Could you tell us about your role and the team/technology you handle at ComplianceLine?
I’m Co-CEO and Chief Development Officer, where my brother is the other Co-CEO. That generally means that we’re deployed at any time on the things that serve our team best, so we all can serve our clients. I have generally focused on a rolling set of projects to upgrade our IT environment, implement new data systems, and adopt new technology in our Growth (Marketing, Sales Development, Sales, and Account Management) division as well as act as the Sales Manager. We have historically run on Salesforce with minimal integration but have been exploring a suite of tools for Sales Automation, Website Integration, Ads Management, and Content Management over the past year. We’re in the middle of an ERP implementation that has high hopes but is still WIP.
Which Marketing and Sales Automation tools and technologies do you currently use at ComplianceLine?
How would you describe today’s climate of CX? And how do you approach customer success at your company?
Today’s customer success climate is marked by an increase in services available on the market, as well as improving attention and discussion among companies who believe in its power. At ComplianceLine we approach customer success by ingraining it as part of our full company culture, regardless of position.
We represent this by putting our executives at the bottom and our customers at the top of our organizational chart. We frequently reinforce that our ability to delight our customers is what pays the bills and provides an opportunity to our employees. More structurally, we invest time, effort and budget into making sure the people who can impact customer success have the resources, training, and authority to continuously improve all the ways we can serve our customers.
What are some steps founders can take to implement real-time CX that have an immediate ROI?
If you’re looking for an immediate and identifiable ROI then you should probably look at friction points in customer use of your system (or interaction with support) that can drive additional sales. For example, you may be familiar with an app you use kicking off a popup when you try to do something that encourages you to upgrade to a premium subscription. You can mimic this by developing your digital assets and automatically tracking user behavior, which is something to consider working toward. But given the time and capital investment to accomplish that, you should look at how you can run some simple reports from your database and have an Account Manager/Support person reach out to a customer to highlight some features that it seems they could benefit from.
It’s worth noting the real magic in customer success is a longer-term effort (so start now!) building your relationship and value with a customer. That is going to take some time to show up in a measured ROI as it’s likely to show up in longer relationships and customer-driven inquiries into features and capabilities you’ve told them about (based on what will drive them to succeed). Getting your team to start operating more around these principles should also include auditing or surveying your customer base for sticking points that would currently or soon drive them to a competitor (or to take/build it in-house). As you build the longer-term case, a single meaningful customer that you avoid churning should be all the return your executive needs to keep your initiatives going.
Can you identify some potential roadblocks that executives should expect when re-structuring their CX strategy?
The first roadblock you should look out for is the challenge of building the business case and the follow on the challenge of tracking impact. Both are essential for every good business decision, so you have to realize the long-term nature and cross-functional demands of real-time customer success make it difficult to nail all these things down in hard numbers. Measure what you can and estimate other impacts until you can build measurable metrics.
Additionally, the tech adoption curve is always challenging. From scoping a relatively new technology to integrating feedback across disjointed workflows, you’ll be well advised to set project evaluation milestones and start with the least-disruptive and highest-impact opportunities where possible. Finally, you need to be prepared for the hard answers that might come from your new treasure trove of information.
Can you describe a moment in your own company’s CX journey that you’re most proud of?
ComplianceLine had a multi-state long-term care provider with dozens of locations and hundreds of users go through our onboarding process. Even though we all did our best to scope out the setup, we made sure to check back a month or two into post-launch to make sure things were going smoothly. This thoughtful and caring approach ended up leading to some key insights on how they could manage and route their work among users more efficiently.
A key point of our offering is the way we triage and direct information from our system so teams can spend less time administrating and more time keeping their people safe. We were able to discover some settings and automation that would get information to the right people faster, and save not only hours per week but also headache and worry (from misaddressed and un-worked whistleblower issues) for the leadership team. In addition to the client success we drove, it also cemented our relationship with our client and our position as an adviser and guide in our client’s journey.
How does collaboration play a role in real-time CX? How have you seen a non-siloed approach benefit your customers the most?
Everyone needs to realize that your company is not a set of departments to your customers. From their perspective, they have a contract with the whole company and you are all a single contributor to their workday and their mission. Customer success is powerful in unifying departments around this common goal, driven by near real-time data from what the customer needs.
We’ve seen our technology team suggest new features once they got in the same room to discuss the client challenge with operations. We’ve also seen our Sales and Account Management teams collaborate with operations support and client success (a chronic breakdown for many companies). They worked to build better processes so handoffs are clearer, accountability is set for each milestone and all activity around new client onboarding is focused on reliable and delightful client experience.
Where do you see the real-time CX movement going as we move into 2020?
As we move into the next year we will continue to see exciting and innovative companies offering integrated and platform solutions to move the ball forward on real-time client success. You’ll hear plenty of buzz words like Machine Learning and Big Data, both justifiably and a flimsy picture for an oversold promise. Innovators and early adopters will continue to leverage new cutting-edge technologies. Companies who have seen this ROI in front-line departments will integrate the concept deeper into other departments.
Excitingly, we will begin to see more of the crucial early majority both take on a more active culture around customer success as well as begin to adopt more proven technology solutions at scale. Regardless of where you are on that curve, and regardless of your seniority as a leader at your company, you can get the conversation started today and find ways to collaborate and put quick wins on the board in the next quarter. Just remember, this is not a gimmick to get easy revenue, but rather shift in culture that rightly helps you focus on the difficult things your whole team needs to do to make your customers success your key priority faster and in real-time.
How do you prepare for an AI-centric world as a Marketing Leader?
We’re early in our preparation for this massive phase shift, but making quick progress. Near term goals are around data tracking and integration, which we view as a baseline for allowing more in-depth handshakes with Machine Learning solutions. We’re all aware of how the number of campaigns and amount of coordination has ballooned for Marketing leaders in recent years, and believe that as this game becomes increasingly able to leverage information and attention for progress the teams that stay nimble, learn fast, and build a culture around investing to optimize the customer experience will win and win faster.
As a middle-market player focused on service and compliance excellence (in the face of much larger companies focused on margins and profits for their PE owners) we’re especially excited for the ability of AI to level the playing field for dynamic companies like ours!
How do you inspire your people to work with technology?
How do you inspire your people to work with technology? While some people love the new tool and tinkering, the people who need to be inspired just need to see the connection to something that personally motivates them. On a broad scale, we make decisions via Fair Process so everyone feels included.
Then we roll out with formal training and follow up with simple goals to get people moving. Finally, I try to share across the team how successful leveraging of our tech stack leads to success, work peace, and fulfillment of our mission to make the world a safer workplace. At the end of the day, nothing substitutes personal coaching and that ‘last mile’ is usually done that way to help people get over what’s holding them back.
One word that best describes how you work.
Which superhero do you profoundly relate to?
One Punch Man. He’s drastically normal with big dreams and an unsuspecting but formidable force!
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
Be your own man.
Tag the one person in the industry whose answers to these questions you would love to read
Thank you, Gio! That was fun and hope to see you back on MarTech Series soon.
As Co-CEO and Chief Development Officer of ComplianceLine he lives his passion for seeing people thrive in the workplace by developing solutions that enable compliance professionals to be more effective in their jobs, so they can successfully protect their teams and meaningfully serve their missions.
Giovanni has a B.S. in Finance and Accounting from Indiana University and an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.
Established for the express purpose of providing organizations with an independent, cost-effective alternative to the required reporting of compliance issues in the work environment, the mission of ComplianceLine has become; to be the standard “third party hotline” in the industry. Our services are praised by our clients, revered by our competitors, and leave our customers (the caller) feeling that they have been treated courteously, professionally, and with respect.
Utilizing the combined 35 plus years of experience, ComplianceLines staff offers an affordable alternative to the development of an internal reporting process. In addition to fulfilling the Federal government’s guidelines, ComplianceLine™ provides an efficient and independent means of identifying and resolving employees’ concerns regarding potential misconduct.
The MTS Martech Interview Series is a fun Q&A style chat which we really enjoy doing with martech leaders. With inspiration from Lifehacker’s How I work interviews, the MarTech Series Interviews follows a two part format On Marketing Technology, and This Is How I Work. The format was chosen because when we decided to start an interview series with the biggest and brightest minds in martech – we wanted to get insight into two areas … one – their ideas on marketing tech and two – insights into the philosophy and methods that make these leaders tick.