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Columbia Business Monthly

Swampfox Technologies aims to lessen the time you spend waiting on the line

Mar 06, 2019 12:28PM ● By Kathleen Maris
By Emily Pietras

The goal of customer service can be distilled into one objective: convenience. And as technological advancements have altered perceptions of what qualifies as efficient or expedient, the industry has had to innovate and adapt to meet customers’ shifting expectations. 

One company that’s leading the integration of forward-thinking technology within the customer-service sector is Swampfox Technologies Inc. Founded in 2009 by CEO Bob Cooper and President Rick Ulmer and headquartered in Columbia, the company provides software solutions that improve and enrich customer-service experiences through telephone, web, and mobile platforms. 

“There was a need for people to provide services and applications in the call-center space,” Cooper says of Swampfox’s origins. 

Major utility, health care, and cable companies were beginning to require the use of “automated telephony” to more efficiently communicate with their customers that, for example, a bill was overdue or power maintenance was taking place on their street. 

“All that automated communications stuff was an opportunity that we tapped into and created the company to fulfill,” Cooper says.

One solution set that Swampfox offers, First In Line, was designed to jettison a common annoyance for customers: calling a company’s service line and being put on hold for an indefinite period of time. 

With First In Line, customers experiencing long wait times can ask for an immediate callback or schedule a time that suits them. If they call after-hours on evenings or weekends, they have the option to ask for a callback during normal business hours. Ultimately, the system helps to maintain efficiency, control inbound traffic, and avoid overstaffing and declining performance levels. 

Another product solution is the company’s Intelligent Customer Experience (ICX), which replaces outdated touch-tone options with an “intelligent greetings module” engineered to anticipate and respond to customer needs by delivering “personalized and relevant information.” 

“What we try to do, just as an example, is we try to predict why you’re calling, and we have very high hit rates,” Cooper says. “So, for example, if you’re calling and your power is out, we have a pretty good idea that that’s the reason you’re calling—or if your bill is overdue or if your bill is due in two days or if you’re a brand-new customer. We can greet you and welcome you differently and cut down the time it takes either to get you to an agent or to quickly provide the information you’re looking for.” 

Swampfox has experienced continued growth in recent years, reporting a revenue of $9.9 million in 2017 and a three-year growth rate of 146 percent. The company was ranked No. 2,830 on the 2018 Inc. 5000 list, rising from No. 3,347 in 2017. 

Working with a reliable client base, which includes major companies like SCANA and Duke Energy, has been essential to that progression, Cooper says, and the lasting relationships Swampfox has built will ensure that the company’s growth remains sustainable. 

“The services that we provide our customers are very-long term services,” he says. “They’re very sticky. So once we have that customer, it’s a very tight relationship with their engineers, and it’s good for both sides. We get to know their business very well, and they get to know our engineers on a first-name basis. And that tends to create a business relationship that is enduring, and they look for more and more services that we can provide because they enjoy working with us so much and we’ve developed such a level of trust with these big customers.”

In 2017, Swampfox was named to the Inc. Best Workplaces list, and that honor is a reflection of the top-level talent the company’s been able to recruit.  

“We tend to hire the top 1 to 2 percent of engineers out of USC, Clemson, so we have very, very sharp engineers,” Cooper says. “And that’s kind of one of our core values. We really strive to hire the best of the best, and then it’s a very family-like work environment. My goal is to make this the best software development place to work in the state.”

As Swampfox aims to anticipate upcoming trends for the customer-service sector and develop the corresponding technology, Cooper expects the “continued use of other mechanisms for self-service” to remain steady. That means customer-service communication channels will move beyond voice calling and expand further to chat box, text messaging, and mobile applications. 

Cooper also foresees an increased demand for “a more natural interface, a much more intelligent interface.” 

“You’ll start talking to these self-service applications like you would a person,” he says. “Artificial intelligence is starting to play a big role in all the products that we’re building.”
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