In this special edition of Meet the Gaugies, I sat down with one of the two original Gaugies: Co-Founder and COO of CustomerGauge Camilla Scholten. She shared her thoughts on where CustomerGauge has been, where it’s headed and what makes the company unique.
Can you describe the CustomerGauge culture?
Camilla: "We’re officially celebrating our 10 year anniversary this year and our culture has never been stronger! We’ve hired some unbelievable talent in the last years to help meet the exponential growth trajectory our customers and prospects are driving. Not only that, but we’re extremely diverse. Diverse in cultural backgrounds—we have employees from literally all four corners of the earth—as well as a 50-50 female/male split in most parts of the business. I’m also proud to say we house intellectual superstars with PhDs, Masters and seriously inquisitive minds that help drive our company further than I ever imagined possible.
A major piece that makes us who we are is that we run an honest business. We call out key values such as treating people respectfully, doing your job to the best of your ability (as a sign of integrity), loving what you do and owning it. We call this enGAUGEment: to always grow, improve yourself and your level of knowledge and understanding. These values are very core to us as a company. We are continuously looking to bring the best out of our people. I will always make time for conversations on how we can take the best of what’s out there and how we can do it in an even more original, innovative and intuitive way."
CustomerGauge just celebrated it’s 10 year anniversary. Where do you see CustomerGauge in another 10 years?
Camilla: "We will of course be bigger. But what’s even more exciting is that I know we’ll have developed our product to be the most advanced retention system, one that’s based on our core strength of Monetized Net Promoter. We believe in sharing best practices—that’s why we have invested so much effort in benchmarks (and our NPSbenchmarks site). If you take a look at our product roadmap over the next couple of years, we have plans to release some really innovative products that will truly drive forward the understanding of and focus on retention management. And our strong position in the services and training we offer will continue to grow and drive new best practice for our customers.
I’m very proud to have grown the business from our kitchen table, bootstrapping it, getting traction and subsequent funding all the way up to where we are now: a company with 100s of clients, a large and loyal team and offices in Boston and Amsterdam.
But not only that—in the process of developing and implementing CustomerGauge for many clients, we’ve discovered that a lot of executives just don’t (or in our case didn’t) have the tools to engage their customers and employees in a meaningful way. CustomerGauge gives leadership the tools to make sure that their people feel empowered, understand what numbers matter and enable these enriching conversations with the right people at the right time."
What are trends that you see continuing in the industry as a whole?
Camilla: "I think companies are under the microscope to grow faster than ever before. One of the key ways to do this is to focus on retention of existing customer. And that’s a good thing — it means that companies must commit to providing a remarkable customer experience — it’s no longer optional. In fact, if you don’t, you’ll get found out a heck of a lot quicker than you used to. We see this happening with some of the largest brands in the world in real-time.
The companies that understand their customer experience can be leveraged not only as a lasting differentiator, but also as a strong growth driver, are the ones that will come out on top and stay on top because they’ll have the tools at their disposal to monitor any and all cracks in the foundation."
What’s the most unique thing about CustomerGauge as a company?
Camilla: "Our culture is built on the people of CustomerGauge and it’s nothing without them. One of the values that we identify with is that we are original in a quirky way, and that is guided by our people.
If you ask “what is a typical CustomerGauge person?” it’s almost impossible to answer, which is why it’s so difficult to pin what’s unique about us down to a few sentences. We celebrate each and everyone’s strengths, and they all bring something unique to the table: that’s really what I’m looking for as a leader of this company. If you look at everyone who’s been with us for a long time, they all embrace their inner nerd and they are impressively knowledgeable, in their job and on our product. We encourage everyone to celebrate the nerdy and knowledgeable aspects of themselves."
What’s your favorite CustomerGauge tradition?
Camilla: "We celebrate Halloween, which in The Netherlands is not a big thing. But we have made it our own because we are a highly international organization. So now almost the entire company dresses up and looks frighteningly fabulous whereas I embrace looking ridiculous to offset the scary creations a little. We do many of these types of traditions.
But being Danish I was brought up with a strong Christmas spirit. So I think what I like the most, is that we have a tradition of celebrating Christmas ever since we’ve been a team of more than three people.
When we started with our first employee Roy, we thought it’d be a bit awkward asking him out for Christmas. But as soon as we hired our second employee we’ve been celebrating Christmas. It started with a lunch in a old ferry. Then we did a museum trip. Then that graduated to a dinner. We basically grew our Christmas celebration over time and now we do these quite special and spectacular things. I think I like it so much because it is just something that grew and became a phenomenon without my doing. It’s important to take a break once a year, to have a pause, and before we close off the year we celebrate.
Part of that celebration is to look back at the year and reflect. If you don’t call out your accomplishments, you’ll forget them. So if I have to choose, that’s my favorite tradition."