How Customer Success, Tech Support and Implementations Are Propelling Growth at Convoso

Built In LA sat down with three Convoso employees to learn how they maintain company culture amidst rapid growth.

Written by Written by Brendan Meyer
Published on May. 19, 2022
How Customer Success, Tech Support and Implementations Are Propelling Growth at Convoso
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Convoso grew by 125 percent in 2021 and is set to double its headcount this year to nearly 300 team members. 

So, how does the provider of call center software plan on sustaining that type of growth? By bolstering the work of customer success, tech support, and implementations, and adding a robust LMS (learning management system). 

Built In LA sat down with three team members in each role to understand how Convoso’s growth is related to the success within each of these departments, and what these individuals are doing to support that growth.

 

convoso room
Convoso

 

Wait…what’s an LMS got to do with growth?

To support the next wave of hires in 2022, Convoso leadership agreed it was time to invest in a learning management system (LMS).

The LMS would solve more than one challenge. First, it would efficiently onboard new team members and teach them about Convoso’s technical product, cloud-based call center software for sales and lead generation teams. Second, it would introduce new hires to best practices around company processes, while freeing up time for team leaders who were accustomed to devoting time to one-on-one training.

The idea of an LMS system sounded great to Ron Griguts, Convoso’s new director of customer success, who joined the company at the end of 2021. But it wasn’t fully ready by the time he joined. 

Instead, one of his responsibilities as a new hire was to test it out.

“It was actually pretty cool,” Griguts said. “The whole LMS concept was brand new when I joined, so Convoso utilized my feedback to figure out what they were doing right, and what could be tweaked.”

Griguts took courses and quizzes crafted by his colleagues. He read instructional pieces to make sure they made sense. In the process, he learned the ins and outs of the company, and left his fingerprint on a critical new system that would pave the road for new hires.

And that road has been busy as of late.

 

Describe your role and how it helps the company achieve its mission.

Director of Technical Support Scott Key: I lead a team of 36 customer advocates, technical support engineers, provisioning specialists, technical account managers and carrier/VoIP support engineers. My teams are responsible for responding to customer inquiries, resolving technical issues, managing the technical health of larger scale clients and ensuring the health and efficiency of our VoIP systems and services. 

Director of Customer Success Ron Griguts: I lead a team of 12 customer success managers and customer service associates responsible for training and educating customers, understanding customers’ success goals, driving retention and expansion.   

Senior Manager of Implementation Alex Prins: As senior manager of implementation, I lead the customer onboarding teams (implementation managers and configuration specialists) responsible for account build/configuration, product training and system optimization of new customers.

 

How will your role be critical in this next phase of growth?

Key: Last year saw exponential growth for Convoso as a whole and for my team in particular. Several factors played into that. There were some regulatory changes in the call center industry in the way that the industry handles phone numbers and the way that those numbers are purchased and managed. That generated a lot of extra volume on our end in terms of adding new clients and new seats. It required us to build teams that didn’t exist to start new processes. 

Griguts: Convoso does a good job from a marketing perspective in getting the brand out there to existing customers and potential new clients. For example, we were just at a big leads convention where we had a crazy amount of real estate taken up on the exhibit floor, investing in marketing and brand awareness. Our Vice President of Marketing Lisa Leight is a wizard when it comes to marketing this company. We worked closely together in hosting educational webinars from a customer success and marketing perspective. 

We’re constantly trying to tease different ways of connecting with our customers. This marketing effort has led to exponential growth across the whole company. In the short six months that I’ve been here, my team of customer success managers and customer success associates has more than doubled in size.

Prins: The implementation team started off the year with four employees. We recently added two more, and we’re expected to be at about 12 employees by end of year. The growth comes from the substantial change to the structure of implementation. In conjunction with Convoso’s growth, we’re going after larger and more complex clients. In doing so, we’re seeing an increase in the level of service that we need to provide to these clients in order for them to reach success.

 

WHAT THEY DO

Convoso’s cloud-based contact center software for sales and lead generation teams is a powerful solution for reaching out to prospects and customers across multiple channels to meet revenue goals. Clients experience increased connections while cutting downtime and costs with automations and housing day-to-day routines and metrics in one easy-to-use platform. New innovations in our omnichannel AI [IVA] are in trial now.

 

 

How have you adjusted your processes to acclimate a growing team?

Key: The most important thing we’ve rolled out is the internal LMS. I worked with my boss, VP of Operations Meg Mananian, to vet different LMS software options, and we went with the software company Skilljar. Then, we built a learning and development team to spearhead the project. The LMS has allowed us to automate training. We can now do a class-style hiring process, where we hire in big batches and group the new hires together for training. Another important process is grooming team members for leadership roles. That means training people so that they can become a team lead. This is key for scaling.

Griguts: Another thing we have is a buddy program. Every new hire gets assigned a buddy — usually someone on their team — to guide their growth and be a resource to answer any questions. For example, a new hire will meet with their buddy and manager once per week. That means new hires always have a resource at arm’s length. Onboarding is not rushed. It’s something we take seriously, because our product is robust. If we don’t invest the time it takes for you to learn the product, then you won’t be able to help the team, the company, and most of all, our customers. We put an emphasis on new hires feeling comfortable.

Prins: We’ve beefed up our standard operating procedures and documenting process. We’ve migrated over to using Confluence internally for process documentation. As a growing company, we’re taking on new opportunities, jumping into certain areas that don’t have processes fully fleshed out, and are being agile. Everyone is willing to jump into a new experience. We’re comfortable with change. It plays a big role in the success of our company. 

 

GROWING ON THE JOB

Convoso cares about your career. That’s why the company makes sure every employee creates an individual development plan (IDP) with their direct manager, meeting quarterly to ensure career goals are being met. “I want to make sure that I can facilitate whatever is possible, even if it’s moving a team member of mine into a department that's not my department,” Key said. “For example, I helped someone move into quality assurance, because that’s what they were interested in. It helped the company, and it helped the individual. At Convoso, career growth is heard and acknowledged.”

 

Convoso office kitchen with light up sign on the wall that says Le Cafe
Convoso

 

What is one project you are currently working on or will be working on that will impact company growth?

Key: I’m currently working with our product team to improve our phone number ordering system and our new ClearCallerIDTM feature and service to bring more value to our clients.

Griguts: By implementing a new customer success customer relationship management solution, my team will have better transparency cross-functionally and there will be more accountability in managing our customers. 

Prins: My biggest project is customer experience segmentation to provide our diverse customer base with their appropriate onboarding experience. We’ve been offering customers one-off, custom tailored onboarding for some time, but as Convoso continues to grow this creates challenges with team scalability. After analyzing commonalities across accounts (looking at industry, customer size and maturity, third-party integrations, workflows, and more), we are now working to define and publish different paths through onboarding. With clear segmentation, we can better scale our implementation efforts while still offering our customers with an appropriate onboarding experience.

 

As a hiring manager, what’s your favorite off-the-wall interview question, and what are you looking for in a job candidate?

Prins: An oddball question I have is, “If given a choice, would you rather battle 100 duck-sized horses or one horse-sized duck?” I generally leave that toward the end when it’s a little more conversational. I like to ask that question and just see the response and how the interviewee navigates through it. Do they immediately answer? Or are they asking clarifying questions? It gives you insight into how someone critically thinks, and also gives me an idea of, “Hey, am I going to align this person on more complex, open-ended projects? Or do they want a detailed recipe? Neither is better nor worse. It just gives a bit of insight.

Key: A question I asked is, “Describe the top of your desk.” It’s not an organizational question. I want them to be able to describe something that they don’t normally think about in a way that I can understand and visualize. In tech support, you need the ability to talk someone through a topic that is foreign to them. I don’t need my team members to have technical expertise in some specific area. I just need them to be able to have a conversation with me and talk me through something. I’m a big team-fit person. You have to be able to troubleshoot problems and understand how some of our technology works. But honestly, if your communication skills are really strong, I can teach you how the product works. 

Lastly, from a team culture perspective, I always ask interviewees if they’re a Star Wars or Star Trek fan. Then I always tell them that Star Wars is the only good answer to that question, obviously.

Griguts: I’m not nearly as fun to interview with as these guys (laughs). 

I focus on three pillars: soft skills, hard skills and culture fit. Hard skills I can teach. I can teach you how to use the product and Salesforce. I can teach you how to use Zendesk. But soft skills are the most important to me. I need people who are resilient and not afraid to be humbled. I need people who can show a high degree of empathy to our customers, because we work in software and software has issues. There are going to be days where every customer that you deal with might be having a bad day, and they might be tricky to deal with. That’s OK. That’s part of the job. How resilient can you be to come to work the next day, forget about it, and take on a new day? That’s what I’m looking for.

 

 

Responses have been edited for length and clarity. Images provided by Convoso.

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