EPISODE 5: INVOCA
In this episode:
Join us in this episode as Alex Levin, Co-Founder and CEO of Regal.io, and Gregg Johnson, the CEO of Invoca, discuss the dynamic intersection of digital marketing and human interaction in modern revenue operations. Gain valuable insights into how brands are navigating the challenges and opportunities posed by the evolving landscape of customer engagement.
Alex Levin: [00:00:00] Hi, this is Alex Levin. I'm the CEO and co founder of Regal, and I'm here with Gregg Johnson, the CEO of Invoca. Gregg, thank you for being here.
Gregg Johnson: Thanks, Alex. Appreciate it. And I look forward to the conversation.
Alex Levin: Yeah. So, you know, to get started I always love to know sort of how people got to where they are.
So, you know, if you think about, you know, what made Gregg like, you know, what, like what was the very first job that you had, like even before graduating from college, like, where did you start?
Gregg Johnson: It's, you know, it's so funny, Alex, because when I talk to especially younger employees today, they think of their career path is this perfect blueprint that they can manage down to the exact millimeter and the analogy I use for my own career blueprint is.
More like when, when, when you're out and you're playing pinball and you hit a ball and it kind of bounces around in some spots, and then you get a chance to hit it every once in a while. And so you hit it the best direction you can, and then it bounces some more. So, yeah, I've got a pretty interesting background.[00:01:00]
I studied international relations in college. I thought I was going to go work for the state department. I did an internship at the embassy in Greece. And loved it had an awesome time, but very quickly realized I did not want to go work for the government. And so, as I was coming out of undergrad, wasn't really sure what I wanted to do went into consulting, honestly, for lack of making any other good clear choice did that for 2 years.
And then I was in San Francisco in the late 90s. Had an opportunity to go start a software company with some of my colleagues. Did that. We were a four person team starting a company from scratch. I'd never taken any engineering classes. I taught myself visual basic and basically programmed a prototype of a product in Excel.
We were doing like financial advice online. If you think about like robo advisory today, we were 90s. And love the idea of like building something where you clicked a button and things happened like that idea of making something tangible. It was really awesome [00:02:00] and so ended up working in software ever since.
And so I've worked at tiny little software companies did, did that gig for a couple of years. We sold that company to a bank. I worked for a French software FinTech startup before anybody knew what the word FinTech meant. That was like 4 or 5 people. Worked in consulting, working with big publicly traded software companies.
And then I would say my formative experience. I worked for a decade at Salesforce and product roles, and then came to invoke in 2016, how the opportunity to be the CEO for the 1st time the company was about 15Million in revenue then, or 100Million in revenue today. And I just love software businesses.
I love the intellectual flexibility that comes along with software and both the product side and the go to market side. But never in a million years, if you'd asked me when I was graduating from Stanford, if I was going to end up in the role that I'm in today, never would I have guessed that was going to be the outcome.
Alex Levin: Yeah, so we'll come back to Invoca and it's a really incredible story to Invoca. But, but if I go back, you know, when you were graduating from Stanford. You know, [00:03:00] were people thinking about software and startups? The way I like to think about it is like, what was the majority of your class doing?
Gregg Johnson: Yeah I, I remember actually in my, probably my third week at Invoka, we were hosting a customer summit and we had a guest speaker from Google.
And this individual is at Stanford getting a master's degree when I was getting my undergrad. And I remember introducing him. And I said, well, he was studying CS and engineering and designing the future of the Internet. I was outside on a picnic table, reading books about European history and the sunshine.
And so yeah, I mean, I think the reality is I was at Stanford in the mid nineties. There was this whole wave of entrepreneurship and focus around computer science and engineering that was happening around me that I was. Largely unaware of, which is kind of amazing when I look at where I've made my career and I was super passionate about politics and economics.
I thought I might might teach. And I think that aspect of my personality is still very much a part of [00:04:00] my leadership mentality today and how I try to work with my colleagues. But yeah, there's all this innovation happening around me that I was Vaguely aware of, but I was not really excited and into, and I guess I was probably a late bloomer and that I didn't really get interested in software until a couple of years after leaving Stanford.
And, but then once I got into it and I got hooked up and hooked ever since.
Alex Levin: Yeah. So like I went to liberal arts undergrad also, I'm a very strong proponent of like going to school for, you know, whatever interests you. It doesn't have to be like what you want to do professionally. I think it's a fantastic way just to dig in and learn.
How to learn, you know, so to speak, but but it is odd when all of a sudden you graduate and you go, wait a second, like, I haven't learned anything that I'm going to use in this next,
Gregg Johnson: I mean, honestly, Alex, I committed that sin twice because I went back to graduate school to study international relations for another year and a half.
Knowing I wasn't going to go to international relations, but it was for me, like, I love learning and I, I'm a very intellectually curious person and that stand of a year and a half [00:05:00] involved living in Italy for a year, which, let's be honest on a personal note is not a bad thing to do in your mid 20s. And so it's always for me about.
Sort of finding ways to scratch the itch of different types of intellectual interest. And that remains an interest for me. I still love to talk about politics and economics to my friends who teach or work at the state department or the UN or various other things. I just realized like I couldn't do that day in day out for the rest of my
Alex Levin: life.
Yeah. Yeah. It's like, I, I, I look often, like when we're interviewing people and like when we find people who have that intellectual curiosity, like. They said they didn't do very well, so for sure, like, intellectual curiosity is a very important piece of it, you know, it's to your point, like, I think one path for people like that is academia, but I remember looking at it, like, even when I was graduating from school, going, if I go a path of an academic, I'm going to be alone in a library, like, studying this thing for years, and like, I'm not going to talk to other human beings, like, is that really what I want to be doing?
And I think part [00:06:00] of what was attractive to being in a more sort of business role in a company was actually that like there were other people that was like very attractive. And the other thing that was attractive to me actually is in, I studied philosophy in school and philosophy, I knew that I would have to study for 10 years before I could be anywhere close to the edge of what was a novel in philosophy.
Because there was so much written about this for hundreds and thousands, literally thousands of years. And then I went into like, look at tech startups and they were flying by the seat of their pants and they were at the edge of what was possible today. So I knew that if I went into these technology companies, yes, I'd have to go and learn, but I'd have to go and learn 10 years of history, not a thousand years of history for me to be right at the bleeding edge of what was possible.
And I think that was very, at least right out of school, that was
Gregg Johnson: very attractive. Yeah, no, that's a great point. And I'll tell you one of the other things that I like about the tech community, too, is not only is the pace and the speed to net new learning relatively quick, the thing that I really like about tech in general, is I also feel like the openness to [00:07:00] collaboration and sharing information and knowledge is just a lot more of that than I found in the other industries that I've been in like, and I just, I obviously was very fortunate to spend a long time at Salesforce, but the alumni community that we have, it's from the Salesforce world.
Like, I can raise my hand and ask a question about anything. And I immediately have, like, 5 people that are going, hey, I'm happy to get on the zoom and share that with you. And I feel like within. Technology, because that speed and that innovation is so fast, the openness to collaboration is much more significant than what you see in other industries.
And I really enjoy that part of it too, because it, you know, you, you find ways to learn from others. You find way to feel like you're sort of paying it back from a karma point of view and helping other people understand things that they might not have thought of. I've figured out yet. And that for me has also been one of the really interesting things about the tech ecosystem.
Is it sort of that openness to collaboration and sharing ideas as well?
Alex Levin: Yeah, yeah, I agree. So, so [00:08:00] let's go sort of fast forward to invoke us. So, you know, maybe you know, start with like, what was the founding story and then how did you get involved and end up now sort of leading this
Gregg Johnson: company? Yeah, I mean, I think we have a really interesting DNA advocates.
It's people who understand. The world of digital marketing, but also the people who understand the world of the contact center and those 2 worlds don't tend to overlap that much. But what's really interesting is there's a whole. Class of companies, big consumer brands that invest tons of money in digital marketing, but make a lot of money in the contact center.
And, you know, obviously Alex, you'll understand as a CEO, anybody who thinks about go to market in a way you can reduce it down to a big solver equation in Excel, which is where am I putting money and where am I getting money out? How do I optimize that flow? And so in the early days of Invoco, we, we had.
A lot of folks who understood the world of marketing. It was going [00:09:00] digital who understood that that companies were going to be investing more and one of the key value propositions. Of digital marketing was the ability to measure and the ability to have a really good understanding of what's working and what's not.
But the problem was is that these companies had products that were complex or sophisticated enough that they involved a consumer wanting buying advice, wanting confidence they were buying the right product. And so there's this dramatic disconnect between like, I'm investing money here. I'm making money here.
There's no feedback loop in between. And so, we were relatively unique in, in pursuing that opportunity. And when I was leaving Salesforce I was looking for a company that was sort of big enough to have found product market fit, but looking how to scale and grow a lot of the product work I'd done at Salesforce was around unstructured data.
And and sort of understanding the meaning of human to human conversation and at the time I joined invoke in 2016, you know, people had just started to figure out what an Alexa device was and the idea that [00:10:00] you could use computing and software to really gather intelligent information and automation out of these human human conversations was something that was new.
But was something that invoke had already started to dive into in great depth. And so it was a product area that I was interested in from an ecosystem point of view. We sort of sit in between the digital marketing world, the contact center world, the CRM world. So it was a lot of user personas and technology partners.
I was familiar with, and it was the right size. Like, we were about 100 employees and it just so happened the company's headquartered in Santa Barbara. My wife went to school in Santa Barbara. If I'd asked for domestic approval to take a job in anywhere else on the West Coast, she would have said no way.
But she's like Santa Barbara. Yeah, I'm happy to go to Santa Barbara. Who's going to say no to Santa Barbara? Who's going to say no to Santa Barbara? So yeah, it was just kind of a match made in heaven. But again, I'll go back to my pinball analogy. Did I ever design that on paper? Did I ever say? I'm going to leave Salesforce to go to this type of company in Santa Barbara that has these attributes.
No, like it was the pinball [00:11:00] and it landed at a right spot where I could take a hit with the paddle and try to bounce the ball in the right direction. And you just got to take those opportunities when they're presented in front of you and make the best call as you can. Yeah.
Alex Levin: So, so, you know, just to like help people understand your business, you know, I like to start with, you know, What is a typical problem a customer comes to you with, you know, so you were describing sort of, you know, this world where there's sort of marketing teams that are very analytical and use a set of tools to optimize spend and performance.
And then there's contact center teams to your point that are critical to driving revenue, but perhaps aren't using the same. Tools and, you know, even if they are using some tools, they're definitely not linked to the marketing tools. So, so from your side, you see that, like what a customer see, like, how do they feel
Gregg Johnson: the challenge?
I mean, generally the customers that we deal with, we'll talk to, you know, a VP of digital marketing. Who's investing a lot in, in, in digital on Google, on meta slash Facebook, on Microsoft, who's tinkering with the website and they [00:12:00] sort of know in their heart, like. I'm probably driving 60 to 70 percent of my business impact through a human to human selling motion that I can't quite track and maybe 30 percent of it is e commerce or 30 percent of those conversions happen online.
So, I have a sneaking suspicion I'm having more impact than I realize I am. And I have a sneaking suspicion that there's a data feedback loop that I'm missing to tell me what's working and what's really. Not working as well, but I, but I can't quantify it and I can't get a data trail around it. And so we'll typically start with that VP of marketing and going, hey, like, we're going to help you understand what types of conversion sales and revenue you driving and the driving and the contact center, not at an aggregate level.
But on an individual touch point by touch point level, like the consumer searched for this, they clicked on an ad, they came to the website. They had a conversion with someone either at a retail location. Like you think about an automotive dealership, like a auto nation, who's a customer, or [00:13:00] you think about someone in a centralized contact center, like a Verizon, who's selling communications products, we're gonna help you get that data trail of click by click to a specific conversation, what revenue did you generate, and then you're going to use.
That data feedback loop, the same way that you would, if somebody bought a product online, like, let's, let's take the contact center and make it as trackable and measurable as somebody buying through an e commerce shopping cart and let's get that data flow working. And then in time, what we start to work with with customers on is like, Hey.
How do you actually improve the lo, the lower part of the funnel? And like if people are going into your e-commerce flows and they're calling in for help, are they doing that because they need a value added human assistance? Is it because someone's getting a mortgage quote and they've never bought a house before and they're nervous about, I'm about to put in an offer on the house and I don't know what the timeline to close the mortgage is.
Are they calling in because they're not quite sure about something related to their credit score [00:14:00] and if it's related their credit score is there a way to improve that online conversion experience to help make sure you're saving that human, the human capacity for the most value added interaction and then we'll do work on the contact center side of, can we give an agent a heads up of what somebody is interested in?
We ran a really interesting test at Direct TV about a year ago, So, Where we gave an agent visibility into what's the consumer searching for on Google. And what were the things they looked at on the landing page before they called in and an agent, instead of picking up the phone, cold would pick up the phone and be like, Hey, this is direct TV.
You're running a special promotion today, where if you want our sports bundle and access to all the NFL content, you want can sign up for two years and get 20 percent off and the consumer's perspective. They feel like that's magical. Like that's what I was just looking for. So they feel great. The conversion rate was 2x than what the agents did when they went in cold with no digital body language to give them a heads up.
And so like everybody wins. It's a better consumer experience, better conversion. And so it's really about [00:15:00] how do you take the combination of digital marketing team. A commerce team, a contact center sales team, and like put that together and do a cohesive engine and make it run as efficiently as possible to help you acquire customers and drive revenue.
Alex Levin: Yeah. I remember, you know, when we started Regal talking to the CEO of one of the big contact centers and sort of having this conversation with him around. Why context centers don't give agents the full context. And, you know, I think his point of view was, well, you know, it's a very hard problem and of course, like, you know, what's the Holy grail, Holy grail is, you know, making sure that you're having the right conversation with the right customer in the right moment with the right message, like, you know, of course you want to get there.
And, and, you know, the way I sometimes think about it is like sort of use a two by two matrix. And I say like. You know, if on one axis is like, how personalized the conversation is, and the other access is like, at what scale the company's operating, if you're a small [00:16:00] business and somebody walks in your store and you're, you know, you're all they know everything about that person.
And so it's very small scale, but you're treating them like they're the most special person in the world. Oh, I know your kids are doing, I know your pets doing, I know everything about you. So that I can make sure that it's feels to you. Like it's very personalized, you know, if you're a small business, you're not doing that, you're probably going out of business on the other hand.
What happens is that people get to scale either because of a lack of technology or because of, you know the difficulty involved, what tends to happen is you might operate at a much bigger scale than that little state agent, but you're starting to treat everybody the same, you get on the phone. Say hi about you, but I, I'm here.
Of course, that's not going to be as good as that experience. The customer got where the Allstate agent knew everything. And so I think the, the trick, the hard part is how do you treat millions of customers, like one in a million? And that, you know, that's the Holy grail. Like that's where you're trying to get.
And I think, you know, they're different like ways of approaching it. So like you're talking about like all the clicks and the [00:17:00] marketing data, we work a lot with, you know, brands on what do they know about what customers are doing on their sites? What are customers saying in a conversation, you know, right?
So if I'm saying in a conversation, I'm interested in an SUV, don't show me a sedan, but I could have liked the next thing, right? Using that holistic view of the customer. To programmatically help your agents actually make that customer feel special. Like that's really where some magic happens, right?
Because if I can get on the phone with somebody and say, Hey, Bob, I see you were talking to Sally last week and you told me you care most about price. And we went and did a search again. You know, but it looks like you're getting stuck when you're out, you know, we're asking you for, tell me more. Like it's a completely different
Gregg Johnson: experience.
Yeah. The other thing that I find that's interesting too, in the contact center world is people tend to orient a lot of their process team and technology. Decisions around customer service and customer care use cases, [00:18:00] and it's almost like the revenue part of the contact center team. It's like the cobbler's children in a way where it's like, oh, yeah, like, you're over there and you'll just take whatever tech and process, you know, like, we're using for the rest of these use cases.
But if you take sort of the. CEO board, look at it. You like, let me think about these two levers. I have in the contact center differently. There's the revenue team and lever and there's the care team and lever and I don't necessarily think about things from a volume of interaction point of view. I think about things from a business impact point of view.
And if I were to look at it that way, I might actually make some different decisions. And I think that's for me. 1 of the interesting things is I sometimes sometimes see now. Okay. Like the revenue teams in the contact center may report up into a CMO, like a different reporting path and the paths that you go down are slightly different based off of which of those two outcomes you're optimizing
Alex Levin: for.
Yeah, the maturity is completely different. So you know, I was taught by many folks in the contact [00:19:00] center role. Like, so I used to work with a lot of contact centers and I was taught, you know, customer service as a call center. You know, you know, talk to the customer as little as possible, right?
Deflect, deflect, deflect. And, you know, in, it's a very mature space where you know, they're eking out every fraction of a cent of cost in the tech, every fraction of an interaction by changing a small thing. And I understand why, and what is the number one question? The things that should be asking is how is AI going to help me reduce my cost?
Because that is in a very mature industry, like when everything else has been done and there's no more juice to squeeze, like, you know, replacing humans is where they're going. And so like, that's one direction. But to your point, the maturity level in these outbound teams or revenue generating teams, even if it's inbound, is completely different.
One, because they've been forced to use technology, which isn't right for their use case. Two, because they've been starved for resources. They don't have the processes and three, because honestly, I think a lot of the people in these teams have [00:20:00] come from the contact center world and haven't learned some of the.
Advances in the marketing world. So in marketing, you know, there are some concepts you're taught around AB testing and LTV to cash payback and how to look at marginal costs of each thing that are very valuable in these sort of revenue generating teams, but aren't used, you know, instead to your point, they're given the same metrics as the CS team.
It's not the person's fault. Like it's not like they're not a smart person, but you're running a revenue team and your metric is reduce interactions, speed up average handle time. You're going to end up in a bad situation. It is the wrong way of looking at the business. So yeah, part of what's so exciting to me is finally now people are saying, yes, this is a different team.
These outbound contact centers or these revenue driving sections of the team need to have different processes, different metrics, different technology. But what's interesting also is like. They're not looking for AI that like, sure they might ask about it, but really they're looking for much earlier stage stuff.
Like, how do I use the [00:21:00] right metrics? How do I use the right call patterns? How do I get into orchestration, A B testing? And once that's all been used, yes, eventually like AI I'm sure will come in, but because it's an less mature space, there's actually huge, we see enormous opportunity for customers.
Like you were giving some use cases where customers, a huge lift in, in average connection rate or average conversion rate. Yeah, these are not 1 percent improvements that you can make. These are 25, 50, a hundred percent improvements because it's so
Gregg Johnson: early. Yeah, completely. And I think, I mean, even just to take a phrase, you just mentioned the whole idea of AB testing, like AB testing is fundam, a fundamental concept in the world of marketing and revenue generation that I think is far less widely adopted in the customer care world.
So if you come from a customer care perspective. You don't tend to think that way. Whereas if you come from a revenue orientation, you're like, Hey, anything that I can do to tweak to drive incremental marginal revenue enhancements, like I'm going to go do. And so it's just a different [00:22:00] mindset. The other thing that I find too, is there's a different technology orientation where there's sort of this assumption coming from the contact center.
You're dealing with existing customers. You've got a very rich customer profile. You understand everything about everybody. And in these selling situations, that's just not true. Like it's, you're basically, someone's kind of on the edge of being an unknown visitor to your website to, to engaging in a human to human way with your brand for the very first time.
And so all the constructs of a contact center platform and, and even sometimes like a CDP they kind of fall down because like, there's no data there. And, you know, I worked for I see your own company for a decade and I used to do demos on stage in front of lots of people and we would say things like, hey, if somebody is talking poorly about your brand on Twitter, you shouldn't be sending them email marketing promotions, trying to get them to buy something if you assume you've got a perfect customer record with all those things tied [00:23:00] together.
And I know your mother's made name your home address. How many kids you have? Who's your favorite sports team? Yeah, you can do all those things. But in a selling motion, like that customer records, basically 90 percent blank and you're populating it for the 1st time. And you're thinking about, you know, how do I build a relationship with somebody where I don't really have much data?
And that's just a very different mindset from a contact center customer care world where. I know everything about you. I know everything you've bought. I have all this longitudinal history. Like is it, I, we call it like the buyer experience. We don't think about it as the customer experience. We think about the buyer experience, which is this very unique part of the customer journey where you're really getting to know that consumer for the first time and you need a different way to handle it.
Alex Levin: so, you know, we today focus or I should say the opposite way the customers that are attracted to us today you know, where, you know, where they want to start doing a B testing. They want more iteration. They want newer tools. You know, these are the ones that came out of marketing backgrounds, came out of revenue backgrounds, have seen this [00:24:00] work in other spaces and they go, yes, it should work the same way in contact center software.
And, you know, we have yet to really start pushing people who are not already there. Right. So to be fair, like, you know, our first two or 300 customers were the ones, let's say that were more willing to take the step first because they understood it. Like you guys obviously have gotten much bigger. So how have you been able to.
You know, win over hearts and minds, get people to see the value of moving to this more, you know, let's say performance marketing way of doing things, you know you know, what's been the trick to do
Gregg Johnson: that. Yeah, I mean, we're, we're working on that all the time. I would say there are a couple of factors.
Number one, there's a little bit of an inner club. That's kind of like, if you know, you know, and, and I, we see a lot of customers when I say customers, I mean, individual people who move around from company to company to company and sort of bring that advocacy with them. And they say, Hey, you need to think about your contact center in a different way.
You need to think about it. How does it, how does it act as a [00:25:00] customer acquisition vehicle for you? How does it drive revenue and upsell? I think that's part of it. I think for us kind of bridging the marketing world in the contact center world, one of the things we've benefited from is the digital advertising powerhouses, the Googles, the Facebook metas, they're trying to educate the market on how the advertising dollars you spend in their digital platforms don't just drive digital conversions.
They also drive. What they will call is offline conversions. So, if you look at the technology, they've developed and and the partnerships they've built, they are looking at how do you understand how those online investments drive offline results as well. And then, I think, just trying to help people, you know, understand.
The implications of what it means when you talk about an omni channel experience. And I think the reality is, there's a market perception that omni channel means every digital channel and people aren't thinking about omni channel as, as being [00:26:00] a broader set of channels as well and. And helping, you know, one of the concepts I talk about a lot with with first time customers that we have is a lot of what you're doing.
These situations is you're trying to give a buyer confidence to make a pretty big leap decision in terms of what they buy. You know, the example I use a lot is if you think about, you know, going on a cruise or a safari or a big travel event, like those are the types of things that you do for, you know, like a big anniversary or I'm showing my age here, like kids going off to college or things like that.
And I'm like buying some of off Amazon. You don't get to go to Kenya on Safari and be there three days in and be like, you know, I think I'm going to return this, like this isn't up for me. So the confidence level you have to have in buying some of these products, the bar is much higher. And as a brand, you need to be thinking about what are all the different ways I can instill confidence, not only convince this consumer that I'm a great partner for them.[00:27:00]
But how do I help them get over the line? How do I make it easy for them to buy when the bar is pretty high on that purchase decision? So I think it's a, it's a combination of those factors coming together and just overall education. I think the other big thing too, is people are starting to appreciate that.
You know, 1 of the great benefits of digital was the trackability of it and the measurability of it. And now people are realizing, like, I can measure human to human conversation with a similar level of accuracy is I can a digital click path. And so, if I can have that measurement embedded in my approach, then.
I shouldn't be biased against these offline human to human channels, simply because they aren't measurable. They're measurable today. And so you can let the data drive you to the right decision as opposed to having sort of a religious philosophy that says, well, if I can't measure it, I don't want to leverage it.
Alex Levin: I find, particularly with folks who haven't seen human revenue teams [00:28:00] in sort of consumer businesses, there's this. Misconception, this, this belief that, well, if it's a human talking on the phone, it must be expensive when I go, well, why they go, well, you know, you're putting humans on it. Humans are expensive, like digital, digital, not expensive.
And the fact of the matter is, it's just wrong because two things have happened in our experience. One is. The cost of advertising on Google has just gone up and up and up and up, right? It's not coming down and, you know, for a brand that's reached penetration for, you know, whatever they're selling, they're selling, you know, trampoline online and they've reached penetration.
Every incremental conversion they want to get is not, you know, the same as the average. So if their average is a hundred dollars per conversion, the incremental one might be eight hundred dollars. So as they start thinking about where to spend the incremental dollar, first of all, digital marketing is very expensive.
And second. Humans In of themselves aren't expensive, right? So if, you know, if you say, you know, hey, you're gonna have a $5 labor cost per [00:29:00] conversation and you're converting one of 10 conversations wells up $50 per conversion. So that's actually not that expensive, especially when you look at a hundred dollars average CAC or a $800 marginal cac.
So I think when people actually dig in and they realize that, and they go, wait a second. I was, digital, cheap human expensive is wrong, it's just math and I need to look at what is the cost of each of these channels. on their own, it opens their eyes to the potential of what they can do in it. But yeah, there's just this misbelief, this is a misunderstanding that if you're going to have a human involved in it, it means that it's expensive.
It means that it's bad. It doesn't. On the other side, as a brand, to your point, you can use it to your advantage. You can say, Hey, I care about you so much. I'm giving you a human, but you as the brand, no, it's not that expensive, right, to serve that, that, that human, you know, you as a brand know that it's going to make them feel special without you putting that much
Gregg Johnson: cost into it.
Well, the other thing that I think is really interesting today that sort of sits at the intersection of what you all do at Regal and what we do in Evoca is [00:30:00] humans used to be a blunt instrument that you would have to apply. Sort of blindly in a variety of ways. Now with the ability to orchestrate both digital and human interactions, you can Surgically apply human expertise at the spot where it's most valuable.
And how do you, this is one of the things we talk a lot about with our, our customers is how do you sort of intelligently and selectively apply the digital lever and the human lever? Because at the end of the day, like I think a lot about. My experience, another category that, that, that feeds into the space is mortgage and lending.
And, you know, I think about when I was buying my first condo and in San Francisco in 2006, my wife and I just had our first kids. I didn't need to talk to a human advisor straight out of the gate. Like I was a BCG management consultant with a Wharton MBA who knew their way around an Excel spreadsheet.
And so I could go do all the math. And use like online calculators and [00:31:00] do research to sort of think about, do I want a 30 year fixed mortgage? Do I want a 10 year arm a 7 year arm? How do I think about these? The point where human engagement was super valuable for me was I never gotten a mortgage before.
I didn't know what the process looked like. And I, I didn't have the historical experience of how do those different products work and up markets versus down markets, different interest rate environments talking to human being was irreplaceable when I was trying to get to an emotional comfort level of making that choice.
But if you'd apply to human to talk to me to say, hey, here's how a 30 year fixed works versus a 10 year arm, I would have been like, don't talk to me. Like, I can go figure that out on my own. And so I think the other thing with the advancements of technology is being able to sort of do the 1, 2 punch between where's digital highly effective.
And then where does the human expertise. Where is that invaluable? Where does that help give that buyer that confidence? They're just not going to get from an arm's length digital transaction. Possibilities today are fundamentally different where they were 10 years ago. [00:32:00] 10 years ago, it was a blunt instrument you had to apply everywhere.
Now you can really be much more surgical and selective. Yeah. The
Alex Levin: most advanced brands are thinking about this in such interesting ways where they're, you know the segment who has this in their card or this, whatever. You know, only needs the digital experience, but if they then go and log out, well, now I need to, like, engage them right away or, you know, if they come in you know, at one point on their mobile device and then tomorrow they click on an email, that's an opportunity where, you know, so I agree.
So we're, we're sort of running up against time. So, you know, just to close, we've talked a lot about sort of what's happened to date and, you know, how these brands are starting to get smarter and smarter about modernizing their revenue operations. When it comes to human conversation, you know, what do you think will happen over the next 5 or 10 years?
Like, what do you think the big changes are in this industry? And, you know, what should your customers or our customers be
Gregg Johnson: looking out for? Yeah, I mean, I think what's interesting in this world is, I think people and organizations are going to follow the lead of [00:33:00] technology. Like, we talked about a 2nd ago.
Technology is enabling more nuanced application of digital experience and human to human experience. I think that the challenge that we see in these big consumer brands is the teams that manage those 2 things are so far apart in the organization. They don't collaborate at all. Their joint boss is the CEO.
Which means they talk to each other like three times a year. And I think what we see, one of the interesting things that we see happening is we do as a company, a lot of bridge building between those teams. And historically we've been bridging a lot of those connections ourselves as an outside party.
What I'm starting to see is some re movement and rearrangement of the value chain inside companies of bringing these teams more close together. And helping them orchestrate these interactions in a way. And so I think technology is enabling the design of more consumer driven experiences between digital and human interaction.
The, the barrier is actually [00:34:00] not the tech, the barrier is the brands ability to support the tech and those interactions. And I think what's going to be interesting to see in the years to come is, does the organizational structure start to. Line up behind the tech and make more of these things possible and have more accountability of, Hey, you, Mrs.
Or Mr. CRO or CMO, like you ultimately own the number. I'm going to give you the tech, the people and the process resources to go drive the outcome. Yeah, I like that.
Alex Levin: You heard it here. You heard it here first. So Gregg, thank you very much. So if somebody wants to, you know, learn more about Invoca or reach you, how should they do that?
Gregg Johnson: Always available on LinkedIn. Happy to connect with folks. You can find me on. I don't know if I can say X still. I still tend to say Twitter. On Twitter, you're going to get a little bit of Invoca. You're going to get a little bit of college football and a little bit of Barbecue. Those are kind of my three passions in life.
So Gregg underscore Johnson or you can just reach out to me at gjohnson@invoca. com and Alex, just great to talk to you. It's, it's fun to talk to people who understand [00:35:00] this neck of the industry, understand this unique combination of digital and human interaction and, and are having great business impact and the customers are serving and how they leverage those, those technologies.
So appreciate you having me. Yeah, thank you.
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