Nov 23, 2023
Today's customers expect to be served in real-time, while customer-facing teams have been told to "do more with less" - stay lean yet close more deals and improve retention. To do this, companies have turned to channels like Slack, Microsoft Teams, and Discord to talk to customers and skip the inbox, becoming an extension of the customer's team. As a result, customers get value much faster, retain better, and have a better experience overall.
The problem? Vendors are fielding customer messages at all hours, figuring out which ones need to be sent to support, which ones are feature requests for product, and which ones are urgent from high-value customers whose renewal is coming up next week. Sales, success, and support teams are overwhelmed.
We're building Pylon to help customer-facing teams turn this new mode of interaction into scalable processes that work with your existing tools. Manage and prioritize customer conversations, turn messages into support tickets, and send product updates with ease. Help your customers get to value faster and retain better, all without drowning in a sea of messages.
Evolution of the Vendor-Customer Relationship
COVID forced business from all industries to quickly move their work digital. Companies globally started adopting Slack and Microsoft Teams at record pace. As organizations shifted much of their work online, vendors had to follow suit. The nature and medium of the vendor-customer relationship was permanently changed to support a virtual world.
Microsoft Teams Daily Active Users (source)
While working at growing B2B startups, we noticed an industry-wide shift in B2B - the place that vendors communicate with their customers was moving from email to chat channels in platforms like Slack, Microsoft Teams, Discord, WhatsApp, Telegram, and more.
After talking to hundreds of enterprise software companies, it's clear that consumer expectations of real-time communication are bleeding into B2B and rapid collaboration is driving better outcomes for customers, and by proxy vendors. In this macro environment, leaders are tasked with doing more with less - improving and scaling customer experience without increasing headcount.
Channels are the new inbox
Why are channels so effective? Channels put buyers and sellers on the same team. Each can loop in stakeholders without friction. A Slack Connect channel between a vendor and a customer lives natively in each's workspace. For the duration of the relationship (hopefully forever), the vendor channel lives directly alongside the customer's internal channels. The vendor becomes an extension of the customer's team - as they should be.
Due to this heightened level of engagement, sales cycles are dramatically faster and customers get to value quicker and retain better. So everyone is happy right? Wrong. Without tooling, these chat channels become difficult to operate at scale. Just as Zendesk, Mailchimp, and Salesforce made email scalable for support, marketing, and sales, we at Pylon strive to make chat scalable for all customer-facing functions.
Pylon: Real-time Customer Operations Platform
At Pylon we're building a platform to help support real-time customer operations in the places your customers already live. Get all the benefits of providing a great customer experience but without the operational burden.
Pylon seamlessly connects your customer operations stack to chat platforms. For example, if a customer asks a question in a shared Slack channel, Pylon will:
1. Detect it's a support question
2. Self-serve the customer into a support flow in Slack
3. Open up a support ticket in your support system
This gives your agents a single queue to work out of in the tool they already live in. Pre-existing SLAs, workflows, or reporting that are setup on your support system start applying to Slack conversations out-of-the-box. Agent replies from your support system appear natively to the customer in Slack. Everyone lives in their system of choice, without the operational overhead. The productivity boost from drastically reduced context switching and operational work saves tens or hundreds of hours a month for teams.
I was told what we wanted was infeasible by other vendors and we were asking for the moon. Pylon came in, they had the right functionality, and it's saved us 100s of hours in operational time and improved reliability doing so.
Charles Folsom, Head of Customer Success at Nash
For sales and success teams, Pylon intelligently syncs conversations as activity to your CRM and success tools - letting you feed conversation data into customer health calculations and rep activity reports. Pylon bundles messages into conversations, giving your team a view into which customer requests have not yet been answered. Send product updates or outage notifications in bulk across channels and track link clicks and replies just like you would with email, but expect a 10x higher engagement rate.
I highly, highly recommend Pylon. Pylon has quickly become one of the essential tools in our support toolkit that I would not go without. It has made Slack support as easy as email support. 🤯 Something previously reserved for just a handful of a company’s largest customers due to bandwidth limitations can now easily scale to more customers.
Teresa Nesteby, Head of Success Engineering at Hightouch
We're beyond excited to announce our $3.2M seed round led by General Catalyst with participation from Y Combinator, HorizonVC, Comma Capital, and a number of amazing angels who are on the front lines of this shift in B2B.
We’re proud to be helping amazing customer-centric companies like Hightouch, Panther Labs, Sardine and Semgrep scale their customer operations and deliver a great experience to their customers. We plan to use this funding to better serve needs across the customer operations stack, including building out more features for stakeholders like sales and product teams, adding integrations at a rapid pace, and investing further into AI features to help give our customers superpowers.
If you are a post-sales leader running into challenges managing your customers in shared Slack channels - please reach out to us! Book a demo here.
Learn how to effectively manage your customers on Slack.