Call Journey is a global leading advance speech analytics company, utilizing interactive AI to enrich the way organizations understand their customers. They have an advanced ecosystem called Voice AI, that can capture and analyse every conversation the organization has with its customers and employees have with each other. It helps organizations to produce nuanced insights in a simple, searchable, and actionable format by enhancing their customer experience, employee engagement, business performance, risk management and compliance.
The company is a CX/EX disruptor, changing the way organizations gain crucial insights into their customers and their employees. It partners with global leading firms like Microsoft, SAS, and Genesys. In the second half of the year, Call Journey is planning to launch an exciting new solution with Microsoft for Teams users, giving every team meeting attendee real time feedback. The solution is focused on employee health and well-being which are crucial insights of the current environment. To know more about the company, here is an exclusive interview with one of the co-founders and CEO, Paul Humphrey.
A Customer Centric Leader
Paul Humphrey, co-founded Call Journey along with Anthony Karam around four years ago and has been the CEO of the organization since then. He is a serial growth accelerator with a long history of creating and building high performance teams and communities with an insatiable appetite for customer centricity. Humphrey built many organizations through acquisitions and has significant experience in complex large enterprises building discipline and sustained performance frameworks and results.
Over the last 30+ years he has delivered high caliber results across significantly competitive areas of IT/Telecommunications, Financial Services, Energy, Media, and Human Capital Services and has helped many individuals and organizations through professional services consulting.
Experiences and Achievements to Cherish
Paul, with over thirty years of experience across various industries covering sales, marketing, IT, operations, HR, and consulting, has an extremely diverse experience to draw upon. Knowing what makes a high-performance organization hum across all aspects and areas is crucial for a successful CEO. Some of his best lessons came at the hands of “poor” leaders, diligently putting experiences or observations working under what he sees as toxic leadership in his memory bank.
Spending a good deal of his career in technology businesses, Humphrey worked with the stereotypical highly intelligent technologists. Through his experiences, he says that usually the people with whom he was working had high IQ but lacked EQ. He believes that emotional intelligence wins hands down every day.
The biggest asset according to Humphrey is his employees. The best achievement is when employees are driven, motivated, disciplined, creative and most of all trusted. Additionally, working under the premise of finding people smarter and different to him has always complimented how he leads as a CEO.
Paul, talking about his experiences, says that learning what customers demand across SMB, Mid-market, enterprise, and government – has shaped his focus as a CEO, for being customer centric.
Learning from Major Obstacles
In early leadership roles, Paul has faced the primal challenges of wanting to be respected by colleagues when he moved from a high-performance sales individual function to a high-performance sales leader. The perennial challenge of being a manager versus a leader was at play. And working frequently in technology driven businesses, there was another task of bringing together very different skilled individuals and teams with very different drivers and motivators. He states that communication is the only key to transparency.
Vital Attributes of a CEO
Paul recounts saying he is a fan of Daniel Goleman and his view on emotional intelligence. Believing that a great CEO at core as people’s leaders should intrinsically know how to drive, motivate, and empower people.
A great CEO needs to be a chameleon, managing expectations of boards and investors whilst ensuring there is an environment and framework in which other business leaders can excel and customers can be served in a high caliber way. They need to be “visionary” (one of Goleman’s leadership styles) and convey that vision to the broad organization. The ability to work under extreme pressure is crucial. Humphrey says that the true face of a leader is exposed when the “Bunsen burner is turned on.” Being calm under pressure and unwavering in ethics and principles in this scenario is crucial. Equally, the ability to make tough decisions and drive down sometimes unpopular paths is crucial.
The ability to theoretically be an awesome chess player is crucial – having the IQ to see moves, risks, challenges, and opportunities ahead of time and the EQ to mobilize people (again the organizations biggest assets) to execute the moves.
The Journey Towards Innovating Customer Focused Products
Paul started his journey by taking an MVP (Minimum Viable product) approach to the company’s products/solutions. His personal experience as a business leader and the frustrations with lack of availability, time, and relevant data around the customers and employees, drove him towards founding Call Journey. What was not known at his time of founding the company was the fundamentals of what would solve such a problem and people’s willingness to invest to do so.
So, with these questions in the back of his mind, he set up several “friendly” organizations to road test MVP solutions during the R & D phase. The feedback during the time was valuable as it taught Humphrey how to “walk in a customer’s shoes”. He questioned himself on the challenges and as to how the company would try to fix, accomplish or avoid those without the use of artificial intelligence. How would customers utilize Call Journey’s solutions in a real-world sense and make meaningful change based on the data they could provide?
As CEO, he has always been driven by the customers’ needs and feedback. Since the launch, he and his team have also set up customer forums where they get feedback and allow them to contribute to the product roadmap, watching carefully where the market is headed but ultimately the customers drive the market.
Disruptive Technologies and Innovation
Paul emphasized that with the continued backdrop for CEOs of capital efficiency, growth, customer value and shareholder value, there is a continuous demand to “do things’ smarter, faster, in a more agile fashion with a strong balance of cost efficiency but with a growth mindset. And with the challenging global health impacts of 2020, focus on shorter term and more effective decision making is at the forefront of most CEO’s minds.
Accelerating adoption of Artificial Intelligence/IoT/ Automation/Cloud Computing/Big Data/Robotics is a huge focus to support innovation initiatives and underpinning BAU’s future state. In fact, many organizations have accelerated past utilizing these technologies under an “innovation” banner to look at these technologies as the “norm.” AI adoption has accelerated significantly both in adoption and capability of cloud computing that has been accelerated by Covid and Big Data has been supercharged through the approach to Data Based Decision Making (DDBM).
He recounts to the statement of Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft, that “the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the digitization process by at least a decade, and it has now become an essential part of how we function.” And with the growth of Big Data, the appetite for CEO’s and organizations is at a fever pitch at the moment as most organizations scramble to know their customers and employees better than they ever did. For this he says, they need more accurate, timely and insightful data.
Humphrey sees the company with continuing to embrace an accelerating demand for better and more informative data around customers and employees utilizing AI driven insights from interactions as a potential fuel for innovation and transformation. With Microsoft’s acquisition of Nuance for US$ 16 billion and with organizations like gong.io raising US$584 million to date, he says that there is a clear scope for AI based conversation intelligence.
He further adds, “Data is the new oil and data from customer and employee conversations is the holy grail for critical insights”. Call Journey, with the advanced ecosystem of Voice AI, will continue to be the ‘go to’ solutions for organizations across both the public and private sector as they scramble to find more effective ways to gain crucial insights about customers and employees.
Advice for Budding Business Leaders
“Growth, growth, growth, MVP, MVP, MVP, Focus, focus, focus!”
Paul suggests that up and coming leaders understand the market, by having an answer to why and how unique they are from the market. He says, “don’t try to boil the ocean but find a niche area to own, position yourself as a thought leader to ensure that your product/solution is focused on MVP and ensure that your strategy is driven by your customer and their needs.” Working to ensure your employees both contribute and understand the direction is important. Pushing the envelope on acquisition strategies and ensuring that you leave no stone unturned in terms of your go to market strategy is important”, he says.
Think critically to balance direct and indirect acquisition to have a multi-pronged GTM approach so that you are not exposed to an unhealthy reliance on certain channels to market. Find ways to accelerate growth and try different things even if you fail – learn quickly, and continue to re-assess.
Paul asserts that as a business leader you will need be authentic and understand what drives your key employees. Drive innovation, build trust and demonstrate conviction in strategy and decision making. Encourage employees to challenge themselves and provide them a safe environment to execute. He inspires by sharing his favourite sayings – “fall down seven times, stand up eight!”.