[quote style=”boxed”]Focus as fast as you can on the outside. Talk with (beta) customers, let them work with the (beta) product and stay closely in touch. That’s how you can fail fast and learn fast.[/quote]
Being in the customer service industry for the majority of his life, Patrick embarked on the journey to start his own e-commerce customer service startup. His focus is to bring happiness to his team, his customers and shareholders.
Always having an interest in customer service, Patrick founded ROBINhq.com in The Netherlands in 2011 after 15 years of working in the industry. Keeping busy as the CEO of ROBIN, Patrick has built a team of nine people and growing.
Patrick “likes it fast” and enjoys keeping busy. He’s the proud father of two children and truly loves his family and friends. He has a flare for fashion, loving clothes, shoes and shopping (when he can gets the time to do so.) Follow him @patrickspeijers
Where did the idea for ROBIN come from?
I have often been annoyed by the lousy service I receive from Online Stores. Because competitors are one click away, I started thinking of how I could define a perfect solution to manage customer conversations. That’s now ROBIN.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
I am living very close to our office, so I start the day with a little walk to the office. Drink some nespresso, talk with the team about the evening and night (as we work global, all kinds of things happen during the evening and night). We work in a structured way, but I work with handwritten notes. At the end of the day I write down my goals for the next day. I start the day at 8:30 AM and work till 6:30 PM. Then it’s family time.
How do you bring ideas to life?
I get a lot of inspiration from reading the web and watching short videos. Most of the time I doodle in a block note and I really love to work in Powerpoint to visualize ideas. Then I will hand it over to our designer. That’s how ideas grow. I am a visual thinker.
What’s one trend that really excites you?
The sharing economy. I really love that trend. What most surprises me is the number of cars that are parked on the street. A real waste of capital.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
I always want things fast. Because I have that drive, I can bring an idea to life very fast.
What was the worst job you ever had and what did you learn from it?
I was working as an account manager for a web design company in the early days. I had to cold canvas a lot. But the company had no “story.” It was very frustrating. The why is important (and a competitive edge) to having a great story.
If you were to start again, what would you do differently?
Study the segmentation of the target audience even better.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Focus as fast as you can on the outside. Talk with (beta) customers, let them work with the (beta) product and stay closely in touch. That’s how you can fail fast and learn fast.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business? Please explain how.
We are in the SaaS business and this means that our customer service strategy is super important to grow. Especially as a customer service software company. Good customer service enables you to learn super fast what to improve, but also it brings you in the position to go the extra mile. That generates positive reviews at relevant places. Check http://apps.shopify.com/robin
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
I failed on hiring the right people for some positions. When you have limited resources and there is so much to do I didn’t realized that I didn’t spent enough time to guide people. If you work closely together and guide people, you recognize quickly that you need to change roles or find a better candidate for the role.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
A lot of people starting e-commerce businesses have all kinds of widgets in their shop. It’s not contributing to the best design and usability. I would suggest that somebody creates one widget for all those features.
Tell us something about you that very few people know?
I lived for 6 months in a big office building of 600 SQM on a concrete floor. After that period I felt that a big house never makes you more happy. It gave me a real feeling of freedom.
What software and web services do you use? What do you love about them?
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
I should say Flip the Funnel from Joseph Jaffe. I love the idea of funnel thinking, but he shifted a paradigm for me with his book. I love the ambassador thinking in it.
What people have influenced your thinking and might be of interest to others?
ROBIN on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/robinhq
ROBIN on Twitter: @robin_hq
ROBIN on LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/company/robin-interaction-on-the-fly