The Next Web’s 2012 conference is now underway, and in addition to the plethora of great keynotes this year, we also have a number of awesome startups attempting to pitch their way to glory at our Startup Rally. One of these companies is Robin, a Netherlands-based startup that has just launched during the TNW Alpha Rally.
Robin sells itself as “the worlds first real smart and zero-maintenance app for managing conversations”, and today the founders publicly announced their cloud-based customer service app for online retailers, as they seek to “enhance customer satisfaction, trust and loyalty”.
Beyond all the buzzwords, what exactly does Robin do? Well, it’s a real-time customer service platform, consisting of a Web app and native iOS apps [iPhone | iPad]. In short, it provides a conduit for customers to communicate with online retailers through the Web, email and Twitter…a Facebook chat function is in the works too.
“In order to optimize customer happiness and build trust and loyalty, it is key to be responsive and give personal and relevant answers to customer enquiries,” says co-founder Patrick Speijers. “This is exactly what Robin will do for you in a simple and easy to use manner, that will enable you to interact quickly while working efficiently.”
Whilst the native iPhone and iPad apps will come in handy for reps on the move, customer care staff will likely use the desktop app to manage conversations with customers, with the main dashboard offering a centralized repository for each rep to manage the flow of messages:
With Twitter becoming a default forum for customers to ask questions or otherwise vent their spleen, Robin helps companies manage the influx of tweets and subsequent responses:
It’s also worth noting that for the iPhone and iPad app to work, you need an active account with Robin, which you can get here.
A plethora of customer service platforms have come to light in recent times, testament to the growing need for companies to manage communications from multiple directions. There’s Zendesk, for example, which is fast becoming one of the most popular options for businesses to tap into an ‘out-of-the-box’ customer support system, integrating with email and social channels. And Conversocial hit 30m interactions at Christmas, as the UK-based startup prepares to roll out its social media management system further afield.
The idea for Robin originated in 2010 when founders Patrick Speijers, Wim Veninga and Wilco Rietberg were responsible for product and technology at Trinicom, a dutch vendor of enterprise customer service solutions. In their respective roles, they experienced a growing need for professional customer service solutions in the small and mid-sized market, particularly in the e-commerce arena.
Is there room for another customer service platform? If Robin can differentiate itself from its competitors and bring something unique to the table, there’s no reason why not, and we’ll be sure to keep tabs on this startup as it evolves.
At launch, Robin is available in English and Dutch, and the pricing model is based around conversation credits on prepaid or subscription basis. However, to tempt early birds on board, it is running a special offer giving completely free use of Robin until July 1 2012.
Meanwhile, you can monitor all our coverage from The Next Web’s 2012 conference here.