Matt McConnell is Chairman and CEO of Intradiem. He founded the company in 1995 with a vision of reinventing customer service through automation and artificial intelligence. Today, Intradiem is the leading provider of Intelligent Automation solutions for customer service teams.
Matt graduated from The Georgia Institute of Technology with a Bachelor of Science degree in Industrial and Systems Engineering.
What You’ll Learn In This Episode
- History and main goals of Intradiem
- People First policy
- How the pandemic affects Intradiem
- Remote first
This transcript is machine transcribed by Sonix
Intro: [00:00:04] Broadcasting live from the Business RadioX studios in Atlanta, Georgia. It’s time for Atlanta Business Radio brought to you by on pay Atlanta’s new standard in payroll. Now here’s your host. Hey, now, here’s your host.
Lee Kantor: [00:00:31] Lee Kantor are here. Another episode of Atlanta Business Radio. And this is going to be a good one. Today on the show, we have Matt McConnel with Notre Dame. Welcome, mat.
Matt McConnel: [00:00:41] Thanks for having me, lee.
Lee Kantor: [00:00:43] Before we get too far into things, tell us a little bit about Notre Dame. How are you serving folks?
Matt McConnel: [00:00:49] Injured Beam is an automation company. We provide automation for customer service teams. Lee The easiest way to think about intra beam and what our automation does is if you’ve right now, you can add anything you can think of. You can order off of a site like Amazon and it shows up at your door in 24 hours or less. Literally, anything you can think of but pick up that package and try to get service on it. And it’s a very different experience than that Amazon experience. Our goal and dream is to make that service experience as effortless and instantaneous as that product experience that you enjoy with Amazon today.
Lee Kantor: [00:01:32] Now the reason I think that Amazon services that way is it was critically important for them to behave in that manner. Are you finding that the reason the customer service isn’t have that same kind of experience is because it isn’t that big of a priority for firms?
Matt McConnel: [00:01:51] Well, it has become more of a priority. But when you look more closely at it, there’s a huge disparity. The average person in the developed world will spend 123 days of their lives on hold, in line or sitting at home waiting for a service tech. And it’s crazy that that’s true in 2022. So when you look at the product experience and the service experience and say, why is it so different? The that we see one glaring difference in how the two have matured. There was a tremendous investment in the 1980s and 1990s in manufacturing and warehousing and distribution in automation that makes that possible, where you can think of the most obscure part on your vacuum cleaner and order it off Amazon and get it in 24 hours. That’s amazing. And it’s all possible because of those huge investments right across manufacturing and warehousing and distribution and automation. When you look at service delivery in customer care, phone call centers and retail and field service, those investments in automation weren’t made. So entry beam is in the automation business and we bring the same automation that manufacturers enjoyed that was in the physical world, into the software world, in the sort of virtual productivity of service delivery.
Lee Kantor: [00:03:17] Now, does your software help a firm? P the firm’s people, because at some point there’s a human interaction. I mean. Or do you eliminate the human interaction and you’re able to give good customer service or help your clients have have better customer interaction and experience via software and automation? Or is it a tool that helps the human communicate better and more efficiently and effectively with the other human who is having whatever issue they’re having?
Matt McConnel: [00:03:52] It’s the latterly at inter m we believe in technology at the service of humans. And if you’ve interacted with a chat bot, you’ve very likely had a very bad experience like the rest of us. The fully automated service experience is a dream for the future. It’s I think we’ve companies have tried to deliver it and tried to push us into those channels. And it’s just not it doesn’t deliver. And I think that the service needs to be in the center of the service, that human needs to be at the center of the service experience. And so intra DM provides automation that makes those humans more productive in delivering significantly more productive in delivering that service.
Lee Kantor: [00:04:34] So what was the genesis of of the idea? I mean, people have been frustrated with this forever. What inspired you to say, okay, let’s figure this out?
Matt McConnel: [00:04:45] Yeah, it started many years ago. I’m an industrial engineer and an industrial engineering is all about making systems more productive, more effective. And I just had this burn under my saddle with just the service experience I was having. And when I really dug into it, I discovered that it’s really just a it’s an interesting math problem. And the problem that these brands have that we all do business with our banks are telecoms, our insurance companies is that they have the demand that you and I put on those brands as their customers is very dynamic and increasingly unpredictable. But the supply that’s used to meet that demand, these workforces, these humans in these workforces that are used to meet that demand, is, by comparison, pretty flat footed. And the easiest way to sort of visualize what we’re doing for these very large workforces that usually number in the tens of thousands. If you’ve ever been in a grocery store, when all the checkout lines were long, full of people and someone gets on the microphone and kind of calls all the cashiers to the front because the lines are so long. In essence, that’s what intra DMS doing at a massive scale. It’s adjusting the supply to meet the demand. So when the demand spikes unexpectedly, we can move these workforces to the demand. When the demand drops off unexpectedly, we can shift the supply to other areas of work that are or other queues that are higher demanded or send them home early. All of those are examples of just making that supply as dynamic as the demand delivers a huge increase in productivity for Adam’s clients.
Lee Kantor: [00:06:42] So now is your service, one of which you have a call center or you have a pile of humans at the ready to be deployed at where there’s a need. So if one if client a has a big need today, right this second, you can deploy the right number of people there. So it’s the right people at the right time. Or do you work with your clients existing call center with their people and you just train them better or you give them tools that make them more efficient.
Matt McConnel: [00:07:11] It’s the laterally intra dem does not provide staffing in. We’re a pure play cloud software company and fortunately these companies if you can sort of roll the tape back pre into them for our clients they had a choice to make in this supply demand equation. Either they could over staff because the supply was so flat footed when the demand came in, you just sort of had to staff all these extra people to try to meet these peaks in demand. Or you could just under staff and under serve your customers. And fortunately, I guess for all of us over the years, these companies overstaffed. And so when we bring our software, when the DMS software shows up at one of these big banks or big insurers or big telecoms, they’ve already got lots of staff. In fact, way too much staff. We make the staff more productive and they’ve got staff to spare, frankly. And so we don’t need to supply any staff. We just supply the technology that makes that staff more dynamic to meet that dynamic demand that these businesses have.
Lee Kantor: [00:08:20] So can you explain for the. Listener. What may be a day in the life is preacher demon a day in the life post intra diem with your solution for that person that is that front line person for this organization.
Matt McConnel: [00:08:35] Yeah. And let me give you a really specific example because there are dozens and dozens of what we refer to as use cases that intra diem software can deliver to make these workforces more productive. But a perfect example, a day in the life of a call center agent. Let’s say you’ve been working all morning and taking calls, your call center agent, and you’re 5 minutes from your break. It’s been a tough morning. You’ve taken 15 calls. And remember, people don’t call call centers because they want to tell you you’re doing a great job. So it’s a difficult job and you’re 5 minutes from a well-earned break. And but the cues that you’re serving, let’s say the average handle time is 9 minutes. And so, you know, as an agent, if you take that next call, you’re going to be late for your break. And and these workforces are so, so tightly managed that you not only are late for your break, but you have to fill out a form describing why you’re late for your break. It’s called being out of adherence. And so it’s insult to injury. And so what over the years, contact center agents have learned to do is play games so they don’t get that next call and they can go to their break on time.
Matt McConnel: [00:09:47] So it’s a big agent, dissatisfied people, you know, that they do the right thing. They’re late for their break. They kind of have to hide in the system. But it’s also for the company. They’re losing five, seven, eight, 10 minutes before every break, every lunch, every end of shift with these agents kind of gaming the system. And so as an example of a use case, intra dame can spot that situation where Matt is 5 minutes before his break. But as the cues he’s serving are 10 minutes on average automatically pull his brake forward, 5 minutes shift his state, as it’s called in the system to break, send a message to Matt and his supervisor. Nobody’s filling out paperwork. Matt gets his full break. Customers get served and it’s a big agent. Satisfied, but the company picks up five or 10 minutes of productivity for every agent before every break, every end of shift, and every lunch. And that use case alone in our customers, a big cable company or a big bank is millions and millions and millions of dollars saved. But everybody’s more productive and everybody’s more satisfied. So that’s just a really specific example. And there are dozens of those where you can apply automation into this workforce to make it significantly more productive.
Lee Kantor: [00:11:06] So what are some symptoms for the folks that aren’t aware of intra diem that maybe they should be aware of them? Like what are some of the kind of pain points that they’re having now where a call to you and your team might be the the best move?
Matt McConnel: [00:11:22] Yeah, I think right now, Lee, the symptom that is the most pronounced in our customers and our target, our target market customers that aren’t yet using them is because of the great resignation. There’s a big shortage of contact center agents and and so they’re having a difficult time hiring, but they also have very high attrition. And so high attrition is a symptom of agent dissatisfaction and challenges of just dealing with, you know, usually upset customers and a very rigid way of being managed and just constant pressure. And so intra them, you know, is a pressure relief valve. It really drives up agent satisfaction. So that’s one. The other one is just dwindling productivity. Our customers see handle times creeping up. They see all kinds of productivity measures going in the wrong direction. When you when you’re short on people, there’s this phenomenon that happens work handle times, as they call it, in contact centers tend to grow and so you end up with in a contact center world decreasing productivity. So that’s another symptom we see. So reducing agent satisfaction, decreasing productivity, and then of course decreasing customer satisfaction.
Lee Kantor: [00:12:55] Now is decreasing customer satisfaction. Is that an obvious kind of metric or is it something that can be hidden in other in other areas? And they may not kind of connect the dots.
Matt McConnel: [00:13:09] There are lots of measures that companies in with customer service teams look at to measure customer satisfaction. Things as simple as high abandonment rates. And I’m not I’m tired of sitting on hold. I’m going to you know, that’s called abandonment all the way through customer satisfaction surveys and and and customers churning, leaving that business because they’re so dissatisfied. So there’s a lot of measures that companies use to measure customer satisfaction that that are being affected by by just challenges in, as I mentioned earlier, this supply and demand imbalance that happens in in contact centers.
Lee Kantor: [00:13:50] Right. But is that a leading indicator or a lagging indicator?
Matt McConnel: [00:13:54] Well, some are leading and some are lagging. There’s a lot of you’ve probably experienced, as many people have. There’s a lot of surveying of customers that goes on. If you if you’ll hang on, you can do a customer satisfaction survey and tell us how your experience was after the call. There’s a lot of that that goes on, which is more of a leading indicator. And then of course, the lagging indicator is customers churning. So there are a variety of measures. Some are leads and some are lags.
Lee Kantor: [00:14:21] Now, is the call centers evolving into allowing their their the people that are on the front lines to work out of their own home to to be remote? Or is it still that these folks are going into an actual center and they’re all together in one place?
Matt McConnel: [00:14:38] Yeah, that’s a really good question, Leigh. As we entered the pandemic, if you think about a contact center, if you’ve ever seen one or seen a picture of one, people are sitting very close together. It is a petri dish for COVID 19. So as soon as the pandemic hit, these contact centers had to figure out very quickly how to get people to work from home. And for the most part, they’re still there. And a lot of companies have figured out they can deliver their their customer service with agents sitting in their homes. And many of our customers are going to stay that way or at least leave a large portion of their workforce and work from home mode.
Lee Kantor: [00:15:20] And your service can allow for that?
Matt McConnel: [00:15:24] Yes, it does. Prior to the pandemic, we were already cloud based and intra diem was a solution that could be deployed to call centers all over the all over the world and including work from home excuse me, work from home situations. And so that is that’s continued. But what we did see as a result of the pandemic is some shifting in the use cases that customers prioritized with Adam’s product. As I mentioned, there’s dozens of use cases available on our platform. And during the pandemic, as agents shifted to work from home, there became workforce shortages and things like that. So there’s a lot of pressure on agents. And so there were times during the pandemic where our customers prioritized use cases that were more agent satisfying. And there were times during the pandemic when I guess we’re still in it, but at the tail of it, I guess there were times in the pandemic where customers prioritize productivity, use cases. So it really depended on the situation. The architecture of a product sits in the cloud and we can serve people anywhere, work from home or in the office. But the flavor and mix of the use cases that they automation use, cases they deployed depended on what was going on in that moment in time for their contact centers.
Lee Kantor: [00:16:50] So what about Notre Dame? Were you forced to go remote for the pandemic?
Matt McConnel: [00:16:56] We were we we took a decision March 13th of 2020 to to shift to work from home. And and we have stayed that way ever since.
Lee Kantor: [00:17:11] And how has that was that a difficult transition to keep the culture of the organization while everybody was remote?
Matt McConnel: [00:17:20] You know, Lee, I thought it would be more difficult than it was. It was a pleasant surprise that in many ways it reinforced our culture. We’ve moved to what we call a remote first model, but and so we’ve stayed in this remote mode because it’s what our employees wanted. And we have sort of prioritized that into our the way we work because it has worked really well. So we shifted to it and didn’t miss a beat. And and it’s been it’s been really. A big agent status, a big employee, satisfy her for our employees.
Lee Kantor: [00:17:59] Now, how do you kind of thread the needle when it comes to now the world is your oyster, right? If you’re remote now, you can get employees from anywhere. How do you kind of keep everybody on the same page and buying into the culture? Because that to me is is a challenge moving forward as people embrace this remote first that people can be anywhere. So how do you keep them, you know, kind of making intra diem at the fore and and really immersing them in the culture of the organization?
Matt McConnel: [00:18:33] It’s a great question, Lee, and we’ve worked really hard on that. So there’s a number of different tactics. First thing I would say is there’s really no handbook because this is new for companies to be. There have not been in the history. A lot of companies that have this kind of fully remote or remote first model. And so we’re the company has pulled together with our employees to kind of invent and write the handbook, if you will, on being remote first. And, you know, there are some things you lose of just relationships. You build with people that you see in the office every day. But we before the pandemic, we probably had a third of our employees that were outside of our headquarters office to begin with. And now, as you mentioned, we’re hiring from everywhere. And I think by the end of this year, we’ll be 70 to 80% outside of Atlanta, where our headquarters office is, and as a result, where we were already moving towards a more remote model as a company. But communication is a big, important piece. We do these town halls every couple of weeks that that are really foundational for communication and culture building. But we’ve really worked hard on when you go to this fully remote model, the things that used to be is a great example, the things that used to be drop ins, you know, somebody would just drop by in your office and have a conversation.
Matt McConnel: [00:19:58] Those things turn into meetings and, and, and now you’ve got all these meetings on your calendar and you still have a job to do. And so we’ve had to establish norms for meetings and for communication tools. So different people have different expectations for if I send you a text, I might think it’s it’s, you know, I view that as an urgent thing, but you don’t. But you may view slack or email as it is urgent. And so we’ve had to establish norms for meetings and communication tools and hours and calendars and things like that. But what I would tell you is it’s working well. The data we had a record year last year, we have better retention than our the peers. We’re private equity funded. So the 20 or 30 companies that are in the same portfolio we are, we have the best retention in the portfolio of our employees and the employee satisfaction has never been higher. Our employee NPS scores are in the sixties now, which is a very high employee NPS score. And so we feel really good about what we’ve done. We’ve still got work to do. Intra diem has to. There are some things we’re still figuring out, but so far it’s it’s worked very, very well.
Lee Kantor: [00:21:17] So what do you need more of? How can we help? Do you need more clients, more talent?
Matt McConnel: [00:21:23] Yeah, I think it’s both. You know, we are we really believe in this. As I always say to people, okay, we’re not curing cancer. But if we can give everybody in the world 123 days of their lives back, it is an enormous lift for mankind. And so we really believe in this vision of of making the service experience effortless and instantaneous. And so we need both clients and and we also want employees.
Lee Kantor: [00:21:55] And regarding clients, what is the profile of an ideal client for you?
Matt McConnel: [00:22:01] Yeah, a typical client typically has hundreds or thousands, sometimes tens of thousands of customer service employees, contact center employees. And they’re typically, you know, the brands that you think of that your bank, your insurance company, your telecom, your cable company, those kinds of companies. And I think, you know, if you think about a bad customer experience you’ve had, those are great prospects for introduction. Similarly, on the employee side, people that are inspired to make change in the world, inspired to be in a company that cares about its employees and puts employees first. Those are the kinds of employees that really love to work at Introduce.
Lee Kantor: [00:22:48] Well, Matt, thank you so much for sharing your story today. If somebody wants to get a hold of you or somebody on your team, what’s a website?
Matt McConnel: [00:22:55] The website is intra dmk’s i n t r a d i m intra dms.
Lee Kantor: [00:23:04] All right. Well, thank you again for sharing your story. You’re doing important work, and we appreciate you.
Matt McConnel: [00:23:09] Thank you, Lee.
Lee Kantor: [00:23:11] All right. This is Lee Kantor. We’ll see you all next time on Atlanta Business Radio.
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