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Ever since 2009, when Bitcoin was first introduced, the global cryptocurrency market has been recording massive year-on-year growth. Today, there are an estimated 14 million bitcoin in circulation and this number isn’t slowing down. But despite the popularization of cryptocurrencies, and Bitcoin in particular, their adoption is still fairly limited to younger tech-savvy investors. Nigerian-based finance start-up Patricia Technologies, is looking to change that for good.
Patricia Technologies has a unique location advantage - in 2020, Nigeria was recognized as the leading country in crypto adoption and usage with 32%. But the company sees even greater potential for crypto in every age group and usage category. We spoke to Chris Izu Okafor, COO-Patricia Technologies, and Covenant Nwaorgu, Business Development Manager, to understand how Freshworks supports the company in its mission to evangelize the use of cryptocurrency.
“Our goal is to make bitcoin easy,” states Chris upfront. “We have around 300,000 (500,000) users in our system, but we know we can expand even further. We want to make crypto available to everyone, and not just middle-aged working-class people.” To bring more people on board the crypto train, Patricia Technologies would have to address two pressing concerns that most crypto novices have: ‘What is cryptocurrency?’ and ‘How do I use cryptocurrency?’
To answer the latter question, it was important for the company to break away from the perception of crypto being an intangible investment and instead, as simply an alternate payment method. In an effort to make crypto more relatable, Patricia introduced new features on their app that allow users to pay for everyday consumables like electricity bills and education bills using crypto.
Tackling the first issue required the company to embark on a large-scale awareness drive. Vital to this effort to educate users was seamless customer service that could easily address any queries and concerns users had about buying and using bitcoin. As Chris explains, “We put in a lot of work into how we communicate with our customers. We are constantly looking for the best method to engage with and educate our users in a way that is scalable for us and also provides the best information for them.” This eagerness to find the most efficient customer service setup led Patricia to evaluate vendors and determine the best fit.
Prior to exploring alternate customer service solutions, phone calls made up a bulk of Patricia’s incoming queries. However, as Chris admits, this system had inherent weaknesses. “We are based in Nigeria but we also had to take calls from Kenya and Ghana, where we have many customers. If we had to answer more calls, we would have had to hire more agents, which was not a feasible solution in the long run. We wanted to explore automation to build a scalable setup and researched vendors who offered this feature.”
The road to finding the ideal customer service partner had its challenges in the beginning. “We used about 5-6 vendors,” says Chris. “We weren’t able to find a single platform that ticked all our boxes. If a platform had good reporting dashboards, it did not have the customer support features we were looking for - or vice versa. Within 2-3 months, we would move to another platform because we were not happy.” Reporting and analytics were the highest priorities for Patricia. As Chris explains, “We were using a leading helpdesk solution for a few months, but the tool could not capture all the data we were looking for. The backend of the CRM was also not simple to use. Many of the in-built rules could not be tweaked to fit the structure of our team.”
Unhappy with the previous support solutions, Patricia decided to explore Freshworks’ solutions. “The reason why Freshworks stood out was because there was a lot of flexibility,” says Chris. “We were able to customize the structure and set up our users in different groups. We were also able to respond to mails from within the CRM and implement custom bots. At the same time it didn’t cost us as much as other solutions and we got good value from it. We have been using Freshworks for over a year now, which makes it the longest platform we have ever used!”
Today, Patricia uses Freshdesk, Freshchat, Freshworks CRM, and Freshcaller in an integrated setup to deliver unmatched support to its customers. On Patricia’s website, a chatbot is available to answer any queries a customer might have. The chatbot has several automated flows and FAQs based on common queries. If a customer has a query that falls outside the bot flow, they can raise a ticket which then gets recorded on Freshdesk and answered by an agent. The agent might respond to the ticket directly on Freshdesk or call the customer using Freshcaller to get more details. Since all customer interactions are managed through the same portal, agents and management can gain an end-to-end view of the customer’s history.
For Patricia, Freshworks’ ability to provide detailed and insightful reports was a powerful differentiator from the start. Today, the team uses the combined reporting and analytics across Freshworks’ products to measure their team’s performance, gauge customer satisfaction, and uncover important insights that could drive product innovation. Some of the metrics that the management keeps a close eye on include:
Reporting and analytics has also helped Patricia respond proactively to global events that can trigger surges in ticket volumes. “Last year we had the crypto revolution and we were receiving over 3000 tickets apart from the ones deflected by the chatbot. Using analytics, we can track, plan and close loopholes in our capacity,” says Chris.
“Productivity has increased tremendously,” says Covenant when talking about the impact the team has seen from Freshworks. “The bot is able to gain a user’s basic information, so if a ticket does get raised, agents already have context into the customer’s query. We are also constantly updating our bot flow. If a customer raises a question that is not part of our standard set, we immediately add it in so the next customer doesn’t face the same issue.”
“It has also helped organize the team internally”, adds Chris. “Due to the nature of our business, we get numerous customer queries. We used to handle it through live chat, but our agents weren’t able to handle the load. We noticed our average response time increasing and our customers were unhappy about having to wait. With bots, our agents can focus on cases which require resolution rather than explaining the why’s and how’s of our product. This has helped us create a lean team.” Freshworks’ products have also helped Patricia collaborate internally with multiple teams on tickets. “If we get a ticket about fraud, for example, it is automatically routed to the legal & compliance team,” Chris explains.
Have Patricia’s customers noticed an improvement in service? “For the customers, the change has been the greater flexibility,” says Chris. “We were looking for a tool that could give us chat, bots, tickets, and calls to provide our customers with a wider range of options to reach us. The flexibility that the custom bots have offered has helped our processes come to life and enrich our customer’s experience.”
Patricia’s plans for the future involve scaling rapidly and becoming a global brand. “We will soon be handling more international clients,” predicts Chris. “Our team will have to be more dynamic and sensitive in how we respond to international client queries. We have ongoing research into what channels work best for specific markets and we are happy to have a tool that is flexible enough to meet the demands of international markets”.
“The main difference that I see from implementing Freshworks’ products is that they make work faster. Our team is now better organized and we have so many tools that improve our capabilities in delighting our customers.”
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