Succeeding where others have failed

Like
+ Add to

Today’s guest was trying to solve a problem that so many companies have gone after but failed. I want to find out what he did to make it work with his company, Horatio.

Jose Herrera is the founder of Horatio, a customer service outsourcing company.

If you’re interested in any kind of outsourcing, you’ll want to hear his story.

The podcast is in all major apps, just search for Mixergy.
You can also use our RSS Feed RSS feed.

Jose Herrera

Jose Herrera

Horatio

Jose Herrera is the founder of Horatio, a customer service outsourcing company.

roll-angle

Full Interview Transcript

Andrew: Hey, they’re freedom fighters. Um, you know, as an entrepreneur, I always wondered if entrepreneurship fails for me. What do I do? I don’t have any other skills. All I’ve been as an entrepreneur, my whole life. And today right now, I just realized I have another skill. I can basically turn any piece of garbage office into a recording studio.

I don’t know that I did this especially well, but I wrote over to a different kind of, we work here in Austin. And I’m turning this very echoey conference room. I hope the echo is not coming into the audience too much. I’m turning this echoey conference room into a podcast studio. I hooked up my mic. I clamped it down in order to get the computer raised up.

I took some WIWORK cups and I’ve got it underneath here. Um, in all seriousness though, I did it all because I’ve been fascinated. And so is my producer, Ari. She she’s telling me the today’s guest is amazing. I’m hearing a story and I’m amazed by it. And here’s what. Over the years, a lot of entrepreneurs that I’ve talked to have struggled with getting customer service to be real time, especially as we go to chat.

And a few of them have decided that what they’re going to do is create an outsource service that will do chat chat-based customer support for other businesses, because they figured, look, if it’s a pain for me, it’s probably a pain for other people. I’ll create this as a service, I’ll help those other businesses and I’ll make some money.

I have not seen a single one of them succeed. And then we found out about Jose Herrera. He is the founder of her ratio. They do the same thing that I’ve seen other entrepreneurs do. They did not make it work for some reason, Jose has been able to make it work. And what a, what I wanted to find out here is why, how was he able to make this thing that others needed, but couldn’t do well work.

And so I invited him here to talk about her ratio and how they do next gen. I don’t know why they call it next generation, customer support outsourcing firms, but basically for businesses that want to have real time. Real time support on all these different platforms that people are expecting customer support on including phone calls, but apparently not.

Uh, not majority of it. Phone calls, it’s mostly text-based, uh, those businesses hire her ratio. I invited you to me to find out how he did it, and we could do a thanks to my sponsor HostGator. And I’ll tell you later on why you should go to hostgator.com/mixergy, but for now I’m going to stop whispering.

And I’m only whispering because of the echo and say hello to Jose. Good to have.

Jose: Hey, Andrew, it’s great to be here today. Thank you for inviting me.

Andrew: What’s your revenue.

Jose: We typically don’t like to disclose revenue. What I would like to tell you is that this year we’ve grown five X. So our business has grown exponentially. Um, in December of 2020, we were a team of 180 and fast forward to today. Um, October 28th, 2021, we are a team of over 700. So we’ve grown dramatically since, since, uh, the

beginning of.

Andrew: All bootstrapped. Can you tell me, are you over 10 million in revenue?

Jose: Eh, yes,

Andrew: Okay, great. I’ll take that. This is fricking phenomenal for a team of people who no outside funding. Right.

Jose: no outside funding. No.

Andrew: You used to do the customer support yourselves. You didn’t even have employees in the beginner.

Jose: Yeah, it was, it was a great time when the three of us started the business. We were, we were the first agents, uh, answering customer support inquiries on behalf of our patients.

Andrew: Good Lord. What hours were you working? Were you in the middle of the night doing this? Answering somebody’s customer support, email.

Jose: We were, um, we were doing this All day, basically. I mean, the three of us met in business school. We were at Columbia during our MBA and the three of us come from a investment management investment banking background. And, um, we started doing this while we were still in school. So we were doing both our MBA and, um, answering customer support inquiries on behalf of Oracle.

Andrew: Wow. Do you remember one of the biggest pain in the butt customer support issues that you had to deal with on top of the fatigue from school and from starting a new business?

Jose: Yes. I think that particularly our, our initial, uh, bread and butter was e-commerce and we have to deal with a lot of, um, issues surrounding shipping delays and lost packages and, and having a lot of angry customers. Reach out to us asking for a refund, even though they already received their package and being unreasonable.

So imagine that, um, nowaday with, with the COVID pandemic it’s, it’s been, Uh,

it’s been crazy in terms of the amount of, uh, similar issues that now we see now.

Andrew: So from what I understand, it was you, Jared and Alex who connected first and then came up with the idea. I’ve read all kinds of things about how the two or the three of you bonded. What is it about the three of you that made you say we like each other enough that we’re going to figure out what to do and basically spend a big chunk of our lives.

Married.

Jose: Yes. I think a lot of people, when they see three founders, they, they always say, oh, three founders is very difficult. It’s never going to work. I think that the main thing that made it make us a strong team is number one, we share the same common values and principles. Um, so we were friends before we decided to start this business together.

And number two, we have very complimentary skillsets. So. Everyone in the team has a different set of responsibilities that don’t cross each other. And

I think that’s part of the reason why

Andrew: Let’s pause, we’ll come back to those responsibilities, but what do you mean by values as guys who are just getting their MBA in school? How do you even know what you, what your values. The values usually are when you’re in school, build a great company or not settle for a job you hate.

But beyond that, what do you have?

Jose: Yes. I think that one of the first classes at Columbia is about discovering your values. And I think that’s when you find out, um, what, what you really care about. Um, and I think we all care. Uh, the same, the same set of things. We also share a lot of similar attract races when it comes to doing the right thing on behalf of our clients.

And also, um, we also shared the same mission that that is in addition to creating a, an amazing, Uh, company is also to create meaningful job opportunities and improve the working conditions of the Dominican Republic, which is where our main operation is based. And which is where I grew up.

Andrew: what was it like growing up in the Dominican Republic?

Jose: It was amazing. I had a, I had a great childhood. Um, it’s a, it’s a very interesting place. Um, and, uh, you know, part of the reason why I decided to, to, you know, start the business and the operations there is because I remember that the talent is amazing and it’s top notch and, and, uh, that’s exactly why we decided to start the company.

Andrew: What was, what was amazing about it and what was challenging about it?

Jose: What’s challenging about it?

is, is the typical challenges that you see with, with any country in Latin America, um, you know, political instability and also, um, economic disparities, um, lack of diversity. Um, but I think that, you know, what makes it a very unique, uh, Country and the unique places, the culture, um, the people are very warm.

Uh, we are very service oriented and, um, despite all the uncertainties of growing up in, in, in, in an island, like the Dominican Republic, everyone is super happy. Everyone, um, always puts a smile on their face no matter what. So we are known for celebrating life, no matter the harsh conditions that.

Andrew: I love Latin America. When you’re talking about political instability, I wonder what did I experience there that made me feel it in any way? And it is. Protests out of nowhere for things that really matter by people whose lives are deeply impacted by it. So out of nowhere, there could be just this furious protest justified coming out.

What else would I experience suddenly? Uh, just heavy police or, or military presence. What did you experience?

Jose: Yeah. I mean, luckily we didn’t experience? any of that in the Dr. Um,

it was more of the economic disparities, um, in terms of like the, the, the rich and poor and finding very cool, meaningful job opportunities. Um,

so that’s like most of the things that, um, the Dominican youth aspire to is having very cool opportunities to grow and use their skills.

Um, the education level is very high. It’s just that most of the work that that is available to you is in traditional industries like financial services or, or being, you know, uh, a lawyer or a doctor, like there, there was no, there’s no startup scene there. Um, uh, and so I guess those were some of the things that, that, that Dominican youth typically experience there.

Yeah. Um, but as

Andrew: you just see the hunger to do something without the opportunity to use that hunger, to channel that energy.

Jose: Exactly.

Yeah,

Andrew: I’m thinking about what you told our producer about how as a kid, you would sell anything. You sold drawings.

Jose: yeah. Yeah. It was always very entrepreneurial. I’ve been working since I’ve been 10 years old and I always liked to, to work and do things. So

I always

Andrew: Like what, give me more examples. Selling drawings in school is a good one. What else?

Jose: Um, I worked at, I worked at a hardware store. Um, when I was, when I was growing up, I wanted to learn about other different tools and everything.

So I O I was always looking for, uh, the next, uh, the next thing that I could do or learn. So I was always very curious about it. And then, you know, I, I got the opportunity to work at, uh, the largest bank in the country when I was, um, uh, 15, um, um, in an internship. And it was a really cool experience that, that led me to.

Pursue my path in financial services. When I moved to the us,

Andrew: What did you do at the bank in which banquet?

Jose: it was a it’s the largest bank in the Dominican Republic. It’s called a popular bank and I was in their credit cards, uh, department, which is,

which

Andrew: this bunko papilla.

Jose: bankable hilarious.

Andrew: Okay. I didn’t realize it was called popular bank, like that use the English version. Sorry. And what was, what was it that you were doing there?

Jose: I was, um, in their credit card processing.

Andrew: Okay. And I heard that the other thing that happened was you also got a job at Western youth. Doing customer support for them was this before Bunco popular

Jose: this was after.

So Western union was the first BPO or business process outsourcing company that decided to, um, start, uh, recruiting talent in the Dominican Republic. And I was one of the first batches of, of employees that started there. And it was a very, uh, interesting. Culture and a very interesting training that I received from them.

And, um, that’s, you know, part of the idea, um, part of the reason why we decided to start, uh, the, the business in the Dr is because I remember that the talent of my peers was incredible. And, um, as the business and as the business process outsourcing industry evolved in the Dr. Most of the jobs are geared towards telcos and financial services, and there was nothing exciting or cool about it.

Uh, In terms of growing and, and setting up a career path, um, in those sectors.

Andrew: No offense, but you go from working at one of the top banks to then answering phones. What happened? Why didn’t you continue and finance?

Jose: I was very young. I was in, I was, I was an intern when I was at that bank. Um, and to be, to be quite Frank, the reason why is because working on Western union is one of the highest paying jobs there because you have to have perfect English. And so they realized. Um, the talent way more than a traditional bank,

Andrew: Got it. That’s insane.

Jose: Yeah.

So local locally, just because just by, just by speaking English, you already paid, you’re getting paid more, uh, for your English skill sets than your knowledge of financial services in the Dominican.

Andrew: Wow. Okay. So then what did you learn there that helped you set up a ratio?

Jose: I would say that. I learned more in my training in the U S when I was working in, in, in the financial services industry in the U S I S I worked at Goldman Sachs and I also worked at Morgan Stanley that set up the foundation for what we are today here at Horatio. Um,

the idea of alluring show stemmed from the fact that there was a lot of good talent in, in, in Western union, but that, that was not, you know, I wouldn’t say I’ve necessarily learned much in terms of, uh, setting up or creating great.

Andrew: Okay. All right. So you, Jared and Alex got together, you liked each other, you had same values. Where did the idea come from? How did you realize this? This was a need.

Jose: Yeah. So in doing research about what we wanted to do together, we noticed that, you know, both startups and fast-growing enterprises consistently struggled to meet customer demands. And in our research, we noticed that a lot of, uh, e-commerce brands were relying on. Chatbots. And that were very impersonal and also relying on temporary workers that would help them answering tickets or answering customer inquiries, but they were not dedicated to the brand and they had no affinity to the brand.

And so our vision was born when we realized that providing first-hand and personalized omni-channel customer support is what really differentiates a brand. And so we started working with a couple of different brands that decided to give us a try. And that’s how the idea started, uh, of, of creating a ratio.

Andrew: what are the first brands that trusted you to do this?

Jose: The first brand that trusted us to do this was clean cold. It’s a non-toxic cleaning company

Andrew: Okay.

How big are they? Are we talk

Jose: They just raised their Sierra to be, I think they just raised 25 million round. And, um, they, so everything from, you know, um, non-toxic canso, uh, liquid detergent sprays. So it’s um, and they’re, they’re, they’re, they’ve grown a lot, uh, recently, uh, as well, since,

since we started

working with them,

Andrew: I’m guessing that the founder was a friend of, one of the.

Jose: we were introduced to the.

founder through a mutual queen.

Andrew: Okay. And so you said, we’ll take this on what software did they use? I know this is kind of getting in the weeds, but what, what were they using for chat?

Jose: at the time they were using Freshdesk. Um, but we migrated to a software called customer with a K. which is one of the

fastest growing customers. Yeah.

Andrew: Okay. So you were just sitting, I’m guessing a lot of it was on your phone. Much of, most of it was probably on a laptop where anytime a customer would come in and start chatting, one of your partners would jump in and respond.

Jose: Exactly.

Um, but, but in order for, in order for us to do that, because we were so process-driven, we created what we call the customer experience playbook, which is a very detailed guide of everything we need to know about the brand, the values, the mission division, the tone of voice. And as we started getting different customer inquiries, we would document all of those customer questions in the playbook.

Updating that in the software of customer. So that the next time we got a question that was similar, we already had a macro built in and we already had a way of streamlining things.

Andrew: Got it. So right from the beginning, you were thinking we are going to systemize this, even if it’s more of a pain to systemize today, the payoff will happen soon. And then forever. We’re going to have a process for creating processes for our customer.

Jose: Exactly.

Andrew: Wow. Um, one of the problems that we have internally at my company with the macros is they’re just so many of them that you don’t remember to use it.

And you just start to type away a quick response, instead of saying, what was that macro, what was that thing that we said in the past? How do we even access it? You have a deal with issues like that.

Jose: yes. Um, number one, we prioritize being as personal as possible. We don’t want to sound like it’s a macro. So we always say. Train the agents to understand when they have to be a little more personal and go the extra mile. Um, what we do is we document the macros in the playbook as well, so that you can quickly search for the macros and, you know, remember quickly and then go into the software and actually find it so that you don’t

Andrew: that seems like such a pain in the, but you’re saying they have to go into the playbook, which is some kind of documentation. Then they find the macro. Then they come back into the chat.

Jose: Yeah, it takes one second to contract out F find the word that you were looking for and confirm that and make sure that it’s okay. And then you can just, like plug it in into the software, find it

Andrew: Hmm. I just, I wish that the software that does customer support was better at suggesting macros at bringing them up and helping you find the right thing to say so far, the ones that I’ve tried just aren’t strong enough that way. What have you.

Jose: Yeah, there’s some, um, AI tagging softwares that we use. Like Lang AI or Loris, um, that really helped you streamline things and find things easily as well. Uh,

but overall, I think that you have to be very careful with the way that you use macros and just make sure that you are actually, uh, using the right one cause you don’t want to, uh, have any issues.

And the problem with macros is that typically the customer is going to ask you multiple questions that cannot be answered with just one single. Right. So it’s going to be like, Hey, I lost my package. And by the way, I want to change these flavor from vanilla to chocolate. Oh. And by the way, I changed my address for the next subscription. right.

So you see, there’s no macro for three questions, right? So you have to make sure that you’re really reading the message, um, and really, uh, leveraging, uh, the playbook And our experience to make sure that you have all the right answers.

Andrew: And that there’s so trained in the software that they can almost figure it out themselves.

Jose: Exactly. So we also do. A deep training on the software before we even start training on the brand that we worked for.

Andrew: Okay. All right. And so you were doing this yourself for how long?

Jose: Um, we’ve been doing

Andrew: I mean, when you were doing it, when you’re doing customer service support you and your two co-founders yourselves, was that a month long process?

Jose: a couple months, A couple of months. and

then we started to, and then we started to hire the.

Andrew: Okay. Dominican Republic first.

Jose: Yes, we’re all in the Dominican Republic, everyone seats in our office.

Andrew: Yeah. So why is that? Why did you want to keep people in the office even after COVID.

Jose: for us, it’s very important to build a very inclusive culture. And we do not believe that you can build an amazing culture remotely. It’s very hard, particularly when you’re trying to do. Provide customer support on behalf of very fast growing companies. Um, and so we decided to build a company culture that is focused.

Number one on the employee experience and the employee experience is, is all about being in the office, sharing, uh, and spending time with your colleagues. We also provide, uh, amazing benefits for our alarm clock. Private catered meals, everyday full health insurance, a lot of bonding activities that just have to happen in the office.

We do provide the flexibility for the top performers to work from home occasionally. But I think that the sharing of ideas, uh, particularly when you’re working with fast growing startups that are changing every day happens best, um, in, uh, in a, in a, in an in-office.

Andrew: All right. And so I can guessing that you didn’t have to pay that as much for people in the Dominican Republic, as you would say in the us, you also cut back on expenses by picking up small office space. I right

Jose: exactly. Yes. For, for, for our clients. They’re saving on a couple of things. Number one is. It’s obviously cheaper than having an in-house team in the U S um, number two, you don’t have to spend on real estate and all the associated benefits of having a person that works directly for you. So payroll taxes and health benefits and all that stuff that is all handled by us.

Um, and also in an industry where the turnover is extremely high. You don’t have to spend money on hiring and retraining, uh, team members as they start churning from your.

Andrew: So all this seems to make so much sense. Why did you have a hard time convincing your co-founders to leave their jobs and join do this?

Jose: at the level that we were at at the companies that we worked, that, um, it was a very hard decision, uh, to take the leap or take a leap of faith, um, to start the business. But I think that, you know, we all had the conviction to. That to do it. And we all, we all thought that this Was going to be a, uh, a good idea.

And so we were relatively young and said, if we don’t try it now, when are we going to try it? And, and so that’s why we decided to, to jump at it. But I think

that

Andrew: Was there hesitation that it, that it seemed too small. I mean, these are, these were people who’d gone through investment banking experience. They were, they, uh, they just gone their MBAs. And now you’re saying let’s just. Uh, customer support company.

Jose: Yeah.

I think that,

I think that, I think particularly, especially when you’re like talking to your family and friends and you tell them, Hey, I’m leaving my job at, at a bank to start a customer support outsourcing company. You know, people are like, what are you thinking? Um, I think that you have to have high conviction and a vision that as a team, you can accomplish that.

And I think that there’s a, there’s a consulting element to our business that we discovered after we started the business where all of our clients rely on us. How to build things, not only on a customer support side, but also operationally strategically. And I think that, um, the value that we bring to the table has allowed us to, to grow exponentially.

And most of our clients come through referrals now.

Andrew: Before you discover that, what was it that you said to your co-founders that made them see that they should join in? What was that vision that you communicated?

Jose: I did a lot of research on the industry. Um, I realized that it’s a very fragmented industry and I also realized that e-commerce was going to. Be a big component of, of the industry in terms of outsourcing. And there was no market leader in the space. Um, like I said, most companies in the BPO space are your towers, telecommunications, financial services, Um,

traditional healthcare.

Uh, these companies typically. Don’t really add a lot of value. They are just, um, they just take whatever training guides they get from their respective companies and go and hire people. Um, whereas e-commerce, you really need to have a subject matter expertise in learning All these different softwares, learning how to use Shopify during the different nuances of the different businesses.

And I think that my, my thesis was we become. A true experts in this industry will be able to, to, to add a lot of value and, and take a market share. Um, in, in, in, in this space, obviously we did not expect COVID to happen and I would be lying if I said that COVID, didn’t accelerate, uh, our, our growth.

Obviously everyone went to shop online and all of the companies that we service grew organically and not, and are now growing.

Andrew: All right. There were a couple of problems, especially in defining what you were going to deliver to your customers. We’ll get to that in a moment. First, let me tell everyone I’m sponsored by HostGator. And fact HostGator is a great place to host a WordPress site and her ratio is built on WordPress, which I love the simplicity of it.

It’s just. It’s a beautiful looking WordPress site, easy for people to understand what you’re about and to sign up for your services. Let me ask you this Jose, if someone’s listening to us and says, I like what, what her ratio is doing, I want to be able to do something similar, do a recommendation for service based business.

Like the one that you got into that still needs a higher ratio treatment. Is there another service business that somebody can say I’m going to create a team of people who.

Jose: Yeah, I think there’s a lot of, there’s a lot of, uh, opportunities, particularly when it comes to like software development and outsource CFO work. I mean, those, those are real niches that I think are very valuable. What I would stress, people that are interested in doing services is to. Really become a true expert in what they want to do and not try to offer all of them at the same time.

Right. I think that, um, you have to like really differentiate yourself as the go-to outsource CFO for e-commerce companies, for example. So I think that that’s what I would recommend, uh, potential entrepreneurs that are thinking about starting a service company and also make sure that you’re, you’re treating your employees with, uh, with the respect that they deserve.

Right. they’re your number

one

Andrew: I feel like I’ve seen the outsource CFO thing. It’s it’s a small market. Unless I’m missing it, but I think you’re right that saying, what is it in a business that can be outsourced? Let’s just see if we can create a service for that. I’ve seen outsource CMO work. I’m the founder of close.io. Steli FD tried outsource sales.

We’ll talk about what happened when you were doing some of that outsource, uh, SDR.

Jose: study

stuff.

Andrew: Sales development rep. That’s a tough one, but that’s, that’s actually one that’s worked really well because you’re just firing off a bunch of email. As soon as you get a response from a customer, you pass that on to a sales person and let the salesperson close them.

Right. So outsource STRs, I’ve seen those businesses do well. I’ve interviewed a few people who’ve been in that space. Why are you hesitant about it? It seems like you’re, you’re not seeing the big opportunity with that.

Jose: For us, it’s all about the employee experience first and. The outsourced SDR work is very difficult for the employees. Um, so keeping employees motivated in that.

particular job is tough and, and prove to be tough for us. And so You have to find the right person for that role. And in our experience, we were, it’s just not, it was just not interesting for us or for our employees.

Andrew: You know what the guy who used to produce my podcast, Jeremy Weiss, he turned, uh, he left and he created this service where he does outsource podcast creation. So businesses that want to have a podcast that interviews their customers. Use him, it’s called a rise 25 businesses that want to do podcast interviews with the types of customers they’re going for turn to him.

That’s a pretty good business. I have been seeing his business grow a lot. So let me end it with saying this. If you like. Approach. If you want to turn your, your, if you want to create a business that turns a service into like a product high service, the way that Jose has, you’re going to need a website.

And if you’re going to get a website, I highly recommend you go to HostGator. And the reason I do is because they have great service, inexpensive price that just works. And lets you focus on your company, go to hostgator.com/mixergy and the lower they’re already low price for you. And they’ll tag you as a Mixergy customer.

So of course they, and I will take great care of you. So hostgator.com/. All right. You know what? I was kind of mentioning Jose that you were, um, kind of getting pushed into the sales role, right? Your team was, and that makes sense. I’m assuming what was happening was people were coming for customer support in the chat and your role was to, or your customers were expecting you to close their customers and get people who are chatting with you and your team to buy.

Am I right about all.

Jose: That we do that is, that is more retention and upselling that we definitely do. And that is part of our customer that we, that we, that falls under customer experience. The role that we don’t do is more like the traditional SDR and cold calling, You know, functions. Um, but upselling retention is part of it actually very important for our clients.

And that is something that we definitely thrive on and we’ve built a lot of processes to help. Keep those customers, because particularly when you like have people on live chat and text messages, that’s when you like, are able to close them and keep them coming. So, um, we definitely still do that.

Andrew: Hmm. So how was it that you were getting pulled in the direction of doing more sales and more SDR

Jose: I think that some of, some of our initial clients um, or some of our initial. Prospects through our network needed SDR help. And we, we thought that it.

was going to be similar to customer support, but in reality it’s not. And so that’s what we that’s when we decided not to pursue that avenue.

Andrew: why isn’t that an easier role than it seemed to me. I approached it thinking you can use, built with, to find out who’s using software. That’s compatible with your customers, send out messages to them. I’m assuming since you’ve got a lot of e-commerce companies, they were looking for retailers. You get a list of retailers, you start firing off automated messages.

You come back with follow-ups and then when somebody is interested, you connect them with the calendar to book a sales call. Why isn’t it like that? What am I missing?

Jose: Yes, it was not, we were not doing this for, for e-commerce companies. We’re doing this more for like software providers that would very specific in nature. And I think that the. It was not only about sending emails, it was also cold calling. And, Uh, and, um, that was the difficult part of it. just,

Andrew: Uh, that they had to get on calls and try to persuade somebody to get on. And you’re finding that that was it more challenging thing for this, for your team to do? It was exhausting them and it just was a different type of

Jose: exactly. And also the incentives will not align, so it’s not as if the clients want it to be more for the service. Right. So it’s not as if we could incentivize the associates. You know, sell and get compensated for that. So I think that that’s part of the, the other reason that it was tough to, to, to become an expert in, in the STR uh,

Andrew: What about doing lead gen? How are you doing lead gen for your business?

Jose: Most of our clients come through referrals, uh, to this point. And we have a small sales team that, that does outreach to, to e-commerce and FinTech clients. Um, most of our research or leads come from from LinkedIn and, and, and Crunchbase, to be

Andrew: So you, So you, have your own SDRs. You go to Crunchbase. What are you searching for on.

Jose: Companies that are growing or companies that are looking for customer support

Andrew: Okay. And so wait, when you say customers that are growing, do you, does Crunchbase tell you, do they have a service where you can find companies that have, that have a bigger team that have raised more

Jose: yes, you can. You can see when, when a company raises one of.

Andrew: So you pay for that feed and then you start sending messages to them saying. I think you could use our service.

Jose: Correct. But to be honest, that strategy is a very small part of our, of our business.

Andrew: Does it work

Jose: very minimal, to be honest,

Andrew: very minimal? What about LinkedIn? Did that work?

Jose: a little bit, the, the, the reason why I’ll tell you is because outsourcing customer support is very, very, very. Important to, to a business. And so I think that it works better when it’s through a referral that, already worked with you on and already trust you. I mean, this is, this applies to any

Andrew: that,

Jose: to be

honest.

Andrew: but, but it takes a while for that to build up. Right. I get bit, as you develop more customers, you’re getting more referrals from your customers, which then leads to more customers and more referrals. But until you got to that point, what was working for you? Crunchbase, LinkedIn, finding companies that know

what, tell me what else?

Jose: is

what it works for

me,

Andrew: where

Jose: uh, through our Columbia.

Andrew: okay to sending, how do you network through the Columbia and

Jose: Meeting meeting people, reaching out to mentors. That’s that’s typically how we found, um, most.

Andrew: Okay, that makes sense. Um, and then you were telling me about upselling. How do your, how does your team upsell? How do they know what to upsell based on what can you teach me a little bit about how you work?

Jose: yes. We work with all of our clients to create a, an upsetting strategy. Every client is very different. And so we try to determine what kinds of products they want us to. Um, so, and what makes sense for the customer at the end of the day? So we, we create different workflows to make sure that we are helping all the different brands, um, upsell and also retain right.

Particularly subscription businesses. Uh, we got a lot of cancellations during COVID and making sure that you retain the clients and have them come back from war or check in in a couple months. Um, those were some of the strategies that we, that we played around. To make sure that, uh, we were not being too pushy when it comes to retention, offsetting, but just making sure that we are a true trusted advisor to the clients.

Andrew: How do you do attribution? How does your customer know that their customers were retained because of you?

Jose: We’ve built, uh, an analytics tool that we can track, um, for, for performance. The different strategies. And so we review, we review those metrics on a weekly basis with all of our clients.

Andrew: Okay. And it’s your own software that you built in so that you can keep track of who’s retaining?

Jose: Yeah. It’s a, it’s our own analytics tool that we, that we built and we leverage obviously the whatever technology platform or software the clients are using as well. And it’s not.

Andrew: All right. March, 2020 is when our office in San Francisco closed, which is when I became a reluctant nomad. Um, March, 2020 is when you lost custody. How many customers.

Jose: March, 2020, we lost, uh, three customers. We only had seven at the time and it was, it was very scary for, for us cause they were, there were some of our biggest customers. And there was a lot of uncertainty around the, what was going to happen with the world. And so, uh, it was a very difficult time for all of us.

Yes,

Andrew: Why did they do it? It was it because sales were going down or where they were, they preparing for potential down spiral.

Jose: sales dropped dramatically for, for these businesses. And some of them were also, Um, service businesses. So a lot of them, their industry shutdown basically.

Andrew: what type of

Jose: They took, they took the drastic decision of, uh, of shutting down.

Andrew: Okay. What type of service businesses are we talking about?

Jose: We had, um, a couple of BDB, uh, supplying companies. And we also had like a sports academy. So obviously all sports activities

came to a

halt. And so they had to.

Andrew: Okay. And then, can you tell me roughly where your revenue was at that point in comparison to where you are today?

1 million,

Jose: not even,

Andrew: not even a million

after that. So you’ve, you’ve grown more than 10 times. In such a short period of time, because then e-commerce took off. And then how did you, I guess you were, you were networking in order to grow.

Jose: yes. E-commerce to cough. And so our existing clients that stay with us grew dramatically and through our network, more and more e-commerce companies started reaching out and. We started, uh, becoming a real expert in e-commerce that was our bread and butter. And then we also had some other, um, FinTech companies reach out as well.

And that is how we started growing exponentially. And we grew remotely to your point. I mean, it was all remote. Um, so it was very challenging for the first six months. Obviously doing all that remote training for different clients.

Andrew: Yeah. Are you now back in person?

Jose: Yes, we’re back in person?

We have a hybrid model where we have, Um, in a, in office and work from home.

Andrew: have you had any COVID spreads within the office that had to off the office?

Jose: we didn’t have any issues. Um, the good thing is that the. The Dr. Did a really good job in terms of like COVID, uh, restrictions. And, uh, we have a very robust protocol to make sure that, uh, most of our employees got vaccinated. And, you know, in order to come to the office, you do have to show your vaccination card.

Um, so that is, uh, those are ways in which we minimize the, uh, the spread. And also everyone has to wear masks in the office as well.

Andrew: While they’re on the phone.

Jose: We don’t, like I said, we don’t Yeah.

there, they’re doing mostly, mostly emails.

Andrew: All right. I usually close this out by saying where the website is so that people can go, but I’m curious, why is it called Horacio? I’m going to tell them to go to hire her ratio.com, but why’d you come up with that?

Jose: yeah, couple things. Um, we wanted to create a character, uh, around our company and our was Hamlet’s only trusted friend and, Uh,

and so in checking Shakespeare’s place. So we wanted to communicate on message of trust and partner. And also I lived on Horatio street in New York, and that’s why we, that’s where we came up with the ideas.

Andrew: All right. It’s a great idea for business and great execution. Congratulations. The website is hire her ratio.com and if you do end up signing up with them, people let me know. Um, I’m curious about how the business is. I love this idea and I love how obviously you’ve grown beyond it. We didn’t get to cover the, the extra, uh, parts of the business, but the majority of the revenue is coming from what we talked about.

Right. Customer support.

Yeah. All right. Congratulations. And I want to thank my sponsor who made this interview happen? If you need a website, go to hostgator.com/mixergy. Now I’ve got to go back and listen to this and see, is it as echo-y as it sounds in this room, I hate being a digital nomad dude. All right, Jose.

Good to meet

Jose: Thank you, Andrew.

Who should we feature on Mixergy? Let us know who you think would make a great interviewee.

x