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a Startup Stories with customer experience at the core with Flamingo.io

Flamingo.io Customer Experience Inc has a distinct advantage over many other startups in that they already have the customer at the core of everything they do. Their products help larger brands to engage with their end users and co-create their own customer experience. An incredibly exciting area that is only going to lead to better consumer experiences.

Targeting large financial institutions they know the pain of dealing the top end of town. Julie provides some great tips for startups to ensure you are getting paid for the value you are delivering for these type of businesses, even while you are validating the solution.

Their strategies are working too as they have already achieved phenomenal success in a short life, being voted by Springboard as the top women led startups in Australia and coming in second at CeBit’s best startup award and have been working with some of the larger companies in the US.

Be sure to check out the interview here

For those of you who like to read the Startup Stories questions have been answered here and the full transcript is below

What is your elevator pitch?

Flamingo Customers Experience Inc. where enterprise assesses business that really enables financial services companies to improve their customer acquisition, onboarding and retention. so we know that customers often have difficulty with complexity of the products and services and experiences  offered by financial services companies, so they’re really difficult to stall to and almost impossible to retain and customers just get lost on an organization’s website. Flamingo enables customers to co-design their products specifically for them as an individual by taking them through a guided experience.

When did you first realise this is a problem that needed to be solved?

Our previous time life was in the corporate world in the customer experience, design and research organization called Fifth Quadrant and we knew from many years with dealing with big business that they really had trouble bridging the gap of who their customers are, what they want and really delivering a consistent service across multi-channel. And customers are always frustrated because they couldn’t get an individualized experience, they couldn’t customize a product or a price or really interact with the company at an individual level.

So why still this disconnect after many years in business and customers asking? It’s all because big businesses have been built on traditional industrial models; command and control, CEO, CFO and it’s all comes from within the organization’s process. They’re designing their staff without customer’s involvement which really is not customer centric. There’s got to be an away using cool technology that we can now bridge the gap which is how Flamingo 18 month ago became a business.

Can you tell us more about your sales story?

Everything we’ve done is through relationships, this moment in time and also just approaching organizations through their innovation divisions. But it’s mainly relationship building and through channel partners. It’s not hard once you start having conversation about retaining your customer better, acquiring a customer better and onboarding your customers better. It’s a pain point for all organization today. They’re all very conscious that consumers can change at any time. It doesn’t cost too much to cancel a service and get one somewhere else or whatever it may be. So it’s costing organizations a lot of money. If they just change something slightly they’re able to retain them for long term and give them a better experience and then obviously the ROI is invaluable.

What is your biggest revenue challenge to date?

Long sales cycles! We didn’t want to do a free trial because we can’t afford that. But we say, let’s do a paid trial where you give us a nominal fee and we take the majority of the cost out of it. So we would probably put 3 times the amount work and effort to run a paid trail. But at least we’re getting compensation a little bit. It does help us a little bit but it’s hard. So I would say to any other startup, if you could fund it just slightly, it’s a bit of a benefit and it shows the organization that actually you’re taking a little bit risk as well. if you really believe in your product and know that it’s going to hit the KPI , give the Return on Investment, then you should be paid for it, even if a nominal fee


 

Full transcript

Andy: Hi everyone and welcome again to startup stories. Really excited today, we’ve got Julie joining us from Flamingo Customers Experience technology. We want to start off like we do with everyone. Could you please just give us your elevator pitch?

Julie:   Yeah, absolute. Hi Andy and hi everyone who’s listening today. Flamingo Customers Experience Inc. where Enterprise assesses business that really enables financial services companies to improve their customer acquisition, onboarding and retention. so we know that customers often have difficulty with complexity of the products and services and experiences  offered by financial services companies, so they’re really difficult to stall to and almost impossible to retain and customers just get lost on an organization’s website. Flamingo really enables customers to co-design their products specifically to them as an individual by taking them to a guided experience.

Andy: Awesome. Co-design – they’re going through the customer journey.

Julie:   Yeah, so you should be able to customize not just the price of the product but the whole customer experience. you know how you want to be treated as an individual, the process you want to undertake, the channels that are available to you and how you want to interact, and all of these elements are processing in a customer’s brain that organizations don’t have a platform to be able to ask and interact with customers at that level, so that really were Flamingo bridges the gap.

Andy: Absolutely. I admire shopping journeys as well. It doesn’t feel like a tailored experience at all.

Julie:   Most of the time organizations can deliver and I just don’t have the platform to be able to ask their customers what they want.

Andy: Yeah, they got that flexibility to customize a solution. We might have already covered this off. When did you and the team mate at Flamingo realize, this was this is a problem that need to be solved.

Julie:   We waited for a long long time. Our previous time life was in the corporate world in the customer experience, design and research organization called Fifth Quadrant and we knew from many years with dealing with big business that they really had trouble bridging the gap of who their customers are, what they want and really delivering a consistent service across multi-channel. And customers are always frustrated because they couldn’t get an individualized experience, they couldn’t customize a product or a price or really interact with the company at an individual level.

 

So why still this disconnect after many years in business and customers asking? It’s all because big businesses have been built on traditional industrial models; command and control, CEO, CFO and it’s all comes from within the organization’s process. They’re designing their staff without customer’s involvement which really is not customer centric. There’s got to be an away using cool technology that we can now bridge the gap which is how Flamingo 18 month ago became a business.

Andy: Awesome. I really love that story and it’s coming from a services business and responsible for speaking to the customers.

Julie:   What Flamingo does is we think about the customer first. What’s the customer experience, what does the customer want and now let’s re-engineer it so how the business can deliver that?

Andy: Not enough people think that way.

Julie:   what they do in the traditional way it’s tough for a big business to do it because they are built on big industrial models and it’s tougher for them adjust and re-engineer this process.

Andy: You still say that in startups though. Take a sample size of one and utilizing that the scale, then it’s always something that’s becoming lot more prevalent in these days, the consumer centric designed and links of startup methodologies but it’s super cool. You guys are bringing that to the big enterprise.

Julie:   What is coolest is an empowering customers to be able to say, this is what I want, this is how I want to be treated and wow, you are the is the financial institution that want to help me, you want to better engage with me, you’re giving me the option to customize my experience with you, why wouldn’t you want to do that? Now we know from our research that customers will pay 14% for more for a product or service, if they’re getting the true customer experience, if they’re able to co-design that experience with a company.

Andy: Amazing. Tell us how guys go out there and find customers and make money?

Julie:   very interesting. Everything we’ve done is through relationships, this moment in time and also just approaching organizations through their innovation divisions. But it’s mainly relationship building and through channel partners. It’s not hard once you start having conversation about retaining your customer better, acquiring a customer better and onboarding your customers better. It’s a pain point for all organization today. They’re all very conscious that consumers can change at any time. It doesn’t cost too much to cancel a service and get one somewhere else or whatever it may be. So it’s costing organizations a lot of money. If they just change something slightly they’re able to retain them for long term and give them a better experience and then obviously the ROI is invaluable.

Andy: Yeah, it’s brilliant to be able to sell through your existing relationships. From the Fifth Quadrant life, coming in to Flamingo, you’ve got a lot of great relationships. It sounds like it’s a bit of a journey for people to go on to implement this. How long does is take from having that first discussion with someone to then bring them on board?

Julie:   Good question. At the moment our platform is an enterprise and we’re really learning how to better program our own platform, the customer journey through humans center design and analytics and algorithms. We’re learning through enterprise how to do that. but our ideal goal is to offer as a true SAS platform where anyone can jump online, be able to login to Flamingo, customize the platform to their own branding, be able to use our pre-program journeys themselves, just customized for their own company and launch a campaign out to their own customers within a couple of hours. Our end goal would be an open source platform for anyone to use. But at the moment we’re still building a platform through our experience with enterprise.

Andy: Which is super exciting. From a SAS business perspective, this is really upside down. Most people start by building that basic the bottom with strong uses and then utilizing personal consumerized interactions be able to then find there opportunity into enterprise.

Julie:   I guess the reason why we’ve done that and it’s because we really need to take the businesses on the journey with us and the way we have to do that, is through education and helping them see the value of actually asking your customers what they want. Give them platform and opportunity to ask you, because we’re not asking anything outrageous. It’s something that your people can deliver but they don’t have the platform. For our model we actually need to business to be on board with us which is why enterprise way first. So we’re learning, we refine our product, we’re refining these journeys, we will through algorithms and analytics be able to mine and recommend a certain customer journey that would get you the outcome that you want, as more customers come through our platform.

Andy: Cool. It makes targeting those large enterprises where you have relationships.

Julie:   It is the longest selling pipeline. From initial conversation through to Pay Trials, it takes a 6-9 months relationship. So no different to a normal enterprise engagement with technology company.

Andy: That’s always a tough part. You got to bring a lot of people within the business along on this journey as well. You cross so many different points, the business owner, the IT people, customer experience people which is really a broad thing. I’m sure that be quiet tough. Who is the best people in the organization, in these large organizations?

Julie:   So you’re right there are different divisions that we are dealing with for particular customer journey. But we start from the executive level from the C-level, so we really are talking to board and CEO level about our product and advantages. Then we are also speaking with innovation department. people looking for something new, better way to engage, digital teams, everyone is going, how do we automate processes, how do we make processes more efficient, how do we compete in the digital world, head of operations and also the contact center.

Andy: Yeah, I’m sure that they’re the ones that you need to be engaged with the customers.

Julie:   Absolutely. The ideal people who are using Flamingo, Flamingo is essentially a channel, new way of doing business with customers. It’s breaking down the whole. It’s still a little bit clumsy for customers to find their way around, big website, finding the information they want, calling and having to wait, whatever it may be, Flamingo helps automate simple processes. it can be done over the phone, through videos, through web applications, the contract center do love it and the Return on Investment is great because we’re reducing call into the contact center through the automation. Contact center is free to do more complex stuff. We ran a pilot with a big pet insurance company in the state and it ran for three weeks with some contact center stuff. At the end of the program, they said to the Managers, “We don’t want to go back to our traditional process, that’s boring. We love Flamingo. We want to use this every day because it was just so engaging.” and they would fight for customers with coming to the platform. There was 10 people in the room and they would feel the Flamingo key is what we call when someone’s waiting to be joined. So it’s really a fun way to interact and engage with customers.

Andy: It makes a lot of sense.

Julie:   and you feel valued as a customer. Can you imagine the company saying, what actually do you want? Before we sell you anything what do you need? We want to deal with that.

Andy: Does that resonate with your sales process too? When you’re having conversation with your customer? How do you guys design for customers?

Julie:   We firstly say, “What’s your customer pain point?” We never start with what’s your organizational pain point. We will sort that, that’s easy. What’s your customer problem? Then can we do to help them better improve their engagement with you and then we re-engineer it. Everything we do has a customer involved in it. We would run a co-creation workshop with customers in a room and employees from the company in the room which terrifying to these organizations. And once we run it, they are just like, wow, we had no idea, there’s no way we would have known that a customer wanted that or whatever it maybe, product or service.

Andy: I was speaking to a very small setup, very very different to these large organizations. He also had a lot of fear about actually going out and speaking to customers. But then having this fear, they walked out of every single interaction with one of those, just going, “My God, I’m so much happier. I know so much more how to better shape and better take product to market.

Your hitting your time target seriously. You’ve got 6-9 time, what challenge for you guys at the moment when it comes to your customer acquisition?

Julie:   It is the longest time. Anything we can do to shorten these conversations because as a startup, we’re dead tomorrow, if we don’t do today. That’s our motto in here. If we don’t get something out in piled or we don’t get an engagement and start building our capability then every day is critical for us. So shortening that life cycle is the number one factor.

Andy: That resonates with so many people. I’ll pick up one sort of things you mentioned earlier, so I pay pile, get that hook into the organization and prove some value. What are some of the other techniques you’re doing to shorten that?

Julie:   That was our biggest; we didn’t want to do a free trial because we can’t afford that. But we say, let’s do a paid trial where you give us a nominal fee and we take the majority of the cost out of it. So we would probably put 3 times the amount work and effort to run a paid trail. But at least we’re getting compensation a little bit. It does help us a little bit but it’s hard. So I would say to any other startup, if you could fund it just slightly, it’s a bit of a benefit and it shows the organization that actually you’re taking a little bit risk as well. if you really believe in your product and know that it’s going to hit the KPI , give the Return on Investment, then you should be paid for it, even if a nominal fee. And then once the paid trial is done then you can co-create the value or price. They say, how much is your platform I’m going? And we say, we don’t know. What value has it created for you? And now let’s talk about what the pricing model is. We’re still working with it, we don’t know. We’re still learning.

Andy: Awesome. The biggest thing, you’ve got to ask for pays specially for these enterprises like engagements. There’s no harm in asking for more. They can only say ‘No’.

Julie:   Right. So start high and then negotiate down.

Andy: You definitely going to validate which one is right.

Okay Julie, that’s been awesome. There is a lot of great information in there that I’m sure a lot of people would really going to enjoy and apply in their own business. But where do people go if they want to learn more about Flamingo story?

Julie:   Excellent. Thanks Andy. They can go to flamingo.io

Andy: And you can come in and subscribe to my blog sellx.global and also keep informed of more of these chats as they come up. Really appreciate your time.

Julie:   Thanks Andy. Thank you very much. It’s been a pleasure.

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