IT is not an island,” says Prasad Ramakrishnan, chief information officer of Freshworks. He believes that collaboration is an essential part of successful IT and customer service. “In a normal office environment, colleagues walk over to each other’s desks to ask questions and resolve issues. But often other departments are involved in these issue resolutions, such as human resources, legal or finance, which makes the process more complicated. This hasn’t changed since we have all moved to a work-from-home strategy, but the way we collaborate and resolve issues has. This is where the integration between our product Freshservice and Microsoft Teams has come into its own.”
Using the new integration, staff and end-users can create ‘tickets’ to flag up issues and ultimately resolve them all within Teams.
“Once the ticket is in the system and it gets assigned to an agent, it enables them to comment, reassign and create actions to that ticket within Teams, which gives us additional flexibility and functionality to address the user complaint right away,” says Jesse Rodie, senior infrastructure engineer at Havas Group, a media company that works with Freshworks and uses the Freshservice integration. “It has improved efficiency for us, enabling the larger group to work as a single team far more effectively. I can’t say how important that is.”
According to Ramakrishnan, integrations like these enable users to completely eliminate friction. “Customers can report issues and talk via a Teams session,” he explains. “This then translates into a record of the conversation within Freshservice. People want service and support wherever they are, and this is how IT Departments can remove all the barriers.”
“In the future we plan to use the integration with end users directly, so that they can quickly and easily create tickets that are automatically routed to the right agents to resolve their issues,” says Rodie.
Freshworks is a born-in-the-cloud company and provides a software-as-a-service (SaaS) platform as the foundation across its varied business software products. The company has been building on the importance it puts on collaboration by working with leading-edge platforms to improve service for the end user. “The power of any SaaS platform comes with the way it integrates with other leading-edge platforms,” says Ramakrishnan. “Microsoft Teams is one such platform, so Freshworks decided to create an integration that would support colleague communication and smooth out any end-user requests.”
The company launched its Freshservice/Teams integration in December 2019, which was particularly timely given the impact of Covid-19 and increased requirement for remote working among many customers.
“During this period of lockdown, enterprises have created habits for change, asset, release management etc that keep digital records of everything in Freshservice, for example,” Ramakrishnan explains. “This is beneficial for a number of reasons, not least that you ensure issues are resolved in a timely way.” He believes that these habits will benefit organisations as they return to the workplace, by increasing discipline and keeping record of critical conversational data that would once have been lost by colleagues resolving issues over a coffee, for example. “Change management is one of the fundamental tenets of maintaining highly compliant, reliable service environments for the employees, and there is no compromise there,” he says. “You cannot relax the rules in different modes. Now is a time to have more discipline because things need to be logged.”
Ramakrishnan knows all about discipline, having launched the company’s business continuity plan (BCP), two weeks before Covid-19 was officially declared a pandemic.
“We came together and activated the BCP preparedness check a couple of weeks early, and then moved to an optional work-from-home strategy to test the waters,” he says. “As a SaaS-first company, we were well prepared, with most employees already working on laptops and all services and files on the cloud.”
Freshworks understood that the major barrier hindering remote work was a reliable internet connection. “Before most companies had even considered working from home, we had ordered hundreds of dongles and connectivity enhancers.”
The company has also put measures in place to maintain customer security. “We already had a solid multi-layer approach to security,” says Ramakrishnan. “Anybody that has access to the customer environment must go through multiple walls and checkpoints before they gain entry.”
In addition to supporting its employees and customers during global lockdown measures, Freshworks has also supported healthcare providers in managing and tracking the number of patients affected by coronavirus. “Using one of our marketplace extensions for Freshdesk, citizens and medical staff could report symptoms, so that hospitals could prioritise staff placement and hospital capacity, and prepare with ventilators and personal protective equipment,” Ramakrishnan explains. “We want to help the public and the communities that we serve.”
Learn more about Freshworks’ products at freshworks.com/therecord
This article was originally published in the Summer 2020 issue of The Record. To get future issues delivered directly to your inbox, sign up for a free subscription.
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