Thankful for 2021: How COVID put PivotCX on the Path to Success

Thankful for 2021: How COVID put PivotCX on the Path to Success

With so much uncertainty due to the pandemic at the end of 2019 and beginning of 2020, it would have been hard to believe the year we’ve had and even harder to acknowledge that at this point, I would be thankful for 2021 and how COVID put PivotCX on the path to success.

The Beginning of the End…

 Last March, my start-up PivotCX (formerly known as WorkHere), had an awful, terrible, horrible month.

When COVID-19 hit, we lost 85% of our revenue. 

It was a business nightmare! I dreaded answering the phone. One after another, customers would call, apologize for canceling, and blame the pandemic — nothing else we could do about it.

But why? Our software was terrible. It was so bad we had started a live chat service to operate the software, so our customers didn’t have to. I thought long and hard about shutting it down. 

Things were so uncertain in April of 2020; no one knew what would happen with COVID. At the time, there were no vaccines and even fewer answers.

All but three of our best long-term accounts left us. Then, our VP of Sales and CTO both left the company.  

To make matters worse, we were close to running out of money. I had to shift gears and build new software since we didn’t have money for a development team. 

Looking back on it, I’m not surprised by the cancellations. Our product was a poorly executed “Yelp for Jobs,” and it was 100% extra during the pandemic. The company was in zombie mode; churn numbers were high, and the product delivered little value versus every other job board. 

Salvageable Pieces

Consequently, we talked to the three accounts that stayed onboard. In all cases, the customer used our live human chat service to engage job applicants right after applying. Just think, you apply on Indeed, and you get a text message a few seconds later and can immediately talk to someone about your application. The service wasn’t sexy: it was high touch, and everyone was in love with AI and chatbots.

As I talked to these three customers, three themes came out:

  • First, our service was critical to our customer’s business in the pandemic. 
  • Second, our customers were saving incredible amounts of time by having our chat teams handle everything from application to interview.
  • And last of all, EVERYONE liked having live people the candidates could talk to and ask questions. It was a huge competitive advantage for our customers and it helped them differentiate them from their competitors who deployed chatbots.

On the Path to Success

Instead of closing down, my remaining cofounder, Howard Bates, and I decided we would take the rest of 2020 to make new software and see if we could make something great happen.

To put PivotCX on a path to success, we scraped together enough to hire a junior developer. Then we decided to build our new software by working closely with our three remaining customers. They told us what they needed, and we built it. 

By January of this year, we had $5,300 in revenue.  Our expenses were nearly four and a half times revenue. We only had a few months of runway left.  Our software was almost ready. 

 So, we did what any self-respecting entrepreneurs would do: hit the launch button

What a launch it was!

By July, we had hit $50,000 in monthly revenue.

In October, we were at $80,000. 

We’re now closing in on our first $100,000 month.

2021 has been nothing short of a miracle. Every day it feels like we are zeroing in on something special. It turns out enabling a better experience from apply-to-hi, and hi-to-hired for recruiters and job seekers is game-changing. 

COVID-19 provided us an opportunity to shift our focus, and put PivotCX on the path to success, but without listening to our customers, we could not have made it.

To the customers that stayed with us, Thank You for inspiring and guiding us.

Nurture a Great Candidate Experience in Recruiting

Nurture a Great Candidate Experience in Recruiting

Overview

With AI becoming more commonplace in our working lives, we’ve seen an increase in the ease and speed with which we can roll out tools like chatbots.

Where does this leave human-to-human conversation in the recruitment process?

Do job seekers prefer talking to a bot over a human?

As Mike explains, it becomes clear pretty quickly that chatbots still have their limitations.

In contrast, chat agents, or candidate advocates, can handle 300 – 400 conversations in a day. They are easy to train and adapt quickly to changes in script and the environment.

For this reason, we see a space to nurture the human to human connection in recruiting. In turn, they hand off highly qualified candidates to recruiters.

Join James Whitelock to discuss this is Mike Seidle, co-founder of WorkHere, now known as PivotCX.

Mike talks us through the value of a live conversation with a human instead of a bot and how you can manage this at scale.

#MarketingRules

    Want to learn more about how Pivot CX helps companies make quicker hires? Request a demo.

    Links in this episode:

    LinkedIn: @IndyMike (Mike Seidle) 

    Apple podcast: The Marketing Rules

    Image background by Dominika Roseclay

    Know the Facts and Act on Them with Mike Seidle on the Entrepreneur Way

    Know the Facts and Act on Them with Mike Seidle on the Entrepreneur Way

    Overview

    On this episode, Mike Seidle, Chief Operating Officer and Co-founder at PivotCX, explains what “Know the Facts and Act on them” means to him and shares tips and his thoughts on several aspects of entrepreneurship.

    PivotCX reduces time-to-hire from weeks to days. They screen out unqualified and unengaged candidates with chat and SMS, so you don’t have to.

    Entrepreneurial Role Models:

    Howard Bates

    When business started difficulties overcame:

    “the hard part for me before I started my own business was that nobody else knew anything about what I was interested in.

    This would have been in the 1980s. I was very interested in building software; I was in high school…first off, they don’t let high schoolers be programmers and so I had to kind of make my own opportunities and so I did. And I started a little company that we would make software for little retailers and local businesses and it certainly beat doing other things that I could have done at age 16 as far as the money I made and everything.

    But more importantly I just learned so much about putting together a business and you can kind of approach business without fear once you do the first one”

    Favorite Books:

    Favorite Quote:

    “know the facts and act on them” Jack Welch

    Recommended Online Resources:

    • LinkedIn – LinkedIn is a business and employment-oriented service that operates via websites and mobile apps. Founded on December 28, 2002, and launched on May 5, 2003, it is mainly used for professional networking, including employers posting jobs and job seekers posting their CVs.
    • Slack is where work flows. It’s where the people you need, the information you share, and the tools you use come together to get things done

    Best Advice to Other Entrepreneurs:

    “don’t be afraid to fail. And the first rule of being an entrepreneur is to do something. You can worry about doing it better next time”…[Listen for More]

     

    Other Quotes From the Chat with Mike Seidle:

    • “I would have probably focused less on raising capital and more on bringing a product to market and testing the market more than I did especially with Work Here”
    • “’know the facts and act on them’ by Jack Welch. I think that is an underrated secret to success, understanding and really knowing what’s really, really happening and not what you hope is happening, not what the people that are working for you, with you and around you are telling you is happening but actually knowing what you are really dealing with and then having the awareness and may be courage to act on what you are hearing”
    • “work on your business not in it”

    Want to learn more about how Pivot CX helps companies make quicker hires? Request a demo.

    Links in this episode:

    LinkedIn: @IndyMike (Mike Seidle) 

    Apple podcast: The Entrepreneur Way

    Image background by Dominika Roseclay

    Improving Human to Human Interaction in Recruiting

    Improving Human to Human Interaction in Recruiting

    Overview

    On this occasion, Mike Seidle joins Nicola  Steel, host of The Spotlight Series podcast to talk about the importance of improving the human to human interaction in the recruitment process. Also, how it speeds up the process while improving the candidate experience. 

    When is it best to use chatbots and when a human is better? Chatbots are best for yes/ no questions but are terrible at carrying on conversations because they lack emotions such as empathy, adaptability and humor. His solution was to have live human conversations via text which is both efficient & inexpensive.

    When building his teams, Mike looks for exceptional communication skills, a love of learning & shared values.  His advice to entrepreneurs is to ask questions & really listen to the feedback & also keep your ego in check!

    His final piece of advice comes from Jack Welch – “Know the facts & act on them”!

    Mike is a serial entrepreneur who has founded 6 businesses. Last year, he had to reinvent his company very quickly when his revenue dropped by 85% & PivotCX was born.

    Links in this episode:

    LinkedIn: @IndyMike (Mike Seidle) 

    Apple podcast: The Spotlight Series

    Image background by Dominika Roseclay

    The Recruitment ThoughtCloud Podcast – Chatbots in Recruiting

    The Recruitment ThoughtCloud Podcast – Chatbots in Recruiting

    Overview

    Mike Seidle joins the Recruitment ThoughtCloud podcast, hosted by Jamie Dillon, to talk about how he changed tracks from creating an AI company to a SaaS one. Among other issues, we discuss the growing emergence of chatbots in recruiting and the power of SMS for improving the candidate experience and advertising spend.

    Most employers are losing 50% or more of their ad spend by simply not responding quick enough to job applicants. PivotCX uses human-powered SMS chat to make sure every applicant receives a response and quick screening. While AI has its place in automated messages, Mike has found with PivotCX that chat teams are actually more accurate and less costly to sustain than a chat bot.

    Links in this episode:

    LinkedIn: @IndyMike (Mike Seidle) 

    Apple podcast: Recruitment ThoughtCloud podcast

    Image background by Dominika Roseclay