In this special edition of Meet the Gaugies, I sat down with Co-Founder and CEO Adam Dorrell to discuss where CustomerGauge has been and where it is going. He shared his view on the ideal CustomerGauge employee (Gaugie) and how the company finds strength in it's diversity.
What excites you about the direction in which CustomerGauge is heading?
Adam: "After working on CustomerGauge for 10 years—starting with sketches in my notebook to trying out bits of programming myself and manual analysis—we’re now able to get real-time information on customer retention in a way that I could have only dreamed of when we began. What started in my head as a real-time method to get customer feedback has gone way beyond that—to really help businesses understand what revenue is at risk when it comes to customer retention and where they can bring in new revenue streams. We’ve been able to do this by integrating multiple streams of client data, better reporting and a lot of really smart thinking about how to link revenue to customer feedback. I’m really excited about that. I don’t believe that there are any other companies out there as focused on retention as we are."
How would you describe the culture of CustomerGauge?
Adam: "The ideal CustomerGauge employee has a combination of three skill areas: business focused, technically adept and fanatically customer obsessed.
All our employees have a general interest in business, and are quite aware of what happens in the world and the trends out there. Many of the people that we have are business graduates.
Secondly, technically adept. We are lucky to have some fantastically brilliant engineers, working on developing the code that powers CustomerGauge. But in other areas of the business, like Marketing, Customer Success and Sales, our teams also have to have a certain amount of technical knowledge to either make the site work for somebody, explain what CustomerGauge does, or to communicate what our value proposition is.
And the final trait is that our people are fanatic about customers. These are people that are sensitive to customer service in their lifestyle outside of work, and are also determined to make our clients’ investments in CustomerGauge work for them. I’ve never met a more dedicated group of people who go above and beyond what it takes to service a customer, combined with the technical know-how to make it work and the sense of what is needed in their business to make it happen."
CustomerGauge just celebrated it's 10 year anniversary. Where do you see CustomerGauge in another 10 years?
Adam: "We think that the future is really bright, we are just enjoying evangelizing what we do, talking to companies about how they can grow by looking after their greatest assets—their customers. The kind of service that we’re offering at CustomerGauge, which is to help companies retain customers, is going to become much more mainstream. Right now or even a few years ago, customer retention is still a fringe topic, perhaps limited mainly to high tech companies. But, generally what goes on in high tech companies eventually moves to the mainstream, we’re confident that this is going to become standard, with all companies having a focus of customer retention based on the Net Promoter Score®. Over the next 10 years, we expect to lead the market in terms of customer retention and companies looking to remain competitive with customer experience, which means growing as a team and a product to help more and more companies monetize their Net Promoter programs."
What are trends that you see continuing in the industry as a whole?
Adam: "Customer retention is the 'cinderella' branch of marketing, if you know what I mean. Today, best and the brightest employees are often streamed into acquisition marketing, along with most of the budget. But this movement for many industries to become more like the leading tech companies, and sell their widgets “as a service” will drive the switch for retention becoming the focus of marketing. For example, by ensuring that customer referrals are actively worked. Better technology (like CustomerGauge of course) will help enable that. We’re already seeing this happen, especially in companies that consider themselves “Agile”.
I also believe that executives will demand to see better churn metrics. For example to understand the cost of losing customers in real-time. And it’s all going to be linked to revenue. Net Promoter is one of the few standardized marketing metrics that I’ve seen that people can share as a useful benchmark (and I’ve been in marketing for 30 years). It’s not perfect, but it’s one thing that many marketers agree on as a useful leading indicator of business growth. That’s why our Monetized Net Promoter model brings growth factors into razor sharp focus, looking beyond just the soft benefits of a customer experience program."
What's the most unique thing about CustomerGauge as a company?
Adam: "I would say diversity. We’re about 50/50 male to female and 50% female-owned. Plus, we are lucky to have a wide cultural representation. This makes us strong and adaptable. Many of our challenges are global. We deal with companies with complex requirements, so it’s not just about being able to understand and translate surveying and the IT needs for companies, but it’s having the different cultures in our organization to help us relate to our clients in different ways. For example, I think in our organization we counted something like 30 spoken languages. In this way, we can better partner with our clients by recognizing how different they are. These are global and complex companies that we work with and they have a lot of needs. They need diverse, culturally rich people to fit them."
What's your favorite CustomerGauge tradition?
Adam: "I think Friday lunch is my favorite. Because we are based in Amsterdam - and I’m an English guy, so this is not normal for me—one of the traditions for Dutch organizations is to have everyone sitting around a table at lunch time, eating, sharing bread. As such, that’s been a tradition that we’ve had from the start. Over the years as we’ve grown, we can no longer fit around one table any more (although we did just make it longer and longer for a while). Since sharing bread doesn’t work anymore, we have someone coming into the office every Friday with catering. As our US office grows, we’ll do the same. For now, Thursdays with chicken and rice are a US favorite.
I love the tradition of eating food with everyone in the company. Having all of these different people, from different backgrounds, mixing together as a company solidifies the feeling of us as a united team. That’s my favorite tradition, and I hope we continue it for as long as possible."