CustomerLand – Season 1, Episode 1

Gus Gikas is VP of North American Operations for Majorel. We caught up recently to talk about some of the trends they see affecting retailers right now – and in the near future – and some of the opportunities they present. Lots of data right now that points to a growth in off-shoring and even some “right-sizing” of that industry – call it right-shoring. Plus Gus previews something called Majorel X which promises to make some significant waves in the CX world.

Also, a special nod to our sponsor, Allant Group.


Mike Giambattista (Host):

CustomerLand is a podcast about customers, how to get more of them, how to keep them, what makes them tick. We talk to the experts, the technologies, and occasionally actual people, you know, customers to find out what they’re all about. So if you’re a CX Pro, a loyalty marketer, a brand owner and agency planner, if you’re a CRM and personalization geek, if you’re a customer service CSAT / NPS nerd, you finally have a home. I’m Mike Giambattista, Welcome to CustomerLand. 

Majorel helps some of the largest companies in the world navigate and bring efficiencies to their CX efforts today. Majorel’s, Gus Gikas talks to us about the moves by some companies to offshoring and nearshoring as well as previews. Something exciting from them called MajorelX

Gus Gikas (Majorel):

2023. Uh, you know what, where there’s a lot, uh, really going on. I, I would say to, uh, to go back to FARs prediction, uh, 4 20 23. It’s still early. It’s January. Uh, so not a lot has, uh, uh, has started to move, but was No,

Mike Giambattista (Host):

But you know what though? It’s interesting how many people are already going back on their 2023 predictions. We’re only halfway through January, and they’re kind of revising

Gus Gikas (Majorel):

<laugh>. We’re, uh, there’s no revising. I, I would say 2023. We’ve already seen it. We saw it in fourth quarter, uh, you know, of last year that companies are coming to us looking for, uh, ways of us to help them, uh, with their customer experiences. They’re looking for ways to shed costs, you know, how to offer a better experience, how to have some cost, uh, removals, how to also just remove risk. Uh, and, and they’re open. You know, and we’re, we’re talking to more and more clients who are open to even go offshore and nearshore, uh, where they haven’t been open to it in the past. And, and part of it is not just, uh, for cost savings. You know, I think a lot of times we hear about, you know, customers wanting to go offshore for cost savings. These are two tap talent. Uh, really there so much talent that is nearshore and offshore as the US and 20 22, 20 21, you know, we had a hard time finding, uh, and really bringing in top talent and these other markets, uh, you know, are just, have been truly successful.

Mike Giambattista (Host):

Yeah. Yeah. That’s really interesting. Well, so, you know, between the, the news, which over the past say, call it four months, is my guess, uh, everybody’s predicting is it going to be a recession or is it a soft recession? Is it even going to be a recession? Um, and the tech layoffs and, you know, kind of the worries of the market. Um, it’s no surprise that that, uh, business process out outsourcing is starting to look more and more offshore. That’s cost savings. But I, uh, one wrinkle that I, I, I was in a conversation just recently, um, it was less about cost savings and more about how to, how to reallocate funds because, um, this individual and their company felt like if they could, um, reallocate some of their business processes to offshore than they could, um, kind of allocate those funds domestically in ways that were more strategic for ’em. So it wasn’t necessarily about getting rid of, you know, less spending. It’s just about shifting, I should say.

Gus Gikas (Majorel):

Definitely. Definitely. I, I think we’ve seen more and more in the market of, you know, starting to look at how can we use ai, how can we use, uh, kind of robotics to move more transactional items, uh, to more offshore, uh, to more technology, uh, and being able to reinvest those funds and to more higher value connections. Because at the end of the day, you know, we’re all human, uh, and we love talking to someone great who’s going to help us and walk us through, uh, you know, whatever needs we have. Uh, and I think the real key is, you know, we want to connect the way we want to connect as a customer, right? So if I want fast service, because I have an easy problem, I don’t want to spend time in a queue. So, and we’re, we’re seeing is more and more of that, uh, in the industry is we’re looking at taking high value transactions and, and, and giving them a more onshore view, giving them a right shore view even rather than calling it onshore. Is it? Well,

Mike Giambattista (Host):

There you go.

Gus Gikas (Majorel):

Sure. Uh, taking it to where they can get the world-class customer service, uh, at a fair price.

Mike Giambattista (Host):

So before we hit record on this conversation, we touched briefly on, on Majorel’s latest big announcement, which is MajorelX, which, which I, I may be misreading it. And then it, it may be that we don’t know if I’m right or wrong in this conversation, but, um, you know, Majorel’s had some pretty decent size acquisitions over the past few years, and it always looked from the sidelines where I sit like that may be wrapped up into something, some br you know, kind of overarching brand and, and suite of services at some point and appears to be what MajorelX is. Um, which, which is a really interesting thing because, um, again, you know, we, we both acknowledge that, that we’re not the experts in it, but, um, a suite of services like the ones that you’ve assembled is actually game changing.

Gus Gikas (Majorel):

It, it definitely is. You know, MajorelX was, to your point, uh, a number of acquisitions to come together to truly create, you know, a, a brand new service, right? Where we’re redesigning, uh, the experience for customers, uh, and helping companies get closer to their customer, understanding their customer better, and truly delivering the experience that every customer wants.


(A word on our sponsor for this episode)

Allant is an audience orchestration engine, leveraging data analytics experience and MarTech integration to power the solutions behind successful customer journeys. Everything they do is based on the proven principle that customers want a more relevant, less intrusive and privacy centered relationship with brands. And they want to interact with brands on their terms, with their needs in mind, in the channels they choose A lot gives some of the largest and best known brands in their category a competitive advantage to deliver better lifecycle experiences to individualize, nurture, and energize the relationship between the brand and their customers. Check them out at AllantGroup.com.


Mike Giambattista (Host):

So, so we already said this isn’t our realm, so that kind of gives us an out, if we got anything wrong, you know, hey, it’s, it’s somebody else’s, um, you know, expertise. But you, you did mention some things that were, that were really interesting. Are you at liberty to talk at all about some of the interesting technologies or is that kind of under wraps or, or better left than someone else’s hands?

Gus Gikas (Majorel):

Uh, I would say it’s something that we should leave, uh, you know, to MajorelX. Uh, they are the true experts. I sat through, uh, a presentation of theirs just a week ago. Uh, and, and I’ll say I’ve been in this business, not to date myself, but for over two decades. Uh, and I’ll say I was thoroughly impressed, really is truly a game changer for us. And what we’re bringing to the market is truly going to drive excitement for our current partners and new partners coming on board.

Mike Giambattista (Host):

Well, we’ll, we’ll follow up with your colleagues to try and, you know, get a peek behind the curtain and what’s, what’s really happening there. But, um, there’s a decent amount of buzz in the marketplace for it.

Gus Gikas (Majorel):

Awesome.

Mike Giambattista (Host):

So, so back to back to predictions, um, yes. Uh, more offshoring, um, yes to cost reallocations. Um, are you seeing anything, do you predict anything, um, kind of industry by industry or are you kind of just looking at a kind of global overall basis?

Gus Gikas (Majorel):

Yeah, I’m going to go back to the first comment you made, which is, you know, people are talking about a recession. Is it going to be soft or big? Uh, and I’ll say the one thing that uh, we can say about our industry is, you know, we’ve lived through recessions, we’ve lived through wars, uh, you know, we’ve lived through a lot and, uh, we’re truly still standing and we’ve become stronger. Because at times, like this is where our partners, you know, current, uh, and new really look for our services to partner with them. Uh, and again, it’s not just cost, it’s, it’s opening up the door to available talent and expertise that can drive great customer experiences. It opens the door to a staff that you could bring on even seasonally. So that way it’s scalable, uh, to what your need is. Uh, and then to top it off a scalable technology, because in our industry, technology I is is truly a, a huge driver in timeline. And being able to partner, uh, with someone like Majorel who brings both the people, both the process, the technology, uh, and is well speed to market is, is really, uh, what, uh, what you need coming into this, uh, you know, new year,

Mike Giambattista (Host):

This, this, whatever, this economy is actually called

Gus Gikas (Majorel):

<laugh>.

Mike Giambattista (Host):

So there’s a, you know, there’s a, a joke, which is not a joke among marketers, which is where’s the, you know, where’s the first budget item to get cut in a recession or a downturn of any sort? It’s always marketing, it just is. Um, and it shouldn’t be, but it is. Um, but there’s also been a lot of press and a lot of buzz, um, kind of anticipating that CX would be the next place to get cut. And I, I actually dispute that. I mean, I think we’ll see how it plays out, but, um, marketing’s easy because a lot of it isn’t directly attributable to ROI. Whereas CX actually is cx uh, you know, if, I think if you’re, if you’ve, if you’ve mapped out your CX processes and end goals properly, you’ve probably got attribution in place, which in my view adds a layer of protection when they’re budget cuts. I don’t know what you’re seeing out there.

Gus Gikas (Majorel):

Definitely seeing a lot of focus on the retention of the customer and the servicing of the customer. Because that is key, especially going into times like these where we’re seeing the tech giants reducing jobs. Uh, it, it’s really about how do you keep the existing customer while you can maintain some focus on new customers coming in. So, uh, you know, have we seen cuts to kind of sales budgets or marketing budgets? We’ve seen some, uh, but the real key is not, uh, focused on the customer, you know, the existing customer basis. Truly your bread and butter. Yeah. That’s where

Mike Giambattista (Host):

It is.

Gus Gikas (Majorel):

Even in our own business, right? Our focus is on our existing customer base.

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