LFG with JJ Podcast - E1: Adam Lindsey

In the first episode of the LFG with JJ podcast, Juan Jaysingh interviews Adam Lindsey, the Senior Director of Global Service Operations at Groupon, about the current state of the customer experience industry and offers insights for those working in the field. 

April 3, 2023
10 min read
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Episode transcription

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Juan: 0:00

Welcome to LFG with JJ, the podcast that helps you level up your CX game by navigating CX and AI technologies. I'm Juan Jaysingh, the CEO of Zingtree, the AI-powered Customer Experience platform, providing solutions that turn every human into an expert. 700 plus companies across 54 countries trust our solutions to boost their contact center proficiency, enable their customers to self-help improve their internal processes and more with Zingtree. Hey Adam, good to see you.

Adam: 0:34

Hey, Juan. Good to see you. How are you doing?

Juan: 0:37

Great. I'm doing well. Welcome to LFG with JJ podcast. Excited to have you on the show and I know there's a lot going on your side, so I really appreciate you taking the time to spend this show with us.

Adam: 0:52

Thanks for having me. Yeah, there is a lot happening in the world and in my my role especially, but always good to speak.

Juan: 1:02

Great. For the show, the agenda is pretty straightforward. We're gonna talk a little bit about your background, who is Adam Lindsey? I would love to learn a little bit more about you Adam and then talk about the space that we're all in, the Customer Experience industry. And then bring it back to, what's happened in your professional work life in your job. You know what's happening, how you're doing your job well, how you staying relevant. And then finally we'll wrap up with some wrap up questions and I, other subjects as well. That's the agenda for the day. And I'm happy to answer any questions before you get.

Adam: 1:51

No, it sounds good. It should be interesting see if there's any curveball questions you throw in.

Juan: 1:59

No, this would be pretty straightforward. Maybe a few curve balls in the end. Yeah. Great. So let's start with you Adam. I looked at your background. You are a veteran at Groupon. You've been there for almost 12 years.

Adam: 2:15

Yeah. June the 13th will be my 12 years. So still in my first job since graduating. So in terms of, graduate job doing quite okay. But yeah, definitely a veteran.

Juan: 2:30

That's amazing. In this day and age, I think if you stay at a place for two years that's long term, but someone like you who've been there for 12 years, yes. It's unheard of. I would love to, before we dive into, your job, we'd just love to learn a little bit about you, your background. You know what, who is Adam Lindsey? How would you describe. I'm sure one of the uniqueness about you is staying at Groupon for so long, but we'd just love to learn a little bit about your

Adam: 3:00

background. Adam, I originally come from a small town called Quinton in the north of England. And I what's my background? I used to be in a band, so I was a drummer in a thrash metal band called Endarkenment. That was my pre Groupon career for a while. Went to university and I studied film and media true Mickey Mouse degree as they're called absolutely no relevance in terms of the industry I work in now. And before working at Groupon, I worked in factories. I've worked in bar staff, kitchen work, you name it. If you can think of a menial. That was my pre Groupon days. I also worked in a handful of, customer service contact centers. I worked in sales quite a lot, so I had a lot of say mini jobs before Groupon. And then after I graduated my friend asked if I wanted to move to London with her and I said, sure. I've been a few times. That sounds fun. So after about six weeks of being in London, I was doing bar work. I was doing just anything that would give me money. I was living off my credit card mainly and applying for anything and everything, but primarily sales roles because, they were the roles I, I was doing before before I went to uni and I'd done a few sales jobs while, so I was at uni. And I literally don't remember applying for Groupon I just received a phone call. I was walking around London between job interviews and somebody said, oh we see you've applied. Do you want to come in for an interview tomorrow? I said, sure. So I went to this like building and I sat on a bean bag in a corridor for 10 minutes and then I was told I was hired, and then three days later I started and that was. Entry to working at Groupon. I thought I'd be there for about three weeks. I thought, it's a minimum wage job. It's a three month contract. Let's see what happens. At the time there were about 50 people working in the office. It was tiny. There were literally no, nothing was documented. There was no such thing as training or onboarding. I sat next to. Daria was, it was my friend at the time at work and the training was just watch what I do for a couple of days and then go wild. And we did. It was a startup as you can think of. It then, Groupon became the fastest growing company in history and so it scaled. It just, it was insane that we were in 50 countries at one point and we moved offices every few months. We kept meetings, hire more and more people. And so it was, after a few months there, I became, I went from being an agent. Then my team leader went on holiday for a few weeks, so I took her job and then I was a manager. And then after about a year and a half I was asked in a meeting if I wanted to go to India to Chennai. And at the time I'd not really done a huge amount of traveling. And I thought, yes, great, I'll go to India, I'd love to go to India. And there was a small team of Groupon us folks who were there at the time, and it was just to see can it work? Like what happens if you. Hire people in India. And then after a couple of weeks there, I went back and I said, it seems great, we can have really good people way more experienced than we had at the time because everybody was working in Groupon customer services like me. We were just random people off the streets who who just ended up working there. And then I spent a year in India setting up customer service in Chennai. And it was the most insane year of my life. I it was like I don't know how do I describe it? At the beginning of the year, I was interviewing 70 or 80 people a day cuz we needed to hire that many people. Then I had to personally train each group. Each team, and then yeah, each of the new hires. And then it grew from a team of 10 and some of those people are still working a Groupon now, right the way through to 120 people. And then I left, it was, my job was done, it was set up and then ever, and then I carried on traveling. I was in South Africa for a few months when we had Groupon in South Africa. I went, then I went to Berlin. So I became head of German Austrian, Switzerland customer service, despite not speaking German. So that was a pretty steep learning curve when you can only speak to half of your department.

Juan: 8:21

You are, you're definitely the international man for Groupon. I I

Adam: 8:28

spent three years living in hotels. I'd have a base in London or somewhere, or Berlin. But I, it was just somewhere to keep like my suitcase and my guitar, but then I just be traveling and traveling. Which was the most amazing experience and I wouldn't change it. Anything that happened. And then I think the last country I moved to was was Poland. So I moved countries about five times. I think I was tax resident in about five different places. And it just got to the point where I remember being in Warsaw and it was. Minus 18 degrees, and I just hit my like wall of I can't do this anymore, if that makes sense. I've done it too many times. It became, it was a strange thing to get bored of moving country. But I feel like that's where I hit. It be eight years this year that I've been working from home. So still with the odd bits of travel, at least pre pandemic. But I've been like remote for way before it was popular.

Juan: 9:43

That's amazing. You're the international mystery man. That's amazing. What an amazing background. I, I being a drummer that's pretty cool. The coolest role, I think in the. I know it sounded like you

Adam: 10:02

A very undervalued role in the band usually. It's usually the front man of the league guitarist get all the attention, the drummer and the bassist.

Juan: 10:11

You know about music. That's great. And then working all these different types of jobs in the service industry, I always used to tell people, or I've had mentors tell me that they. Strong work ethic by working at a restaurant, being a waiter or a waitress. And it sounds like you've taken that path and served you well. It's

Adam: 10:38

something I think that's really important. Like earlier on in the history of Groupon, for example. We used to have overtime you'd get paid like one pound for every ticket you solved. And so I worked every weekend and I, carried on that, money's money type of ethic. But then that taught me so much about the role and about the business and about how customers work. And I find very often the problem with people in the customer service industry, and it's, I extend that. B2B, cuz Groupon, we work with tens of thousands of merchants and I look after the merchants side of the business as well. People will tend to speak to the business owner. They might have a chain of 50 restaurants, but what they, who they don't speak to are the bar stuff, the waiters, the people who are actually dealing with the customers and, living and breathing. The relationships that are offered. And I think having. Ground up experience has definitely paid up in the long term. And yeah, I think having a strong work ethic pays dividends is, if you don't put the work in, if you don't put the hours in, then nothing happens. You make your own opportunities in that regard.

Juan: 12:01

Yeah. Those are tough work, working in, in a restaurant. You always have to have a smile on your face and, service your, folks are coming and eating at restaurants. Some of them are great, some of them are not so great, but you always have to have a smile on your face. At least in the US you, you can make some tips. I don't think you make, I don't

Adam: 12:20

know how. Not really a thing. No, not really a thing in the uk. You do tip, it's not completely alien and it's become more of a thing recently, but it's not something you would expect to happen. Yeah,

Juan: 12:32

so it's interesting, you went through that and I also like that you did sales early on in your career. We have a saying here at Zingtree, or just my philosophy in general. Is everyone is in sales. It's not a bad thing, whether you're in Product Engineering, Marketing ops, you're always selling whether you're selling your solution, you're, selling to your teammates, your selling to partners. Of course, you don't want to be a car salesman and, or, not that hopefully car safe and not listen to podcast, but you don't want to be cheesy. But if you're authentic and you're, trustworthy. Making that sale is, I think is critical and important.

Adam: 13:13

One of is, I found that background, cause I worked in, I did everything from, I did, cold calling, inbound outbound retention every type of sales contact center type role there is. And went through all the different training and you learned so much. I think cold call sales is the hardest job in the universe. And yet, at the time I was doing it, I

Juan: 13:42

Did you get hung up a lot? Did you, when you called, did you get hung up a lot or did you get

Adam: 13:46

through? We were calling 300, 400 or 500 people a day. And it was to sell security systems. It was too amazing. How many people were you calling yourself? So I managed to average about 10 appointments a shift, which was 10 times more than the other people on the team. Wow. 10 appointments a shift. A shift is, yeah, eight hours. So my job was to get an appointment booked to send somebody around to your house. To look at your CCTV and

Juan: 14:17

to our, our outbound SDR team.

Adam: 14:19

Well it was just churn, I think you learn within I, I think it's similar with job interviews. Within a minute whether something is going to happen or not. And I think the same is true of sales. When to persist and when not to, and it's learning those tips and tricks and phrases and then having those. Tips and tricks and phrases in a customer service environment. Great when you're an agent, very good in terms of being able to offer solutions to customers and provide, make everybody happy. The same as a team leader. When you're dealing with escalations, you're managing your team and motivating everybody and I think having that kind of background is also quite unusual. Nobody ever grows up wanting to be in customer service. It's not like a pet dream passion project of when I'm older, I want to work in customer experience or customer service. But it's people who from, all different backgrounds come together and you either have that kind of itch to the shoe that or you don't. And so I think having that, there's such a diverse background of people in our. That there is no singular route to success or a singular route forward. It's just, I think the diversity is what's a real benefit of that. And like my boss has a degree in philosophy, minds and film and media. And then my team have gutted all around the world with all kinds of backgrounds. And yeah, I think having the right mindset and the right, combine that with a good work ethic and you can't really go.

Juan: 16:02

That's amazing. So you mentioned, I want to get to this question. I think it's an important question for, me to learn and for, the audience to learn. When did you made it, you made it to becoming a, CX leader to have an amazing career, professional career, an amazing career at Groupon. What was the tipping point where you felt like, Hey, I'm just not walking around UK or London and like getting a phone call and running to an interview getting hired quickly, but when did you have that calmness in yourself? You know what, Adam, Lindsey,

Adam: 16:37

I still haven't got the calmness. I think it's dangerous to be complacent and think you've mastered anything, and it's dangerous to think that you've made it because then you stop innovating. And I've always said since my time at Groupon after a few weeks, I said, the day that one month is the same as the next month is when I go, cuz I'll know that I've done everything I need to do and I've learned as much as I can learn. And so I actively work against that. I actively work against complacency and against thinking I know it all and against. Being, too arrogant, shall we say. And I think that that for me is so important as well as being able to just let go of things you've built, admit failure, admit mistakes, own it, learn from it. And not to think that, okay, I've done this and this is the best way of working. Again, my time here, I've worked with so many people with so many decades, more of experience than I. And occasionally you meet people, veterans of the industry, decades of experience and all the rest. But then they tend to think in, in more static frameworks of things that worked in the past. So they'll work again. And I think in the current environment of the world, you can't have that mindset. Everything moves so quickly, but you have to keep on top. You have to constantly innovate, see what other people are doing, and then try and see how. Optimize it and replicate it and not get too tied into those silos of, X, Y, Z is the best way of doing something. That's an

Juan: 18:25

amazing answer. It was a trick question in the answer that really well, Adam. So kudos to you. But to drill down on that, I get it right. You want to continue to stay relevant. You're gonna continue educating yourself, learning from your, from what's happening in the industry, from your teammates, from your colleagues, partners, and vendors like Zingtree. So you're always learning and growing and so are we. But was there a time in your life where you felt like, Hey, Adam, I have the opportunity to go do something special here with my career? It sounded like, Hey, you were doing a lot of different things. You were in the band, you were working at restaurants, you were doing some hard job. When did you have an aha moment like, Hey, Adam, Lindsay can make it. Let's go crush it.

Adam: 19:09

I think it helped working for a startup that grew so quickly and, I was definitely, there is definitely an element of luck in terms of being where I was when I was. I think if you work for a startup, you're hedging your bets if it's still going to be there in six months time. So I think just. I think I always took the perspective of is there somewhere for me to grow too? I've always had that next level. I've always had that goal of as soon as I get a new role, it's okay, how can I perfect what I'm doing here? When I've, for example became head of German, Germany, and Austrian, Switzerland, customer service, I was thinking, How do I move to a European role and how do I move to an international role and how do I move to a global role? And then in the last three years I've moved away from customer for a while and was looking at. Looking after merchant experience and now I've got both worlds customer and merchant. So it's, again, it's how do I connect the customer merchant to create like a marketplace ecosystem? And that's why we're talking cuz Zingtree plays a big part in that. So I think it's constantly having that goal and again, going back to the complacency. If you think you've made it, okay, great, this is the job I want to do till the day I die, then that's probably where you start to fail. I think that's probably it's after being here for so long it's almost alien to imagine being somewhere else. But I think that the benefit is the variety I've had in the time I've been here and keeping that variety going. Not being Again, not being, never being satisfied in a happy way. Not as in I'm really miserable, I'm so unhappy, but in a happy way. Like not being satisfied with what you've got. Always pushing yourself, your team and everybody around you.

Juan: 21:15

That's an amazing perspective. You said, you mentioned you got a little bit lucky with Groupon getting the job, but of course, luck is involved, but I really do believe that people make their own luck. I think it's your work ethic, your drive that you have the. And mindset of, the growth mindset of trying to keep getting better and keep learning. I think all those things put you in position to land at Groupon and have this amazing experience.

Adam: 21:40

So I think, yeah, I agree and I think there was a pivot point cuz I think for the first half of my time here, I said yes to everything, which is why I ended up living in five different countries and traveling all the time, living in hotels. You do that when you're getting your career started, and that's when I I hit my wall where I just thought, I just can't do this anymore. I just, I loved the meeting people and traveling, but my friends back home were getting married and buying houses and having kids, and I. I think I was about 28, so I wasn't old, but I felt old. I think after three years of travel, I feel, nearing 40. And I think then the second half of my career is very much the opposite. I turn down more things than I say yes to, and I'm very decisive in understanding what is the right thing to do. So I think it's, again it's having, I suppose with age, with experience, with maturity and seniority. You do. When to say yes, when to say no. That's an



Juan: 22:41

concept, right? Early on in your career. And I just, I was the same way, I think. And you say yes because you know you're ready. You want to go, you want to prove yourself, you want to get out there and you want to, hustle and you're, you're taking on as many opportunities as possible. So you're saying yes. And then as you mature and you get older and you get more experience than you are prioritizing, you're, saying no to more things. Is that the right pathway for anyone getting started? You think? Still is, it goes

Adam: 23:13

through I think so. It's it seems to be when you hire

Juan: 23:18

someone now who's, 22, 23, just coming out of college. You expect them to go through that same journey you went through saying yes and taking on more opportunities and responsibilities.

Adam: 23:30

I think so. I think for my, like the team I've managed for the past few years, I like, one of my biggest, most proudest achievements is that they haven't quit on me. I've got the same team working with me. For the past two years I think that it's I find it is finding the people who you work best with. And it's I think I'm so selective as well in terms of if, especially if I'm hiring, I remember. Even back in the days of setting up India. My higher rate was about 20%. So I'd only hire one fifth of the people I interviewed. Man, I would

Juan: 24:10

I would be in trouble if I was interviewing with you. The bar is high. The other,

Adam: 24:15

But the other people who were recruited, their higher rate was 40%, 50%. But the people I hired, some of them are still there now. They, they, I hired the right people. And I'd rather be pickier and I'd rather be more selective to make sure that you've got the right person for the role. Cuz again, it's it's pointless hiring somebody. It's not even, it's beyond that. It's not even the hiring. It's pointless asking somebody to do something they don't want to do. If you give somebody a project or a task that they have no interest in, then that will show and that will reflect in the. So it's, again, it's finding people's own, what drives their well, what their personal skillsets are, what their passions are, if you can call it that. And then making sure that you keep that, motivation going. That's

Juan: 25:07

amazing. Yeah. So you mentioned India a few times. I think I told you this before from some of our prior conversations. I was born and raised in Chennai. It used to be called Madras. I, before I moved to the as a teenager, but that's pretty interesting. You went to my hometown. Yeah. I was just thinking about this. I probably wouldn't have made through the interview process with you if I was still in Chennai and I came through, I interviewed at Groupon.

Adam: 25:37

No, it's six degrees of separation, isn't it? Everybody's connected, but I think on the interview, like there was it was the most insane. One of the most insane experiences of my life was interviewing 18. You're

Juan: 25:52

interviewing 70, 80 people from

Adam: 25:54

Chennai every day a day for two weeks, back to back, no days off. And the people, just the backgrounds were incredible. The experience, the I learned so much. Everything, it wasn't just about people's work histories, it was their families, it was their backgrounds, it was their education, it was their motivations, it was their desires. And I think what I found most naively surprising was everybody has the same need in terms of a job. It's, again, especially in a kind of a customer service type role it's finding people. Have the right way of thinking and the right mindset. That is it very

Juan: 26:40

service-oriented. I'm obviously biased, from there, but really hardworking, service-oriented people. I've been fortunate to come from the background cause that served me well in my career. And even when I spend so much of my time now in the in, in America and I go back to. Even the people at the hotel house, service oriented, they are, they won't let me even carry my bag, and so it's over the top, but they genuinely mean it, especially the people that are working in the service business. So it's on a phenomenal area. I'm glad you gotta spend some time there.

Adam: 27:18

Oh, I love it. It was my second home. Like I lived there for a year and I remember when I came back I was, what was Indian

Juan: 27:26

food? Did you get used to eating Indian food or no?

Adam: 27:29

Oh yeah. I mastered eating just with my hands, so I stuck with the cutlery and I got over a really good group of friends. I kept in touch with them who were, I went to all the places. The tourists don't go to and got to meet all the, a lot more Chennai than I have. I probably have. It was, and I've kept in touch and I've got people on my team who have since moved to the US and they've moved all over the world. And and it was to the point that whenever different groups of people have come from the US I'd be showing them like, oh, there's this amazing restaurant or beach or club or wherever. There's so much to see and. And I remember coming back to the UK and looking at like my pound currency, like the cash, and it looked alien to me. It's like I was so used to rupees and then there's this strange money

Juan: 28:23

And it's when you're getting paid in US dollars or pound, you have a lot of rupees as well, so that makes, yes. So this is now amazing talking about your background. What a unique background. Thanks for sharing. It really shows that, how your background, from your early days has, taken you far to where you are now. So that's really cool to see. I'd love to dive into the CX space, right? You made a comment that no one kind of thinks about, Hey, I want to be a call center rep as my dream job, or for my, lifelong job. But here we are, we're in the customer experience industry. What is the state of the union? You've been in this space for so long, you've been a call center agent, you've moved up different roles. You've been in operations, you're now the director of operations for the customer side and the motion side. What do you think is the state of the industry that we're all in?

Adam: 29:22

So it's incredible how fast things are moving now. So we've been involved, I've worked with countless chat bot providers and AI companies and the earlier ones, 6, 7, 8 years ago were pretty awful, pretty clunky in terms of the kind of responses and how they operate. And now, everybody's familiar with like chat, G B T and and all the other. We're adding that

Juan: 29:52

into our tech stack.

Adam: 29:53

So for us, and so I, I think going back to even four or five years ago before the pandemic was a different world. For our merchant support teams, we started offering Zoom calls so that you could just jump on a call with the merchants and taught them through the merchant. And again, something like that would've been unthinkable five, six years ago. We shifted our entire workforce to work from home instead of

Juan: 30:23

a phone call. For your B2B side, your merchant side, you would

Adam: 30:26

just have someone. Yeah. So it's it's making

Juan: 30:31

Before the pandemic, you guys were ahead of it interestingly. So this

Adam: 30:35

was actually during the pandemic. So what we realized, so when we first made everybody work from. We couldn't offer phone because we didn't have hard phones available and people were working from their kitchen. But then as the pandemic kind of progressed, we realized we're in this for the long call. We thought we don't need hard phones anymore. We can use a softphone, we can just, people can call in from the laptops. And it was a, we started piloting to see how that worked. It's having, whilst there is a, it's fantastic that you have things like AI and chatbot and everything else. Sometimes you just need to get on the phone or you just need to speak to somebody. Different people work in different ways, and I think it's having the multitude of options is what's needed. I think. Again, in the many years I've been here, this, we've experimented with lots of different ways of how do we create self-service, how do we deflect? And ultimately I think if the self-service solution is more effort or it's a worse experience, then you're not going to opt for it. So it's providing options that actually make it better that customers use through choice. I choose to go this route because it's easier than sending an email or starting a chat conversation. And the same for merchants.

Juan: 32:03

They've got the bar high, so if you're not providing a certain level of service, it's very easy for them to walk out the door and go somewhere else. Exactly right. So it's it's very interesting, the customer has a very short fuse now.

Adam: 32:19

Yes. And expectations have raised so much as well. Yeah. I think with the, I think with the earlier phases, if we could call 'em that of translation solutions, like live translation solutions. At least for written channels. But it's gonna be interesting to see what happens with the voice channels in that area as well. So I think where we are now is another kind of turning point where AI's becoming more intelligent, chatbots are becoming more intelligent. Still not a big fan of chatbots cause I think they're incredibly expensive and complex. Tell me about that. I

Juan: 32:59

mean it sounds like that's like a, one of the, challenges of potentially opportunities for people who are listening to this to like how to address that pain point. But sounds like you guys have had some challenges. As a CX leader have had challenges with the chatbot experience.

Adam: 33:15

Yeah, so there's good and bad ways. Chatbots are an amazing tool in terms of creating a warm handoff to an agent. You can gather information that makes the agent's life easier. It improves the way the customer works. And if you have something that's fixed like an iPhone, it works one. So there's, it's possible to have a chatbot that gives you a very good answer. Where they usually fail is in the infinite shade of gray and nuance. And that's where everybody gets rather frustrated. And usually one of the more common things that are typed into chatbots is, I want to speak to a human, put me through to a human. And when you see those like word clouds of you're not offering the right solution. And I think where people tend. Fall into the trap with chat bots is thinking that they can automate and replace everything because the chat bot can do everything. And I'm sure, in the distant future, I'm sure that might be a possibility. But if you work in an environment where you have so much complexity, each customer's circumstance can be unique to their purchase, to the merchant they've purchased for. It becomes a very complex thing to set. Which is why we're speaking, which is why I think decision trees and Zingtree comes in is. It provides, as I've mentioned earlier, the avenue of opportunity. It's there. You can use it, but you can still speak to a human being. But the the concept is all about if all the agent is going to do it at the end of the conversation is send you a template response, then what the agent themselves haven't added value to that interaction. All they've done is gone onto Salesforce or Zendesk or wherever. And applied a template response. So I think for most queries they could be better handled via, like an interactive decision tree versus if anybody has ever gone into the malmstrom of setting up a chatbot and all the complexity that entails, then then I suppose someone are talking about, and it's having those controllable levers as. It's easier to understand what's happening and which levers you can pull if you want to influence a particular outcome. So if you want to impact the contact rate or refund rate or satisfaction I think having that oversight and ability to pull those levers makes the world a difference.

Juan: 36:00

Yeah that's great to hear. It's great to hear that, interactive decision trees, Zingtree is working well for you and you've had, success there. Personally, when I came on as CEO of Zingtree I was like how is Interaction Interactive Decision Tree gonna make this great? And I didn't have enough of a, belief in it. But when I started talking to customers like yourself they actually come and Google interactive decision. It gave me confidence that this is a real thing and this is what the market is looking for. So it's pretty amazing experience for me to hear that first stand from customers who have educated me definitely educated me and to believe in, interactive decision trees.

Adam: 36:43

Yeah and our evolution was starting with like agent facing decision trees, but then you quickly realize all the agents doing is clicking through the tree. Yeah. The customer could do that. The merchant can do. Retaining that human support. I think that the pipe dream vision of having a hundred percent automated support ecosystem is many years away. It's, but it's going iteratively. Iteratively moved towards that. I think it's having the foundation and then iteratively moving towards, future sites. So

Juan: 37:22

where do you see the industry is that way you see the industry going? There's a lot of things happening in the industry now. Like you mentioned ChatGPT, Open AI, we're, fully invested in it. A product roadmap has changed in the last three months. We're gonna be AI ML driven interactive decision tree. So it's pretty cool for us to make investments there. But, you being in the space for where do you see the industry going with all the, exciting things? I'm sure you're hearing as

Adam: 37:51

well. Yeah even comparing five years ago to now and how stupid AI was and how unworkable it was to now where it can work, it can provide solutions. The same for translations. So like many years ago, trying to, it would be impossible to have. Like a non-English speaker I don't know, French customer speaking to an English agent. Impossible. Because you can't use Google Translate and it, the productivity would be terrible, but now you do have multiple translation providers, so it the automation of language, the fact that you don't even need to hire native speakers anymore because you've got the AI youth that can do it for you. So I think what. The infancy of this. I still think that there's a heavy need for human supports and human involvement, but it's going to iteratively expand and eventually, I'm sure, as with many industries, it's not just the support industries. I think, Accounting even. I've meant I've been reading about even like medical, like you'll get a better diagnosis from an AI doctor in 20 years than you would from a doctor in a human doctor. So I think it's tricky to understand like we, if you would ask somebody 30 years ago, what do you think the impact of the internet will be? I don't think you would've expanded it to now, 30 years later where two people could be sat in their houses. Recording a podcast with video and it would be streamed around the world. That 30 years ago would've been impossible. I think there's a similar evolution happening. Yeah, with AI, it's

Juan: 39:43

interesting, right? One of our beliefs at Zingtree is our vision is to make every human an expert. We really believe in it. We're behind it. It's actionable. It's live, it's real. We are making agents an expert. We're making people who are your end consumers and expert to self solve on their own. With that said, we've heard in this space over the last 10, 20 years, you always hear these metrics that agents or these humans will be replaced by. Automation will be replaced by ai, will be replaced by chatbots. And that claim has been going on for some time. With that said, the amount of agents that people the growth of agents in the customer experience and the customer support and the contact center space has only increased over the years over the last 10, 15, 20 years. So it's interesting that you've got more technology, more tools, more automation, but the amount of humans that you deploy to service customer. That number's only increased. It hasn't decreased. Like some, like a lot of people have thought it would. So it's interesting to see that. It's

Adam: 40:55

also that I think that the concept of what support is expanded, and it's not just about being reactive and answering inputs from emails. It's also, it's about having outreach and outbound and with social media, that's a whole. World to get into. It's about providing those kind of value add and extra initiatives that would not even have been considered a, like a customer service role 10 years ago. Yeah, so I think it's a case of it's utilizing the freedom, time, and resource to do better things, other things. And definitely the knowledge is a huge part of that. It's if you can give every agent the same level of experience that would've taken five years to learn. Yep. Just plug and play, then why wouldn't you?

Juan: 41:54

Yep. Yeah. It's interesting. And maybe like you said, the roles have changed as the humans and the agents. Or have access to more and more, tools they, their jobs, get more complex. They can deal with more complex issues. And it's no longer just reactive. They're proactive. I was talking to a company the other day, really cool company and they wanna reach out to their customers before they reach out to them with an. So this call is going come in, in the next day or two. But we're gonna call them, we're gonna, reach out to them before they even call us to surprise them. I, and

Adam: 42:40

I, yeah, we do the same from a merchant perspective. So we have signals, so we know something's going to. Now if a merchant stops redeeming vouchers or they stop accepting bookings, or a refund rate goes up, or a contact rate goes up, we know something's happening and then we create a trigger that makes somebody do something. And again, it's having that human at the end of it that you could never have a, what would you do if you have a trigger? So we have a trigger that will tell us, something's going wrong with this merchants, and we call. And they'll say, oh, you must be psychic. My chef quit last week. My kitchen burned down or whatever else. And appreciate about that. Incredibly yeah. The fact that we're calling them because we think something might be wrong. You don't hear many businesses that will do that. And it's, again, it's being more intelligent and we're able to do that with, we don't hire incrementally, it's because we know. By making that phone call outbound, you prevent the inbound before it's balloons further and escalated. Just being, again, being more intelligent with your resources, not just thinking of a support function as a reactive, inbound environment. It's something that's fluid and organic and it should be outbound as well as in Barron.

Juan: 44:03

That's great. With everything that's going on in the economy, in the market, How, how are things working for you in your, day-to-day job? Where do you go to get inspiration and knowledge within your CX community? Are there any space that you go to? And yeah, just like to learn a little bit more about your day-to-day operation. What are some of the biggest challenges we've, you've faced or learnings you've had recently, or some big success stories. I would love to hear a little bit about.

Adam: 44:35

It's a challenging time. It feels like we're in the era of the big layoff. And there's a lot of people looking for new opportunities, shall we say. I tend to be quite good at keeping in touch with people, and I think that's helpful and I, my organic network, shall we say, because I've worked with thousands and thousands of people in my time at group. And I keep in touch with them. I continue those networks and that provides its own opportunities. And whenever people in my team are looking for jobs, it helps to have that built in network to say, okay I know somebody who, if you are looking for a job, they might be able to help you. This, of course, LinkedIn and, it's also, I think it's, it is making those opportunities happen. It's like when we started talking, when I started talking to Zingtree, the whole origin of it was we had this terrible tool that was really resource intensive from an engineering perspective. It didn't do what we wanted it to do, and it was just an agent facing decision tree tool. And I was fed up of the excuse of, if we can't develop this, we can't develop that. So I think it was just taking the initiative to just literally Google agent facing decision tree. Seeing what was out there and just making those connections. And yeah, again, you make your own opportunities. It's not something

Juan: 46:10

that we're very thankful you Google us. I don't know if I told you this, but you and I went through a really deep dive technical evaluation and we've got close 700 customers in 50 plus countries, but I can't remember a customer. We've been working with you for over a year now, and it's been amazing partnership, but I don't, I can't recall a customer that put us through the ringer, like Groupon. You took your 20% hiring metric into your, vendor metric

Adam: 46:41

too. Oh, yes. Especially my team, if they have a question, they will be very busy until they get an answer. No, it was,

Juan: 46:49

It was extremely difficult and I still remember we came out of a call and one of our founders was super excited cuz he answered that. Hundreds of technical questions that your team was asking him, around the technology, around Salesforce integration. And he was just so fired up and, he said a few interesting words that we actually recorded and we still played as inspiration from time to time. And right after the Groupon call was ended he was super fired up. So yeah, we remember that very well. You guys had a. Strong technical evaluation team that really did put us through the ringer. And it was it was a great experience. I'm glad we came out of it in a positive manner.

Adam: 47:31

Yeah, it's a good test. I think if you ask, if you trying to partner with a business and they can't answer questions and it's a the red flags start going, don't they like, but the ability, I think just being able to answer questions honestly is a, it opens and unlocks

Juan: 47:46

doors. This has been great.I doo want to wrap this up here. I know we're coming up on time. But I do want wrap it up with, I know you have a family now you have a daughter. You know what, besides your work, where I know you're dedicated, committed, you're spending a lot of time there and with your family, what are your hobbies? What do you

Adam: 48:11

like? I, so about three years ago at the beginning of the pandemic, I broke my hip and I couldn't walk for four months, and I, had a pretty awful time then. And so I started with a personal trainer about couple of years ago, and then that's become my new passion is just being fit and healthy. And I have two gym memberships. I still have the same PT. I and I think just being healthy and fits and active is probably the thing that is my happy place now. So love. Whereas it might have, you have been going to the pub, now it's going to the gym. And that's definitely my, my new favorite thing to be doing. Long wall there. I think working out, I've got

Juan: 49:00

Exactly, yeah. And I, and I still work out every day. I try to, sports, tennis, but I'm really into pickleball now, so I know I told you about it. So when I visit you, hopefully in the UK office soon, we'll have to get out and play some pickleball.

Adam: 49:18

Yes. I need to practice, I need to find a pickleball partner, but I don't think it's a thing in the UK yet, but it looks fun. Yeah, It's

Juan: 49:25

a lot of fun. And then Adam, this has been great. I, for the viewers out there, someone who is just getting their career. I, I'd like to wrap up with this question. What advice would you give them? I if what would you give a younger, Adam Lindsey based on what you've learned to have the career that you've had so

Adam: 49:46

far? I would say whatever role you are in it doesn't matter. I started as a temporary first level customer service agent. Put the most work in you can, and the most effort. There's always, there's always that next level, no matter what role you're in. No matter how junior it might be, if you push yourself, you will keep progressing and then when you get to that next level, push harder. That's the only advice I would give. I don't, I genuinely don't think it matters where you start in a business. If you put the right efforts in, working the right way. I think anybody can succeed in any environment as long as you, have the right. So that would be the advice.

Juan: 50:28

That's, I that's an amazing advice. One of my closest mentors told me, Juan, forget about the title, cuz I was, Hey, I need this title. Forget about the title, forget about the role, what position you're going into. You're just getting your career started. Focus on the people. Are they good people that you're around? Are you surrounded by good people? Are you surrounded by smart? And if you are, forget about the role. Forget about the title. Just go and crush it. Head down, work hard, have passion, and do your work well. Because the smart good people will recognize that and great things will come out of it either in the short term or long term. So it's so true.

Adam: 51:03

It's so true.

Juan: 51:05

So your advice is spot on. It resonates with me and the folks I've talked to. So thank you. Thank you so much, Adam, for your time. Thanks for sharing your knowledge with us and and me and look forward to continuing having more of these conversations down the line, hopefully in person and on the pickleball court.

Adam: 51:22

On the pickleball court.

Juan: 51:24

Yeah, exactly. Great. Enjoy, have a great rest of your week and look forward to catching up

Adam: 51:30

soon. Thanks, you've been great speaking with you. Bye. Great. Thank you, Adam. Take care.