Leadership

M.R. Asks 3 Questions: Jayaram Bhat, CEO, Squelch

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As co-founder and CEO of Squelch, Jayaram Bhat brings more than 37 years of high-tech experience as an executive and VC to this growing customer-service enterprise. Squelch focuses on customer service after the initial sale, which is especially important for SaaS-based businesses that aim to build long and strong relationships with their customers.

I sat down with Jay to find out how your support staff is really the hero of your company, and how Squelch aims to arm these employees with all the information they need to help your customers get what they need.    

The beginning of Squelch started with a wine search engine. How did you go from founding a search engine for wine to selling better customer service across industries?

Giorgina Gottlieb – co-founder and VP of marketing at Squelch – and I met at a wine tasting and quickly bonded over it. When building a prototype for the technology we wanted to create, it made sense to use wine. As the technology proved effective such that we began getting requests to apply it to the enterprise, it made sense to us to pursue it. Almost immediately, the needs of customer support and customer experience agents created a lot of synergy with us. A little more than a year and a half later, we now have Squelch.

What are the worst aspects of customer support for people who work as support pros? What is Squelch doing to mitigate those challenges?

We worked with Dimensional Research earlier this year to conduct a survey of over 300 customer support agents, and discovered that an overwhelming 97 percent said they want to provide a superior experience for customers but don’t have the right tools to do so. In the same survey, 93 percent of customer support agents said they have to search through multiple systems in their hunt to find the information needed to resolve customer issues. This effort is very time consuming and frustrating – for both the agent and the customer. 

Squelch addresses this by providing the agent with the ability to query all of those systems in one place. When agents spend less time looking for information that means they can spend more time developing the customer relationship, going above and beyond a customer’s critical needs, and delivering a more personal customer experience. And that is really key ­– customer experience is becoming the business differentiator. 

In addition to the value Squelch offers agents, it also produces reports and analytics so that managers and executives can benefit from the multitude of insights available within customer support operations as well as how the bottom line is affected.

Great customer support is important across any industry, regardless of how the product is delivered. The proliferation of subscription business models and SaaS-based technology make customer support and success especially important. These agents and teams are key to reducing churn, and every customer interaction is an opportunity to not only win a renewal but acquire a loyal advocate for your company. To illustrate how important this interaction is, another survey showed that  86% of buyers will actually pay more for a product if they also receive a better customer experience, and conversely, will quickly leave one provider for another after a poor experience.

What’s your favorite wine varietal?

Trick question? Burgundy, of course!

 

M.R. Rangaswami is co-founder of Sand Hill Group and publisher of SandHill.com.

 

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