After a bad customer experience with a bank, President & CEO Tara Kelly decided that, “it can be better.” Since then, SPLICE has worked with retailers, insurance companies, financial institutions, healthcare providers, and even non-profits to improve their customer communication experience to create loyal, raving fans.
In an interview with The Enterprise World, Tara Kelly takes us on the journey of SPLICE Software, the story behind its formation and everything else!
Tell us about the company
SPLICE Software helps insurers, financial institutions and retailers intelligently use technology to create automated workflows with digital communications that drive real business results.
Our Data-Driven Dialogs® enable businesses to send automated messages to customers via their channels of choice, including phone, SMS/MMS messages, and email.
Our Customer-Driven Dialogs™ enable businesses to respond to requests for information initiated by customers in real time, through text message, web chat, social apps, and/or home assistant devices.
What were the initial challenges you faced?
One of the initial challenges we faced was the hesitancy associated with automated calling. Historically, the industry has been awash with scams and robocalls, and unfortunately, they have set the tone for this channel. It took a while – 2 years for some clients – to get comfortable with trying it, and then once they saw the results, they were hooked.
Which was that point that triggered the growth of the company?
Initially, it was our success with retailers in communicating their VIP events. The program was so effective for a large Canadian Furniture Retailer that it quickly became a must-have for others in the same industry. In 2012 alone, the number of clients for this program more than doubled. Bolstered by the success in retail, and with an increasing number of clients in financial services, we decided to enter the insurance market in 2014. Having built out solutions for financial software providers and credit unions, the use cases were easily transferrable to insurance and now our solutions are running for some of the top insurance carriers in the USA.
What is the reason behind your company’s long-standing success?
Our unshakeable belief that communication should be easy. We don’t just provide a self-serve solution – we partner with our customers and work with them to match the best solution to their business need. Our client success team actively manages these solutions, providing data-driven strategic recommendations and campaign optimization. This relationship allows us to leverage our deep understanding of the customer experience to provide additional value to our customers.
What are the products/services the company focuses on? How are your services different from those in the market?
We provide the following products and services:
- Rapid Opt-In Capture & Confirmation(Consent Capture and Management)
- Phone, SMS, Email, Voice, and Chat (Automated Messages and Conversation)
- Dialog SuiteTM(Intelligent Reporting & Campaign Management)
With the constantly changing legal landscape surrounding consumer privacy and consent, it pays to have a deep understanding of how you can and cannot communicate with your customers. Our service protects our clients and allows them to capture more consumer consent as well as communication channel preferences. Knowing the channel that each individual customer likes to be contacted on can be a source of competitive advantage – it allows you to easily increase reach and engagement.
This is the core of what we do. Our dialog suite syncs with our clients’ existing customer databases, and from there we provide automated, personalized, relevant, and empathetic communications to their customers. If our clients are collecting channel preferences, we target their customers based on their channel of choice – whether that’s through phone calls, SMS, email, voice (Amazon Alexa, Google Home, etc), or online chat. Our voice library and proprietary technology allows us to SPLICE together human-sounding automated phone calls that receive massively increased customer listenership and engagement rates.Depending on the channel (text or voice), the services can also be conversational – meaning that you and your customers can communicate back and forth in real-time.
Our Dialog Suite allows us to work with our clients to plan, execute, and manage their communication campaigns. The platform also provides analytics, helping our client success team to provide recommendations on how to optimize current and future campaigns.
How do you decide to take the company a step further in terms of your products/services?
Our unique relationship with our customers allows us to gather feedback in real-time. We use this feedback to constantly tune or upgrade our services. The management team maintains a vigilant eye on the competitive landscape, looking for opportunities in the form of gaps in the services our competitors provide.
Is there any new addition to the list of products/services? Anything exciting you would like to share?
Part of our growth strategy is to partner with companies that can add value to our current clients and prospects (and vice versa). On this front, we have recently signed a partnership agreement with Sapiens International to improve claims communication for insurers.
What do you think are the responsibilities of an entrepreneur?
An entrepreneur should continually bring new ideas to the market to support needs that are not being addressed. In this sense, it’s important to stay on top of the market, but most importantly, to be brave enough to act on your own pain. SPLICE Software exists because of a bad automated phone call I received from my bank, and without the guts to act on the belief that “it could be better” (SPLICE motto), we wouldn’t have been able to improve the hundreds of millions of customer interactions that we’ve been a part of over the years.
Can you please brief us about your professional experience?
A serial innovator, published author and founder of 3 businesses, Tara Kelly is passionate about using data for good and about technology’s potential to change lives for the better. She has consistently channeled that belief into developing technologies that enhance operations, enable better service delivery, and improve the customer experience. Kelly – an open-source activist and recognized user experience designer – served as a board member for the International Board for Voice User Interface Design, the Canadian Cloud Council, and Technology Alberta and is a member of the Entrepreneurs Organization. Kelly’s expertise combined with tenacity, understanding of market trends, and strong communication skills has allowed her to create dynamic solutions and successful teams; not only in her businesses, but also as a community leader on volunteer boards including Food for the Sol, EOWater Walk, and Special Olympics Ontario. Kelly shares these experiences— and her goal of creating a healthy, human work environment— in the book, Our Journey to Corporate Sanity: Transformational Stories from the Frontiers of 21st Century Leadership.
How do you look after your employees? What makes your team unique?
From early on, I’ve understood that running a successful business is truly an “it takes a village” situation.And people do their best work when they are empowered to work on the things that they love. From implementing Love/Loathe lists as part of annual reviews, to always making sure the kitchen is stocked and there is extra deodorant, I want my team to feel as comfortable at work as they do at home.
Our team is truly one of A-Players, which we focus highly on in the hiring process, which includes a culture fit interview with all departments to ensure a great fit. We also work hard AND play hard, trying to incorporate fun into work. This includes things like quarterly team events (that have included scavenger hunts, painting and archery tag), potlucks and lots of costume celebrations; there are costume awards for both Halloween and Super Hero Day.
Is there any special experience with your clients you would like to highlight?
Our experience with one of our credit unions stands out to me. Not for one specific solution, but for the relationship in general. We started a small project with them in 2013, that addressed their needs for fraud notifications. Then, we added on some communications for a change in their banking systems. And most recently, we’ve supported them with employee and client notifications associated with the brand closures required from the covid-19 crisis.
Every time this client needs a communication solution, they call us. And it’s because the solutions work, and they like working with our team. Our goal is to make communications safe, easy and fun for our clients, and this relationship definitely reflects that.
It’s a rat-race out there. How do you cope with that?
By focusing on passion. I’m passionate about my work. I’m passionate about my family. And I’m passionate about my community and the business community at large. I drive to be a contributor to all of those, and they each have their place. By being confident that my time is being spent in the right place, it’s easy to cope with the so-called “rat-race”.