Q&A with Jennifer Montague, Director of Marketing at Dixa

Media 7 | June 3, 2021

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Jennifer Montague, Director of Marketing at Dixa, is a marketing leader with 12+ years of experience specializing in field marketing, lead generation, sales support, and digital communications.

It's no surprise that, with the restrictions put on physical events, lots of businesses are investing more heavily in digital channels. This is making the space more crowded, which is driving prices up and attention spans down. Therefore, it's more important than ever to stand out amongst the crowd.

MEDIA 7: What inspired you to pursue a career in marketing? What has your professional journey been like?
JENNIFER MONTAGUE:
In many ways, you could say that marketing and advertising was something I was brought up with. Growing up, my mother had her own graphic design firm just outside New York City. Visiting her office, I would watch her and her team work on visual materials for different campaigns, with clients ranging from major cereal brands to Broadway. At the same time, my father was a salesperson for a global fiber optics firm, and he would often talk about the importance of finding the right decision-makers, knowing their needs and educating them on why your product is the best for them. In hindsight, this experience really sparked my interest in combining messaging and imagery to convey information in a quick and engaging way.

Fast forward to 2013, where I was working at FIFA in Zurich, Switzerland. As part of the Client Services team, I helped football clubs in Asia and the Middle East process the transfers of their players in accordance with the FIFA transfer regulations. During this time, I took over the Twitter account and quadrupled followers in under a year. I also saw that the more I invested in marketing materials - namely newsletters - the less "basic" questions I received from my clients, freeing me up to work on more complicated cases. I expressed an interest to management that I would like to do more marketing, but FIFA's very corporate structure meant that I didn't really have the flexibility to fully stretch my marketing wings.

In 2016 I had the opportunity to relocate to Copenhagen, Denmark and saw this as an opportunity to reinvent my career in marketing and therefore took on a digital marketing internship at a startup. This was the best decision I ever made. Not only was I sent to various "boot camps" to gain the foundations of digital marketing, but I was able to implement these learnings right away, and see immediate results. My day-to-day role helped me gain a firm understanding of both paid search and paid social strategies, driving instant results for my company.

Within a year I was the Head of Digital Campaigns responsible for a budget of over a million dollars, generating millions of dollars per quarter for my company. This experience helped me hone my skills in B2B digital marketing, and I have since spent my career working in Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) in roles focused on digital marketing and growth. I am a published author and have been invited to share my marketing strategies at conferences across Europe and the USA.

M7: How does Dixa transform customer service into customer friendship?
JM:
Dixa's mission has always been to build a platform for companies that love their customers. It’s clear that there is a real need for more personalized and connected customer service in today's world. Creating a seamless customer experience is especially important as the online shopping landscape continues to evolve and grow, with customers constantly encountering new touchpoints in their buying journey.

This is where Dixa comes in: an omnichannel platform that brings together every communication channel natively while giving agents all the information they need at their fingertips to provide personalized support in context - in other words, treating customers like friends as opposed to tickets to be solved.

Along with giving agents a clear overview of all conversations, the Dixa platform also uses smart routing powered by data and algorithms to allow customer queries to reach the right agents, along with relevant data and insights, in real-time. By choosing customers over tickets, Dixa customers boast a First Contact Resolution (FCR) rate of 75% versus the 54% industry benchmark and is purpose-built for conversational scalability. We’ve been hugely successful in our Customer Friendship mission, raising over $50 million in funding and growing the company to 150 people since we launched in 2018, with offices in 5 countries.


Creating a seamless customer experience is important as the online shopping landscape continues to evolve and grow, with customers constantly encountering new touchpoints in their buying journey.

M7: How do you ensure that your sales team understands and presents your software to potential clients in an engaging manner?
JM:
It's important to emphasize that we are Customer Friendship advocates first, and that is why we ensure that we are first and foremost a good fit with potential clients. We do a lot of in-depth research into potential clients, understanding their current pain points, and how Dixa can solve them. We have a number of CX experts in our pre-sales team who conduct an audit on potential customers to really understand the impact Dixa can have on their business, and present this to them. We do not offer a "one size fits all" approach, but rather a lot of research goes into how Dixa can help meet the unique needs of these potential clients. If there is a good case for moving forward, we will then know the right steps to take towards implementation. At the same time, however, if there doesn't seem to be a good fit between us and the potential client, we are transparent about it and point them in a direction that may be a better fit.

M7: For marketing, what channels do you think are most relevant to your business? How do you use each channel differently?
JM:
We use a variety of marketing channels to reach our audiences, from paid social, paid search, to webinars, PR, as well as account-based marketing (ABM) and nurture programs. We understand that there are a number of decision-makers and stakeholders involved in the buying process. Therefore, we create a number of different content pieces aimed at a variety of personas, from C-level to IT to customer service agents (very much our champions) to ensure we can reach the relevant audience with content that resonates.

Our biggest marketing channel is our website, which had a complete facelift in October 2020. We aim to ensure that we continue to produce and share great content via blog posts, ebooks, whitepapers, media coverage links, thought leadership articles and product marketing. We are constantly improving our site for accessibility, ease of use and personalization using a variety of technologies to give our visitors the best experience when looking for information on how to improve upon their current customer service setup.

We have a large Dixa community and our customers have access to our Dixa Academy, which provides helpful videos and guides on making the most of our platform. We enable our customers to talk to each other in a community space where they have a help centre, CX experts who can provide advice, and we promote our new feature releases by inviting our admin users to beta testing and webinars. Finally, to ensure we are delivering on our promise we have reviews on public websites such as G2, Capterra, Software Advice and more.


We don't believe in implementing new technology just for technology's sake. Instead, we believe in investing in humans and integrating AI within the customer friendship strategy to help power better conversations and, ultimately, happier customers.

M7: What do you believe are the top three marketing challenges that you are facing in the post COVID-19 era? How do you overcome them?
JM:

I would say our top three marketing challenges are:

1. Audience engagement:
During Covid, we faced a challenge in effectively engaging with our audience. Much like other businesses, we relied heavily on physical events to foster a sense of community, networking opportunities, and building upon our customer friendship movement. As part of our regular Dixa Connect events, we invited CX thought leaders and professionals (including existing and potential clients) to attend, share best practices and network. Obviously, with the new Covid restrictions, physical events came to a screeching halt and instead were moved online, to a virtual world that is already suffering from Zoom fatigue. We somewhat lost that friendly networking vibe - where we could meet our existing customers, potential customers, and continue to build upon the CX community focussed on customer friendship that we had worked so hard to establish.

However, on the plus side, moving the events online meant we were now able to invite a range of speakers and attendees from all over the world - rather than those who were willing and able to travel to Copenhagen or London to physically attend events. Additionally, we can release recordings on our website on demand, which in turn helps drive further traffic to our website.

2. Preparing for COVID's impact on businesses in our target audience :
When news of Covid began spreading around the world, we knew we needed to do something quickly to not only prepare ourselves, but also to help businesses survive the impact of what was to come. We immediately began creating content around preparing for remote work, particularly for customer service teams. This included information on remote onboarding, mental health, and continuing seamless customer service while your team transitions into working fully remote. We held webinars, wrote blog posts and even publicly shared our internal employee remote work handbook with the world.

On top of this, we also offered our product, including all onboarding and support, 100% free for up to 6 months, to remove any resource-related obstacles that businesses would be facing in light of the pandemic. We also guaranteed getting your teams remotely onboarded within one business day, to help make sure business continuity wasn't impacted while customer support agents were being trained in the Dixa platform.

From a business perspective, the campaign was definitely a success, as we had the highest number of prospects taking advantage of this offer. But, more importantly, we had a lot of feedback from prospects and customers that our content and our offer really helped them get through, at least partly, what was a really difficult time for their business.

3. Standing out in more crowded digital space:
It's no surprise that, with the restrictions put on physical events, lots of businesses are investing more heavily in digital channels. This is making the space more crowded, which is driving prices up and attention spans down. Therefore, it's more important than ever to stand out amongst the crowd.

In order to do this, we conducted in-depth research into our core ICPs and buyer personas: we analysed data on who our best customers are in terms of fit and life cycle. We then researched the various value drivers and pain points these personas had and created high value content to address these in order to ensure the content resonates effectively. It's important to emphasise that, as a B2B company, we are aiming for high quality conversions, as opposed to high volume. We therefore added additional layers of personalisation around verticals and geographies, to ensure our content is as relevant as it could possibly be for our target market. We then implemented some pretty sophisticated targeting and segmentation tools, as well as integrated ABM into our strategy, to make sure we can get the right content to the right personas to offer the most personalised experience possible and to drive conversions.

M7: What are the benefits of using an AI-driven platform for communication? Are chatbots the future of communicating with customers?
JM:
How many times has this happened to you:  you need to speak to customer support, so you go to their website and open their chat function. It looks like there's a real human being on the other end of the chat, so you write your question, only to have a chatbot return that they can't help you, or to contact their support via another channel (maybe that's via phone or email). What a frustrating waste of time, right?

Over the last couple of years, more and more companies are implementing chatbots to greet visitors and initiate conversations with them. The initial premise of being able to proactively engage visitors seemed great, however, poor implementations have tested our patience when it comes to chatbots. This is because they set the expectation that a real person is available to talk when in fact more often than not, no one is there. Customers want a real human being to help them. They want to feel valued instead of deflected. Those that get frustrated with underwhelming chatbot experiences and struggle to reach a real person will eventually churn.

We don't believe in implementing new technology just for technology's sake. Instead, we believe in investing in humans and integrating AI within the customer friendship strategy to help power better conversations and, ultimately, happier customers. Therefore, we at Dixa implement algorithms to send the right customer queries to the right agents, ensuring that the right customer gets to speak to the right human in order to get their query answered quickly. That's how we can boast a First Contact Resolution of 75%, significantly higher than the industry benchmark of 54%. Today's customers want authentic, meaningful and useful interactions with the companies they decide to do business with.

M7: What have you learned from your experiences so far?
JM:
I think the most important lesson I have learned, especially during this unprecedented time, is we all need to be more human. Right now, we need human connection more than ever, and given physical restrictions, it's even harder to come by. From a business point of view, Dixa provided high-value content to help people cope, both from a business perspective and a mental health perspective, with the challenges of COVID. We provided our product for free, offered 1-day onboarding, and free customer support for up to 6 months to help businesses overcome resource limitations and get their teams working remotely as quickly as possible while keeping disruptions to business continuity to a minimum.
But the lessons aren't limited to our product offerings and content; as a manager, I also learned, very quickly, the importance of being more human in my management style. As an international company, many members of my team were from overseas; as an American myself, whose sister and partner are both frontline workers, I also had concerns about the safety and health of my loved ones. The helplessness of not being near, or able to visit, our families was definitely taking its toll. That's why it was very important to implement a more human approach to my managerial style, with a particular focus on establishing and maintaining a healthy work-life balance. For example, I introduced that we all share our mobile numbers and after 18:00, we turn off our notifications and stop checking email. If there's something urgent, we'll call. Knowing we didn't have to keep checking Slack or emails all night really helped my team and I shut off and recharge.

Additionally, we added a "mandatory" out-of-office 30 min daily walks into everyone's calendars to try our best to combat Zoom fatigue. Dixa also introduced training for all managers to identify warning signs if someone in our team may need additional support. I would have weekly 1:1s with individual team members to not only check how they're doing with their workload, but also how they're doing emotionally, and, using my training, refer them for additional support as required. We also introduced "recharge" days - where if people just weren't feeling 100% - for example maybe they were homesick and just wanted to talk to their mom, then they could take a personal day with no questions asked. Feedback from the team was that these measures were invaluable in helping them cope emotionally during this completely unprecedented time.

ABOUT DIXA

Dixa is a conversational customer service platform that unifies phone, email, chat and messaging apps in one easy-to-use dashboard for agents, eliminating the need for ticketing systems and helping brands build stronger bonds with their customers. Get real-time performance stats, powerful routing capabilities, automations, integrations and much more.

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Dixa

Dixa is a conversational customer service platform that unifies phone, email, chat and messaging apps in one easy-to-use dashboard for agents, eliminating the need for ticketing systems and helping brands build stronger bonds with their customers. Get real-time performance stats, powerful routing ca...

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