David O'Leary, CEO and Co-Founder of Australian start-up contactSPACE – a cloud-based contact centre, is letting us in on the secrets behind the company’s success.
Informed by 15 years of industry experience David noticed a gaping hole in in the contact centre market for SMEs. Despite the advancements in cloud computing, the companies that specialised in contact centre implementation often insisted on using complex hardware that required specialised people to run it. The implementation and ongoing costs associated with this practice made these centres and their functions a costly business expense.
One contact centre that David helped set up, cost well over $10 million to run per annum. While this is trunk change to large corporations with money to burn, smaller businesses were being well and truly left out of the equation. David knew that the industry needed a cost-effective, easy-to-use solution that would help SMEs measure the efficiency and results of their sales and customer engagement processes.
Over 18 months, David and his team developed a solution from scratch that displayed fresh thinking both on a functional and technical level. Today, contactSPACE allows businesses to deal with all of the aspects of a contact centre function including the ability to make and record calls, provide CRM integration and in-depth real-time reporting. In addition to this, the platform features an implementation wizard that helps businesses set the platform up in 7 steps. In a few minutes customers can build a state of the art, cloud-based contact centre that can be accessed through any device.
contactSPACE launched into the market on November 4th 2014 with their first customer already onboard. Over the past year they’ve seen their client base explode, with customers primarily across finance, fundraising and education.
Want to know the main driver of this growth? Customer referrals.
contactSPACE prides itself on its customer service and the quality of its offerings (they have to drink their own kool-aid after all). The business is driven by relationships, and as a result satisfied clients are more than happy to refer the company.
David explains that contactSPACE’s approach is vastly different to other companies within the space as they will actively mentor and support customers from start to finish. He explained that individuals who end up running organisations (particularly those in SMEs), don’t typically know all of the best practices when it comes setting up call centres and driving contact centre performance. What they should measure, and what they need to focus on to maximise sales, is too often locked in the heads of the expensive contact centre specialists. Customers turn to contactSPACE because they help to fill this knowledge gap – as well as provide the contact centre solution.
“contactSPACE educates people throughout the entire process, making contact centre technology accessible to everyday owners. We guide owners through best practices so they can set up live dashboards and reports to see what is working. It gives the power back to them,” he said.
To aid contactSPACE’s customer centric approach he’s also implemented a stringent “no muppets” hiring policy. The biggest challenge he faced as an emerging start-up was hiring the right team and finding the best-fit individuals for the business. The current team of 15 all have a contact centre background.
“Everyone gets it, they’ve been there, they’ve done these jobs before. They speak the same language so they can help clients get to a particular business outcome. It’s important that the team shares the vision and understands the importance of the customer relationship. We’ve successfully done that.”
The team’s involvement at CeBIT 2015 proved to be fertile ground for budding relationships.
David explains, “We gained a great amount of quality leads from our event presence. CeBIT provides multiple touch points to reach out to customers, and better yet people remember you from these interactions. Just last week, I received a phone call from someone who we met at CeBIT last year and needed a solution. We’ve even won a customer when CeBIT tweeted our first press release. A networking opportunity such as CeBIT can provide the opportunity to be selling to someone with an immediate need, and building a relationship that generates referrals further down the line. It’s important to invest time in building and nurturing these relationships.”