27 Jul

StellaService Raises Another 11M for its Customer Experience Monitoring Platform

first_imgWhy should calling customer service be something that consumers dread? StellaService is asking this same question and providing an answer with its success platform, Stella Connect, built specifically for customer service teams. This platform boosts agents’ performance through features like specific customer feedback and rewards, and it also encourages friendly competition amongst agents through its recognition and leaderboard features. Stella Connect’s program and methodology are used by companies like Brooklinen, Quicken Loans, and Williams-Sonoma.AlleyWatch chatted with cofounder and CEO Jordy Lesier about creating the platform to help businesses improve operations, and its recent funding round, which brings the company’s total funding to $54.5M throughout seven rounds.Who were your investors and how much did you raise? New investors for this round included Harbert Growth Partners and Zendesk. All major existing investors also participated, including Battery Ventures, Norwest Venture Partners, and Comcast Ventures. This $11M round was structured as a Series B, exclusively for Stella Connect.Tell us about the product or service that StellaService offers.StellaService’s core product is now Stella Connect, a people success platform built specifically for customer service teams. With Stella Connect, brands can measure and boost the performance of contact center agents through specific customer feedback after every interaction. This leads to real-time collaboration and micro-coaching that enhances workflow management, creates efficiencies, and ultimately results in a happier workforce and increased Net Promoter Score. Brands using Stella Connect include Jet.com, Williams-Sonoma, Quicken Loans, Earnin and hundreds more across industries.How do you envision that the increased use of AI in customer service interactions will impact the future of the industry?Our view is that the customer experience is critically important for all companies. While AI will certainly play a role in creating more efficiencies in contact centers, it will never completely replace human interactions, which means that each agent interaction with a customer will be even more impactful. It also underscores that agents need to be more skilled than ever before because customer inquiries that aren’t answered through AI or help centers will be more complex in nature.In a world with AI, customer service agents should be treated as brand ambassadors and given all the tools needed to succeed. This is where Stella Connect comes in. We’ve had many clients tell us they can no longer live without Stella Connect because their customer service teams are more informed and motivated than ever before.What inspired you to start Stella Connect?In 2015, I met with a group of executives that were obsessed with their brand’s customer experience. One executive even suggested measuring their customer service team’s biometrics so they could get a better understanding of agent-level performance and how this ultimately impacted customer satisfaction. This conversation planted the seeds of Stella Connect for me, which we then launched a year later with Jet.com as our first client.Today, we have realized the full potential of Stella Connect. In a world of increasing automation, brands now understand that human interactions are all the more important to delivering the best customer experience.How is Stella Connect different?Stella Connect is different because it is exclusively focused on driving engagement across customer service teams. While contact centers are notorious for high attrition rates and scaling inefficiencies, Stella Connect addresses these issues by focusing on people, not just process. Through real-time customer feedback, recognition, and rewards, Stella Connect allows customer service teams to identify areas for improvement, enabling on-the-spot micro-coaching, and driving friendly competition through features like leaderboards.With the loss of each contact center agent costing a brand up to $15K as well as the high costs of scaling a contact center, Stella Connect can have a dramatic bottom-line impact by keeping agents happier and helping contact centers grow with fewer resources.With the loss of each contact center agent costing a brand up to $15K as well as the high costs of scaling a contact center, Stella Connect can have a dramatic bottom-line impact by keeping agents happier and helping contact centers grow with fewer resources.What market does Stella Connect target and how big is it? Stella Connect drives people success for hundreds of brands across industries including retail, financial services, travel, healthcare, and automotive. Clients range from fast-growing tech companies like Brooklinen and Earnin to established businesses like Quicken Loans and Williams-Sonoma. For ease of use, Stella Connect integrates with all major CRM platforms such as Zendesk. The market is really any company that employs a customer service team.What’s your business model?Stella Connect is a SaaS solution that is sold to companies that have customer service teams.What was the funding process like?The $11M round was oversubscribed, as investors saw the massive potential of Stella Connect with its existing client base, financial success to-date, and the overall market opportunity. Structuring the deal was more complicated in nature; however, since we sold our legacy business while raising the capital. In the end, we are thrilled with the group of investors, including the new participation from Harbert Growth Partners and Zendesk.What are the biggest challenges that you faced while raising capital?There were certainly some challenges associated with selling our legacy solution in the midst of raising a round for Stella Connect. Doing a hard pivot for a 10-year-old company required buy-in from all executives and our board, but we’ve always seen Stella Connect punch above its weight class in terms of financial performance, so it wasn’t a difficult decision to make when we all considered the market opportunity.We now have a fresh start, and we’re excited to scale Stella Connect with the infusion of new capital.What factors about your business led your investors to write the check?In 2016, Stella Connect launched as a SaaS solution for clients like Jet.com who needed a more modern approach for motivating its contact center agents and empowering its managers. The product took off with little marketing or sales support behind it. We quickly realized the potential of Stella Connect, and our investors agreed that we should refocus the company on it, while selling our legacy solution.The results of Stella Connect really spoke for themselves, so it was an easy conversation with investors from there.What are the milestones you plan to achieve in the next six months? We plan to double down on Stella Connect’s product development and scale our go-to-market efforts. We know through renewal rates and our organic growth that we’re onto something great with this product, now we have the opportunity to really put our best foot forward with the product and customer expansion.What advice can you offer companies in New York that do not have a fresh injection of capital in the bank?Be scrappy. You don’t need big budgets to test customer acquisition strategies. Test and keep testing, so when you’re speaking with investors you can clearly articulate how funds will be put to work.Where do you see the company going now over the near term?With this funding, we can 100 percent focus on scaling Stella Connect. We plan to dedicate our sales and marketing to expand our reach across industries. We are not confined to any one industry, so the sky is really the limit.What’s your favorite restaurant in the city?I just moved to Brooklyn with my wife and our newborn daughter, and our favorite new restaurant is Five Leaves – great food, great drinks, great bar, great casual atmosphere, and friendly staff. StellaService Raises Another $11M for its Customer Experience Monitoring PlatformMarch 11, 2019 by AlleyWatch 316SHARESFacebookTwitterLinkedin Filed Under: #NYCTech, AlleyTalk, Funded in the Alley, Funded in the Alley, Funding, Funding News, Interviews, Startups, Venture Capital Tagged With: Battery Ventures, Comcast Ventures, Harbert Growth Partners, norwest venture partners, Zendeskcenter_img PREVIOUS POSTNEXT POSTlast_img

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