Zingtree turns complex customer service processes into clear action plans

Customer service is making and breaking companies over the past two years as shopping moved online and consumers wanted more out of the traditional service companies were offering.

Zingtree provides interactive contact center software that guides agents to the next best action so that they can cater to even the most discerning customer.

To continue developing its product, the company raised $15 million in Series A funding. Conductive Ventures led the round and was joined by Storm Ventures, Madrona and angel investors like Hilarie Koplow-McAdams. Existing investors participating in the round included Rally Ventures, Parade Ventures and Vitalize Ventures. The new investment brings the company’s total funding to $18.5 million.

Zingtree was founded in 2014 to make business information actionable for teams so that agents could quickly make decisions during complex service calls. Users leverage no-code “decision trees” to create detailed agent scripts, guide customers to solve their own issues and manage their internal processes at scale. As a result, agents are able to improve their average handling time, resolution and consumer satisfaction, Juan Jaysingh, CEO of Zingtree told TechCrunch via email.

“Unlike our competitors, business users can build and maintain Zingtree agent scripts without any IT or engineering development resources, and we have ready-built integrations for CRM systems so agents work out of one place, and our interface is so easy to use for agents that it requires little to no training,” Jaysingh added.

The company is the latest in the customer service sector to attract venture capital. For example, in the past few months, we’ve seen companies like Thankful, Sanas, Zendesk, Level AI and Goodcall announce similar news.

Several drivers affected business and customer care processes over the past two years. For example, employee shortages due to COVID cases rising and “The Great Resignation.” Contact center agents now working at home could no longer rely on in-person subject matter experts, managers or experienced peers.

Jaysingh explained that the global pandemic, in particular, has put more onus on companies to improve their customer service capabilities. They are having to manage customers that become frustrated quickly and will leave a brand or enterprise quickly if they don’t get high-quality service at speed.

“This is negatively impacting companies’ revenues if they don’t solve for providing consistent high-quality service to their customers,” he added. “Not only has the pandemic accelerated remote-first culture, it is now seen as a competitive edge to acquire top-notch global talent.”

Zingtree’s enterprise annual recurring revenue grew three times in 2021 after growing two times in 2020. The company “is in striking distance” of profitability, but decided to prioritize growth in taking the latest capital raise, Jaysingh said. It was bootstrapped for six years before taking its first institutional seed funding in 2020 to scale the business.

It is working with more than 600 customers in 50 countries to make more than 15 million human decisions every month. Among the list are consumer brands and enterprise customers like SharkNinja, Groupon, Getty Images, Ricoh, Fossil and Experian.


Zingtree Salesforce integration. Image Credits: Zingtree

Though Jaysingh did not give a specific valuation, he did say the new funding round was almost a five-time lift from the previous round a year ago.

He expects to invest heavily in building the Zingtree ,team with plans to double headcount across all departments. It has 46 employees currently after having 10 employees at the end of 2020. The new funding will enable the company to get to 70 by the end of the first quarter.

The company will also deploy funds in product development to add enhancements like artificial intelligence and machine learning and data insight solutions and features, as well as build integrations and partnerships with even more contact center core technologies, like current partner Talkdesk.

As part of the investment, Carey Lai, founder and managing director of Conductive Ventures, is joining Zingtree’s board of directors, along with Vikram Verma, former CEO of contact center communication platform 8×8.

Lai told TechCrunch via email that Zingtree’s no-code solution was a differentiator from competitors due to its ease of use, while also offering sophisticated features and functionalities. He also was impressed by the company’s early customer traction in attracting top-tier customers and its experienced management team.

“Interesting companies are built when you combine the market opportunity paired with the experience, commitment and vision of the executive leadership team,” he added. “Zingtree is helping enterprises deliver on the promise of great customer support. Over the past seven years, businesses have repeatedly come to Zingtree to help their employees make better and faster decisions daily while still being able to follow standard operating procedures. That’s a game-changer for contact centers and support teams with complex products, strict compliance and the need to scale.”

Alpha Edison leads customer service platform Thankful’s $12M round

Customer service is one of the most important relationships between a business and its customer, and that was made even more clear during the global pandemic.

Though Thankful AI CEO Ted Mico and his co-founder Evan Tann didn’t start out with experience from the business side, they started the Venice, California-based company in 2018 out of frustration as customers.

“Companies will offer you a chat box, but no value along with it and a method that consumes vast amounts of time, and we thought we could change that,” Mico told TechCrunch. “There were statistics that I read in media articles that customer service was a $350 billion business, a large total addressable market, but it is a mess. We also read that we spend something like 43 days of our lives dealing with customer services. Well, Thankful is here to give you three weeks of your life back.”

Traditionally, customer service is thought of as “the caboose” of a business, but Thankful believes it should be the driver. As a result, companies spend large amounts of money in marketing to get a customer’s attention, but when there is a problem or a customer has questions, it is a customer service team that comes in with little to no knowledge of any existing relationship, Mico added.

That’s the paradigm that Thankful wants to shift. After being founded, the company spent more than two years building out its artificial intelligence customer service software. Mico called it “the application layer on top of the help desk,” to handle large volumes of customer queries across any written channel that a customer wants to use, like email, social, in-app, chat or text. The platform has processed and learned from over 30 million customer service tickets so far.

It has three products: the first is an agent assist that helps a human agent resolve problems by intelligently routing and suggesting replies, enabling the agent to be up to 40% more efficient. The second is an AI agent that manages the entire process, not only cutting the time to first response, but also resolving up to 50% of queries. The third is Thankful’s analytics, which is just getting started, to provide data on what customers are saying about their journey.

Over the past four years, Mico said the company has quietly curated a customer list that includes over 50 brands, including UntuckIt, FabFitFun and MeUndies. It is also partnering on the help desk side with companies like Zendesk, Kustomer and Gladly.

Also during that time period, the company experienced 400% year over year growth. To continue to meet that demand, Thankful closed a new $12 million round of Series A funding. Joining Alpha Edison is Bonfire, Ten-One-Ten, Greycroft, Omega and Miramar. That, along with an unannounced $3 million, gives the company a total of $15 million in funding.

Thankful Agent Assist. Image Credits: Thankful

The company is the latest to go after customer service, an area that is also attracting venture capital and M&A. For example, in the past few months, companies like Sanas, Zendesk, Level AI and Goodcall have made news.

Robey Miller, partner at Alpha Edison, said Thankful was an attractive investment because of the company’s focus on the post-purchase environment. Much of the data in this area is unstructured, so it is hard for brands to track it in a structured way.

“Thankful provides a tool set instrumental in customer service in a way that has never been available in the past,” he added. “Traditionally, this area was measured by rudimentary metrics, and we think Thankful’s technology makes sense of the data exhaust to allow you to understand how customer service drives or changes outcomes.”

Miller believes that Thankful is well positioned to be at the forefront of experimenting and pushing the envelope with customer service as brands seek out tools that are insightful, actionable and something that they can trust.

Meanwhile, Mico intends to use the new funding to add more engineering talent as it expands its product line. The company is also planning to go into other verticals like finance, insurance and healthcare in coming years.

Thankful charges customers based on volume of tickets and which product they are using. However, the company doesn’t just sell the software, but enables customers to see it working before buying it. Thankful agents listen in on a potential customer’s help desk for a couple of weeks to determine the brand’s state of customer service and what could be learned with the data.

“The next step for us is getting the data to the point of showing how your customer service operates — how to recognize patterns and help the brand improve,” Mico said. “This is valuable information that is typically lost. Without the data, your business becomes an opinion-based business. We are trying to shine a light on that data.”