An Interview with Leaders from CM.com
CrmXchange Managing Partner Sheri Greenhaus conducted a trans-Atlantic interview with Jeroen van Glabbeek, CEO and Co-Founder of CM.com, a mobile messaging and payment platform, and Brian Grushcow, Director for CM.com’s North American division.
JvG: Over the past 20 years, text messaging and phone technology have been our primary business. Since then, we’ve helped over 10,000 enterprise businesses communicate with their target audiences. With the rise in mobile device usage, messaging is now the default user behavior, everyone is sending messages back and forth and using SMS, WhatsApp, Apple Business Chat, and other forms of mobile chat messages. CM.com enables our enterprise customers to interact with their target audience as easily as consumers communicate with their friends and family. For years, CM.com has worked to establish ourselves worldwide, gaining the attention of many reputable clients around the world who are now our proud and loyal customers of ours, such as Booking.com, Google, Emirates Airlines, BMW and McDonald’s, actively utilize our platform to engage with their customers through our suite of messaging and voice channels.
Why Use CM.com
There are three main reasons why a company should use our platform:
- To improve marketing
- To boost sales
- To improve customer support/service capabilities
When we founded the company twenty years ago, technology or even the concept of mobile marketing didn’t exist. Our goal was to transform how people communicate with one another, making it more personalized. We began with text messaging “SMS.” But not just text messaging, messages that encompassed more than words, but more engaging and richer content like mobile websites and landing pages linked in the messages. The element of personalized messaging continued to evolve as we built and integrated the core of our marketing solutions, our customer data platform “CDP,” a unified hub to collect and store customer data from multiple (and any desired) data sources. Sending and receiving customer messages combined with the power of a CDP was pivotal in what helps businesses continue to optimize their overall communication experience, allowing them to make each touchpoint unique to a customer journeys and relationship with their brand. While this concept is not a revelation to us, the practice of personalization is becoming more and more a necessity for businesses as they not only have access to an abundance of customer data, but consumers expect to acquire and engage on their own terms.
Why is this happening?
Mass communications and general communications behavior has changed. Eight years ago, people were simply directed to a website for information. Four years ago, Twitter was one of the biggest sources. Today, it’s Facebook communities-and mobile-driven channels. Online marketing is not necessarily declining but being redefined. Paid advertising campaigns are less effective as users are becoming more aware and adverse to them. Additionally, they are no longer cost-effective and are also often times, unreliable. Similar to social media marketing, traditionally, the volume in impressions and even reach a post generated was largely attributed to how businesses were able to capture and convert their customers. Today, traditional marketing tactics aren’t as effective and no longer support businesses with gaining the right type of attention and intent businesses used to generate through these channels.
CM.com is among the top companies that truly understands this and helps businesses cut through traditional paths to customer communications.
One of our biggest advantages as a company is our global presence. Our clients are all over the world including the USA, Europe, the Middle East, as well as throughout Asia-Pacific. To be a global leader, we’ve strategically partnered with Apple for Apple Business Chat; Facebook WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, WeChat; and Alibaba and the most world’s most popular messaging app companies. Another part of our global initiative has been the opening of our first North American office, located in the US. This new office will serve as a key part of our network of more than 20 offices all over the globe. With such a massive presence worldwide, we have created a gateway for our technology and services to become accessible and adapted to dozens of languages and cultures, worldwide.
JvG: With the current COVID-19 epidemic, we’ve seen an increasing demand for CM.com’s messaging capabilities with businesses sending alerts and needed more resources to facilitate their customer support. As more companies utilize our product during this epidemic, it’s important for CM.com to support our clients even faster and make it easier to use us to communicate. We recently launched our CM.com Together suite as a bundle of five products provided free of charge until the end of July to help Clients keep their business connected and thrive during this economic climate.
As a brand driven by our mission to provide our customers with an exceptional customer experience, part of that includes giving our clients access to both local and expert resources that serve to not only assist with onboarding, but also help and guide them through the use of our platform and tools. So, whether you use CM.com for your marketing, sales or within a contact center, we ensure that every customer gets training for our platform that is custom tailored to help them achieve their specific business goals.
The Start of CM.com
JvG: I started CM.com in 1999 while attending university. The concept originated to reach friends at clubs and discotheques. That’s where the name “CM” originated… “Club Message.” It all began when the first cell phones had text messaging capabilities. My co-founder and I saw this as an opportunity and started sending messages on behalf of various popular European clubs we’d attend. Our strategy was to go to these discotheques, collect as many phone numbers from guests, and then invite those people back the following week by texting the phone numbers that we had collected.
As an engineer, CM.com’s software was entirely built by me. I am proud of where we are today, as we now employ over 100 software developers that continue to help build our platform.
I’ve spent over half my life making this company strong and I’m very proud of what it’s become today. After years of hard work, we recently went public and became a listed company. For everyone at CM.com, this has been a remarkable experience that has come with hard work from everyone. Going public for CM.com has been a large milestone for CM.com, but only the start of our plan to further build our brand, become a strong global force, accelerate growth, and enrich the customer and business, worldwide.
Where is CM.com Heading?
When you ask us where we expect to be three years from now, I see us as being twice as large, increasing our staff from 300 to over 600. We are currently hiring more marketing and salespeople around the world. We will continue opening more offices to bring us closer to our clients, and bring these clients to our platform, while leveraging new and existing partnerships.
We are constantly enhancing our platform focusing on integration capabilities. CM.com offers industry-agnostic solutions with many different use cases. With all the different parts to our platform, what we value the most is creating a unified solution, where all the needs of different roles, departments, and industries are housed into one solution. It’s a global platform backed by impressive technology.
In Europe and North America, we are focusing on combining our messaging capabilities with helping companies enable customers to make payments. For example, we integrate Apple Business Chat and Apple Pay. When the consumer gets a message from their brand and then indicate they want to buy extra seats or add another piece of luggage for their flight they will then be prompted to press to pay the added fee in that same flow. By integrating payments and mobile messaging, you’re creating true conversational commerce. CM.com also works with banks and we have a tight relationship with VISA, MasterCard and most all credit card companies.
BG: In a sea of CPaaS / SaaS companies, consider CM.com a modern business solution. We see that many business’ solutions focus on APIs, are catered to a highly technical audience, and require that their customers build and integrate everything themselves. At CM.com we bring a more every-day, user-friendly solution to the table. One that can immediately address our customers’ needs. Our industry’s technology has evolved from being one that relied solely on sending and receiving text messages, to now providing businesses with multi-channel solutions that are able to create true and more effective conversations with their audiences.
As a global company, we have a 360-degree perspective we’re bringing new things that Americans aren’t used to utilizing or even familiar with. We’re at a period where it’s critically important to become and continue being knowledgeable about these new developments in communication. Not to mention, as the U.S. encompasses a large international population, there are many customers in the American market who are inherently global. That said, being a global company provides another advantage in helping businesses achieve optimal communications at both a domestic and internal-level – an area largely important to us.
To help the U.S. market understand the shift and importance in global communications, our current focus is through what most businesses and consumers already know, text messaging. By taking a more of a consultative versus a technical approach to our product and how we sell it, we are able to gain a better understanding and holistic view of an organization’s business roadmap. This ultimately provides them how their business fits within their market, and how our product is able to optimize what their business goals are and tactics beyond just SMS campaigns that they can leverage to perform above and beyond. It’s more important now for Americans to understand these new messaging channels that they are experiencing for the first time.
JvG: CM.com’s core principal has always been the opposite of the standard contact center philosophy… where contact centers were “cost centers” if they focused on decreasing average talk time. Rather, while time and value are relative, it is important to see value from a big picture and long-term perspective. Where the most return and value came from time spent utilizing products that supported engaging conversations – which today, comes through a users’ preferred messaging channel.
Overall, CM.com’s goal is to create an environment that is both enjoyable and valuable for both businesses and customers alike. We strive to connect businesses to channels where their customers are empowered to engage with them. From the first hello, creating happy customers, to forming relationships that turn into brand advocacy, we focus providing our clients with access to multi-channel communications technology at a global perspective. It’s the key to optimizing how, when, and where businesses are able to reach their customers most effectively. Our mobile-first solution is and is continuously dedicated to creating more personalized engagements, conversations, and conversions.
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