Intelligent Customer Experience – Bob Cooper of Swampfox

Bob Cooper, CEO of Swampfox Technologies

Bob Cooper, the CEO of Swampfox Technologies, grew his company’s revenue from $4 million in 2014 to $9.9 million in 2017, a 146% increase, and to around $12 million in 2018.  

Swampfox provides advanced customer service software to companies that serve consumers every day.  

In this interview with Eversprint‘s Malcolm Lui, Bob shares how he and his team accelerated their high value sales by:  

  • Developing a loyal and stick customer base driven by customer satisfaction.  
  • Building a culture and an office environment that attracts and retains the top 1% to 2% of workers.  
  • Constantly evolving their product driven by customer requests.  

Computer generated transcript - Swampfox Interview (transcribed by Sonix)

Download the "Computer generated transcript - Swampfox Interview" audio file directly from here. It was automatically transcribed by below:

Malcolm Lui: Welcome to the High Value Sales Show of I'm Malcolm Lui, the Managing Member of Eversprint, and today we're speaking with Bob Cooper, the CEO of Swampfox Technologies, a provider of advanced customer service software to companies that serve consumers every day. Welcome to the call Bob.

Bob Cooper: Thank you.

Malcolm Lui: Bob, you grew your company's revenue from $4 million dollars in 2014 to $9.9 million in 2017, a 146% increase, and in 2018 you hit around $12 million. Before we talk about how you grew your company so fast, can you share briefly what your company does beyond my short introduction and how your company differs from the competition?

What they do and how the differ

Bob Cooper: Sure. So I mean the software we provide is software to help automate and enable call center a couple of companies with large call centers so people with usually a thousand seats or more of call centers. We are the technology. If it's done poorly it can drive you crazy but if done well it it adds a ton of value to our customers as well as the people that are trying to reach our customers. So we provide that automation software so whether it's inbound telephony or inbound from a mobile device or web or outbound notification to let you know your bill is due or your power is being restored. That's the kind of software that we provide.

Malcolm Lui: And how does your software differ from the competition?

Bob Cooper: You know we focus a lot on ease of use. So like I said if it's done poorly it could be very frustrating to use. And really you know our sweet spot tend to be very very large fortune 100 companies where the software has got to be fault tolerant no matter you know the call volume or whether a component fails the software still has to function. And so a lot of very smart computer scientists computer engineers we have a lot of focus on scalability reliability as well as human factors

Malcolm Lui: Right. Yeah definitely. You don't want your call center going down. How many of these

Bob Cooper: No

Malcolm Lui: Call centers with a thousand plus seats are there out there

Bob Cooper: That's a good. You know and I'm not a marketing guy and I should know this. You know I don't know the answer to that. There's hundreds. But you know when they get really really big like that the number does diminish

Malcolm Lui: Right

Bob Cooper: Compared to lots of small ones.

Malcolm Lui: Right.

Bob Cooper: So

Malcolm Lui: Can you roughly speaking share how many call centers that your software is is in use now and what percentage of the market you think you have

Bob Cooper: It's hard to say what percentage of the market you know we play today and it's kind of our background. We were an acquisition by via. So we were a bunch engineers that worked for a while we built their self-service platform as engineers for a buyer and then 10 years ago we left the company primarily to help meet the needs of the channel. So if I had a great platform but there was really a lack of talent to write applications that ran on that platform so that the market that we've addressed over the last 10 years has primarily been the advice centric market and that market really is divided between a via Genesis and Cisco. And so in their MySpace we're one of the bigger players. We probably have you know we do have a mix of customers between the very very large as like the big cable companies the big power companies the big health care companies but we also have lots of deployments and you know smaller customers as well. So overall we probably have two three hundred customers. I would say

Malcolm Lui: Okay

Bob Cooper: That very very large space it's you know probably 20

Malcolm Lui: We see very large very very large space of time. Like the fortune 100 space

Bob Cooper: Yeah like yes with

Malcolm Lui: Okay.

Bob Cooper: Like a 5000 number kind of call center size.

Malcolm Lui: 5000.

Bob Cooper: Right.

Malcolm Lui: Wow. Okay.

Bob Cooper: Right. You

Malcolm Lui: So

Bob Cooper: Know big

Malcolm Lui: What kind

Bob Cooper: Big

Malcolm Lui: Of company

Bob Cooper: Ben

Malcolm Lui: Has a 5000 seat call center

Bob Cooper: Well I mean like a big cable company will. We'll have that many agents. So

Malcolm Lui: And these are typically they are sitting altogether one enormous building or they scattered throughout the world. It's 5000 seats.

Bob Cooper: No they're usually. Yeah. They're scattered typically there. They're definitely not in one building. So that's what makes the problem interesting and some of our solutions help address that issue. So you know if you call a big cable company and you know the way that industry grew was through acquisitions over time. So you know they typically will have branches throughout the United States. They'll have call centers and different geographical regions within the US and over time zones but then they also have call centers BPO call centers in other parts of the world. So one part of our software that we've designed for that market is very good at routing a call looking across all the different call centers across the country and routing you to the agent that can answer your call the quickest. Taking into account you know the time zones and the languages and then they estimated wait time of that particular call center in real time.

Malcolm Lui: Very nice. So based on what buttons I might press while navigating your software. Connect me with the person who's best able to help me wherever they may be sitting. Assuming that the connection quality is good enough

Getting customers to the right agent quickly and accurate is part of the solution that needs be solved.

Bob Cooper: That's true. So either button presses or you know now it's moving into more speech or natural speech. But that's correct. Getting you to that agent if you know if we reach into the wrong agent it turns out to be a poor experience for you. And it's also pretty expensive from a customer perspective. As you're my client when I say customer from their perspective as well for an agents talk to you find out you've reached the wrong agent transfer that call somewhere else. Hopefully there's no additional wait time when you get to that second agent. Make sure all the information's collected either in the IVR or the first agent gets passed on to the second agent. So that's all part of the solution that has to be solved

Malcolm Lui: Right

Bob Cooper: A problem that as we saw on

Malcolm Lui: You know oftentimes when I contact some companies I end up repeating myself multiple times saying the same thing

Bob Cooper: Sure

Malcolm Lui: Every time is that simply because each department is isolated and they don't share information or is there. Is it because they just don't have the right tools and software to do it.

Bob Cooper: See it could be a little bit of both. You know the biggest problem that it happens when especially when a call gets answered maybe the IVR is in the United States or you know in building one and it collects this information like you said you know drives me nuts to me. And you've given it all this information your account information and picture problem and you finally end up going to an agent and they act like they don't know who you are.

Malcolm Lui: Right

Bob Cooper: Super

Malcolm Lui: Exactly.

Bob Cooper: Frustrating right.

Malcolm Lui: Yes

Bob Cooper: Well so part of the problem you know it's part of the problem. Traces back to our legacy. Public switch telephone network. So when you transfer a call if you transfer a call like within a company or with over a private network or something like that they're able to send a piece of information such that when the call lands at that destination it can go look up that record. But if sometimes if the call goes across just to the PSTN network in that call it loses that piece of data that ties it to that customer record. The system on the other end doesn't you know doesn't have a way to go fetch the details of that call. So a lot of times it's either you know if they're using outsourced agents or agents that are not on their switch and that and the system just poorly designed.

Malcolm Lui: Right.

Bob Cooper: So you know a lot of the big players do everything they can to stop that from happening because not only is it not only is it bad from your experience you know they measure you know the then the savings for an agent you know to be able to trim 20 seconds off of their conversation with you translates into enormous on money.

Malcolm Lui: Oh

Bob Cooper: So

Malcolm Lui: Yeah

Bob Cooper: They're very very very motivated not to have to ask you that information again. It's not because they're lazy or anything like that

Malcolm Lui: Sure. And also you can somehow access the customer satisfaction perspective right. Shorter hold times wait times. Problem reservation times is definitely better than longer. You don't want someone

Bob Cooper: Oh

Malcolm Lui: To be so

Bob Cooper: Yeah

Malcolm Lui: Irritated that they start posting on social media how they spent

Bob Cooper: No.

Malcolm Lui: The last forty five minutes with a company and they got nowhere with the

Bob Cooper: Right. Right. And these companies they definitely track you know they it's not like you know they definitely put a lot of effort in a lot of money into trying to make the customers and customers experience as good as possible because not only saves them money in the end as far as customer churn or But the customer the end customer does have a lot of power as far as expressing their delight or dissatisfaction with the service provider

Malcolm Lui: Yeah. And ultimately their customer has a lot choice to.

Bob Cooper: They

Malcolm Lui: Right.

Bob Cooper: Do. They do. They do.

Malcolm Lui: And it's a big hassle that you're taller a lot. Big hassle the change providers. You know once you do then you're going to you're going to be probably stuck at the other one for a while. No losing forever.

Bob Cooper: Yeah yeah yeah.

Malcolm Lui: So you grow your business quite handily over the past few years from 4 million in 2014 to about 12 million in 2018. Can you share what the three biggest drivers were of your growth

Their three biggest drivers of their growth.

Bob Cooper: And this is you know they can on the fly here. So you know we have a very fortunately we we have a very loyal customer base so we're very very very seldom ever lose a customer. So that goes back to the. You know some of the core values of the company side. You know our goal is to you know just overly delight our you know our customers regardless. You know it comes up a debate on you know did we promise to deliver X for a given amount of money and the customer has the impression that we did will always error on the side of doing what they think is right. You know because they'll end up being a customer longer and in the end it'll just work itself out. So I think just you know customer sad as it is a huge driver for Swampfox over just about everything else. So I think that's enabled us to have very sticky customers.

Malcolm Lui: So number one it would be very loyal and sticking customers driven

Bob Cooper: Somebody

Malcolm Lui: Primarily by

Bob Cooper: Yelp

Malcolm Lui: By by overly delighting them

Bob Cooper: Yes. Yeah sorry. Somebody call my phone and it broke into the audio.

Malcolm Lui: No trouble.

Bob Cooper: Ok. Hopefully that will happen. So that's you know that's a big factor. The other is just the culture that we're trying to create in the company to attract just the top 1 or 2 percent. Workers is a big goal of mine. We churn a ton of the money and the profits that come into the company. We put a lot of it back into the company to make just a great facility for people to work at and just create a great culture. You know I've worked in a lot of big Fortune 500 Fortune 1000 companies that had great people and the culture was was not where you'd want to spend your whole life. That's part of the reason we started swamp dogs was just to create not to get rich quick. I did the whole days kind of thing and when we started this company the whole goal was to create a company where people just really enjoyed coming to work and working together and doing a good job. So those are those are two of the biggest factors I would say and then you know from a market direction perspective you know we constantly evolve in the direction that the market's headed more toward software as a service hosted solutions starting to fold more and more artificial intelligence and or solutions to make them more and more intelligent. All those tech not technological as well as kind of business directional things is helping our top and bottom lines grow

Malcolm Lui: Okay great. So just to recap the three biggest drivers. One if you focus on customer satisfaction to create a loyal and sticky customer base you're you're really also focused hard on developing a culture within the firm to attract and retain the top 1 or 2 percent of the workers. And you're constantly evolving your platform. As technology changes are looking to integrate those as well.

Bob Cooper: That's right.

Malcolm Lui: All right. Okay good.

Bob Cooper: That's where.

Malcolm Lui: Now let me talk a little bit more about each of these three. When you say very loyal and the key customer base is it really isn't it partly also because it's once a company invests into your system and develop processes to take advantage of your software is not inherently make it very difficult for them to move in the future.

Why they don't hold people hostage.

Bob Cooper: No not really. So you know it's kind of one of our when we created the company. You know we had a kind of us a mantra. We don't hold anybody hostage. So it's not uncommon for competitors of ours to get a customer to say to you to invest in look you get company X to write your software once you've done that. You're kind of held hostage you can't you know even if you're trying to buy the source code the tools with which the company used or proprietary. There's no you know you have no option but to either throw it all out and start over. You can't just hire somebody else to take over. And so that's not the case with us. So with that even with us the if you've you know if you're a for example if you were in the Avaya ecosystem and you've bought a buy experience for this self-service platform which has nothing to do with what you buy from smartphones the tools that we use to write the application are the same tools that you as a customer could use or any of our competitors would use if they use it. We use the tools that are off the shelf offered by a buyer. So we give the customer the option to buy the source code. We give the customer the option for us to sit down our developers to sit down with their developers and walk through the source code.

Bob Cooper: So you know it costs more because you know there's a lot of work involved in that. But we definitely won't hold you hostage and we work with a lot of companies you know a lot of our lot. We have a good number of customers a lot of these big customers have development shops and a lot of those customers say look you know we're new to experience portal or we don't know we need help writing this application as opposed to us and well we write it you know we're never going to tell you about it we're going to hold you hostage. We're much more flexible say look we'll work with your developers we can either write it from scratch and then do a knowledge transfer and turn it over to them or we can do a component of it if we need to work with some developers in kind of a CO design kind of thing and even in our hosting environment. We hosted on the same platform that a customer would buy and put in their own shop. So you know I make a promise to anybody that's hosted I said look if you want to take this out of the hosting environment bring it in house. Not only will we enable you to do it will will help you do it if you're us if you're unsatisfied with us hosting the solution for you. Know shame on swamp.

Malcolm Lui: Right

Bob Cooper: So

Malcolm Lui: Now is there are years when you do when you develop your software for a particular client is it how much of it is custom and how much of it is something you repurpose from another client

Bob Cooper: Right. Kind of depends. So we do own everything we write you know. So we will give you so like if you say hey look we want. We want you to write some software for us. I mean there are exceptions to this but in general we do have a lot of software that we leverage from the whole methodology that we do for logging and fault tolerance and user administration all that is swamp box technology that we leverage over and over and over. So. So even if you ask us to write a piece of software and it needs to be fault tolerant we that some of that make it be custom work and some of that may leverage software that we have already written. So but in general we have we really have besides that we will have kind of two classifications of software we have packaged software that's literally you know a packaged solution whether it's a callback solution you know if you have a three hour wait and you don't want a wait and you want to get a callback right when it's your turn in line or you need to after you get done talking to an agent. You want to take a survey or an outbound notification kind of solution appointment reminders that stuff is all packaged applications that are you know the user experience be customized but the base software in that they offer itself is packaged then the other kind is where somebody says Bob we need a custom IVR that does X Y and Z and that's you know more of a custom thing that still has some a la pre written underpinnings as part of the offer.

Malcolm Lui: Right. So you know that you're not too concerned about a competitor who is now has access to your code potentially because their customers at all and you know we're gonna switch to your competitor. Of course they don't have the license to use a code but they make it an inspiration product. That's

Bob Cooper: Well

Malcolm Lui: Not

Bob Cooper: No

Malcolm Lui: Really

Bob Cooper: They

Malcolm Lui: A

Bob Cooper: Could

Malcolm Lui: Concern

Why they are happy to sell their source code

Bob Cooper: Know. Literally I will. So if a customer says Look Bob we want you to write this software. And even in the case where I say and we want to buy this rights to the source code custom software they want by the way the in source code don't you. And we need to reserve the option of firing you and go in with somebody else that is you know the rights that I give them. There's not only the rights to look at the source code. They can modify the source code they can build derivative products on the source code so they could take our source code in it and I'll go through my developers when they do this and we'll walk through the source code with them and tell them how it works if they became dissatisfied with us and they said you know what. We're going to sell our relationship with Swampfox and go with competitor X. They are more than welcome to do that and I'm happy to enable them to do that because apparently we're doing a crappy job investigators. So I do not want to you know the only thing they can't if they buy a packaged product for me you know they don't get the source code for that. But

Malcolm Lui: Right.

Bob Cooper: You know any custom software Well anything could be sold but in general you would not get the source source code for that. But yeah they can. They could take our software to a computer.

Malcolm Lui: Ok. Well it's also a good philosophy right. I mean if they're so unhappy that they want to make a move. Well advisory just make it easy for them. There's no point keeping them around.

Bob Cooper: Yeah. And apparently I'm screwing up somewhere if that's the case you know. So I'd appreciate learning why the why they want to move in general.

Malcolm Lui: Yeah.

Bob Cooper: But that

Malcolm Lui: This.

Bob Cooper: And you know to my knowledge out there that's a rapid

Malcolm Lui: So so you haven't lost any customers since 2014. Short

Bob Cooper: No we'll

Malcolm Lui: Of

Bob Cooper: Lose some now we'll lose some sometimes customers will shift from like you know there's aggressive efforts by Genesis and Cisco to go after the ABI base. And so typically when we lose a customer a lot of times it will happen by an acquisition. And that acquiring company will have a different technology and they say you know we're a Cisco shop where we're just decommissioning all the allied stuff. Right.

Malcolm Lui: Right.

Bob Cooper: And so there's not much you know. Yeah not much I can do there. So

Malcolm Lui: It's for the second driver it's about having a culture to attract the top 1 or 2 percent of the workers in that you've reinvested a large chunk of your profits to achieve that. How do you invest in culture. You're talking beyond just having a nice facilities and nice ping pong table and pool table that sort of thing right.

Bob Cooper: I mean that's part of it. That is part of it I mean we you know we went from you know an old rented building with cubes to we decided and we were we were told that we were going to be kicked out because they were selling the building. And then we said well we're going to go buy something that we can create. You know the right kind of environment. So we went bought an old nineteen hundreds of neat old building on the historic registry and gutted the top floor of it. And just really spent a lot of money on on infrastructure not so much ping pong table but just really inviting environment. And then you know equipment wise is always amaze me I've worked at big companies where they would you know they pay engineers six figures and then they'll quibble about spending you know six hundred dollars on a extra nice monitor which is just kind of really just crazy.

Malcolm Lui: Yeah.

Bob Cooper: So you know we you know we would give the engineers good equipment. You know the other things we try to do a lot is we get the young engineers to help really get really involved in projects meeting with customers defining product architecture. You know we do company we have Friday lunch every week that the company pays for and either we cook in-house because we've got a you know in-house we've got a big farm table a nice Wolf range and we either get a group together to cook or we go out or we get it catered in. We do quarterly we do an event together at dinner or a movie or you know not that long ago we rented a box and one went saw journey and Steve Miller Band we get to have our tenure reunion where we're flying everybody down everybody from the companies coming together for a weekend in Charleston with their wives spouses for a few days. So it's not all you know it's not all money definitely is it's attitude and as much as everything anything else but that money is a good good part of it we're getting ready to probably get way over spending on a building and I'm probably getting ready to spend about it.

Bob Cooper: I bought a building for about eight hundred K and a bit and rent has been one point two million on renovating one floor but we're going to put it in a rooftop bar and got a whole first floor in the basement. But I work on a nice workout facility. So it's all you know the clearly the the founders for founders we could all easily take all that money and do it on the cheap and drive a lot nicer Porsche than the old when I'm driving. But you know we spent you know I got to when I was renovating the top floor we got started. The architect wanted to put in a kind of talked me out of putting in a stove because it was ridiculous and wanted to put a fiberglass shower and I just said look I would not have that at my house and we all spend a majority of our waking lives here. So it needs to be at least as nice as what we got at home.

Malcolm Lui: Yeah. Makes sense.

How they compete for talent

Bob Cooper: So that's what it is. And you can feel it when you walk in the building when we when we bring these Internet kids out of school then they walk in. I said this is just different than anything else I've seen and the way out I'm in South Carolina which has got some phenomenal benefits from a place to live a cost of living. But the way I view it as I'm competing with the guys in Silicon Valley that either the law's and out and San Francisco or you know just that kind of environment. So is money well spent. MARTIN

Malcolm Lui: Yeah definitely. Mirror back my engineering days when I worked at tandem computers if you remember them.

Bob Cooper: Oh yeah.

Malcolm Lui: Always looks no. The Friday Beer Bus are always good fun.

Bob Cooper: Yeah yeah yeah.

Malcolm Lui: Now for the third driver that lets you shared with me constantly evolving your platform. How do you determine what to include and what not to include.

Bob Cooper: When a lot of it's kind of evolutionary you know we definitely we work with this. We have such a sticky customer base in their large customers. So a lot of the requests come from them and the direction they want to head. You know there's definitely all of our customer base. Tends to want to be more and more toward you know a hosted cloud environment. You know it's like they're torn about it especially the bigger customers are porn because they don't wanna lose control. But they do like that concept of not having to have all the infrastructure in house and having to manage it in-house. So usually it's kind of a you know the CIO versus the engineering I.T. staff kind of you know poking at you know having different forces applied to them in the business likes the the rate of change at which software can be deployed you know kind of outside of their premise sometimes so. But it's pretty clear where the markets go on. So that's driving a lot of it. And then you know when you look at the advancements in speech recognition and decision making and conversational interfaces how different that is over the last three years from what it was you know even 10 years ago a lot of the traditional players that build speech work that's being challenged by the Googles and the Amazon Lex and the IBM Watsons and even in Microsoft as well. All those guys have been collecting data conversational data you know for years and have built very sophisticated A.I. engines to interpret text. And so they're they're showing great strides in interfaces.

Malcolm Lui: You design your your software for your clients. Are you evolve with their overall big picture customer experience strategy or do they already have that laid out and say yeah we're going to have three different tiers of support. Everyone gets the first line no matter what. Then second and third they just bring you in to facilitate that or or are you part

Bob Cooper: Usually

Malcolm Lui: Of that overall

Bob Cooper: Usually we're. Yeah usually we're involved from the beginning. You know sometimes they are trying to figure it out. They may have a mandate to you know expand beyond the voice channel. Gotta have more sophisticated both chat more mobile web and they want to have you know instead of three separate you know a lot of times a way that stuff evolves is the somebody of the businesses says hey we got to have a chance solution and I'll go off and do it kind of independently of the other channels. And then you know that that goes well for a while and then then they kind of go we got to get all this stuff together because we don't have a consistent view of the customers journey from the time they first reached us. You know from coming on the web or coming into chat then they got escalated over to a voice agent. We have no way to view cradle to grave what happened. And so you know sometimes we'll get brought in like when the stuff's coming together to say help us you know we've got these three stovepipes you guys did the voice stuff can you help us get a handle on the digital channel and make it more consistent. So very seldom do we you know unless it's an RFP which we don't do a lot of RF PS typically does unless it's an RFP where they've kind of already got their minds made up or they think they do. And then you kind of brought in a little bit after the back but even then in case of an RFP they say there's there's still so much to be decided and what they originally thought they wanted to do may not make sense once you really get down to having serious discussions with the business on what their long term intent is.

Malcolm Lui: Right

Bob Cooper: All right.

Why customer service often have tiered support

Malcolm Lui: Now. Is it simply a money issue. Why they have different tiers of support and you know oftentimes I call up my satellite service provider who shall remain unnamed and the tier 1 support that they give you the person who answers the phone. They've just gone through a script having you do all these

Bob Cooper: All

Malcolm Lui: Silly

Bob Cooper: Right

Malcolm Lui: Little things that in

Bob Cooper: All

Malcolm Lui: My mind

Bob Cooper: Right.

Malcolm Lui: Thinking this is like zero relevancy to my issue here.

Bob Cooper: Right.

Malcolm Lui: But it takes

Bob Cooper: Right.

Malcolm Lui: Me forty five minutes before they ask me as someone who might be able to help

Bob Cooper: Right.

Malcolm Lui: It is simply a cost issue why they don't just bring on board someone who can solve my problem right off the get go. And some companies do do that. You call them and there's someone you can almost always solve your problem right on the spot. But for

Bob Cooper: Kind of you know I think it depends. I mean it definitely cost it is a factor I'm sure because you know sometimes you know the solutions are you know if you're talking about let's say you're a cable provider and you're providing you know cable providers have all kind of service now right. It's not just a set top box these you know they're providing even cellular service now and you've got you know it's frustrating to us engineers that usually when we call we've already diagnosed as much as we can you know we rebooted the thing unplug it. See if we got an IP address. You know we've we've done all this stuff which is kind of unusual from an overall customer base. So they do have the problem of there's just such a wide variety of customers that that reach in and you're you know you're bringing up the case of one of the problem is they treat everybody the same. You know so I won't say that and it's probably impractical to staff you know have every call handled by a Tier 4 super knowledgeable you know consultant there's just sometimes it's pretty complex to debug some things.

Malcolm Lui: Right

Bob Cooper: So you know what. You know we're the you know the trend really is now for and we're doing. It's a little bit different answer to your question but maybe I'll give you a sense. You know what we're trying to do now besides be in trying to understand what a caller says you know in a more fluid way which is you'll see a lot of the Apple Siri stuff. But an IVR space you know we're trying to predict why a caller is calling. So you know we're so we're trying to make the experience the self-service experience as as caller specific as possible. So we've been in our goal is for if you call the service and I call the service you know we get much different experiences tailored toward various items and the items clearly can be you know the what's going on you know simple example would be a service out of my area would be a kind of a brain dead example. But also it could be based on you know how often I call my sophistication level what products do I have. You know run a quick diagnostics even while the phone ordering to see if my service is up before you even talk to me.

Bob Cooper: So there's definitely a goal because not only does it make you happy the longer you talk to the wrong person it's just more expensive for the client offering you that service it's all wasted time and they are doing everything they can to make first call resolution. Yes what they measure they measure you know how often can we resolve it in the first call. How long did it take us from the time you first called in until we had that issue resolved you know how many times do we have to transfer that call to a different person. All of those things are strikes against the customer service department and so they've all got you know these big customers all have like a you know a customer experience czar or Chief Customer Experience Officer whose whole goal is to view things from your perspective the caller's perspective to try to make it as delightful as possible because nobody nobody calls up to talk to an IVR they call up to get a issue. All

Malcolm Lui: Yeah definitely.

Bob Cooper: Right.

Malcolm Lui: Yeah.

Bob Cooper: All right

Malcolm Lui: And he's got you kind of come to this to the stage now to the point to where if you get good service i.e. your problem is resolved quickly you're just amazed. Right. Because some of the other companies aren't able to do it in a quick fashion.

Bob Cooper: Now that's true.

Malcolm Lui: And so

Bob Cooper: Well that should be the standard new

Malcolm Lui: Yeah yeah I mean I mean like I call this one company it's a consumer electronics company. They also do some commercial products as well. But as they start acquiring companies they had a consumer electronics head and I called them up fully expecting that the person can't help me because they cover definitely hundreds if not thousands of consumer products and that person goes look at what

Bob Cooper: Right.

Malcolm Lui: Product you have and go I have this headset that I'm having issues with. The person was able to help me right on the spot in my. Wow. They got their systems nailed down right. Yes. I mean of

Bob Cooper: Yeah.

Malcolm Lui: All the hundreds

Bob Cooper: Yeah.

Malcolm Lui: I could have mentioned this person maybe I was lucky or maybe they're just well trained and had all the tools in place that they they

Bob Cooper: Right.

Malcolm Lui: Know the common issues and problems and you know silly diagnostics right. They just jumped right into it. It's like wow

Bob Cooper: Right.

Malcolm Lui: Fantastic

Bob Cooper: And you know usually though usually it takes you know people want to call into a self-service system and you know they hear the system that wants them to elicit you know why are you calling and they just say push 0 0 0

Malcolm Lui: Yeah I did that sometimes.

Bob Cooper: Which is.

Malcolm Lui: I know

Getting information from customers upfront to reduce time of customer service

Bob Cooper: And I can understand that you know because they want to talk to somebody as quickly as possible but you know some of the yes there are different agents are definitely skilled with different sets of knowledge. So you know usually if we can at least get you to say Look I'm calling about I've got a problem my headset versus my radio arm Sol you know that's super helpful. Because usually one agent can't realistically answer especially for these big big customers and depending on how complex the product is or if it's health care related what you know difficult O'Bagy y and claim versus does Bob have coverage for you know blue cross blue shield. They're very different skills. You know the the some of the stuff almost there are nurse practitioners or doctors that answer some of these questions because they just get very complicated. And so we do try to get some information for you really in the goal of of cutting down the amount of time you've got to get spent

Malcolm Lui: Yeah.

Bob Cooper: Talking to the wrong person.

Malcolm Lui: And at the same time I mean if they can reduce the call resolution time that's not much fewer people they need to have on staff to provide that service

Bob Cooper: Right.

Malcolm Lui: So

Bob Cooper: Right. It's a win win on both sides.

Malcolm Lui: I'm looking forward a little bit to 2019. You're at twelve million for 2018. What's what's your plan for 2018 What are your targets.

Bob Cooper: Well I'm not. I mean watch dog ghost grow you know continue to grow at a good 15 to 20 percent

Malcolm Lui: Okay

Bob Cooper: Clip. So I don't have any desire to stay flat.

Malcolm Lui: So what's the plan to grow your business a 20 percent from 12 million to 14 15 million next year.

Bob Cooper: I might be a little aggressive and usually usually what happens is we'll put a number out there and we'll beat it.

Malcolm Lui: Okay

Bob Cooper: So I may end up there but I hope that's our stated. I know it's not 15. But I may end up there we'll see.

Malcolm Lui: Okay. So what's the plan to get there. Is it to do more business with your existing customers. Is it finding new customers is it acquiring new companies

Bob Cooper: Right. So some of that I won't talk about.

Malcolm Lui: Jerry.

Bob Cooper: So we're definitely expanding into some new markets and that's pretty exciting.

Malcolm Lui: When you say

Bob Cooper: I'll just

Malcolm Lui: That

Bob Cooper: Say we've been

Malcolm Lui: You mean going into new verticals with your state with your existing product line or you mean coming up new products and services

Bob Cooper: It's almost well we've been in our business but it is we've been in the mobile space for 10 years and there's a broader market out there than just a buyer. So evaluating that space we have other vendors that are anxious for us to do work with them. They would like us to look at those spaces. But you know as clearly our core and then we've got a great product but. So that's one area we're looking at we're expanding. You know we when we started you know we started this company bootstrapped no salary. So when you do that it's kind of custom software to get started professional services and then we've added you know had that fund product development. So really the the where we're investing more and more is on more and more products new products and more hosted services taking our products and offering them much more in a monthly recurring revenue model hosting environment. We're looking seriously at some verticals where a lot of experience in some big verticals on months to all kind of all three of those are in play right now.

Malcolm Lui: Right. Okay. What do you see as your biggest marketing challenge to achieve your targets.

Their biggest marketing challenge

Bob Cooper: Well you know today we do almost no marketing. We have our biggest problem with having an engineering company you know. So we've grown engineering staff well and product managers and strategy and all that's going well where I have not invested where I need to is really on the sales side and on the marketing side. So we're to continue to grow you know these revenue numbers. We need to bring on more salespeople. We've been doing we've been growing at this rate without adding a salesperson in six years probably.

Malcolm Lui: Wow.

Bob Cooper: So we're right. So I'm trying I'm trying to get out of doing sales. But you know the customers are loyal and they it's it's hard not answered the phone and tell them to go where somebody else

Malcolm Lui: Right.

Bob Cooper: When they call. And there were a lot of my customers where our very first one is when you're you've got five of the starting and you're the CEO your whole goal is to get revenue and so you establish a strong bond with some of these first big customers. And there's still our customer and a lot of loyalty to them. But you know big challenge I think is is really investing more in marketing and then hiring additional sales staff training them up. It's a call center software is not a simple it's not selling boxes or widgets. It's a lot of it is a consultative sale. So you either have to have experience in the Via Cisco Genesis Space and understand call centers or you've got to learn it and it's it takes a while

Malcolm Lui: Now why haven't you invested more in marketing and sales in the past is it just because of your engineering focus like you said or it's because your test marketing endeavor assistant work out as you entail hence you didn't really pursue it as aggressively

Bob Cooper: Well I mean we have to a degree I mean but a lot of it's kind of been you know internal. So I hired a great head of marketing is also running sales for me. That was not a sales guy. A few years ago. And then had really started filling in with product managers because we kind of transition once we started building product. So look we've got a really transitional product company where we've got roadmaps and all the product documentation and release information and all that that goes along with with products. So we've been investing in that regard. And to be honest with you you know we're just flat out busy. So if I hired five sales guys I wouldn't have been able to fulfill the the demand if they generated it.

Malcolm Lui: Right.

Bob Cooper: So we are we've constantly grown engineering ever since we started. And then you know in the last two years ago we started bringing on all the stuff that goes along with engineering.

Malcolm Lui: Right. So you know you mentioned before that your biggest challenges is investing more in marketing. He shared a bit more about that. Is it just simply finding the time to do it. Finding the people finding the outside vendors to do it. Finding the right strategy it is.

Bob Cooper: The answer is probably you know I think it's we just need to hire some additional people. The guy I've got running marketing is just you know he's running sales and marketing. So you know really we don't have you know we don't have a more com department. So a lot of that needs to be you know outsourced you know materials Booth creation doing any kind of threat we haven't done any kind of really direct marketing in the past. We're just starting to we're starting to create kind of small video clips to help people understand our product offers what the solutions what they solve what the market is but really haven't tried to do any direct marketing to for customers. So you know a lot of our businesses have been word of mouth or through resellers versus direct sales but we're starting to do more and more direct sales and that's going to cause us to really have a good no need for direct marketing demand generation

Malcolm Lui: Yeah. I mean word of mouth and resellers and they're fantastic right. And both

Bob Cooper: Right

Malcolm Lui: In that they're warm and

Bob Cooper: Right.

Malcolm Lui: People are interesting but the downside right is that you don't have a lot control of the flow

Bob Cooper: That is that is true. That is true for

Malcolm Lui: So if he could wave a magic wand you know how would you want things to be. If you could just kind of make it instantly happen.

His magic wand wish

Bob Cooper: Well I mean I probably you know I'd love to have a really seasoned V.P. of engineering. I mean V.P. of sales part of my leadership team to free up my sales and marketing guy to focus for him to focus purely on marketing and strategy. Now would a be the biggest hire I would love to do. And you know if I it higher. Yes. Probably the one magic wand thing I would would love. To to get.

Malcolm Lui: Right. Okay.

Bob Cooper: So

Malcolm Lui: I'm sure a lot of executive recruiting firms will try to grant

Bob Cooper: Blatant

Malcolm Lui: Your wish.

Bob Cooper: The Haymarket divide.

Malcolm Lui: Yeah

Bob Cooper: They

Malcolm Lui: So

Bob Cooper: Want

Malcolm Lui: Three last questions for you in

Bob Cooper: Sir.

Malcolm Lui: South Carolina. I'm sure there are some freeways there that move quickly and typically if you are driving on a freeway as you know when they're cruising along at 60 70 miles per hour they have about six seconds to view see comprehend a billboard. What would your billboard message be. It's readable in six seconds.

Bob Cooper: I am not good on my feet here. So it would have if I really had to do a billboard. I mean our name and our logos pretty memorable and it would usually draw people. What the heck is that. So that would be prominent. So that a tag line might be you know under there you know contact us if you want. You know intelligent customer. Does your company need to offer your customers an intelligent customer experience. Because that's really You know that's kind of where besides our core values that's really what we try to infuse all of our products. It's kind of a guiding principle. So how do we make anything we do whether it's a voice user interface or me predicting Why. Yeah like I said when when you call our new IVR as I'm trying to guess why you called instead of saying how can I help you. I may say hey are you calling because X Hey Bob are you calling to pay your bill you know because of X based on expert systems behind me. So that's really where we're investing a lot. And so that's where a company said they'd be a good fit for us

Malcolm Lui: Right. And my final two questions. Who are your ideal customers and what's the best way for them to contact your teen.

Their ideal customer

Bob Cooper: So I think an ideal customer today would be of you know large Fortune 1000 customer with large contact center. Investment primarily a buyer today but in a hosted urged in our hosting environment doesn't really matter what the technology is. So any big customer that has large number of agents that really wants to have a sophisticated self-service whether it's you know voice or chat. Essam asks inbound or outbound or mobile web. So those typically tend to be the prototypical ones tend to be big cable companies big energy companies big financial services health care you know the Blue Cross is kind of Style. Anybody or a big gum you know if you're a big outdoor hosted BPO Call Center hosted call center and you're looking for ways to differentiate your offerings to the people we have some pretty cool offerings in that space

Malcolm Lui: What's the best way for those companies to reach out to you in your teen

Bob Cooper: Will clearly mean you're welcome to reach out to me. I'll give you the the domain. This company is Swampfox Inc. S.W. ANP folks I see dot com I couldn't get swamped on dot com. So Swampfox Negus is the URL for the company Web site. And me personally it's like first name dot last name. So Bob dot Cooper at Swampfox Inc. Dot com or you can call me 8 0 3 4 5 1 4 5 4 5. Pretty much anytime.

Malcolm Lui: All right. And that's it. And I should have asked you this earlier. Tell me about the name Swampfox. Why why did you choose that

Bob Cooper: Why

Malcolm Lui: Name.

Bob Cooper: Swampfox.

Malcolm Lui: Yeah why Swampfox.

Bob Cooper: Well I it's not it's not it doesn't. I went to university Florida and has nothing to do with the swamp which is the name of the stadium in Gainesville but really I I wanted to pick. And we debated this for a long time. What. It's not as trivial as you think. I think it's like picking a band name if you're a former rock band. You know we wanted something that would be easy to remember once you've heard it. Something that would not tie us to a specific technology. So we didn't want to be you know Colson or whatever or telephony or speech record or anything on that. So I wanted to be easier to remember not tied to a to a technology. But the third is more of a trivia thing. South Carolina during the Revolutionary War if you're a history buff the name Swampfox means something to you. So he was Francis Marion was a big name I guess his rank of rank was general with fighter leader in the Revolutionary War. So what most people may not know that but they remember the character that Mel Gibson played in the patriot and that was.

Malcolm Lui: Right

Bob Cooper: That's who that was he was he so he was you know his style. Whenever we talked about we started the company to use some of this in our marketing you know be an aggressive and nimble in fighting the big guys. But you know he would hide out in the woods and fight in kind of an unconventional manner

Malcolm Lui: Right.

Bob Cooper: In the swamps. But anyway so if there is a lot of Swampfox references in the state of South Carolina. But that's the biggest thing is you can you recognize it you hear it.

Malcolm Lui: Yeah and it's unusual right. Swamps and foxes

Bob Cooper: It's not

Malcolm Lui: Usually not. They don't go together.

Bob Cooper: You know. And the theme has kind of taken over so there you see lots of foxes if you walk around our office.

Malcolm Lui: You know swampy stuff just foxes.

Bob Cooper: No so I have not. Not too many swampy things but plenty of foxes.

Malcolm Lui: All right. Awesome. So much for joining us today Bob and sharing how you at you grew your company's high value sales.

Bob Cooper: All right we appreciate the time.

Malcolm Lui: We've been speaking with Bob Cooper, the CEO of Swampfox Technologies, about his company's rapid growth. For interviews with other fast growing high value sales companies, or to learn how we can accelerate your firm's high value sales through automation, visit

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