Human insight drives change, and organizations unknowingly sit on a wealth of customer data that can be the key to improving business performance. Today’s businesses don’t utilize customer data to its full advantage for many reasons, including lack of awareness, poor visibility, interdepartmental tensions and a tendency to do things the way they’ve always been done.
For this reason, Jeff Gallino, CTO of CallMiner, founded CallMiner in 2002 on the belief that understanding customers is the key to business success. We spoke to Jeff about harnessing the power of data to improve business, as well as his tips for how technology companies can continue to innovate over time.
How can organizations leverage customer data to improve business overall?
When I founded CallMiner in 2002, the company’s mission was based on helping contact centers become more effective in handling customer concerns and providing a better customer experience. We quickly realized that these same conversations in the contact center, which have since evolved to also include text-based conversations through online chat services, email, SMS and more, could unlock value throughout the enterprise. This includes insights into how to improve sales, better target marketing messages and pricing, create higher value products, deliver class-leading customer service and drive employee engagement, and drive bottom line results. We help organizations connect the dots between these deep customer insights, action and better business decisions.
What advice do you have for entrepreneurs looking to translate an initial idea into a successful business?
After launching CallMiner, I spoke with an investor about other business ideas. What he told me surprised me — on average, he sees about six new, good business ideas each day. The problem is executing them.
I learned it’s less about the idea, and more about the execution. I carry a notebook where I write down any business ideas that come to mind. Then, once every few months, I go back and grade my ideas. If I keep returning to an idea that intrigues me, then I run it by my network to see if they have any feedback on the concept and/or whether they think it would be plausible to roll out.
Additionally, don’t waste too much time worrying if your idea has been taken. A market built on a single product does not exist. Instead, focus on your product, competitive pricing, and industry positioning. When starting CallMiner, I conducted months of research and couldn’t find someone else who did what we did. But two months after founding the company, we had two competitors — a sign of a good idea.
How do you keep CallMiner at the forefront of innovation?
Technology moves fast, but customer demands and expectations move even faster. We’ve always placed a strong focus on R&D to not only understand emerging technology advancements, like artificial intelligence, but to effectively bring software updates and new solutions to market. This has ensured that we continually meet customers’ needs and strengthen our offerings to be the best in the market.
Like our technology, as a company, we’re always evolving and innovating. We recently unveiled a new brand identity that reflects who we have become and who we aspire to be. To me, it’s a natural progression of who we are as a company. We believe organizations should be using the insights captured in the contact center to inform and benefit the entire organization. For example, when customers are talking about a company’s product during a conversation with a customer service agent, those insights can be delivered to product management to drive product update and roadmap decisions. We are the leader in conversation analytics, and are focused on delivering business performance improvement to our customers through actionable insights and intelligence.