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Talkdesk Hits 10 Year Mark
The tale of Talkdesk’s founding is an engineer’s Cinderella story. Ten years ago, CEO Tiago Paiva saw that Twilio was giving a MacBook Air as a prize in an upcoming hackathon. In a 2017 interview Paiva said, “I was 24-years-old and I had an old PC and no money to spare – I wanted that MacBook.” Paiva’s idea was to create cloud-based software that would allow companies to provide better customer service to their callers, and he built the hackathon entry in 10 days.
Paiva not only won the MacBook but a few months later, presented Talkdesk at TwilioCon and won first prize—a $10,000 investment in his start-up. It was then that Talkdesk made its first appearance in No Jitter, when fellow contributor Dave Michels wrote, “Tiago Paiva, a developer, was recognized for creating Talkdesk, a browser-based call center solution that integrates with Salesforce, Highrise, Zendesk, and Desk.com. Talkdesk is in use at MinuteLabs, VIP Realtors, and Chevrolet.”
As further described by Paiva in the 2017 interview, “In 2011 our focus was on the SMB (small and medium-sized businesses) space. What happened was, some of our earliest customers were hypergrowth companies and they kept adding more and more agents. So, we built Talkdesk in order to continue to meet their needs, to scale with them.” By 2017, those efforts landed Talkdesk as a visionary in Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for Contact Center as a Service (CCaaS), North America, and in the last two years, vaulted to the leaders’ quadrant.
Today’s news—both product and marketing announcements—is meant to set the stage for the next steps in Talkdesk’s evolution.
Digital-first and Automation-first
During a pre-briefing on this news, Charanya (CK) Kannan, chief product officer, Talkdesk opened by saying that, “When we talk about our vision internally, we say we want to be the digital-first, automation-first customer experience solution that brands across the globe trust—the goal is to build a solution that will help companies move 70% of all interactions to digital channels and handle 80% of all interactions with automation.”
I commented that while several CCaaS companies have talked about digital-first, none have gone so far as to say automation-first. “We know it's very forward,” Kannan responded. “We’re disrupting the market and, in essence, disrupting ourselves at the same time, our sales and our business.” Kannan’s point is that as interactions automate, the interaction time between agents and customers reduces significantly. But, if Talkdesk supplies the automation software, it will gain revenue in the emerging market as it loses some on the more traditional side.
To help companies achieve this vision, two solutions were announced:
- Talkdesk Workspaces: Until this announcement, Talkdesk’s agent interface was known as Callbar. Talkdesk Workspaces is a completely new solution, with a much richer set of capabilities. The look, feel, and functionality of an agent or supervisor workspace can be completely personalized, putting essential information and actions at employees’ fingertips to simplify work, accelerate training, and boost productivity.
Partner and custom applications and components can be integrated to create tailored experiences for different roles or teams. A language selector lets employees personalize their workspace. Finally, Workspaces is available in a browser or installed as a desktop client with a single sign-on.
From a technical perspective, Kannan explained that Talkdesk Workspaces is built as a micro frontend architecture, which extends the concepts of microservices to the user interface world. “Everything that you build for the Workspace is a small app that can be put where you want and can be built the way you want,” Kannan explained. I’ve included a screenshot of the new Talkdesk Workspaces, shown here.
- Talkdesk Builder: As seen in the graphic below, Builder is described as a “better way to customize.” It’s a collection of code, low-code, and no-code tools for customers and partners. Low-code and no-code tools have become a common feature in updated CCaaS solutions in the past 12-24 months. Five9’s Whendu acquisition as well as its Inference acquisition, brought these tools as did the Cisco acquisition of IMImobile. Kannan explained that the Connections component of Builder, announced in February 2020, offers similar integration platform as a service (IPaaS) capabilities.
New Brand, Advertising and Websites
As a purple person (note my logo and website), I would have gladly spent this entire post extolling the virtues of Talkdesk’s rebrand. But, as Kathie Johnson, Talkdesk chief marketing officer, is quick to point out, a new color palette and tag line—Experience. A better way—is just a small part of the company’s marketing relaunch (see image above). Additionally, the corporate rebrand launch includes Talkdesk’s first global advertising program, a new website, and websites in five languages in addition to English: French, German, Spanish, Portuguese, and Brazilian Portuguese. Previously, Talkdesk had some localized content but the website was exclusively English.