SalesTech Star Interview With Jim Schinella, Chief Business Officer at UJET
Tell us about journey into Marketing and Sales Technology.
Sales was always present for me. My dad was a field Salesman and being around him definitely had an impact. My career began in Finance, however, with Digital Equipment, and I later moved into Manufacturing, Fulfillment, and Logistics at HP. It was at HP where I was managing printer distribution through channels, that I began to realize that Marketing and Sales were more exciting to me. I was fortunate to join Netscape at the start of the internet and there I was managing professional services with a focus on large accounts. This was enterprise sales at its core and was a great training ground. I also was in the enviable position to learn from some great role models.
Post Netscape, I lead sales at an early stage enterprise company that was acquired and I made my way to Yahoo! and eventually found myself working for Dan Rosensweig running Business Development and leading large scale deals between Yahoo! and other large companies like AT&T and Disney. Dan is among the best salespersons and natural marketers I have known. On the ad side was Greg Coleman who is equally impressive. The combined experience of B2C at large scale and enterprise B2B has benefited me. It has helped me quickly understand and relate to the company or consumer on the other side.
What inspired you to start in this Tech-heavy ecosystem?
For me, it has always been about the journey and objective. I love to learn and I have always gravitated to new ideas that require a vision and a form of evangelism. Sharing a narrative and vision and the work of getting people to take a chance for something better is something that I have always loved. But this also requires integrity and I’ve needed to have complete belief in the objective and the people that I am working with. With UJET it was a belief that the founder would be unwavering on the product and the platform. That he would not be easily swayed by short term thinkers. The CCaaS market is too big to not have a long term view and I’ve seen too many good companies lose their footing over a short term mentality.
The opportunity here is to disrupt a very old quadrant of technology, valued at over $30B and that has severely lacked innovation and is in many ways encumbered by years of technical debt. For me, it was like discovering undeveloped real estate. We had a vision of how we could make it better and now we are doing it. The doing it part is hard but also very fun for me, and rewarding.
How is your current role at UJET different from the ones you had at Fyber, Manilla, and Yahoo? How did those roles prepare you for the current gig at UJET?
The common thread among the roles is that in all cases I was primarily focused on developing the top line of the business, hiring and leading people and driving that transformation from individual people to team with a mission. At Yahoo! I had a pretty vast set of responsibilities that spanned from Global Business Development to operating units like Affiliate Search and the Right Media Ad Exchange. It was over $3B in revenues and a lot of people. I had to learn to manage and lead at a different scale and at the same time, learn how to operate as an executive in a large company that was fast moving and where relationships mattered. I learned a lot from the demands of the role and from mistakes and successes along that journey.
Manilla was very different, it was a pure start-up where I began as COO and along the way transitioned to CEO. What stands out to me most about being a CEO is the importance of communication and the importance that the role has to the articulation of the companies purpose, it’s people and it’s the strategy. There is just no way of imagining being a CEO until you have stood in the shoes. The Manilla and Fyber experiences (Fyber as CBO) are helpful in my understanding of how to partner and operate in a non CEO capacity with Anand, the CEO of UJET. Given the stage of UJET, I am primarily focused on direct revenue development and we are now beginning to develop channels.
Currently, I call upon my history in sales, service, and channels at places like Netscape and Fyber the most. In time, and as the company continues to scale, I anticipate that my Yahoo! foundation will come more into play.
What is UJET and how does it work for Customer Service teams?
UJET is a cloud-native, smartphone-centric Customer Support platform taking digital endpoints and their features and infusing them with intelligent automation in order to deliver a one-of-a-kind support experience where agents, supervisors, and executives have the tools they need to reduce costs, increase brand loyalty, and resolve their customer issues faster. The platform stands apart from the industry in several ways. Our company has considerable consumer DNA and our attention to UX results in a platform that is easy and intuitive to operate despite it being enterprise grade. Also, our multi-modal breadth enables a company to reduce technical fragmentation that stands at the core of why good support is so hard to deliver.
Our platform eliminates the complexity of stitching together disparate and often antiquated technologies that ultimately strangle any ability to provide a good experience. And last, we are the only company that always imagines the end customer on a smartphone and that has a mobile-first design approach. This means that we can deliver the entire service experience in-app and have a number of patented time-saving methods that enable visual and contextual communications between the customer, the agent and any other parties within the value chain. The capabilities need to be seen (call us) and are delivered into the customer service experience much more like natural social communications and that leverage the power and capability of mobile devices.
Which business groups are using your product? Which geographies have been the fastest to adopt your product offering?
We’ve seen adoption and have customers across a wide array of industries and locations including North America, Mexico, Europe, and APAC. We’ve especially seen adoption amongst digitally-native companies but have begun to grow into more traditional mid-market and enterprise businesses. Any company that is serious about customer service and that wants a platform that they can grow into and that is advancing its capabilities at a rapid rate should be a UJET customer.
Which Marketing and Sales Technology platforms/tools do you use in your current role?
How do you distinguish your efforts between delivering Customer Experience and Customer Service? How are these two connected or separated?
At UJET, we see Customer Experience and Customer Service as one and the same. Personalized Customer Service is a way for brands to stand out from the rest and is increasingly becoming an essential part of the overall customer experience. For us, delivering a distinguished and unique customer experience means connecting with customers on their preferred channels and providing them with the opportunity to send further context to the support agent before an interaction even begins.
One outstanding Customer Success initiative that you have been part of in your career, or have heard from your Community
August Home, a customer of ours makes all of their new hires, no matter the position, spend at least one day with the support team. Not only does this help new hires better understand our customers, but it helps create a company culture where the customer is at the center.
How do you prepare for an AI-centric world as a Technology leader?
First, it’s important to realize that AI and automation are no longer futuristic technologies, they have already arrived. Begin by looking inward and identifying key teams and departments where AI-adoption can not only improve internal interactions but interactions between your organization and your customers as well. Finally, it is important that leaders not see AI as a replacement for human employees, but more as a way to help automate simple and mundane tasks, freeing employees to focus on more challenging issues that require a human touch.
Which events and webinars do you most occasionally attend and why?
Industry events such as Customer Contact Week, ICMI, and Enterprise Connect.
Your advice to other Customer Success and Sales professionals in the Marketing and Sales Tech industry
It is important to not only put yourself in the shoes of the person you are selling to but in the shoes of their customers as well. Understand their pain points, values, and what makes them tick.
Thank You, Jim, for answering all our questions. We hope to see you again, soon.
UJET is a modern cloud contact center software company with leading innovation in smartphone-era customer support on the web, phone, and mobile apps.
The UJET platform delights end-users with any time, anywhere access and simple smartphone functionality and elevates agent performance through context-aware solutions for voice, chat, image, video, and text. The UJET platform is enterprise grade in its global reliability, security, and scaling capacity and is SOC2 Type II and HIPAA compliant.
UJET is trusted by customer-centric, innovative enterprises, including Nest, Instacart, Postmates, Atom Tickets, Blink and Grupo Bursatil Mexicano (GBM) to automate contact center processes and provide superior experiences that drive higher customer satisfaction.
With over 20 years of experience in the digital enterprise industry, Jim Schinella comes from a background in business development and serves as Chief Business Officer at UJET. Schinella has worked with companies such as AOL and Netscape and has served as a leader for digital companies including Yahoo!’s Right Media Exchange. Schinella has also founded and served as CEO for Manilla.com, as well as led teams at the Broadband business and Affiliate Search Network.