“CallSource® Reflections” is a blog series by CallSource’s® co-founder and President, Elliot Leiboff. Elliot co-founded CallSource® alongside the late Jerry Feldman in 1992. Over the years, Elliot has developed a small call tracking company to a full service lead generation performance organization. CallSource® invented call tracking. Elliot has witnessed a myriad of inventions, tried different strategies, invested in technologies and basically seen it all.
CallSource® is a classic American tale of an idea that turned into a business that has thrived through grit and determination. “CallSource® Reflections” is Elliot’s blog series on lessons learned as a business owner before the era of startups and VC funding.
Elliot’s monthly blog contributions take the reader on the journey of how our solutions have evolved.
The significance of staying focused should always be in the forefront of business leaders’ minds.
Focus on a single objective for 25 years, and you’re likely to become very good at it. That’s how long CallSource has focused on helping our clients improve their business performance and results. That goal and focus have carried us from call tracking and recording, all the way to analytics, training, coaching, and consulting.
In 1992, when we were the first and only call tracking company, we needed to explain what call tracking was and how it worked. Then, as now, we collaborated with our clients and built the features and services they requested. To our surprise, clients asked us for services far beyond call tracking and reporting; we were happy to oblige. But, even back then, we needed focus to differentiate between what our clients said they wanted – and what they objectively needed.
In 2017, with new technologies and new competitors, it is both more difficult and more important than ever to remain focused on our customers’ performance goals. It is far too easy to add features “because we can,” or because some other company has them. While it is important to update and to innovate in areas that truly benefit the client, it is easy to lose focus on core goals if you allow your company to engage in “feature wars.”
It is difficult to say “no” to good ideas, but the endless addition of non-critical features can increase a system’s complexity, reduce its reliability, and user-friendliness. It doesn’t matter how many tricks your system can perform if no one wants to use it. When these good ideas are introduced, however tempting they may be, CallSource stays vigilant on looking at the bigger picture. Just as we had to stay focused 25 years ago on what clients said they wanted versus what they needed, we continuously make sound, focused decisions for our clients’ best interests.
Another focus-diffuser is the temptation to apply software to perform tasks that are better handled by human experts. Speech analytics is a good example. The scalability and cost savings are very attractive, but when we focus on results, we have to admit that expensive, human experts still far outperform even smart and well-tuned software.
Sometimes, a complex solution is necessary to achieve a client’s goals. This is where pure “SaaS” (software as a service) models often continue to fail. The best results may require wrapping the technology in a bundle of services provided by a human expert, as CallSource recognizes and employs. Many companies are unwilling to do this, as every step away from the SaaS model is a step away from their focus: maximizing their company profits and valuation.
Technology is ever-evolving. Until a SaaS model proves to work as effectively as the human analysts that CallSource currently and has always used, we will keep the more complex solution to best help our clients. Although innovation is great, staying focused on the overarching goal of clients is more important.
Years ago, our executives argued whether CallSource is a technology company or a service company. Today, we understand that we are a technology-enabled service company. Of course, we depend upon smart, reliable technology, but we must never forget that the reason we need it is to be able to provide the services that help our customers achieve their goals. That has always been our focus. I like to think that focus is the reason we have been in business for the past quarter of a century, and continue to grow to this day and in the foreseeable future.