The digital world is rapidly moving towards cloud solutions for everything — be it meeting storage needs, collaboration at work, workflow management, or enterprise functions. However, a wide scale deployment of the cloud is still limited to large organizations and business enterprises.
When it comes to SMEs and SMEs, people carry many day-to-day operations manually even today with little or no use of technology. Even organizations which have a fairly good online presence may not be using the power of the cloud to a great extent .
Tentacle aims to solve this problem by enabling these small and medium businesses to increase the efficiency of their regular operations by taking them to the cloud. These operations primarily include everything which involves calling or visiting customers and clients on a regular basis.
It was founded by high-school classmates Rahul Arora and Sumontro Roy and began its operation in late 2014. The startup is owned by Sunoray Solution Pvt. Ltd. Tentacle and provides modern cloud-based solutions for SMEs.
Tentacle targets all businesses that call or visit customers for any purpose, be it selling, customer servicing, upselling, cross-selling, renewing, collections etc. The market of needs of these businesses is largely untapped which Tentacle is targeting.
This includes small and large DSA’s of banks, insurance, telecom companies, car dealerships, gyms and spas, real estate, etc. Essentially every SME who calls or visits customers can use solutions by Tentacle. Normally, they use printouts and manual processes to perform tasks which are highly inefficient. Besides this, a lot of them have smaller teams and many times in different geographic locations.
They have the option to buy traditional in-premise solutions to automate these tasks. However, those solutions are capex heavy and do not lend themselves to smaller and multi-locational teams.
Tentacle is available for a low per user per month fee and SMEs can use this as a simple mobile phone function like enterprises do.
Tentacle offers efficient, true and real time reports. When new people join, they can hit the ground running because there is a process in place. When they leave, there is business continuity because the system captures their unfinished work which can be reassigned.
Tentacle also has nifty API integrations with 3rd party services like justDial/ Sulekha/ Salesforce etc. So an end user can have any systems/services they use, work seamlessly with tentacle
How it works
It is incredibly easy to use Tentacle as it offers a simple to use Android app which can be downloaded from the Play store. The User can register via the Tentacle APP or on the Tentacle website with his email id, and can start using Tentacle immediately. Each user has a unique email id and password.
Clients buy the number of users needed by them and make an online payment. Tentacle activates the account from the backend as soon as the payment has been received (online payment). It really is as simple as that.
Once a user successfully login, he/she can visit the following pages in Tentacle app:
Home Screen / Landing Page: This is where the User / Telecaller will land upon signing in. Users can see all the ongoing campaigns of the company to which they are assigned and start calling the clients.
They also have access to pending calls list and follow up calls. They can view Quick stats and take immediate action from the screen itself.
Prospect Browse Page (also works as a quick Dashboard): This works as a quick dashboard for all telecallers and managers. Callers can also add new contacts and leads through Add Prospects pages.
Using filters the Manager can also choose selective views such as All Call-backs, those Not Interested, All Hot leads, etc.
Reports – Overview: This overview gives an overall sense of the status of campaigns. Each of the sections can be drilled down further for relevant details. E.g. Telecaller Daily Call Times, Company Averages, Comparisons between individual Telecallers and Company Averages, etc.
1. In-platform calling:
The user can use his preferred mode of calling (SIM card, VOIP). No landlines are required. All calls are made via the Tentacle APP and by using SIM card on the device. The dispositions (follow-up actions, call results etc.) are captured by the Tentacle APP. The collective data is uploaded real-time so that a Manager can view LIVE analytics from anywhere.
2. Workforce management:
Tentacle has an innovative & unique in-built feature called “FoS” (Feet-on- Street) which allows the user/Manager to manage the Field Agents seamlessly within the Tentacle system itself. After the tele-caller has fixed an appointment for a Field Agent, she assigns it to the relevant Field Agent.
The Field Agent receives a pop-up notification on his phone via his Tentacle APP with the meeting details. He attends the meeting and updates the result (e.g. documents collected, images uploaded of cheques collected).
The entire workflow spread across several stakeholders (Telecaller, Field Agent, Manager) is completed in one seamless loop within Tentacle. Clients are able to manage their process efficiently, with transparency, and accountability, resulting in increased productivity.
3. Expense Management:
The sales force of a company can also report their expense and travel reports through Tentacle. This indeed makes Tentacle a one stop solution for all business operation needs.
Tentacle provides detailed Analytics in real-time for immediate review, follow- up and action. Productivity reports let the manager take decisions real time on which data is performing and which is not, to avoid wasted time. Managers can monitor disposition reports in real time.
Similarly, a telecaller and field executive productivity can be monitored with efficiency comparisons and exception reports like hour wise calls made, splits 0sec calls, 1-10 secs, etc. which are then correlated to the call outcomes.
A combination of reports and rule engine ensure a high level of productivity and auto escalation of nonperforming cases.
The report contains a range of metrics such as Daily Talk Time (overall; by agent), Call Mining (calls split by talk-time; by company averages; by agents; efficiency comparisons); Performance Analysis (agent performance vs. company averages), closures, etc.
I would give this to tentacle. While the platform not only enhances the effectiveness of calls made by the company to its customers and clients, it also offers a complete workflow system. Calling is just one part of Tentacle. Users can also upload, call, follow up, meet, and monitor the process.
This whole process has been designed by deep domain expertise and constant learning. The team has focussed on usability for easy adoption. Moreover, Tentacle is designed with a mobile-first interface in mind, keeping in mind customers who use no technology and/or aspire to use work-from- home executives.
Since Tentacle is cloud based, multi tenanted solution, it is easy to build out and scale making it an ideal choice for small and medium businesses. It is built on Ruby on Rails and hosted on the cloud at the data centre of company. Tentacle’s sweet spot is users running a raw process [printouts and mobile phones].
Using Tentacle, the manager can upload data that needs to be called and assign telecallers. Telecallers can login from anywhere using the app and make their calls and capture the outcome and future follow up dates of each call. They also in turn can assign leads to the field team for meetings.
Field execs can see their appointments for the day, meet them, capture outcome, and even capture images of docs collected. All info, along with geo location, is uploaded by the app to the cloud real time.
Managers can monitor productivity, listen to recordings and take corrective action. Tentacle’s reporting and BI platform help managers identify opportunities for improvement and increase ROI drastically.
Data in Tentacle
A caller or field exec has to capture certain mandatory data as part of each transaction. This includes nature of contact (meeting or call), outcome, and configuration of next action.
Tentacle also has a form builder, using which a customer can build forms for the caller/ field exec to fill. The customer can easily define the field type e.g. drop down, pick list, text box etc. and specify which fields are mandatory and which ones are optional.
On a call/meeting, the form appears on the mobile automatically making data entry really easy. Customers having extensive data to collect often use a simple headphone, so that the caller can capture data during the call.
Tentacle also has a hybrid mode that allows the telecaller to use a browser on a laptop/desktop for data entry, while seamlessly using a mobile phone to make the calls/capture call recordings etc.
Essentially, when the call button on the browser is clicked, the system automatically generates a call from the mobile phone and the app on the phone captures the recording and call duration and seamlessly uploads it and posts it to the correct transaction history of the party.
The road ahead
Tentacle is currently bootstrapped and has not raised any funds yet. It aims to become the defining Everything-Cloud brand for the massive SME segment.
Essentially, it plans to develop itself into a 360 degree cloud-based solutions provider for improving productivity and performance for the SMEs.
According to the company, there are currently 55 million SMEs in India that are increasingly looking to solve their business problems through modern cloud solutions. They run operations on ad-hoc basis due to the cost factor and are unable to manage seamless processes.
Aggregating software and expertise takes away a big share of their capital. Tentacle has designed a solution which is affordable, easy to operate and app based, allowing SMEs a platform to carry multiple operations in one go.