Freshdesk Launches Marketplace for Customer Support Apps

Freshdesk, a provider of customer engagement software, yesterday unveiled the Freshdesk Marketplace, a digital store where companies can shop for third-party apps to boost the capabilities of their service help desks.

A goal of the Marketplace is to function as a common ecosystem for Freshdesk's partners, customers, and software developers. For business users, its appeal is the promise of a quicker time to value, as they can navigate a modern, intuitive interface to discover and install add-on programs and services that enhance Freshdesk's help desk offerings. For developers, a key draw is the portal that allows them to build out and sell their apps to Freshdesk's more than 100,000 customers. The ecosystem model also grants systems integrators (SIs) and independent service vendors (ISVs) the ability to customize their offerings and deployments for users.

The Marketplace aims to facilitate the smooth flow of data and information between Freshdesk and the back-end apps companies rely on to accelerate agent performance and tailor workflows to their specific work habits. For instance, a company might leverage additional apps to field a support request that has surfaced in their help desk. Using Freshdesk's request parameters, the software can track down the appropriate agent for the job, notify them in an integrated app like Slack, or elicit an automated response via a connected chatbot.

The release builds on Freshdesk's January acquisition of Pipemonk, a move that also helped to create more seamless integrations between a business’s various cloud-based solutions while bypassing clunky integration processes.

Freshdesk's Marketplace currently includes a portfolio of more than 100 apps, including collaboration and telephony tools, in addition to technologies covering other areas. Among these are offerings from Salesforce.com, Teamviewer, MailChimp, Slack, Skype, Jira, and Google.

"The Freshdesk Marketplace provides a perfect platform for Freshdesk to continuously collaborate with our customers by launching new apps, collecting their feedback to deepen use cases, and ultimately evolving faster," Rajiv Ramanan, project manager at Freshdesk Marketplace, says. "Monetization opportunities for developers and partners will help us bring in high-quality apps and meet customization needs to become deeply embedded in our customer ecosystems. We hope to empower developers to build localized integrations, which will help us reach new markets and grow faster in existing markets."

Brent Leary, cofounder and partner of CRM Essentials, says that, for Freshdesk, an app marketplace is another move in the right direction. "Robust marketplaces are becoming a necessity for vendors [who want] to separate themselves from a growing list of competitors" and have their offerings viewed as top tier by customers, he says. But it "will need to quickly grow" the marketplace if it wishes to continue the momentum it has created over the past few years and compete with the likes of competitors Zendesk and Salesforce.com, who both offer their own app marketplaces.

"Freshdesk has a ways to go to get up with their two main competitors," Leary says. In addition to upping the quantity of apps, the company will "also have to add ratings and reviews to provide customers with more info on the apps and the companies behind them."

While Freshdesk doesn't have a concrete goal for the number of apps it will add this year, Ramanan expects the marketplace to grow quickly. "We want to offer the apps that are useful for our customers," he says. The company is working on supporting several emerging channels and technology areas, including chatbots, artificial intelligence, analytics, and the Internet of Things. "The Freshdesk Marketplace allows us to bring those to our customer base."

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