Friday, January 6, 2012

Cloud Based SaaS Help Desk – Freshdesk Founder and CEO Girish Speaks

Girish Mathrubootham - Founder & CEO - FreshdeskMr. Girish Mathrubootham is the Founder and CEO of Freshdesk, a Cloud based SaaS Help Desk company based in Chennai, India.

Prior to Freshdesk, Girish was Vice-President of Product Management at ZOHO Corporation. Very passionate about customer service, usability and making products that give the biggest bang for the buck, Girish has easily been the Product Manager with the happiest set of customers.

  • With talk of double-dip recession looming ahead for major global economies, how relevant is the talk of Cloud Computing implementation in India specifically for SMBs/SMEs?

If you look at the US retail scenario in 2008 – 2009 (post Lehman collapse) you will see that Walmart was seeing strong growth where many other players were failing. Companies do not stop doing business because of a recession. They look at how they can save costs. Similarly cloud vendors who offer significant cost savings will see strong growth.

  • Despite being a start-up, Freshdesk is getting significant attention, most of it positive. It seems you’ve really refreshed the helpdesk. What’s your USP (Unique Selling Proposition) vis-a-vis Assistly, Zendesk, Remedy and other help desk software/services?

Our USP is very simple to understand. We offer the best value in the Cloud help desk market. We keep it simple and focus on doing 3 things well:

  1. Offer the best user experience in Customer Support software.
  2. Be responsive and offer fast and accurate Support to our Customers. 
  3. We listen to our customers and constantly focus on improving Freshdesk based on their feedback.

  • Freshdesk is now available in 11 international languages. Any plans to add any Indian language in 2012?

It is easy for us to add an Indian language but we have not seen any of our customers ask for it till now.

  • Most of the Cloud SaaS are using services of one of the IaaS providers. Which IaaS is used by Freshdesk?

We use Amazon EC2 via Engine Yard.

  • Data Security and Privacy are the two most important concerns for SaaS based applications. How are you addressing this at Freshdesk?

If tomorrow you go to your bank and find some money missing in your account, will you trust the bank and continue to do business with them? As a SaaS company we know that we are finished in business if we do not invest in Data Security and Privacy of our customer’s data. We have implemented security at every level of our application and the infrastructure. All our payments are processed by a PCI compliant payment provider and customer credit card information is stored in a PCI compliant vault.

  • Another SaaS related concern from a customer’s point of view is a sudden and perhaps unreasonable price hike. As Freshdesk is also a subscription based SaaS, what assurance can you offer to your customer against this sudden inflation? Or is it inevitable?

I know how I will feel if my telephone company or my phone company increases prices on me. We will never do an unreasonable price hike for our customers. In fact we hope we will never do a price hike for any of our customers. If there is an unavoidable situation, then I think we will explain the situation and ask our customers on the best way forward.

  • Social media can be a double-edged sword for businesses. Many companies have a genuine fear of customers bashing their business, even for a minor miss, and consequently damaging the business's reputation and brand. This fear leads to a preference for the old eMail/phone method of communication with customers one to one. Your suggestions?

Whether you like it or not, your customers are already talking about your Product online. By not responding to a customer complaint you are allowing your brand image to take a massive hit. If you are seen as being responsive and trying to help resolve the problem, then that sends a positive signal to your prospective customers.

  • We are yet to find an Indian product firm in $1 Billion annual revenues club. In your opinion, which of the India based cloud/product companies are poised for rapid growth in the next three to five years?

Zoho and Flipkart come to mind. We are also poised to grow pretty quick but we will worry about a Billion dollars when we hit 100 M :)

  • The list of corporate showdowns in the IT sector now has one more pair: Apple vs. Microsoft, Oracle vs. SalesForce, Google vs. Microsoft, Microsoft vs. SalesForce and recently, Freshdesk vs. Zendesk. I appreciate your deft handling of the situation, and I must say it was a fitting response from you. What was the lesson learned?

Before posting anything (negative) about anyone on social networks make sure you think twice and do your homework. Being trigger-happy on Twitter can be dangerous.

Thank you Girish for sharing your views with Techno-Pulse readers. Good Luck to you and Freshdesk team for future endeavors.

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