Behind every brand delivering simpler experiences for customers is a leader who recognizes the inherent value in keeping things simple. In Simplifiers, Margaret Molloy interviews business leaders who put simplicity to work.
Here, Margaret speaks with Rishi Dave, Chief Marketing Officer, Vonage. True to its roots as a technology disruptor, Vonage has embraced technology to transform how companies communicate to create better business outcomes. Our unique cloud communications platform brings together a robust unified communications solution with the agility of embedded, contextual communications APIs. This powerful combination enables businesses to collaborate more productively and engage their customers more effectively across messaging, chat, social media, video, and voice.
MM: What is Vonage?
RD: Vonage is blurring the boundaries between unified communications, contact center, and communications APIs building blocks. All of these services are increasingly critical for modern communications, and Vonage is the first to productize fully extensible communications applications. Built from a common, “One Vonage” platform, our solutions address unlimited use cases that enhance both internal employee collaboration and external interactions with customers.
Businesses will win, or lose, based on customer experience, and customer experience relies on the quality of interaction between a businesses’ customers and its employees. Furthermore, customers want to interact with businesses through their preferred mode of communication. Only Vonage can fully address the needs of businesses looking to create a frictionless and more meaningful end-to-end communications experience.
MM: And what does Vonage stand for?
RD: At Vonage, we know that a great experience is enabled by great communications. We are helping our customers create great experiences for their customers, providing capabilities, applications and APIs to help companies drive these experiences. Ultimately, we feel that employee experience and customer experience are inextricably linked—and experience is significantly connected to communications.
We are seeing an increased need among businesses to provide their customers with the ability to connect and communicate via preferred channels (voice, chat SMS, social messaging, video, etc.) in an integrated way. People expect a business to jump seamlessly across these channels without losing context. This ability will define how they see a brand and whether they want to work with them.
The unique combination of unified communications, cloud contact center, and programmable communications via APIs empowers brands to complement and add value and customization to their existing solutions in a way that is simple, scalable, and cost-effective. That will make a lasting impression on consumers as they look to engage with brands—and keep them coming back.
MM: How do you deliver on that promise every day?
RD: We’re focused on helping our customers to leverage communications, including both programmable communications via APIs or applications, to drive better overall business outcomes. By working with our sales teams and having them recognize what customers are ultimately trying to accomplish, we can provide the right solution to help our customers meet those goals.
Whether it’s a custom blending of packaged applications and programmability or one of our pre-bundled offerings, businesses are looking for communications solutions to enhance employee connections and create deeper customer relationships by infusing the customer journey with the perfect combination of technology-driven intelligent interactions and personalized, white glove service. Leveraging our ability to create these combination packaged solutions for our customers, we are creating a unique and differentiated offering for an integrated end-to-end communications experience.
MM: Can you give me one use case?
RD: If, for example, a prospective customer is trying to reach a company, they’re able to do so through any number of channels, including social messaging, WhatsApp, and video. Once contact has been established, the customer can then work directly with the company through their preferred means of communication, and in turn, company employees can collaborate to help the customer resolve their issue. That kind of end-to-end experience all happens through Vonage.
MM: What role does simplicity play in the process?
RD: Simplicity plays an integral role because we are incredibly focused on helping companies leverage communications to create simple experiences for their customers.
In today’s experience economy, businesses need—and want—to create superior experiences that keep their customers coming back again and again. Central to our strategy, we are building a single, microservices-architected software platform, or “One Vonage.” As the only provider in the space to offer unified communications, cloud contact center, and programmable communications solutions, Vonage is uniquely positioned to meet the communications needs of all businesses as a one-stop shop, making it simple for the customer.
Vonage’s unique combination of unified communications, cloud contact center, and programmable communications via APIs does just that, all from a single stack on a single platform.
MM: Have you achieved benefits from simplifying?
RD: We’re helping our customers to create a better experience for their customers, ultimately empowering them to drive deeper relationships and more meaningful connections. That is making a lasting impression for customers looking to engage with these same brands—and keeping them coming back.
It’s about ensuring the happiness of the customer that our client is serving. Were they able to contact them quickly? Were they able to get their problem resolved quickly? Moreover, were they able to do it simply? Customer and employee satisfaction are some of the most significant benefits.
MM: As a marketing leader, how do you keep things “simple” for your team?
RD: I do so by aligning my team on a small set of focused areas that will drive customer growth or drive whatever business outcome that we’re trying to achieve.
I also try to eliminate activities that trigger complexity and instead emphasize those that will drive the most significant outcomes. Having the team not do certain things can create simplicity, as well.
MM: How are you confident you’re making the right choices?
RD: I try to be as unemotional and as data-driven as possible to examine what is driving outcomes. Over time, complexity can seep in on its own, and so, continually inspecting, working with the teams, and examining what’s driving the data enables me to keep things simple.
MM: Personally speaking, what’s the most recent simple customer experience that inspired or impressed you?
RD: I’m a huge fan of Goodreads. As a voracious reader, the app offers me a simple way of maintaining what I’ve already read, rating past books, discovering new titles, and learning what my friends and colleagues are currently reading. Simply put, it answers the question, “What should I read next?” and it does so effortlessly.
MM: What are some of the biggest mistakes that brands make with regards to simplifying?
RD: They try to do too much, especially technology brands. They try to convey too many messages, and they have a broad portfolio, they tend to be very product-focused and use their internal product portfolio and internal organization structure as a way of talking about what they do. In my opinion, that causes complexity.
MM: Any recent examples of a difficult decision that you made at Vonage, that you had to make for the sake of simplicity?
RD: I joined Vonage four months ago, and the marketing department was somewhat siloed, due to several acquisitions, which created complexity and duplication. I decided to reorganize the marketing group, with a focus on simplifying our workflow. The goal of this is to create simplicity, integration, and scale. We are in a transitional period, so while it can be challenging at times, I genuinely believe once we as a team become accustomed to the new structure, and understand how we work in it, it will be much simpler to accomplish things.
MM: What does “simplicity” mean to you?
RD: Allowing people to get to their desired outcome as quickly as possible.
MM: What advice would you give other brands trying to simplify?
RD: The best advice is to be laser-focused on the customer you’re serving and the kind of activities that directly benefit the customer while eliminating activities that don’t. Moreover, use data to understand that.
MM: Thank you, Rishi.