Mid-Market Company of the Week: 7- Making Customers for Life
No one wakes up in the morning excited to call their bank, cable company or rental car service. The experience can lead to customer frustration and potential divorce from the service provider. Yet, with all the advances in Internet Voice Response (IVR) services, no one was bridging the between the companies utilizing IVR and their customers who were forced to navigate it.
PV Kannan recognized this problem in his 20’s while a student in California. Kannan would walk out from class each day and see people of every socio-economic background. He knew that customer service was something which not only transcended nationality, but created a bond between the consumer and the service provider. His goal was to create a simple, more intuitive experience for companies to share with their customers. The result became 7. “Look at the amount of innovation that has happened of late,” says Kannan, “Everything around us has changed, pretty much every industry has been deconstructed and reconstructed, but customer service has not changed.”
Today, 7 serves customers in financial services, retail, telecommunications, technology and travel industries worldwide. The Campbell, California-based company, which employs more than 9,000 people, also maintains call centers in the Philippines, India and Central America.
7’s applications help people and companies interface successfully across multiple mediums, including internet, speech, self-service, social and mobile devices. The company’s groundbreaking platforms include predictive analytics which assist customers with real time decision making and online applications that monitor a visitor’s behavior, detects difficulties and assists customers to reach their online objectives. By utilizing readily available data, customers can be made to feel that a company knows and cares about them by “remembering” and thus predicting what or why they are calling, visiting (a website) or e-mailing.
Kannan and 7 have enjoyed an enviable growth trajectory. 7 was recently placed on Forbes’ list of “America’s Most Promising Companies,” while Kannan was among the finalists for the ‘Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award’ in 2010.
Kannan sees continued success for 7. The company already serves several members of the S&P Global 100 and Kannan maintains that growth will come as more companies realize the value of improving customer relationships through improved company to consumer connections.
PV Kannan, CEO 7
Location: Campbell, CA
Goal: To introduce change which improves the experience and relationship between the customer and service provider.
Fact: 7 manages more than 2.5 billion customer interactions annually for enterprise companies from locations around the world.
Unique: Kannan believes people (regardless of location or socio-economic circumstance) are attached to good customer service.