How one NYC startup wants to re-humanize customer service

Taylor Majewski

When you're having a problem with a product or company, most people dread calling customer service. From the consumer’s standpoint, the experience is automated and slow, as traditional customer service solutions are often organized around tickets or incidents.

Kustomer, a new startup out of New York, is looking to fix this broken relationship between brands and consumers, and ultimately put a human element back into the experience.
 
Brad Birnbaum and Jeremy Suriel founded Kustomer in 2015. The duo had previously founding customer support and ticket platform Assistly (now Desk.com), which Salesforce purchased in 2011. Birnbaum and Suriel soon realized there was a market opportunity to reinvent the communications tools they were using.
 
Traditional notions of customer service call to mind the image of a representative on the phone with an agitated customer, but the modern company/customer relationship is much more complex. As the number of customer touchpoints has exploded in recent years, so have the waves of communication between brands and consumers, diminishing the customer service experience in the process.

Kustomer’s solution is a one-stop-shop for all customer conversations, allowing companies to see customer inquiries, complaints and comments across email, text, social channels, live chat, etc. The platform works so that companies can view an individual consumer on an all-encompassing timeline, which includes his/her history with a product and the company, adding an ultra-personalized touch to the experience. Customers are not seen as a number on a ticket system, but more as a person with an ongoing relationship with a company.

The company has outlined how its platform is neither B2B or B2C, but is B2P: Business to People. Ultimately, the platform allows company representatives to get a more accurate sense of a customer’s sentiment, as well as create groups of customers to manage using precise search criteria. The criteria include transactions, events or conversations, and lets customer service representatives prioritize the customers that need the most help faster.

From the customer's perspective, this creates a higher quality and more efficient service experience, as conversations with a representative will be more pointed. 

"It's rewarding to be able to build the vision Jeremy and I have of a truly customer-centric support system that leverages cutting-edge technology,” said Kustomer CEO and co-founder Brad Birnbaum. “This time around we're excited about being located in New York as it has the added advantage of access to a diverse network of talent and industries."

In September, the company came out of stealth with $12.5 million in fresh funding and in November, the company launched out of closed beta. Currently, two dozen clients are rolling out the platform to their customers, including New York-based athleisure startup Outdoor Voices.

Know of a company that deserves coverage? Let us know or tweet us @builtinnewyork.

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