One of things I value most about being a Talkdesk founder is mentoring other entrepreneurs in their start-up journeys. I love sharing how well the company is doing; I tell them how proud I am of the confidence our investors have in Talkdesk. I could talk for days about the happy, grateful customer emails I receive—but I often pause before doing so. Why? Because the one constant in all the lessons I’ve learned over the years is that founding a company with a great product can be the easy part; getting customers to embrace your vision and willingly want to be part of your story, that’s the hard part. It’s the breaking point few leaders want to talk about, but one that is crucial to any company’s success.
I remember, in those early years, sitting across the table from a contact center manager, giving her a hundred reasons why she needed to use Talkdesk. I couldn’t get that meeting out of my mind for days. I kept thinking about what I could have said or done better. The answer, however, was simple. I had talked a lot during that meeting; I did very little listening.
When I heard Talkdesk earned a spot as a Leader in The Forrester Wave™: CCaaS Providers, Q3 2020, my first reaction was one of gratitude and pride. We are a leader not only because we have a great product; we are a leader because 1,800 companies of all sizes, from all regions wanted to help write the Talkdesk story—one that will undoubtedly be a legacy.
Listening to customers is about connecting with them. It means understanding what is important to them, in own words. It’s about paying close attention to their needs and inviting them to be actively engaged in the relationship between your companies. One of the things we (now) do very well at Talkdesk is listening to our customers, at every stage. Every time I meet with a customer and listen to their ambitions, successes and challenges, I walk away having learned something new. We take this knowledge back into our innovation teams, and we use it. Talkdesk CX Cloud™ is, at its core, a platform built for and by our customers. This is what it means to listen.
When I think back on those first years as a new founder and CEO, there was a tremendous amount of learning for us all, and I don’t regret any of it. Even the times we failed helped us create the company we are today. Our willingness to listen to our customers and help them transform their businesses has become one of Talkdesk’s greatest differentiators.
In 2011, I didn’t set out to create a contact center solution that scales with a broad range of capabilities and innovative support services. I listened to company after company talk about their desires to deliver a better customer experience in a profound way. And now, a few short years and thousands of conversations later, we are doing just that—together.
So, what advice do I give to others who set out to create something new, to change the world? I tell them, “If you’re going to succeed you must listen to, learn from, and go above and beyond for your customers, especially those early adopters.” Be customer obsessed.