We all have phones, how often do you call rather than text someone? Or get a text instead of a call, which can be so much more intrusive?
Well, businesses are people, too, and Teckst is a simple way for businesses to text with their customers. Wherever you’d normally receive or make a call, use Teckst instead, and start communicating the way real people do.
Founder Matt Tumbleson tells us how he struck upon the idea and how it can change the game when it comes to customer service.
Tell us about the service.
Teckst is a cloud-based texting platform. Businesses of all sizes can use Teckst to communicate with their customers the way they communicate with their friends and family. From confirming a reservation to texting with an airline to reschedule a flight, Teckst makes life simpler and less stressful.
How is it different?
Teckst opens up businesses to texting via a web platform (for tablets, smartphones, or desktops), or integration with ZenDesk and Salesforce. There are a few solutions for texting, but they are bots that require customers to use hard-to-understand commands, not software that connects people. And where large social companies are going after brands, we are going after every individual location of those brands.
What market are you attacking and how big is it?
The Text Industry (as we call it) is starting to heat up. Our vision is that every business that already has a phone number is a customer. The potential market starts at around $15B per year.
What is the business model?
We charge the businesses for usage. Small businesses can log in from any device with internet (no apps needed). Enterprise solutions are directly incorporated into CRM software platforms.
What inspired the business?
When I was at Seamless, I was working with the customer care team on improving the user experience. I created a document that taught agents how to talk with customers the way they talk with their friends. It was broken down by channel: email, phone calls, and social. As I worked on this document, I realized that how I actually talk with my friends is not by any of the traditional business channels: it’s by text message. That’s the moment the idea for Teckst was created.
What made you quit your full time at Seamless and pursue this?
I was in love with my job at Seamless. I was a head of one of the best marketing teams at one of the best brands in New York. But after merging with GrubHub and then taking the company public, the remainder of my job would be pretty much coasting. The timing was right in October 2014. I had a few consulting projects lined up with Condé Nast and Visa, and I felt confident to jump ship and devote my time to Teckst with marketing consulting filling any gaps.
Why is texting a preferred method of customer service?
It’s so much more than customer service. It’s communication of all kinds. I can Google a business to see their store hours, but with Teckst, I can text them to ask about their inventory, or ask about what pants they have that go with a shirt I own. It’s a perfect mix of person-to-person communication via a channel that’s preferred over calling. If you pulled someone from the street and asked them how many calls per day versus how many text per day they make, they’d have far more texts.
What are the milestones that you plan to achieve within six months?
Our goal is to get about 5,000 businesses in New York on board before the end of the year. We’ve made some really great traction. We’re now beta testing to be sure everything is where it needs to be, then we’ll raise some funding to scale up rapidly.
What is the one piece of startup advice that you never got?
Talk to everyone. So many founders are so afraid their idea will be stolen. In fact, talking about a startup is the best way to get feedback. But be careful: Keep collecting feedback on one idea, then look at it all together to decide what to change. Changing after every meeting is a surefire way to fail.
If you could be put in touch with one investor in the New York community who would it be and why?
Alexis Ohanian. I’m a die-hard fan of reddit. It’s my happy place. Plus, Y Combinator is the Rolls Royce of startup catalysts.
Why did you launch in New York?
There’s a current in New York that runs from person to person, and it’s stronger and faster than in other cities. Plus, getting New Yorkers to stop making phone calls is kinda my thing.
Where is your favorite outdoor bar in the city for a drink when it is actually warm out?
The rooftop of SoHo House. Hands down the coolest place to be when it’s warm outside.