The CEO Interview: Tiago Paiva at Talkdesk


A thumbnail image of the CEO of Talkdesk, Tiago Paiva

Tiago Paiva introduces us to Talkdesk, before discussing the value of contact centre data and the future of the industry.

Tell us about your history with the company

“I studied Computer Science in Portugal and had just completed my Masters. I was broke and in 2011 I saw a Hackathon where you could write some telecoms software and win a MacBook Air.”

“Well, I thought that a MacBook Air was pretty cool, so I entered the Hackathon. So what I built was Talkdesk and I won the MacBook Air. I put it online and within a week or so there were a thousand or two thousand people signing up.”

“Two weeks later I received an email asking me to present it in the USA. So I flew out the next day to the USA and gave my presentation.”

“There were a bunch of investors at the conference and one came up to me and said, ‘I will give you US$50,000 to start Talkdesk. All I ask in return is that you move out to the USA’.”

“So, I took the offer, phoned by parents back in Portugal to say I wasn’t coming back home, and I have stayed in the USA ever since.”

What do you attribute your success to?

“The big advantage for us is the product. A lot of our customers love us and our technology and are happy to share the news. We have a lot of customer case studies.”

“A typical contact centre provider could give you a couple of reference customers. Right now we have hundreds of reference customers.”

What do you predict will be the biggest change that will happen in the industry in the next five years?

“There will be a lot of consolidation in the market and you should expect to see a number of the bigger companies buying up some of the smaller companies. We should see this in the WFM and UC space.”

“We have already seen this with players like Vonage, RingCentral and 8×8 getting into the contact centre space.”

“I think that the pure play cloud contact centre providers will keep growing fast.”

“It’s a great market and the next five years will be great timing to see who will win this race.”

What do your customers tell you are their greatest challenges?

“The number one request that we see from our customers is omnichannel. There is also a very big emphasis on security and reliability.”

“We were with a customer this morning and their two biggest concerns were how to deal with GDPR and security. We have invested heavily in making sure that we can check all of these boxes for Enterprise customers.”

What product developments will your company be making over the next five years?

“We will continue to invest in and rapidly develop our products. Last year, we launched seven products and we expect to launch seven more this year. We plan on doing pretty much the same every year.”

“We also expect to do have some exciting developments. The contact centre is a rich environment for providing data and we know that artificial neural networks love working off large data sets.”

“We process massive numbers of interactions every day – there’s information about what the agent clicks, what the agent says, what the agent does. Think about what we can do with that data.”

“We could build some cool stuff for the customer – using Artificial Intelligence and data to improve the contact centre.”

What is your proudest achievement at your company?

“The company has grown rapidly. From starting six years ago we had 500 employees last year and we expect that to grow to 1000 next year.”

What is the most gratifying part of your job?

“It is a fun time to see the company grow so quickly. We now have more than 50,000 agents connected to our platform. They range from small contact centres of three, four or five agents right up to 3,000 agents.”

What has been the best company/ contact centre that you have recently visited?

“A good example of a company that is embracing digital customer service is Farfetch. They provide designer customer fashion for men and women, so – for example – they sell Gucci and Louis Vuitton. They use Talkdesk in 13 countries.”

“Farfetch have messaging chats with their customers using a range of messaging applications on the Talkdesk platform– for example with WeChat in China, KakaoTalk in Korea, with LINE in other parts of Asia, and WhatsApp in America. They use Talkdesk for all their communications voice, messaging and SMS.”

If there was one piece of advice that you could offer our readers what would it be?

“The contact centre space is changing a lot. It’s very easy to default to solutions that have been working for 20 or 30 years.”

“My advice to people is to go out and look at the innovation, look at what is currently being built, look at how customers have changed.”

“We live in a world where we expect things now, and that needs to be reflected in the software and the attention that you need to give to your customers.”

Thanks to Tiago Paiva for sharing these insights.

To find out more about Talkdesk visit: www.talkdesk.com

Published On: 27th Feb 2019 - Last modified: 17th Sep 2019
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