Providing a remarkable customer experience throughout the customer journey is critical to the growth of any company in today’s digital age, where consumers are sophisticated and have high lofty expectations. While there is an abundance of software to help you manage these needs, setting up a fully functional 24/7 customer service center to support the customer experience process can be quite resource-intensive in terms of capital and time. Limitless allows companies to leverage crowdsourced talent to provide customer service in what the company calls a GigCX model. Experts in the gig network are passionate about the brands they are willing to provide support for and are paid for each successful case they resolve. Think of it as Amazon’s Mechanical Turk for customer service. The gig experts are able to introduce flexibility into their schedules and earn incremental income while companies are able to provide a complete customer service experience at a fraction of the cost of maintaining their own operations. Companies can also augment their current setups as needed as the platform integrates with existing systems
London TechWatch caught up with CEO and Cofounder Roger Beadle to learn more about the need for this in the customer experience space, the company’s expansion plans, and recent round of funding, which bring the total funding raised to $20.5M.
Who were your investors and how much did you raise?
Our £8m ($10m) Series B investment was led by Redline Capital and features new investment from Genesys, as well as continued participation from AlbionVC and Unilever Ventures.
Tell us about your product or service.
Limitless solves many of the issues faced by the typical customer contact centre, such as rising costs and attrition, fluctuating customer demands, legacy technology and high staff turnover rates that ultimately come at the detriment to the service provided.
Limitless has developed the highly-effective ‘GigCX’ model in the form of crowdsourced customer service. Gig Customer Service (or GigCX) is the term used for deploying a gig-based crowd of people to provide customer service.
Organisations can route their customer service enquiries securely from their own systems, through a GigCX platform that distributes them to a crowd of knowledgeable, passionate gig experts who can answer questions for the brands they love.
We’ve got an amazing disruptive proposition that enables enterprises to deliver a significantly better customer experience at a significantly lower cost. But we’re also disruptive in that we have a worldwide mission to help people across the world to create a better life for their families and to get paid fairly for the work they do.
Limitless isn’t about replacing careers or other work: it’s about giving people the option to supplement on to their work, and to do it flexibly so that they can really enjoy life more and support their families and do the things that they want to do. Megan (cofounder) and I both came from traditional call centre backgrounds and saw the vital flaws in this outdated model, particularly in relation to offering genuine customer experiences, overall staff happiness, and the agility of operations.
How is it different?
Essentially the customer experience market was crying out for a model that enabled true flexibility, was resistant to changes in staff, and operated at significantly reduced cost per head.
Limitless’ GigCX model offers a 50% reduction versus the costs of off-shore customer service teams, and 30% less than on-shore an in-house call centre provisions. Additionally, the model offers true agility, enabling the quick scaling up and down of agents as and when required, all whilst offering these agents a fair deal – essentially what we term as a ‘GoodGig’.
We are continually encouraging companies to adopt GoodGig practices to ensure fair rewards for working, and lack of pressure to allow gig experts to complete work flexibly on their own terms with no penalties for inactivity and no commitments to enter into or exit gigging. GoodGig also means that we are advocates of protecting Gig Experts in any given country through terms and conditions which are compliant with local gig and freelance legislation.
What market you are targeting and how big is it?
With the flexibility of our platform and our offering, combined with our cost-efficient model and language translation capabilities, we are offering to the global market. 60% of our business is currently in the US, and 30% in the UK. We also have customers with a strong presence in the consumer tech and media industries.
The global Contact Centre market is estimated to be worth $1tn industry (from personnel costs alone), with $100bn attributed to the BPO space. As the market category for GigCX adoption matures there will be an ever-increasing flow of use cases. In the short to medium term, the main benefits will be realized in the B2C sector and for companies that have global brands & coverage, loyal supporters, and access to product experts that can help other customers with the type of questions that the GigCX model delivers.
What’s your business model?
Our business model effectively enables the employment of brand advocates and loyal customers to help other prospective customers. We believe that a genuine and helpful customer experience is best offered by an agent who truly knows – and believes in – a product inside out. We price our solution on a consumption model per resolved case.
Our CrowdService platform – in the form of a SaaS model onboarded by a brand – filters and assigns queries to available agents who choose when and where they’d like to work. There is no pressure of a rota or schedules on this front. It is as simple as an agent picking up a customer query, solving it, and receiving payment for each successfully completed job.
How has COVID-19 impacted the business?
The day-to-day operations of our business were unaffected, with the gig concept that drives our service already being intertwined with the new working landscape we all find ourselves in. In fact, this requirement for WFH models that the pandemic has created, has both helped drive more demand for our app from potential experts, as well as organisations looking for a more flexible form of customer service. The ‘new normal’ has helped prove that the remote nature of our gig experts is not only possible but often preferable.
What are the biggest challenges that you faced while raising capital?
Raising capital attracted a fair amount of interest, so we had to ensure that any potential investor was a good fit for us. Given the current pandemic, we found ourselves speaking with investors twice or even three times as we couldn’t meet them face to face to build that all-important relationship. We still haven’t met them in person!
We had to plan to start raising new investment in April, so we had to push this back by a few months. Essentially, we needed to allow the market time to adjust to the changing circumstances during the COVID-19 pandemic.
What factors about your business led your investors to write the check?
What appealed to investors was the global potential of Limitless, particularly with our business model and marketplace scalability. That said, we are also leveraging a huge market and our service slots into a fragmented industry that currently has a poor disruption. In short, our industry is ripe for disruption.
Likewise, we also have a strong B2B enterprise focus with recurring revenues and no client churn. We also like to think we have a great product-market-fit that works well alongside some of our amazing clients such as Microsoft, eBay, and Unilever. We’ve also embarked on a new global partnership with Genesys too.
What are the milestones you plan to achieve in the next six months?
Our funding will help drive two key objectives for our business over the next 6 months. The first is our expansion into the US market, where we’ll look to significantly add to our US team to help serve our US customers even greater. The second is developing our SmartCrowd platform itself, specifically improving our routing, automation, and AI capabilities.
What advice can you offer companies in London that do not have a fresh injection of capital in the bank?
Without investment, the first and most obvious thing to consider is the management of cash flow and ensuring that the burn rate is watched closely. We’d also recommend not doubling down on sales until you have a solid product-market-fit.
It’s important to take the view of your potential investors and assess what they want to see in you and your company well in advance of any offer being made. From this, organisations can then successfully shape their business to make it look as attractive as possible.
In short, it’s important to be focused. Pick a sweet-spot target segment, define your ideal customers, and understand their needs and how to solve them. Ensure your prospective customers have everything they need to buy from you, and if this isn’t in place, ensure this is sorted as a priority. Target your investment, and aim all of your resources at it. After all, you should have identified them as needing your product the most, so they should want to buy from you!
Pick a sweet-spot target segment, define your ideal customers, and understand their needs and how to solve them. Ensure your prospective customers have everything they need to buy from you, and if this isn’t in place, ensure this is sorted as a priority. Target your investment, and aim all of your resources at it. After all, you should have identified them as needing your product the most, so they should want to buy from you!
Where do you see the company going now over the near term?
Our immediate priorities are scaling our US operation, which currently represents our largest addressable market. This is in addition to growing our key client accounts, and building our strong partnership with Genesys.
We are now fixated on building the business to be in shape for our Series C round in the summer of 2022.
What is your favourite restaurant in London?
There’s a great pizza restaurant near our office in London. Hopefully, we’ll be back there with our team at some point in the near future!