Brendan Farrell, the chairman of the board at Voinext, discusses the changing face on online customer service, growing a global business from Gorey and the importance of starting lean.
I come from a design and innovation background but have been involved in building new businesses for the last 35 years.
The idea and the service
Voinext CEO Jim Tracey came up with the original concept for Voinext. A simple way for online customers to connect to a ‘real salesperson’ who could make sure you got the right advice, the right product, the right deal and then close the sale.
So the rules for Jim were simple. Firstly contacting your online supplier should be for free. When you go to their store, they should be able to tell if you are a new or existing customer and serve you better. It all about the customer experience. Unlike the impersonal world of internet shopping that exists today. Jim wanted his online business to be customer-centric.
“The service allows your online customers call you for free, directly from your website to your phone.”
The value proposition
We seem to have hit on a service that fits with just about any business with an online presence. Hotels, car hire, software, manufacturing, plant hire, property and finance companies, the list is endless and growing fast.
I suppose that it proves that, globally businesses still need to talk with their customers, and even in an online world voice is still the best for customer experiences for closing a sale.
“Who would have imagined that a Gorey based SaaS Company with its software team based in Minsk would be supplying free call service to a premier restaurant in Bali?”
The toughest part of starting a business
You need a ‘launch’ product. Any seasoned entrepreneur will tell you that the most important thing is to prove that your product or service has traction in the market. Prove that customers want what you are selling. Early customer feedback will help you improve your proposition. Beyond that, it’s all about the balance between resources, finance and growth.
Growth funding is all about the cost of acquisition of new customers versus the return on investment in sales. While this might seem simple, you need a good market entry plan and sales strategy, plus the funding and relevant expertise on your team.
“The best startup advice I can give is bootstrap and lean burn.”
In five years Voinext will have become a significant player in the global communication and CX (customer experience) markets. Our services will allow online marketers offer a new level of customer engagement. Plus we have made it even easier for customers to connect by providing our free calls service button.
Advice to aspiring entrepreneurs
The best startup advice I can give is ‘bootstrap’ and ‘lean burn’. Your founders, shareholders and early-stage investors will support you and thank you for it. A startup is hard work but if you have a passion for what you are doing the best result is to prove your case regarding value creation as early as possible.
Warren Buffett is someone that I admire a lot. A modest brilliant man who demonstrates that it’s not all about the money. I have an interest in what some other notable business people are doing, but personally, I follow my vision.
About Brendan Farrell
Brendan Farrell is chairman of the board at Voinext. He has established and continues to establish new technology companies with international potential, and currently advises a number of companies on strategic development, product marketing, investment strategy and corporate structure. Through his involvement in various companies, he has helped to secure investment funding in excess of €6 million over the last 10 years. In addition, he has successfully negotiated many international contracts with companies like AT&T, Casio, BT and Marconi. A former lecturer in Industrial Design, Craft and Education at NCAD, he also holds a Bachelor of Science in Industrial Design Engineering.