It’s no secret that COVID-19 has been devastating for some industries and businesses–and beneficial for others.
But there’s a third category of business affected by the global pandemic: Those that have made dramatic pivots and seen extraordinary growth as a result.
LuminUltra is a biotech company based in Canada that fits nicely into the third category. Originally, LuminUltra’s core source of revenue was ATP testing for the presence of certain microorganisms in drinking water, oil, and gas. But after COVID-19 changed the oil and gas industry overnight, they were forced to look to an underutilized technology as a core new source of revenue.
Dramatic new growth...a shift towards a different customer base...and demand for new insights and a killer customer experience.
When COVID-19 hit in early 2020, a significant chunk of LuminUltra’s customer base was hit hard by plummeting gas and oil prices.
“Our customer base was freaking out,” explains Customer Experience Manager Ryan Cobb. “Gas was around 70 Canadian cents a liter in March.”
As a result, LuminUltra’s “bread and butter” product would have to change...and potentially, they would have to look to a new market for revenue.
Thankfully, LuminUltra had an alternative technology with extraordinary potential to help solve pandemic-related problems–and with the potential to reach a brand-new customer base.
“We had been sitting on an acquired technology–QPCR, a type of mobile testing,” says Ryan. “So as the need for COVID-19 testing came up, along with the need for emergency use authorization, we expanded into this clinical market.”
Using this technology, LuminUltra began offering COVID-19 testing–both for humans and on surfaces.
“Right now, we’re hitting hard on transportation systems,” says Ryan. “One of our customers, for example, is the London Transit Authority. They’re using our testing and equipment to make sure COVID-19 is not being left in the transit system–giving everyone peace of mind.”
Ryan continues, “As the need for physical testing wanes, our assumption is that environmental and surface testing will be needed for keeping a scope on the market.”
The result of this pivot into COVID-19 testing has, not unsurprisingly, been massive growth.
“Historically, we were a $20 million a year business,” says Ryan. “Last year (2020), we were just under $100 million. This year (2021), our target is $160 million….and we want to keep growing.”
The Problem – New Demand for Insight & a New CX
LuminUltra experienced exciting new growth in 2020.
But with this new growth came immense new need on several levels: LuminUltra needed (a) to learn how to respond to customer issues in the midst of a quickly changing business, and (b) to develop a customer experience tailored to a new segment.
But to achieve both goals, LuminUltra needed targeted insight.
As the newly hired CX Manager, Ryan took on a significant task–learning to quickly respond to customer feedback and solve problems in the middle of shifting circumstances.
“We had built a brand new manufacturing facility in three months,” says Ryan. “We were continuously shipping customers the wrong product. Our service level agreement had been that if you ordered from us, you could get the product in 10 days. Order length went up to 14 days and in some cases even three weeks.”
Ryan continues, “In my first month of working at LuminUltra, I was having a lot of these conversations and hearing this kind of feedback from customers–and a lot of our historic customers were really feeling the impact.”
Not only that, but LuminUltra wasn’t prepared to deliver a great CX to customers in a new industry.
“We had a lot of holes to fix,” continues Ryan. “We still didn't know how to sell to our ideal buyer–and how to onboard and service that customer properly.”
The Solution – Collecting Targeted Insight & Closing the Loop with CustomerGauge
When Ryan started with LuminUltra, they had already been collecting Net Promoter Score–but they were relying on SurveyMonkey, a basic survey tool that wasn’t giving them the tools to actually close the loop on customer insight.
“My first week at LuminUltra, I realized that we had been sending surveys, but there was no actionable information,” says Ryan. “Anytime there were customer comments, they just sat there.”
“I knew we needed a new tool to manage this.”
Fortunately, Ryan had heard about CustomerGauge through a podcast.
“I saw CustomerGauge as a leader in customer experience,” says Ryan. “But initial concern was that they were going to be out of our price range.”
“So we tried a pilot program,” continues Ryan. “That was a big push for us...but also a no-risk opportunity for us to try it out.”
Still, the entire team wasn’t necessarily on board with the new program. What was required was proof that CustomerGauge would provide immediate, valuable change.
That moment of proof came at just the right moment–at the readout of customer feedback.
“What was really exciting was the readout,” says Ryan. “We presented it across the management team first and did an executive readout to Pat, our CEO, and Derek, our VP of Sales.”
Ryan continues, “That was sort of the ‘aha’ moment.”
“Pat and Derek could see the level of granularity and segmentation we can have with CG–including the ability to see comments from the customer in real-time.”
The real turning point was a moment when they received a negative comment from a customer– "Britney.”
“This comment was about how we had changed our software,” says Ryan. “The leadership team was shocked.”
Ryan continues, “They were like, ‘F*ck, how many other Britneys are there out there?’”
Not only did they take action to make sure the loop was closed with “Britney,” but “they were completely sold on CustomerGauge.”
Ultimately, the pilot was a success. CustomerGauge helped shift LuminUltra’s approach from collecting tickets that they never closed...to immediately receiving and responding to feedback.
Looking ahead for LuminUltra looks like anticipating massive growth...with a customer insight-driven strategy in hand.
“A lot of folks on the team are looking forward to seeing more readouts on the drivers of success and digging down into what customers are actually saying about the product,” says Ryan.
Ultimately, getting insight into what’s driving success–and what’s causing churn or dissatisfaction–will help LuminUltra develop a killer CX that helps them deliver targeted service to customers–and dominate a new market in an ever-changing landscape of business.
“In 2025, we want to be a $500 million a year business,” says Ryan.
We wish them the best of luck–and we’re confident that with CustomerGauge as a partner, they’re well on the way to accomplishing their goal.