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Investment  3, Mar 2014

Australia-based online customer support solution Influx raises US$222K

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How can tech startups focus on scaling, without having to worry about customer service? Australia-based Influx seems to know

Melbourne-based online customer support solution Influx.com has secured A$250,000 (US$222,575). Investors include 99designs Founder Mark Harbottle, angel investor Leni Mayo, and the Sitepoint Group.

Influx claims to help tech startups address the common challenge of delivering customer service while working to scale their businesses.

Founded by Mikey De Wildt, a former 99designs and Sitepoint developer, Influx generates revenue through a flat monthly fee. There are five pricing plans for startups to choose from. Potential customers can try the solution out with a two-week long free trial, where Influx can learn and take on the “humdrum, everyday meat-and-potatoes support” function.

De Wildt told e27 in an exclusive interview that Influx isn’t the next Zendesk, a customer service software. He said, “There’s a flooded market for that (Zendesk and its like). What Influx is, is a team of customer service officers.” At the moment, there are six people in the team. He is looking to hire another 10 staffers in the next six months.

Read Also: Indonesian companies lose 1 in 6 customers due to poor customer service

“When you create a new business in the tech space, you’re born global. All of a sudden you have customers around the world buying your product, using your service, but there’s no affordable global customer support team,” said De Wildt.

The workflow is simple: When a customer service-related email comes into the client’s inbox, De Wildt and his team will reply and handle the simple ones, which allows the client more time to handle the more important things.

He added that the idea for Influx came about when he was answering inquiries for a side project and WordPress plugin, which became a second full-time job. The low volume of customer inquiries turned into an influx of emails. He couldn’t focus on product improvement and had to employ someone to handle customer service. But freelancers weren’t exactly servicing customers to his standards.

“I asked a few customer support services for quotes, but if you don’t have the volume they’re looking for, they don’t want to know you— they’re not startup friendly,” explained De Wildt.

While the solution is currently only available to companies based in Australia, he emphasised that there are plans to expand globally and provide an ongoing 24/7 customer support model.

Mark Harbottle concluded that tech startups no longer have to juggle customer service and scaling. He also commended Influx, and said, “Influx.com is building a disruptive platform that has the potential to challenge the traditional customer service model… (It) directly addresses this pain-point with a cost effective, high quality and scalable solution.”

Elaine Huang

Elaine Huang

Elaine is a fervent believer that if there ever is a zombie apocalypse, we will all be snapping away at them with our phones and posting them onto Instagram. A Mass Communication graduate of Ngee Ann Polytechnic's School of Film and Media Studies, she enjoys writing about technology and entrepreneurs. When not hashtagging her way through all sorts of trouble, Elaine is probably contemplating how to write in the third person.

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