BUSINESS CHALLENGER Q&A: Chris Haggis

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Chris Haggis is VP of Customer Success at NewVoiceMedia, an award-winning cloud customer contact platform that revolutionises the way organisations connect with their customers on a personalised level worldwide.

 

How did you get to where you are today?

Before NewVoiceMedia I was managing the call centre infrastructure for Barclays Bank, this related to all of the end-to-end communication systems used for customer interaction with the bank. Michelle called and told me about the role at NewVoiceMedia and I thought it sounded interesting. At first, I was unsure how  a cloud contact centre proposition could be financially viable but once I was introduced to the team and heard about their plans to scale on a true cloud, single platform mulit-tenant basis, I could really see where the business was going. So I left Barclays and went to a smaller company with a very cool proposition and a great set of cloud pioneers.

 

What do you consider your biggest accomplishments to date?

Taking opportunities when they’ve presented themselves to me has been key to me gaining lots of experience across many disciplines. I also think I’ve helped teams work efficiently in a growing business by making sure everyone is trained extremely well on the product, whatever their role. I believe once you know the product inside out, you have a lot more freedom to move about within a business and, more importantly, you can have much more valuable conversations with customers.

 

Are there any important lessons you’ve learned over the years?

I think a big lesson learned was that we could have built the customer success team earlier. We need to give our customers a lot of time when it comes to ensuring customers understand what will be right and wrong for their needs and ensuring they keep current on all new features. Customers have many competing priorities and unless you are there, in regular contact, they often do not resolve issues that could easily be resolved internally – this can reflect badly on the supplier and lead to poor user adoption or perceived product value. I’ve also learnt the importance of vetting people during the interview process on their technical skills. If we are recruiting in the services team, we actually provide a short training course on how to use our tech and then put the candidates through a short assignment. I guess it’s a pre-employment bootcamp. This rigor gives us absolute assurance that we’ve got the people who will get our technology quickly.

 

Are there any important lessons you’ve learned over the years?

Being able to adjust and change quickly. NewVoiceMedia is growing fast, we’ve gone from 50 to 400 people in five years and you have to facilitate that with well-defined, repeatable, scalable process. It’s also worth reviewing and tweaking those processes once a year. I also think having patience is important as things tend to slow down as you get bigger; things tend to need governance over them rather than making snap decisions. It also helps to respect that new people will come into the company who will criticise the way things are set up as they were not part of the situation and environment in the early startup days. However, you need to dig into your emotional intelligence and accept good, new ideas because something that was right in the early days is not right when the company gets larger and more structured.

 

What do you think are the key things to focus on to build a truly transformational team?

A good relationship with a recruitment company is vital. You need to find someone who not only understands your requirements and what you identify as good personal traits, but also what your company culture is like and thus does not just pick candidates based on their CV skills. Recruitment can be expensive, but if you find a great partner like Kommol, the time saved and the access to the best candidates will be worth the money.

 

Why did you use Kommol?

I was placed through Michelle after she rang me out of the blue one evening. We met up a couple of times and she got a feel for what I wanted to do. That’s what I liked about Michelle, she wanted to know how I worked and what my needs were. I started the recruitment process at NewVoiceMedia and landed the job!