Recently, we spoke with Mads Fosselius, CEO and Co-founder of Nordic customer experience startup, Dixa, which helps brands grow better, more conversational customer service. Here is what he said about it.
Tell us about you, your career, and how you founded Dixa.
Mads Fosselius: I founded Dixa in 2015 with three friends and a very ambitious idea. We had a vision of a customer experience platform that was faster and more efficient than anything else on the market. For us, Dixa had to have a strong conversational core and perform equally well across all channels.
After bootstrapping the company until the summer of 2017, we began to look for investors, and by the time we came out of “stealth mode,” we had an innovative product that some great brands had adopted.
Building a platform in an industry with $100m to $3tn players, and disrupting three industries in the process, requires serious ambition and commitment. But for us, it was a no-brainer. We had intimate knowledge of the customer experience (CX) market after starting our careers in call centers and gaining first-hand experience of the issues that affected the industry. Armed with this deep understanding, we took advantage of a relatively unknown gap in the market to help brands grow and maintain meaningful customer relationships.
How does Dixa innovate?
Mads Fosselius: Brands are starting to recognize that existing ticket-based solutions to customer service are often broken, unable to provide a truly engaging and personalized experience suited to the modern consumer. This a major problem as a negative experience will cause customers to turn to competitors – especially in an increasingly crowded digital marketplace.
Our platform is redefining the customer journey as it is built upon a strong combination of stellar customer experiences and agent experiences, driven by the huge conversational trend that’s taking place across several verticals. It’s not uncommon, now, to hear the phrase “CX is the new form of marketing.” This is because innovative platforms such as Dixa enable brands to create personal customer friendships at scale, using smart routing algorithms, automated replies, enrichment data, and machine learning. Put simply, we deliver the highest form of customer service, enabling brands to change the trajectory of a customer journey.
What is your message to companies trying to adapt to changing consumer expectations over the last year?
Mads Fosselius: The ‘new normal’ is a hyper-competitive world of online brands in a time when retail has been significantly disrupted, and e-commerce has taken over. Even with the best product or service on offer, brands will not survive if they do not nail their customer experience. A recent study by inContact showed that 8 out of 10 consumers will switch brands as a result of just one negative customer service experience.
For me, a key strand to building an effective CX strategy that a lot of brands still (surprisingly) ignore is the agent experience (AX). Focusing on your CX without taking into consideration the support and tools you provide to your agents immediately puts you at a disadvantage. AX has proven to be a direct link to providing great customer service, so I would urge companies that haven’t already to see their AX as a valuable part of their overall CX strategy.
There are multiple ways brands can facilitate great AX, but it starts with empowering agents with the technology and tools they need to provide a top-notch customer experience. This includes using technology that can provide specific and relevant feedback that’s based on context and specific conversations, as well as clear process documentation and flexible guidelines that empower agents to prioritize customer outcomes over their own performance metrics. These are exactly the steps the Dixa platform allows customer-loving brands to realize and put into action.
What advice would you give to entrepreneurs in the software category?
Mads Fosselius: The best advice would be to start with ambition and a big market opportunity. From both talent and market growth perspective, the world has become much more global in just one year. This is a huge trend in software areas especially. So, from day one, think global.
Secondly, a platform approach is always beneficial. As a newcomer, you have to fit into an existing ecosystem, and this becomes much harder with a plug-in or ‘part solution.’ Platform play is built up around APIs and allows you to make friends rather than enemies. This is key to having a fast-growing, scalable company.
What can you tell us that is counterintuitive about your approach to scaling a startup?
Mads Fosselius: There are a lot of romantic growth stories. When I speak to other entrepreneurs, I often ask them to imagine a picturesque lake. On the surface, the water is calm, but underneath it is often chaotic and turbulent.
This is the true story of all startups and scale-ups moving at a fast enough pace to be successful. I also think investing too heavily in the product before you have a market fit is an easy pitfall. Nail your sales and marketing models first, even if this means packing a bag, getting in your car, and talking directly to customers – although these days, that might mean getting your Zoom up and running! Either way, any successful company starts by finding the ideal product-market fit and customer profiles.
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