Did you know that you can start a ‘friendship’ with your favourite brand?
That’s just what Mads Fosselius, co-founder of Dixa, is all about. In an age that has seen the fall of the stony-faced corporate brand, and the rise of ever more personalised customer services, it makes sense that the future of company-customer relationships is moving closer to something that looks more like a ‘friendship’.
But how does this work? Is it even possible? We grabbed some time with Mads to ask him what exactly is a “customer friendship” platform, the future of customer service, building an international team and how they’re managing during coronavirus.
1. How did the idea for Dixa come about?
Dixa was founded by four friends with a shared personal and professional frustration with customer service. Both tech and consumer expectations seemed to be developing at lightning speed but the tools to handle customer service didn’t appear to be keeping up. Dixa set out on a mission to empower brands to create great experiences for their customers and agents by giving them the ability to communicate in an easy and conversational way.
2. What makes Dixa unique?
Dixa is a unified platform built to handle customer conversations equally well across channels which helps create great experiences for both customers and agents. Our competitors have built platforms that are fundamentally siloed, meaning they compartmentalize customer interactions according to which channel the customer happens to reach out on.
Most people don’t think much of how they reach out to companies – they might call, then send an email or even reach out on Messenger. This leaves agents having to switch frantically between different tabs and systems to get an overview of the customer’s history. Because Dixa unifies channels and data in one platform, agents can focus on helping customers instead.
3. You talk about creating “friendships” between brands and customers. Do you think this kind of more personal, and less ‘transactional’ or ‘commercial’, relationship is possible?
Absolutely. Dixa uses smart routing and workflows powered by data and algorithms so conversations reach the right agents along with relevant data and insights to provide further context. That means agents can focus on being present and friendly which creates better experiences for both agents and customers. It’s also valuable to the brand itself. Reaching out to customer service is often the most direct and human interaction people have with their favorite brands, so the higher the quality of that interaction is, the better.
4. Customer-centric services are becoming key for startups and large corporates. At what point do you think customers started expecting personalized services?
The sheer abundance of choice has prompted consumers to expect more from their favorite brands, as it’s more easy than ever for them to take their business elsewhere. Also, consumers are becoming more aware of their data being stored and what companies use it for. They expect a certain degree of personalization in exchange for their data. They’re even willing to spend more on great experiences making the customer experience just as important as the price or even product itself.
5. Having built an international team with 20+ nationalities, are you all based in one office, or do you also work remotely?
Our team is distributed across 5 locations in Europe. We only have a few team members that work remotely. However, I will say that I have been very positively surprised by how quickly the team pivoted to working 100% remotely as a result of the Corona crisis. I definitely think we’ll embrace remote work more in the future.
6. With the current Coronavirus situation, how have you been affected, and do you have any tips for other startups for how to manage the situation?
We’ve obviously had to quickly adapt to this unusual situation, just like everyone else. This has meant practical measures such as more online meetings to align on tasks and resources, families creating work schedules around their children etc. It has also meant an increased focus on ‘softer’ areas such as making sure we’re more clear in our communication as some non-verbal cues can get lost when you can’t just pop over to someone’s desk. We’ve made our Remote Work Playbook detailing our efforts available here.
7. Do you think these circumstances will change the way customer service (or tech startups in general) work in the close future?
I believe this crisis is making businesses more aware of not only the possibility of working remotely, but also the necessity to do it well. Tech has created a lot of opportunities for us to do just about anything from the comfort of our home. The next step is to make sure that processes don’t suffer as a result. Dixa, for example, not only helps customer service teams simply handle interactions across channels. It also makes knowledge sharing and delegating tasks easy in a situation where team members are not in the same room.
8. What do you predict for your industry in the next 5-10 years?
Customer experience will continue to be critical to businesses’ overall success and the brands that can establish “customer friendships” will thrive. Retaining customers and turning them into loyal brand advocates is the best way to ensure long term success, especially as competition continues to grow across industries and the likes of Amazon always being able to offer lower prices than most. The personal relationship and trust built between brands and customers is the great differentiator. The tech companies that build the tools supporting hyper-personalized experiences at scale will also reap the benefits.
9. Finally, do you have any advice for founders currently fighting the good fight in Europe?
A company is only as good as it’s people. Invest in building a strong company culture, it will have a tremendous impact on your success and be a guiding force when your organization is faced with adversity. In Dixa we’ve put a lot of effort into creating an inclusive and transparent environment, which we have relied on more heavily in these past weeks with everyone isolated at home. Invest now in a few necessary areas and make sure your capital and cost foundation can sustain a crisis that could take months. These are important tactics to ensure your company comes out stronger on the other side of this crisis, both culturally, financially, as a brand and product. And of course, make sure you use cloud-based tools that can support big changes to how you work.