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Software & IT
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In a market where IT vendors take hours or days to reply to basic queries, Cutter Group does things differently. From Day 1, the group stood out in an industry well-known for its frustrating customer experience by adopting a customer-first approach to service, making customer service its competitive advantage.
Founded in 2005, Cutter was conceptualized when its Managing Director, Andy Trevor, saw how much money organizations were spending on IT solutions, only to have to replace their hardware every few years. Cutter designs, deploys, and supports their customers’ virtual infrastructure which includes, desktops, servers, storage, backup, replication, remote access, and more.
Cutter works with organizations across a wide range of industries including healthcare, public sector, manufacturing, education, and production to enable them to set up centralized, virtual computing solutions.
Chris Barker, Support Manager at Cutter, started his relationship with the company as a customer. “We were having trouble with our existing vendor, and an acquaintance suggested that I try working with Cutter.” Chris recalled, “From the beginning, I was very impressed with how they worked and how their engineers were always on-the-ball and really responsive. When Andy dropped in for a routine visit once, I jokingly asked him to keep me in mind if there was ever a vacancy. A few years later, he called.”
There are two main aspects of customer service at Cutter that allow the organization to stand out from its competitors. The first one was the leadership’s role in establishing the company culture. “Our MD followed the approach of putting the engineer first. He always believed that if you had happy engineers, you would have happy customers.” Chris explained, “So we make sure our engineers have all the tools they need to do their job, flexible work timings, and a relaxed home working environment. In return, our engineers are invested in the company’s success and are willing to go the extra mile to keep customers happy.”
The second aspect is the professional background of most engineers who work at Cutter. Like Chris, all of them have been in their customers’ shoes at some point in their careers, so they understand the pain points with complete clarity. “They know how frustrating it is to chase vendors for an answer, and how unresponsive IT companies usually are. If a ticket comes in and an engineer picks it up, our policy is that it needs to either get resolved in 25 minutes, or the engineer needs to get in touch with the customer to keep them updated. It’s absolutely key to keep the communication going.”
“I love that Freshdesk gives me a nice dashboard of our response times, so it’s easy for me to keep track of everything. Our average response time is somewhere between 12 and 25 minutes when compared to competitors who can take several hours or even days to get back to customers.”
Initially, Cutter used an open-source internal helpdesk system, but with all the implications of GDPR compliance, the company decided to invest a best-of-breed support platform and free up time to focus on supporting their customers.
“We were having a difficult time finding a vendor who could cater to all our needs. We had a pretty complicated use-case. We came across Freshdesk in 2018, and I was really impressed with the product overall.” Chris said.
Soon after implementing Freshdesk, Cutter onboarded a big-ticket customer who raised their monthly ticket count by nearly 600. “We wouldn’t have been able to take them on without a system like Freshdesk in place. The automation capabilities helped us improve workflows and manage data better. I was able to categorize and route each ticket to the right agent easily, and as a result, they were resolved faster.”
With larger customers also came the need for exhaustive monthly reports on support metrics. “Generating the reports for our three biggest customers each month used to take me the best part of a day, and I always dreaded the first day of the month because I knew I’d be spending the day in Excel. With Freshdesk Analytics, hours have been cut down to minutes.” Chris recalled, “Analytics has become our one-stop-shop for all our reporting. It not only generates all of the data from the helpdesk automatically, but it actually allows me to pull in data from external sources and combine it all together within Freshdesk. It has become my single pane of glass for doing all my reporting.”
As the COVID-19 pandemic made its way across the world, it affected businesses in a big way. Most companies were forced to experience a work-from-home model for the first time but Cutter has always been a remote organization. Managing Director, Andy Trevor, saw the remote business model as a way of passing savings onto the end-customer.
“The lack of real estate has also given our organization some flexibility in terms of hiring. We have a number of clients in the Middle East and Africa regions, and so we’ve been able to hire engineers who work out of Cyprus to support them.” Chris explained, “Freshdesk has been a huge help in establishing visibility and communication across the team despite the remote work environment. We’ve set it up so the entire team gets notified every time there’s an interaction with a customer, and so senior engineers are able to jump in and offer support to newer team members when they see a familiar problem.”
“Freshdesk gives us that communication functionality to see what’s going on, to keep in touch with our colleagues, and collaborate effectively on each other’s tickets.”
On average, Chris’s team deals with between 650 to 700 tickets per month, but they saw a 40% increase in support volumes in March due to the pandemic. “We initially had a lot of customers contacting us and asking for more virtual desktops as they shifted to remote work. Analytics helped us identify bottlenecks and address them effectively. Our Freshdesk rules and workflows meant we were able to conduct business as usual and maintain the high standard our customers expect.”
With increased customer demands in recent months, Chris is considering chat and messaging channels like WhatsApp to provide quick responses and faster resolutions for customers. “There is merit to giving our customers some flexibility on the way they choose to communicate with us.”
“We’re thinking about implementing an omnichannel approach. Our larger customers require phone support, so we’re looking at (Freshcaller (now Freshdesk Contact Center)), the cloud telephony solutions, and are in the process of evaluating Freshchat (now Freshdesk Messaging). We can see the potential benefits of bringing all these different channels together on our helpdesk.” Chris revealed. “I’m also interested in looking at how we can better incorporate AI and automation into our customer service.”
Chris is looking forward to experimenting with proactive support using self-service, Freddy AI, and AI-powered chatbots. His end-goal is to populate a knowledge base for customer-facing self-service and implement unique Freshdesk features like the Solutions Suggester and Agent Assist to help less experienced agents find their feet faster.
“If you ask me, the future of the helpdesk is to make it smarter, more intelligent, and automate more processes,” Chris said, smiling. “And we’re looking to lead the way in making that happen with Freshworks.”
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