SalesTechStar Interview with Dan Michaeli, Co-founder and CEO at Glia
Now is the time to not only revisit customer experience initiatives but to also rethink how customer support needs to be planned to create a more wholesome digital journey, Dan Michaeli, Co-founder and CEO at Glia weighs in with a few thoughts:
Hi Dan, welcome to SalesTechStar! Tell us about your journey through the years…the story behind Glia.
Glia was founded in 2012 by myself, Justin DiPietro and Carlos Paniagua. At the time, myself and Justin were growth consultants for a Fortune 50 retailer. We identified that their client’s main competitive advantage was its superior in-person customer service. We wondered, “How can we replicate that same, winning experience online?”. At the time, digital was way behind the in-person customer experience. And so Glia was born.
We set out to build a unified Digital Customer Service platform from the ground up, with funding from supportive, tech-savvy investors. The result is a patented, visionary approach to Digital Customer Service that has earned many industry awards and praise from customers and analysts alike.
Can you share a few thoughts on the changing digital customer service landscape: how are changing user behaviors influencing how companies plan their customer service strategies?
Recent macro events have validated Glia’s strategic direction. The pandemic emphasized what the Glia team already knew: the future of banking is digital, and institutions must adapt. Customers are moving more of their banking into digital channels and in new ways, such as opening accounts or applying for loans. As a result, more institutions than ever before are embracing Digital Customer Service to help with these transitions and provide guidance for more sophisticated banking needs. Three-year digital transformation roadmaps are now becoming three-quarter initiatives.
Can you talk about the biggest innovations in customer service today: a few game changing technologies that are helping companies streamline this area better?
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is helping financial institutions drive efficiencies, reduce costs and facilitate stronger customer experiences. Glia is leveraging this technology to enable institutions to deploy multiple specialized chatbots to efficiently serve customers and help solve their problems. These bots have the ability to seamlessly transfer to a live agent if needed, providing the background information about the customer and the issue at hand so that no duplication is required. Glia’s chatbots can also oversee customer interactions and train agents by providing suggested responses to them during their engagements, something no other fintech company offers. On the flip side, agents can accept or decline the suggested prompts from the bots, ultimately creating more data and training the bots, improving accuracy and reliability of their responses.
Can you share a few thoughts on the biggest flaws you’ve seen teams make when trying to provide online users with a seamless customer service and support process and a few tips to overcome these common challenges?
Today’s customers want to be met where they are and helped through whichever channel they prefer. While some institutions offer piecemeal customer service solutions, such as one-off live chat and CoBrowsing capabilities, a platform approach offers a broader range of options and is much more effective. Customers expect continuity and choice for their communications options, whether that’s voice, video, chat or being guided through CoBrowsing.
How according to you can marketing and sales work more closely to deliver better customer service today? Some alignment tips that can help?
The most successful organizations believe that customer service is everyone’s job, not just those in the call center. We believe this internally at Glia, whether you’re in marketing, business development, sales, customer success and even our engineering, people and finance teams, we internally focus on the success of our customers regardless of job function. What we’ve seen with our customers is that those organizations that similarly share customer success as a core value are more successful at achieving the goals they have set across customer satisfaction.
Can you talk about some of your most successful sales and marketing outcomes in 2020 at Glia: we know it has been a year of growth: a few learnings to share?
Last year in the midst of the pandemic, companies have reimagined how they support customers in a digital world, moving us to an era where there is a new model to service customers. With businesses temporarily closing branches, customers still require help as they leverage digital channels; now there’s an even bigger need for customer service and support as many consumers who have never leveraged digital channels are doing so now.
Answering that call can be a significant challenge for organizations, especially for companies without a continuity plan for unexpectedly distributed support staff and disruptions to contact center operations.
Fortunately, Glia’s platform is designed to facilitate location-independent, multichannel communications between enterprises and their consumers (including chat, phone, online voice and video). Many of our banking, insurance and credit union customers are happy to find that they can quickly configure Glia to provide business continuity for displaced service workers and virtual contact center staff to keep the lines of communication open when the unthinkable happens.
All in all, this helped accelerate what was already occurring in Digital Customer Service, helping us grow even faster than we had expected in 2020.
Dan Michaeli is CEO and one of three co-founders that launched Glia in 2012 to reinvent how businesses support their customers in a digital world. Since then, Dan has remained heavily involved in strategy, technology roadmap and overall execution in addition to leading the business since its inception.
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