By: Travis Dillard, President & CEO
I wanted to thank you for another wonderful year here at Inflow! To say the least, we’ve been very busy! We’ve been blessed to achieve record-breaking revenue and customer growth in 2016. In our tireless journey to be the nation’s premium Unified Communications and Contact Center provider, we’ve invested heavily in every aspect of our business. The following are a few highlights of 2016:
We’ve Hired Industry-Leading “A” Talent
Thanks to our national reach, we’ve had the luxury to bring on the industry’s most talented project managers, engineers, and Contact Center consultants to our team. We’ve even been able hire some of ShoreTel’s top support engineers to further strengthen our helpdesk and project teams.
We’ve Invested Significantly in Customer Support Tools
In addition to adding unmatched talent to our support ranks, we’ve invested in help desk, project management, collaboration, and Contact Center tools and methodologies that allow us to continue to accelerate our X-Factor of responding quickly, resolving quickly, and communicating with urgency and quality.
We’ve Expanded Nationally
Through the acquisition of two ShoreTel partnerships in Dallas and Houston, we’ve made our presence known dramatically in Texas. Also, via organic expansion, we’ve brought on many national customers in almost every state from the West Coast to the East.
We’ve Invested Heavily in Customer Education
Hopefully you’ve participated in our many monthly live user/admin training webinars. Check them out here. We’ve also launched what we feel is the most comprehensive, easy to use, Knowledge Portal focused on all things ShoreTel, Unified Communications, and Contact Center. With thousands of training videos, tech articles, blogs, and white papers, all easily searched through our powerful search tool, you won’t be disappointed. We’ll continue to add and enhance this over time.
We’ve Launched Product-Agnostic Contact Center Consulting and Education
Chris Recio, previously ShoreTel’s leading Contact Center expert, joined us in January. He has been an incredible asset and has taken our Contact Center and Advanced Applications practice to a whole new level. Among many feats, Chris has launched our Contact Center Success Management (CCSM) program. With this, our customers enjoy non-product specific Contact Center/operational consulting and education on many topics to include Agent Engagement, Supervisor Training, Data Integration, and Reporting. Most technology companies implement the software and the engagement ends. We feel, with Contact Center, that’s just the beginning. The real work begins in enabling our customers, over the long run, to maximize the investment in their Contact Center software, adapt it to change, and make it a true business investment. We’re currently providing these unique services to companies like BP, ThyssenKrupp, and Zillow.
We’ve Launched an Interactive Intelligence PureCloud Practice
In fulfilling our promise to always be providing leading Contact Center technologies to our customers, along with a bold move into the cloud, we’ve partnered with Interactive Intelligence to launch our PureCloud practice. PureCloud is a cloud-based Unified Communications/Contact Center solution built on the AWS platform with next-generation collaboration and omni-channel Contact Center capabilities. With multiple implementation and support engagements under our belt, Inflow is already one of the nation’s leading providers of PureCloud technology.
We’ve Added Software Development and Database Admin Capabilities
We’ve built a team of expert software development and database administration professionals. This allows us to further customize our customers’ ShoreTel and PureCloud implementations to meet unique business requirements. Examples include custom CRM integration and specialized reporting and analytics tools. We plan to create unique, Inflow-owned software packages that meet the very specific needs of our customers going forward.
We’ve Increased Innovation of our Support Offerings
In keeping in line with one of my favorite Inflow Core Values, we constantly strive to innovate our support offerings to provide unforgettable customer experiences at every interaction. To this end, we now bundle rich, value-add services like custom reporting, proactive monitoring, professional voice talent, server backup and restoration services, ongoing user/admin training, 24x7x365 service, server migrations, and many other services in all our support packages. We will never stop innovating in this area.
We’ve Structured a “Team of Teams” Operational Structure
We’ve organized our support and project personnel into dedicated teams. This means support personnel don’t pull off our helpdesk to do installations and vice versa. We’ve learned that specializing and providing laser focus to our team of talented people translates into an incredible customer experience. Expect to see more work in this area as we further carve out teams in each specialization and dedicate them to specific customers. This allows us to scale while continuing to provide that specialized “boutique” feel our customers have come to love.
We’ve Achieved Growth and Success in Education
We’ve built a specialization in providing Unified Communications solutions in the K-12 space. In 2016, we successfully deployed many large, multi-site ShoreTel systems for schools throughout the country. We’ve perfected the deployment methodologies as well as the ancillary technologies that enhance student safety, access control, and emergency notification and we’re excited to work with many more school districts for years to come.
2017 and Beyond
2016 was all about strengthening our already solid operational, service, and financial foundation. Additionally, we’ve invested in strengthening our Contact Center practice and further enhancing our expertise in all areas related to Unified Communications. 2017 is all about accelerating our growth and taking our seat as the country’s premium “white glove” provider of our offerings. In this effort, we will continue to invest in expansion, people, tools, knowledge, and innovation, all with a focus on providing unforgettable experiences for our customers at every interaction.
As I reflect on our journey from a small, specialized player in the Northwest through our ascent to a large, specialized player nationally, I can’t help but think what has allowed us to succeed. I can sum it up with one short phrase:
If you stand for everything, you stand for nothing. Pick one thing to focus on and then be the best in the world at it.
Every business is riddled with many distractions, and more specifically, temptations along the way. Every day we’re faced with the choice to pursue additional offerings and acquire customers that don’t align with our core business. In the short run, it’s tempting, because it means a possible quick sale. You see it with most of our competitors. They’ll sell one of hundreds of products to any customer that asks them for a quote. That said, the long-term result is distraction, underwhelming service, limited expertise, and overall, crippling mediocrity.
My Promise to You is This:
We will only focus on Unified Communications, Contact Center, and related technologies. We will never try to sell you storage, managed IT services, wireless equipment, or vacuum cleaners. Again, this allows us to remain laser-focused on what we do best, which translates to an unmatched customer experience.
Additionally, we will only sell our services and products to our core customers. Our core customer is generally larger, has strategic IT decision makers, has mission-critical communication needs, and values partnerships. Walking away from potential customers that don’t fit this profile allows us to focus on you, our core customer.
I am truly grateful for the partnerships we’ve forged over the years. I consider you all friends and colleagues. May you have a happy and safe holiday season.
Here’s to an incredible 2017!
President and CEO
Inflow is a national leader in unified communications and contact centers. With over 100,000 endpoints under Inflow’s innovative support plans around the world, Inflow’s dedication to knowledge and innovation, and unrivaled customer support, has landed them in ShoreTel’s top 2% in global customer satisfaction and as a winner of ShoreTel’s coveted Circle of Excellence Partners award. Inflow was also recently named a ShoreTel Platinum Partner and is their fastest growing partner globally. In addition, Inflow is the only cloud contact center provider that provides implementation, ongoing support and comprehensive consulting and training programs. Founded in 1997, Inflow has offices in Portland, Seattle, Dallas, Houston, Tampa, L.A. and the Bay Area.