Customer service channels are among the most direct methods people provide feedback to companies, but the media used to give input has become less personal. With many organizations turning to chatbots, automated tools, customers have to pick from canned responses rather than talking to real individuals. MaestroQA is the brainchild of founders Vasu Prathipati and Harrison Hunter, who got involved in the field in 2013, did not understand the trend, and believed that human beings should be the primary element for the business process. “When you call consumer service, you are giving the business review on something, and that’s a total black box at organizations today,” Prathipati says to Forbes.
The founders found several companies holding on to their human customer service representatives but quickly realized why many were opting for automation. There weren’t any reliable tools to help reps manage and develop relationships with customers. They saw the perfect opportunity for MaestroQA, which was created to be a software that allows customers to retain their customers, but that was not gaining momentum. “We thought there was a stunning opportunity to help organizations coach their existing employees instead,” Prathipati declares. Four years ago, they introduced the latest version of MaestroQA software which uses machine learning to collect and analyze customer feedback to train live customer service reps. The company has now turned a profit and has over 250 large-scale customers; it is looking to raise capital, with expansion on the horizon.
The company based in New York MaestroQA raises $25 million in a Series A led by Base10 Partners with meeting from Talkdesk Ventures, Tokyo Black Angel investor Itai Tsiddon and an existing investor SaaStr to the initial report in the Midas Contact newsletter. Base10 was aware of the evolving nature of the customer service industry when it discovered that MaestroQA had already accumulated multiple-digit million of ARR and had raised less than $10 million in outside capital co-founder and chief executive TJ Nahigian said. For they, it was an easy wager. “Vasu and Harrison did not have to raise this round,” Nahigian informs Forbes. “I actively approached them after we could see how well they were performing. The customer database is amazing, and it’s among the most impressive customer bases I’ve seen.”
MaestroQA also had reached an inflection point, and they decided to raise the capital, Prathipati says. The company was profitable and was putting up impressive revenue figures, and the founders believed that capital investment from outside could allow it to increase. In addition, after years of gathering feedback from customers on their products and making modifications, Prathipati says that he thought the product was in the right place to begin scaling.
MaestroQA’s software is compatible with customer service and workflow companies already employ, such as Zendesk or Salesforce. It uses machine learning to check for patterns in customer interactions, such as calls running very long or the negative results of a follow-up survey. The program will attempt to determine the cause of whether the rep was stumped by a query or was not empathetic when talking to a client and will provide feedback to help with potential training opportunities. “We don’t believe that you can fully automate the process,” Prathipati states. “They are conversations between humans. They’re complicated. Software is used managers the ability to be able to locate those needles, and explore them more deeply.” The client base is predominantly consumer-oriented such as DraftKings. However, it also has B2B clients such as Monday.com.
Base10 Partners is not the only VC company paying attention to changes taking place in the world of customer service. Looking to improve this line of business is a booming method of doing business for several years. There was $10.16 billion in investments over the past five years and almost $2 billion this year, according to the data provided by Preqin. Prathipati says many other areas aren’t fully explored, such as customer support for insurance companies and healthcare. He plans to expand the reach of MaestroQA to those sectors in the future. “We hope that in five years, we are only a third of the way on the journey to our mission of helping every brand make consumer-oriented business decisions exciting and impactful,” Prathipati says.