First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Srii Srinivasan: Thank you for this opportunity to discuss my journey and company. I appreciate your question. My family and I are staying safe and healthy during these uncertain times. We take social distancing and other prevention methods seriously to ensure our safety and that of others. We stay connected (thanks, modern technology!), and in many ways, we’re more in touch now than we were pre-COVID—one great side effect of the efforts to contain the pandemic. We recognize that others have experienced COVID-related losses and challenges. So we are very fortunate and help each other stay sane and calm during these times of isolation and anxiety. I hope you and your family are also safe and healthy.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded Chargeback Gurus.
Srii Srinivasan: I started my entrepreneur journey very early on in my career. My background is in Computer Science, and my initial plan was to get a Ph.D. in that field. I took on a teaching opportunity for a few years and met my mentor, who helped me start my first business, a software development firm. I learned a lot about entrepreneurship during those early years.
My partner and I have been entrepreneurs for more than seventeen years and have run multiple successful business ventures. One of the first ventures we started was an international customer service/sales call center. We faced our first chargebacks when a business client who had been using our services filed chargebacks for all their charges. There was nobody to help us understand and navigate this deep, mysterious world of chargebacks, so I took the time to educate myself. We fought the chargebacks and won every single dispute.
With the knowledge we gained, we started helping our clients fight and win chargebacks. Eventually, our clients started relying on us to solve the payment challenges they were having, things like high decline rates, understanding payment processing rules, and controlling fraud.
We saw the tremendous need among all merchants for a service that would solve their chargeback and fraud pain points—that is what led us to start Chargeback Gurus in 2014. We were one of the first companies to come to market with a fully compliant solution. By choosing Chargeback Gurus, our clients get the utmost protection from chargebacks and fraud.
To this day, we are very passionate about educating both ourselves and merchants about the ever-changing payment regulations and compliance rules—that’s one of the main reasons our clients value our services.
The idea is that we want to mitigate chargebacks and fraud, and we want to give them the utmost protection from chargebacks and fraud. Being a merchant ourselves helps us empathize with our business clients and provide the best value in helping them fight chargebacks and fraud.
How does Chargeback Gurus innovate?
Srii Srinivasan: As a pioneer in the fintech field, we are in the business of constant innovation, disruption, and change. We take a very proactive approach in our business by always keeping ahead of the curve, especially during these unprecedented times. We continue to innovate by:
- Educating and empowering businesses with cutting-edge tools, data analytics, and services that truly help resolve their payments challenges
- Incorporating complex payments industry regulations and mandates in our services and thought leadership
- Helping entrepreneurs and corporations understand their buyers’ journey, identify vulnerabilities, increase customer satisfaction and drive repeat purchases through data analytics
- Hiring a truly diverse team of intelligent, hardworking, and smart Gurus and challenging them to deliver excellence
- Being an agile firm that can move fast and invest for the long term
- Scaling smart to accommodate our fast growth
- Following the 70/20/10 rule: Focus 70% of resources on improving existing technology, 20% on using existing competencies to drive growth, and 10% on exploring new competencies
- Focusing on collaboration and connection over competition
Innovation is not about pursuing the Holy Grail. It’s about creating and delivering the best value to your customers and stakeholders. As the payments landscape changes, we have introduced new solutions that help merchants understand their buyers’ journey while taking the pain out of chargeback and fraud management. We recently launched a new “Prevention-in-a-Box” tool that can prevent disputes before they happen—this drastically reduces chargebacks and fraud, and also provides on-demand analytics to help merchants track and understand chargeback root causes, loss recovery, ROI, the buyers’ journey, and much more.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Srii Srinivasan: I feel very grateful to say that our business has expanded during the pandemic due to the high demand for chargeback and fraud protection. As we experience fast growth, our challenge has been to sustain the growth by scaling our team, choosing the right platforms/tools, and improving our business processes.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Srii Srinivasan: Yes, like any entrepreneur, I’ve made many difficult decisions over the years and learned very valuable lessons. We continue to pivot and reposition ourselves every day, especially during COVID times. When you run a business, there is no failure—there is a lesson to be learned whether successful or not, but never a failure because you learn valuable lessons that can help you attain better success next time.
The biggest breakthrough was learning to take the time—however long it takes—to hire the right people to grow the business. We went through tough times with a few people who were not a good fit and learned a lot through the process. A business partner had a different vision/mindset than us, and I made the difficult decision to end the partnership. I am glad we went through that while we were growing. I know that we are stronger, wiser, and more resilient due to those experiences. These experiences have deepened my gratitude and conviction to do the right thing, especially during difficult times.
How do you deal with stress and anxiety, how do you project yourself and Chargeback Gurus in the future?
Srii Srinivasan: We are a highly collaborative, friendly, and interactive team. Providing clarity in everything we do – vision, communication, goals, data, decisions, and planning – is crucial to our success. We have a strong people focus – this culture helps us stay connected through the pandemic. Our leaders encourage our team to reach out for help and keep a “virtual” open door.
Mistakes are often a source of stress – we mitigate it by fostering a culture of learning from mistakes. We remind ourselves that everything is “figureoutable,” and we can get through tough times together. Of course, we couldn’t live without humor, laughter, celebration, and fun – our Fantastic Friday lunches are a high point of our week!
Personally, I’ve learned to be calm, respectful, and professional throughout the years. I make time for self-care, including meditation, exercise, dancing, reading, and being out in nature—they help me cope with stress. And of course, surrounding myself with loved ones (family, friends, and pets) has made all the difference during times of stress and anxiety.
About our company’s future, our growth trajectory continues to grow stronger every quarter, and we are projecting even more growth next year. Chargebacks, fraud, and payment challenges will continue to evolve, not just in the Americas but on every continent. We are well-positioned for continued worldwide growth as we acquire clients across many verticals. Since we are an essential service for any business that accepts credit/debit card payments, we have been approached by financial institutions and other business partners to serve their customer base. This has fueled our expansion, and it is very gratifying to know that we are providing a very useful service that helps businesses recover lost revenue with immediate ROI.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Srii Srinivasan: There are very few large-scale players in the chargeback industry. I can proudly say that we are trusted as a fintech pioneer by the Fortune 500 and major financial institutions worldwide.
Many newcomers in the chargeback management business come to the business with the sole purpose of disputing chargebacks. However, the real expertise lies in how well a chargeback company can solve the many payment challenges faced by businesses, not just fighting chargebacks. It comes with understanding the payments industry as well as the client’s specific problems and providing unique solutions to overcome these challenges.
The biggest opportunity for Chargeback Gurus is that chargebacks and fraud are a global problem, and most eCommerce businesses do not know how to fight chargebacks, nor do they have the proper tools to identify why chargebacks are happening or strategies to prevent them. With the right people, the right processes, and the right technology, we have been able to recover $1.5 billion in lost revenue for our clients and successfully cut their disputes by 50% with proactive prevention methods.
We’d love to hear what sets you apart from others, what you are most proud of or excited about. How did you get to where you are today business-wise. Was it easy? If not, how did you overcome the challenges?
Srii Srinivasan: Chargeback Gurus is a global company helping businesses fight, prevent, and win chargebacks to protect and recover their revenue. As trusted advisers to financial institutions and Fortune 500 companies, we are known for our expertise in the areas of risk management, chargeback and fraud prevention, and data analytics. We have won numerous awards and accolades, including a Stevie Award and ranking among the Inc 500 Fastest-Growing US Companies. Businesses find our white glove services highly attractive and beneficial since it takes little to no effort from their end to combat their chargeback and fraud challenges. We are merchant advocates and work for the best interests of our clients.
There has been a huge shift from brick-and-mortar transactions to the card-not-present (CNP) world, including eCommerce, mobile commerce, and phone orders. This is where we shine—we have successfully helped businesses prevent, fight, and win CNP chargebacks and fraud. And businesses rely on us to keep them up to date on the latest industry trends and mandates.
We do not just fight chargebacks—the real value comes when you are truly helping businesses prevent disputes and fraud from happening in the first place. Businesses can learn a great deal of information from their chargebacks, and our motto is, “prevent what you can and fight what you can’t.”
What are you most proud of or excited about?
Srii Srinivasan: I’m most proud of our team, clients, and partners who have been crucial to our successful (220%) growth, even during the pandemic. Growth comes with its challenges, and I’m grateful to be in a privileged position to have complete and total support from our team.
I’m excited about our continued growth and the acquisition of new Fortune 500 clients who have entrusted their chargeback protection to us. I’m also excited about our new and improved analytics tool that can prevent chargebacks proactively.
What do you want the world to know about you or your brand and story?
Srii Srinivasan: Businesses are projected to lose more than $30 billion to chargebacks and fraud in 2020. Fraud is inevitable for businesses that accept credit card payments, but there’s a lot you can do to protect and recover your revenue. Businesses don’t have to fight the battle alone—they need a partner who can stop these losses, especially at this crucial time when every dollar matters.
We have solved the payment challenges for thousands of businesses, and we will continue fighting the battle against fraud by empowering businesses worldwide.
Your final thoughts?
Srii Srinivasan: Few things will do as much to change your life and perspective than becoming an entrepreneur and running your own company. You face challenges you could never have seen coming and think on your feet to come up with ways to solve them. At its inception, a business is just an idea, and it’s entirely up to the entrepreneur to plan, design, and implement everything required to make that idea come to life.
Growing a business from seed to fruition is incredibly gratifying when you see all of the hard work, ingenuity, and experience that goes into it. It’s also so rewarding to create a positive workplace by hiring a team that’s talented, supportive, and driven by genuine care for the work they’re doing and the people they work with. For me, that includes working with a business partner who is also my spouse. We share the same values, vision, and entrepreneurial spirit, and it’s always exciting to solve business challenges together.
Most of all, I feel fortunate to have a vantage point to see the big picture of how the company has grown and evolved over the years, how much we’ve been able to achieve, and how many amazing people we’ve been able to work with along the way – that includes hundreds of businesses that have trusted us to protect them from chargebacks, fraud and payment challenges.
As we navigate a very different world in 2020 and beyond, let’s all stay positive and get through this pandemic together. I’m optimistic we’ll conquer this challenge just as we’ve done before.
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