An exclusive Tech Tribune Q&A with Michael Kansky, the founder and CTO of HelpSquad, which was honored in our:
Tell us the origin story of HelpSquad – what problem were you trying to solve and why?
We’ve always had LiveHelpNow, which is a SaaS company. LiveHelpNow offers software to businesses that provide live chat support to their customers. At some point, we started to receive requests from our LiveHelpNow clients for 24/7 support for their customers as they themselves did not have enough people to provide such round-the-clock service. We received so many daily requests like this that we decided to start a company that would supply live chat specialists to companies.
We knew absolutely nothing about call center business at the time, so I traveled to some LiveHelpNow clients’ sites that operated as 24/7 call centers using our software. I monitored their operations to learn how they did it. I worked with six call centers. After months of traveling, I figured out how to set up HelpSquad and make it a high quality call center.
The biggest invention in HelpSquad was that instead of having one large call center that serviced thousands of people, we came up with a different structure. We created six-person squads (hence the name, HelpSquad). These squads work as teams and compete with other squads – we have alpha team, beta team, and so forth; overall we have 12 teams.
Each team has a manager, whom we call a coach. The coaches communicate with clients in order to understand their needs in terms of customer service and then communicate those details to the teams. This structure is what helps us ensure the high quality of our services. The internal competition provides incentives to team members and, subsequently, brings success to the entire company.
What was the biggest hurdle you encountered in your journey?
The biggest challenge was to get customers to trust HelpSquad because HelpSquad became the front line for the clients’ customers. We had to show our clients that we could provide support to their customers as well as they themselves could. This trust level was hard to achieve.
The solution for this challenge comes in the form of a 14-day free trial. No obligation, no credit card, no contract required. Without any risk, clients can try us out. Also, without annual contracts, clients can cancel at any time. This allows our clients to see if we’re a good fit for them without any risk.
What does the future hold for HelpSquad?
Our growth was about 5% monthly pre-pandemic; post-pandemic, it is now 5% per week. When “remote work” becomes a household term, outsourcing customer services proves to be a great option.
HelpSquad is in a very good position for growth because of the universal movement toward more remote work. Our ability to cope with volumes of chat interactions makes us stand out. Right now, we’re seeing 1000-2000% growth in chat volume for some businesses. Customers no longer go to stores, but they still have questions, still have returns to make, and still need customer service, so they turn to chat. HelpSquad is in the right market and is set up for growth. We provide tremendous value to businesses as outsourcing customer support to us is so cost-effective. It is much more affordable to sign-up for our services that range from $95 to $700 per month than to hire a full time employee with salary and benefits. Additionally, our agents provide round-the-clock customer service, whereas an in-house customer service representative would only work 40 hours per week.
What are your thoughts on the local tech startup scene in Bethlehem?
I think the city’s tech scene is blooming and for a good reason. Mayor Bob Donche created a great climate for businesses and set up an environment for growth. He really understood business wants and needs. Between internships opportunities for local college students, tax breaks, and very favorable lease terms, the tech startup really has great conditions in which to grow, expand, and succeed.
As far as the future, I think business opportunities will continue to flourish as long as the same policies remain in place.
What’s your best advice for aspiring entrepreneurs?
Three things, really, and in the following order:
- Take a Landmark Education Course for three days.
- Read: The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson.
- And fail often. That is the only way to learn.