In 2015, Freshworks acquired Konotor, a mobile-first, B2B-focused messaging platform that Deepak, Vignesh, and I built. We relaunched Freshchat and saw our product quickly get pulled into many mid-market and enterprise deals. The more we engaged with larger customers, the more we felt that the customer onboarding phase was under-serviced. This phase is crucial to winning their confidence in a customer’s journey and turning them into a trusted partner along the road. But this is also the phase where the customer is vulnerable and has gaps in collaboration and visibility, making value demonstration challenging.
We tried general-purpose project and collaboration tools, and those did not help us. We still had to deal with siloed work streams, still had no out-of-the-box visibility, and still had no way to enforce our playbook. We dealt with internal and external versions of various plans and documents and overwhelmed ourselves and our customers with staying on top of various spreadsheets, documents, and tools. There was no one place to manage all our work. Dropping the ball somewhere was inevitable. And so were the escalations that would follow.
We spoke to many other companies that use spreadsheets, task and project management tools like Asana, Smartsheets, Trello, Google Docs, etc. We could clearly see an opportunity to build a product meant for customer onboarding. A product that takes into account customer experience from the get-go. One that understands the client delivery journey and helps leaders, project managers, and customers have the right visibility and experiences through the journey. And so we have Rocketlane.
While we wrote our first lines of code late in May 2020, it took till July 2020 to get the core of our dev team in place and finalize the frontend frameworks. We’ve had a significant acceleration from there to now.
For a "unification" play where we were bringing a few horizontal product experiences together into one purpose-built software, we believed we needed to replicate familiar experiences to a great degree and innovate on top of it. That meant building many capabilities that people are used to and then adding our unique experiences to that: out-of-the-box visibility of project progress and information, option to configure access for your customers (make what they don’t need to see private, so only your team will be able to access it), option to create and share documents within Rocketlane, reusable templates for projects and documents so you can ensure your playbooks are adhered to, option to trigger CSAT after a milestone, branded customer portals that don’t need your customer to login, etc.
It is more than the usual idea of an MVP: we had a full-featured product in private beta and onboarded close to 15 customers. They were impressed that we pulled it off. Their feedback gave us validation of direction. By the time we officially launched Rocketlane, we had a beautiful and thought-through product.
Now, as I look at how Rocketlane won the #1 Product of The Day badge on Product Hunt, I am proud of how much we have accomplished over the course of a year and through a raging pandemic. I am grateful for all the advice and feedback my team, and I have been able to access from our customers, investors, founders, and industry experts. Fueled by their insights and our own experiences on the ground, we are making Rocketlane more powerful and the easiest platform for customer onboarding.
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P.S. We also built a community exclusively for CS, Onboarding, and Implementation professionals to facilitate the exchange of learnings and ideas. Check out Preflight for a treasure trove of helpful resources and to connect with your peers.