Especially during the pandemic, it has become overwhelming for small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) to answer all of their customer service requests. A Freshworks questionnaire found that between February 2020 and January 2021, companies experienced a 71% increase in total contact volume and expect this to increase further. At the same time, while empathetic, customers have become more demanding. The same poll shows that 68% of customer service managers have seen an increase in customer expectations.
What should a company do? Automation may be a route to more manageable customer experience workloads. Enter Tidio, a platform that aims to become a one-stop-shop for companies that correspond with customers through various channels (e.g. email and SMS). Using a combination of live chat apps and AI-powered chatbots, as well as analytics, Tidio aims to scale customer service even at small businesses without the benefit of a dedicated staff.
Customer service automation platforms like Tidio aren’t exactly sophisticated. To name a few, there are Ultimate.ai, a data ingestion platform, bot builder, and Ushur, which provides a service for businesses to create AI-based communication flows. Ada also falls into the category – it features chatbots powered by a natural language processing engine.
What sets Tidio apart, says co-founder and CEO Tytus Gołas, is its simplicity in terms of implementation and structure. Tidio integrates with third-party services, including email providers, Facebook, Instagram, WordPress, and Shopify, allowing teams to manage customer interactions from a shared inbox. Subscriptions range from free for two users to $332.50 per month (billed annually) for unlimited users and other perks.
“Most of our customers get Tidio operational within minutes and see the value of our product the same day. Our impact is twofold: you can streamline communication and increase your sales with our chatbot functionality,” Gołas told businesstraverse.com in an email interview. †[O]our chatbots and sales generation features have a direct impact on return on investment and help increase sales and revenue – sometimes covering the full cost of the Tidio subscription in one day.”
Tidio is the brainchild of Gołas and Marcin Wiktor, who co-founded the company in 2013. What started as a digital advertising agency aimed at SMEs has grown into a development house for online marketing tools, including Tidio. After the tool took hold, Gołas and Wiktor decided to turn around and make it their focus.
Investors approved the move. Today, Tidio announced that it has raised $25 million in a Series B round led by PeakSpan Capital with the participation of Inovo Venture Partners and InPost CEO Rafał Brzoska, bringing Tidio’s total to $26.8 million.
Tidio provides a list of visitors to a company’s website, which owners can use to interact with them in a variety of ways — in real-time (via chat) or automatically (via chatbot). For example, the platform can be programmed to send a “Welcome Back” message to a returning customer along with a unique discount code. Tidio also records information such as the source of web traffic, the amount of time customers spend on certain web pages, and which products are viewed most often.
“We use our modified dataset and advanced models to improve the language understanding of our models,” says Gołas. †[One of these models] automatically detects all question topics in every new chat conversation. The platform then groups the topics by popularity, with the system recommending a user to review their [chatbot] to automate answers to the most common customer questions, such as those related to order status, shipping status and returns.”
This type of automation — assuming it works as advertised — can save companies time on repetitive tasks, Gołas says, allowing them to focus on building customer relationships. Of course not all customers prefer to talk to chatbots, and privacy-forward browsers can obscure the customer data Tidio collects for personalization. But the startup’s sales pitch seemingly won over the more than 23,000 companies currently paying for Tidio, who used the platform to automate more than 86,000 conversations in the past month alone.
Gołas says Tidio has had positive cash flow and has seen 7.7x sales growth over the past three years, further highlighting demand. The company claims that its platform is used by over 510 million unique users and 3% of merchants on Shopify.
“Customer experience is often related to the way companies communicate with customers, and they can see great results by showing that they care and understand their customers’ issues,” Gołas said. “With that in mind, it is imperative that Tidio give store owners the space and time to have those meaningful conversations.”
Tidio plans to spend the new capital on marketing and expanding its 140-strong workforce. The company plans to hire 100 people next year.