Talkdesk: Phone Support Made Easy | Summary and Q&A

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December 14, 2015
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Talkdesk: Phone Support Made Easy

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Summary

In this video, Christina Fonseca, one of the founders of Talkdesk, shares the interesting founding story of the company and discusses various aspects of their business. She talks about the initial motivation that led them to build a prototype of Talkdesk in just ten days, how Talkdesk solves the problem of disconnected customer information in call centers, the increasing importance of call centers in today's real-time interactions, and the challenges of managing a split company between the United States and Portugal. She also explains how they handle scaling up the company and managing cultural differences, finding talent in Lisbon's tech scene, attracting management talent, and raising funds. Finally, she discusses the future roadmap of Talkdesk, which includes becoming a real-time communication platform for businesses, integrating video capabilities, expanding to different countries, and leveraging data for real-time decision-making.

Questions & Answers

Q: Can you tell us the founding story of Talkdesk?

Sure! Talkdesk was initially built as a prototype in just ten days because we wanted to win a MacBook Air. We were excited about the results and received positive feedback online, which motivated us to turn the prototype into a real business.

Q: What problem does Talkdesk solve in call centers?

Talkdesk solves the problem of disconnected customer information in call centers. It allows businesses to have a platform that connects with their existing services, such as CRMs and email systems. With Talkdesk, agents can access all relevant customer information, including previous interactions and records of calls.

Q: Are call centers still relevant in today's digital world?

Yes, call centers are more important than ever. With real-time services like Uber and DoorDash, customers expect immediate human interaction when they have queries or issues. Legacy systems dominate the call center industry, but Talkdesk offers a modern and user-friendly interface to meet the demands of today's companies.

Q: How does Talkdesk manage being a split company between the United States and Portugal?

The split between the United States and Portugal presents a challenge, but we manage it through technology, like Slack and other collaboration tools, as well as frequent phone calls. We also relocate team members between offices to enhance collaboration. Being present in both locations is an advantage as we strive to have a global operation.

Q: How do you handle scaling up the company without changing the culture too rapidly?

As the company grows bigger, cultural changes are inevitable. We embrace this diversity as a positive aspect of scaling up. Our company culture has naturally evolved as we expanded from a small team focused on product development to a larger organization with sales and marketing teams. Adaptation is crucial for success in different markets and customer segments.

Q: Where do you find engineering talent in Lisbon's tech scene?

Lisbon has a thriving tech scene due to a combination of factors. Many talented individuals are attracted to startups because the government and big corporations are no longer seen as secure job options. Additionally, Lisbon has excellent engineering schools that produce skilled graduates. Startups like ours offer interesting projects and a global presence, making them appealing choices for engineers.

Q: How do you manage cultural differences in international sales and customer success?

Managing cultural differences requires a combination of approaches. We relocate team members to different locations when necessary, ensuring a blend of local and international talent. This diversity helps us understand and cater to the specific needs and nuances of different markets. It leverages the skills and understanding of the local environments for better customer experiences.

Q: Were investors wary of investing in a company with a split presence between the United States and Portugal?

Investors actually see the split presence as an advantage. They understand that our global reach and customer base are assets that no company can ignore. While our founders are based in both the United States and Portugal, our investors recognize the importance of being a global player in the call center industry.

Q: How do you plan to expand in the future?

Our short-term plans include solidifying our operations in the United States and Portugal. However, we also see potential in expanding to the UK, Brazil, and other countries with significant market opportunities. We aim to become a real-time communication platform for businesses and integrate video capabilities. We also want to provide Talkdesk as a plug-in solution, seamlessly integrating with the systems companies already use.

Q: How do you manage the challenge of finding management talent in Lisbon's new tech scene?

Finding management talent is indeed a challenge as most experienced managers in the country have traditionally worked for corporations. To overcome this, we attract international talent by highlighting the benefits of living in Portugal, such as the great weather, food, and overall environment. The interesting project, coupled with an outstanding engineering team, also appeals to potential managers.

Q: Are you currently raising funds to support your expansion?

While we are not actively raising funds at the moment, we always keep a close eye on different scenarios and opportunities. Our rapidly growing operations and ambitious plans may require additional funding in the future to support our expansion and continue delivering exceptional services to our customers.

Takeaways

Talkdesk's founding story is unique and demonstrates the positive outcomes that can result from a seemingly simple motivation. The company addresses the problem of disconnected customer information in call centers and has recognized the increased importance of real-time interactions in today's digital world. Managing a split company between the United States and Portugal presents logistical challenges, but Talkdesk leverages technology and relocates team members to ensure efficient collaboration. The tech scene in Lisbon offers a rich talent pool, especially in engineering, and the company aims to attract international management talent as well. Talkdesk's future roadmap includes becoming a real-time communication platform, expanding video capabilities, and integrating with systems used globally. The company is customer-focused and aims to provide excellent customer service by leveraging data and making real-time decisions.

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