SalesTechStar Interview with Justin Long, Executive Vice President of Operations at Paycom

Justin Long, Executive Vice President of Operations at Paycom highlights the importance of building better customer service frameworks to drive business growth:


Welcome to this SalesTechStar chat Justin, tell us about yourself and more about your role at Paycom …

I’m executive vice president of operations at Paycom. Paycom provides user-friendly HR and payroll technology allowing employees to do their own payroll. My teams are passionate about helping our clients succeed and getting the most out of our technology, whether they’re just now coming online with our technology or have been with us for years.

I’ve also served in roles as director of implementation and director of implementation strategy. Currently, my team is focused on several projects to further strengthen customer service. One program has already led to an increase in customer satisfaction scores and improved our own employee retention. We know those two scores are related.

Prior to Paycom, I served in leadership roles in IT, risk and commodity trading at a couple of large corporations. That diverse background helps me tremendously today because all those roles challenged me in different ways.

Other than that, I find hiking and working out helps clear my mind and think through problem solving.

What about today’s state of B2B ops and sales inspires you most?

Technology plays a larger role than ever in business, so by positioning our clients for success — whether through sales or supporting them afterward — we are impacting each one like never before. Today’s world of operations means you get to serve as a business adviser for your clients. We do that by ensuring we understand everything about their business so we know what solutions they need before they can even identify their challenges.

A career in client services allows you to push industries forward with powerful, intuitive software. You learn to speak the language of business, a valuable and transferrable skill.

I’m also inspired by the power that we have to help people.

Here’s what I mean: According to polling that Morning Consult prepared on our behalf, payroll errors cause nearly 20% of American adults to take negative financial actions, including missing rent and the inability to purchase fuel and groceries. Where we come in is through Beti, which allows employees to find and fix errors before payroll submission — right in the Paycom app. It’s inspiring to work with teams that can literally change people’s lives for the better.

For B2B and other brands, the need for improved customer care and client services is more integral now than before. What ways are you seeing this trend shift for B2B brands?

In the past, brands could get away with having elite customer service and a mediocre product or a mix of that. That’s no longer the case. With inflation, companies must show a return on their product, so as a provider, you have to be firing on all cylinders: a terrific partner, elite customer service and an untouchable product all come to mind.

Having said that, we really don’t measure ourselves as a B2B brand. We compare ourselves to the best of the best, regardless of category.

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How do you feel customer care and client services teams can work better to impact company growth and bottom lines?

Whenever teams work together, they need to understand the common language they use and the goals they are trying to achieve. Ideally, those should be corporate goals and KPIs of your client. From there, work becomes much clearer and conversations crisper. Clear expectations, accountability and product and service expertise will guide the relationship. Finally, teams need to measure customer experience, effectiveness and KPIs constantly together.

When they think they are done, measure again. It’s this tuning that keeps teams sharp and in touch with the ever-changing client expectations and experience. The outcomes are strong client retention and improved brand-changing net promoter and customer satisfaction scores.

Can you share a few thoughts on some of the best customer care and client service processes you’ve seen with leading brands globally?

We all want to be valued, first and foremost. Disney, Apple, Nordstrom, Starbucks and Rolex all elicit a response from us, as consumers, for their customer service and what they represent from product to service.

These brands have great products and go above and beyond to make the first impression a memorable one. These brands have kept the pulse of changing customer expectations and they combine quality products and services to add value to our lives.

Five best practices that you feel any B2B customer facing team needs to follow to ensure above par customer services?

Hold your partner accountable. If something has gone off track, do not wait until the next scheduled call to discuss it. Your partner owes you that and will appreciate the transparency.

Clearly establish your goals. It’s one thing to discuss the goals in a meeting, but it’s even better to have them agreed upon in writing so you can all work toward them in real time.

Ensure they understand your business. At Paycom, we pride ourselves on being leaders at HR and payroll technology, but we also speak the language that our clients speak. That helps us problem-solve and work closely with our internal departments.

Give them permission to experiment when it’s practical. If your vendor is launching a pilot, see if your organization could benefit from being a part of it. Some of the most successful companies become successful — and stay that way — because they understand how change can keep them ahead of the competition.

Allow authentic feedback. Just like in any strong personal relationship, two-way feedback is needed for a long-term successful business relationship. Any good partnership allows for tough conversations. Done correctly, customer service should greatly benefit from tough love.

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For nearly 25 years, Paycom has simplified businesses and the lives of their employees through easy-to-use HR and payroll technology to empower transparency and direct access to data. And thanks to our industry-first solution, Beti®, those employees now do their own payroll and are guided to find and fix costly errors before payroll submission. From onboarding and benefits enrollment to talent management and more, our software streamlines processes, drives efficiencies and gives employees power over their own HR information, all in a single app. Named one of the world’s Fastest-Growing Companies by Fortune, World’s Most Innovative Companies by Fast Company and best employers in the U.S. by Top Workplaces, Paycom leads the digital transformation in the American workplace.

Justin Long, Paycom’s executive vice president of operations, leads a large and diverse team of implementation, client services, tax and operations professionals at one of America’s fastest-growing technology companies. Long has also served as Paycom’s director of implementation, in which he used innovative practices to ensure new clients experienced a smooth transition to Paycom’s industry-leading technology. He has over 17 additional years of experience working at two multibillion-dollar brands, where he led IT business systems, risk management and commodity trading. Long has a bachelor’s degree in management information systems from the University of Oklahoma and an MBA from the University of Tulsa.

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