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You’re listening to the CX Pod by TTEC and the Customer Strategist Journal.
Judith Aquino: Hi I’m Judith Aquino. On today’s episode we’ll be talking about hypergrowth in tech companies and the customer experience. Fast growing financial tech companies like Ant Financial, Robinhood and Revolut are not only disrupting the financial industry, they’re reshaping consumer behavior and expectations. But while hypergrowth companies may be experts at growing their customer base, retaining and supporting those customers is another story. Joining me today to help me discuss what hypergrowth companies need to know about the customer experience is Ray Klostermann, chief rocketeer at TTEC Agility. Welcome to the show Ray!
So let’s start with a definition. How do you define a hypergrowth company?
Ray Klostermannn: It depends who you asked Judith. But obviously technology plays a key role in this. So anything in my mind, anything, any fintech related company is leveraging a technological innovation to create differentiated strategies. So like Revolut has leveraged blockchain technology for example, to find a better way to facilitate money transfer or Credit Karma for example, is leveraging providing feedback to the end users to be able to monitor our credit behavior and our health in order to, to provide, you know, a better financial experience in our lives. So anyone that’s using technological innovation to really disrupt or to make a splash in someone’s lives that creates a differentiated experiences is really kind of my definition of hypergrowth fintech related companies.
JA: Got it. All right. And so speaking of making a splash in customers’ lives given that these companies are so good at creating innovative offerings, do they tend to overlook what it takes to support customers? What are you seeing out there?
RK: It depends on kind of where they are in their growth cycle. So if they’ve just started to go through what I call that hockey stick inflection point, they’re generally in a position where founders or the leadership within these companies wear multiple hats and they’re starting to think about all the different elements of their company working together. But as soon as that growth takes off there are areas that I do see that often get overlooked. And so for example, one of them might be the inability to capture key data. So as we work with some fintech clients and we onboard them to TTEC Agility, you kind of asked them what success looks like and they say, well, the data is all over the place.
So having kind of a holistic view of what of metrics or performance aligned to customer expectations really doesn’t exist. It’s all over the place generally. Not always, but generally it’s all over the place. And the most, the most important piece that’s missing is where the data is actionable. So you can relate it back to kind of a process within their business or policy and marketing initiative and what impact it has, whether negative or positive and how that affects the business going forward. So that, that might be one example, but there’s a bunch.
JA: Right. And can you be more specific about what type of data they would be looking to make actionable?
RK: Well any data that that helps expedite decision making process. So if you’re growing and we know that for example, it is generally around five or six times more expensive to acquire a new customer than it is to retain and drive additional revenue or value, so data around customer satisfaction. How do you know that someone’s actually happy if you just have a basic CSAT service level expectation, what is it really measuring? Is it segmented by your various customers within the stratosphere of your customer base? Not every customer is the same. Some customers like, you know, I could be in a certain demographic of your customer base and Judith, you might be in a different area but you might be measuring CSAT the exact same way. So by being able to segment it and personalize the measurement specifically to how you behave and how I behave provides a much more of a valuable feedback, feedback mechanism to a accompany.
Performance management is another. Tying that feedback back to the person who’s providing in this circumstance, you know, providing that customer success or customer service touch point back to your customer base, really providing a mechanism to evaluate kind of how that person did outside of a product issue or a service issue. You know, how did Ray do in trying to address and resolve that experience that you’re having a versus was it a product area? Did you get the card, you know, for example, maybe you’ve ordered a card to be able to make a money transfer experience happen and you haven’t received that card. That’s more of a product or marketing defect than it is a teammate defect for example. Does that help?
JA: Definitely. And I’m sure most of these hypergrowth companies get pitches all the time. So what would you say is critical for when you’re looking for a partner per say, and I’m going to throw out a taboo word, but if they’re looking to outsource their support, what should they look for in a partner?
RK: It really gives a lot of these companies a huge competitive advantage because it allows them to scale successfully. A lot of these companies are very transparent and very accountable. As long as all those mechanisms are still in place and they’re part of the core foundation for an outsourcing partnership. That’s how companies gain a differentiated advantage. A lot of companies that are starting to go through hyper growth, Judith, um, often will negate or will be short on resources to optimize process all throughout their company. And over time they have to be able to add these core capabilities and skill sets. But, but by outsourcing, you’re leveraging a partner that can help specialize on what that customer service experience is and provide proactive feedback on how to align towards business schools and how to refine and optimize an ongoing basis.
And that’s a misconception often found when outsourcing a lot of people think you’ve lost control. And what I would say is it’s quite the opposite actually. You gain huge competitive advantage over another company in your space that’s also trying to grow but may not have people laser focused around what success looks like and helping you optimize that service organization or that service experience. We’re all eager to have an amazing experience today. That’s how I look at any, any new company that comes to the marketplace today. They’re all trying to create an amazing experience in an awesome way and so never forgetting that. Um, it also flows all the way down to how you support your customers and trying to really be a tangent of that service experience going forward. And that’s kind of working with the right partner that takes culture and values and collaboration and teamwork all seriously. And as part of your core foundation to be a reciprocal partnership, those are the ones that always succeed.
JA: And going back to culture, can you give me some examples of how a partner could reassure the client that its, people will match their culture?
RK: You know, we take the rigor of trying to align our values around a company’s brand and trying to find people that have an innate experience or an innate focus on kind of what the brand stands for. So whether it’s a product or a service, really trying to find a team or an area of the world to support that experience on where it’s not a foreign concept, but where the team actually supporting you has a passion for it. And so we spend a lot of time up front, I’m trying focus on kind of how you value culture, how you emulate your culture, tying our brand values to yours and trying to match them up to make sure it’s a good fit. One of the things that we often find is most of the companies that we work with are all the companies that we work with are a good fit.
We’ve done our homework upfront, but we sometimes we’ll be looking at a potential opportunity and realize that might not be the right fit and we will say no upfront so that we don’t fail. And we don’t fill in cultural alignment for that area because it’s really important to your brand value. So we do take that, that those extra steps upfront to make sure it is a good fit. Not every outsourcing company or not every company in the customer experience business will do that. Number one, simply just as hope is there’s another opportunity that’s go get it. Uh, but we’ll take a step back and make sure we’re, we are a good fit because I don’t, I don’t think the rule is true, true out there where that every company is the right fit for every other company. I do think that just like in any other business, there’s companies where there’s a great fit and there’s companies where perhaps maybe it’s not a good fit.
For example, if, if a company came to us and say, could you help us outsource our team of two people? I would probably say we’re probably not the right team to do that just because it’s a little too early. You haven’t really gotten through a situation where you’ve mapped out kind of what success looks like. There’s an incredible amount of adjustment and optimization still left in your growth curve before you go through that hockey stick growth. And I would encourage them, not really to use a partner in that circumstance, Judith, but really to try to keep that still internal and get to a point where they have some sort of granularity of what that service experience should look like. And they have a core foundation from which to propel from.
JA: Right. And so besides mapping out what success looks like to them, what else would you recommend companies have in mind when you have a provider?
RK: I think one of the things to not forget about is to incorporate the front line teammates into your decision making. Get that feedback and encourage that feedback loop. Ensure that the frontline team is an extension of your brand. And think of them as no different than just opening another office. A lot of people think that you can outsource and have a hands off relationship and that’s not the case where you see a very successful outsourcing partnership work and where one doesn’t work. So I think another key areas is to really incorporate the front line team into all hands meetings with, with the brand that they’re supporting. Have them be part of that true culture, have them really understand kind of what happens at the business level and at the brand level. And have them provide feedback and create a mechanism and a loop to gather that feedback and recognize our feedback. So if you incorporate someone’s recommendation on the approval workflow for a specific part of your business, recognize them for that, even if they’re not a direct employee of the business but they are a partner of your business, it’s really important to to provide that recognition.
JA: And so my last question is what would you say are the key takeaways for listeners to what we’re discussing in terms of where customers can improve their customer experience?
RK: You know, for the hypergrowth world and for companies that are innovating and disrupting and finding a way to provide a better customer experience from maybe a legacy idea that already exists or uncovering the next frontier of, of possibilities that we haven’t even yet imagined. I’ve encouraged them to leverage partnership as a way to help you skill with efficiency and effectiveness. Leverage a partner that will invest into your success, that will take the time to listen and understand and to really incorporate themselves into your brand and your values and your culture and help just propel that faster. Allow a partner potentially, whether it’s us or anyone else, really to become just a true extension of your brand versus a vendor company type relationship. You know, quick create that partnership, create that open a dialogue. Create two way communication that’s frictionless. The same thing as you would treat your customer experience. Create that in partnership at the same time. That’s kind of what happened. I would leave them, leave them with and that will give you more control of your business and it also gives you more probability of Alliance success in the service organization with kind of your brand values.
JA: Well, thanks so much for the info. I really appreciate it.
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