The Cactus Chat returns with special guest WebToq CEO and founder Jason Junge. Listen to the story of a veteran of the software world and how he bases his decisions on customer needs.
Eric: All right, welcome to the show. Welcome back, we had a little break for the holidays. And so we’re excited to be back for 2023. And today I’ve got a special guest with me today, sitting across from me is Jason Junge, who is the CEO of Web Toq. And you’ve got a really interesting background. So I’m excited to have you here. Because you’re a graduate of MIT. You even like your professional background, you were at one point director of financial strategy at Microsoft. And you actually have a patent for the consultative e meeting platform concept that you got in 2018. And you’re also author of a book, which I didn’t know until I saw your bio, why freedom week, you could actually find it on bookstores online. But thank you for being here. It’s super pleasure to have you here today.
Jason: Yeah, thanks, Eric. It’s a pleasure to be here. I’m excited
Eric: we talked about one part of your software, you know, we’re getting the people in, and now you want to have those deeper conversations with them. And you know, you’re talking about your software, how it helps facilitate that, that unique experience. that, you normally, think COVID That was one thing that really showed us how important those face to face interactions were, once they were taken away from us, like we need those back. And that’s not always possible, or it could be like you’re working with a company like me, and our staff are all the way on the other side of the world. So how does your software help help make that experience more meaningful than just just a transactional line?
Jason: Yeah, so in order to make the transaction more meaningful, and actually more experiential, so we went from the ground up trying to mimic a face to face conversation is basically what we did. And so, you know, there’s a, there’s a few aspects of that one, and a face to face conversation, it’s convenience, right? It’s like, you walk into the store, and there’s the agent, and you’re talking to them, you don’t have to make an appointment to talk to them in the future, right? You go into the store and say, All right, I’m gonna talk to you three hours now, come back. Yeah. You know, with the web conferences, that’s one of the big hindrances, it’s, what conferences are, are very useful and helpful. But at the end of the day, they’re not useful for for immediate sales, right? For convenience, they’re very inconvenient, we’ve had to make something that was extremely easy to use, right, where a grandpa could come in, and it’s, and they could use it. So you don’t have to download anything, you don’t have to go to any app, it’s, you know, you’re in and you’re in. And so our platform is designed that way, you know, if you’re initiating a session from a website, for example, and you starting a conversation through the chat or the Chatbot. Immediately, if you want to launch into the consultative e meeting, it opens up in that immediate window where the website is you don’t go to another tab, you don’t have to download anything, consultative meaning opens up from there, you can engage in in a video call, if you wanted to engage, you know, the phone, the web phone, or invite one engage in the video form, you could do that on the spot. And that, of course, brings body language into the picture and stuff like that, which makes the experience more memorable. Right? We may and, and better in branding terms, right? When you make something more memorable, you make it more brandable. So that’s, you know, that’s part of the expansion. And the other part is to be able to use tools on the fly and share them. Right. So that’s the other part of the web conferences that don’t useful is I can’t You can’t share marketing materials on the fly with you. First of all,
Eric: It’s clunky. Yeah, like, Oh, let me send you this email attachment. Did you get it? No. Okay, keep waiting. Yeah, something like that, right?
Jason: That’s exactly right. If I, if I want you to sign something, I have to email it to your fax it to you. And then if I want to show you something, I have to go into my computer to look it up, choose it, and then share it on my screen. So it’s very clunky. And it makes for a sale it makes for a non fluid sales process. So what we did is, our platform is all prefilled. So our clients, they pre fill all their marketing materials in the platform. So it’s a one click, you know, you know, everything’s categorized and filterable. So if you need a certain video on the go to Video section, and you can go to different categories, or filter and find it and boom, and you and you pop up the video and you’re sharing it. If you want to do a questionnaire, you know, like a qualifying question, or who are you? How big is your company? How many people you have stuff like that? Yeah. Then again, it’s in a certain area, you pop it up, and it pops up on the visitor’s screen, but they’re able to answer it. And you get those answers immediately and they pop into your CRM immediately. Right? So again, it’s I’m not pulling it up on my screen so you can see it. Yeah, I’m pulling it up on your screen so you can answer it. And that’s true of contracts. Like I can find a contract or an agreement, pop it up on your screen so you can sign it. And then I get a copy. You can copy on the spot, and I don’t have to fax it or email it. Yeah, it’s true. Whether it’s quotes, you know, I can put a custom quote together, share it with you, and we can whiteboard it, right? So you can draw on it, you can, you know, take terms off, and I can change the price and exactly, exactly like I would be doing on face to face. So, and then, you know, all of our tools are like that, you know, it gets whiteboarding file sharing website, sharing all those things. The whole point is to make it as convenient and as powerful as possible to make the sale productive, or the customer service, effective customer service experience. And at the same time, leave the visitor with a brandable experience. It’s like, you know, oh, my gosh, that was, that was easy. That was convenient. That was fast. Everything that I wanted, you know, and it was quick, right? I didn’t, we didn’t have to worry again, about going off channel to do other things. Take a call and throw a call go effects. We didn’t have to do any of those things. And so in for the agent, it’s so easy to train them on it because it’s you trained them once and done. You don’t have to then train them on how do I use this with Facebook? How do I use this WhatsApp what? It’s, it’s all seamless, right? Yeah, those sessions come in, whether it’s Facebook or WhatsApp, or your website, wherever it’s all seems to comes in one stack. And then I use the same platform, the same agent platform, whether it’s one or the other, to sell or to or to service.
Eric: Cool. Yeah, you’re speaking a lot of my language area, you know, I think there’s anyone listening, that’s a sales professional, I think you hit some of those challenges right on the head with your software, where you’re like, I’m on Zoom, I’ve got to get them a contract, I gotta get them to sign it. And I think if you’ve ever sold anything, you know, like in a b2b space, you dealt with those challenges. And yeah, it sounds like you’re like, Oh, here’s the problems you have, we’ll fix that with this software. It’s pretty cool to see. And now I’ve gotten to know you a little bit over the last couple of years. And I happen to know that one thing we both have in common, we both have a spouse that is a business owner. And I really believe that, you know, that, like my wife helps make my business better in multiple ways. You know, for one, like she has a marketing agency, she’s got dozens of clients were one of her clients. So yeah, she has a big impact on my business that way, but how has having a business owner spouse helped help you out and give you a competitive edge that you wouldn’t have had? If it wasn’t for her being in the business?
Jason: Yeah, that’s, that’s a great question. And it’s invaluable. Having a spouse that’s also an entrepreneur, because, you know, she hits problems from a different angle. You know, both because you’re different person, but also because she’s female, I think, you know, she is very intuitive. And I tend to be more my head, and, and she helps me see things that otherwise, you know, I wouldn’t see again, because I, you know, too much in my head. And that is especially true when it comes to, you know, HR issues. So, one of the biggest aspects of any business as long as you have employees is going to be HR, it’s going to be hiring, motivating, managing firing employees, you know, always gonna be an enormous part. And it’s because it’s the most, probably one of the most difficult because it involves human emotions, right? It involves life. You know, I mean, people get sick, people get hurt, people have bad days, they have good days that you know, and it’s in, you’re gonna have to deal with that, as, as a manager, as an employee, as a entrepreneur, as a business owner, you’re going to have to deal with those things. And, you know, it’s not always obvious what, how we know what’s the right response? What’s the right way to deal with, it’s not always obvious, and you don’t get you don’t tend to get very well educated in that I can tell you from business school. I don’t do that. I don’t remember. I don’t remember, you know, learning. I remember about motivation, you know, dealing with incentive packages and compensation strategy, but, but the like, the life, you know, the day to day life aspects of it, you know, no one ever teaches you. And so, you got to learn that from the school of hard knocks. But you know, having, you know, my wife, being an entrepreneur, she’s gone through a lot of that. And she also again, it’s very instinctual. And so she tends to be a great guide and mentor when it comes to, you know, how do I think about this, how do I help this employee and at the same time, you know, deal with whatever they’re dealing with, and at same time also help the company? Yeah, it’s been invaluable.
Eric: Yeah, that’s awesome. Thanks for sharing. And that’s interesting to HR aspect of it because I, I’m fortunate enough that I have an HR amazing HR manager in our office, and they don’t envy the role that she has to play sometimes, you know, like last year with COVID happened like there are a lot of cuts we had to make
Eric: And that fell on that person’s responsibility to talk to people. Yeah. And anytime there’s crazy stuff happening. Especially like company our size 200 plus people is like, I feel like we could make a reality show off the scenarios these employees come up with sometimes. But yeah, so that’s awesome. You get your wife to bounce that off of Yeah, I feel like I’ve been able to, you know, help identify some different needs in the marketplace, too, that I think my, my outsourcing business would be able to help solve, because she’s seeing challenges. Like she’s like, Hey, my clients are having these issues and that issues. That could be something that call center could handle, right? You ever come across anything like that?
Eric: Especially like company our size 200 plus people is like, I feel like we could make a reality show off the scenarios these employees come up with sometimes. But yeah, so that’s awesome. You get your wife to bounce that off of
Eric: I feel like I’ve been able to, you know, help identify some different needs in the marketplace, too, that I think my, my outsourcing business would be able to help solve, because she’s seeing challenges. Like she’s like, Hey, my clients are having these issues and that issues. Hmmm that could be something that call center could handle, right? You ever come across anything like that?
Jason: Yeah. Oh, yeah. No, absolutely. You know, cuz she also, she’s in retail services. And so she always has great ideas for how we can help our clients because she, herself is a client. And so, yeah, she’s got a lot of just great ideas for us, because she sees those problems day after day. And, you know, when we try to always keep in touch contact with our clients as much as possible, but obviously having her there is of enormous benefit to us. Because we get that immediate feedback, right from from a very important client, whereas
Eric: it hurts sometimes, though, right? Really yeah. And she’s, she’s
not sugarcoating that one.
Jason: So it keeps us on ball. You know, keeps us on track for sure. Yeah, definitely. It’s been just a great boon for us.
Eric: Well, speaking of a competitive edge, you know, we’re talking about our spouses, you give it a competitive edge for a business, customer service, you know, we’re both in the customer service space. And you and I were just talking yesterday about how, how hard it is for businesses to get it right. And I feel like if you get it right, it’ll give you a huge competitive edge. In fact, businesses out there they’re, like, famous specifically for customer support or customer service. And, you know, I feel like an irrelevant, really recent example of one to show how difficult it is southwest airlines would be talking about in the case study the poster child of great customer service, but man, did they dropped the ball. This is last December 2022, during the storms. So just to show you how difficult it is to get it right. So talk to me about that. Why is it so tough for businesses to get this down?
Yeah, it is, it is very difficult for businesses to do customer service. Right. And the reason being is because it’s a multidisciplinary, multi department department function. And, you know, it’s incredible that you can see fortune 500 companies that have basically unlimited budgets, and they all get it right, wrong. I mean, you talked about Southwest, you know, airline industry, you know, the telecommunication industries, these industries are just famous for being hated for the customer service. And so, you know, why is it multidisciplinary? Why is it multi departmental? It’s because it cuts across the company entirely, right? Because to get customer service, right, you have to get the product team involved, they have to define what are the SLA is related to your product or service, what are the service level agreements, level of services that you’re going to provide in terms of returns, refunds, managing problems, and issues, all those things have to be defined upfront, then you’ve got to get HR involved, because you have to define what kind of customer service reps you’re looking for, what kind of skills and so HR has to be involved in that in hiring them and, and helping them train and and helping them you know, fire and manage and all those things. Operations has to be involved, because operations is the one that’s Manning you know, the call centers, or the stores or whatnot. And so they’re involved in the day to day, then you’ve got technology, which also has to be involved, because these service reps nowadays, you know, are equipped with just very complicated technologies. You know, it’s you’re talking about unified communications, you’re talking about omni channel, you’re talking about online tools, you’re talking about very sophisticated technologies that have to have very high levels of, you know, availability, right, and, and so, you know, the IT folks have to be involved from the ground up, because also what technology you use is going to influence how these, what kind of people you’re going to look for, and what how you’re going to train them, right. So they have to be involved from the beginning. And so all of these things then have to be involved from a strategic sense and from the marketing group. Why? Because these are especially if you’re a high touch business. They’re absolutely critical to branding. So you know, if you’re in real estate or if you’re, you know, in, in car dealerships or something that’s naturally a high touch industry, the customer service you provide is inherently part of your brand.
Eric: That is your brand.
Jason: It is your brand.
Jason: And so so the CEO, and the marketing team then has to be involved. So you’re talking about four or five different departments involved in this. And do you think that the, that they ever do it? not very frequently, where, you know, you have a strategy session that comes together and defines your customer service, and how it’s going to work, and then, you know, from a top down approach, then make sure that everyone’s on the same ball? When it comes to customer service? No, you know, it’s not very often that, that management really, and executive management takes that kind of approach. Usually, it’s just like, alright, you know, it’s an operational thing, let them define them, figure it out and let them do it. And, and relying on outsourcing has been a way has been a crutch for them. Because here you have people that are singularly focused and experts on the technology on the people on hiring on the day to day stuff, right and working with SLAs. So they’re experts on this stuff. And so they think that that’s enough to think that outsourcing into a call center is enough. And so they never take a step back and look at it again and get it from a branding point, from a strategic point, they never look at it from that point, outsourcing has been both a boon and a problem for these companies. Because on the one hand, it’s, it’s great to have professionals and experts that do this right, right? so that they take it off your table. So you can focus on what’s important, you know, your products and engineering and whatever it might be. But on the other hand, they’ve used it as a crutch. And so they don’t, they don’t do the upfront work in terms of defining what your customer service is, and how it fits within your brand and how it’s going to help create your brand. And then working within within all the departments to do that. So, yeah, it’s it’s difficult to do, not a lot of businesses do it. Right. But the ones that do, I mean, they just, you know, they just grow to the stars, you’re talking about Starbucks, you know, I mean, it’s, their growth has been phenomenal. And it was on the back of the customer service. Southwest, I mean, they’re a giant killer. And the beginning it was because of their customer service, right. I mean, it was a humongous part of it. Just endless number of companies that just simply, you know, their, their, what they provided was not that different, right? I mean, traveling from point A to Point B on an on an airplane.
Jason: There’s not a lot of difference, and Southwest kicked butt because of the customer service, right? So it can make all the difference in the world if you do it. Right.
Eric: Yeah. And you know, you bring up a good point, if you are selling things online, and you’re you’re doing these transactions online, you know, how is that experience with you different than any other person?
Eric: You’ve got to email them something, you got to send them something, they’ve got to look it over, sign it, like, the process is similar. It’s just how do you make your experience better than everyone else’s?
Eric: And, and you got to think about it too, you know, you mentioned how outsourcing you know, it could be great, it could be a bad thing, it depends on if you’re actually looking at your processes you’re looking at, you know, what you’re delivering to your customers. And I think back to our clients, and we’ve got the whole spectrum of clients, too, you got the ones, they get a setup, and then they’re like, Alright, we’re good, I’ll move on to other stuff. And they don’t, they don’t really think about it too much. And it’s really hard to even get them on the phone. And then you’ve got the other clients that they’re, I think, you know, maybe almost on the extreme other end, they’re like constantly checking in with our team and always talking to them. And, but they’re, they have a really big impact on that customer experience, and what’s happening, what those conversations are happening on the phone, or email or whatever the the channel is. So
it really comes down to the business because you can outsource and you could do neither. I think somewhere in the middle is a good range, you know, where you’re not checking with him all the time. But I know that he like the clients that work with our team more closely where they’re, they’re communicating with them regularly. They know who the agents are, they have quarterly meetings and strategy, these are the things we’re going to work on, all related back to making that customer experience better. And those numbers improve, we see that you know, and they put that effort. Okay, we got that done this quarter. What can we tackle next quarter. So that’s the good clients. And those are the ones where, since we’ve been around eight years, maybe you guys get to see this too. You actually see their growth over time. Because they’re like, they’re, they’re doing the right thing. The customers are happy they’re growing. And I guess in your case, are probably buying more licenses for us. But they’re bringing on more agents, because now they have more customers.
Jason: Right. yeah, and you know, referrals, of course, you know, once they’re once they’re in and they they’re utilizing the tools in a way that makes a difference to the company. They’re just thrilled. And you know, they can’t stop talking about it. So yeah, referrals is a big part of it. For sure.
Eric: Yep. Referrals are huge. And yeah, I mean, if you’re a good business, then that’s how you grow. I mean, it goes back again to the customer service.
Eric: you give someone a great experience, and then they’re gonna go tell other people. So
Jason: yeah, it’s amazing, though, right? Because business always begins and ends with the customer, right? It’s there, the reason you exist. And yet how many businesses forget about that. It’s like, they wind up treating the customer as kind of a side thing. It’s like, it’s a business. It’s all about the customers. And then from there, right? From the customers, then it becomes about the employees, and then it becomes about the corporation, and then it becomes about acid strategy and all those things. But it must always start with a customer start and end with a customer. But it seems like a lot of businesses kind of forget that, you know, they get, they get so large uhm and so complicated, that it’s that they start losing sight of that fact.
Eric: Yeah. And it gives an opportunity for someone else to come in and come up with something better. So
Eric: Cool. Well, I think this was a great discussion. I super appreciate it. I think it was long enough. We’ll probably split this into two episodes. So we’ll have a part one and part two. But it was great speaking with you today, thanks for sharing your experience and, and your unique perspective in the customer service space with with me and all the listeners. So thank you for your time.
Jason: Appreciate. Thanks, Eric.
Eric: Yeah. And so if someone listening, they are interested in the software like yours. They wanted to learn more. How can they where do they go to find out more about your software or to get in touch with you?
Jason: Yeah, the best way is go online with our website, webtoq.com. w-e-b-t-o-q.com. Of course, we use Web Toq to service our, our visitors and our customers. And so when you’re on there, you’ll find someone online there to help you out. So yeah, that’s I’d probably recommend that the easiest way to do it.
Eric: All right, cool. We’ll get it up on the screen. So you can make sure you don’t miss it and we’ll put some links in the show notes there. So well, thank you guys all for listening to the contact center cactus chat. And we will be back with some more episodes, just starting out the year 2023 and got a lot of exciting people that we’re going to be interviewing this year so stay tuned and keep listening. And yeah, catch you on the next episode.