service software solutions for mobile app developers has recently raised $10 million in funding from Intel Capital, Visionnaire Ventures, True Investors, and the VC most active in Pune, Nexus Venture Partners. This funding is in addition to the $3.2 million it had raised earlier.
We decided to take this opportunity to give PuneTech readers an overview of what exactly Helpshift does.
Helpshift provides mobile developers with tools, software and an online service that allows them to easily incorporate various in-app customer support and service features in their mobile apps.
Helpshift: Product Overview
The key to understand Helpshift’s offering is to realize that the current “industry practices” of customer support were largely developed for desktop applications and still have remnants of the era when everybody wasn’t always connected to the internet. As a result, customer service is still stuck in the 80s.
However, mobile is a very different world, and it is possible to do things with smartphones that were not possible earlier. Thus, it becomes possible to create a customer service experience far better than anything else that was possible before. And mobile is eating the world, so developers need to pay attention.
Specifically, Helpshift provides the following features:
- Support: Easily incorporate tools to do provide in-app support for customers. Integrating this with the app results in a “Contact Us” tab that has a full-fledged in-app messaging system that customer support personnel can use to interact with the customer and solve their problem. In addition, it allows easy creation of a FAQs section, that can be dynamically updated, organized, tagged by customer service, and can be easily searched and displayed to/by the customer
- Notifications: Helpshift allows app developers / support personnel to easily send push notifications to customers. This appears as an in-app notification if the app is in the foreground, or as an alert or a badge if the app is in the background (and also updates the app icon)
- Tracking: Helpshift allows the app to easily track user actions and events in the app, and can be used to automatically attach customer and app configuration metadata along with every support conversation with that customer. The app developer can customize what medadata is automatically attached. This removes the biggest pain of any customer service interaction – that of collecting information about the configuration and environment of the customer, and what s/he was doing at the time of the issue.
- Reviews and Feedback: Helpshift also allows easy integration of the ability to ask customers for feedback on the app, or reviews on the appstore/play/marketplace. This can either be triggered automatically by the app software, or manually by a customer support person after an interaction with the customer.
- Localization and Internationalization: If an app is targeted towards an international market, it is important that all of the above features (messaging, FAQs, review/feedback screens) need to be made available in local languages. Helpshift comes with support for 12 languages out of the box, and if the customer has already set their device to the appropriate language in the device settings, then the correct language will be chosen automatically by Helpshift.
For all of this, the app developer does not actually need to write all the code; just a little bit of code is needed to incorporate Helpshift’s libraries and online API. However, to ensure that the whole experience is seamless and appears to be part of the app itself, Helpshift allows extensive theming and skinning of its SDK so it can be made to match the look and feel of the app.
Helpshift: Company Background
Helpshift has been founded by @Abinash Tripathi and Baishampayan Ghose. Abinash, who’s the co-founder and CEO, is a serial entrepreneur who was the head of Zimbra India in Pune earlier before he founded Infinitely Beta, which experimented with various startup ideas (including the now defunct paisa.com) before settling on Helpshift. You might be interested in a profile we did of Abinash on PuneTech back on 2009. He was based in Pune, but shifted to the Silicon Valley after Helpshift began taking off.
Baishampayan (aka BG) is the co-founder and CTO of Helpshift. Before Helpshift, BG co-founded a sport-based social network company and before that he was responsible for designing and creating the air ticket fare and reservation system at one of India’s largest online travel operators. BG is an active member of the Free & Open Source Software community and has contributed to many projects including Clojure, Ubuntu, Python and Django.
What are they planning to do with the funding? Abinash told TechCrunch that:
We’ve realized we have something that most mobile companies could benefit from and the only challenge for us has been the ability to scale to meet the explosive demand. This round of funding will enable us to attack each of these major mobile verticals and bring the benefits of Helpshift to thousands of app publishers.
most of the company’s growth so far has been organic. With the help of this new funding, the company plans to expand its sales and marketing team in San Francisco. He also notes that the company will continue to invest heavily on building the end-to-end customer life cycle tools for mobile companies to provide the best customer experience and solve the customer retention issues they face.
The company says its service has now been installed on over 150 million devices through the different developers that have integrated it into their apps. Helpshift counts Supercell, Glu Mobile and Flipboard among its customers, but as part of its plans to expand its service, the company will specifically target mobile commerce apps and on-demand services like taxi and food delivery.