Scaling Your Company? Customer Experience Should Be at the Core of Your Growth
Interested in scaling your company, or has the scaling process already begun? We connected with Dan Kiely, CEO of Voxpro - powered by TELUS International, a leading provider of customer experience, technical support, and sales operations, to discuss how to scale your business, and the importance of maintaining focus on customer service as your company grows.
What is scaling your company all about?
If you’re scaling your company, congratulations! It’s an exciting time for all involved. At Voxpro - powered by TELUS International, we use the term ‘blitzscale’, which was coined by Reid Hoffman, Co-founder of LinkedIn and PayPal. Learning from the growth of other companies, we’ve realized that if you don’t scale fast enough, you’re going to lose your lead, or even worse – someone could take your idea.
In the early days of developing Voxpro, we had an idea for a new approach to outsourcing, and knew we had to act on it immediately, before anyone else did. We blitzscaled – we opened more offices, hired more people, and signed on more partners. After doubling our workforce and quadrupling the number of countries where we had a home base, we increased our services in two years. Then, in the summer of 2017, we partnered with TELUS International - a customer experience and digital services firm with a footprint across four continents. By joining our two companies, we are now backed by TELUS International’s robust global infrastructure and have an enhanced ability to offer a more comprehensive suite of solutions to the brands we serve to enable new go-to-market opportunities and growth in the digital and IT services market.
Scaling your company is about finding the right partners, but it’s also about hiring all-around good, hard workers, having a mission you really believe in, and creating a strong brand for your employees. Our experience as a former start-up, then scale-up translates into our innate ability to do the same for other brands, helping them scale their customer experience operations while they grow their business.
Why do you believe scaling customer experience and scaling business operations go hand-in-hand?
As your business grows, your customer base should ideally grow at the same or a similar pace. Growing your customer base means an increased number of support inquiries, and keeping up with demand to deliver a strong customer experience is crucial to maintaining your brand’s integrity and attracting and retaining customers. Take our partner Airbnb for instance. They went from hosting 300,000 homes on their site in 2013 to 3,000,000 homes in 2017. To meet the needs of their customers, Airbnb recently launched its Experiences and Places platforms, connecting their renters to local activities and hidden gems in the cities they are visiting. Giving power to the people, Airbnb increased its offering while managing a positive customer experience to meet the interest of its users.
As CEO of a growing company, what are some of your critical practices for relaying important information to your employees, and keeping the business moving?
When we created Voxpro, we set in place a series of values that we hold ourselves to every day. Sometimes, setting and understanding a company’s values can be overlooked, but not for us. Our values aren’t just words on a page, rather they drive our great company culture. These values also guide the partnerships we form, such as with TELUS International. They are a like-minded partner with similar values, and together, we are building upon our shared commitment to fostering and sustaining a caring culture focused on team member engagement and development, and giving back to the communities where we work and live.
Our powerful C-Suite leadership team that includes Jeffrey Puritt, President and CEO of TELUS International, keeps a pulse on our culture and employee engagement, identifying issues and putting forward solutions. We know that people want to be in an inclusive environment, even as a company begins to scale. Our values strive to ignite a sense of entrepreneurship, ownership and operational beauty in people. Through operational beauty, we encourage our employees to grow both personally and professionally. Having a purpose and mission that your employees can get behind will add motivation, plus heart and soul, to a company. This is ultimately reflected in the customer experience that we deliver.
The FinTech industry is seeing a number of companies scale at the moment. Are you seeing any emerging trends?
We partner with a number of companies who are in that “sweet spot” in the scaling process – they’re no longer a start-up, but they aren’t quite on a level of recognition internationally, or globally mature yet. Many times, these organizations are feeling the growing pains and recognize the need for a strong customer experience partner to ensure continued customer satisfaction and reduce customer loss. It can be a big step for companies to recognize that they need additional support, and a BPO provider in a lot of instances can be the smart choice when expanding.
Regarding FinTech, two of our partners who are leaders in the space come to mind. Both companies were searching for a partner to help manager their customer service as their businesses quickly grew. We partnered with them by offering a customized selection of services. Multi-channel, multi-lingual, and social media management were of importance to one, while our partnership with the other FinTech company focused solely on managing safety, fraud, and risk. In each instance, we were able to rapidly onboard and provide the necessary support, so their customers did not feel any strain from the expanding organization. Each of these partners’ needs are vastly different, and that’s what makes what we do and what we can provide so exciting. It’s not a one-size fits all model.
In what ways can scaling companies manage the customer experience for their clients in times of hyper-growth?
When rapidly growing a business, executives must come together to answer difficult questions in order to strategically plan for the future – “Can we do this alone? Do we need advanced services? Can we afford to make a change in staffing?” For some companies, outsourcing a sector of their business becomes an option, but sometimes companies are tentative to do so. It’s important for executives to understand that it’s more efficient and productive to focus on what you’re best at - your core competencies and what has made you successful to date - and seek a trusted partner in other departments, especially customer service.
Also, when rapidly scaling, the need to incorporate digital services and next-gen technology such as artificial intelligence and machine learning continues to grow. It’s important to have a trusted partner already invested in these capabilities and have a knowledgeable team in place able to harness the power of innovation to drive your new business outcomes and customer loyalty.After all, your customers are what drive your business and solidify your reputation in the market.
It’s important to keep your customers happy while scaling, of course, but what about your employees? How should growing companies respond to the challenges of retaining current employees and recruiting new ones?
As part of your growth, it’s inevitable that you’re going to have to hire and onboard new employees and also ensure the ones you currently employ continue to be inspired and engaged through all the changes. Ingraining your company’s values in new hires should be a top priority as these new employees have the potential to either help or hinder the execution of your company’s mission and strategy. Set yourself to a standard, and don’t stray away from it.
We have Voxpro University, which serves as a training resource plus a compilation of our branded learning and development tools, and TELUS International University, which enables our employees to earn a subsidized degree while working. These types of programs serve as a platform for all employees to learn about our culture and grow personally and professionally with us in order to meet the business needs of our partners’ today and tomorrow.
About Dan Kiely:
Dan Kiely is an entrepreneur through and through. Heading up Voxpro - powered by TELUS International, Dan thrives in the entrepreneurial realm. He dreams big and encourages innovation in all aspects of his company. Dan is now also a member of the TELUS International leadership team with TELUS International President and CEO, Jeffrey Puritt.