Even though 2023 isn't over yet, it's safe to say it's been anything but boring for the tech industry. With fewer fundraising rounds, the need to cut costs, and growing customer expectations, many companies have focused on customer centricity and efficient operations.
On November 8th, we hosted a panel discussion at Qonto's office in Paris to bring together industry experts and talk about the best practices for these two subjects.
The panelists included:
- Ali El Alaoui, the Head of Operations Engineering at Qonto, one of the hottest fintech companies that provides an integrated finance management solution for small and medium-sized enterprises.
- Hajer Gorgi, the co-founder & COO at Flitter, the top-rated insurtech company, an alternative to traditional car insurance, which recently raised €3.5M.
- Pierre-Francois de Rougé, the co-founder & CTO at Motto, an innovative e-bike subscription service with a tech-driven approach.
- Paula Beltran, the Head of Customer Success at Forest Admin, a company with a mission to empower businesses with the best internal tools to streamline their operations and enhance customer experience and satisfaction.
- Louis Steenbrink, the Director of Revenue at Forest Admin.
Watch the recording or read the summary below 👇
What all panelists have in common (besides being Forest Admin users) is having high activity businesses, with a high volume of transactions, and intense ops activities. That's why, their operations must be efficient, scalable, and adaptable. The panelists discussed four angles of how to achieve that.
Adapting Operations to Challenging Times
Ali from Qonto acknowledged the constraints faced by scale-ups in terms of reduced investment and heightened expectations. The fintech industry witnessed changes in the ecosystem, including more regulations. However, Ali emphasized that the challenges were not solely negative; advancements in tools and their increased accessibility have made processes easier to optimize.
Hajer, representing Flitter, shared insights into the challenges and opportunities in the current startup landscape. Investors expect startups to demonstrate operational efficiency, scrutinizing factors such as cash burn, client acquisition, and revenue generation. It is a departure from previous times when startup pitches could rely on broader promises without detailed operational metrics.
Best ops is no ops - Hajer Gorgi, Flitter
Efficiency in Operations
Pierre-François highlighted Motto's operational challenges as a fleet operator with thousands of bikes. Key KPIs, such as operating costs and user satisfaction, play a crucial role. Automation is integral to their operations, utilizing tools like Forest Admin, Intercom, and an in-house mobile app for operators. The app streamlines tasks like onboarding clients and managing bike test rides, ensuring daily operations run smoothly.
Paula presented Forest Admin's approach to centralizing and streamlining business operations, emphasizing the importance of operational efficiency. Forest Admin itself is a key component, offering a holistic view of client data, needs, and interactions. Integration with CRM (HubSpot), success metric measurement through Metabase, and collaboration via project management tools contribute to their comprehensive operational strategy. Centralized data access enables proactive issue resolution and optimized customer experiences.
Operational efficiency is crucial for us at Forest. We use a combination of strategies and tools to achieve it. - Paula Beltran, Forest Admin
Ali was talking about how important it is to have immediate and accurate access to data for their work at Qonto. They use Forest for many processes, which allows them to take action and access data at the same time. Being able to show data when needed is seen as crucial for making quick and accurate decisions. Ali stressed the importance of centralization, saying that using fewer tools and integrating them more leads to more efficient operations.
Customer Satisfaction & Retention
The conversation moved to customer satisfaction and retention strategies, focusing on Flitter's outstanding 4.8-star rating on Google. Hajer stressed the importance of using the right tools for customer satisfaction, specifically mentioning Intercom and Forest Admin. They also introduced no-code tools to strategically measure Net Promoter Scores (NPS).
Ali shared Qonto's approach, called "The Qonto Way," where they thoroughly analyze bad ratings to uncover the reasons behind them. This approach requires significant effort but is crucial for understanding and addressing user concerns.
A strong customer service is backed by a strong tech and strong tooling. - Ali El Alaoui, Qonto
Pierre-François talked about Motto's initiative to improve customer satisfaction by automating repair appointment bookings through their app. Initially, manual processes caused friction and led to bad ratings, prompting the move to empower users to schedule repairs autonomously. The initiative streamlined operations and improved the user experience.
Paula emphasized the importance of QBRs, especially for B2B companies like Forest Admin. These sessions help share insights on data, platform interactions, and challenges, fostering a strong client relationship and understanding of their goals.
Leveraging Technology in Customer Success and Support
Finally, the panel discussion focused on the role of technology in optimizing customer success and support operations.
Pierre-Francois highlighted the use of connected devices and GPS in electric bikes to address the issue of theft. Thanks to technology, stolen bikes can be located in real-time, resulting in an 80% recovery rate.
Ali stressed the importance of automation and data analytics in a customer-centric banking environment. The goal is to reduce manual operations, clicks, and processing time.
Hajer shared insights into automating insurance processes. While KYC processes can be automated to a certain extent, human intervention remains crucial, especially in verifying documents.
The evolution of operations at Qonto included aligning operations with product development. Operations became an integral part of the product, ensuring that the user experience was not only seamless on the front end but also efficient for customer support teams.
The panelists shared their essential tools, focusing on Forest Admin, Intercom, Slack, Typeform, and additional tools like n8n and Zapier. They emphasized the need for tools that provide the right data to different teams, contributing to the overall success of customer support and operations. The discussion touched on the practical applications of AI in operations. Examples included using OpenAI to extract data from documents and automate tasks that would be cumbersome without AI. The panelists highlighted the potential of AI in streamlining processes and solving specific challenges.
The whole discussion was about how industries are always changing and need to be adaptable and efficient. They talked a lot about using technology, like Forest Admin, Intercom, and automation, to make operations better. They also stressed the importance of understanding and meeting customer needs, measuring success, and always trying to improve, no matter what industry you're in.
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