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50 Innovative Companies to Watch 2019

An Interview with Vicky Ezell, mindStart Vice President: ‘Our Customer Service Solutions are Tailored to Your Needs, Regardless of What Channel Your Customers Prefer’

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Building a strong brand with excellent service is a driving factor for mindStart as a company, and for our clients.”

In today’s world, a call center alone is not enough for customers. They want a fast and reliable support avenue available at all times. From waiting in line at the grocery store and submitting an online chat, to calling in on a drive home from work, to searching for a how-to video online. The premise is simple: your customers need various avenues for support.

In light of the foregoing, we’re thrilled to present mindStart – committed to providing unique outsourced customer support services tailored to best-fit its clients’ needs.

Based in Austin, Texas the company provides highly knowledgeable, out-of-the-box support services to the world’s leading companies. mindStart is big enough to have the experience and knowledge to support your clients, but small enough to provide the individual solutions needed.

The company was incorporated in 2000.

Vicky Ezell, mindStart Vice President, spoke exclusively to The Silicon Review. Below is an excerpt.

Why was the company set up? And how did you expand your company and its offerings over the years?

We partnered with clients wanting to build both dedicated and hybrid teams as part of their organizations. These partnerships allowed our clients to focus on what they do best: create an amazing product and launch it into the consumer market. And, they trusted us to delight their customers with excellent customer service. It’s through this need that mindStart was born almost 20
years ago.

Our company was founded by entrepreneurs who saw the need for enterprise-based customer support solutions after spending over 10 years in the technical customer service space. Over the last five years, we felt confident that we could leverage our experiences with customer support in the consumer product startup world. Since then, we have built mindStart as a leading customer experience firm which provides support across various industries such as smart home technology, cloud-based software, hospitality products, personal safety devices, health care, transportation, and virtual reality.

We have been developing our offerings as mindStart and witnessed a continued upward growth trajectory year by year; this trend has allowed us to satisfy client needs. The offerings provided include systems integration, technical writing, consultative services, in-person support at trade shows, and client interactions.

How successful was an early client launch? Share the experience.

We truly believe that each launch has been very successful, even from the very first one. We believe that this success is due in part to our consultative approach with clients that begins during the sales process and continues through the entire client relationship. In the early days of mindStart, we knew what we did well, but we were also able to listen and respond to our clients; in turn, this allowed us to refine the details and scope of the services we offered. Also, this allowed us to meet additional needs and provide additional services that were already a great fit under the customer success umbrella. One of our first launches (with a company that offers a well-known smart irrigation controller) is a great example of this. During our launch, they were working to meet the demand of the summer season, their busiest time of the year, while ramping down with their former customer service provider.

What kind of responses have you received from your consumers over the years? How have they motivated you to shape your offerings/grow the company?

Building a strong brand with excellent service is a driving factor for mindStart as a company, and for our clients. The feedback we receive from our clients has allowed us to refine and define our unique business model in terms of how we structure our internal teams to best support each client, as well as the services provided above and beyond customer support. We take a deep dive into analyzing the data to pinpoint learnings such as what channels are most beneficial, when the majority of customers are reaching out, where cost savings can be achieved and how mindStart can help them achieve their milestones. We analyze their business and provide unique solutions to help them achieve even greater success, through exceptional customer service.

What challenges did you face in your initial years?

Customer Service is a very personal, high touch industry that can be very rewarding with positive interactions and can also be discouraging when difficult situations arise. As such, a never-ending challenge is effective employee engagement and retention. We know it’s vitally important to care for our representatives in ways that show appreciation and support. From the top down, our leadership team is invested in making mindStart a great place to work as it’s important to make sure the team feels valued and supported.

What are the factors that make your brand stand out from the competition?

Whether our clients are starting from the beginning or just starting something new, we partner in such a way that fosters collaboration and innovation not only in our business but theirs as well. Our willingness to bring our expertise and to continue further to find the best solution for our clients makes innovation a part of all we do at mindStart.

From our portfolio of clients, mindStart representatives are trained on many different platforms, including but not limited to Zendesk, Slack, Shopify, Zoho, Salesforce, Backerkit, Amazon Seller Central and many more. We also provide consultative services, on-site advocacy, process development, outbound sales campaigns and technical support. With such a vast area of expertise, we are able to provide recommendations to our clients on systems that work well, further enabling their innovation as a company.

How often do you innovate? Is it only when there is a need in the market?

At mindStart, we are always looking for ways to innovate. Whether this is through optimizing an internal process to become more efficient or working with our clients to meet their most challenging customer services goals, technology and innovation fall within our daily routine.

The CRM we utilize consistently has new opportunities to implement for reporting as well as the different channels of communication. Additionally, internal systems that provide a streamlined experience for our representatives are researched and put in place to foster a seamless environment to complete their best work.

How does your company contribute to the competitive global platform at large?

We have built strong client relationships with partners that have a global reach, delivering products across the world. As we have grown, we continue to expand our offerings through a joint-venture with a European partner to deliver robust customer service in over 30 languages, 24 x 7. We have developed a quality offering that is available to consumers anytime, anywhere.

Where do you see your company a couple of years from now?

In a few years, we see mindStart still growing strong! We have built our business on a critical need in the industry and we have continued to grow in great numbers largely due to the demand and our outstanding reputation. We strive to exceed the expectations of our clients by serving their customers with the utmost diligence, respect, and care.

Vicky Ezell, Vice President

Vicky’s experience with global startups has encompassed employee engagement, social impact, financial backing and customer service. Her varied experiences have solidified her passion for startups and entrepreneurs and she is uniquely positioned to understand the pain points that accompany the many facets companies face on a daily basis. 

Vicky has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Education/Kinesiology from the University of Arkansas and a Master of Education in Sport Management from the University of Texas at Austin.  Working with the Dallas Cowboys in food and beverage management opened the door to the world of customer experiences.  Event management, operations, information technology, SaaS, social entrepreneurship and financial responsibilities make up her varied background and work experiences, providing a framework for strong program and project management skills.

She is also a board member of Texas Mamma Jamma Ride, an annual cycling event that benefits local non-profits focusing on breast cancer.

“We take a deep dive into analyzing the data to pinpoint learnings such as what channels are most beneficial, when the majority of customers are reaching out, where cost savings can be achieved, and how mindStart can help them achieve their milestones.”